John Martin is listed in each Taxable Property List for Halifax between 1782 and 1787. Little changes from one year to the next, except for the slight fluctuation in the number of horses and cattle. In 1783 John’s name is accompanied with a notation, “(weaver)” – but beyond that nothing is different. Also he is listed in the Halifax Census records of 1782 and 1785, which lists nine inhabitants in the Martin farm documents].
Then it just seems to happen out of the blue; John dies. Nothing alludes to the reason or cause of his death, but his children are still young so it may have been accidental or the result of a severe illness. But widow Margaret is left with seven children, the oldest Jonathan, is 20. On 28 July 1788 old friend and neighbor George Wiley appraised John’s estate.
Most records claim that John died intestate, that he left no will. But a Halifax Court Order recorded on 19 July 1815 referred to the filed will of John Martin that appears to have left one third of the property to Widow Margaret and the remainder divided equally among the seven heirs. Upon Margaret’s death, her dower would be divided among the seven heirs. But it didn’t happen that way. None of the property was ever sold in pieces. There must have been a problem with the will, or the heirs.
In 1788 Margaret became the head of household, but the children grew up and remained on the property. Jonathan married Tabitha Hudson on 7 February 1794 and claimed his property. The 1794 Property Tax shows him paying separately on the same day as Margaret. Then sister Margaret married William Finn on 12 June 1797. Jonathan provided bond and Elizabeth Martin witnessed, but Elizabeth cannot be identified in marriage records and could not be a related spouse so she may have been a sister. Finn is not identified in future Halifax property tax records, so he and Margaret may have lived on her mother’s land.
When John Wilson’s daughter, Isabella, married James Anderson Glenn in 1795, he bought them Dan River property that stretched for miles, and also shared the expense of building a mansion that was completed in 1797. Anderson was known mostly as a land speculator before becoming a member of the famous Wilson family. Now he was a gentleman planter; host to the wealthy and famous – and he was just four years older than Jonathan.
That year Jonathan Martin’s wife, Tabitha, gave birth to their second child, Alexander, and may have died in the process. Tabitha disappeared from history without a trace, and Jonathan remarried Nancy Carmichael on 23 September 1799. John Jr. claimed his inheritance in 1798, paying taxes separately the same day as Jonathan. In 1799 Edmond also paid taxes separately. Both brothers were still single.
Jonathan and Nancy left Halifax in 1803 or 1804 with other Carmichaels, including Nancy’s brother John Carmichael, Jr. They left the Halifax farm and settled in Jackson County, Georgia. Jonathan did not, or could not, sell his inheritance before he left Halifax. Jonathan would have to depend on his brothers not to sell it, and claim his property later.
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