Jim’s Old Family Photos


These are the kinds of photos that you discover in old folders that got stuffed in drawers and closets after many moves, births, deaths, divorce, and other family events that tend to be hard on the filing system.  I’m gonna let them be big or small depending on the subject. There is no sense to my layout other than having the oldest pictures be first. I understand that the original Prussian spelling of the family name was Martens.

This is Godfrey Frederick Martin, my dad’s father -- my grandfather. If he was about 35 in this photo then the photo would have been taken about 1910. This guy was a stud. Tall, good looking, healthy -- he didn’t die, he got killed tending a grass fire in his mid 90’s. I recall him being a lot of fun but not real smart. At a big Thanksgiving dinner once my mother told him that he was the “patriarch” of the family. He refused to speak to her for the next two years. He was a sales manager for Central Steam Laundry in Chicago. This place did laundry for hotels and Pullman Car Company.

Such a business in Chicago depended on the salesmen being able to beat up their competitors -- literally. I don’t know if this is really true, but legend has it that Godfrey kicked the hell out of George Halas who had a competitive laundry after Halas had threatened him. Halas later founded the Chicago Bears football team.

The above picture is the most interesting one to me.  It’s my dad, Harry Lee (named after Robert E Lee for some unknown reason) Martin, his mother and my grandmother Sarah Jane Nimz Martin, and Dad’s sister, Dorothy Martin.  Sarah Jane Nimz - changed from Nimzovitch - a 16 year old Jewish girl from the Chicago ghetto, married Godfrey Frederick Martin -- a man who was the essence of Germanic. Sarah Jane Nimz was the source of whatever brains and IQ that later Martin offspring may possess -- she was sharp. And cute. When I got to know her she was managing the Boy’s Department at Henry C. Lytton department store in Evanston, Ill.

  Dorothy -- nicknamed Dode -- was the financial success of the Martin family. She was manager of Russeks -- a fashionable store in Chicago -- and she married a man named Mack Warsaw who was reputedly the largest mink fur dealer in the USA. Dode was sharp and beautiful and elegant. And all the brains came from Sarah Jane Nimz.

I’m guessing that this picture is a baby picture of my mother Elinor Saunders Bell. There is something odd about the photograph: it was cut vertically to remove the image of someone.  I have to guess that Mother cut the photo to remove the picture of her father William Hume Bell who she had come to hate because of the divorce of William Hume Bell and Jean Saunders -- my mother’s mother. William Hume Bell lived with his second wife on a farm over the hill from our house in Barrington, Illinois but I think I only saw Mr. Bell once or twice. He had been plant manager of a Westinghouse locomotive factory.

His ex-wife Jean Saunders Bell lived with us and I never put two and two together to understand that Mr. Bell and Mrs. Bell had been divorced. OK, I was 6 years old -- how much could I understand?

This was our house in Barrington, Illinois. It was at the intersection of Kelsey Road and Rt. 59 between Barrington and Wauconda. The house was built on the foundation of a very old farmhouse and was considered a “remodeling”. I’m pretty sure that William Hume Bell contributed very much of the money for this house because Dad didn’t earn much money and this was the Depression -- I guess this picture was taken in about 1937. Dad and Mother did most of the construction -- the hammering and nailing -- themselves.

That’s me -- “Jamie” Martin -- on a photographer’s horse when we lived in Niles Center, Ill. Niles Center later was renamed Skokie. I actually remember that photo incident. The other photo is of me and Mother out in front of our apartment on Kedvale Avenue in Niles Center. Probably 1934 or 1935.

BELOW is an interesting Ancestry chart that was sent to me by Lynda Bell. This was a total surprise and I want to establish an emai relationship with Lynda Bell to tell her what a delight it was for me to receive this email.  I have tried Ancestry but got badly bogged down in it and gave up. In this chart Elinor Saunders Bell is my mother.

I wish that I had inherited Dad’s good looks and his 6’3” physique. I didn’t. Dad was born in 1907 so I’d guess that these are photos from 1933 to 1945.

That’s me in Barrington, Illinois in about 1941. I remember that our barn actually did lean to the left and that the swing was the biggest entertainment feature. Dad had played football at Notre Dame as a center and his coach was Knute Rockne. Dad didn’t talk about it much and I asked him what Rockne was like and Dad said that  Rockne said “Get the lead out of your ass, Martin”. That was it. Dad played center and even at age 60 he could knock me over with a long-snap 15 yards away.

Life in Barrington had sometimes been sort of a survival situation but then Dad got a new job in St Louis and we were rich at least for a while.  Above left is Dad and Mother dancing -- probably at the MAC - Missouri Athletic Club, and above right is my grandfather Godfrey Frederic Martin sliding down the bannister. That was not a staged photo. He did this all the time. The pictures would be about 1949 to 1955 when Godfrey was about 75.

This would be about 1947, me, Mother, Dad, and David around piano. St Louis.

I think the photo above left is Mother with Beth -- David’s daughter, and above right is Dad, Mother, and Anne on a houseboat on Kentucky Lake.

Left: Dad, Dave, Jim at Dave’s wedding.  Right: Dad and Mom.

Me with Tom Mendenhall, the Master of Berkeley College, at my graduation from Yale in 1955.

