Shelby County Indiana
Martin M. Pope
MARTIN M. POPE -- Recognized as one of the most intelligent and thoroughgoing farmers of Sullivan county, Martin M. Pope, of Cass township, is successfully engaged in tilling the soil on as comfortable and well-kept a homestead as can be found in this part of the state. During his long and busy life he has pursued the even tenor of his way as an honest man and a good citizen, being engaged in either mercantile or agricultural pursuits, and is now reaping the reward of his many years of persistent toil. A native of Indiana, he was born October 9, 1838, in Morrill [Moral] township, Shelby county, [Indiana,] a son of Henry L. Pope. His grandfather, Samuel Pope, a native of Virginia, followed the march of civilization westward, settling first as a pioneer in Ohio, and a few years later coming from there to Indiana and locating near Indianapolis, where he passed his remaining years.
Born in Ohio, Henry L. Pope came with his parents to Indiana. He lived for a number of years with, or near, his parents, but after his second marriage he located in Shelby county, where he lived until 1867. He subsequently spent a few years in Sullivan county, and then moved to Greene county, where he resided until his death, at the age of eighty-three years. The maiden name of his second wife, mother of Martin M., was Charity Martin. She was born, it is thought, in Shelby county, Indiana, where her father, George Martin, a native of North Carolina, was a pioneer settler. He was a basket maker and a farmer, and spent his last years in Edgar county, Illinois. He married a Miss Hoop. Of the union of Henry L. and Charity (Martin) Pope, eight children were born, namely: William, Martin M., Isabelle, Sarah, Mary, Aaron, Phebe and John. The mother of these children died at the age of fifty-six years.
Brought up in pioneer days Martin M. Pope learned to read and write in the old log schoolhouse, sitting on a slab seat which had wooden pegs for legs, while a slab placed against one side of the cabin served the children for a writing desk. The room was lighted with just the amount of light that could push its way through a strip of greased paper in an opening where one log was left out, and was heated by a fire built of logs in the huge fireplace. He was about nine years old when he made his first visit to Indianapolis, going there with his father to take a load of poultry. It was then quite a flourishing town, with less than ten thousand inhabitants, and but two railroads. Beginning life for himself at the age of twenty-two years, Mr. Pope rented a farm in Shelby county, taking at first a lease for four years. Coming to Sullivan county in 1866, he rented land for a few years, after which he bought a farm in Cass township. Subsequently selling that property, Mr. Pope was for fourteen years engaged in mercantile business in the village of Cass, having a substantial trade in general merchandise. In 1887 he bought the farm which he now owns and occupies, it having formerly belonged to his father-in-law, Greene L. Vernon, and has since been here profitably employed in agricultural pursuits.
Mr. Pope married in 1860, Mary Matilda Vernon, who was born in Morrill [Moral] township, Shelby county, Indiana, a daughter of Greene L. and Delitia (Vernon) Vernon. A native of North Carolina, Greene L. Vernon came from there to Indiana with teams, bringing with him his wife and two children. Entering government land in Morrill township, he first erected a log cabin, and then began the improvement of a farm subsequently residing there until 1867, when he bought a farm in Cass township, and here lived until his death the following year, passing away in 1868.
Mr. and Mrs Pope are the parents of seven children, namely: Sarah E., Janie, Cordelia, Aaron, John, Minnie and Etta. Sarah E., wife of Frank Usery, has three children, Fred, Eva P. and Ruth. Janie married William Miller, and died in 1892, leaving two children, Bert and Gertie. Cordelia, wife of W. Sanders Pigg, has six children, Herbert, Bessie, Raymond, Arval, Iva and Neal. Aaron married Florence Keene, and they have seven children, Bert, Zella, Sylvia, Clarence, Roy, Tony and Cleo. Minnie, wife of Hosea Steele, has two children, Vernie and Frances. Politically Mr. Pope is an active member of the Democratic party, and has filled various offices of trust and responsibility with ability and fidelity. While living in Shelby county he was poor superintendent and has served as assessor in Cass township. He has been deputy assessor three terms, was justice of the peace for eleven years, and for three years was a county commissioner. Relifiously both Mr. and Mrs. Pope are worthy members of the Methodist Protestant church.
A History of Sullivan County, Indiana, Volume 2, pages 161-163.
Contributed by Donna McVey
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