Big changes have come to — all content is now read-only, and member subscriptions and the Shop have been discontinued.
Learn more

Chat | Daily Search | My GenForum | Community Standards | Terms of Service
Jump to Forum
Home: Surnames: Fortner Family Genealogy Forum

Post FollowupReturn to Message ListingsPrint Message

Husband of Lucy Ellen Fortner , Benjamin A. Martin murdered in Moultrie Co. Ill
Posted by: Penny Tveiten (ID *****7489) Date: July 15, 2007 at 13:17:46
  of 1620

Devoted to the Best Interests of a Live Town and Country an Enterprising People
Moweaqua, Illinois, Wednesday, February 5, 1902


While Attempting to Make an Arrest, an
Officer of the Law is Shot Down
in Cold Blood

One of the most diabolical, deliberate and malicious crimes that was ever perpetrated in the state of Illinois, was committed in the city Saturday afternoon shortly after three o’clock, when Wes E. Hawley shot and instantly killed Policeman Ben Martin.
The story is a brief one. Warrants for the arrest of Hawley had been executed in Esq. Donnel’s court Friday evening and given to Martin to serve. The warrants charged him with selling liquor without a license. Martin went to Hawley and read the warrant. Hawley did not come into court. Martin went again into Hawleys restaurant with instructions to bring Hawley into court. Hawley again declined to go, when Martin stepped behind the counter toward Hawley. Hawley then picked up a shot gun and fired both barrels at Martin, one or both of which struck him in the head, killing him almost instantly. Dr. Sparling was summoned and found Martin lying behind the counter dying. Hawley went at once to the Bell telephone station, consulted a lawyer, and was then arrested. He was taken to Pana on the afternoon train by W.L. Morris, O. F. Attebury and Roy Stine, and there turned over to Sheriff Miner and a deputy and taken to Shelbyville. More complete details of the horrible tragedy will be found in the testimony of eye witnesses before the coronor’s jury.
Martin’s body was placed on a door and carried to his home in the north part of town,
and the coronor at once summoned.
When the full meaning of this frightful affair gradually dawned upon the people, the excitement was
Great, and many persons said it was well that Hawley was at once taken out of town, or he would never have lived to see daylight. The only cause assigned for the horrible deed was that Hawley already had suits pending in the Circuit Court against him for the same offense, and was much incensed against the village authorities for prosecuting him. He openly threatened what he would do if Martin tried to arrest him. He simply made his threat good in killing Martin. The shot was not fired at Martin, but at the law, at the justice’s court, at the people of the state of Illinois. It appears from the evidence that it was premeditated and deliberate.
The following extracts of testimony given before the coroner’s jury in session Sunday,
tell the whole story.

Wm. O. Workmen testified - Was in Hawley’s restaurant Feb 1st between 3 and 4 o’clock. Martin came in and asked Hawley to go with him down to the office. Hawley said he wouldn’t go- had no business there. Martin said if he wouldn’t go he would have to come and get him. Martin went behind the counter when Hawley picked up a shot gun and quickly fired twice. Martin fell on the floor behind the counter. Hawley set the gun down and said nothing.

Lee Polk, who worked for Hawley testified-- First time Martin came in he read a paper to Hawley; heard no conversation between Martin and Hawley. Was present when Martin came in the second time. Martin told Hawley that he came after him; wanted him to go to the office. Hawley said he didn’t have to and Martin said I’ll have to come after you and stepped behind the counter toward Hawley whe Hawley took the gun and fired twice. Martin fell the second shot. Don’t know how long he lived. Never heard Hawley make any threats against martin at any time. At time of shooting I was standing behind counter nearly between Martin and Hawley; distance between them was 16 to 18 feet.

J G Corrington testified that the shot gun was his; identified by no 311434. Hawley had borrowed it for hunting and trap shooting and had used it about a month.

Mat Larson testified that he was in Hawley’s restaurant between 3 and 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon, when Martin entered. He told Hawley that he had come for him. Hawley said “ I ‘m not going”. Martin said “You better come go with me” Hawley said “ I don’t have to.” Martin said If you don’t want to go , I have to get you.” Martin started behind the counter at north end, and as soon as he got behind the counter Hawley shot him with shot gun. I said to Hawley, “What the devil are you doing?”. Hawley said, “the d___ ____ ___ can’t come around when I’m here.” I was sitting at the counter half way between Hawley and Martin, waiting for lunch. Didn’t see Martin fall but saw body on door.

