MARTIN, GEORGE B. - Sangamon County is noted not only for its agricultural interests, but also as the scene of varied mining interests, and some of the most prosperous of its citizens have devoted themselves to this branch of business. A representative man of Divernon, George B. Martin has achieved a well merited success. He was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, September 11, 1838, a son of John and Jeanette (Banks) Martin, natives of Glasgow and Ayrshire, the father born in 1811 and the mother in 1815. The father was killed by a locomotive just as he was leaving home to claim a fortune left in him the West Indies, in 1860. His widow survived him until 1869, when she, too, passed away in Scotland.
From the time he was eight years old M. Martin has earned his own living, but remained at home until twenty six years old, when he came to the United States, landing in Portland, Me., April 8, 1865. After that he made a number of changes, going to Maryland and Virginia, where he lived for fourteen years. He then lived at Astoria, Fulton County, Ill., for two years, locating in LaSalle in 1880. He spent some time in Wyoming, but in 1901 came to Divernon, which has continued his home ever since. All his life he has been interested in mining operations, and is markedly successful.
While he has given attention to his business, Mr. Martin has not neglected the religious side of his nature, but has sought to lead others into what he believes is the right path, and has preached in every place in which he has lived. While in Wyoming he built a stone church for the Congregationalists, but is now a member of the Presbyterian Church. While independent in politics, he is a strong Prohibitionist, and has done effect work for the cause. Fraternally he is a member of the order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, being the oldest member of that lodge in Divernon, having joined it in 1873, passed through all of its chairs and served as its Representative to the Grand Lodge many times. He is also a member of the order of Red Men and is much interested in fraternal work.
Mr. Martin was married in Scotland, to Margaret McGee, on January 20, 1860. She was born in Ireland, August 9, 1839, a daughter of Michael and Mary (Cunningham) McGee, natives of County Down, Ireland. The father died in 1849, but the mother came to the United States in 1870, returning to Scotland in 1872, and dying in Ayrshire in 1874. The grandparents were all natives of Ireland, and there died, but Mr. and Mrs. McGee moved to Ayrshire in 1847. Mr. and Mrs. Martin became the parents of fourteen children, six of whom are dead. Hugh, born in Scotland in November 1863, married Mary Hurd of Illinois, children - George, Annie (deceased), James, Joseph, Margaret, Alice, Mary Harry and Hugh; James born in Maryland, April 5, 1866, unmarried, has been a resident of California for five years; Mary, born in West Virginia, May 28, 1869, is a nurse and resides in California; George, a clergyman, born in West Virginia, June 17, 1871, married Mary Anderson, native of Denmark, three living children - Donald, Harry and Ellen; Jeanette, born in Maryland, March 24, 1873, married Robert S. Simpson, of Scotland, now lives in Farmersville, Ill., where he is a mine superintendent, five living children - George, Ruth, Jeanette, Ottie and Charles; Charles, in the cement business in Divernon, born in Maryland, December 8, 1877, married and has one child, Annie Bell; John, born in Illinois, April 2, 1883, unmarried and living in North Dakota; Margaret, born in LaSalle, Ill., September 15, 1880, married Victor Mercer, of Lamoille, and lives in North Dakota, where Mr. Mercer owns three-quarters of a section of land.
Mr. Martin is much respected in his community, where he owns considerable property, and has earned the confidence of his neighbors. He is proud of his family, as he has every reason to be, and of the progress he has made during his long and busy life.