Guy Martin was born 3 January 1898
in Courtois, Washington County, Missouri & was the son of Margie
Frances Dicus & James Marion Martin.
Guy was a member of the Army of the United States, WWI, from
July 25, 1917 to March 3, 1919. Declaration of Applicant:
Given at: Joplin, Mo. 23 July 1917. Signed: Guy T. Martin - Recruiting
Officer: Capt. ?Goust? , Artillery Corp. Enlistment Paper: Guy
T. Martin - 25 July 1917 - Leadwood, Mo.- by Capt. F.N. ?Chilton?- Infantry,
Places he served during his tour of duty:
Jefferson Barracks - St. Louis, Mo. -
Inf. unasgd. - July 25, 1917 - about 2 weeks
Ft. B. Harrison, Ind. - Co. A, 67th Inf. - about 8 months
Camp Gordan, Ga.
- Co. A, 67th Inf.
Camp Sheridan, Ala. - M.G. Co. 67th Inf.
Camp Pike, Ark. - 16th Co. 4 - ?Rcc.
Bn.? - 162 ?D.B. - for discharge
Service was terminated by Honorable Discharge.
Last grade, rank or rating - Corporal. Physical Description:
Blue eyes, light brown hair, ruddy complexion, 5 feet 9 inches in height.
Indelible or permanent marks and physical defects: S 2/8 L Chest;
S 1/4 R Knee; S 1/4 L Back; size of uniform shoe 81/2D;
Vaccinated: August 8, 1917, Typhoid immunization completed August 15.
Character given on discharge certificate: Excellent.
He married Berdie Henderson 24 July
1921 & they eventually became the parents of 11 children.
I never knew my grandfather. I only met him briefly one time
when I was maybe 14 years old. And as far as I know there are no adult pictures of him in
existence. I've done a lot of searching & so far haven't been able to find
anyone who has a picture of him as an adult. I even contacted the Personell Records
Center in St. Louis to see if the Army might have a picture but they could not find one.
They recommended that I contact the National Archives so that will be my next
These are the things I was told about Guy:
I was told that Guy used to carry a billy club with him all the time
& used to say something to the affect of, "Anybody gives me any trouble I'll
coldcock the son of a bitch." He was a heavy drinker & always getting into
fights. He often made his own "home brew" which he referred to as
"panther piss". And sometimes when he was really bad drunk he swore he
could see the devil standing over in the corner of the room. He was also a heavy
smoker & always rolled his own cigarettes. He would hold the
cigarette paper in his right hand & fill it with Bull Durham tobacco from a
pouch in his left hand. Then roll the cigarette with only his right
hand, lick the paper to hold it shut, pop it in his mouth & light it. He liked having his friends over to
play poker & when there was a game going on none of his children were allowed in the
room. Guy was very good at playing the harmonica.
Grandma told me one time that shortly after her & Guy were
married he came home all cut up & bleeding from being in a fight.
One time back in the 60's or early 70's mom & I were on
our way back from somewhere & stopped off at an auction house near
Farmington area. There we met a man (think his name was Cicero Cauley or
Crawley) who had got in a fight with Guy many years before. He pulled up
his shirt & showed me a large scar that grandpa gave him when they were in
knife fight & chuckled about it. I wish I would have written down what all
he told me about grandpa as I can't remember it now.
My mother told me that back in the 1930's in St.
Francois County, Missouri, Guy Martin was strongly suspected of killing
a man that he worked with on a logging crew. My
uncle Melvin also told me the story of Guy being suspected of murder.
The way the story goes that mom told was that my grandfather
& this man, Jim Abel, were bitter enemies but happened to get assigned
to work together out in the woods. Two men went into the woods but only
my grandfather came out alive. He claimed that a branch fell on Mr.
Abel & killed him. No one could prove otherwise but everyone just
"knew" that Guy killed the man. My mother (born 1926) was maybe 9 years
old when this incident happened. I looked at the on-line death
certificates & found only one Jim Abell who died in St. Francois County
4 Oct. 1936. His cause of death is given as Haemiplegia (believe it is
supposed to be Hemiplegia) right side with contributory
arteriosclerosis. Death Cert. didn't say anything about an "accident".
I looked up on the internet about haemiplegia/hemiplegia & found that it
is a condition in which one-half of the patient's body is paralyzed.
There are several causes for it one of which is: "traumatic
brain injury also cause hemiplegia, when a sudden physical
assault on the head."
Uncle Bill told me one time
that while living in St.
Louis he & Guy were walking down the sidewalk & encountered a colored man with
whom grandpa promptly picked a fight. Somehow grandpa managed to get a 2x4 & hit that
colored man in the head. I asked this family member (who was a teenager at the time of the
incident) if the blow killed the man & he said he didn't know as he & grandpa took
off running. It's likely that a blow like that could have killed this colored man so it is
possible that grandpa may have killed two people.
When any of the kids would get into a
fight Guy would egg them on & encourage them to fight.
Cousin Tom told me that he was told that some other
man was trying to date grandma before she & Guy were married. Guy
got jealous & attacked the man. Guy came up behind him & reached
around & cut the man from armpit to armpit.
At one time Guy tried to kill grandma (Berdie). They were arguing
while driving & Guy got the car going fast then reached over & opened
the passenger side door & pushed grandma out. She spent several days in
the Bonne Terre Hopital while grandpa was jailed in Farmington. But he
was eventually released because grandma refused to press any charges.