Edward Slaughter, who had worked two years for Hawley, testified: Saw Martin come in first time; had paper; read it to Hawley. Second time Martin came in I was in rear room; heard both shots fired but wasn’t where I could see anything. Pulled curtain aside; saw Martin lying on floor, but did not go to him. Never heard Hawley make any threats.

John Prescott testified: Know Hawley and Martin; was in Hawley’s restaurant first time about 12 o’clock; Feb 1st: was in again about 3 o’clock; Hawley said a warrant had been read to him, but if Martin came to take him, would kill the d___ ____ ____. When I told him not to do so, he repeated the same language. Did not see Hawley put shells in the gun; was not there when the shooting took place.

Dr. Sparling testified: Was called to Hawley’s restaurant to attend Ben Martin, Feb 1st; saw Hawley and Polk behind counter; asked Hawley what he had been doing to Ben Martin; he said “ I shot him. I won’t allow any man to come and take me from behind my counter. I asked where Ben Martin was. Hawley said “ Down behind the counter where I shot him.” Martin was not then dead, but dying. Started to take Martin out the backdoor when Hawley said, “ No you don’t, you will take him out the way he came in.” We took him out the front door.

Wm. Scroggin testified that he went to Hawley’s restaurant just after the shooting; had a brief talk with Hawley; asked him what all the trouble was. Hawley said, “Martin came in here after me; I wouldn’t go; he started around the counter after me and I shot him. I wouldn’t let any living man come and take me out of my place of business.”

Esq. J H Donnel, police magistrate, testified that he issued the warrant for the arrest of W. E. Hawley, Jan 31st, in the evening, and gave it to Martin to serve.

Mayor Ralph Ayers and John Clark testified that Ben Martin was a duly appointed and confirmed village constable and as such it was his duty to execute writs and warrants.

We find that he came to his death by a gun shot wound caused by one of two shots fired from a shot gun in the hands of one W. E. Hawley, with murderous intent and malice afore thought, about 3:30 o’clock pm on Saturday, Feb 1st, 1902 at the restaurant of the said W. E. Hawley, in Moweaqua, Shelby County, ill, and we recommend that the said W. E. Hawley be held without bail to await the action of the grand jury; and we further add that Ben Martin came to his death while in faithful performance of his duties as an officer of the law.
A.J. COMBS - Foreman

The funeral of Policeman Martin held Monday afternoon was both impressive and imposing. Never was there such an outpouring of people and such interest manifest. The remains were escorted from his residence to the Christian tabernacle by the mayor, members of the city council and city officials, the Fraternal Army of America, in which he carried $1000 insurance; and a delegation of the Federation of Labor. The funeral services were participated in by all the ministers in town, Rev. Crank preaching the sermon, though it was a union service. The choir was a composite of all the church choirs in the city. The floral tributes were perfectly exquisite, and behind it all was a vein of deep and tender sympathy.
Ben Martin was a good man, a faithful and efficient officer; an enemy of no man; a loving and devoted husband. He sacrificed his life in the discharge of his sworn duty, and in upholding the law.

The pall-bearers were M.H. Miller, Jerry Campbell, Geo. E. Kirkman, Dave Adamson, J.W. Palmer and Joseph Beaumont, all members of the Fraternal Army. The remains were laid to rest in the cemetery north of town.

Benjamin Augustus Martin, the subject of this sketch was born near Lima, Putnam County, Ohio, Oct. 4, 1860. He met his death at the hands of an assassin Feb 1, 1902, making him a the time of his death 41 years, 8 months, 26 days old. He was united in marriage with Lucy Ellen Fortner, May 18, 1882 in Sullivan, Moultrie county, Ill. He with his wife moved to Moweaqua, their present home in the fall of 1886. Bro. Martin united with the Christian Church at Bethany, Ill in 1883, under the ministry of Elder Hallman. His church membership still remains at Bethany.

Brother Martin had served his fellow citizens in the office of City Marshall about eight months, and at the time he met his death was engaged in the fulfillment of the duties of his office. Bro. Martin met his death in a conscientious effort to serve the people of Moweaqua as a true servant of the people. He leaves a wife, one brother in St. Joseph, Mo., and seven sisters living in Illinois, two of them in Peoria, two in Shelbyville, one in Bethany, one in Sullivan, and one in Moweaqua. The deceased was a member of the Fraternal Army of America. * *

Whereas, Benjamin A. Martin night policeman for the Village of Moweaqua was, on the first day of February, 1902, foully murdered while in the faithful discharge of his duties and by said act a
blow was struck at the foundation of all government:
Therefore be it Resolved, by the President and Board of Trustees of the Village of Moweaqua that in the death of Benjamin A. Martin the people have last a conscientious and efficient officer, And be it, Resolved, that we extend to the widow of the deceased our heartfelt
sympathy in this her great bereavement and she also be presented with a copy of these resolutions. Be it further Resolved, that these resolutions be spread on the records of the Village.

