Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin

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Joseph Martin, Jr.

Also Known As: ""Longknife"", "Brig General Joseph Martin", "Brig. General"
Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: Charlottesville, Albemarle, Virginia
Death: December 18, 1808 (68)
Martinsville, Henry, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Henry, VA, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Capt Joseph Martin, Sr., of Albemarle and Susannah Martin
Husband of Sarah "Sally" Martin; Elizabeth "Betsy" Hughes and Susannah Martin
Father of John Martin; Martha Cleveland; Susannah Burns; Elizabeth Waller; Mary Polly Hammack and 19 others
Brother of Isaac Martin, Sr.; Martha 1/2 Cherokee Benge; George Martin; Susannah Woody; Brice Martin and 10 others

Occupation: Rev War and Indian Agent, December 11, 1793, Brigadier General, VA militia; 1777, VA Commissioner to the Cherokee; Fur Trader and Planter, Soldier, Army General, Brigadere General Rev. War
Managed by: Private User
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About Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA with the rank of LIEUTENANT COLONEL. DAR Ancestor # A074375



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

some family notes are here:

Joseph Martin was elected Captain of the Transylvania Militia in 1776, bec ame a Major on February 17, 1779, Lieutenant Colonel in March of 178 1. He became a Brigadier General of the North Carolina Militia by legisla tive act on December 15, 1787 and was commissioned a Brigadier Gener al of the 20th Brigade of the Virginia Militia by Governor Henry Lee on De cember 11, 1793. Martinsville, Virginia is named after him. His broth er Brice served as a Major during the Red Stick or Creek war.

1785--Fries' Historical notes:

"The state of Franklin refused to return to North Carolina, and in March e lected members of a legislature, which in turn elected John Sevier as gove rnor, appointed county officers, etc., and appointed William Cocke as dele gate to the Congress of the United States. Attempts were made to secure t he cooperation of the part of Virgina lying west of the mountains, but t he Virginia Assembly pronounced the plan treasonable. Thrice during the ye ar it was reported that the Franklinites were negotiating for the incorpor ation of the Cherokee Indians in the State of Franklin, but not all the ch iefs would agree. In November, 1785, the State of Franklin adopted a Const itution." [pg. 2067]

"May 3. The singstunde was attended by Col. Joseph Martin, who spent the n ight here on his way to Charleston where he and other Commissioners a re to consider the affairs of the Indians. He told us that the Cheroke es on the Tennessee River often speak of the visit of Br. Martin Schneide r, and seem to wish that he would come again and stay with them; but th at this would not be wise just now when there are certain misunderstandin gs between them and the white people. He confirmed the report that some ti me ago the western counties of this State had cut themselves off and assum ed the name of Franklin, had elected their own Governor and other state of ficials, and now had sent a representative to Congress to try to secure re cognition as a separate State. Whether this State will agree to the divisi on or will oppose

it strongly is as yet most uncertain." [pg. 2080]

[] Early Travels in the Tennessee Country 1540-1800, Samuel Cole Williams, Watauga Press, p249: "...he explained to me by Signs in which House of the Town on the other Side which is called Sitiko, Col Martin was to be found. Having got on the other Side, I saw him soon creeping out of an Indian Hothouse, & he came to welcome me very friendly & having read Col Armstrong's Letter he said he would be at my Service in my Concern as much as possibly he could. .. He took me with him to his Lodging in the House of a Trader, Mr Springston, who has married an Indian Woman, but whose Father in Law was not at home during my Stay there.

Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, vol V, 1784-1792, Adelaide L Fries, The North Carolina Historical Commission, p1981: " signs found out from him where Colonel Martin was. The Colonel soon came creeping out of an Indian sweat-house, and welcomed me in very friendly fashion. .. He took me to his lodgings with a trader, Mr Springston, who had married an Indian wife; Colonel Martin had married their daughter.

Occupation 1: Fur Trader and Planter Occupation 2: 1777, VA Commissioner to the Cherokee Occupation 3: December 11, 1793, Brigadier General, VA militia Residence: June 1788, Chote

Brigadier General in the American Revolution


Charlottesville, Albemarle, Virginia, USA  


— Age: 68

Martinsville, Henry, Virginia, USA

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 people is credited with not only averting Indian attacks on the Scotch-Irish American and English American settlers who helped win the battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens, but with also helping to keep the Indians' position neutral and from siding with the British troops during those crucial battles. Historians agree that the settlers' success at these two battles signaled the turning of the tide of the Revolutionary War—in favor of the Americans.

The son of planter Capt. Joseph Martin Sr. and his wife Susannah Chiles,[1] great-granddaughter of Colonel John Page, Joseph Martin Jr. was raised in a Virginia gentry family in Caroline and Albemarle Counties.[1] His father, Joseph Martin Sr., was the son of wealthy British merchant William Martin in Bristol, England,[2] who sent his son to Virginia as supercargo aboard his ship the Brice.[3] Martin Sr. wrote to his English father that he planned to marry the daughter of a common Virginia colonist. Even though she was from the Chiles family and was a descendant of Virginia's Col. John Page, to Martin's wealthy father back in England all American colonists were inferior to the English. William Martin of Bristol was himself Lord Mayor of Bristol[4] and owner of a ship building company, a glass manufacturing plant, importer and exporter with the new world; including tobacco. The father wrote back disinheriting young Joseph Martin Sr., who never returned to England.[

Another brother of Gen. Joseph Martin, William Martin, Sr., was the father of Gen. William "Buck" Martin, Jr., who served in the War of 1812 on Andrew Jackson's staff.

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Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin's Timeline

September 18, 1740
Charlottesville, Albemarle, Virginia
Age 21
South Carolina, USA
March 13, 1763
Age 22
October 13, 1768
Age 28
Age 27
June 11, 1770
Age 29
Henry County, Virginia, United States
Age 29
Pittsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Age 32
Kentucky, USA