This material was digitized and graciously submitted by Ms. H. Imrey, during follow up of a question sent by an elementary school student (thanks for asking it!).

Johnson, Joseph. Traditions and Reminiscences, Chiefly of the American Revolution in the South: Including Biographical Sketches, Incidents and Anecdotes. Charleston SC: Walker & James, 1851. Pp. 311-2.

The family of Martins, in Edgefield, were remarkably conspicuous during the revolutionary war, for their united efforts in the great cause of independence. There were seven brothers, and all took active parts; they all proved themselves good soldiers. Though frequently engaged with the enemy, and some of them wounded, yet all survived the war, except one, (William) who fell at the siege of Augusta. He was one of the oldest captains in the service, commanding the artillery—was an excellent officer, and engaged in several battles. The names of these brothers were William, Bartly, James, John, Edmund, Marshall and Mathew. Mathew was alive in 1846, residing in Tennessee—about seventy years after his first essay in arms—but died at the close of the year. The female part of the family evinced the same attachment to their country, and courage in its defence. The following anecdote is an evidence of it: Understanding that important despatches were transmitted up the country by the enemy, Mrs. William and Mrs. Bartly Martin determined to waylay the courier, and take possession of the papers. Accordingly, they dressed themselves in their husbands’ clothes, took their muskets, and posted themselves near the road where they knew the express must pass. Soon after this, the courier appeared, guarded by two British officers. When they came up, the ladies demanded of them to surrender, and presented their muskets, armed with bayonets. The British, surprised and alarmed, immediately surrendered, and were paroled on the spot. The ladies, then taking possession of the mail, made a short cut through the woods, returned home, and forwarded their prize, without delay, to General Greene. The paroled officers, on their return, asked for accommodation as travellers, and it was granted. Mrs. Martin inquired about their object in returning so soon, and was told that they had been taken prisoners by two rebel boys, and showed their paroles. The ladies rallied them on the occasion, and asked if they had no arms; they said yes, but that they were taken off their guard. Mrs. Martin allowed the officers to depart the next morning, without informing them by whom they had been captured.

"Marriage Certificate: William Martin, formerly merchant on the Congaree and Gracey Waring, was, on the 8 Feb. 1772 joined by me in Holy wedlock as witnessed by my hand this 12 Mar. 1792. Christian Theus. Richland Co., S.C.: William Mortimer swore by oath 25 Mar. 1791 before John Calvert, J.P. [Edgefield Deed 10:150]."

Source: Theresa M. Hicks, Saxe Gotha Neighbors (Columbia SC: Peppercorn Publications, Inc., 2000), p. 55.

(comments by H. Imrey) Apparently Grace Waring Martin needed to prove her relationship (for pension or other legal purposes) after the war. Christian Theus was the Swiss Reformed minister at Saxegotha from 1739 onwards. If Grace Waring and William Martin married there in 1772, then that's where they WERE at the time, and the Edgefield County residence came later.

(comments by H. Imrey) Grace Waring Martion is a fully-dimensioned character who DID exist and who actually DID something. Grace Waring Martin stands the test of time. Rebecca Motte got better press between 1850 and 1890 re her role as SC Revolutionary heroine. To be quite blunt, she did nothing whatsoever except yield to the inevitable. (But she did it with class, and invited the captive British officers to dinner along with the victorious Revolutionary officers, after the brief episode in which Motte's Fort was taken with no loss-of-life or noticeable property-damage). Does that make her a heroine? Sure, why not. Grace-under-fire deserves notice. But is she MORE important than Grace Martin, Dicey Langston, or Emily Geiger (who did some risky things)? Beats me. Rebecca Motte and Emily Geiger showed up in SC school textbooks in the late 19th century. Grace Martin and Dicey Langston disappeared for a couple of centuries. The latter two had more personal experience of firearms pointed in their immediate direction. I don't know what makes a "heroine". If it involves guns being pointed at myself by strange trigger-happy people motivated by their own "great cause", I am fairly certain that I do not aspire to be one.  Grace Martin met "heroine" standards on all possible counts.

The WorldConnect page for William Martin (b 26 Sep 1745 in VA) and Grace Waring (b ~1749) lists 3 children, Robert (b ~1773), William (b~1776) and Elizabeth (b ~1778).

Bartley Martin is in the index for the 1800 census in Edgefield District 134. In 1790, the brothers' households are adjacent to one another, so Barkley (sic) Martin can be identified as Bartley. Households are: 1) Capt. John Martin, with 4 sons under 16, 3 females, and 6 slaves; 2) Edmund Martin, with one son under 16, 2 females and 7 slaves; 3) William Martin, living alone--the widowed father? 4) Barkley Martin, with one son over 16, one son under 16, 2 females and 10 slaves; 5) James Martin, with 3 sons under 16 and 4 females.

