Fayetteville Observer, (Fayetteville, NC) Tuesday, November 18, 1834

Myrtle Bridges   November 16, 2009

Died at his seat, in the County of Stokes, on Thursday, 30th ultimo, Colonel James Martin, in the 94th year of his age.

The deceased was a native of the County of Hunterdon, in the State of New Jersey, but removed to the County of Rockingham, 
in the neighborhood of his late residence, shortly after his arrival at manhood. A few years after he settled in that County, 
then composing a part of Guilford--the war of the Revolution broke out in which he bore a conspicuous part. He was Colonel 
Commandant of the Militia of the County during the whole struggle, and as such was called on to perform many tours of duty, 
which he did with zeal, activity and devotion to the cause. In the celebrated retreat of Greene's army through North Carolina, 
his knowledge of the Country as well as general intelligence was of peculiar service to the commanding officer. On one occasion, 
in particular, he was thought to have been instrumental in saving Col. O.H. Williams' command (the cavalry) from surprise and 
defeat. This is the incident mentioned in Lee's Memoirs, as occurring at Bruce's Cross Roads. There are some minute circumstances 
connected with this affair, which are not recorded in this very interesting work. For Instance, it is not mentioned that the 
morning was rainy, and that the ammunition of the troops had become damp-that when the countrymen came into the camp in full 
speed to give the alarm of Tarleton's approach, the horses were unsaddled, and the whole corps confused with the necessary 
bustle of preparing breakfast. Neither is it mentioned that Lee himself was so perfectly incredulous of the information, that 
he sneered at it and insulted the messenger, whose name was Isaac Wright, well known and respected in the county of Guilford: 
further, it is not stated that Col. Martin had an angry quarrel with Col. Lee for his supereilious conduct towards Wright, and 
that it was owing in a great measure to his (Col. M.'s) earnest assurances and expostulations, that Col. Williams took the 
prudential step of getting under arms and sending the confident Col. Lee to reconnoiter.-But we have the concurring statements 
of Isaac Wright, Col. James Hunter, and the deceased to the accuracy of these details. The critical escape of the advanced guard-the great peril of the whole corps, 
and the other main incidents of the affair, are too well known to be repeated in a notice like this.

Col. Martin was at the Battle of Guilford, and his conduct was well known and universally acknowledged to have formed a brilliant 
contrast with that of his men, who with the exception of one small Captain's Company, deserted him in the onset of the battle. 
Having formed a rallying point at the Court House with his Major, the late Col. James Hunter, these two more than once turned 
back large parties of their flying countrymen, and reassured the faltering hopes of those points that were hardest pressed by 
the enemy.

Col. Martin was next in command to General Rutherford in the extremely laborious expedition against the Cherokees, in the year 1776, 
which is often mentioned in the pension memorials from North Carolina, and although the occasion afforded little opportunity to 
acquire renown, it made nevertheless a severe trial of the patience as well as the physical powers of those engaged.

He was several times employed during this eventful was in breaking up and intimidating those most troublesome foes, the Tories. For 
this duty he was admirably qualified; his valor, zealous and energetic habits, his knowledge of the country and the people, and their 
confidence in the honesty and magnanimity of his character, made his exertions successful without the painful necessity of shedding 
blood. He went on one or two more unimportant expeditions against the more distant Scotch Tories on the Cape Fear and Deep Rivers, 
and was engaged in perhaps one or two small skirmishes:--But the occasion does not demand of us to go into a full history of the 
military life of Col. Martin.

He was several times a member of the General Assembly-Once, perhaps a member of the Electoral College of the State, and was in the 
commission that located the present seat of Government. As a small matter of interest to the State of North Carolina, it may not be 
amiss to mention, that he first proposed the name of "Raleigh" as suitable for our Capitol City. He bore several other minor civil 
offices in the course of his life, all of which, he discharged with faithfulness and ability.

His faculties lasted most astonishingly.  We took occasion to remark some two years since, on the fact of his having drawn up his 
memorial for a pension with his own hand, and having rode 18 miles to the Court House; since then there was considerable decline, 
but not so much but that you would say, here is the wreck of a great mind and a powerful system.

In private life, Col. Martin discharged his duties most faithfully and was rewarded with the admiration of his acquaintances-the 
warmest friendship of his neighbors and deep devoted affection of his numerous relations. Brave-generous-hospitable; single of 
purpose-unostentatious in manner, candid and true in all he did or said-he well deserved that admiration and affection. We who 
knew him well, with melancholy satisfaction, make in a word, this solemn attestation to his merit. He was a landmark in the chart 
of virtue that could not be removed or shaken.     Salisbury Watchman

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