Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brig. General Joseph Martin (1740–1808),



  compilation by D.S. Collins

General Joseph Martin (1740–1808), born Albemarle County, Virginia, died Henry County, Virginia
Joseph Martin (1740–1808) was a brigadier general in the Virginia militia during the American Revolutionary War, in which Martin's frontier diplomacy with the Cherokee Indian nation is credited with averting Indian attacks on the Scotch-Irish settlers who won the battles of King's Mountain and Cowpens, hastening the Continental Army victory. Martin was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, and later lived on his plantation Scuffle Hill[1] near the Smith River in Henry County, Virginia, not far from the 10,000-acre (40 km2) Leatherwood plantation of his friend Governor Patrick Henry, who appointed him Virginia's agent to the Cherokee nation in 1777.[2] Martin served in the legislatures of several Southern states, and was a pioneer, Indian trader and real estate speculator who attempted one of the earliest settlements of what became the state of Tennessee. The city of Martinsville, Virginia, is named for him.

 ]Early life

The son of planter Joseph Martin Sr. and his wife Susannah Chiles,[3] great-granddaughter of Colonel John Page, Joseph Martin Jr. was raised in a Virginia gentry family in Albemarle County.[3] His father, Joseph Martin Sr., was the son of a wealthy British merchant in Bristol, England, who sent his son to Virginia as supercargo aboard his ship the Brice.[4] When Martin Sr. son wrote his English father that he planned to marry the daughter of a common Virginia colonist – an inferior in the eyes of his English father, whose other son would become Mayor of Bristol [5] – the enraged father wrote back disinheriting young Joseph Martin Sr., who never returned to England.[6]
Joseph Martin Sr. was "a perfect Englishman", recalled his grandson later, "large and athletic; bold, daring, self-willed and supercilious. And in him was depicted, as my father has told me, the most complete form of the aristocracy of the British government."[7] On his arrival in Albemarle County in 1729, Joseph Martin Sr. settled on land nearby neighbors Dr. Thomas Walker, Peter Jefferson, James Madison, and the Lewis and Clark clans—all connections that would be useful to his rambunctious son.[8]
But Joseph Martin Jr., the son of the English immigrant, was not cut out for a Virginia gentry planter's life.[9] As a youth, Joseph Martin ran off from an apprenticeship during the French and Indian War of 1756, and joined the army at Fort Pitt, where he served alongside another Virginia youth, Thomas Sumter.[10]Following his early army service, Martin lit out for the rigors of the frontier, where he dressed in buckskin and was an early real estate speculator, trapper and fur trader and Indian fighter.[11]
Martin's youthful adventures on the frontier were grist for later stories. One biographer described the runaway carpenter's apprentice as "wild, undisciplined, intellectually lazy, and shiftless." Treating school as "a joke, often running away," Martin "sometimes combined with other reprobates to form a neighborhood menace." But recalling his father years later, Martin's own son William noted the General's mental acuity made him stand out in a family noted for its "mental mediocrity."[12] Eventually the soldiering, trapping and Indian fighting transformed the young Martin into a fearsome explorer.
Among Martin's earliest excursions on the frontier was on behalf of family friend Dr. Thomas Walker. In 1769, Martin journeyed to Powell's Valley in what is now Tennessee to attempt a settlement, a full 100 miles ahead of any previous settlement.[13] Martin and his party – which included his son Brice and Mordecai Hord[14] – had hoped to secure the 21,000-acres granted to Dr. Walker and themselves. Martin's Creek in the region where Joseph Martin attempted his settlement is today named for him. (Martin's Station, as the settlement was known, became a well-known stopover for westward-bound settlers for many years.[15]) The settlement ultimately failed, which some historians have blamed on the inability of the Loyal Company to defend its title to the tract.[16][17]
But in the foray to Powell's Valley, Martin had established his credentials as a hard-bitten explorer. Daniel Boone and his party of explorers were stunned in 1769 when, upon their arrival in Powell's Valley, they discovered that Martin and his 20-man party had beaten them there. It was beyond the farthest reaches that Boone and his long hunters had explored.[18] Following Martin's feat, the Albemarle County native became a force to be reckoned with in exploration circles, even though Martin's settlement was soon broken up by the Cherokees, who pushed back against the westernmost settlement yet attempted.[19]
By 1775, when North Carolina merchant Richard Henderson purchased an immense tract of land from the Cherokees to found the short-lived Transylvania colony, in what is today Kentucky, Henderson turned to Martin as his agent in Powell's Valley.[20] It was one of several such roles that the explorer, accustomed to trapping, longhunting and traveling in the Appalachian wilderness inhabited by the Cherokee, would hold over the years.[21][22]

