Merchant of Whitehaven, England.
Owned extensive lands (valued at more than £30,000) and 110 slaves in Goochland and Albemarle Counties, Virginia, as well as mercantile property in England and Ireland. Probably met Franklin on his northern tour, which included a visit to the coal mines at Whitehaven (1772).
Suffered heavy financial losses in Revolutionary War; lost ten ships, saw Virginia property confiscated (1779), and finally went bankrupt (1779). Remained active in local politics; involved in efforts to persuade Admiralty to exempt crew of Cumberland colliers from the draft (1795).
Probably son of Col. John Martin, a Virginia Burgess (1738-56, intermittently), and his wife Martha Burwell. Father of Franklin’s correspondent Miss Martin, who subsequently married Rev. Henry Blacker. Also had relatives in Ireland.