Generation I

Martin Martin was born 1678 on the Isle Of Skye, Scotland and died 20 March 1744 in Henry Co, VA.1,2

"They [the Martins of Skye] are descended from Tuathal an ancient Irish Goedelic chieftain through to the first MacDonalds (Dhomhuill mac Ranald’s children carried the surname ‘mac Dhomhuill’ / MacDonald) and from one of this Dhomhuill’s later descendants, a certain Angus Mhartain progenitor of the Mhartain / Martin family.

The Martins traditionally owed allegiance to ‘The MacDonald’, Lord / Laird of the Isles / Islay and were originally of the MacDonald family. When family names came into use in the 16th to 17th centuries, the name ‘MacGhille Mhartain’ (servant of St. Martin) was chosen to differentiate them from other MacDonald families. This surname has been shortened over the centuries to simply ‘Martin’.

The Martin family wear the MacDonald tartan and badge or, if they are a female Martin, may pass the privilege to their children. Only the female offspring may continue to pass on this privilege to their children even if their last name is not Martin. (This was definitely a matriarchal society).

The following passages are excerpts from the booklet, "The Martins of Skye, a Short Family History", author unknown and printed by Alex. MacLaren & Sons, Glasgow.

The historical progenitor of the Skye Martins was then a soldier and sailor of some capacity and position in the early years of Queen Elizabeth (b.1553-d.1603), known as Aonghas na Gaoithe, or Angus of the Storms. He is said to have had as a wife Biurnag (Bernice) who was a Danish Princess and alternatively, (or as a second spouse), the sister of his MacDonald chief (Donald Gorm Mor MacDhomhuill). He also had a taste for writing poetry and sonnets, which led him into misfortune.

The chief had married a MacLean (Mary MacLean), and this lady persistently solicited Angus to honour her with an ode. Disliking her intensely, he at last complied, with some most abusive lines in Gaelic, long preserved. Such an insult rendered his residence in Skye unhealthy, and though the chief, in view of his relationship and undoubted status and capacity, bore Angus no hostility whatever, he arranged that he should leave Skye while his own wife lived.

Aonghas, therefore sailed for Antrim to assist Sorely Boy (or Somhairle Buide) in the conquest of that province, taking with him a thousand Skyemen. In Ireland, he acted as Lieutenant to this kinsman, who became Earl, and his son Marquis of Antrim.

Angus had seven sons, and some of these may well have continued to serve the Antrim branch of the MacDonald clan. They certainly obtained many grants of land in Ireland. (my note: perhaps this is why it is mistakenly thought that the surname Martin came originally from Ireland).

At last the MacLean lady died, and Angus returned to Skye, stopping at Iona to annex a stone with a sculptured knight on it which still adorns the Martin burying place in Kilmuir, Trotternish. His first act on landing was another ode to the MacLean lady, which he had graved on the stones marking the places where her coffin had rested. It is so abusive as to be unrepeatable, but has been preserved in the Gaelic to this day. Curiously, no one, not even the chief, in any way resented this effusion. Writing of the MacLean lady he says, "We" (that is the MacDonald clan) "never obtained any benefit from this marriage".

Angus named his son ‘Gille Mhartain’ or ‘servant of St. Martin’. His grandson, therefore, became known as ‘Mac Ghille Mhartain’ or ‘son of the servant of St. Martin’. Eventually, such a long title came to be shortened to ‘Martin.

In all the clan battles, feuds and forays of the time, the Martins bore their share, as tacksmen (my note: managers of estates) of the ‘Beallach’, a farm and property between Uig and the Quirang, at the pass or summit of the watershed, as its name implies. And so far as can be gathered, owing to their unbroken holding of this tenancy and the acquirement of additions, and later of Duntulum itself, and failing any evidence to the contrary, always maintaining a constant fealty to their MacDonald chief.

(Referring in the booklet to William Martin, son of Aonghas): Again we find this Martin coming in for none of the rough handling, then so common. This may have been from his undoubted loyalty, or from his powerful position, or for both reasons. There is, however a Skye proverb, ‘Clan Mhartain, siol Shionnach’ - The children of Martin, a tribe of foxes - which credits the family with astuteness in addition.

A younger branch exists in the Martins of Marishader, who broke off from the older stem in days not remote. The Martins of Marishadder remained more constantly at home and in Skye.

The Martin arms are, on the shield, a field sable with three crescents around a chevron, all argent. In the Skye arms, the chevron is either plain or has an openwork lozenge (sable) at the apex. In Ireland the Martin cadets carry on the chevron, a thistle proper to denote their Scottish origin. There are both crest and motto common to the whole family."3

 

He married Sarah Hix 10 February 1698 in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co, VA.4 She was born about 1682 in Williamsburg, James City Co, VA. She was the daughter of John Hixe and Sarah Preston.5

Their children were:6

Ameson Martin (born 6 April 1706 in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co, VA)

Ann Martin (born 9 August 1708 in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co, VA); married Merry Webb

Valentine Martin (born 18 June 1710 in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co, VA; died about 1760 in Cumberland Co, VA); married Jane Bridgewater

Orson Martin (born 1713 in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co, VA)

Martin Martin (born 1715 in New Kent Co, VA)

Henry Martin (born about 1717 in New Kent Co, VA)

Thomas Martin (born 4 June 1720 in New Kent Co, VA)

Lucy Martin (born 20 August 1726 in St. Peter's Parish, New Kent Co, VA; died after October 1793 in Franklin Co, VA); married William Amos

 

1Hammond and Bowman GedCom by Judy Hammond Bowman Rhodes <jbowrho@shout.net>

2Stevens and Allied Families GedCom by Pat M. Stevens IV <Pat@PatMStevens.com>

3Descendants of Aonghas Mhartain from Stenscholl, Skye by Patricia Lelievre - pcw368@yahoo.ca; http://www.islandregister.com/martin1.html

4Hammond and Bowman GedCom by Judy Hammond Bowman Rhodes <jbowrho@shout.net>

5Ibid.

6Ibid.

 

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