Martin, William Harrison (1823–1898)

By: David S. Walkup

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 1, 1995

William Harrison (Howdy) Martin, lawyer, Confederate officer, and congressman, son of Benjamin and Charlotte Martin, was born in Twiggs County, Georgia, on September 2, 1823. He received his early schooling in Alabama and was admitted to the bar. In 1850 he moved to Athens, Texas, and started a law practice in Henderson County. From 1853 to 1858 he represented Freestone, Limestone, Henderson, and Navarro counties in the Texas Senate. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in July 1861 and served in Company K, Fourth Texas Infantry, Hood's Texas Brigade. Martin and his regiment fought in the Eastern theater of operations. In April 1864 he was promoted from captain to major. After the signing of the surrender terms at Appomattox, Major Martin and Capt. W. T. Hill led the remaining members of Hood's Texas Brigade back to Texas. In Texas, Martin resumed the practice of law. He was elected district attorney for Kaufman, Henderson, Smith, and Anderson counties and served for two terms. In 1887 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives to complete the remainder of John H. Reagan's term, after Reagan was chosen United States senator. Martin was reelected and served in Congress until 1891, when he returned to his farm near Athens. In 1894 he moved to Hill County and lived on a farm near Hillsboro. On February 12, 1867, Martin married Martha E. Gallimore of Navarro County. The couple had six children. Martin died at his home in Hill County on February 5, 1898, and was buried at the Hillsboro City Cemetery. He was a member of the Hill County Camp of Confederate Veterans. From 1883 to 1885 he served as president of the Hood's Texas Brigade Association at its annual meetings.

Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939). Harold B. Simpson, Gaines' Mill to Appomattox (Waco: Texian Press, 1988). Harold B. Simpson, Hood's Texas Brigade: A Compendium (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1977). Harold B. Simpson, Hood's Texas Brigade in Reunion and Memory (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1974). Marcus J. Wright, comp., and Harold B. Simpson, ed., Texas in the War, 1861–1865 (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1965).
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David S. Walkup, “Martin, William Harrison,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 10, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995

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