Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY
Series 19: STUDENTS
David Martin, Student 1940-1943 & 1946; Advisory Board 1970s
William David Martin (1925-2016)


David Martin. [P1060023-1.jpg]

TAGS: William David Martin, Pine Mountain Settlement School students, obituary, Pat Hall Martin, Flora Patsy Hall, Fern Hall Hayes, Enoch C. Hall, WWI,  John (Jack) Mullins Martin, PMSS classes and teachers, Pine Mountain Association of Alumni & Friends, Mable Mullins


Student 1940-1943 & 1946 
PMSS Advisory Board 1970s

William David Martin, known as “David,” was a student at Pine Mountain during the School’s last years as a boarding institution. David stated on his school application, dated July 1940, that he wished to attend Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS) “because of training given there that is not given in [a] county high school.” He arrived at Pine Mountain School to begin his first year of high school after attending first through eighth grades at Maggard School in Letcher County.

As of 1940, when David applied to PMSS, his parents had divorced. David, his mother, and his younger brother, John (“Jack”) Mullins Martin, lived with the boys’ grandmother, Mrs. Jane Mullins. They joined David’s Aunt Della Mullins and her two girls, Emma Lou and Jane, in their grandmother’s seven-room white-painted frame house in Patridge, Kentucky. It was a lively home that was well-kept, heated by a coal stove, and lit by night with kerosene lamps.

The home often saw visitors from Pine Mountain. One was an aunt, Mable Mullins, an early enrollee in the School, who had moved on to Berea College where she received a nursing degree and ultimately retired as a Major from a very successful career in the Army Nurse Corps. Of note, a regular visitor in the home was Katherine Pettit who enjoyed many stays with the family. The Martin home was often the mountain retreat for Emma Lucy Braun, a trailblazing botanist, ecologist and conservationist, who with her sister Annette, an entomologist of note, spent many days in eastern Kentucky studying the forests and insects in the surrounding area.

The well-run household required that all members of the family contribute to the household and farm duties. David’s duties at home were feeding hogs, getting wood and coal, taking the corn to be milled, and helping with milking. Sometimes he used these skills to earn enough money to buy clothes. It is no wonder that, at Pine Mountain, he excelled where he felt most comfortable: agriculture, farm, field, and dairy. He was elected president of the 4H Club and president of the Audubon Jr. Club. His declared goals, when asked what he expected from a career path, were to first join the Navy and then become a farmer, even though his mother had “always hoped he would want to be a doctor.”

One of his favorite pastimes was reading and, in his home, he had plenty of opportunities to do so. He wrote in his application that his home contained “about 100 books.” A number of magazines and newspapers were also available, such as The Louisville Courier-Journal, Grit, American Magazine, McCalls, Women’s Home Companion, Holland’s Open Road for Boys, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, and Cosmopolitan.


During his years at the School, 1940-1943, David, like most boarding school students at the time, divided each day between attending classes and working at various tasks on the campus. The following are the Pine Mountain School classes he attended and his teachers:

Hygiene – Miss [Ruth] Gaines
Science and Geography, Biology – Alice Joy Keith
Singing – E. Trufant
Reading, Bible, and History – Vera R. Hackman
Home Economics – W. Miller
Agriculture, Agriculture Survey – William Hayes
Auto-mechanics – Carl Oreson
Civics – Malcolm Arny
Typesetting – August Angel
Mechanics – Joss Burden
English – Miss Keen
Co-op, History and Economics, Mathematics – Gladys Hill
Field, Sociology & General Conference – Birdena Bishop
English, Social Studies – Edith Cold
Ethics – William D. Webb
Current History – Arthur Dodd
Algebra – Josephine Merrill
Chemistry – Ronald Henderson

David’s work duties took place at the Farm, Dairy, and Milk House (supervised by William Hayes) and Wood Shop (Boone Callahan). He also worked as the Mail Boy for the Office (Janet Grant), reliably picking up the School’s mail each day when it arrived at the post office.

