Luke Martin

(ca 1770/1775 - ca 1845 KY)

Luke Martin was probably the ancestor of all Martins in modern-day Powell and southern Montgomery. Based on census records, his birth would have been between 1770 and 1775. We do not know for sure where he was born. As of right now, there are only two primary sources of information in Montgomery concerning Luke Martin, and they are census and tax records. He first appeared in the 1823 tax list. He continued thru most of the later tax lists for Montgomery, all the way thru 1844. Thus, I suspect he died around this time period. He would have been around 69-75 years old. He was listed in the 1830 and 1840 census records as well. (Note:  Some of these records can be found thru the links at the bottom of this page.)  As far as I can tell, he did not appear in any 1810 or 1820 census. This can only be due to one of three causes. First, he was simply missed. Second, he may have been recorded using a different name (switching between first and middle names was not uncommon). Third, he lived in an area where the census records have been destroyed. I suspect the third reason, and here is why. Most of the early Montgomery settlers came from Virginia, North Carolina, or Tennessee. Virginia and North Carolina have the 1810 and 1820 census records; however, Tennessee (especially eastern Tennessee) is missing significant portions of these records. All of the Martins who survived thru the 1850 census generallly show born in VA, TN, or NC (these sometimes change, but TN seems to be the most common place). Now, quite a few of the early settlers in southern Montgomery are known to have come from the northeastern Tennessee counties. Quite a few settled in the same local areas where the Martins also settled. These families quite often intermarried. One county's name that comes up frequently for these early settlers is Greene County, Tennessee. Interestingly, there are several instances where a Luke Martin appeared in early Greene County official records. Luke Martin first appeared in the tax lists for the 1798 Capt James Guthrie's district of Greene County. He next appeared in the 1809 Capt Joseph Kirk's district tax lists, same county. (Note: Now, Luke Martin may have appeared in many more records; however, I have yet to see these records. I assume most are unavailable, lost, or destroyed.) He last appeared as a bondsman for a Greene County marriage in 1814. It seems plausible that the Luke Martin of Greene County, TN was the same Luke Martin of Montgomery County, KY. Nothing so far contradicts this theory. Unfortunately, as I said before, southeastern Tennessee records for this time period are quite limited. Very few of the surviving records can be found on the internet. I suspect one will have to physically go to this area to conduct research. The results may not be worth the trip. If any one has access to Greene County records, please let me know.

As I stated before, Luke Martin first appeared in the 1823 tax list for Montgomery County. It is impossible to tell where exactly he lived (these early tax lists were recorded in alphabetical order). However, by 1830, he appeared to live on either the Red River or one of its minor tributaries (this was determined by comparing 1830 census and tax records). By 1833, he owned 100 acres on Hughs (or Hughes) Creek. Later tax records showed that he owned 100 acres on either Red River or Morris Creek (different names on different tax lists). I suspect he did not move; rather, these three names pertain to the same location. Morris Creek is a tributary of Red River. I also suspect that Hughes Creek was either an early name for a minor branch of Morris Creek or was the early name for Morris Creek itself. Regardless, no creek by that name exists today.

If my theory is correct, Luke had at least 5 children: Elijah, John L. Martin, William Martin, Littleton Martin, and Benjamin J. Martin.

Before you continue browsing thru the rest of the files, I have some information that may eventually allow us to figure out where he and his family came from. Some Martin researchers believe that Luke is one of the children of John William and Martha Metcalfe Martin of Halifax, Virginia. They had several children, but for right now, I'll just mention two: Warner and Luke Martin. Warner Martin moved to Blount County, TN that, along with Greene County, are in the east-central and northeastern section of Tennessee. When John Martin's Will was probated in 1827, Halifax, Virginia, he mentioned several of his children; among them, Warner and Luke. Interestingly, Luke received half of the estate. Warner and Luke Martin showed in the early records of Blount County, TN. One can assume at this time, lacking further research, that this is the same Martins.  It appears Warner was a well known early settler and his house, though dilipitated, still stands today.  A single Luke Martin was listed as a brother to Warner.  A Luke Martin does appear in the 1801 Blount, Tennessee tax records.  (Note: What is odd though is the fact that Warner was even mentioned in the Will. Official records show that he died in Blount Co, TN in 1808.)  There is a link at the end of this page that goes into this Halifax Martin family in a little more detail and also contains a transcribed record of the John Martin probated Will.

So, if all this is true, then the following information has to "pan out," or else my theory is threatened.

  1. Luke must be in Tennessee at least thru 1812 (last known son, Benjamin, was probably born Aug 1811 in TN).
  2. Luke can't show in Tennessee after 1823; however, it would help if he was still in eastern TN until after 1820 (since he doesn't appear in any 1820 census).
  3. Luke's wife's name must be Mary or Polly.
  4. The Halifax Martins and the Greene/Blount Martins cannot be in both locations at the same time.
  5. Luke Martin can't be in both Blount and Greene Counties at the same time.
  6. DNAs must match between the male descendants of John L., Littleton, Benjamin J., William, Elijah; the male descendants of the Martins who stayed behind in Halifax, VA; and, the Martins who settled in Warren County, KY.

Now, not all of these 6 points (and there may be more I haven't thought of yet) need to be true. Some portions of the theory could still be true. For example, we may find that we are not related to John L. Martin; however, all other DNA tests could line up. It will be interesting to see what develops. We just need more DNA tests.

As you could tell from the intro page, my DNA matched with someone who claimed to descend from the Halifax Martins.  Here is the best part.  I found the match before I discovered this match was to a line from Halifax Co, VA.  So, that is a great independant confirmation.  In other words, I suspected the link to the Halifax Co, VA Martins.  THEN, I found someone, totally out of the blue, whom I matched with DNA...and that person claims descendancy from the Halifax Martins as well.  I consider this to be very strong unbiased evidence.


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