 Life along the frontier

"Martin was a robust figure in the history of the early frontier," according to the WPA guide to the Old Dominion. "He was born in Albemarle County in 1740, ran away to fight Indians at 17, became an Indian agent, land agent, and officer of militia, fighting Indians all up and down the frontier. In 1774 he came to Henry County, established himself at Belle Monte on Leatherwood Creek, for nine years sat for his district in the general assembly, and in 1793 was made a brigadier general of state militia. He was a brawny, picturesque man, more than six feet tall and the father of 18 children; wore buckled knee breeches and a great beard, braided and thrust inside his shirt."[23]
Martin first married Sarah Lucas in Orange County, Virginia.[24] After her death in Henry County, Martin married Susannah Graves, a descendant of Captain Thomas Graves [25] of Jamestown, Virginia. While married to Sarah Lucas and then to Susannah Graves, Martin was simultaneously married to his Cherokee wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) Ward, the daughter of Nancy Ward, a power within the Cherokee Nation. The polygamous relationship, justified by Martin as common practice among frontiersmen operating among the tribes, caused considerable consternation to General Martin's son, Col. William Martin.[26] Joseph Martin and Betsy Ward had two children.[27] (Joseph Martin's son by his Cherokee wife was educated in Virginia schools, but afterwards elected to return to the Cherokee Nation.(added note:The other child, a daughter,this compiler believes to be  Martha Martin b.1710, ( Joseph's 1st child) who married Old Trader Tom Benge, father of Trader John Tarchee Benge (who married Wer-Teh Watts)  and were parents of Chief Bob Benge. Wur-Teh also had a relationship with Nathaniel Gist. the resulting son was Chief George Sequoyah  Gist, inventor/creator of the Cherokee syllabary
On November 3, 1777, Martin was commissioned by Governor Patrick Henry as Agent and Superintendent for Indian Affairs for the State of Virginia. (Martin served in the same capacity with the state of North Carolina from 1783–1789.[29]) Gov. Henry instructed Martin that he was "to reside at some place in that Nation in order to negotiate and direct all things relating to the Commonwealth and which concern the interest thereof, using your best endeavors from time to time to preserve peace with that Nation and to cultivate their present good Disposition." It was an appointment Martin would continue to hold until 1789.[30]
During his time on the frontier, Martin became acquainted at an early age with two other Revolutionary War patriots and frontiersmen: Benjamin Cleveland, who was his brother-in-law, Cleveland having married the sister of Susannah Graves; and Thomas Sumter, who had been a companion of Martin's during his early adventures on the frontier. Both men were fellow Virginia natives who struck out for the wilds, and both were ardent patriots.[31][32]
During the Revolutionary War it was the efforts of Joseph Martin (then a Major) that helped prevent the Cherokee Nation from launching widespread attacks on American colonists, which Loyalist agents had attempted to incite.[33] Following the British capture of Savannah and Augusta, Georgia in 1778–1779, English goods made their way to the Cherokee Nation on the Savannah River, prompting some tribesmen to rejoin the English cause.[34]
Martin's diplomacy with the Cherokees in 1780–81, wrote the American Historical Association, enabled the Continental Army to achieve victory over the English at the Battle of Kings Mountain, thus hastening the end of the conflict. At the same time – and complicating Martin's legacy – Martin and his sons were prime movers behind the settlement of Tennessee by removing obdurate Cherokees from the territory.[6]
By the end of the Revolution, Martin's place as chief colonial Indian agent seemed secure. In the fall of 1783, the State of Virginia built a new fort at the Cumberland Gap, replacing an older fort which was adjudged to lie within the boundaries of North Carolina. The new Virginia fort was designed as the primary residence for Martin while he was in the region on official business.[35]
Later, in a twist overlooked by most historians, Martin corresponded with Alexander McGillivray, the leader of the Creek Indians, who had Loyalist sentiments. In 1788 a letter from Martin to McGillivray was intercepted in which Martin professed to be interested in settling abroad. When the letter was discovered, the North Carolina General Assembly launched an investigation into Martin's conduct. But he was later exonerated when it turned out that he was acting as a spy on Patrick Henry's instructions to ferret out the nature of McGillivray's ties to the Spanish, who were then active in Florida.[36]
"General Martin's conduct so far as I could discern in that affair was really praise-worthy," Henry wrote to United States Senator from Virginia Richard Henry Lee. "He [Martin] frequently gave me Intelligence of Creek Indian affairs, and of the intercourse between other Indians and the Spaniards that was interesting.[37]
General Martin and Governor Patrick Henry kept a longrunning correspondence through the years, some of which concerned real estate speculation. Other letters recounted Martin's dealings with the Indian tribes, as well as settlement efforts in Tennessee.[38] As late as 1790, Patrick Henry wrote Joseph Martin concerning a real estate investment, holding out that the hope, Henry noted, that Martin might finally capitalize on his long service to Virginia. "After all the Hazards you have run," Henry wrote, "that you have not acquired so much property as many others would have done in your situation, I was desirous to throw something in your way by which some fine lands would have been offered to you in our purchase."[39]