Note: Benjamin Augustus Martin

Descendants of OBEDIAH MARTIN
Generation No. 1
1. OBEDIAH5 MARTIN (OBED4, DAN3, JAMES2, ROBERT1) was born Abt. 1828 in Morgan County, Ohio,
and died 07 Feb 1890 in Bethany, Moultrie County, Illinois. He married LUCY EVELYN SCOVILLE 25 Oct 1848
in Putnam County, Ohio, daughter of BENJAMIN SCOVILLE and REBECCA TOURGEE. She was born 14 Jul 1829
in Galaway, Saratoga County, New York, and died 29 Oct 1887 in Bethany, Moultrie County, Illinois.
i. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS6 MARTIN, b. 10 Sep 1858, Columbus Grove, Putnam County, Ohio; d. 12
Oct 1941, St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri; m. ALLICE REBANIA CRAIG, 03 Sep 1881, Columbus
Grove, Putnam County,; b. 16 Oct 1860, Moultrie County, Illinois; d. 04 May 1924, Vermillion, Marshall
County, Kansas.
ii. MARY ANN MARTIN, b. 30 Aug 1849, Jackson Township, Putnam County, Ohio; d. Aft. 1900, Shelby
County, Illinois; m. JOHN HENRY WINSON, 19 Aug 1866, Shelby County, Illinois; b. Jul 1838, Shelby
County, Illinois; d. Aft. 1900.
iii. ELECTRA ELIZABETH MARTIN, b. 17 Aug 1851, Jackson Township, Putnam County, Ohio; d. Bef. Aug
1919, Illinois; m. RUFUS ALEXANDER CHAMBERS, 19 Jul 1868, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Illinois; b. 20
Jan 1833, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania; d. 28 Nov 1914, Quincy, Adams County, Illinois.
iv. LYDIA C, MARTIN, b. 06 Feb 1853, Jackson Township, Putnam County, Ohio; d. Aft. 1910, Pekin
Township, Tazwell County, Illinois; m. FRANKLIN T. MURRAY, 11 Aug 1872, Moultrie County, Illinois; b.
Abt. 1843, Kentucky; d. Bet. 1890 - 1900, Shelby County, Illinois.
v. MALISSA JANE MARTIN, b. 05 Feb 1855, Jackson Township, Putnam County, Ohio; d. 19 Dec 1933,
Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois; m. FREDERICK RIFELY, 04 Jul 1875, Moultrie County, Illinois; b. 11 Oct
1846, Switzerland; d. 07 Jan 1906, Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois.
vi. BENJAMIN AUGUSTUS MARTIN, b. 04 Oct 1860, Putnam County, Ohio; d. 01 Feb 1902, Moweaqua, Shelby
County, Illinois; m. LOUISA ELLEN FORTNER, 18 May 1882, Moultrie County, Illinois; b. 18 Jan 1864,
Windsor, Illinois; d. 10 Apr 1941, Decatur, Macon County, Illinois.
vii. VIOLA C. MARTIN, b. 12 May 1863, Shelby County, Illinois; d. 22 Jan 1932, Springfield, Sangamon
County, Illinois; m. JAMES FRANKLIN FORTNER, 18 May 1882, Moultrie County, Illinois; b. 28 Oct 1858,
Clay County, Missouri; d. 25 Sep 1936, Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois.
viii. CLARA BELL MARTIN, b. 21 Jan 1868, Shelby County, Illinois; d. 03 Jan 1957, Decatur, Macon County,
Illinois; m. JESSE BUD FORTNER, 18 Oct 1886, Bethany, Moultrie County, Illinois; b. 08 Jan 1862, Shelby
County, Illinois; d. 19 Mar 1945, Decatur, Macon County, Illinois.
ix. DORA E. MARTIN, b. 22 Aug 1869, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Illinois; m. JONAS FORTNER, 29 Jun 1887,
Bethany, Moultrie County, Illinois; b. Apr 1863, Shelby County, Illinois.

Notify Administrator about this message?
No followups yet

Post FollowupReturn to Message ListingsPrint Message
Search this forum:

Search all of GenForum:

Proximity matching
Add this forum to My GenForum Link to GenForum
Add Forum
Home |  Help |  About Us |  Site Index |  Jobs |  PRIVACY |  Affiliate
© 2007 The Generations Network