Joseph Martin's only Cherokee 'wife' was Betsy Ward. His brother John was the father of Mary and Susannah's Martin children.  I have this from a descendant, and trusted source.Apparently Starr did make several errors in his book.

by Descendant, Deborah Shelton Wood


In addition to sharing my line of Chiles-Martin ancestry, my purpose is to offer a helpful compilation of what I believe to be the factual lineage of these Martin families. My conclusions were made after many hours of reading historical accounts and research.

According to many accounts* Joseph Martin came from England on the ship "Brice", married Susannah Chiles in Virginia. They lived in Albemarle County, Virginia and had children, Joseph, George, Brice, William, John "Jack", Martha, Mary, Susannah and possibly Sarah.

Susannah Chiles is from the Walter Chiles of Jamestown lineage. It is said that Joseph was born circa 1704 in England and died January of 1762 in Albemarle Co VA.

Some have claimed that my ancestral line of Isaac Martin ** of Virginia is also from this family, but I've yet to find any proof of this.

Yes, there are more than a few Cherokee connections to the Joseph Martin family. Joseph and Susannah Martin's son, Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin married Elizabeth "Betsy" Ward, daughter of Nancy Ward who was known as "Beloved Woman of the Cherokee". Nancy Ward's Wolf Clan, Chota-Cherokee name was "Nan-ye-he Ghi-ga-u". I've seen a variety of spellings for this name. There are many historical accounts of the life and "career" of Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin.

"Beloved Woman of the Cherokee" gave Nancy Ward a lifelong honor and a distinction of power and decision making over her clan. Her first husband was Tsu-la KINGFISHER, a Cherokee of the Ani-Kawi or Deer Clan. He was born circa 1730 in Clay Co TN. Nancy's second husband was Irishman Bryan(t) Ward. This was his second marriage also.

With his first wife, Bryan produced a son, John, who married Cherokee woman, Catherine McDaniel. Their descendants include many named WARD in the Cherokee Nation.***

More about Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin...

The city of Martinsville, VA in Henry County was named for this man. Joseph was a "Long Hunter". His list of military achievements are many.

He was Captain of the Pittsylvania Militia, elected in 1776; Promoted to the rank of Major in 1779 and then Lieutenant Colonel of the Washington Co Militia in 1781. He was elected Brigadier General of North Carolina by the Legislature on 15 DEC 1787 and commissioned Brigadier General of the 20th Brigade of Virginia Militia by Governor Henry Lee on 11 DEC 1793.

Brig. Gen Joseph Martin's associations with the American Indian communities were invaluable in many instances. He was an "Indian" agent for more than a decade. He was a peace keeper between the whites and the Cherokee and Chicasaw. He had no way of knowing the unfortunate outcomes of the treaties he helped negotiate.

After some thirty years of service, he became a civilian and settled in Georgia, where he again was involved with Indian affairs and was elected to the GA legislation.

Martin's service on the commission to settle the boundary between Virginia and Tennessee, from which he retired in 1803, was his last official position. After the conclusion of this service he removed to Virginia and his residence on on Leatherwood Creek, in Henry County, and devoted himself to his private affairs. His home in Henry Co VA was called "Belmont". His life has been documented in various history articles and books, including the Lyman Draper letters.

Concerning his marriages and descendants; He is claimed to have married several times. It is undisputed that he married Elizabeth "Betsy" Ward of the Cherokee Nation East as well as Sarah Lucas, a white woman. We assume that his "marriages" to the other Cherokee women were tribal ceremonies that went unrecorded by the state, nevertheless, valid and producing offspring.

Although lacking typical documentation, it is claimed that he also had wives, Susanna Graves, Mary Emory (Cherokee) and he sister, Susannah Emory (Cherokee). Descendants of these lines are convincing as to these unions.

Having been asked many times about Joseph Lynch Martin of the Georgia Cherokee Nation, I've found what is, to the best of my knowledge, his kinship connection to the above mentioned Martins.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Martin and Susannah Emory produced son, John Martin whose wife is believed to have been Eleanor McDaniel. John Martin (1781-1840) moved to the Cherokee Nation West circa 1828. Among John Martin's children was Martha, Charlotte, Susannah, Nancy, Jane and Joseph Lynch Martin. Many articles can be found on the life Joseph Lynch Martin (1820,GA - 1891, OK). Below is a chart for some of these Martin family members. For more, please visit my site, "Virginia Roots" linked at the bottom of this page.

Was the Martha Martin who married Thomas Benge, mother of John Benge who married Cherokee woman Wurteh, related to the Joseph Martin families above? I've yet to discover or research this. However here is a bit about Martha Martin Benge's grandson, the well known Cherokee, Sequoah.

Most historians credit Sequoyah, the most famous Cherokee, with the invention of the syllabary or Cherokee Alphabet. It is more likely that he was the first of the first to write down what was well known to the Cherokees. His development of the syllabary was one of the events which was destined to have a profound influence on history. This extraordinary achievement marks the only known instance of an individual creating a totally new system of writing.

