Francis Marion Martin
Submitted by Peter J. Gossett
Francis Marion Martin was born March 21, 1863, in Winston County, Alabama. His parents were Thomas M. Martin and Frances Mary Ann (Stone) Martin. He was named after his mother, who died days after he was born. His sister, Martha, had recently had a baby, and she nursed her brother after their mother died. Francis lived in Winston County until after 1910, when he moved to Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama. He died there on May 16, 1941, and he was buried the next day at Robinson Cemetery, north of Russellville. Before his death, he had an illness of several weeks, and after his death, the feathers in his pillow had become a heart-shape, which is called a death (or angel) crown. According to folklore, if a "death crown" is found in the pillow of a deceased person, it indicates that the person was saved and now in heaven. Francis had three wives and sixteen children.
Francis first married Nancy Emmaline Hyde, daughter of Jesse Daniel Hyde and Sarah Jarome (Barton) Hyde. They were married July 22, 1882, in Winston County. Nancy was born September 13, 1862, and died April 7, 1898, as a result of childbirth and was buried at Kaeiser Cemetery, in Winston County. Francis and Nancy's children: Jasper Newton "Jape" Martin (4/17/1883 - 3/8/1966; Married Josephine Thomas); Alfred Madison "Mat" Martin (10/30/1886 - 10/20/1962; Married Phflinda Unokia Holden); Alma Mae "Mae" Martin (5/21/1889 - 7/3/1948; Married Jonathan William Thomas); Elmer Sylvester "Vess" Martin (12/19/1891 - 10/10/1972; Married Pearl Beatrice Willis); Joseph Columbus "Joe" Martin (3/8/1894 - 11/4/1963; Married Martha Frances Gann); Zora Rosanna "Rosa" Martin (9/30/1896 - 1/21/1940; Married George Cleveland Thomas); and William Martin (3/31/1898 - 4/3/1898).
Francis then married Mary Jane Butler, daughter of John Jackson Butler and Louisa Jane (Davis) Butler. She was born March 1862 and died November 8, 1900. They were married January 16, 1900, in Winston County. Mary also died from complications of childbirth. The baby, like with Nancy, died as well. Francis then married Narcissus Emmaline Sparks on June 9, 1901, in Winston County. She was the daughter of David Jiles Sparks and Frances Elizabeth (Dover) Sparks, was born on April 30, 1873, and died on December 25, 1951. Francis and Emma's children: Marion Solomon "Sol" Martin (5/8/1902 - 7/27/1984; Married Ella Hendrix); Ezella Elizabeth Martin (12/22/1903 - 7/20/1982; Married Thomas Floyd Burcham); David Thomas Martin (12/28/1905 - 7/4/1995; Married Mattie Lou Hand); Elzie Olen Martin (10/15/1907 - 12/19/1969; Married Minnie Leslie Riley, Hattie Jefferies, and Daisy Unknown); Lydia Emmaline Martin (1/8/1910 - 8/16/1993; Married Robert Key Jones); Letha Pearl Martin (8/6/1912 - 6/27/1913); Francis Woodrow Martin (7/12/1914 - 12/10/1972; Married Mittie Evelyn Martin); and Daniel Abadewel Martin (11/2/1917 - 4/2/1918).
A letter was found written to Joseph Martin from Francis, his father, just about five months before Francis died:
January 22, 1941
"Dear Son & Family.
Will drop you all a few lines to let you all hear from us. I have the flu and Emmer has had a light case of it, but she is better. Lydia has been in the hospital, but she is back at home now. She had her appendix out and had a time with her kiddneys. I have been carrying Emmer to Florence to an eye specialist her eye looks good now. You all be good and write soon. Lots of Love to all. Your Dad, F.M. Martin."
Franklin Co. Times May 22, 1941
Final rites for Frances M. Martin who passed away May 16th, at his residence in Russellville, Rt 7, following an illness of several weeks duration, were conducted at Robinson Cemetery, Saturday, with Spry in charge of arrangements, survivors include in addition to the wife are eight sons and three [daughters].
The day before Nancy, his first wife, died, Francis had a promissory note to W.R. Long of Lynn, in the amount of $50.60. "The State of Alabama, Winston County. Whereas I am indebted to W.R. Long in the sum of fifty dollars, by promissory note, dated the 6 day of April 1898, and due on the 15 day of October 1898. Now, in order to secure the payment of said indebtedness, I do hereby bargain, sell, and convey unto the W.R. Long their agents or assigns, the following described property to wit: My crop of cotton and corn, planted or to be planted, grown or to be grown during the year 1898 in Winston County, Ala. One sorrel mare age 7 years old, one cow & calf, color pided 8 years old color of calf red, 6 months old 1 heifer color ___ sides white back & belly age 2 years old muley. Also all my house hold and kitchen furniture whatsoever and farming implements and one, one horse wagon iron axle. If I fail to pay said indebtedness and cost of this deed by the 15 day of October 1898 or if I sell or attempt to sell any of said property, or move, or attempt to move the same from the limits of Winston County, then the W.R. Long or their agents or assigns, are authorized to take possession of said property, and, after giving five days notice in two public places in Winston County, to sell the same for cash, and with the proceeds pay this indebtedness and the cost of this deed together with all the cost and expenses of taking possession of and selling said property, and the balance to pay the undersigned. W.R. Long or their agents or assigns, are authorized to purchase any or all of said property, at the sale thereof, under this deed."