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Surry: Obediah Martin, Malon Austill, will

September 20, 2019


Last Will and Testament of Obediah Martin


Obediah Martin was a man of conviction.  He had strong feelings about how things should be in his life, and he was determined to make sure others obeyed his wishes even after his death.


Mr. Martin was born in 1761 and died in 1826.  He left a will in Surry County, patriotically recorded on 7/4/1822 (Surry WB 3, p168).  He lived in what would later become Elkin, but at that time was a collection of settlements along the Yadkin River and Big Elkin Creek.  One of his tracts might have included land from his brother Salathiel Martin which was entered in 1779.  This was on the north side of the Yadkin River and included the site where Chatham Manufacturing was on E. Main St.



His will and desire was that he “be buried near my dear parents”.  He left half of his law books to J. Williams for his trouble in serving as one of the executors.  He mentioned his wife; his daughters Elizabeth, Tennessee, Viana, Sarah, Mae, and Mary; and his sons William, David, Alfred, and Job.  He mentions David’s mother Winnefred Martin, but it’s not clear if she is actually Obediah’s wife.


Obediah could hold a grudge.  He apparently had a strong dislike for Malon Austill.  Obediah’s divides a large part of his estate evenly among his four children with one qualification.


“If (son) David never disgraces himself by marrying into Malon Austill’s family.  If he does, all that I have left him to be equally divided between all his brothers and sisters by my executors.”



Malon Austill lived on the south side of the river, perhaps near Fox Knob, or Star Peak, near Jonesville.  He was a few years younger than Obediah, born about 1775.  Malon must have done something that Obediah didn’t approve of, and son David was highly encouraged to stay away from Malon Austill’s daughters. 


And he did.  It looks like David Martin (born 1796) married Hannah Frost in 1826 in Surry Co.  They had moved to Kentucky by 1833 and had settled in Missouri by 1843.


But old Obediah Martin wasn’t done sharing his feelings.  In his will, he explains why he didn’t leave son Job as much as his other children.


“The reason I have not left Job Martin as much as the rest, he has involved me in debt by being security for him.  It is not known what I have to pay for him.  It may be more than I have given to any of the rest.”



Son Job had borrowed money from his father, and Obediah was determined to have that money paid back one way or the other.  Job was left $70 in the will, but the other children were left land, law books, horses, livestock, and furniture.


Obediah Martin made sure his opinions were known in life, and that his presence was still felt after his death.