Lee County Biography


O. H. Martin is individual proprietor of a dry-goods store in Dixon and is treasurer of a syndicate owning twenty-six stores in the middle west. The story of his life is that of orderly progression under the steady hand of one who is a consistent master of himself and whose qualities and characteristics are well balanced. His strong character inspires confidence in others and his mature judgment makes correct estimate of his own capacities and powers and of the people and circumstances that make up his life's contacts and experiences. He has thus become a leading merchant of Dixon while his ramifying trade interests, reaching out over the country now cover a wide territory.

Mr. Martin was born in Lee county, February 23, 1866, and is a son of Oliver H. and Catherine (Whipple) Martin, the former a native of New Hampshire and the latter of Massachusetts. The paternal grandfather was one of the pioneer settlers of Lee county, taking up his abode here in 1833--a year after the Black Hawk war had settled the question of Indian supremacy in Illinois. The few homes in Lee county were then largely log cabins. Much of the prairie was still unclaimed and uncultivated and it seemed that the work of development and progress had scarcely been begun. Oliver H. Martin, who was a lad at the time of the arrival in Illinois was reared upon the frontier with the usual experiences incident to pioneer life. He became a school teacher and afterward went to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where in 1867 he took up the study of medicine. Having qualified for the profession he engaged in practice successfully for many years but is now living retired at Kewaunee, Wisconsin. He has long survived his wife, who died in 1886.

O. H. Martin, whose name introduces this review, acquired his early education in the public schools and with experience as his teacher learned many valuable lessons. In early manhood he became connected with mercantile interests at Merrill, Wisconsin, and afterward engaged in the same line of business at Hurley, that state, working for various firms.

Subsequently he was at Rockford, Illinois, and in 1893 he opened a dry goods store at Sycamore, Illinois. From that point his career has been a successful one and branching out he is now identified with a syndicate that controls twenty-six stores. Of this syndicate W.M. McAllister is the president with Mr. Martin as treasurer. These stores all buy together, enabling them to make advantageous purchases and profitable sales and yet keep to reasonable prices. Mr. Martin is interested in five of the stores and thus his business affairs have become extensive and important. In 1905 he established a dry-goods store in Dixon, of which he is sole proprietor, handling dry goods and ready-to-wear garments. His life has been one of intense activity in which has been accorded due recognition of labor and today he is numbered among the substantial citizens of the county. His interests are thoroughly identified with those of Dixon and at all times he is ready to lend his aid and cooperation to any movement calculated to benefit this section of the country or advance its wonderful development.

In 1890 Mr. Martin was united in marriage to Miss Harriet E. Jones, of Warsaw, Wisconsin, and they have one daughter, Grace Agnes, at home. Mrs. Martin is a member of the Presbyterian church and Mr. Martin belongs to several fraternal organizations, including the Masons, Elks and Knights of Pythias. In the first named he has attained the Knight Templar degree in the York Rite and has also become a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. In politics he is an independent republican, usually indorsing the principles of the party, yet not feeling himself bound by party ties. He is a man of well balanced mind, even temper and his enterprising spirit is well balanced by conservative habits. These qualities are such as lead to great accomplishments. He has never feared to venture where favoring opportunity is presented and his judgment and even paced energy generally carry him forward to the goal of success.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

Back Home