Today’s history minute will take us further back in time than we’ve gone before.and much further away than across town to the Owyhee Plaza.
The year is 1887 and it’s a brisk pre-dawn morning at the train station in Quebec, Canada. Standing on the brick paved leading platform is a large family anxious to board the hired railroad car that has just come into the station. The steam is billowing out of the engine stack, nearly obscuring the travelers who have gathered there.
Amongst them is a bright and charming 11-year old boy who is very eager to begin his adventure. Wilsie Manning Martin, our club’s first Treasurer was that boy.
Following the lure of the real estate boom in California, Wilsie Martin’s family, along with other Canadians set off on a very long train ride to seek their fortune.
As the train crossed the country, at many a stop, people would gather at the train stations and even come into the car to see these people going to California. Apparently this emigrant attitude eventually disturbed Wilsie Martin because it is told that he planted himself at the door and calmly announced that there was smallpox in that car. The curious quickly disappeared.
The family settled in Santa Ana and Wilsie received his first schooling there. When the time came for college, the family moved to Berkley where the entire family pitched in and worked to provide the children with college educations.
Wilsie Martin graduated in 1900 and began a remarkable career in ministry. He accepted assignments from California to New York City.
The earthquake and fire of 1906 released the latent power of his personality and the call to community welfare became a fire within him.
1912 brought Wilsie Martin to Boise and we have often heard of those remendous years. He entered into every activity for good in the city and the state of Idaho.
He became Chaplain of the 2nd Regiment, Idaho National Guard from 1913 to 1916.
Tucked neatly into all of his community service he managed to become one of the founding fathers of this Rotary Club in 1917. Shortly after this he began overseas work with the YMCA in France during World War I.
Wilsie Manning Martin became a doctor of divinity and has a list of remarkable civic accomplishments too long to mention. He was one of the five founders of the Hollywood Bowl among his stunning achievements within the religious community.
A small excerpt from his obituary reads: “The world wide vision of this man, his tremendous energy, his courtly courtesy, his high Christian idealism, his down to earth practical judgment, his tender response to human need and his crystal clear life will leave an indelible impression on every one of us.”
Copied from notes prepared by Cindy Conway & presented in 2008 or 2009