William Martin
Sex: M
Birth: 7 July 1851 Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex
Death: 19 Sept. 1919 Portland, Maine
Father: William Martin (1814-aft1865)
Mother: Elizabeth Ann Woolvett
Spouse/Partner: Lavinia Trussell
Marriage: c1872

William was a casket maker and a carpenter. Young William would often go with his father to his workshop and take a nap in one of the caskets. Sometime before 1874 he and his family moved to London where they lived at 4 Clarendon Cottages in Deptford.

The family had moved to Brighton by the 1881 census and were living at 97 Upper Lewes Rd. (Lavinia's brother Harry lived in Brighton). William is listed, age 29, a carpenter and joiner, born in Burnham, Lavinia, age 34, born Tillingham, Minnie, age 7, born in Lewisham, Kent, William, age 6, born Deptford, Frederick, age 5, born Burnham, Louisa, age 4, born Burnham, Edwing, age 8 months, also born in Burnham. George Holden, a border, age 13 from Slinfold, Sussex was also living with them and working as an errand boy.(3)

Then to move on to greener pastures, William and his family left Liverpool 19 July 1883 on the Circassian originally bound for Australia but, for some reason they disembarked in Quebec, P.Q. (my father stated that they did not have enough money for the passage to Australia).(5)

Circassian Passenger List from the Circassian

On the first of August 1884 they entered the United States at Island Pond, Vt. where they remained three years. Island Pond was much larger then than it is today as it was the site of the first international railroad junction in the country on the line from Montreal to Portland. At the time thirteen tracks passed through town and the place was lively with railroad men and loggers (as well as with a few immigrants).(1) The Martins lived in that part of town called Brighton (there is a very lovely state park on the lake in Brighton). Family tradition states that the family did not want to stay in Canada so ventured across the border to Vermont, not wanting to travel further due to having an infant in tow and Lavinia was again pregnant the following year. It is also interesting to note that family tradition also says that Minnie dated Charles Vallee, father of Hubert Prior Vallee (better know as Rudy Vallee, leader of the famed "Connecticut Yankees" band). This is certainly a possibility as the Vallee family was from Island Pond and Rudy was actually born there. The ages of Minnie and Charles would also work out as he was born in 1868. The family probably would have had some contact after moving to Maine as Charles moved to Westbrook where he owned the local pharmacy (his famous son Rudy is buried in St. Hyacinthe's cemetery in Westbrook).(2)

Young William at the age of 12 rode a bicycle to Portland, ME to find work. During the voyage he carried a gun because he was afraid of wild dogs but,fortunately, none were encountered. Shortly after his arrival in Portland the rest of the family followed.

William is listed in the 1891 directory for Portland, his occupation being a carpenter and he was working for the Grand Trunk Railway.(4)

William continued his trade in Portland and built the cabinet work for what was at the time the second largest pipe organ in the State. In 1900 the family was living at 60 Tyng St. and William was working for the YMCA. (6)

1900wm 1900 Census Index Entry

Willlavinia Photo of William and Lavinia Martin c.1900

Upon his death the family donated $100.00 to the Park St. Methodist Church in Portland which was used to furnish a Sunday School in Peking, China. To commemorate this gift the church issued a calendar with a photograph of William and a drawing of the school.

Calendar Methodist Church calendar- 1921

My father had only a brief memory of his grandfather Martin. He would tell of visiting his grandfather along with his cousin Dexter McCausland and going to the store to buy Necco wafers and having ice cream, which he called "Jamaica Ginger".


Name Birth Death
Children of William and Lavinai (Trussell) Martin

Minnie L 1874
Lewisham, Kent
bef 19 Sept. 1919

William Edward Martin (1874-1939) 27 July 1874
Deptford, London
4 July 1939
Revere, Massachusetts

Fredrick G. Oct. 1875
Burnham, Essex

Louisa aft Mar. 1876
Burnham, Essex

Edwin 1880

Henry T. Sept. 1882

Benjamin Feb. 1884
Quebec, P.Q.

Lawrence L. Dec. 1885
Island Pond, Vermont


(1) History of Island Pond from brochure from Brighton State Park
(2) Traditions from Milton Martin as told to him by his father. Rudy Vallee: Franco-American and Man From Maine- C. Stewart Doty- Maine Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 1, summer 1993 pp.2-19
(3) 1881 Census- PRO ref: RG11, 1085/113, p.20
(4) 1891 Directory for Portland Maine- Portland Public Library
(5) Quebec Passenger Lists- Canadian Archives, Ottawa- microfilm roll No. C-4533 ship No.67

(6) Census of the United States, 1900, Portland, ME

Naturalization Records- National Archives, Washington, D.C., U.S. Circuit Court, Portland, ME, Vol.3, p.152

Cumberland County Registry of Probate