Whitmell P. Martin

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Whitmell P. Martin.

Whitmell Pugh Martin (August 12, 1867 – April 6, 1929) was a U.S. Representative from Louisiana. Although he later served most of his congressional career as a Democrat, Martin was first elected as a "Bull Moose" Progressive in 1914 (seated in 1915). He is the only individual ever to represent Louisiana in Congress as a member of that party.

Born near Napoleonville, Assumption Parish, Louisiana, to Robert Campbell Martin and Margerite Chism (Littlejohn) Martin, Whitmell attended the public schools and was privately tutored. He was graduated from Louisiana State University in 1888. He was a professor of chemistry at Kentucky Military Institute in 1889 and 1890. He worked as a chemist for Imperial Sugar at Sugar Land, Texas, in 1890 and 1891.

Martin studied law at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1891 and 1892. He was admitted to the bar in 1892 and commenced practice in Napoleonville, Louisiana. He moved to Thibodaux, Louisiana, the same year and continued the practice of law. From 1894 to 1900, he was superintendent of schools for Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. On 1896 April 14 he married Amy Williamson (who died in 1923).[1] He served as district attorney for the 20th judicial district of Louisiana from 1900 to 1906 and judge of the same district from 1906 to 1914.

Elected in 1914 as a "Bull Moose" Progressive to the Sixty-fourth and Sixty-fifth Congresses, Martin was the last non-Democrat to represent Louisiana in Congress prior to the election of Republican David C. Treen, also from Louisiana's 3rd congressional district, in 1972. Martin was indeed the only individual to represent Louisiana in Congress during the 20th century without being a member of either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. In 1918 Martin sought re-election as a Democrat to the Sixty-sixth Congress (which was seated in 1919) and continued as a Democrat through the ensuing five congressional elections. Martin thus served in Congress from 1915 March 4 until his death in Washington, D.C., on 1929 April 6. He was a delegate, representing his congressional district, to the 1920 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.[2] Whit Martin was an Episcopalian as well as a Freemason.[1]

Martin was interred in St. John's Episcopal Cemetery, Thibodaux, Louisiana.