Below:  My sons David, Peter, Chris and Andy

I’m going to stop here for a moment and try to focus better on what I had started to do which was to try to find and show and preserve the history of the family that was generated by Godfrey Frederick Martin and Sarah Jane Nimz Martin. There are some photos that I’ll try to find and which I wish I had right now, and the main one would be a picture of the adult Dorothy Martin Warsaw Cooper. She was a beautiful and very talented woman. Maybe her son Marty has a picture. I’ll try to contact him. Meanwhile, we will continue...

Elinor and Harry always had drawn-to-order Christmas cards -- drawn by a guy in Dad’s office.

Elinor and Harry Martin surprised everyone -- and even themselves --with their baby Anne Chase Martin. Here she is in a picture that Elinor sent to Jim while Jim was in college.

Picture on the right: Harry, Jim, and David Martin at Anne Martin’s graduation from Fontbonne College. Mother later taught at Fontbonne.

Above: Harry and Elinor at Jim’s graduation from college.

Above: Harry Martin in his prime as an executive at Transit Casualty Company.

Above: 1956, Jim (left)  at Bainbridge Air Force Base for flight training.

Above: Harry gets older but never gives in to old age.

Above: The Martin boys riding their bikes in front of their house on Wayside Court in Nashville. Peter, Andy, Chris and David.

Above: The way the Martin Family looked about -- I’m guessing 1980 -- correct me on that. Chris, his wife Teresa, Debbie, in front of her Jason who is Teresa’s son, Pete, Harry, Jim, Elinor, Debbie Higgs girlfriend of David and Andy, last  David, and Andy.

Above: Jim, Chris, David, fishing Destin, Florida

Above: David in Navy flight training in Pensacola

Above: At JoAnne and Jim’s wedding in 1984, JoAnne’s daughter Christy, Jim’s brother David, and JoAnne.

Above: at JoAnne and Jim’s wedding rehearsal: Jim and brother David.

Above: JoAnne/Jim wedding: Elinor, Jim, Jim’s sister Anne, Harry.

Above: at wedding: Harry with Dave’s wife Ellen.

Left: at wedding rehearsal 1984: Harry, Dave, Fr. Tom Hutson, Jim

Below are some pictures of me, Jim, in flight training. I had wanted to fly ever since I had my very first thoughts. I played with model airplanes, tried to fly off of the haystack and from the barn loft and when I got into primary flight training I already had a feel for it. Mr. Thornton, my primary instructor asked me on our first flight if I’d had any flying experience and I said no, only in my mind. And he tickled me by saying “well, you seem to know how to fly”.

In the T-28 at Bainbridge Air Base. That’s Frank Saya on the  ground, me in the cockpit and I forget who is on the wing.

At Bainbridge they brought in some of the next airplanes so we could choose what we’d fly next. I fell in love with the B-25 and decided to take Multi-Engine training which was in B-25’s.

Left: In Lajes Air Base in the Azores, they made me be the Maintenance Officer in addition to my flying duties. The best part of that was that I got my own car, that weapons carrier that I’m shown with.

My Mother’s side of the family

I know even less about this side of the family than I do about Dad’s side. So I signed up for Ancestry.com and right away started finding things that made no sense at all. One of the oddest finds in Ancestry.com was the pictures below of Mother’s father and mother from Evergreen Cemetary in Barrington, Ill. Note that William Hume Bell died at 61 and his first wife, my mother’s mother Jean Saunders Bell only made it to 52. There will be other things about “Jean Saunders Bell” that will mystify.

Tombstone: “FATHER 


Tombstone: “MOTHER


   1891 -1943”

Above: The Mystery

William Hume Bell’s draft registration of September 11, 1918. Everything looks OK but his wife is shown as “Jennie M. Bell”.  I thought that her name was Jean Saunders Bell. I know that William Hume Bell and his first wife (who I thought was named Jean Saunders ) got divorced but I thought that the divorce was many years later and I never knew the name of his second wife.

Here’s a surprising new direction:

Ancestry.com put Martha and Lorry Hershenson in touch with me. It turns out that Lorry’s grandmother Lizzie Nimtzovich Hershenson was...I hope you’re ready for this... MY grandmother’s SISTER ! I didn’t know that Sarah Nimz had a sister. So now I’ve got a few more clues about my grandmother’s background. Her name had been Nimtzovich or something very similar -- immigration clerks were not known for their accuracy or their spelling ability. And Grandma Martin had a whole bunch of brothers and sisters. Possible siblings according to oral family history: Esther Goldberg (Shannie), Molly Goldbus, Lazar, Benzl, David, Eli. So, here below are pictures of my grandfather Godfrey and my grandmother Sarah along with pictures of Sarah’s sister!

Godfrey Frederick Martin

Sarah Jane Nimz (Nimtzovich) Martin

Below left is  Lizzie Nimtzovich about 1895 and below right Lizzie Nimtzovich Hershenson, Sarah Martin’s sister  (!)

That photo on the left is disappointing to me because I have been looking for a good photo of "Dode" - Dorothy Martin Warsaw for a long time. I have tried to contact her son Marty who is seen at Dode’s left (many years ago when he was about 14 years old) but I can’t seem to get Marty’s attention.

Dode was beautiful. Very beautiful and very smart and this photo doesn’t do her justice.

Above left I’m on the Clayton High football team. On the right I’m posing with my good friend Bob Abbott for a picture in the Country Day School yearbook.  At the big public school I was a wimp. At the small private school I was a contender.

Above:  Lajes Air Base in the Azores.  That’s me taking off the newest KC-97 in our fleet. Hard to read the number.  Notice the nice smooth liftoff even with the full load.  (Bragging)