 Career as an Indian agent

Ultimately, General Martin lost his appointment as chief Indian agent. Martin's "manner of treating with the Indians necessarily prevented his appointment," Senator Richard Henry Lee informed Patrick Henry in September 1789. "At present no such office as a standing Indian agent is appointed. The Government of the Western Territory is charged with such affairs."[40]
In some quarters Martin was seen as too lenient with the Indians, especially after an incident in 1786[41] when several young Cherokee warriors were said to have murdered two white settlers near Clinch Mountain. The killings set off calls for retribution within the secessionist State of Franklin, and Martin found himself trying to mediate the dispute, calm the settlers, while trying to prevent the angry Cherokees from joining with the Creeks.[42] Martin did little to disguise his contempt for the authorities of the State of Franklin, who, Martin wrote Henry, "immediately marched into the above mentioned Town, where they killed one Young [Indian] woman, and Shot Several others."[43]
But Martin himself had not hesitated to wield military power against the Cherokees, especially when they killed several colonists at the instigation of Loyalist and English agents during the Revolution. In 1781, following a running battle between Indian forces and those of the colonists, Colonel Arthur Campbell[44], Lieutenant Colonel John Sevier and Martin addressed a letter to the Indian chiefs, warning them about their actions. "You know you began the war," the bulletin began, "by listening to the bad councils of the King of England and the falsehoods told you by his agents." Further hostilities, the three colonial leaders warned, would result in a military campaign against the Indian villages.[45] Seven years later, in 1788, Martin again fought the Cherokees as well as the Chickamauga Indians at a battle at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.[46]
But having eventually struck a hard-won peace with the tribes, Martin bridled at the actions of the State of Franklin. Henry empathized with Martin, writing the General in May 1785 that "the disorderly behavior of the Franklin people, as they call themselves, gives me concern. If they will not be subservient to the Rules and Regulations respecting Indian affairs, which prevail in all the States, they must expect none of the advantages of the Union."[47]
"Partisans of the State in North Carolina afterwards found him obnoxious to their views," former Governor Henry wrote Senator William Grayson in urging Martin's reappointment in 1789, "and as I believe often endangered his Life For his duty called him to discourage their Disorderly conduct [and] thwart their favorite Schemes." Henry then commended Martin for his restraints on the State of Franklin settlers, whose "frequent Butcherys of Indians & Refinement in cruelty sufficiently characterize these people who are Mr Martins decided Foes."[48]
Martin's attempts to restrain the State of Franklin settlers made Martin unacceptable in some quarters, where he was seen as too 'soft' on the tribesmen. Consequently, his appointment as agent was not renewed, despite Henry's repeated entreaties to political allies for Martin's reinstatement. (In a 1789 letter to United States Senator from Virginia William Grayson, Henry reminded his political ally that Martin had been so effective in his Indian dealings during the Revolutionary War that British agents had offered rewards to their Indian allies for Martin's scalp.[48])
But the forces allied against Martin overwhelmed Henry's defense, and in 1789, his career as Indian agent finished, General Martin sold his large holdings in the Powell's Valley and near Cumberland Gap and returned to his lands in Henry County next door to Henry's[49] to spend the rest of his life.[50]

