William Scott Martin 1915 - 1957

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A combination of family stories and information taken from William Scott Martin's birth and death certificates paints a small picture of his father - William Marvin Martin. According to William Scott Martin's birth certificate, his father was Wm. Marvin Martin, age 30 years old on April 4, 1915 when my grandfather was born. The senior William's birthplace is listed as Birmingham, Alabama. Their residence was 901 Valentine, E. St. Louis, Illinois. Additionally, Wm. Marvin Martin's occupation was salesman for R. E. Funster Nut and Fruit Company in St. Louis, Missouri.

My mother remembers a number of stories told by her parents. It seems that after Frances and William Marvin Martin divorced, Frances would take young Bill to see his father for weekly visits. The father lived in St. Louis and young Bill lived across the river. One day, young Bill decided that he would see what would happen if he threw his cap from the street car. Well it must have sailed downward for sometime before landing in the Mississippi River. But just like George Washington, when asked about the cap, young Bill admitted to his mother, that he had thrown it into the river.

For reasons unknown to young Bill, the Sunday visits to see his father discontinued. But my mother does remember one occasion whenshe was a child that her father entered their home rather upset. William Scott Martin had seen his father in E. St. Louis, IL and it was a very upsetting experience. The kids were ushered into another room and my mom, being the oldest, eavesdropped on the conversation. Bill, now a married man with children of his own, saw his father while making deliveries for work. Neither my mother nor her siblings ever remember meeting Wm. Marvin Martin.

According to my grandmother, Eleanor, Bill studied to be an understudy for the best paid child actor of the day, Jackie Coogan. It is believed that his aunt, Estelle Campbell Pufalt, financed the trips to California. Also, according to my grandmother, that he had a dog that he brought back that was from the blood line of Rin-Tin-Tin.

Bill Martin and Grandmother Emma Cassell Campbell
Young Bill Martin and his grandmother Emma Cassell Campbell

Grandfather Bill Martin, never served in the military as many men did during those days. Instead he worked for the Del Fla Ice Cream / Dairy Company. He was a refrigeration repairman and also worked on electrical appliances. When my mother was a small girl, she remembers living near 18th and State Street in Granite City and her father had his own radio repair shop. About 1943, they moved to Pontoon Road and for those familiar with Pontoon Beach, they lived in a house next door to now existing Dairy Queen shop. The house has been torn down recently.

Bill Martin was handy and built an addition onto the home so that his mother-in-law, Grace Horrell Syers, could come live with the family when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Bill also had a soda fountain for his kids and photo studio in the basement of his home.

Bill Martin was known to be a character in his family. It seemed that a local patrolman on a motorcycle liked to hide in the bushes at Bill's driveway but Bill didn't approve and the officer moved down the road so someone else's driveway. A quick thinking Bill, put a sign up by his bushes warning that officer was just ahead waiting to catch the next speeder.

Bill was also known at least by the family as someone who seemed to know what was going to happen next. Ada Campbell, his widowed aunt and wife of James Raymond Campbell, was in the yard one day and Bill commented that someone needed to keep an eye on her because she was going to get hit. She did. This occurred at Frances's home on Sand Prairie Lane near today's Horseshoe Lake. Mom described it as no sooner than Bill made the off-handed comment that Ada decided to cross the street and was hit by a passing car. She lived through the accident but my mom remembers the incident well. On another occasion, Eleanor wanted to take the bus "downtown" to buy a new pair of shoes and Bill would not hear of it. In fact, he told her that she could take the next bus that was a little bit later but would not allow her to take the bus that she had planned. A big argument took place between the two and as it turns out, Bill was right, the bus was struck by a train as it crossed the railroad tracks.

William Scott Martin was the only child born to Frances Louise Martin and William Marvin Martin and while Frances did marry a 2nd time, she did not have any other children.

Persistence Pays Big!

Continued persistence pays big dividends for our research. Just a few years ago, after years of hunting, another researcher pointed me in the direction of William Marvin Martin, Bill's long lost father and to my grandfather's half siblings, Eileen and Marvin.

While the senior Bill Martin had passed away in the late 1940's, and both my grandparents were gone, we were able to find and confirm Great Grandpa Martin. It seems that he was just as close as a few miles from our home and continued to live in the St. Louis area. Bill had remarried and together he and Ida, his 2nd wife, had 2 more children, Eileen and Marvin.

A letter to both Eileen and Marvin resulted in a phone call from Marvin to me! What a surprise, when I answered the phone one day and heard these words, "Pat, you must have looked long and hard to find me, this is your Uncle Marvin." We spoke for more than an hour and Marvin filled in a number of blanks spots in the family history. Later, conversations, e-mails and phone calls netted even more informaiton. It seems that Marvin and Eileen knew for a long time that they had a brother, "Scott" and that he lived near Collinsville, IL. (William "Scott" Martin actually lived in Pontoon Beach, IL.) And in the early 1960's Aunt Eileen actually was looking for him but by that time, the older brother that they never knew had already passed away.

