Crawford Collins Martin, state senator and attorney general of Texas, was born to William and Daisy (Beavers) Martin at Hillsboro, Texas, on March 13, 1916. He was educated in the public schools, attended Hillsboro Junior College, and graduated in 1935. His father had served as district attorney of Hill County and as a state senator. Martin enrolled in the University of Texas law school and finished his legal education at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. He was admitted to the bar of Texas in 1939 and entered private practice with his brother, William, in Hillsboro. Martin married Margaret Ann Nash on May 14, 1941. The couple raised three children. During World War II Martin enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. After the war he ran successfully for mayor of Hillsboro. In 1948 he was elected to the state Senate seat once held by his father. During his fourteen-year career in the Senate he served on a number of committees, including Finance. He sponsored legislation in insurance reform and securities regulation, and he was elected president pro tem of the Senate in 1955. In addition, in 1957 he sponsored the state's first law requiring the registration of lobbyists. The lifelong Democrat experienced his first political defeat in 1962, when he unsuccessfully opposed Preston Smith in the lieutenant governor's race. He returned to state politics the next year, however, when Governor John Connally appointed him secretary of state. Martin resigned this position in 1966 and ran successfully for attorney general of Texas, an office that he held until 1972.
Under his direction, the attorney general's office added antitrust, consumer protection, crime prevention, and water control divisions to its organization. Martin concentrated his efforts in particular upon drug abuse and organized crime, and he was the first attorney general of any state to file successful litigation against commercial drug manufacturers for fixing the prices of antibiotics. By this action his office was able to recover more than $4,000,000 for Texas consumers. Through litigation, Martin's office established the Sabine River boundary between Texas and Louisiana, "thus preserving for Texas extremely valuable oil rights." Martin's activities as attorney general won him both state and national recognition. Early in 1972 he was selected only the fourth life member of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. In June of that year he received the Wyman Award as the nation's foremost attorney general. Despite these honors, however, he lost the election to John Hill in his 1972 attempt to capture a fourth term in office. Martin died of a heart attack on December 29, 1972, just three days before he was to leave office. He was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin.