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Surrounded by Martin Township, the small village of Martin, Michigan is in southeastern Allegan County.

US Highway 131 is just outside the west Martin limits, and 10th Street intersects with 116th Street in the center of the village. Other cities and villages within twenty miles of Martin include Plainwell, Otsego, Allegan, Wayland, Hopkins, Parchment, and Richland, while the unincorporated communities of Neeley and Shelbyville are within ten miles of the village.

The peak population of the small village was 502 in 1970, and its current population is just over four hundred, after three decades of slight decline.

Although Martin was not incorporated as a village until 1947, settlement of the area by European-Americans began more than a century before that. The first recorded settler was Mumford Eldred, who came with his wife, Jane, in January of 1836. With their five children, they settled on forty acres in Martin Township, although the township had not yet been organized. A few weeks later, Eldred bought forty adjoining acres. A small band of Potawatomi and Ottawa Indians lived on a portion of the land. The first white child born in the area that was to become Martin was Samuel Eldred, who was born on December 10, 1836.

As the community grew, Mumford Eldred's wife was asked to name the community. She wanted to name it Albion, but that name had already been taken by a community in Calhoun County. Instead, it was named Martin, in honor of President Martin Van Buren.

Calvin White came from Canada and built the first brick home in Allegan County. Other early settlers included William T. Walter, Thomas Monteith Jr., and Cottom M. Kimball. Scottish settlers named McVean, Patterson, Redpath, Shelman, Shepherd, Wheeler, and Wyle came between 1837 and 1850.

In the 1850s, construction of the Plank Road, connecting Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, began. Sawmills were set up along the route to process the hardwood planks that were used to build the road. By the time that the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad came through in 1870, the planks in the Plank Road had begun to rot. The railroad opened three depots in Martin Township: Martin Corners, Monteith Junction, and Shelbyville.

The Michigan Railway began construction on a third-rail electrified line from Grand Rapids, through Wayland, Bradley, Shelbyville, Martin, Monteith, Plainwell, and Cooper, to Kalamazoo in the summer of 1911. Opened in 1915, it offered interurban service to the area.

The Detroit, Toledo & Milwaukee Railroad also ran an electrified line from Allegan to Battle Creek, crossing the Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids line at Monteith Junction.

In 1888, the Martin High School was built. With W.F. Lewis as superintendent, the first graduating class in 1890 had seven students: Jessie Anderson, Dot Campbell, Ernest Fenner, Delia Lamphire, Grace Nichols, Claude Ross, and Alfred Wylie. The original three-story school burned in 1908, and was rebuilt the following year, and the second building served until it was replaced in 1965.

In the 1860s, Andrew Bee, a tin smith, was employed by Andrew Patterson, a Martin hardware store owner. Enlisting as a private in the 4th Michigan Cavalry during the Civil War, he is attributed with capturing Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who was disguised in women's clothing following Confederate General Lee's surrender. Bee is buried in the East Martin Cemetery.

Today, Martin is a residential community that includes, and is surrounded by agricultural and rural land, but nearby US-131 connects the village to nearby larger cities.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the village of Martin, Michigan. Appropriate topics include websites representing the village government and any other governmental bodies based within the village, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, attractions, sports programs, and recreational opportunities.



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