Gibson Martin is one of four Martin men – William, David, Claiborne (“Clay”) and Gibson – who were most likely sons of George and Elizabeth Martin of Elbert & Oglethorpe Counties, GA. See these links for prior articles about Clay, David, and William. Now it’s Gibson’s turn.
His first appearance in the records was when he witnessed a 1799 Oglethorpe deed from George to Clay. Gibson was probably George’s youngest son, because he was the grantee in the last of George’s deeds and he received the home place – a 175-acre tract on Big Creek.
In 1800, Gibson both acquired the home tract and got married. There were two Martin marriage bonds in Oglethorpe dated September 22, 1800: one for Gibson Martin and Sally Buckley, and another for Sally Martin and Elisha Hernie, sic, Elisha Herrin. Is that a coincidence, two Martin marriage bonds on the same day? Seems improbable. It is more likely that there was a double wedding involving two Martin siblings. Keep reading …
Beginning in 1800, Gibson paid taxes on the 175-acre tract he bought from George. The last year Gibson paid land taxes was in 1809, the year he died. During 1810 through 1813, the 175-acre tract on Big Creek was listed in the name of Gibson Martin, deceased, with tax paid by Claiborne Martin. Also in 1811, the tax list in that district shows a payment by “Claborn Martin for Elisha Herrin, no poll, 150 acres Big Cr.” Those tax lists are short on explanations, but “no poll” means that there was no taxable male on that tract. This suggests Elisha was either dead, no longer living there, or exempt from tax.
Clay’s tax payment for Elisha Herrin, plus the marriage bonds for Gibson Martin and Sally Martin on the same date, are good circumstantial evidence that Sally Martin Herrin was a sister of Clay and Gibson. I haven’t found a trace of the Herrins after 1811, when Elisha sold the Big Creek tract and Clay paid the tax thereon.
As for Gibson’s 175-acre home tract, it was listed in the name of Sally Martin (nèe Buckley) beginning in 1814. Sally remained in Oglethorpe her entire life, dying there in 1863. She never remarried. Although I found no probate records for either Gibson or Sally Buckley Martin in Oglethorpe, their children are nonetheless conclusively proved – by deeds, of course! They are (1) John, (2) Elijah, (3) Smithfield, (4) Anny or Amey (probably Amy/Amey, although she appears both ways in the original records), and (5) Catherine. All are proved by one deed and confirmed by several others, with assists from two marriage records for the daughters:
- 29 October 29, 1818 Oglethorpe County marriage bond for Catherine Martin and William Edwards.
- January 1,1827 deed from grantors Sarah Martin (Gibson’s widow), William W. Edwards, Anny Martin, John Martin, Elijah Martin, and Smithfield Martin, all of Oglethorpe, to Martha Callaway, 15 acres on the waters of Big Cr. All grantors signed.
- 24 October 24, 1827 Oglethorpe County marriage bond, Amy Martin and Frederick Butler.
- March 4, 1830 deed, Frederick Butler to John Martin and Elijah Martin, all of Oglethorpe, all of Butler’s interest as an heir of Gibson Martin’s estate in the land where John and Elijah Martin now live. Butler’s interest “as an heir” does not suggest that he was Gibson’s heir – Butler’s wife was Gibson’s heir but, as a married woman, she had no legal capacity to own property.
Only two of Gibson and Sarah’s five children – John Martin and Amy Martin Butler – stayed in Oglethorpe. Elijah probably left about 1834, after he sold his Oglethorpe land to his brother John. I don’t know where he went, although Lumpkin County, Georgia is a possibility. Catherine Martin and her husband William Wade Edwards were definitely in Lumpkin County by 1835, and appeared there in the 1850 census.
Smithfield Martin married an Elizabeth Martin (I don’t know who her parents were) in 1825 in Oglethorpe County. They were in Walton County, Georgia by 1830, and then appeared in the 1840 census in Coweta County.
So … what do you think? Is there enough evidence to justify concluding that Gibson was a son of George and Elizabeth Martin and a brother of Claiborne, David, and William Martin and Sally Martin Herrin? Summing it up: George and Elizabeth sold Gibson the plantation where they lived, reserving the right to remain there for life; Gibson Martin and Sally Martin obtained marriage bonds on the same day; Gibson witnessed the conveyance in which Clay acquired his tract from George; Claiborne paid the tax on Gibson’s tract for several years after Gibson died and on Sally Martin Herrin’s tract once; David and William, proved brothers, both owned tracts on Big Creek adjacent to the other Martins; and David also acquired his land from George. Deeds involving the Martin tracts on Big Creek involve all five Martin men as parties, witnesses, and/or adjacent landowners.
Ordinarily, the fact that Clay paid property tax on behalf of Gibson’s estate would be enough by itself to justify concluding that Clay and Gibson were brothers. In this case, though, there is a complicating factor: Gibson’s wife Sally Buckley Martin, and Clay’s wife Frances, were almost certainly sisters. Please stay tuned … that’s coming in the next installment.
First, though, there is one more possible child of George and Elizabeth: Clara Martin Skinner of Wilkes and Elbert counties, Georgia, wife of Archer Skinner. The evidence is all circumstantial. It consists of family names, connections in the deed records, and migration patterns. IMO, it’s sufficient to consider Clara a proved sibling of the William, David, Clay and Gibson.
Here are the Elbert and Wilkes County deed and tax records establishing the Martin-Skinner connection:
- Archer Skinner witnessed the 1792 conveyance of George Martin’s former tract to David Martin.