Sequoah was born in the 1770s in the Cherokee village of Tuskegee on the Tennessee River. Sequoyah was of mixed blood, his mother, Wureth, belonged to the Paint Clan. Sometimes the young man was known by his English name, George Gist or Guess, a legacy from his white father. Sequoyah, became a hunter and fur trader. He was also a skilled silver craftsman who never learned to speak, write or read English. However, he was always fascinated with the white peoples ability to communicate with one another by making distinctive marks on paper - what some native people referred to as "talking leaves".

My GRAY family ancestry includes George Gray who married Sarah Benge, thus I have these families in my tree at this link:

Descendant Register, Generation No. 1

1. Joseph MARTIN (William MARTIN1) was born ABT 1704 in ENG, and died Jan 1762 in Albemarle Co VA. He married Susannah CHILES ABT 1733 in VA, daughter of John CHILES and Eleanor WEBBER. She was born 28 Apr 1701 in Albemarle Co VA, and died 24 Jun 1756 in Albemarle Co VA.

Children of Joseph MARTIN and Susannah CHILES are:
+ 2 i. Joseph MARTIN was born 18 Sep 1740 in Charlottesville, Albemarle Co VA, and died 18 Dec 1808 in Henry Co VA.
3 ii. Brice MARTIN was born ABT 1737 in Charlottesville, Albemarle Co VA, and died 1816 in TN.
+ 4 iii. William MARTIN was born ABT 1742, and died 1808 in Stokes Co NC.
5 iv. John "Jack" MARTIN. He married Nancy SHIPP Jun 1784.
6 v. Martha MARTIN died 20 Jun 1813 in VA. She married Pomfret WALLER Sr.. He was born 20 Jan 1747.

Descendant Register, Generation No. 2

2. Joseph MARTIN (Joseph MARTIN2, William MARTIN1) was born 18 Sep 1740 in Charlottesville, Albemarle Co VA, and died 18 Dec 1808 in Henry Co VA. He married Sarah LUCAS ABT 1762 in VA. She died 1782. He married Betsy WARD ABT 1778, daughter of Bryan WARD and Nan-ye-he GHI-GA-U. She was born ABT 1759 in TN Cherokee Nation East, and died ABT 1803 in TN Cherokee Nation East. He married Susanna GRAVES 1784. He married Mary EMORY. She was born ABT 1740 in TN. He married Susannah EMORY.

Child of Joseph MARTIN and Betsy WARD is:
7 i. Nancy Ward MARTIN was born ABT 1778 in Cherokee Nation TN. She married Michael HILDEBRAND.

Child of Joseph MARTIN and Mary EMORY is:
8 i. Samuel MARTIN was born ABT 1785 in Cherokee Nation East. He married Catharine HILDEBRAND. He married Ms. WICKETT.

Children of Joseph MARTIN and Susannah EMORY are:
9 i. Rachel MARTIN was born ABT 1779.
+ 10 ii. John MARTIN was born Oct 1781, and died 1840 in OK.

4. William MARTIN (Joseph MARTIN2, William MARTIN1) was born ABT 1742, and died 1808 in Stokes Co NC. He married Rachel DALTON. She was born 1750/1760.

Child of William MARTIN and Rachel DALTON is:
11 i. Susanna Chiles MARTIN was born ABT 1780 in NC.

Descendant Register, Generation No. 3

10. John MARTIN (Joseph MARTIN3, Joseph MARTIN2, William MARTIN1) was born Oct 1781, and died 1840 in OK. He married Eleanor McDANIEL ABT 1810 in Cherokee Nation East. She was born ABT 1793, and died 1849.

Child of John MARTIN and Eleanor McDANIEL is:
+ 12 i. Joseph Lynch MARTIN was born 20 Aug 1820 in GA, and died 1891 in Salina OK.

Descendant Register, Generation No. 4

12. Joseph Lynch MARTIN (John MARTIN4, Joseph MARTIN3, Joseph MARTIN2, William MARTIN1) was born 20 Aug 1820 in GA, and died 1891 in Salina OK. He married Julia LOMBARD. He married Sarah CHILES. He married Lucy ROGERS. He married Caroline GARRET. He married Virginia HARLIN 1870 in OK.

Child of Joseph Lynch MARTIN and Caroline GARRET is:
13 i. John Rogers MARTIN was born 1855.

Children of Joseph Lynch MARTIN and Virginia HARLIN are:
14 i. Granville MARTIN was born 1876.
15 ii. William Penn Adair MARTIN was born 1879.


Susannah CHILES was born 28 Apr 1701 (exact date of birth is in dispute) in Albemarle Co VA, and died 24 Jun 1756 in Albemarle Co VA. She was the daughter of John CHILES and either Ms. Webber or Ms. Boucher. Parents of John Chiles is Walter II and Susanna Chiles.

Walter CHILES II was born ABT 1630, and died 16 Nov 1671 in Jamestown, VA. He was the son of Walter CHILES Esq. and Elizabeth MAURY.


*Among others, New River Notes internet site, by Jeff Weaver.

** My family site showing the lineage of Isaac Martin of Virginia, "Virginia Roots", Deborah Shelton Wood

*** Among other sources is author of the well documented internet site entitled, "Descendants of Nancy Ward".


By Gordon Aronhime

The Lyman C. Draper Papers

"Virginia Roots"