William Daniel Martin was born on May 4, 1892 in Irisburg, Virginia. He was the son of Thomas Jackson Martin and Clara Richardson Martin. He was named for his grandfathers William A. Richardson and Daniel Livingston Martin. Little is known of his earlier years.


Thomas J. Martin operated a portable saw mill which meant that the family moved almost yearly to new tracts of timber in southwestern Virginia. In late 1910 or early 1911 the family lived in Pelham, North Carolina. At that time members of the North Carolina General Assembly could award scholarships to the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now NCSU) based on the successful completion of a written examination.


W. D. took this examination in the old courthouse in Yanceyville, NC and was awarded a one hundred dollar  scholarship to A & M College in Raleigh, NC. He enrolled in the College in the fall of 1911. He worked his way through college by installing pipes for steam heating systems in homes under construction in the Cameron Park section of Raleigh. His employer was Professor Howard E. Satterfield who did residential construction in addition to teaching at the A & M College.


During several summer vacations, W. D. went back home and raised a tobacco crop for college expenses. He was an honor roll student and graduated in 1915 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. His room mate for four years of college was Frank Kipp Kramer of Elizabeth City, NC who remained his lifelong friend.


After graduation from college W. D. became the instructor in woodworking at A & M College. He joined the N. C. National Guard and upon the outbreak of World War I he was sent to officer’s training school at Fort Monroe Virginia. Upon the completion of this training he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps and sent to France in early 1918.


While in college, W. D. attended the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Raleigh where he met Miss Mozelle Bailey who was the daughter of Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Jackson Bailey and the late Israel Aaron Bailey. They were married on July 7, 1917. They were the parents of William D., Jr. born on July 27, 1921 and Mary Elizabeth born on December 26, 1924.


Following World War I, W. D. became superintendent of the millwork department at Baker Thompson Lumber Company in Raleigh, NC. In 1927 he left Baker Thompson to start his own millwork business in partnership with William M. Mangum. The first location of Martin Mangum Company was in a two story frame building on the east side of N. West Street between Edenton and Jones Streets. This building belonged to the St. Paul AME Church. The company soon outgrew this location and was moved in 1928 to 905 Tryon Street to a building formerly occupied by the Raleigh Building Supply Company.


In the meantime Mr. Mangum retired and Mr. A. A. Murdock of Durham, NC became a stockholder in Martin Millwork Company. Murdock later sold his stock to W. D. who bought the building and 3 acres of land from Mr. Murdock in 1946.


W. D. was an active member of Tabernacle Baptist Church until his death and served as a Sunday School teacher in the boys' junior department for many years. He also served on various committees and as chairman of deacons. He belonged to the Wm. G. Hill Lodge #218 AFAM and was master of the lodge in the late 1930's. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Raleigh and was president of that organization during the 1951-52 Rotary year. In the early 1950's he served two terms on the Raleigh City Council


W. D. and his family lived at 326 Oakwood Avenue in Raleigh until 1940 when they moved to 1709 Hillsborough (Raleigh). The property on Hillsborough extended through a city block so that there was space for a large vegetable garden which was his recreational hobby along with a rose garden. His roses were always beautiful and plentiful. In 1958 he and Mozelle moved to 1621 Craig Street (Raleigh) where he lived until his sudden death on November 26, 1960. The cause of death was a massive coronary occlusion.


Except for a continuing sinusitis problem, W. D. enjoyed fairly good health all of his life and was still operating Martin Millwork Company at the time of his death.  Aside from gardening, he devoted his interests to his business, the Masonic lodge, his church and his family.  He had many friends in all walks of life and was highly regarded by his employees, competitors and friends in the business world and civic undertakings.  He was a man with very high moral standards and ethics and rightly deserves the ultimate title of Christian Gentleman.


Written by William D. Martin, Jr.

June 20, 1988)


Hit Counter