|Matthew K. Martin|
|Matthew arrived in IL sometime between 1825 and 1828, most likely with the Lanes, Lisenbys, and Thompsons. He had several land patents in McLean and Macon Cos. and, together with the Lane's, surveyed much of the county. He was murdered in 1839. The man accused of his murder, Spencer Turner, was aquitted 21 May 1840.|
From 1882 History of DeWitt County:
"By looking in the County Atlas of De Witt, Clintonia township, the observer will discover the engraving of a tree, situated in the north-west corner of section fourteen. This landmark has a history, without a brief mention of which this volume would be incomplete. It is a "lone elm," and receives its name from being situated on the prairie, solitary and alone, about three miles from any timber. It is about five feet in diameter, and is located near Ten Mile Creek, a few miles north of Clinton. Fifty-one years ago, Tillman Lane, Benjamin Lisenby, Matthew K. Martin, William Lane, and Jno. J. McGraw passed under its branches, then a small tree, and halted to rest and refresh themselves. They had come from Waynesville, and were hunting suitable locations. All were afterward old citizens of the county, and except Judge McGraw, have passed away years ago, he being the only one left to, tell the story of their sojourn."
In the spring of 1830, Tilmon Lane, Sr., Matthew K. Martin, William Lane, Benjamin L. Lisenby and J. J. McGraw, desiring to spy out the country, followed up Salt creek to its head waters, and found a family occupying a deserted Indian wigwam on section 33, just south of the present site of Farmer City. John Donner was the bold pioneer who had pushed his way beyond the settlements and taken up his abode in the solitude of an unbroken wilderness. His visitors stanchion their horses, built a fire against some logs and slept on their blankets, except when disturbed by the howling of wolves and hooting of owls, which they declared they had never found so plentiful as here. The restless spirit of the adventurer always characterized Donner. As soon as other immigrants came in he left, and in 1846, together with quite a band, he perished in the Rocky Mountains enroute for California. This visit resulted in giving the name of one of the party to a small tributary of Salt creek, and which name it yet bears, being popularly called Martin's Branch. Another pioneer named Bridges had located and remained within the line of this precinct simultaneously with Donner. His brief stay was passed in hunting, and content with heaven as a canopy, and furs as a bed, be erected no rude cabin to blaze the march of civilization.
From the Springfield Mirror, 1884:
"During a recent ride around the beautiful city of Clinton in company with Clifton H. Moore, an old and honored member of the bar of that place, the writer had pointed out to him a one-story frame building which was used as the first courthouse of DeWitt county. It is twenty by forty feet, and at that time sixteen feet were partitioned off as the office of the county and circuit clerks, the remainder served as the court-room. Mr. Moore related the particulars of an exciting murder trail which took place in that little house in 1840, before Judge Samuel H. Treat. Spencer Turner was arraigned for the murder of Mathew K. Martin and Stephen A. Doughlas appeared as his chief counsel with Abraham Lincoln as assistant. They were opposed by some of the ablest talent in the country, and the trail lasted many days and attracted the attention of people for miles around, but Douglas and Lincoln succeeded in securing the acquittal of their client. This was forty years ago, and there are but few persons in Clinton today who even remember this great trail, and still fewer know that in this unpretending frame house was heard the eloquence of two of the ablest and most gifted statesmen the world ever saw."
Note on trial: According to Joyce Newman of De Witt, IL, Matthew had become drunk and was harrassing Spencer Turner and his new wife. Turner hit him over the head with a tree branch and left him on the side of the road. Matthew was found some hours later unconsious with a concussion and died later. Turner hired Douglas and Lincoln to defend him and was acquitted.
History of DeWitt County, Illinois, by W.R. Brink & Company, 1882, page 81:
"Seventh Estate - Matthew R. Martin died April 18th, 1840, (His name appears again below; he had been killed by one Turner.) John Lane became administrator, and sold the personal effects of deceased for $47.69.
"In Sept. 1851m eleven years later, the administrator was cited to make a settlement. He appeared and paid the court fees. The debts of the deceased amounted to $88.98."
The following was from Lisenby Cemetery, Creek Twp:
d. Jan 14, 1837
rest of stone buried
Apr 18, 1839 ae 38 yr
Feb 24, 1848
ae 25 yr 4 mo 2 da
d. 1852 ae 1 yr
The 1830 census of Tazewell County has what looks like "Martha K. Martin" or possibly "Martin K. Martin." Tillman Lane is listed a few lines above, so this is most likely Matthew.
<5: 2 (Tillman, ?)
5<10: 1 (James)
20<30: 1 (Matthew)
<5: 1 (Malinda)
5<10: 1 (Margaret?)
20<30: 1 (Levina)
On same page:
20-<30: 1 (David)
Matthew Martin fought in the Black Hawk war as a private, enlisting in McLean Co., IL, in Company R, 5th Regiment, Whiteside's Brigade, under Capt. McClure.
From the Journal of the House of Representatives of the Eleventh General Assembly of the State of Illinois, Thursday, February 18, 1839:
House met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Elkin, from the committee on Engrossed Bills, reported, as correctly engrossed, a bill for "An act for the relief of Ezekiel Lane, Matthew K. Martin, and David Martin."
TWO O'CLOCK, P. M.
House met pursuant to adjournment.
The engrossed bills, entitled "An act to construct a turnpike road from Charleston to Darwin;"
"An act to incorporate the Greene County Mutual Fire Insurance Company;"and
"An act for the relief of Ezekiel Lane, Matthew K. Martin, and David Martin;"
Were severally read a third time, and passed.
David Martin is also called David R. Martin in another transcript.
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