The City of Martin


Text and photos by Nathan Morgan

IN 1832, CAPTAIN WILLIAM MARTIN, a young tobacco farmer from Halifax County, Va., and his wife, Sarah, left their home and headed west toward the Mississippi in search of fertile ground. With them they brought a pouch of tobacco seed, which they would eventually discover grew quite well in a little corner of Northwest Tennessee, known today as Weakley County. Because of this, Martin and his family would eventually settle the area and, in 1873, 14 years after Martin’s death, the city of Martin would be founded in his honor. Twenty-seven years later, members of the First Baptist Church, under the leadership of Dr. I. N. Penick, established the first advanced educational institution in Martin, known as Hall-Moody Institute, which eventually became the University of Tennessee at Martin. The city of Martin is so intertwined with the university that one couldn’t exist without the other. This year, as we celebrate 50 years as the University of Tennessee at Martin, we take time to appreciate the city that gives us our name. “From the Archives” is a feature highlighting unique and interesting items from the Alliene and Jimmie S. Corbitt Special Collections. For more information or to make a donation, contact UT Martin Special Collections and Archives at 731-881-7094 or

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