John Martin, a weaver, was probably born before 1750 when a king ruled the colonies. Where his parents may have lived is unknown, but John raised his family on the south side of Halifax County, Virginia, which is situated on the border with North Carolina. John probably married his wife, Margaret, in the mid 1760’s, and was blessed with a son, Jonathan, in 1767.
The next ten years were the most important in America’s history, and it brought to John and Margaret a family of seven children. Five of those seven children are known: Jonathan (1767), Edmond (1772), John Jr. (1776), Margaret (1779), and the youngest daughter, Susannah.
John died in 1887, but his family continued living together on the property he had purchased south of the Dan River. Court records show that John intended his property to be divided so that his widow retained one third and each child would received one seventh of the remainder.
Jonathan was the first to claim his own piece of the property, and it’s his story we tell. On Feb 7, 1794, his brother John witnessed Jonathan’s marriage to Tabitha Hudson, the daughter of Peter Hudson Jr., a well-known farmer in the county. The following year, Jonathan’s first son was born – Peter H. Martin. In 1797, Jonathan and his wife Tabitha had a second son, Alexander.
That year, Jonathan provided the bond for his sister Margaret’s marriage to William Finn on June 12, 1797, Elizabeth Martin witnessed the marriage although she is not identified. Margaret’s family would play a larger role with Jonathan’s in the future.
Something happened to Jonathan’s wife, Tabitha, after the birth of their second son - we just don’t know what. Two years later on September 23, 1799, Jonathan married Nancy Carmichael, who was born the same year as Jonathan’s sister, Margaret - 1779. Brother John Martin provided the marriage bond, and John Carmichael, Nancy’s father, witnessed.
John Carmichael, Sr., a few generations away from Scotland, owned property on Coleman’s Creek, about ten miles from the Martin property on Lawson Creek. These properties were both located south of the Dan River, below Marseille, which was about ten miles west of the present town of New Boston.
In 1799 George Washington died, and it marked the beginning of a new era for the young nation. Jonathan and Nancy packed up their sons Peter and Alexander, and left Virginia between 1801 and 1803. It’s very likely his mother, Margaret, passed away at this time. While there are no records, the family began to break up. They settled in Jackson County, Georgia, near Maysville, built a thriving farm, and continued the family Jonathan started seven years earlier. Nancy’s brother, John Carmichael, Jr., settled in Maysville near Jonathan and John’s sister.
Around 1804, Jonathan and Nancy’s first daughter Delilah was born, and was followed in 1805 by Nancy, named for Jonathan’s wife. Named for Jonathan’s mother, Margaret was born March 11, 1806, followed by John on June 6, 1808, who may have been named for the father of either parent. Jonathan Jr. was born on November 15, 1810, and David followed on August 4, 1811.
On August 11, 1810, Jonathan’s sister, Margaret, married her second husband Thomas Valentine Denning in Person County, North Carolina. Over the next ten years, Margaret and Thomas had three daughters: Sarah, Margaret, and Catherine. Around 1821, Thomas and Margaret Denning left Virginia with all the daughters from both marriages, and settled in Hall County, Georgia, two doors up from Margaret’s grown nephew, Peter – Jonathan’s oldest son. There they had their last child, Thomas Jr. The connections between the Denning family and Jonathan’s children would continue for generations.
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