The Martin Family at Prairie Belle School


Written by Gail Martin in the fall of 1985 for the Flinthills’ Folk Life Class at Madison High School taught by Anne Wilson.

One hundred years of memories takes us to the beginning, when Prairie Belle School District of Greenwood County, Kansas was formed as District #102 in the fall of 1885. The new district received state funds of six hundred dollars. Then Isaac Cox, L.T. Grooms, and W.A. Barnes were elected to the school board. They spent every penny of the starting fund to acquire the school site, the school house, furniture, supplies and a teacher to be ready for the spring term of 1886.

The school site was acquired from Isaac Cox and consisted of a one-acre plot in the southwest one-fourth of Section 9; Township 23; Range 12 and eighty rods north of the southwest corner on the west line. This site was chosen by a county-appointed committee.

The school board hired Daniel Focht of Madison, Kansas to build a one-room school house for four hundred and fifty dollars. Focht built the house according to the basic plans put out by the state of Kansas. The building with the door, facing the county road on the west, opened onto a landing and a rough flight of steps. A series of three windows were placed on the north and south sides of the school.


Prairie Belle School, # 102, in Kansas. Photo taken in April 1943.

School furniture was ordered from Burlington Furniture Company in Burlington, Kansas. It was shipped by railroad to Madison, where it was picked up and delivered by wagon to the school. C.L. Allen agreed to teach but resigned after two and half months and H.G. Porter finished two more months. Both teachers received thirty dollars a month. Thus the new district struggled through their first year.

C.L. Thompson was hired to teach eight months beginning in the fall of 1986. That year the school board clerk, C.T. Grooms, recorded a school census of nineteen school-age children from five to twenty-one years of age. The students, that first full year of school, were all from farming families in the district.

The 1886 census included John Thomas Martin, twenty years old; John’s brother, eighteen-year-old Frank Marian and their ten-year-old sister, Cora Gazena. The Martin children’s father, Charles Coleman Martin died that fall on August 16th and their mother, Sarah Ann (Ellison) Martin died the following year, December 27, 1887. Both were buried at No 8 Cemetery.

Those three children were the first of the four generation of Martins to attend Prairie Belle. All five of John Thomas Martin’s children, Archie Lloyd, Charles Lorenzo, Robert Cecil, Roy, and Anna Faye attended through the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. John’s sister Cora’s children, Forrest Edgar, William Vernon and Glen Thomas attended around 1909-1913, making up the second generation.

Dorothy Mae, the oldest of ‘Ren’ Martin’s family, started to school in the 1921-1922 school year. Followed by Helen Elizabeth, Vivian Ruth, Zella Irene, Ralph Edward, Clyde Owen, and Howard Raymond, who attended last in 1943.

Lloyd’s three children, Mildred Maxine, Laverna Elnor, and Leonard John were attending during the same time as Ren’s family, completing the third generation.

Prairie Belle School ks

Some of the last students at Prairie Belle School.

Some of the fourth generation attended until the school district closed in 1951 and sent them by to Madison Grade School. They were Dorothy’s two children, Kenneth Orville and Donna Carolyn Stafford and Zella’s four children, Barbara June, Thomas Eugene, Sharon Marie, and Marilyn Grace.

Some of the other farming families attending during those years were the Barne, Groom, Long, Overholt, Wolford, Cox and McClinic families.

(This essay was retrieved with the Wayback Machine from the My History Is America’s History website which no longer exists.)



Some of Our English Roots


Some months back, I took the Ancestry DNA test. As expected, it showed much of my heritage links back to the British Isles. That part matches what I’m finding as I work on my family tree. Below the chart, I list some of the family lines and where they came from in England.

ancestry dna map.png
Our English Ancestors:

  • Bates family came from Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire
  • Bixby ancestor came from Thorpe Morieux, Suffolk
  • Browning family came from Maldon, Essex
  • Collier family came from Southwark, Surrey
  • Goodale ancestor came from Ipswich, Suffolk
  • King, West, and Pease ancestors came from Great Baddow, Essex
  • Long ancestors came from West Riding, Yorkshire
  • Putnam ancestors came from Tring, Hertfordshire
  • Tower family came from Hingham
  • Vining ancestors came from Wincanton

I found one suggestion that our Joy family changed their name from Joyce in the 1500s when they moved from Ireland to England. I’ll have to search further on that.

Karen has found indications that the Martin family may trace back to France. There will be more work on that line. We know the Rosebaugh line is from Germany. Various invasions of England over the centuries might account for the Scandinavian part of the DNA. Vikings, you know.

It’s Grandparents Day


I’d like to feature my father’s parents, my grandparents, Cora Joy and Lorenzo Martin. It’s National Grandparents Day!

Cora Joy and Lorenzo (Ren) Martin on their wedding day February 27, 1915.

Cora Joy and Lorenzo (Ren) Martin on their wedding day.

When Cora Myrle Joy was born on November 18, 1896, in Baldwin City, Kansas, her father, Henry Alfred Joy, was 22 and her mother, Marie Kennedy, was 31. She married Charles Lorenzo “Ren” Martin on February 27, 1915, in Madison, Kansas. They had eight children in 24 years. She died on November 16, 1969 at the age of 72, and was buried at Blakely Cemetery.

