Martin, William (1767-1810) (DNB00)

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MARTIN, WILLIAM (1767–1810), naturalist, born at Marsfield, Nottinghamshire, in 1767, was the son of a hosier, a native of that town, who neglected his business, went on the stage for a time, and afterwards deserting his family repaired to London, where under the name of Joseph Booth he opened an exhibition of 'Polygraphic Paintings.' He died on 25 Feb. 1797 in Cumberland Gardens, Vauxhall (Gent. Mag. 1797, i. 167). Martin's mother (née Mallatratt) supported herself by acting, and educated her son at the best schools that her itinerant mode of life and straitened circumstances would allow. She quitted the stage after a theatrical career of more than twenty-six years in 1797. Martin when only five years old sang on the stage to the accompaniment of a German flute. When nine years old he delivered a lecture on 'Hearts' to several audiences at Buxton. In his twelfth year Martin began to take drawing lessons from James Bolton at Halifax, and from him he imbibed a taste for natural history. He was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1796. In 1797 he married a widow, Mrs. Adams, an actress who had resided with his mother, and quitting the stage set up as a drawing-master first at Burton-upon-Trent, and shortly after at Buxton, where he bought a fourth share in the theatre. In 1805 he was appointed drawing-master to the grammar school at Macclesfield, where he went to live. He appears also to have given drawing lessons in Manchester. He died at Macclesfield on 31 May 1810, leaving a widow, six children, and aged mother unprovided for. His widow was appointed librarian to the subscription library at Macclesfield. A son, William Charles Linnaeus Martin, is separately noticed.

He was author of : 1 . 'Figures and Descriptions of Petrifications collected in Derbyshire,' Nos. 1-4, 4to, Wigan, 1793, subsequently completed and issued under the title of 'Petrificata Derbiensia,' &c, vol. i. 4to, Wigan, 1809. 2. 'Outlines of an Attempt to establish a Knowledge of extraneous Fossils on Scientific Principles,' 2 pts. 8vo, Macclesfield, 1809. He also wrote an ' Account of some . . . Fossil Anomiæ' for the ' Transactions of the Linnean Society,' 1798, iv. 44-50; while two papers found among his manuscripts were published after his death : ' On the Localities of certain . . . Fossils ... in Derbyshire,' in 'Tilloch's Philosoph. Mag.' 1812, xxxix. 81-5; 'Cursory Remarks on … Rotten Stone,' in 'Mem. Manchester Philosoph. Soc.' 1813, ii. 31&-27, reprinted in 'Nicholson's Journal,' xxxvi. 46-56.

[Monthly Mag. 1811, xxxii. 556-65; Gent. Mag. 1810, ii. 193; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Roy. Soc. Cat. of Scientific Papers.]

B. B. W.