Melba & Buddy Martin
The Martin Family Philosophy still rings true today!
John and Essie Martin
“BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE, BUT NEVER BE ASHAMED OF, NOR FORGET WHERE YOU CAME FROM. NEVER FORGET YOUR ROOTS—IT’S WHAT KEEPS YOU GROUNDED. GOD PLACES YOU WHERE HE WANTS YOU IN THIS LIFE—MAKE THE MOST OF IT. DON’T SIT AROUND WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO TAKE CARE OF YOU. EARN YOUR KEEP. MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE WITHIN YOUR CIRCLE. AND NEVER FORGET THE PEOPLE WHO EXTEND TO YOU A HELPING HAND ALONG THE WAY.”
(Donna Martin Turk)
John and Essie Martin and their children Sara Elizabeth, Edna Earle, Johnnie Ruth and Jack moved to Semmes on Snow Road in 1935. James Rufus, Betty Ann, and Thomas E. (Buddy) were born in Semmes.
Semmes was a very rural area, sparsely populated with small farms, and a few nurseries. It was a period of time when neighbors knew all their neighbors and willing to share a helping hand to one another when needed.
The Martin Family farmed the land and sold produce, cut and sold firewood, odd jobs, plowed for neighbors, mowed lawns at schools and other locations around Mobile.From Produce farming, John decided to go into Dairy farming. His father and grandfather had been dairy farmers. Semmes was becoming a large dairy farming community.
Early dairy farming was hands on farming that was very hard work, beginning before daylight and lasting till after dark, seven days a week. Cows were fed and milked by hand. The dairy farmer had to grow food for his cows, Hay and Silage. Hay was grown cut, and dried then gathered for storage in the barn. Silage, annual green crops, usually corn and sorghum were planted and gathered green, chopped, stored in a silo where fermentation took place. (Silage had a pleasant sweet smell.)
The beginning of a turning point in the Martin Family from Dairy Farming to the Nursery Industry happened when Buddy stopped to help a neighbor Delano Ikner, whose horse was in a ditch. Delano managed a Nursery in Semmes. Delano and Buddy became friends.
Not only did Buddy become interested in the nursery business, by simply stopping to help a neighbor, but he later met Melba who was to become his wife. Melba was the sister of Delano’s wife Gloria.
Buddy and Melba and their families continue to uphold the family philosophy that was passed down from John and Essie Martin, not forgetting their roots, working hard, and making a difference in the lives of those around them, and contributing to the people of Semmes. The Martin Family Farm that began with 40 acres has grown to 400 acre Nursery which is known worldwide.
Preserving our History