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Sylvester Kulp Martin - born 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 Amos Wilson & 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, said 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 Veronica Eisenberger.  They 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:

Edward Martin - born June 13, 1913, he 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 Philadelphia.

Dorothy Martin - born March 20, 1915, 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 marriage.

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 Raymond Kuhns.  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 Wallitsch, whom he married on March 11, 1950.  She was born August 21, 1907 in Allentown, the daughter of Charles and Theresia (Deutsch) Wallitsch.  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 County.

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Prepared by Tony Bennyhoff, last updated March 15, 2008.
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