John E. Martin has spent his entire life in Salem, Illinois, having been
born here December 24, 1857, the son of Gen. James S. Martin. His mother was
known in her maidenhood as Jane Elston, of English ancestry. The parents of
the subject were married in Salem. To them were born seven children, three
of whom are living, namely: John E., our subject; Luther, living in Salem;
and Mrs. Grace M. Webster, also of Salem. They all received the most careful
training possible by their parents and were given good common school
educations. The subject's father, whose life history is given in detail on
another page of this work, passed away in 1907, after a long and busy
career, and the mother of the subject, who was a woman of beautiful
attributes, was called home in 1889.
John E. Martin, our subject, spent his boyhood in Salem, where he attended the common schools, making a splendid record in the same. He later attended the Claverack (New York) Military School, and a private school at Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, which was later moved to Media, that state. He also went to school at Boonville, Missouri, to the Kemper Family school. In both of the latter he made rapid progress and came out well fitted for life's duties. After leaving school Mr. Martin launched in the dry goods business in Salem in which he continued with marked success attending his efforts for a number of years, finally moving his store to Sandoval, Illinois, where he also remained for several years, building up an excellent trade by reason of his minute knowledge of this line of business and his courteous treatment of customers, always giving them value received. In 1888 our subject assisted his father, who was State Chairman of the Republican State Committee, in the clerical work, and after the campaign he accepted a position with J. B. Farwell Company at Chicago, as salesman, and he remained with this firm for five or six years, giving entire satisfaction in his work. He came back to Salem about 1890 for the purpose of accepting a position with the Salem National Bank which he has been connected with since that time, giving the managers of this institution entire satisfaction and handling his position in such a way as to increase the prestige of the bank and reflect much credit upon his innate ability. He has prospered by reason of his executive ability and modern business methods until he has accumulated considerable property, owning at this time valuable farming lands. He is also a stockholder in the Salem National Bank.
Mr. Martin's domestic life dates from June 18, 1894, when he was united in marriage with Clara Merritt, the accomplished daughter of Hon. T. E. Merritt, an old and respected family of Salem. This union has been blessed by the birth of five children, two of whom are living and three deceased. Their names are: The first child died in infancy, unnamed; James Stewart and Margaret Merritt, twins, are both deceased; Merritt Elston and Alice Jane are living, both bright and interesting children.
Mr. Martin takes a great interest in church work, being a member of the Episcopal church, to which his wife also belongs. He has been interested in helping build the new church on West Union street, which is one of the most attractive and substantial little churches in Salem. In politics Mr. Martin is a loyal Republican, always ready to lend a helping hand to promote the interests of his community whether along political, educational, moral or religious lines. The home of the subject is nicely furnished, and presided over with rare grace and dignity by Mrs. Martin, who is often hostess to numerous friends of this popular family. Mr. and Mrs. Martin are pleasant people to meet, always courteous and kind.
Extracted 10 Jul 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 262-263.