Sylvester Kulp Martin
March 28, 1887 in Haycock Township, Bucks County, a son of Edwin B. & Mary
C. (Kulp) Martin
He was a Blacksmith. By his own account, he started his
apprenticeship at age 15 working under his grandfather Levi O. Kulp
. He worked in 33
different shops from East Mauch Chunk to Philadelphia learning his
trade until he struck out on his own. He built his own blacksmith
shop in Haycock Township in 1914.
He was part of the last generation of old-time blacksmiths. With
cars and tractors taking the place of horses and wagons, fewer young
men found the blacksmith trade to be a viable option. By the
middle of the twentieth century the old timers started retiring, and
there was no one to take their place. Although the age of the
horse had passed, there were still horses that needed shoeing, and the
few blacksmiths that were left were still in demand.
Sylvester kept shoeing horses into the 1960's until he stopped when he
could no longer support the weight of a horse's leg. He turned
down many requests after that, but he continued to work at his anvil
until two weeks before he died.
By the late 1960's his was the last smithy in the area. And as
the last of a dying breed, he became a human interest story. He
was the subject of local newspaper articles, and was mentioned on a
local television news broadcast.
Sylvester died on September 23, 1969 at the Quakertown Community
Hospital. He died of heart failure which was brought on by
pneumonia. He had also been suffering from stomach cancer.
He was buried on September 27th at the Tohickon Union Cemetery near his
parents. The new section of cemetery, where he is buried, is in
East Rockhill Township.
Mary Alice Hoffman
- born June
6, 1892 in Bucksville, Nockamixon Township, Bucks County, a daughter of
Sophia (Koch) Hoffman
She married Sylvester Martin on January 26, 1912.
The marriage was not a happy one with Mary Alice leaving her husband
and children before 1920. My grandmother,
Dorothy (Martin) Heiter
that the only time she remembers seeing her mother was at her
funeral. In 1920 the two children, Ed and Dorothy, were living in
Bedminister Township with Raymond and
were a childless immigrant couple. In 1930 they were living in
Philadelphia with Mr. Eisenberger & his second wife.
After leaving her husband and children, Mary resumes the use of her
maiden name of Hoffman. She moved to
Allentown by 1924. She
folded clothes at the Allen Laundry to support herself. On the
morning of March 6, 1937 she died of pneumonia. She had been
afflicted for three weeks. She was buried on March 9th at St.
Mark's Cemetery in Allentown. She does not have a tombstone.
Children of Sylvester Kulp & Mary
Alice (Hoffman) Martin
- born June 13,
married Barbara C. Angner
He lived in Philadelphia at first, then moved to near Quakertown.
He died November 22, 1968 in the Allentown Hospital of bilateral
bronchopneumonia. He is buried in Northwood Cemetery in
- born March 20,
she married Ralph Woodrow Heiter
She lived most of her adult life in Allentown or the surrounding
area. She died of cardiac arrest on October 27, 2003, and is
buried in Morgenland Union Cemetery in Orefield, Lehigh County.
When Sylvester's father died in 1926, his newspaper obituary listed
Sylvester as living in Allentown. He was still there in 1930 when
he is shown with a wife named Mable A., and two children: Edna M.
aged 2 1/2 & Stephen R. aged 9 months. I don't believe he was
married to this woman, and I doubt if those children were his, as I can
find no further record of them. When Sylvester did remarry, he
listed Mary Alice Hoffman's death date as the end of his previous
Sylvester's second marriage occured on October 9, 1937 in Fullerton,
Whitehall Township, Lehigh County. She was Eva A. Hohley
. She was born on
August 29, 1891 in Fullerton, a daughter of Alfred T. & Rosa A. (Farrell) Hohley
She first got married in 1909 to Joseph
. They had four children, and they lived in
Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina and Delaware. They
divorced on May 17, 1935. Her marriage to
Sylvester was short, as she died on May 14, 1940 in the Quakertown
Community Hospital. She is buried
with her parents in Garden of Peace Cemetery in Fullerton.
Sylvester final wife was Theresa
, whom he married on March 11, 1950. She was born
August 21, 1907 in Allentown, the
daughter of Charles and Theresia
After Sylvester's death, she returned
to Allentown where she died on December 5, 1976. She is buried
alongside her parents in the Northwood Cemetery in Emmaus, Lehigh
Prepared by Tony Bennyhoff, last updated March 15, 2008.