There is no apparent listing for William's widow Grace and the 3 children. Barkley (sic) Martin was assistant state marshal in 1790 for Ninety-six District, Edgefield county

This page (off site) purports to give the names of Grace Martin's parents. They lived along the Ashley River, near the old town of Dorchester, around 30 miles northwest (upstream) from Charleston (but, see the next section). Their plantation is marked on a map of North and South Carolina drawn by Henry Mouzon in 1775. This was the map used by both the Americans and the British during the Revolutionary War. George Washington carried a copy of it in his saddlebags. The map was useful because it showed where different families lived, so troops on the march could find friendly people (either Whigs or Tories). Benjamin Waring was a representative to the SC legislature.

Notes on the Subject of the family of Gracey Waring (?) Martin

Copyright ©2003 Ms. H. Imrey, all rights reserved

Gracey Waring married William Martin, eldest son of Abram Martin, on 8 Feb 1772 in Saxegotha. The large Martin family moved to Edgefield before the Revolutionary War. Grace and her sister-in-law, Rachel Clay (wife of Barkly Martin) disguised themselves as militiamen and captured a Tory courier and his two British soldier escorts, then freed them on parole. Elizabeth Ellet, in "Women of the American Revolution", Vol. 1 (1848), states that Gracey was the daughter of Benjamin Waring of Dorchester. While her information is more reliable than that of most of her contemporary historians, she may be mistaken about the identity of the father. Benjamin Waring Sr. was a resident of Charleston before and after the war. The Benjamin Waring who lived in Columbia (i.e., near Saxegotha) did not move there until after the town was founded in 1786. A daughter of either would be unlikely to have been married by the Rev. Christian Theus in Saxegotha in 1772. The 1815 Edgefield will of Thomas Warren (also spelled Warrin) names his daughter Gracey Martin as an heir.

It is possible that several Warings or Warrens had a daughter named Grace who married a Martin and lived in Edgefield. The simplest solution would be that Mrs. Ellet was mistaken, and that Gracey Waring (sic) Martin was a daughter of the Thomas Warren who can be located in the back-country--rather than in Charleston--by the time of the 1772 marriage. Thomas Warren lived on the Broad River in Craven County (near Saxegotha) before 1773, relocated to Cuffee Town Creek in Edgefield by 1775.

H. Imrey


John A. Chapman. History of Edgefield County From the Earliest Settlements to 1897. Newberry SC, 1897. Pp. 392-3.

The Martin family, of Martintown, in Edgefield County, were prominent, brave, active, and energetic Whigs during the Revolution, but as Martintown has long since gone to decay, and as the family, from whom the name was derived, is almost or quite extinct in Edgefield, it might please the reader of this book to find here a few items of the family history.

I am indebted to the Honorable John Martin, United States Senator from Kansas, for the following information:

The Martin family was of Scotch-Irish origin. The family emigrated from the North of Ireland somewhere towards the close of the sixteenth century (should be I think seventeenth) and settled originally in Caroline County, Virginia. The family was a large one, there being seven sons and one daughter. The names of the sons were: Abram, John, George, William, Matthew, Barclay, and Edmund. The daughter's name was Letty [Letitia]. They resided in Virginia for many years, and finally scattered to Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina.

The head of the South Carolina branch of the family, Abram Martin, was born in Carolina County, Virginia, in the year 1708, and there grew to manhood and married Miss Elizabeth Marshall, of Caroline County, who was said to be a niece of the father of John Marshall, afterwards Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Soon after his marriage he moved to South Carolina and located in Edgefield District and there lived and died.

He had eight sons, as follows: William Martin, James Martin, John Martin, George Martin, Barclay Martin, Edmund Martin, Marshall Martin, Matt Martin, and one daughter, Letty Martin.

Of these children, William, the eldest, married Miss Grace Waring and left three children, Robert, Elizabeth, and William. He was captain of artillery and was killed at the siege of Augusta. It was this Mrs. Martin who, in conjunction with Mrs. Barclay Martin, born Rachel Clay, captured the British courier with dispatches while on his way from Augusta to Ninety-Six, as elsewhere related.

The third son, John Martin, was an officer during the Revolution, Brigadier after the war, and served several years in the Legislature.

He was married three times and left many children, one of whom was Judge W. D. Martin, of whom something has already been written.

John Martin died in Abbeville District in 1813.

Several of this prolific family rose to distinction. Charles was an officer in the Confederate Army and was killed in the battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

John Martin, Senator from Kansas in 1894, is a grandson of Matthew Martin of the Revolution, who moved to Tennessee and died there in 1846.

Many more names might be added to this roll of the Martins, all worthy, all true men and women; but if all were written that might be written of the children of Edgefield abroad, it would embrace the world, and the book would soon grow to unwieldy size.

Copyright 1912

page 336 Pioneer Mothers of America (copy sent to me by a faithful younger reader of these pages!)