Mom was maybe 13 at the time of this incident which would have made it
Uncle Jim told me about an incident in which a
farmer shot grandpa's dog claiming that the dog killed some of his live
stock. Grandpa said his dog didn't do it as there was no animal hair in
the dog's teeth. Grandpa wanted the farmer to pay him for the dog. The
farmer wouldn't do it so grandpa took Jim with him & they camped out on
a hill overlooking the farm & every day grandpa would shoot & kill one
of the farmers mules until the farmer agreed to pay Guy for the dog.
I believe it was cousin Glenn that told me a
story about Guy that was told to him by his father, Melvin. It was said
that Guy was driving down the road & saw a cow grazing in a field.
Since it was pretty much open range in those days there was no fence &
grandpa drove at high speed through the field & hit that cow with his
car - for fun.
Mom was saying that when she was a child her
family lived in the projects at Farmington. Her parents left for a long
time & the kids had to take care of themselves. there was a barbed wire
fence around the projects & a cow pasture on the other side. She had
been out in the pasture playing then came back through the fence &
accidently stepped on a broken glass lamp globe & severely cut her foot
in the arch. Her brother, Jim, & a friend of theirs who had a little
red wagon put mom on the wagon & took her into Farmington to a doctor.
The doctor fixed her foot & sent her home where she had to stay in bed
with her foot elevated. Jim made a crutch for her to help her walk.
She said apparently the doctor never reported the incident & no one ever
investigated the abandonment / neglect of her parents.
In another incident of abandonment mom said her
parents left for days & there was no food in the house. Jim went
hunting but was unable to find any game until he encountered a skunk
which he shot. He took it home & they cooked it & ate it.
My mother & uncle Jim told me that Guy beat Jim
up & threw him out of the house when Jim was 12 years old & Jim was on
his own ever since.
Mom told me that Guy was drunk a LOT & when he
was really bad drunk he swore he could see the devil standing over in
the corner of the room.
Mom said that the kids would have to go stand in
line to get free government commodities & then Guy would take & sell
them & use the money to buy whiskey & then lay around drunk for days.
Mom told me before she died that one
time Guy was drunk & he made all the kids line up then he would ask each
one of them if they wanted to go to the orphanage or be hit in the head
with a hammer. They all answered that they would rather go to the
Mom told me once that when she was
teenager a woman that she worked for gave her some nice dresses &
clothes. Guy got mad about it & wouldn't let her wear them. He
eventually took the clothes & sold them & used to money to buy liquor.
Mom told me another story one time
about her & a teenage girlfriend of hers were playing out the woods.
Guy came along & laid down in the grass with the girls. Mom got mad &
left because Guy was fawning over her girlfriend. Don't know what
happened after mom left.
Mom left home at approx. 15 years of
age after her & Guy got into a fight. She walked from Farmington to her
uncle John Martin's (Stella & John) house in Bonne Terre. She said she
slept in someone's outhouse overnight along the way.
Mom told me another story one time:
She & 2 her siblings ran away from home because they were so afraid of
their father (Guy) & didn't want to live with his maltreatment of them
anymore. He found them & when bringing them home he stopped off at the
sheriff's office & had the sheriff lecture them on what bad children
they were for running away.
James Ewing Martin told me once that
Guy got in trouble with the law for not making the kids go to school.
Mom told me that uncle Jim knocked Guy
unconscious once with a stick of firewood for beating up on Birdie.
Grandma made Jim leave the house before Guy regained consciousnous for
fear of Guy killing Jim for hitting him.
Melvin told me that Guy was very
mean. He said that sometimes Grandma would take what kids were still
left at home & go to a motel for the weekend to avoid being beaten up by
Grandpa. Grandma left him several times before leaving him permanently.
When the Martin family was living in
Soulard District in St. Louis Guy threw Dorothy out of the house & she
had to sleep several nights in a public restroom because Guy would not
let her back in the house.
Tom Spradling also told me that he only met grandpa one
time. Grandpa came to visit Tom's mother, Glenda, when they all
lived in St. Louis. Tom was little at the time & didn't know who
grandpa was at first. Tom said he had trouble understanding what
grandpa was saying when he talked as he would use terms Tom had never
heard before. "My doggies hurt" which meant his feet hurt.
He also said, "I sure wish I had a cup of joe" meaning he wanted a cup
of coffee. Tom also said that grandpa had a bunny rabbit with him
that he had caught in the park & he gave the bunny to Tom during this
Guy Martin died of a heart attack at City Hospital in St. Louis 5
September 1969 at the age of 71. He is buried in the New Masonic Cemetery, Potosi,
Washington County, Missouri.
Children of Berdie Henderson & Guy Martin:
- 17 June 1922 - 12 Sept. 2010
Glenda Gertrude - 20 January 1924 - 27
Pearl Maethel - 25 December
1926 - 13 December 2007
Gladys Irene - 17 February 1928
- 5 May 2010
Robert Lee - 16 May 1930
Dorothy Ellen - 14 February 1932
- 3 December 1934 - October 16, 2003
Arthur Eugene - 10 February 1936 - died in infancy of Summer Complaint
Carl Edward - 14 February 1937
Cora Marie - 9 May 1938
Melvin Glenwood - 5 August 1941