During his last year at school, his interest in studying began to wane as his thoughts focused increasingly on joining the U.S. Navy. In March 1943, three months before the second semester ended, he withdrew from school to fulfill his dream of becoming a sailor. After three years In the Navy during World War II, he returned to finish his studies at Pine Mountain and became a proud member of the Graduation Class of 1946 and the proud husband of Flora Patsy Hall.


Joe Bramlett Album – David and Patsy (Hall) Martin wedding in the PMSS Chapel. Bridesmaid, Fern Hall Hayes to left and Jack Martin, best man, to far right. [bram_-46.jpg]

WILLIAM DAVID MARTIN: Alumni Association

In the 1970s and 1980s, David Martin and his wife, Pat (Flora Patsy Hall), whom he had met during Pine Mountain boarding school days, were active members of the Pine Mountain Association of Alumni and Friends. Paul Hayes, then PMSS Director, wrote in the Homecoming Report dated June 16-17, 1979:

Our new president of the Pine Mountain Association of Alumni & Friends is Mrs. David Martin (Pat Hall), Modoc, Indiana. Pat is a teacher in the Modoc School System and husband David is a contractor, specializing in barn building. Pat was a member…of the famous CLASS OF ’44, which has contributed so richly to our Homecomings…

Pat Martin was the Alumni Association’s president until 1982 when David’s brother, Jack (John Mullins Martin), was elected to the office. (Jack had followed his brother to Pine Mountain School as a member of the Class of 1945. His time at the School was interrupted by two years in the U.S. Air Force in World War II.) In the 1980s through the early 2000s, As the President of the Alumni Board, Jack was a representative to and a member of the PMSS Board of Trustees where he acted as the liaison between the two boards.


William David Martin was born in Lynch, (Harlan County), Kentucky, on September 7, 1925. His father, J.D. Martin, was born c. 1895 in Cleveland, Tennessee, and had worked as an assistant mine foreman as of 1940. His mother, Ida Mullins Martin, was born c. 1897 in Partridge, Kentucky. She was a teacher before marriage, then a social worker for two years. In 1940 she was a supervisor of a Work Projects Administration (WPA) sewing project. The Martin family homestead often served as the base camp for many of the fieldwork trips taken by the noted environmentalist, Lucy Braun and Katherine Pettit was a frequent guest in the active family home at Partridge, KY, not far from Pine Mountain School on the Cumberland headwaters.


David Martin passed away on May 23, 2016, in Modoc, Indiana. The following obituary notice, written by his daughter Mary Lin (Martin) O’Donnell, captures the essence of his life and the joy he brought to his large family. It also tells the rest of David Martin’s story.

William David Martin passed away at home on May 23, 2016. He was born in Lynch, Ky., on Sept. 7, 1925. David attended Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky, where he first met his future wife, Pat Hall. In 1942, at the age of 17, he entered the U.S. Navy and served for three years. When he returned, he sought out Pat, who was attending Wheaton College near Chicago. They married April 3, 1947, in the Chapel at Pine Mountain and then took the train from Corbin, Ky., to Chicago and on to Ames, Iowa, where David attended Iowa State University. In February of 1948, the first of five children arrived: In order they are: David Alfred Martin (Cecilia), Doris M. Myers (Gary, deceased), Rebecca L. Estros (Robert, deceased), Richard A. Martin (Penny) and Mary Lin O’Donnell (Michael).

Their children gave them eight grandchildren: David Andrew Martin, Shannon Martin, Karen Hamm, Lisa Kaminski, Holly Justus, Tyler Martin, Scott Catey and Julie Huser. At present count he has 14 (plus five step-) great-grandchildren. A few days before he died, his newest great-grandson was born, his third-oldest great-grandchild graduated from high school and his middle daughter turned 65. In the midst of his decline, there were still occasions for celebration and there will be many more to come. So while we grieve his absence, we celebrate his life and the life he gave to us.

