Sketch Of The Life Of J.C. Martin
Some men have achieved success and greatness
in one line. They have put their best into one line and become successful.
Others have been successful along several and at the same time they have been
successful as leaders in religious thought and activities. Many have become
prominent as preachers of the gospel because they did nothing else but preach. A
few others have been successful as preachers and also business men. Brother
Martin was a success as a business man and was eminently successful as a leader
in church activities.
Martin was born on October 20, 1849, near McMinnville, Tenn. As a young man, be
was clean in life and formed such habits as helped to make him a man among men.
He attended the public schools of that county and received such an education as
was accessible to young men in the county. He bad an active mind and acquired
much general information in his youth in addition to the training which he
received while in school. His father died, and at his death young Martin became
postmaster at McMinnville, succeeding his father. He held this position for a
few years, then left the post office to enter the mercantile business. He
entered that business with a Mr. Thurman and formed the firm of Thurman &
Martin. He remained in this business for several years and was a success. J. C.
Martin was a success at any business that be undertook. He was genial and kind-hearted
and made friends with all his acquaintances. He was interested in his customers.
He showed a lively interest in their welfare, and they regarded Min as their
friend. They had confidence in him, and hence his business prospered.
At the age
of twenty-one be was married to Miss Laura E. Northcutt, of McMinnville. Miss
Northcutt was the granddaughter of Gen. Adrian Northcutt, who served his country
in the Mexican War. She proved to be a helpmate to him and shared largely with
him in the success of his business. Through her good judgment and insight into
conditions she advised him, and be relied much upon her good judgment in all
matters. She was not only a help to him in 'his business career, but she was a
blessing to him in his religious life.
J. C. Martin
became a Christian in early life. He understood fully the duties and obligations
of a Christian before he came into the church, and he entered the church with a
strong determination to make a success of the Christian life. He soon began to
take public part in the worship. He was not forward, but was modest. He was
called into service by older members of the church because they saw his ability
to become a useful member of the church and a consecrated leader in the service
of God. He inherited a deeply pious nature and cultivated the traits of
character which adorn the Christian life. He did not at first regard himself as
a preacher of the gospel in a public way, yet others recognized him as a
preacher of great ability.
In 1897 be
moved to Nashville, Tenn., and engaged in the insurance business. He organized
the American Life and Annuity Company of Nashville, and this company was
successful from the beginning. He was able to interest some of the most
prominent citizens of Nashville in his company, and later transferred his
company to the Union Central Company of Cincinnati. He became the State manager
in Tennessee for the Union Central Life Insurance Company and remained with it
to the day of his death. All recognized him as being a successful business man.
But the greatest work that Brother Martin did was the work of establishing
churches in Nashville.
coming to Nashville be became intensely interested in the work of the Lord. He
first moved to East Nashville. But he soon became identified with the South
College Street Church in South Nashville. Brother D. Lipscomb asked him to
become a co-laborer in that congregation. He was soon selected by the church to
serve as an elder with W. H. Timmons and D. Lipscomb. These three brethren for a
number of years did the public teaching for that congregation. Brother Martin
developed into a strong gospel preacher. His strength was in teaching the
church. His congenial nature made him a good worker and enabled him to get much
work out of others. He visited the sick and comforted the sorrowing and helped
the poor. Through such work as this the congregation was strengthened and
increased rapidly in membership. Brother Martin became the leader in the Sunday-school
work and continued in this for about thirty years. He did much to keep up the
spiritual life and activities of that congregation. The congregation increased
in zeal and number and became the strongest church in the city during his labors
with it. Through his work as a leader of the Sunday-school he bad a larger
attendance than any other church of Christ in the South.
Not only did
Brother Martin work with the church at South College Street and build it up, but
be labored at other places. He helped to plant churches at Green Street, Flat
Rock, West Nashville, Waverly Place, Joe Johnston Avenue, Reid Avenue, Carroll
Street, Belmont Avenue, and various other places. He took great interest in
developing young men into preachers of the gospel. He was directly responsible
for twelve preachers of the gospel who had grown up and had gone out from
the South College Street Church. These preachers of the gospel looked
upon him as their father, and it was a source of great happiness and joy to
Brother Martin to look upon the labors of these preachers whom he bad helped to
train in the service of God. If he had done nothing else in the church than to
train twelve faithful gospel preachers, his life was a great blessing to
humanity; but this was only one of the lines of endeavor which he followed as a
leader in religious activities. If there were more such men who would take a
delight in training young men to preach the gospel, the church would be far
was a friend to the poor. He was liberal in giving to the support of the gospel
and in helping the distressed of earth. He was an elder who set the example of
humility, consecration, and liberality to others. He possessed the spirit of
Christ in a large measure and became a blessing to all whom his life touched.
Brother Martin did not become an evangelist. His business kept him in the city,
but it did not keep him from the service of the Lord. In Brother Martin we can
see how one can be successful in prosecuting his business and at the same time
give much time and money to the church. As a teacher, be was clear, forceful,
and tactful in presenting his lessons to the church. He was deeply in earnest
and made a profound impression on his bearers. He was one who lived the
Christian life and taught others how to live for the Lord. If every church today
had such a man as J. C. Martin in it, it would bless humanity.
Martin was in ill health a long time before the end came. He tried hard to
regain his health, and did for a time, but bad to yield at last. He died on
December 29, 1911, at his home in West Nashville. Brethren C. A. Moore and R.
Lin Cave held the funeral services at the South College Street Church, where be
bad labored so long. His body was laid to rest in Mount Olivet. The world is
richer in spirituality and the church is stronger in the power of God because J.
C. Martin lived, loved, and labored in the name of Christ for nearly half a
Biographical Sketches Of Gospel Preachers, H. Leo
Boles, Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 1932, pages
Martin is buried in the
Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville
Tennessee. The cemetery is located at 1101 Lebanon Pike, Southeast of downtown
Nashville. Click over to Mt. Olivet for map and location of the grave in the
cemetery. His remains rest in Section 17 Lot #8
N36º 08' 45.2" x WO 86º 43' 59.2"
Accuracy To Within 16'