Inclusive dates
  • Records, 1777-1907, of John K. Martin, a pension agent for military veterans of the Revolutionary War, Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, War of 1812, Indian Wars, Mexican War, Civil War. The records contain pension claim files for individual veterans and their spouses relating to their military service. The pension claim files principally consist of correspondence and notes concerning land warrants and military service, but there are also wills, deeds, and even Bible records and genealogical notes proving linkeage of an heir to the veteran or land ownership. Correspondence within the pension files is between Martin, other pension agents and the pension office in Washington, D.C., and veterans and their family members
  • This collection also contains Martin's business correspondence, personal correspondence for both Martin and his father in-law Michael Howell, financial files including receipts and account books, Martin's files while serving as an administrator of the estate of Elijah Brown (1781-1850), military files and discharge papers, deeds and plats, publications, Martin's notes, and envelopes which were removed from their respective correspondence at a previous time
  • Series I. Pension Files, 1777-1883 and n. d. Principally consists of correspondence, notes, deeds, wills, Bible records, genealogical notes, and other documentation relating to claimants' military services in the Revolutionary War, Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, the War of 1812, Native American Wars including the Sioux Uprising, Black Hawk War, and Seminole Wars, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War. A typical file contains correspondence with the claimant, documentation concerning the nature and length of military service, proof of relationship to the individual performing the service (if deceased), and drafts and correspondence with various Federal government agencies concerning pensions and bounty lands. There are also files for unidentified claimants and claimants of unidentified wars. Volumes containing registers of action and notes on pension claims, 1848-1882, are also found within this series. Organized chronologically by subseries (war) with claimants of unidentified wars and registers of action on claims filed as individual subseries at the end of the series: A. Revolutionary War, B. Chesapeake- Leopard Affair, C. War of 1812, D. Native American Wars, E. Mexican War, F. Civil War, G. Unidentified Wars, H. Registers of Action on Claims. Folders are arranged alphabetically by veteran's surname with individual items within each folder arranged chronologically
  • Series II. Business Correspondence, 1832-1883 and n. d. Principally consists of letters concerning his general business as a land agent and exchanged with attorneys, judges, politicians, and Federal and state officials. There is also correspondence with specific land agents concerning claims, land bounty warrants, and other business related to military claimants. Also contains correspondence with United States mail agents. Arranged in three subseries: A. General, B. Land Agents, C. United States Mail Agents
  • Series III. Personal Correspondence, 1826-1907 and n. d. Exchange with John K. Martin and Michael Howell, Martin's father in-law, principally concerning Martin and Howell family matters and land transactions. There is also correspondence exchanged between members of the Palmeter family of Richmond, Virginia, and New York. The link of the Palmeter family to this collection is uncertain. Arranged in three subseries: A. John K. Martin, B. Michael Howell, C. Palmeter Family
  • Series IV. Financial Files and Volumes, 1815-1882 and n. d. Contains receipts and accounts for John K. Martin and his sometime business partner John R. Fulford of Richmond, Virginia. Receipts and accounts for John Martin generally note purchases for various and sundry goods, rent payments, the purchase of slave labor, and legal service fees from clerks of court. There are also receipt books for land warrants, extra pay and other money received by Martin and William M. Fulton and account books noting state taxes received and miscellaneous business accounts for Michael Howell. An account book for an unidentified carpenter is also contained in this series. Arranged in two subseries: A. Receipts and accounts, B. Account books and volumes
  • Series V. Administrator's Files, 1816-1858. Files of John K. Martin, who served as administrator for Elijah Brown (1781-1850). Consists of accounts and receipts, correspondence, legal files, and Bible records proving family line and beneficiaries. Arranged alphabetically with individual items within each folder arranged chronologically
  • Series VI. Military Files, 1775-1781, 1820-1853 and n. d. Comprises discharge papers, 1820-1853 and n. d., including discharge certificates for veterans, a list of Revolutionary War battles, lists of officers and soldiers from various wars, military returns, and military payrolls. Arranged in two subseries: A. Discharge Papers, B. Rolls and Lists
  • Series VII. Deeds and Plats, 1782-1881 and n. d. Pertains to John K. Martin's land speculation and his service as a surveyor in the Richmond, Virginia, area. Includes deeds and plats for land in Richmond that Martin surveyed including the James River and its islands. Also contains correspondence concerning those deeds with city engineers. Arranged alphabetically with individual items within each folder arranged chronologically
  • Series VIII. Publications, ca. 1850-1871 and n. d. Principally consists of business cards, advertisement broadsides, and broadsides for events and political causes collected by John K. Martin. There are also blank forms, programs, and "An Epitaph on the Sheriffality." Arranged alphabetically
  • Series IX. Notes, ca. 1840-ca. 1882 and n. d. Contains John K. Martin's research information compiled prior to disbursing land warrants for pension claimants. Includes abstracts and copies of court records including articles of agreement, deeds, plats, wills; land warrants; pension applications; genealogical notes and Bible records; military records. Several types of documents are often all recorded on the same page and the individual to whom the notes pertains has not been determined. As a result, the notes have been filed according to the manner in which Martin used them: as information relevant to disbursing land warrants. There are also notes concerning military records that were used to determine a claimant's qualification for pension. Filed at the end of the series are miscellaneous notes for which the research use could not be accurately deciphered or determined. Folders are arranged alphabetically
  • Series X. Envelopes, n. d. These envelopes were separated from their respective correspondence at some point in the distant past. Accordingly, their use to researchers has been lessened. Unarranged
Member of
Biographical or historical data
John K. Martin was born in New Jersey in 1817 and moved to Richmond around 1837. He served as the United States mail agent from 1839 to 1847 and became involved in Democratic Party politics around that time. This political association cost Martin his position as mail agent with the election of Millard Fillmore, a Whig Party member. Martin then developed a legal practice as a pension and claims agent for military veterans. At this time Martin also speculated in western lands to make extra money. On 27 June 1843 John K. Martin married Elizabeth Howell, daughter of Michael Howell of Richmond, at Centerary Church in Richmond. Martin died on 5 September 1883 in Richmond.
Cataloging source
Form designation
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • Inventory
  • Inventory
Organization method
Arranged into the following ten series: I. Pension Files, II. Business Correspondence, III. Personal Correspondence, IV. Financial Files and Volumes, V. Administrator's Files, VI. Military Files, VII. Deeds and Plats, VIII. Publications, IX. Notes, X. Envelopes.
Type of unit
cubic feet.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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