 Legislative service

In his peripatetic life on the frontier, Martin was called upon to serve in the legislatures of several states. He served as a member of the North Carolina Convention called to approve the United States Constitution, and served several times in the North Carolina General Assembly. Martin was subsequently elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, until he finally chose to retire because of advanced age.[51] (In 1787 the North Carolina assembly chose Martin as Brigadier General of the Washington District.) During his time in the Virginia legislature, Martin was one of the primary supporters of James Madison's Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.[52] During his military service in Georgia, Martin was elected to the Georgia legislature in 1783.
Martin was also initially a member of the Watauga Association, which supported the founding of the State of Franklin. Martin subsequently resigned his membership when he saw that it might compromise his role as Indian agent.

Family life, legacy and descendants

Gen. Joseph Martin had a son by his second wife Susannah Graves, Col. Joseph Martin, born in Henry County in 1785, who served in the War of 1812. Another of his sons, Patrick Henry Martin, Joseph Martin named after his friend and sometime neighbor, Governor Henry. After helping adjudicate the western boundary line between North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia as far as Cumberland Mountains, General Martin retired to his Belle Mont plantation at Leatherwood, which he purchased in 1796 from Benjamin Harrison V of Berkeley Plantation. General Joseph Martin died at his Leatherwood plantation in 1808, and was buried in the family cemetery there.[53][54] Buried alongside him at the graveyard at Belmont are three other Joseph Martins: Colonel Joseph Martin, son of the general, and his son Joseph and grandson Joseph, who lived at Greenwood plantation.[55]
Initially known as Henry Courthouse, the town of Martinsville, Virginia was later renamed in honor of this early soldier, planter, pioneer and real estate speculator.[56] For many years afterwards, General Martin remained an obscure figure, until Lyman Draper began collecting reminiscences about him, including those of Major John Redd, a prominent Henry County planter who served under Martin, and who also wrote about his early recollections of General Nathaniel Greene, George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, Col. Benjamin Cleveland, Dr. John Walker, and other early prominent Virginia figures.[57]
Joseph Martin had 18 children by his two wives and his Cherokee common law wife. Martin's descendants include his eldest son Col. William Martin[58], Tennessee pioneer[59], and member of the South Carolina and Georgia legislatures[60][61]; son Col. Joseph Martin, member of the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia Constitutional Convention 1829–1830[62]; daughter Martha Martin ( ll ) , who married her cousin William Cleveland, son of Benjamin Cleveland, hero of the Battle of King's Mountain; son Major Brice Martin, Tennessee pioneer, and surveyor in 1801 of the disputed boundary between Virginia and Tennessee[63]; Dr. Jesse Martin Shackelford, founder of Martinsville's Shackelford Hospital, later Martinsville Memorial[64]; Judge Nicholas H. Hairston of Roanoke.[65]; United States Senator from Virginia Thomas Staples Martin from Charlottesville, Virginia.[66]; Judge John Dillard of the North Carolina Supreme Court; American theologian andBiblical Greek scholar Archibald Thomas Robertson.[67]; Alabama Governors Joshua L. Martin, Gabriel Moore, John A. Winston, and Charles Henderson[68]; as well as Alfred M. Scales, Confederate General in the Civil War, and subsequently Governor of North Carolina.