In his life he had been a sailor, a farmer, a salesman and the owner of a construction company. He was of that stoic generation that came through the Depression and World War II. In his late 50s, he drove himself to the hospital, walked to the reception desk and asked to speak to his daughter-in-law who worked there. When she arrived, he said, “I think I’m having a heart attack.” He was. That was typical of him.

After he and Pat retired, they took up ballroom and polka dancing. They bought a motor home and traveled across the U.S., attending polka dances and making new friends along the way. They took many cruises, including ones that took them through the Saint Lawrence Seaway, through the Panama Canal, to Hawaii, where he was stationed during the war, and to Alaska. He set foot in every state of the Union save one.

David is survived by his wife, Pat (age 90), his brother, Jack Martin (age 89), and his children and grandchildren and their spouses, and his great-grandchildren. He was dearly loved, and will be greatly missed, but is alive in the memories of his family.

The family asks that memorials to David be sent in his name to Pine Mountain Settlement School, 36 State Hwy. 10, Bledsoe, KY 40810.

[Written by Mary Lin (Martin) O’Donnell , daughter, May 24, 2016]


The family never tires of telling “David” stories, but the best one is the story that William David Martin tells of his own life. Prepared as an ETHICAL WILL to be shared with members of the family when he deceased, David gives a very intimate look at how he perceived his life, his teachers, his wife Patsy, and the many children and grandchildren he adored, chided, and inspired.

December 26, 2004

To: My Children, Grandchildren, and Great-Grandchildren,

My first recollection was when I was three years old riding on horseback from
Grandma Mullins’ to the railhead in Virginia to go to West Virginia. Mom rode
sidesaddle with my brother Jack who was just a baby. I rode with a man who had a mule
packed with our luggage. We rode over the mountain to Virginia and took the railroad to
West Virginia and on to Cleveland, TN to Grandma Martin’s house. Then we went to
Cumberland to Uncle Charlie and Aunt Rhoda’s house and rode back to Grandma
Mullins in a wagon pulled by a team of mules.

I lived with my Mom, Jack, Grandma Mullins, and Aunt Della. Grandpa Mullins
had died, and my Mom worked with WPA (Work Projects Administration). I got up the
morning at 4 AM during planting season to go to the neighbors to borrow or rent a mule
or horse to work in the field.

When I was 9 or 10 years old I started going along with the men who were
timbering for US Steel mines. I went to the timber woods and would snake-out pulls
(pull the trees out of the woods). Growing up, I was a loner. I was independent and
thought nothing about going out to the woods by myself and wandering around. I was
left to do my own thing as long as I had my work done at home. During the Depression
everybody worked. If anything was going on, I wanted to be there to find out what was
happening. Jack read a lot. We both had jobs we were responsible for, we each had a
cow, and we fed hogs. The Grade School was ½ to ¾ of a mile from home. We had an
hour lunch break and we would come home for lunch and feed the hogs in a ½ hour so
we could get back to school for play time. School was in session from July to February,
but let out in August and September to help with the harvest.

As a boy, I was most proud of raising the best corn in Letcher County and
winning an OIC (Ohio Improved Chester) Gilt at the 4H fair. The man that donated the
prize hog was from Mt. Sterling and he bought her back when I went into the Navy.
In 7th grade went to Louisville to the State Fair and to my Old Kentucky Home
and Lincoln Memorial. Jack took a plane ride. I had done more than most kids in the
community, you might say, I was “ahead of the curve” for doing things. Most of the
other kids had never been out of Letcher or Harlan Counties.

The last time I saw my Dad was in 1937. We went a half a dozen times to
Cleveland, TN to visit. Mostly we took the bus, and then Aunt Mabel drove us.
When I was 14, I went to Pine Mountain to school. I spent the summers in
Indiana working on a farm. At 17 I left high school and enlisted in the Navy. I enlisted
on March 6, 1943, and did my Boot Training at Great Lakes. I was then sent to Treasure
Island, CA. and from there to Pearl Harbor at Camp Catling, HI. I finished out my service at Little Creek, VA., Amphibious Base. I got out of the Navy on February 5,
1946, and went back to Pine Mountain to finish High School.