The Rest of the Story

It seems that according to Aunt Eileen, that one day, Frances had showed up without little Bill to collect some child support from the older Bill. He asked where the boy was and Frances began enraged and told the senior Bill that he was dead and in the graveyard. (Aunt Eileen's recollections.) From that point forward, the ties between father and son were cut.

But Aunt Eileen often questioned her quiet father about his first wife and the brother that she did not know. Frances Louise Campbell Martin was nicknamed "Babe" and the last of five children both to George and Emma Kassell Campbell. While the senior Bill Martin worked for the railroad, he managed to break his leg. Healing takes time and Babe, young Bill and great grandpa all lived together with Frances's widowed mother, Emma. Emma did not approve of Bill Martin and constantly reminded him of that. She would often compare Bill to a relative that Bill had never met. One day, as luck would have it, Bill got nosey and looked through the old lady's truck where she kept all of her personal letters and such. It seems that the wonderful relative was really a jail bird. Aunt Eileen had no idea who the man was but seems to remember that he might have been serving time in Joliet, IL in the prison system.

Uncle Marvin can remember that when the younger William was about 21 years old, he ran an ad in the "St. Louis Star" newspaper looking for his father, Wm. Marvin Martin. It seemed that was all that he wanted for his 21st birthday. The senior William, went to his younger children and asked how would they like to have another older brother. This seemed acceptable to each of them but the meeting never took place. Aunt Eileen filled in the additional missing details. It seems that Emma, who never liked the senior Bill Martin, sent him a letter stating that if he did answer the ad, that they knew where he and his children lived and would cause harm to the children.


  • 4 April 1915- born in E. St. Louis, IL
  • 1920 - Enumerated with grandmother, Emma Campbell, in 14th Street, St. Louis, MO, location of mother unknown
  • 1930 - Enumerated 2900 Nameoki Rd with step father, mother and Minnie (Besson) Groom
  • 28 Sep 1936 - married Eleanor Clarice Syers in Granite City, IL
  • lived near 18th and State in Granite City, IL
  • 1940 - Enumerated 1809 State Street, Granite City, IL
  • Ca 1943 - moved to Pontoon Road, Granite City / Pontoon Beach, IL
  • Worked for Del-Fla Ice Cream as a refrigeration / electrican
  • Had a sideline business in radio repairs, later photography
  • Three children born to Bill and Eleanor
  • 10 July 1957 died in St. Louis, MO


1940 Madison County, IL 1809 State St, Granite City, IL

William Martin, age 25, born ca 1915, radio service, completed 8th grade
Elenore Martin, age 22
Sandra Lee, age 2, daughter
Emma Campbell, age 79, grandmother

1930 Madison County, IL 2900 Nameoki Road, Granite City, IL

Pete Eftimoff, age 37, head of house, born Bulgaria
Frances Eftimoff, age 37, born IL, father born Montana, mother born IL
William Martin, age 14, born IL, father born FL, mother born IL
Minnie Groom, age 15, boarder, born MO, father born MO, mother born MO

1920 St Louis MO 14th Street

Emma Cambell, age 60, born MO, operator, bag company, father born Germany, mother born Germany
Ray Cambell, age 35, son, born IL, trucker, can factory, single, born MO, father born MO, mother born MO
Fred Kassell, age 51, brother, fireman, widowed, born MO, father born Germany, mother born MO
Malcolm Kassell, age 19, nephew, born Indiana, father born MO, mother born Maryland
William Martin, age 4 1/2, grandson, born IL, father born FL, mother born IL


Family Group Sheet

Husband: William Scott Martin
Birth: 4 Apr 1915 Place: E. St. Louis, St. Clair County, IL
Death: 7 Jul 1957 Place: St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Burial: 10 Jul 1957 Place: Calvary Cemetery, Edwardsville, Madison County, IL
Occupation: Photographer, Refrigeration, Radio Instuction
Father: Willam Marvin Martin 1885 - 1949)
Mother: Frances Louise Campbell, 1893 - 1955
Marriage: 28 Sep 1936 Place: Nameoki Gardens, Granite City, Madison County, IL
Wife: Eleanor (Clarice) Syers
Birth: 2 Mar 1918 Place: Venice, Madison County, IL
Christen: 17 Apr 1927 Place: First Presbyterian Church, Madison County, IL
Occupation: Nurse's Aide
Father: Jacob Syers (1876-1941)
Mother: Grace Mae Horrell
1. F Child: Saundra Lea Martin
2. M Child: Charles William Martin
Birth: 15 Feb 1940 Place: Granite City, Madison County, IL
Died: Place: Leesville, Louisana
3. M Child: Raymond Gene Martin
Birth: Nov 1943 Place: Granite City, Madison County, IL
Died: July 23, 2004 Place: Belleville, St. Clair County, IL

Saundra, Charles and Raymond watching the Howdy Doody Show

Reference Note 5, Certificate of Birth #5392, State of Illinois
Reference Note 6, Certificate of Church Membership
Reference Note 7, State Board of Health, Birth Certificate, #5470
Reference Note 9, Newspaper Obit
Reference Memories - Marvin and Eileen Martin and Charles Malcom Kassell