Monday, February 27, 2012

'I shall now give a short sketch of my life. I was born in Floyd County, Virginia in 1858. I was raised in the beautiful and picturesque All-egheny Mountains. I lived there until I was twenty-five years old, and moved to West Virginia in 1883. In 1884 I moved to Hinton, Summers County.
In 1886 I married Ann Brown.
Owing to my illiteracy, I will not give a history of my early life. I will commence from the time I came to this State, and give only a sketch of my trouble after I was married. I had always been a hard-working, sober, peaceful and quiet man until I came to the realization of the fact that I had married a vile woman. Being the husband of a woman of this character caused me a great deal of trouble. I considered it the downfall of myself and children. The fact that I had married a woman of that char-acter caused me much trouble, and finally I took to drinking, thinking to drown my mortification and shame ; but it did not suc-ceed. It led to much trouble.
My wife was not true to me, and besides, she was very high-tempered and abusive to me. In spite of all I could do she became worse to me and harder to please. Finally, she got to dividing her attentions between other men and myself. In the fall some men came to my house on account of her, and abused me, and tried to get me to do or to say something to give them a chance to shoot me. She had frequently taken rides with those men, and afterwards they said she was the cause of it, and they had nothing against me.
After this I saw it was danger-ous to live with her, and we parted, she going to Fayette County at my expense. After she had been there two or three months she wrote me to bring or send her some money, and I sent her money two or three different times, and also went to see her. She soon got tired 'of that place, and wrote to me to send her some money so she could come back to Hinton.

She said she could not,would not live without me any longer, and if I did not send her money, she would come if she had to walk.

I sent her money, and she came back and lived with me two or three weeks, and left. Her excuse for it was that she would not live with my peo-ple, or where they lived.
She then came across the river opposite Hinton, in Raleigh County, and rented one room in a house that Bud Galloway lived in. After she had rented this room she wrote to me to come and bring her things. After I had received her let-ter I went to see her. I asked her what she was going to do, and how she was going to get along. She said she did not know, un-less I helped her, or would come and live with her.

I told her I thought she was giving me poor encouragement to do anything, but that she knew I would do anything I possibly could for her, and always had, if she would only do right. The way she talked, I thought she was about whipped out running around, and the promises she made me led me to believe that she was going to do better. After we had concluded to live together everything moved along smoothly until two or three days previous to that unfortu-nate trouble.

A man came to the door and knocked one night two or three days before the trouble. When he knocked I was sitting and she was standing before the fire. When he knocked she darted to the door and opened it a very little and looked out. The man at the door gave it a violent shove; it staggered my wife back, but she held to it. When he had thus pushed the door open, he asked her where her eldest boy was; she told him he was at the watch-house, and he walked away. The boy he had inquired for had just set him across the river. I knew there was something wrong by his actions.
The only thing I said was, 'Who is that?' After that there was a considerable change in her treatment to me. The next day she took my revolver and hid it. When I missed it, I asked for it, and her answer was, 'You have got to quit carrying revolvers,' and she would not give it to me. "She had never done anything of this kind before. I had car-ried a revolver almost constantly since we had the trouble in the spring.

The day my wife was killed I went up on the mountain to work, and, as well as I remember, I started home about three o'clock. I came by my sister's, and she told me she had heard that there was some fellows coming to my house to run me off. At the time she was telling me I thought very little of it, and only said, 'Let them come.'

I went on down to Hinton and got to drink-ing a little. I commenced to think of those things my sister had told me, and I thought I might meet with some danger at any time. I went to Mr. Burke Prince's store and bought me a re-volver. I thought if any one came to my house I would not run, for I had done nothing to run for.
I knew-there was a change in my wife, and if any trouble come up she would be the cause of it, and for this reason she had been too intimate with other men. When I went home I had no idea of shooting her, although I was greatly aggravated over the trouble she had caused me after the promise she had made.
While in Hinton I bought some goods and a pint of whiskey. It was about sundown when I reached home, and I was about half drunk. I also bought a pair of shoes for myself.
After the family had ate their supper my wife came into the room and began to grumble about me not getting her a pair of shoes. I told her that I did not know that she wanted a pair, but if I had known it I would have gotten them for her.
As soon as supper was over her oldest boy walked off. 1 did not say anything in regard to what I had heard about the parties com-ing there to run me off, but I walked out of the house to look after the boy. I stood in the yard a few minutes, but did not see any one, but I heard talking down at the ferry.
I went back into the house after drinking at least one half pint of whiskey. I sat down, and she commenced to quarrel about the shoes.
I sat there and listened at her and also listened for some one to slip in and commence shooting at me at any minute.
I thought she had given my revolver to some one to shoot me with. I did not say much to her, anyway. I was standing before the fire and so was she when she said, 'If you can't get what I want, there is a man that can, and he shall do it, too.'
When she said this I thought of my condition. I had broken myself up trying to please her, and all the time I was expecting to be shot at any minute on account of her. I don't know what kind of a condition I did get into.

I flew into a mad fit, and, taking my revolver from my pocket, I fired at her. I was standing in about six feet of her when I shot. When I shot she went towards the room Mr. Halloway stayed in, and I went out of the back door.

It was all done in a flash. I did not know whether the shot struck her or not or how bad she was hurt, or anything about it, until the next day. I came back to the house in the course of the night, and when I stepped in the door I realized I did not want to see my wife, and I walked off about fifty yards from the house and stopped.
I heard at least a half a dozen men talking just a few steps from the house, and I was afraid to go back to the house any more. "The next morning about nine o'clock I went to my sister's, and she met me in the yard and told me that there had been some men there looking for me, and they had said I had killed my wife and left.
I was greatly surprised to hear that she was dead.

When she told me of it, if I had had a million dollars I would have given it if I could have-recalled that fatal shot.
I knew it would not do for me to stay there. I left the country. I was in Virginia and Tennessee until arrested.
In conclusion, I want to say that I hope my sad fate will be a warning to all that wish to live a happy life, to beware of bad women and whiskey.

I want to thank the jailer, Mr. Hawley, and the guards, Frank Godby and Wm. E. George, for the kindness they have shown me while in jail.
Martin was hung October 3, 1890 before five thousand people.

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