Joyce Martin Murray

MARTIN, BENNETT H. (1799–1852). Bennett H. Martin, early judge, the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Henderson) Martin, was born in Goochland, Albemarle County, Virginia, in 1799. His father was the great-grandson of a French Huguenot, Jean Martain, who in 1700 settled in Manikintown, Virginia. His mother was the daughter of John Henderson, Jr., of Albemarle County, a signer of the "Albemarle Declaration" during the American Revolution in whose warehouse the Continental Army hid supplies. Bennett's parents took the family to Warren County, Kentucky, by 1811, but both were dead by 1820, leaving the older children in charge of the family. Martin had little formal education, but learned the trade of brick mason, then adopted the law as his profession. He married Elizabeth A. Blythe King of Tennessee; Mary Jane Montgomery, who died in Clarksville, Texas, in December 1847; and Georgiana R. Jones. He had no children. Martin was elected colonel commandant in Crawford County, Arkansas, in 1830 and was representing the county in the state legislature in 1833. He was described by Bell Cash in her 1876 memoirs of that state as being "riproarious, rearing, tearing, but talented and eloquent." In 1845 Martin was given a certificate for 640 acres in Red River County, Texas. He is listed in the Clarksville Northern Standard in 1844 as an attorney and a candidate for brigadier general, Fourth Brigade, Texas Militia. He was a promoter of the town of Albion, north of Clarksville.

J. Pinckney Henderson, the first governor of Texas after annexation, appointed Martin judge of the Ninth Judicial District of Texas (Grayson, Collin, Denton, Dallas, Kaufman, Henderson, Anderson, Houston, and Van Zandt counties). Martin also served as judge of the Sixth Judicial Court of Texas. He traveled by horseback over great distances and held court sessions under trees, in small log courthouses, and in private homes. Many stories tell of his compassion, practical approaches to justice, and his sense of humor. He died of typhoid fever at his home near Palestine, on September 7, 1852.

John Henry Brown, History of Dallas County, Texas, from 1837 to 1887 (Dallas: Milligan, Cornett, and Farnham, 1887). Clarksville Northern Standard, September 18, 1852. Wentworth Manning, Some History of Van Zandt County (Des Moines, Iowa: Homestead, 1919; rpt., Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Hunter, 1977). Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976). Texas State Gazette, May 22, 1852.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Joyce Martin Murray, "MARTIN, BENNETT H.," accessed August 23, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox