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When, in 1871, Frank T. Martin first saw the Snake River valley, Idaho, it was a vast, desolate and unexplored wilderness, not so inviting to settlement as it might have been otherwise, because of its arid, unproductive soil. Mr. Martin was then a youth of seventeen, and he came with thirteen others and drove seven hundred head of cattle across the plains from Saline County, Missouri. They were one hundred and eleven days on the way, and after they reached the Snake river valley the company separated, some of its members going to different points round about, and some to Montana. Young Martin passed the winter of 1871-2 at Helena, Montana, and in the spring returned to the valley and located on the island eighteen miles above Idaho Falls. At that time four men were the only persons on the island, which has now a population of fifteen hundred. He remained in the valley two years, herding cattle for Sir. J. M. Taylor then went to Utah. In 1876 he went back to his old home in Missouri. In 1885 he returned to Idaho Falls, where he has since lived and where he is known as an enterprising businessman and a public-spirited citizen. He conducted a meat market and later a livery business, and six years ago became a dealer in coal, which he has since handled quite extensively. He is a member also of the firm of Martin & Mills, butchers, and wholesale and retail dealers in meat, and they do a large trade over a wide territory. Mr. Martin is well known in business circles throughout southeastern Idaho. He is a Democrat, but not an active politician nor one who has an itching for office, his business interests requiring his entire time and attention.
The following biographical items concerning Frank T. Martin will be of interest. He was born in Saline County, Missouri, September 6, 1854. His grandfather Samuel T. Martin, a native of Virginia, was a pioneer in Kentucky and died there at the age of eighty-seven. Frank T. Martin’s father, also named Samuel T. Martin, was born in Kentucky and married Miss Annie E. Jones, daughter of Captain Thomas Jones, who in his young manhood was an officer in the Revolutionary army in the struggle for American independence. In 1849 they removed to Missouri, where Mr. Martin became a successful farmer, and where he is yet living, aged eighty years. Mrs. Martin died in 1866. They had twelve children, of whom Frank T. Martin was the eighth born. His boyhood was passed on the farm and in the public schools of Missouri, until, at the age of seventeen, he first came to Idaho, as has been stated. In August 1880, he married Miss Susie Chowning, a native of Owen County, Kentucky, who bore him four children, Paris, Helen, Eva and Charles, and she died in June 1890. She was a true and faithful wife and loving and indulgent mother, being a woman of beautiful Christian character, and her loss was keenly felt by the whole community.