John S. Martin






Pillar in Chosen Church, Success in Business and Model Home Maker, He Is Sincerely Mourned.


      In the death of John S. Martin, which took place yesterday morning, after a brief illness induced by an angry carbuncle, Chattanooga lost on of its most useful citizens and successful businessmen. The suddenness of his death shocked the community and occasioned widespread regret. Last Friday it was first announced that Mr. Martin was in critical condition. Saturday evening the word was given out that he showed signs of improvement and his friends were led Sunday to believe that he would recover. Sunday night the news was again doubtful and during the forenoon yesterday the word had scattered on the street that he had succumbed brought many a response in keeping with the statement made at the beginning of this sketch.

      Not more than five years after the close of the civil war Mr. Martin, then a young man of unbounded ambition in a business way, came to Chattanooga. He made this city his home since that early date and there was no man more loyal to the city's highest interest than he. In those early days he made investments in real estate which at that time represented but moderate outlay and gave as moderate promise of later profits. Incidents are told of predictions made by him in those times of what Chattanooga would be some day, and he held on to his property until his predictions had made good. He was first engaged in the wholesale business and it has not been so long since he retired to any extent from activity in mercantile lines.

      He was born in Georgia sixty-nine years ago. He enlisted when a mere lad in the confederate army. In fact, it is a part of his record that it required the appeals of his mother, who had unbounded faith in him and the righteousness of the confederate cause, to convince the requiting officer that he was strong enough to carry a musket. He served in the battles around Chattanooga and was twice wounded. He was mustered out as a first lieutenant. A trouble he had for years with one of his eyes was due to injury received in the confederate service. He came to Chattanooga as a young man, married here and raised a family, every member of whom is among the most highly respected of the local citizenship.

      Possibly in no line of endeavor will the efforts and influence of the deceased be missed so much as in church circles. He was a power in Centenary church, of which he has been a member since his conversion in a Sam Jones meeting in this city long years ago. The circumstances of his conversion would read like a romance - when he became offended at some of that famous revivalist's strictures upon conduct in life then regarded by many as respectable and highly proper, and seeking the preacher in his hotel room proceeded to have it out with him; the record being that he left with a promise that he would attend one of the Jones services. He went and the result was that he joined the church and was a church member from that day. He has served for years as chairman of the official board of the Centenary church and has been a conservative force that to an extent checked the radical tendencies of some of his associates. He was a liberal contributor to church finances, never asking any man to give while his own purse was closed. He was chairman of the building committee having in hand the erection of a fine new building at the corner of McCallie and Lindsay. In fact, he has been the chief moving spirit for the new church and doubtless his greatest disappointment was when he found that his death would find that work uncompleted. He has been Sunday school superintendent, worker in the Ramsey class, builder of missions and giver of thousands to current needs of his congregation. With all these qualities known to the public, he was at the same time a model home maker and his was a most devoted family.

      Funeral services have been announced for this afternoon from the residence at 3 o'clock, conducted by his pastor, the Rev. W. E. Thompson. To these services friends of the family are invited. Interment in Forest Hills will be private. The pallbearers will be Lavens M. Thomas, J. I. Carter, R. B. Davenport, John H. McReynolds, James T. Thompson, J. P. Smartt, T. O. Trotter and W. F. Hutcheson.

      Mr. Martin is survived by his wife, who was Miss Kirkpatrick; one son, John S. Jr., and four daughters - Mrs. Kirkland, of Atlanta; Mrs. Hamrick, of South Carolina, and Misses Katherine and Rose, of this city.

The Daily Times, Chattanooga, TN May 7, 1912

Submitted by Gary P. Martin