The Martins of the Oakley Community

The following was taken from a story printed in the Livingston Enterprise on December 2, 1949, entitled "Independence Community Salutes Mr. and Mrs. James W. Martin:

"Mr. James W. Martin, better known as "Uncle Jim," was 95 years old November 11 of this year (1949). He has lived his entire life within the borders of the Independence community, was educated, married, raised and educated his family within the community. Mrs. Martin, the former Callie Waddell, was born in Kentucky, August 25, 1870, but moved to Tennessee at the age of six to a farm in the nearby Ozone community. She married James W. Martin 60 years ago, February 13, 1869. To this union was born 9 children, 3 of whom are still living. They now have 17 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. Mrs. Martin has been a member of the Church of Christ for 30 years. The Martin home near the Oakley division of the community is a large two-story white house, which they built themselves and moved into in 1919. They live alone now, but their home has been modernized recently with the installation of a new and complete bathroom, hot and cold running water, and is serviced with electricity. It is easy to identify the Martin home by the large, beautiful cedar grove on the right of the house. It has been revealed that this was once the site of an apple orchard, but in 1831, a storm twister blew down the entire orchard. In the following spring, it was discovered that hundreds of little cedar seedlings had come up in the area. They were left to grow and today, it is one of the finest cedar groves in this country. They have had many large offers to buy the timber, but have steadily refused to sell. Mrs. Martin insists it is a wonderful windbreak and that it is worth more to them standing as it is.

"Mr. Martin chose farming as his occupation, general rather than specialized farming. Mrs. Martin says that all her talents were directed toward homemaking. They have been acquainted with war. Mr. Martin’s brother served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. They had two sons in World War I and three grandsons in World War II.

"The Martins have seen many changes take place within their lifetime. They enjoy good health and live alone at present, but their home is a favorite gathering place for neighbors and relatives. Independence community salutes Mr. and Mrs. Martin, its oldest residents." (From information given to me, Mr. Martin’s name was listed incorrectly in this article. His name was James Fillmore Martin, named for his father, John Fillmore Martin.)

James and Callie Martin were photographed on the front porch of their home that once stood in the Oakley Community of Overton County.

Gene Martin, son of Wellman Martin, and a grandson of James and wife Callie Martin, gave me the names of the children in his grandfather’s family who were: Commodore (known as Com), Wellman; Clarence; Florida; Norman; Lawton; and Truman. There were two other children who died as infants. The two sons who served in World War I were Wellman and Clarence. The grandsons who served in World War II were Gene; Buell, and Brice.

James Edward Martin of Livingston, son of Truman Martin, and another grandson of James and Callie Martin, told me his grandfather lived to the 99 years and 4 months old. His grandfather shared the same birthday as Judge Lee Bohannon of Livingston. He was 35 years old when he and Callie, who was just 16, married. According to James, his grandfather collected rocks and also had a lot of arrowheads he picked up on his farm. His grandfather was extremely interested in geology and once dug up an unusual rock on his farm he sent away to be examined. When the report came back that the rock contained 90% silver, it wasn’t long until representatives from the place Mr. Martin sent the rock to came knocking on his door. They were interested in learning just exactly where he found that rock, but the answer to their inquiries was never revealed.

Even though the house and cedar grove are no longer there, a portion of the property remains in the Martin family today. Grandsons Gene and Neal have raised their families just down the road from where their grandparents’ home once stood.  

The Martin home in the Oakley Community had a large cedar grove nearby.  Both the house and the cedar grove were destroyed after the property was sold out of the Martin family.

The most recent addition to a branch of the Martin family is James William Martin, son of Joseph Edward (Eddie) Martin and wife Renae (Qualls) Martin, grandson of James and Marcia Martin, born on June 9, 2010. Will Martin, the name this new baby will be called, is a fifth generation. No doubt James and Callie Martin would be more than pleased to know the family name is being carried on, and would wish for this new addition a life that will include 99+ happy, healthy years.