[edit]Toby's freedom

General Joseph Martin owned a slave named 'Toby' from the time Toby was about 25 years old, and in his letters to historian Lyman Draper, Martin's son Col. William Martin told Draper that Toby, "a bright mulatto, a little under middle stature, of great physical powers, as well as mental" had served his father for many years and had distinguished himself in several battles. It was General Martin's intention, noted his son, that Toby be freed at Joseph Martin's death, but the General died intestate. But taking note of the General's affection for his longtime slave, as well as Martin's family's sentiments towards Martin's constant companion, the family elected "by mutual consent" to leave Toby out of the inventory of General Martin's estate, and Toby "has ever since been free, and has made himself a good estate."[69] In his letter to Lyman, Col. William Martin calls the freed slave "my fine old brother Toby."

[edit]Recent Monument

On June 27–29, 2008, 200 descendants of General Joseph Martin gathered in the city named for him to unveil a monument in his honor at the Gen. Joseph Martin Bicentennial Celebration.[70]


1.    ^ Martin was said to have named his estate Scuffle Hill on account of the financial 'scuffling' he'd had to do to fund its purchase.
4.    ^ The family name was pronounced MAR-TEEN in England, indicating possible Huguenot ancestry.[1]
9.    ^ This is probably an understatement. Nearly all accounts, even those of Martin's contemporaries, describe a youth we would probably term 'delinquent' today. "Gambling was a favorite pastime", recounts one family historian. "They worked but little", she writes of Martin and his friends Sumter and Cleveland, instead "depending on hunting, gambling and trading for a livelihood." [2]
11. ^ Although Joseph Martin inherited from his father over 300 acres of land as well as a half-interest in a plantation on a tributary of the Potomac River that Joseph Martin Sr. held jointly with Col. Francis Warner of Essex County, the son elected to dress in buckskin and spend his time inland on the frontier.[3]
14. ^ Born in Caroline County, Virginia, Mordecai Hord was also an early settler of Henry County, where he settled on his plantation named Hordsville. Hord owned 'vast tracts of land' in Powell's Valley, which he explored along with Joseph Martin.[4] The two shared many of the same friends, including Patrick Henry, an executor of Hord's will along with Hord's brother-in-law Col. George Waller, married to Henry's first cousin Ann Winston (Carr) Waller.[5]
17. ^ Other historians have attributed the failure of the early settlement to the resistance of the Cherokee tribe to this earliest incursion.[6]
20. ^ In exchange for acting as agent for the Transylvania colony, Martin was granted by founder Henderson preferential rights to Martin's land claim in Powell Valley.[7]
22. ^ An experienced longhunter and Indian trader, Martin continued to traffic in skins as late as 1781, when two Native Americans attempting to deliver skins to Martin at his Long Island settlement were slain by colonists.[8]
25. ^ Susannah Graves, the wife of Joseph Martin, and her sister Mary Graves, who was married to Benjamin Cleveland were both born in Orange County, Virginia, the daughters of Joseph Graves, a prosperous planter. Joseph Graves was likely the younger brother of Thomas and John Graves, born in King and Queen County.[9] However, recent DNA research has indicated that Susannah Graves might not have been descended from Captain Thomas Graves, but instead from a Graves (or Grieves) family that came from Northamptonshire, England, to Virginia. [10]
26. ^ But despite his misgivings over his father's polygamous relationship with Betsy Ward, Col. William Martin was still moved to say that Betsy's Ward's mother Nancy Ward was "one of the most superior women I ever saw." [11]
41. ^ The previous year, in April 1785, Patrick Henry first warned Joseph Martin that the encroachment of settlers of the secessionist State of Franklin, by usurping Cherokee lands without payment, was upsetting arrangements previously reached between the state of Virginia and the tribe. [12]
42. ^ Early in the creation of the State of Franklin, Joseph Martin had been elected by the Franklin Council to serve on the new colony's Privy Council, but Martin wrote Henry that he had rejected the post, thinking that it would conflict with his duties as a Virginia agent to the Indian nation.[13]
44. ^ Campbell County, Tennessee was named for Virginia legislator Arthur Campbell.
47. ^ Henry, Martin and others saw the conduct of the State of Franklin settlers, who urged secession from the new union, as endangering much of what had been accomplished on the frontier. They also saw it in economic terms as driving a wedge between the newly-created states and perhaps encouraging encroachment by the always-feared Spanish interests, especially on the Mississippi and in the western territories. As large large spectulators, this fear was probably uppermost in the minds of many Virginia gentry.[14]
49. ^ "His wife and Family are my neighbours at Leatherwood & I can forward any letter to him," former Governor Henry wrote to United States Senator from Virginia William Grayson in 1789.[15]

