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Be it resolved Sept. 22 is Upton Martin Day

By Staff | Oct 1, 2012

A resolution approved by the Town Council and shared by Mayor Jim Auxer officially recognized Sept. 22, 2012 as Upton Martin Day in Shepherdstown.

Auxer read and presented the resolution to Upton Martin, III and other members of the Martin family at a gathering at the Thomas Shepherd grist mill Saturday afternoon. The event, recognized as part of the 250 celebration, allowed visitors to view the water wheel in motion, just as it ran when the mill was owned and operated by Upton Martin, Sr.

“Your ancestor did so much for the town,” Auxer said. “We still strive to do things first, as he did.” Auxer went on to say that Martin, Sr. was a special person, as are all who still reside in Shepherdtown.

In appreciation of what the town has meant to the Martin family, Martin, III presented Mayor Auxer with a copy of the memoirs of Upton Martin, Jr. which were written with the assistance of Martin’s granddaughter, Stephanie. Segments of the memoirs deal specifically with Shepherdstown and the Martin family’s role in developing different segments of the town.

In addition to the mill, which Martin, Sr. purchased in September 1904. During the time of operating the mill, Martin saw a major problem and went about solving it. He realized that with the water wheel sitting on piers 100 feet downstream, it did not obtain the power that of which the wheel was capable. Being creative, Martin decided to move the metal wheel 100 feet up to the mill. This was a major feat and one of his most innovative projects.

In addition to the mill, Martin, Sr. built the Mill House which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Martin also built the Opera House in September 1926. While visiting this past weekend, the 10 members of the the Martin family visited the Opera House, holding a question and answer session for guests. The family also visited the Blue Moon, which was originally a gas station. Martin, Sr. had seen the need for such a station and answered the call to provide the service to the town.

Martin, Jr., shared many stories in the memoirs presented to the town. Included in the stories were ones of his own experiences working at Jefferson Security Bank before he left there to become Assistant Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Examiner, the first employee of the FDIC in West Virginia.

Martin, III shared on Saturday that he and his siblings “have been regaled with stories for years during our visits to Shepherdstown.”

Speaking of Bill Knode and Jim Price, who were on hand for the dedication of the day, Martin said, “My parents had great friends in Bill Knode and Jim Price. They traded many stories.”

Knode piped in with “They were all true,” which garnered laughter from the crowd.

“This is where my parents considered their home to be. And we consider Shepherdstown as part of our home, too,” Martin continued as he accepted the resolution from Auxer.

In the process of declaring Upton Martin Day, both Martin, III and Auxer took time to recognize the efforts of local resident Patrinka Kelsh who helped plan Saturday’s event.

“We recognize Patrinka Kelsh as the caretaker and steward of the mill,” Martin told those gathered. “I don’t think you get enough appreciation for all that you do,” he told her. Martin presented Kelsh with a copy of the memoirs as a thank you for helping to make sure that the story of Upton Martin is told and preserved.