- Archer Skinner and his wife Clary of Wilkes Co., GA conveyed land to Joseph Bell of Elbert in the 1792 deed witnessed by David Martin.
- David Martin acquired land in Wilkes County from Lewis Clark in a 1792 deed witnessed by Archer Skinner and Matthew Huff (more on the Huffs later).
- David Martin and his wife Alcy exchanged land in 1792 with Archer Skinner, who obtained land in Wilkes County in the exchange; David acquired land in Elbert County. Claiborne Martin witnessed the deed.
- The 1787 tax list for Wilkes County, Georgia, Captain Clark’s District, included George Martin, David Martin and Archer Skinner. In the 1792 tax list, David Martin was listed adjacent Archer.
Finally, there is Archer Skinner’s Elbert County 1813 will naming his wife Clary and “all my children,” a lazy phrase that makes me grind my teeth. Archer’s will expressly named only his sons James Skinner, Morris Skinner and George Martin Skinner. Two of the proved Skinner children – James and George M. Skinner – turned up later in Dallas and Perry counties Alabama along with their likely siblings Claiborne Skinner, William G. Skinner, and Clara Skinner. At least Claiborne Skinner was definitely born in Georgia.
Hitting the highlights: the evidence that Clary Skinner was George Martin’s daughter and Clay’s sister includes (1) the names of Clary’s sons Claiborne and George Martin Skinner, (2) the multiple Skinner/Martin connections in the deed records, (3) the fact that some of the Skinners migrated to the same area as Claiborne, and (4) the fact that Claiborne and Frances Martin named one of their daughters Clara. That is certainly not conclusive, but is a nice web of circumstantial evidence.
And this concludes the likely children (so far as I have found, that is) of George Martin and his wife Elizabeth of Oglethorpe County:
- David Martin, who married Alay Unknown and died in Baldwin County, five children;
- William Martin, who died without children in Baldwin County;
- Claiborne Martin and wife Frances of Oglethorpe, Georgia and Perry, Alabama, eleven proved children;
- Gibson Martin and wife Sarah Buckley of Oglethorpe County, five proved children;
- Sarah Martin and husband Elisha Herrin of Oglethorpe County; and
- Clary/Clara Martin and husband Archer Skinner of Elbert County, Georgia (3 proved and six likely children).
Next, on to Claiborne’s wife Frances, and a trip back to the Northern Neck of Virginia. See you on down the road.
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Historic Oglethorpe Co., Inc., Cemeteries of Oglethorpe County, Georgia (Fernandina Beach, FL: Wolfe Publishing Co., 1995). Gibson’s tombstone reads “Gibson Martin, 10 Sep 1770 – 2 May 1809, grandfather.”
FHL Film 158,675, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books E – G, 1806 – 1812, deed of 14 Feb 1811, Elisha Herren to John Mitchell, both of Oglethorpe, 150 acres on the waters of Big Cr. adjacent Widow Martin and Pope. Deed Book G: 49. Widow Martin might be either Sally Buckley Martin, Gibson’s widow, or Elizabeth Martin, George’s widow.
FHL Film 158,680, Oglethorpe Co., GA Deed Books O and P, 1834 – 1841, Oglethorpe Deed Book O: 214, deed of 30 Dec 1834, Elijah Martin of Oglethorpe to John Martin of same, $1,000, a tract adj Benjamin Blanton, John Harris, Wilie Pope, Elisha Strong, Benj. Pope and Blanton M. Hill.
Id., Oglethorpe Deed Book O: 212, deed of 26 Oct 1835, William W. Edwards of Lumpkin Co., GA to John Martin of Oglethorpe, $100, Edwards’ claim to “the Martin lot” adjacent Pope, Blanton and others; 1850 census, Lumpkin Co., GA, p. 38, dwl 104, listing for W. W. Edwards, 50, b. GA, Catharine Edwards, 46, b. GA, and Ann Edwards, 25, b. GA.
Id., Oglethorpe DB N: 391, deed of 10 Mar 1830, Smithfield Martin of Walton Co., GA to John & Elijah Martin of Oglethorpe, Smithfield’s interest as an heir of Gibson Martin to land where John & Elijah live, $100. Interestingly, a 14-year-old male named Smithfield Martin was enumerated in the 1880 census in Austin, Travis County, Texas. Smithfield was born in Alabama, and both of his parents were born in Georgia. Odds are that Smithfield of Austin was the grandson of Smithfield Martin of Oglethorpe, Walton & Coweta, Georgia. It is probably possible to connect those dots, I just haven’t tried to do so.
Farmer, abstract of Elbert Co., GA Deed Book A: 128.
Grace Gillam Davidson, Georgia DAR, Historical Collections of the Georgia Chapters, Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume III, Records of Elbert County, Georgia(Atlanta: Stein Printing Co., 1930, reprint by Georgia Genealogical Reprints, Vidalia, GA), abstract of Elbert Co., GA Will Book K: 55
Several Skinners appeared in Perry Co., AL along with the Martins, including James and George Martin Skinner, proved sons of Archer and Clara Skinner of Elbert Co. Other Skinners in the Perry Co. records included Claiborne, Clara, and William G. Skinner. Claiborne and William G. Skinner were both born in Georgia and would have “fit” in the 1820 census profile for Clara Skinner in Elbert Co., GA, which included three males not identified in Archer’s will.
Claiborne Skinner was listed as a head of household in the Perry Co. census for 1840, see p. 268 (born 1800 – 1810). In 1850, he was enumerated in Kemper Co., MS, p. 198, dwl 869, listing for Claiborne Skinner, 44, b. GA.