Pat had graduated in 1944 and was in Wheaton College. I first met Pat in 1940 at
Pine Mountain School. She was in Chicago when I came back from Hawaii. I was on
my way to Wyoming, but I only bought a ticket to Des Moines. We got engaged in
October 1946. I bought the ring in KY and Aunt Sally mailed it to me. Pat asked the
President of the College if she could ring the bell when we got engaged, and he gave his
permission, so we climbed the bell tower and rang the bell at Wheaton.

After high school, I went to Richmond, IN, to work, at Crosley, then to Des Moines
and Ames, Iowa to work on Dairy Farms. Pat and I were married in April 1947 at Pine
Mountain. I started college at Iowa State and attended one semester in the Fall of 1947
studying animal husbandry. I was working in Iowa and would milk cows beginning at 4
AM and then go to school at 8 AM and be back to milk at 4 PM.

We moved to Ohio in December of 1947, and Alfred was born in February 1948.
In June 1948, I bought a place in Carlos, which I sold in 1951. I worked in Economy for
Forrest Cain for two years, rented a farm from Gus Wile for two years and rented a farm
from Forrest Cain for two years. In 1957, I bought the farm in Huntsville. We lived on
the farm until 1976 when we moved to our current home.

My outlook is that each person is responsible for themselves. I learned not to be
afraid to try things. Growing up, I didn’t have any men around, so I set my own
standards. If I was interested in something I asked questions.

The Navy influenced my life. I ran my family according to the Navy codes.
When I spoke, I expected people to move. The Navy taught me to live, and not to be
afraid of death. People you met and knew were there one day and killed the next. I
developed the attitude that I might as well go ahead and do it, because you may not be
here to get another chance. People who have never been in War don’t understand that
life and death become secondary. Death is something that happens, human nature
couldn’t take it during that time, if you constantly allowed yourself to worry about death.
It was always with us. We lived a little reckless in those days, but we were naïve,
country farm boys, many just kids (only 5 of 120 guys were over 20).

I made a lot of mistakes but I don’t remember them, and I guess I continue to
make them. My Philosophy is to live every day. Be responsible for what you do. Don’t
do anything you are not willing to be responsible for. We Martins are strong-willed,
fairly well educated on a broad spectrum, and our memory is always right until proven
wrong, and we stick by it.

The most important person who influenced my life was Grandma Mullins [MABLE MULLINS]. She had a 4th grade education, raised 9 children of her own, and at least a dozen others. She taught me how to figure in my head. She had no fear of life or anything that came along. She was in her mid 50s when Grandpa died and she held everything together. She had the same attitude toward life that I do, that is probably where I got it. She died in 1948, after being ill for some time and being cared for by my Mom.

I was raised in the Presbyterian Church, but went to all the Churches. When I saw
all the hypocrites who became religious because they thought the end might be near, it
changed my attitude. I went to a “Youth for Christ” rally at the Gym at Wheaton College
and the organizers were trying to set up a “big con game” by recruiting students to be
planted throughout the stadium at Wrigley Field where Billy Graham was to speak. The
students were to go forward to the altar on cue to put on a show of leading the people to
be saved. This was not the religious values that I had been raised with, and it turned me
off to organized religion.

I supported the kids going to Church, I wanted them to learn the basic values. I
also want them to know themselves and not to be lead or influenced by someone that uses religion as a cover for their own gain. I try to be unselfish, do what’s right, help
everyone I can, and feel fulfilled. I don’t need someone to tell me I am good. I live by
my code every day. I look at helping others as a sort of tithing. Rather than expecting
payment in return, I just want the people I help to pass it along by helping someone else
when they are in need.

Mother and I raised five kids that are different, but they are all willing workers
and all are successful. They have a “go ahead attitude” and take over when something
needs to be done. They take responsibility for themselves and their families. I want them
to instill the basic values in their kids and for the grandkids to pass those values along to
my great-grandchildren and then on to the next generation. I have my opinion and I want
them to have theirs and to be able to think and express their thoughts and ideas so they
can always be learning. Help the kids get started, but don’t bait them into waiting for
what you have left.

