Our camp takes it's name to honor one of Natchez's leading citizens, William Thompson Martin was born on March 25, 1823, in Glasgow, Kentucky. He graduated top of his class at Center College in 1840. After graduation he moved, along with his entire family, to Vicksburg, Mississippi.
John Walworth, a wealthy Natchez lawyer/planter convinced William to move to Natchez to tutor the Walworth children and study law under him. Under Walworth’s guidance William gained fame as an up and coming young lawyer. In 1845, backed by Walworth and Sergeant S. Prentiss, William was elected district attorney. It wasn’t long before he had earned an enviable reputation as a vigorous prosecutor and eloquent speaker.
Although a Unionist, William served as a 1st Lt. with the Natchez Guards and when he became convinced that the conflict was inevitable he organized and was elected Captain of the Adams Troop of Calvary. The Adams Troop was made up of some of the wealthiest young men from Adams County.
On Oct. 24, 1861 William was promoted to Major and given command of the Company, commonly known as the “The Brag Company of the South”.
Major Martin and his men were baptized with fire at the Battle of Seven Pines, and under Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, was incorporated into the famous Jeff Davis Legion. In the latter part of 1861 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. On June 12-15, 1862 Gen. JEB Stuart made his famous ride around McClellan’s army. Gen. Stuart hand-picked 1200 men and officers to accompany him on this ride and Lt. Col. W. T. Martin and the Jeff Davis Legion were among the 1200.
After the War, Gen. Martin returned to Natchez and picked up the pieces of his life. He worked to promote Natchez and rebuild his homeland. He brought the railroad to Natchez in 1870. He was elected as a State Senator on October 12, 1882. He served as a senator until 1894.
In 1894 he was Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee and helped design the “new” state flag. Red, White and Blue for the Union and the Confederate Battle Flag to remember all those brave Mississippians who gave their lives for its cause.
On March 16, 1910, 9 days before his 87th birthday, William T. Martin passed away. He is buried in the Natchez City Cemetery.