MARTIN, Whitmell Pugh
MARTIN, Whitmell Pugh, a Representative
from Louisiana; born near Napoleonville, Assumption Parish, La., August
12, 1867; attended the public schools and was privately tutored; was
graduated from the Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La., in
1888; professor of chemistry at the Kentucky Military Institute in 1889
and 1890; chemist for the Sugar Land Refinery, Texas, in 1890 and 1891;
studied law at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., in
1891 and 1892; was admitted to the bar in 1892 and commenced practice
in Napoleonville, La.; moved to Thibodaux, La., the same year and
continued the practice of law; superintendent of schools for the parish
of Lafourche, La., 1894-1900; district attorney of the twentieth
district 1900-1906 and judge of the same district 1906-1914; elected as
a Progressive to the Sixty-fourth and Sixty-fifth Congresses, and as a
Democrat to the Sixty-sixth and to the five succeeding Congresses, and
served from March 4, 1915, until his death in Washington, D.C., April
6, 1929; interment in St. John’s Episcopal Cemetery, Thibodaux, La.
Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present
Henry Van Ness Boynton
Van Ness Boynton, for whom Chattanooga's Boynton Park on Cameron Hill
was named, served as a Union officer at Chickamauga and Chattanooga
during the Civil War and later helped established Chickamauga and
Chattanooga National Military Park.
A 1957 letter to the Chattanooga News-Free Press asked the question:
Who was Boynton and why was the park on Cameron Hill named for him?
Zella Armstrong, then-Hamilton County historian, responded that
"General Boynton conceived the plan for the Chickamauga-Chattanooga
National Military Park" and that the city of Chattanooga had "named a
park on the crest of Cameron Hill" for him. It was an accurate but
somewhat simplified answer.
Henry Van Ness Boynton was born in 1835 in Massachusetts. His clergyman father moved the family to Ohio within a decade. Boynton graduated from Woodward College in Cincinnati in the mid-1850s and then from the Kentucky Military Institute in 1858. An
excellent student, he was asked to join the faculty of the military
school where he taught until the opening volleys of the U.S. Civil War.
Boynton probably caught his first glimpses of Chattanooga while serving
in the command of Gen. George Thomas, the "Rock of Chickamauga."
Boynton was with Thomas from Mill Springs through Chickamauga and
Chattanooga, where he was brevetted brigadier-general, and until the
Battle of Atlanta. His experiences at Chickamauga and Chattanooga
affected Boynton's future in ways he probably could not have imagined
during his days of combat.
Thirty years after his actions on Missionary Ridge, President Grover
Cleveland, upon recommendation of the military command and with
congressional approval, presented "the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant
Colonel Henry Van Ness Boynton, United States Army, for extraordinary
heroism on 25 November 1863, while serving with the 35th Ohio Infantry,
in action at Missionary Ridge, Tennessee. Lieutenant Colonel Boynton
led his regiment in the face of a severe fire of the enemy; was
During the interval between Missionary Ridge and the Medal of Honor
presentation, Boynton had been mustered out of service (1864) due to
disability resulting from his wounds, became a Cincinnati Gazette staff
writer, and, after being attached to the U.S. Army during the final
year of the war, had then served 27 years as the Washington
correspondent for the newspaper. In an unusual act for a Medal of Honor
recipient, Boynton returned to service as a brigadier general during
the Spanish-American War and was given command of Camp Thomas and the
Chattanooga post. Boynton would later recall that it was during a ride
across the Chickamauga battlefield that he began envisioning a national
park that would preserve the past, allowing a "reconciliation between
soldiers from both sides" while honoring the actions that had occurred
on that site.
According to a 1904 Chattanooga Press article, it was Boynton who "drew
the bill which created the park" after spending time engaged with
former Confederate Gen. A.P. Stewart and others from both armies who
had served at Chickamauga and Chattanooga. In addition to authoring the
bill for the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park, the first
former battlefield so designated, Boynton wrote a comprehensive history
of the Chattanooga battles along with a historical guide to the
In recognition of Boynton's historical preservation efforts, the
Chattanooga Board of Aldermen in 1903 voted to build a park on the
crest of Cameron Hill in his honor — naming it Boynton Park. George
Ochs donated land adjoining the proposed park site, increasing its size
to 10 acres. Gen. Boynton acknowledged their action, noting that "Aside
from its views of historic ground, the wide panorama seen from this new
park is worth long travel to look upon."
When the general died unexpectedly on June 3, 1905, Chattanooga offered
Boynton Park, then beautifully landscaped with flowering cherry trees,
rose gardens and iris plantings, as his final resting place. In a
telegram to Mayor Chambliss, Helen M. Boynton responded "no telegram
could convey to you our deep appreciation of Chattanooga's desire to
have General Boynton laid to rest in the park which bears his name,
near the historic ground where he served his country so well." However,
she graciously declined the offer, noting that her late husband had
indicated "years ago" that he wanted to be buried "in Arlington."
President Theodore Roosevelt and a delegation of his comrades from the
Army of the Cumberland attended the service at Arlington on June 7,
while Chattanooga flew its flags at half staff and posted wreaths and
black bunting throughout Boynton Park.
Linda Moss Mines, the
Chattanooga-Hamilton County historian, is regent, Chief John Ross
Chapter, NSDAR, and vice president of Charles H. Coolidge National
Medal of Honor Heritage Center.