Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
THOMAS C. MARTIN, a prominent
merchant of Washtucna, Washington, was born in Pittsfield, Illinois, April
30, 1873, the son of Oliver and Elizabeth (Stonbinger) Martin, natives
of Illinois. In 1852, the father crossed the plains to California,
and mined three years, then came to Portland. He served seven months
in a volunteer company during the Indian war of about that time, and in
the spring of 1856 he, with his brother T. W. Martin, whom he always had
for a companion, crossed the Snake river to the Palouse, where their supply
of provisions became exhausted and they were obliged to subsist nine days
on nothing but horse flesh. Later Mr. Martin went to Texas, and from
there to Illinois, Pike county, enlisted in the Civil war and served in
the Ninety-ninth Volunteer Infantry, Company A, for four years. This
service undermined his health so that he died in 1875. His wife died
ten days previously. They were parents of eight children, George,
Effie, Mike, Henry, Mary, Charles, T. C., and Oliver.
Our subject, who it will be noted, was two
years of age at the time of his parents' death, was reared by his uncle,
T. W. Martin, his father's partner. The boy attended school in Illinois
and at the age of ten he came with his uncle to Dayton, Washington, remained
there six months, then came to Adams county where they were among the first
settlers. The uncle filed on a homestead and a timber culture near
Ritzville, where he still lives, renting his land to others. Thomas
C. went to school in the country until 1892 when he entered Whitman college,
Walla Walla, and at the age of twenty-one established the first store in
Washtucna. The business was a small one at first but rapidly grew
and prospered until 1901, when Mr. Martin sold out. He took a trip
to California, and upon his return he purchased two sections of land which
he now owns.
In 1896 occurred the marriage of Thomas
C. Martin to Claudia V. Cooper, daughter of John and Ella S. (Hunsaker)
Cooper, the former a native of England and the latter of Missouri.
John Cooper came to California from the land of his nativity in 1855, about
which time Ella S. Hunsaker also arrived in that state, she having crossed
the plains with her parents. They came to Washington in 1881, since
which time Mr. Cooper has been engaged with the O. R. & N., and the
W. & C. railroads most of his time as a telegraph operator. He
is now living at Kahlotus, Franklin county. Mr. and Mrs. Cooper are
the parents of seven children.
Politically, our subject is a Democrat, and
for four years he held the position of postmaster at Washtucna.