According to the family I got the (name) John accidentally. My father, when a young man, went to sea and a shipmate friend of his (was) from, I believe, one of the European Countries, was named Martin. When I arrived my father wanted me named for him and so it was. The next day an elderly gentleman who lived alone and a bit across the field from us came to the house and said, “I hear you have a boy over here. What did you name him?” Someone told him that the baby had been named Martin. His reply was, “By golly, I can’t say no such name as that. I’m going to call him John.” So that’s how I became John Martin.
I attended the local schools; elementary Woodland and Winter Harbor, two years in private schools taught in community homes. I graduated from New Point High School. After graduation in May I did some work by correspondence with Southern Shorthand and Business University in Norfolk. I enrolled there the following January and completed the Course in the spring. I worked in Norfolk that summer and in the fall entered Ferrum Junior College as it was known then. By the end of the year the famous depression was creeping on and there was some doubt that the college department of Ferrum would endure. I along with some friends then went to Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tenn.
The superintendent of schools for Mathews offered me that summer a job as instructor in the “business departments” at Lee-Jackson School. I saw this as an opportunity to save enough to enable me to go back to college and graduate. I taught three years. From a starting salary of $100.00 a month to a salary of $54.00 a month my third year was ample evidence of what the depression was doing. So, I gave up teaching – worked for the federal program instituted at the time as clerk and supervisor until I began to work for an insurance company. I worked there until with the onset of World War II and gas rationing I found I couldn’t get gas to adequately do the job so I went to work with the Rationing Board.
Mr. D. D. Forrest, then superintendent of Schools came to me and offered me a job as principal of Lee Jackson School which was then an elementary school with grades one through seven. I stayed there 22 years. Then I was asked by Mr. Forrest to take the position of Home-School Counselor for Mathews and Gloucester Counties which were then one division. There were two of us working at this job which meant that we were concerned with any problems concerning students and parents; attendance, sickness, slow learners, drop outs, etc.
I left this after two years when Mathews and Gloucester became separate divisions, from then until my retirement in 1974 I worked as Assistant Division Superintendent a job I soon gave up as being a paper title with little significance and until the times of my retirement I was supervisor of Federal Programs. I suppose my major work here was with the Teacher Corps and what was then known as Title III. I was able to get a sizeable grant for beginning this and for the first time we had art and music programs for the entire system – grades 1 through 12. We also had a program for slow learners, psychological service, etc. I neglected to say that after I went to work at Lee-Jackson I enrolled in the College of William and Mary and graduated there – did graduate work there also.
In addition to my work with the schools I have most of my life been active in work with the churches and have been a member of Bethel Methodist since I was twelve years of age and a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church for more than fifty years.
I married Ivey Leone Hudgins and we had one daughter Carole Anne.