IVORY J. MARTIN. The power of the press is a trite but a forcible subject, for it is one of
those themes which is constantly re-inforcing itself by proving anew every day its reality. Throw
out of account the influence which is exerted by the newspapers of Illinois the destinies of the
Prairie State would be largely affected by such elimination. The sketches which we have been called
upon to give of the newspapers and editors of Moultrie County present matters which are of interest
The Sullivan Progress has been from the first a success and it now occupies first rank with the
best papers in this part of the State and has a well-equipped office for job work and all kinds of printing.
It was originally issued in 1857 under the caption of the Express, but was soon changed in
title to the name which it now bears. Mr. Martin has been its editor and manager since 1885 and
added to those duties its proprietorship in 1887. It is now a seven-column six-page paper with a
good circulation and is issued weekly. Mr. Martin, who came to Sullivan, Moultrie County, in 1883,
on account of having been appointed Deputy County Clerk by Mr. Charles Shuman, took charge
of this paper after the expiration of his term of office, and has now taken Mr. Shuman as his partner
in the management of the business. This was his first newspaper work but he proved himself no
amateur in the business.
Mr. Martin was born in Whitley Township, Moultrie County, November 7, 1859, and was
there reared upon his father's farm and received his education at Lee's Academy at Loxa, Coles
County. For seven years he taught in Coles and Moultrie Counties, having taken his position at
the teacher's desk before reaching the age of seventeen, obtaining his academic course during the
same years that he devoted to teaching. He came of a family that has resided in the county for many
years, as they settled here in the '30s. The father, John N. Martin, was born in Coles County, this
State, and was only five years old when the family removed to what is now Moultrie County. He is
still carrying on the farm in Whitley Township and is the son of John Martin, a native of Kentucky,
a grandson of James Martin, a Virginian, and a great-grandson of John Martin who migrated
to Kentucky alwut the year 1777, during the Revolutionary War. The family was there
in the days of Daniel Boone and had to make their home in a fort for self protection.
The first John's son James was very young when the family came to Kentucky and he grew up near
the Kentucky River and there married, and reared his family. At a very early day he came with his
household to Coles County, Ill., and later made his home near Bruce, Moultrie County, where he
died in 1865, at the very venerable age of ninety-one years, having buried his wife some twenty
years before. For generations the family religion was of the old-school Baptist denomination and
their politics of the Democratic order.
John Martin, the second grandfather of our subject, was a young man when his parents came to
Illinois and he here reached his majority and married a Miss Nealy. Her father was known far and
wide as an Indian fighter on the frontier and was an original character in the early pioneer days. In
his later years John Martin removed to Whitley Township, Moultrie County and built a mill there.
John N. Martin, the father of our subject, is one of a family of four sons and three daughters who
are all living. He grew to manhood in Whitley Township and was married in Coles County to
Miss Rachel Martin, who as well as her husband, is now living, having reached nearly three-score years
of age. Of their children who are now living our subject is the eldest, the others being Joel K., who
is studying law under the Hon. John R. Eden, of Sullivan, and Nancy E., who is yet at home with
her parents. Our subject was married in Sullivan in 1886 to Miss Rose Eden, daughter of the Hon.
John R. Eden, of whom more can be learned in the sketch of that gentleman which appears in this
The subject of our sketch has ever taken an active part in local politics since before he became
of age, but he is no officeseeker. His paper is Democratic as are also his own political views. He
is a man who is capable of a vast amount of hard work and he is exceedingly skillful in the management
of his business. His wife was reared in Sullivan and is a graduate of the Georgetown
Convent in the District of Columbia. She is an earnest member of the Christian Church and is the
mother of three children — Olive, Eden and Nealy.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 1891 - p. 460-461
Transcription copyright 2003/2007, Moultrie County ILGenWeb/USGenWeb