The Fighting Martins of " Ninety-six "

An act of audacious bravery was performed by two fun-loving but patriotic young women of South Carolina, during that last checkered campaign of General Greene, that will ever add interest to the early annals of the State.3

Mrs. Abram Martin was the Spartan mother of seven sons, all of whom were soldiers fighting for independence. The two eldest were married, and their wives, Mrs. Grace Martin and Mrs. Rachel Martin, lived with their mother-in-law, not far from Fort Ninety-six in the Edgefield district. They were mere girls, scarcely out of their teens, Grace, the wife of the eldest son, having been married when she was fourteen. They were bright, mischievous young women skilled in woodcraft, full of fun, and courageous as a woman had need to be in a section over-run with British soldiers, Tories, and guerillas. Late one afternoon word was received at the

Martin homestead that a courier, bearing import-ant dispatches to one of the upper stations, was to pass along the road, fronting the house, very shortly. The courier was being escorted by two British soldiers.

"Grace, " said Mrs. Rachel, banteringly, "if you were a soldier's wife, I'd dare you to join me in capturing that courier and his papers for General Greene." Grace Martin's husband was an officer, whose promotion had been won for daring and bravery in many battles. Consequently her answer was to have been expected.

"Soldier's wife," said Mrs. Grace scornfully, "I dare do anything that you can do."

The plan was quickly matured. They would don their husbands' uniforms, and as both were tall, well-formed girls they trusted that in the dusk of the evening their sex might not be recognised. In the half-light, with rifles over their shoulders and pistols in their belts they were in fact quite formidable looking soldiers. At least the British guards thought so when the pair sprang out from behind a rail fence near the Martin home, where the three travellers had to pass through a gap in the fence, and called upon them to halt. Taken entirely unawares and with guns cocked but a few feet from their heads, there was nothing for them to do except to surrender, which they promptly did with both hands up.

"We want those papers, " said Mistress Grace in as deep a voice as she could command The courier and the two young officers who were acting as escort were too much frightened to notice the voice, and the papers were handed over at once, after which the two young women, with a great show of magnanimity, paroled them, not knowing what else to do with them. The discomfited Britons turned about and rode slowly back. Taking a short cut through the woods the young women reached their home and had resumed their wonted garb when the three British soldiers appeared and asked for shelter for the night. Mrs. Martin, the elder, asked them, in all innocence, how it was that they were returning so soon after having but recently' passed the house. They replied by showing their paroles and acknowledged frankly that they had been taken prisoners by "two young rebels, armed with rifles," who had come upon them so suddenly that they had no time to defend themselves. Shelter was given to them for the night and they rode away next morning with never a suspicion that the two merry-eyed young women with whom they had conversed at the breakfast table were the rebel lads who had led them captive. It is perhaps unnecessary to say that the captured despatches had been forwarded to General Greene's headquarters by a trusted messenger within an hour after they were taken.

Mrs. Abram Martin was a woman of strong personality. She had eight sons and one daughter. Seven of her sons and her son-in-law, Captain Wade of Virginia, entered the service at the opening of the war. Captain Wade fell with his commander, Richard Montgomery, at the siege of Quebec and his widow and his little son, George 'Washington Wade, lived with Mrs. Martin. Her eldest son, William M. Martin, was a captain of artillery, and after serving with distinguished bravery at the sieges of Savannah and Charleston, was killed at the siege of Augusta. He was married to Miss Grace Waring, daughter of Benjamin Waring of Dorchester. Her husband's death left her with three children. Barkley Martin, the second son, was married to Rachel Clay, daughter of Henry Clay, Jr., of Mecklenburg, Va., a first cousin of Henry Clay of Tennessee. Rachel Clay's sister was married to another of the "Fighting Martins of `Ninety-six' " and their son, another Barkley Martin, was a member of Congress in the forties.

One of the traditions in the family was that when the British were in possession of Fort Ninety-six, an English officer rode out to the Martin home one day and asked the old lady, who sat with her daughter-in-law, "Did n't you have a son in the army at Augusta?"

"I did," replied the aged mother, scarcely able to restrain her tears.

"Well, I saw his d- head shot off," replied the officer, with a malicious grin. If he anticipated any pleasure in seeing the agony of a wife and mother he must have been chagrined, as the only reply of the mother was, "He could not have died in a better cause."

3The stories of Emily Geiger, Rebecca Motte, Dicey Langston, the Martins, and other daring and patriotic women of South Carolina are well authenticated by Dr. Ramsey's Recollections and History of South Carolina, the Memoirs of Generals Lee and Sumter, and personal interviews with direct descendants by Mrs. Ellett and hers.

Return to Women of the Revolution in South Carolina
Return to SC Revolutionary War Outline Page

This material was digitized and graciously submitted by Ms. H. Imrey, during follow up of a question sent by an elementary school student (thanks for asking it!).  Ms. Imrey has been a wonderful source for clarifying, correcting errors, and general sounding board.  I express my gratitude for her taking the time to help with these.  This digitized material is copyright ©2003 Ms. H. Imrey, all rights reserved.  This material may be used for school papers, etc., for which it is intended.  Commercial use without express written permission is forbidden.

 Please tell me where you find errors, apparent errors, and probable errors.  Please send full original references for these articles if you have them or can locate them.  Thanks in advance, Dr. Frank O. Clark, webmaster.