Male Rev William Martin Click to view Rev William Martin in the family tree View timeline for this person's branch of the family tree

William was born about 1742.  William's father was Col Joseph (Immigrant) Martin  and his mother was Susannah (Giles Childs?) Chiles.  His paternal grandparents are William Martin and Ann Cade ; his maternal grandfather is John Henry Chiles (Giles) and his maternal grandmother was Eleanor Webber.

 He had four brothers and nine sisters,

Brice, George, Joseph Longknife, John Jack, Susannah Patience, Mary, Olive, 


Martha Martin ( l ) ,b. 1710 (Nancy Benge’s grandmother)


 Sarah, Nancy, Martin, unk and Martin.

He had a half-brother and a half-sister, named John and Ann.  He died in 1808 in Stokes Co, N.C..





Joseph Martin, Revolutionary War hero and Indian agent on the Virginia-Tennessee frontier, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, in 1740. As early as 1763 he attempted to settle in Powell's Valley at a place known as Martin's Station. He was a resident there by 1769 and lived in the western frontier from 1777 to 1800, but, according to the Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, he never brought his Virginia family to his frontier home. His reluctance is perhaps explained by the fact that Martin took a Cherokee wife, Elizabeth "Betsy" Ward, daughter of the famous Cherokee Beloved Woman Nancy Ward and South Carolina trader Bryant Ward. Martin and Betsy Ward had children, but there is no known record of how many.

A member of the
North Carolina constitutional convention of 1777, Martin served in the North Carolina House of Commons in 1782, then in the North Carolina Senate in 1783, 1786, 1787, and 1789, representing Sullivan County. But his true significance in the early settlement era is as a military leader. He was a lieutenant in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774 and captain of Virginia militia in 1775. He commanded troops at the Treaty of Long Island in 1777 and served with distinction in various conflicts between the colonists and Cherokees along the western frontier from 1777 to 1780.

Due to his own family connections with the Cherokees, Martin was often involved in treaty negotiations. In 1777 Governor Patrick Henry appointed him as an Indian agent; six years later he was one of three
Virginia commissioners empowered to negotiate with the southern tribes. Considering his responsibilities as Indian agent, his marriage to Betsy Ward was a politically astute decision, as it aligned him with influential Cherokee families. In 1787 the North Carolina assembly chose Martin as brigadier general of the Washington District.

General Martin was an important surveyor, having surveyed the boundary between Virginia and Tennessee in 1795 and 1800-1802. Married twice to white women and the father of at least eighteen children, Martin died at his "Belmont" farm in Henry County, Virginia, in 1808.

Carroll Van West,
Middle Tennessee State University



He came from England on the ship "Brice", married Susannah Chiles in Virginia. They lived in Albemarle County, Virginia and had children, Joseph, George, Brice, William, John "Jack", Martha, Mary, Susannah and possibly Sarah. 

Chiles is from the Walter Chiles of Jamestown lineage. It is said that Joseph was born circa 1704 in England and died January of 1762 in Albemarle Co VA. 

Some have claimed that my ancestral line of Isaac Martin ** of
Virginia is also from this family, but I've yet to find any proof of this. 

Yes, there are more than a few Cherokee connections to the Joseph Martin family. Joseph and Susannah Martin's son, Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin married Elizabeth "Betsy" Ward, daughter of Nancy Ward who was known as "Beloved Woman of the Cherokee". Nancy Ward's Wolf Clan, Chota-Cherokee name was "Nan-ye-he Ghi-ga-u". I've seen a variety of spellings for this name. There are many historical accounts of the life and "career" of Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin. 

