Martin Boots

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Martin Boots Memorial in Riverside Park
Martin A, Boots was born in Hardy County, Virginia. His father, Adam (Steiffel) Boots, and mother, Barbara (Steiffel) Boots moved to Pennsylvania from Germany in 1757.(1) Then, a few years later decided to move to Virginia. After moving to Virginia they decided to settle and begin having children. Martin was born into a family with seven other children. He had four brothers, Gharret, Adam, John, and George, and also 3 sisters, Eve, Mary, and Barbara.(2) As soon as he was old enough, Martin set off on his own. In search of land that he could call his own, he would eventually wander to the plains of Indiana.

Years in Ohio

However, he first traveled through Ohio first, which was where he met his first two wives. He married his first, Eve Arahood, on June 18, 1804 in Ross County, Ohio. Two years later he married Mary Odle, the longest marriage he had, which also gave him 9 of his 10 children. He stayed in Ross County, where Nancy, John, Asentha, Sarah, William, Mary, Martha, Rebecca, and Caleb were all born.(3)

The first child, Nancy, came in 1806, and Caleb came in 1823. One year later the family decided to pack up and head for Indiana. On October 19, 1825 Martin Boots bought the first entry of land to Grant County, Indiana. He purchased 107.7 acres of land along the Mississinewa River for $1.25 an acre.(4) In 1830, Boots opened a corn mill across from Boots Creek. The mill was known as a “saw and grist-mill."(5) In 1831, Boots and David Branson each donated 30 acres for the county seat.(6) He also opened a school in a cabin that was a part of his farm. Elijah Thomas became the teacher for the first of many schools to be influenced by Martin Boots.(7)

Founding a Methodist Church

Also in that schoolhouse, Martin Boots held the first meetings of the first Methodist church established in Marion. Mrs. Brodrack, the wife of a worker in Boots’ mill, established the church. For a while, the total count in attendance at the mill was limited to the Boots and Brodrack families. However, as time passed the attendance grew and so did the sense of good will. Boots was found preaching the message to neighbors and strangers alike. The Methodists felt a sense of obligation to spread the salvation and cultivation of religious feeling.(8)

With this sense of obligation came a responsibility, they felt. During this time in our country there was a large movement of aiding the runaway slaves from the south reach their destination of escaping to northern lands. The Methodists in the area played a large role in assisting the fugitives. It is well documented that many established families of Grant County, such as the Baldwins, McClures, and Morrises, helped these runaways.

Later Life

In 1833 he married for the final time. He met a woman named Nancy Norman, and together they had his tenth and final child, Nelson.(9) A few years later Boots sold most of his property to new settlers coming into Marion. Boots sold his mill to a settler named Riley Marshall, who took over the operation and kept it running.(10) As a family they moved up to a home on the hilltop known as "White’s Hill". This was where Martin spent the rest of his days. Martin A. Boots died on September 13, 1842 and was buried in Boots Cemetery, now known as the I.O.O.F, Cemetery in Marion, Indiana.(11) Boots has been remembered as one of the founding fathers of Grant County, Indiana and a major contributor to the furthering of this area.


1 Children Continuation Sheet
2 Family Group Sheet
3 Children Continuation Sheet
4 "Men who tamed the land."
5 Brant & Fuller, Pg. 544
6 Brant & Fuller, Pg, 542 ’
7 "Men who tamed the land’”
8 Brant & Fuller, Pg, 547
9 Biographical Memoirs, Pg. 359
10 Brant & Fuller, Pg, 408
11 Family Group Sheet

Works Cited

  • 1. Biographical Memoirs of Grant County. Salem: Higginson Book Company.
  • 2. Brant & Puller, History of Grant County, Indiana. Chicago, 1886.
  • 3. Children Continuation Sheet. Marion Public Library. Marion, IN / State Department of Education, 1963.
  • 4. Family Group Sheet. Marion Public Library. Marion, IN / State Department of Education, 1974.
  • 5. "Men who tamed the land." Marion Chronicle-Tribune. July 4, 1976. Page 70.


This article was written by Devin Bilbee for Mr. Munn’s AP US History class and submitted on January 17, 2003.