John S Martin is my paternal great-grandfather. These pictures of John show that he was a handsome man, with very light blue eyes. His son, Elmer, also had very blue eyes.
"Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Rock Island County," Vol. II, Edited by Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, Chicago, 1914, Munsell Publishing Co., pg 1273-1274.
MARTIN, John S. --- After a man has spent thirtyseven years in one community, his character is generally pretty well known to his fellow citizens, who have had ample time to become thoroughly informed as to his manner of doing business, his ideas of public citizenship and his worth as a man of family and a neighbor, and the high esteem in which John S. Martin is held by all who know him, testifies to the fact that he is one of Bowling township’s representative men.
John S. Martin, who is the owner of a 320-acre tract of land on section 23, was born November 28, 1847, in Bavaria, Germany, the oldest of eight children of Mathias and Catherine (Castner) Martin. Mathias Martin was born November 39, 1809, and married in Germany to Katherine Castner, who was born June 5, 1828. In his native county, Mathias Martin learned the trade of shoemaker, and on first coming to the United States settled at Farmington, Jefferson county, Wis., where he followed his trade and engaged in farming for twelve years. He had come to this country in 1849, and in the following years sent for his wife and baby, who joined him at Farmington.
John S. Martin still loves to relate the experiences of the Wisconsin pioneer days, when on one occasion he froze his feet while keeping the deer from eating the winter crop of wheat on the home farm. In 1864, the family came to Rock Island county, where Mathias Martin purchased a farm, and here resided until his death, September 10, 1890, while his widow survived him until March 8, 1907.
John S. Martin received a public school education, and until twenty-seven years of age worked on the home farm. He earned his first dollar of wages as a wood chopper in the Wisconsin lumber camps, where for two years he worked at a wage of four dollars a month, the next year being paid six dollars and the last year twelve dollars per month. He assisted in building the house on the old homestead, but after coming to Rock Island county worked for Thomas Johnson for twenty-nine dollars per month, but was paid in "shin-plasters," currency which was much in use at the time but which averaged only about one dollar’s worth of gold money to two dollars and one-half of the "shin-plasters."
On November 22, 1882, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Weiss, who was born June 27, 1857, a daughter of Michael and Hannah W. (Hyme) Weiss, natives of Wittenberg, Germany, who came to the United States at an early date and were among the first settlers of Rock Island county. Mrs. Martin died March 8, 1903, having been the mother of five children, namely: Elmer M., born in 1888; John E., born August 1, 1890; Wilbur, born September 27, 1894; May, died March 8, 1903; and Emma, died August 30, 1907.
Mr. Martin is a consistent member of the Methodist church and is a democrat in his political views, having served as a pathmaster and a member of the election board of Bowling township. He has been successful in his farming operations, now being the owner of 320 acres of valuable land, and can look back over a useful and well-spent life.
Below is an interesting photo I found in Elmer's photo album. John S. Martin (holding his hat in his hand) is standing just left of the men boxing (kind-of half hidden behind the boxer on the left side). Apparently boxing was a past-time with the men in the area.