Orson Martin was born in Goochland County, Virginia, the son of John and Rachel Martin. Orson learned the blacksmith trade from his father. After the Revolutionary War, the family moved to Kentucky and settled near Boonesborough in an area that became one of the earliest industrial centers west of the Allegheny Mountains. Orson’s brothers William and Valentine became prominent figures in the neighborhood. It was Orson, however, who had the vision to recognize the commercial potential of the Lower Howard’s Creek valley, along with the initiative and skills to take advantage of the opportunity. During the early 1800s, he was one of the leading entrepreneurs of the valley, where he had his own sawmill, gristmill and blacksmith shop. Unfortunately, after such early promise, Orson’s career crashed under the weight of family problems and business reversals brought on by the influence of alcohol. This biography describes the successes and failures of Orson Martin,... More > blacksmith.< Less
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