When Charles Lorenzo “Ren” Martin was born on May 26, 1891, in Madison, Kansas, his father, John Thomas Martin, was 24 and his mother, Cordelia Jane Stone, was 26. Ren died on March 28, 1968 at the age of 76, and was buried at Blakely Cemetery, Madison, Kansas.

Photos of the Bob Martin Family


We are so lucky to meet some distant cousins on Facebook. They are interested in the family history too and shared some vintage photos.

To get you oriented, here’s how Robert Cecil Martin fits on our family tree:

Robert Cecil Martin on my family tree

Robert Cecil Martin on my family tree

Many thanks to Skyler Martin, Jona Martin, Linda Haney and Sarah Michelle Martin for preserving and sharing these family images:

Sarah Martin in 1913 at Hilltop, south of Madison, Kansas.

Sarah Martin in 1913 at Hilltop, south of Madison, Kansas.

Sarah Anceldell Clark was born on February 7, 1892, in Toronto, Kansas. Her father, Charnel, was 49 and her mother, Malinda Jane Richardson, was 40 (both were born in Indiana). Sarah married Robert Cecil MARTIN on March 8, 1916, in her hometown. They had one child during their marriage, Robert Cecil Martin Jr.

Here's Sarah and Bob Martin celebrating their 50th anniversary in 1966.   (photo from the collection of Linda Martin Haney)

Here’s Sarah and Bob Martin celebrating their 50th anniversary in 1966.
(photo from the collection of Linda Martin Haney)

When Robert Cecil MARTIN was born on September 7, 1893, in Madison, Kansas, his father, John Thomas Martin, was 27 and his mother, Cordelia Jane Stone, was 28.

Bob was 24 years old and living in Greenwood, Kansas, when he registered for the World War I draft.

He, his wife and son lived in Janesville, Kansas.

Robert died at 74 on Jan 24, 1968 in Phoenix, Arizona. Sarah died on August 19, 1974, in Madison, Kansas, at the age of 82, and was buried there.

(Let me know if anything needs correcting or if you have more photos to include)

Throwback Thursday – Martins Gather at the Reading House


Martin reunion in Reading_editedThis was discussed in the Martin Joy Kennedy Stone Family History group on Facebook. If you haven’t joined yet, you are missing some great photos and family memories.

Here are the details on this one:

Virginia Allain – Martin family gathered in Reading, KS. I think Marge just pinched Mom (Gail).

Karen Kolavalli – Dad is grinning from ear to ear, so I think he’s in on it, too! Dorothy must be the photographer–her 1st husband Orville is in the photo, but not her. Well, Howard’s not in the photo either!

Christine Griffith Crawford – Can you list who’s who?

Karen Kolavalli – Front row, l to r: Marge Martin, Gail Martin, Vivian Stafford, Orville Stafford, Zella Baysinger.

Back row, l to r: Ren Martin, Clyde Martin, Cora Martin, Ed Stafford, Tom Baysinger.


Odd Names on the Martin Family Tree


My great-great grandparents, Charles Coleman Martin and Sarah Ann Ellison Martin, selected some unusual names for their children. I’ll research these a bit to see if there is some famous person that inspired the names.

►Milton Martenis MARTIN 1857 – 1879, Google wasn’t much help with this one. It felt I misspelled Milton Martinez and gave me thousands of results for that hispanic name.
►Upha Penina MARTIN 1858 – 1935, called Effie (that’s even on her gravestone). Apparently Penina is a variation on the Greek name Penelope.
►My great grandfather, John Thomas Martin was the middle child. Somehow he ended up with a fairly ordinary name.
►Francis Marion MARTIN 1868 – 1950, This one is likely named after Francis Marion of Revolutionary War fame, otherwise known as the Swamp Fox. The family called him Frank.
►Cora Gozena Martin 1875 – 1968, called Grace. Gozena doesn’t show up in the baby name directories at all. It sounds vaguely Italian though my family is not of Italian origin.

When the census taker came around in 1870, he was given the names Frank (age 1), Effie, John, and Milton, so even at a young age, the family did not use their fancy names for the children. Cora wasn’t born yet. The family lived in Lyon County, Kansas at that time.

Martin Siblings

Martin Siblings

The photo is from our family album. It shows John Thomas and Frank (L to R), Cora and Effie (L to R).

Which Girl Is Cora Joy?


My mother had this photo in her collection and had noted her guess on its reason for being in our family photos. She thought that it included my dad’s mother, Cora Joy.

My mother wrote on the back of this picture that it might be Cora Joy's high school picture (Hamilton High School).

My mother wrote on the back of this picture that it might be Cora Joy’s high school picture (Hamilton High School).

That would mean the photo is of Hamilton High School students in Greenwood County, Kansas. Cora was born in 1896, so this photo would be 1912 or around that time.

The problem is that I don’t know which one of the girls is my grandmother. I do have a portrait of Cora at age 16 and am trying to compare. In that photo, she wore a big bow so my eye immediately went to the girl on the right with the big bow. The hair part doesn’t look right though.

Cora Myrle Joy

Cora Myrle Joy

I’ve left both photos at their full size so you can compare the details.