"Beloved Woman of the Cherokee" gave Nancy Ward a lifelong honor and a distinction of power and decision making over her clan. Her first husband was Tsu-la KINGFISHER, a Cherokee of the Ani-Kawi or Deer Clan. He was born circa 1730 in Clay Co TN. Nancy's second husband was Irishman Bryan(t) Ward. This was his second marriage also. 

With his first wife,
Bryan produced a son, John, who married Cherokee woman, Catherine McDaniel. Their descendants include many named WARD in the Cherokee Nation.***
More about Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin... 

The city of
Martinsville, VA in Henry County was named for this man. Joseph was a "Long Hunter". His list of military achievements are many. 

He was Captain of the Pittsylvania Militia, elected in 1776; Promoted to the rank of Major in 1779 and then Lieutenant Colonel of the Washington Co Militia in 1781. He was elected Brigadier General of
North Carolina by the Legislature on 15 DEC 1787 and commissioned Brigadier General of the 20th Brigade of Virginia Militia by Governor Henry Lee on 11 DEC 1793. 

Brig. Gen Joseph Martin's associations with the American Indian communities were invaluable in many instances. He was an "Indian" agent for more than a decade. He was a peace keeper between the whites and the Cherokee and Chicasaw. He had no way of knowing the unfortunate outcomes of the treaties he helped negotiate. 

After some thirty years of service, he became a civilian and settled in
Georgia, where he again was involved with Indian affairs and was elected to the GA legislation. 

Martin's service on the commission to settle the boundary between Virginia and Tennessee, from which he retired in 1803, was his last official position. After the conclusion of this service he removed to
Virginia and his residence on on Leatherwood Creek, in Henry County, and devoted himself to his private affairs. His home in Henry Co VA was called "Belmont". His life has been documented in various history articles and books, including the Lyman Draper letters. 

Concerning his marriages and descendants; He is claimed to have married several times. It is undisputed that he married
Elizabeth "Betsy" Ward of the Cherokee Nation East as well as Sarah Lucas, a white woman. We assume that his "marriages" to the other Cherokee women were tribal ceremonies that went unrecorded by the state, nevertheless, valid and producing offspring. 

Although lacking typical documentation, it is claimed that he also had wives, Susanna Graves, Mary Emory (Cherokee) and her sister, Susannah Emory (Cherokee). Descendants of these lines are convincing as to these unions.

[edit]External links

§                     Martin's Station,
§                     A Short History of the Wilderness Road WildernessRoadHistory.pdf

[edit]Further reading

§                     Brig. General Joseph Martin, Carol Gehrs Mitchell, C. G. Mitchell, 1998
§                     General Joseph Martin and the War of the Revolution in the West, Stephen Beauregard Weeks, Contributor Samuel Cole Williams, Published by G.P.O., 1894
§                     Joseph Martin and the Southern Frontier, Denise Pratt Morrison, Womack Press, 1976


  1. I came across this blog post today. BG Joseph Martin is my direct ancestor. I greatly enjoyed reading about him here. Thank you for posting about him.

  2. I think there is one error. You made the statement that youe believed Joseph Martin had a daughter Martha, b. 1710. That would be impossible because Joseph was not born until 1740. Statement is blow
    (Joseph Martin's son by his Cherokee wife was educated in Virginia schools, but afterwards elected to return to the Cherokee Nation.(added note:The other child, a daughter,this compiler believes to be Martha Martin b.1710, ( Joseph's 1st child) who married Thomas Benge, father of King David Benge.)[28]

  3. I think there is one error. You made the statement that youe believed Joseph Martin had a daughter Martha, b. 1710. That would be impossible because Joseph was not born until 1740. Statement is blow
    (Joseph Martin's son by his Cherokee wife was educated in Virginia schools, but afterwards elected to return to the Cherokee Nation.(added note:The other child, a daughter,this compiler believes to be Martha Martin b.1710, ( Joseph's 1st child) who married Thomas Benge, father of King David Benge.)[28]