As you get older your body starts to deteriorate and you have to keep moving to
keep it working. You also have to keep your mind active and never quit learning.
Mother and I try to do that. We have our aches and pains, but we keep moving and using
our brain. Be sure you have something to do to keep active, even if you retire.
If I knew I only had a year to live, I would do the same thing I am doing. I am not
afraid to die. I wasn’t afraid, when I had my Heart Attack or when I was told I had
Cancer. Dr. Lingeman told me that my attitude about the Cancer probably helped me to
overcome the treatments and survive. When I can’t be active, I won’t do a lot to prolong
my life. I don’t want to be a burden, that’s the reason I have a Living Will. Enjoy me
while I am here and be ready to get rid of me when I am gone. I just want to do more of
the same thing I have been doing. I am not working on anything I am going to take with
me, so I don’t let work interfere with what I want to do. I will miss the people when I am
gone, I have enjoyed the people I’ve met throughout my life. Love to all of you.

William David Martin



Always when some part of our life has come to a close.
There is the silent recalling of the past—
Old acquaintances, books, classmates, laughter, sorrow—
All blending to make life,
Some find a joy in seeking out these treasured stores,
Viewing them with soft eyes and glowing faces,
Others dare not look over these fragments of yesterday,
For there is a sadness in knowing
These happy days Will not be lived again.
But I have thought today about the time
When I shall be looking back
At my days spent at Pine Mountain,
Pondering and weighing each part with care,
large and small
Friendships, disappointments, peace, love.
I used to think it would hurt,
Now I know it never will,
For I have had a fleeting look today—
At the path that lies ahead.

—Patsy Hall (Wife of David Martin)
Published in the PMSS Conifer 1944


FLORA PATSY HALL Correspondence and School Record






William David Martin

Alt. Title

David Martin




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Helen Hayes Wykle , Ann Angel Eberhardt ,

Subject Keyword

William David Martin , Pine Mountain Settlement School , David Martin , obituary , Mary Lin (Martin) O’Donnell , Martin Family , John (Jack) Mullins Martin , Pat (Flora Patsy Hall) Martin , farming , U.S. Navy , Association of Alumni and Friends , Wheaton College , Iowa State University , WWII , Katherine Pettit , Emma Lucy Braun , Pine Mountain, KY , Harlan County, KY , Lynch, KY , Modoc, IN , Chicago, IL , Ames, IA ,

Subject LCSH

Martin, William David, — September 7, 1925 – May 24, 2016.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY


Mary Lin (Martin) O’Donnell, Daughter


Collections , text , image ,


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet Boys House Library and Archive


Series19: Students




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series19: Students

Coverage Temporal

1895 – 2016

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY , Harlan County, KY , Letcher County, KY , Partridge, KY , Lynch, KY , Modoc, IN , Chicago, IL , Ames, IA ,


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of William David Martin , clippings, photographs, books by or about William David Martin ,




“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle , Ann Angel Eberhardt ,

Last Updated

2016-06-03 hhw ; 2016-06-09 aae ; 2016-06-10 hhw ; 2019-06-21 aae ; 2023-07-04 aae ; 



“Martin, William David” Student Files.  Series 19: Students. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Archival material.

O’Donnell, Mary Lin (Martin), “Wiliam David Martin.” Obituary published in The Star Press (Muncie, IN) on May 25, 2016. Print.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K7TY-DK7 : accessed 11 June 2016), Jane Mullins, Magisterial District 1, Letcher, Kentucky, United States, citing enumeration district (ED) 67-4, sheet 6B, family 99, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 1330. Internet resource.

William David Martin Ethical Will. Rendered with permission of the Martin family. [2019]








Return to: BIOGRAPHY – A-Z

See Also:
WILLIAM DAVID MARTIN Records (restricted) 

MABLE MULLINS Student (Aunt)

FLORA PATSY Correspondence