Guy Thomas Martin
1898 - 1969

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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, white. 

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 step.

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 approx. 1939.

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 orphanage.

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 visit.



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:

James Thomas - 17 June 1922 - 12 Sept. 2010

Glenda Gertrude - 20 January 1924 - 27 Oct. 2009

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

William Charles - 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