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Charles and Lou-Ida Martin Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 65



Charles I. Martin served as adjutant general of Kansas from 1909 to 1917 and again from 1919 to 1923. He also managed a veterans home, Wadsworth Military Home (now the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center), near Leavenworth, Kansas, from 1927 to 1941. His wife’s (Ida Martin) greatest accomplishment came when she became the first woman assistant attorney general in the State of Kansas in 1924. She was also the national president of the Military Sisterhood which she helped organize at the beginning of World War I. The collection contains five boxes of personal as well as business correspondence of both husband and wife from 1892 to 1937. The collection was donated by his estate, although the exact date of the donation is unknown.


Charles I. Martin

Charles Irving Martin was born in Ogle County, Illinois, January 25, 1871. When he was three years old his family moved to Kansas to a farm in the western part of Allen County. They later moved to Fort Scott. He had an ambition to teach and graduated from Fort Scott Normal School in 1892. Afterwards he taught school at various locations for eight terms.

C. I. Martin enlisted as a private in the Kansas National Guard in 1890. During the Spanish American War he obtained the rank of captain, in charge of Co. F, 1st Kansas Regiment. His company became part of the famous 20th Kansas U. S. Volunteers. His command participated in twenty-seven engagements, and Martin was later promoted to the rank of major.

After the war he returned to Fort Scott and became clerk of the District court for Bourbon County, Kansas, 1901 to 1905. He served as a member of the Kansas Senate from 1905 to 1909.

Martin always had an interest in the National Guard and after receiving his law degree from the University of Kansas, in 1907, he was appointed adjutant general of the State of Kansas in 1909. He continued in this position until World War I. On August 5, 1917, he became a brigadier general, commanding the 70th Infantry Brigade, 35th Division. He was an observer with the British in front line trenches and participated in the St. Mihiel offensive. On December 1, 1918 he was honorably discharged and returned to his old post as adjutant general which he held until 1923. He was known as “the daddy of the Kansas National Guard.”

In 1926 he was appointed governor of the Wadsworth Military Home (now the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center) near Leavenworth, Kansas. He died in Cheyenne, Wyoming on May 8, 1953.

Lou-Ida Ward Martin

Lou-Ida Ward was born in Bourbon County, Kansas, on December 25, 1872. Ida became the wife of Charles I. Martin in 1894. She was a graduate of the Fort Scott Normal College and the School of Law at the University of Kansas. She was believed to be the second woman to take the state bar examination in Kansas. She was admitted to practice in Kansas in 1907 and before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1922. She entered law school with her husband, Charles I. Martin, while their only child, Lillian Mae, attended grade school. They both passed their law examinations with high scores but his were several points lower than hers. After their admittance to the Kansas bar, the family returned to Ft. Scott. She soon set up a law practice with her husband under the firm name of Martin and Martin.

Mrs. Martin was always active in state and national politics. During the legislative session she lobbied for equal representation for men and women on the precinct committees. In the national campaign of 1920 she served on the Republican State Central Committee, and was state president of the Coolidge Women’s Club of America. She also organized numerous Coolidge Clubs among the women of Kansas.

Mrs. Martin also took an active part in study and civic clubs of Kansas. In 1919 she helped organize the Kansas Women’s Lawyers Association of which she was president from 1921 to 1923.

Mrs. Martin was national president of the Military Sisterhood which she helped organize at the beginning of World War I. Its objective was to encourage young men to enlist and serve their country and to aid and comfort the relatives of the men entering the service.

Mrs. Martin’s greatest accomplishment may have come on August 15, 1924, when she was appointed as the first woman in Kansas to serve as assistant attorney general. The attorney general, C. B. Griffith, felt the need of a woman lawyer in the office to assist in handling juvenile delinquencies and other matters involving questions pertaining to women and children.

She died of pneumonia in Topeka, Kansas, on November 30, 1941.

Scope and Content

The material contained in this collection consists of correspondence and miscellaneous papers. It includes personal letters; letters of recommendation for Charles for the position of chief of the Militia Bureau in Washington, D. C.; and letters of regret after he failed to obtain the position. There is a booklet entitled “Fighting-Twentieth” by W. Y. Morgan found in this collection along with Charles I. Martin’s “Brief History Of the Militia And The National Guard From Its Inception To The Present Day.” Charles I. Martin’s wife, Ida, became the first female assistant attorney general of Kansas in 1924, and there is also correspondence concerning her position.

The bulk of the collection consists of personal letters between Charles and Ida Martin. These letters were most extensive during the years he was overseas, with over thirty letters written between them while he was in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War and almost two hundred letters while he was in Europe during World War I.

The folder pertaining to 1920 consists of his efforts to secure appointment as chief of the Militia Bureau. It includes letters of recommendation from governors and senators from all over the United States. Charles I. Martin was greatly upset when he failed to achieve the position.

The folder for 1921 contains letters of regret from all of those who supported him. At this time he was still fighting for the position but failed when Major General George C. Rickards was appointed to the job.

Correspondence between Charles and Ida is interfiled throughout the collection, and there is considerable material in reference to a juvenile delinquent named Eva Fisher, a case Ida Martin worked on.

Charles I. Martin was a strong advocate for the Kansas National Guard, and throughout the collection he defends the need for a National Guard in the United States. For this reason anyone studying the Kansas National Guard should find this collection useful.

January, 1980

Larry P. Deiter, Intern

Contents List

Box 1
Correspondence, 1892 – 1917.

Box 2
Correspondence, April, 1918 – July, 1918.

Box 3
Correspondence, August, 1918 – December, 1919.

Box 4
Correspondence, 1920 – 1925.

Box 5
Correspondence, 1926 – 1937
Biographical Sketch
Notes for speeches