Martin Baty Cochran, Sr. (Eulogy)

September 4, 1831 – March 9, 1907

We are gathered here today to honor my gg Grandfather, Martin Baty Cochran, Sr., who was a true Son of Texas, an honorable Son of the South, and an American Patriot.

Martin was born on September 4, 1831, in the Mexican Province of Texas that later became Newton County. The Cochran family was there when the Mexican Province of Texas became the Republic of Texas in 1836. Martin was named after Martin Baty Lewis, his uncle, who was the son of Colonel Samuel S. Lewis. Martin’s ggg Grandfather was General Andrew Lewis, a hero of the Revolutionary War.

His birth place was under Mexican rule and was known, as the “Liberty District.” In 1835 this became part of what was called the Bevil’s District. After Texas’s independence, the district was divided into Liberty, Jefferson, and Jasper Counties, but in 1846 Jasper County was cut in half, and Newton County was created from the eastern half.

In Glimpses of Newton County it states that the Cochran family were early Newton County settlers and that Martin’s father, Joseph Sidney Cochran, Sr. was one of the first county commissioners. The book further states, “In the year 1832 three Cochran brothers, together with Colonel Lewis’s family, came down the Ohio River from Evansville, Indiana, where the Cochran family had settled after migrating from Massachusetts. They entered the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois, and thence on to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and then Alexandria, Louisiana. Then, they later went overland to Texas, and they lived in the Bevil District which was a loosely defined community of pre-Republic of Texas settlers. Henry Cochran was single; but his two brothers, Nathaniel and Joseph, were accompanied by their families. Joseph Sidney Cochran was married to Elizabeth Lewis, one of Colonel Samuel S. Lewis’s daughters. Colonel Lewis settled in Zavalla, Texas, but the three Cochran’s each received a league of land (4,428 acres) in what was then a part of the Mexican Province of Texas and later became Newton County.”

Martin married Isabella Elizabethson West, daughter of Levi Oliver West, Sr., in Newton County, Texas, on October 10, 1850. After her father died on April 23, 1852, his land was divided among his heirs. Isabella and Martin received part of her father’s land grant of 177 acres in Caldwell County, Texas. They moved, along with others from Isabella’s family, to the Luling area of Caldwell County, Texas, to farm the inherited land.

Isabella was a country doctor who traveled throughout the remote areas of Texas by horse and buggy, delivering babies and attending to the medical needs of the settlers. Isabella was energetic and continued with her medical practice until just before she died. Her family has been traced back to two colonial Virginia Governor’s. Lord Thomas West, provincial governor of Virginia (1556 – 1602), who saved the Jamestown colony, and his son John West, Royal Governor of Virginia.

Before his enlistment into the regular Confederate Army, Martin enlisted early in the war in two Texas State Troup units.

1. Gonzales Rifles, Gonzales County, 24 th Brigade, Texas State Troops. Martin enlisted on May 25, 1861, at the Gonzales Headquarters in Gonzales, Texas.

2. Iron Guards, Mounted Riflemen, Caldwell County, 25th Brigade, Texas State Troops. Martin enlisted on July 10, 1861, on the Sandy Fork of Peach Creek.

Martin and Isabella’s brothers served in the Civil War from Caldwell County.

Martin B. Cochran, Corporal, CSA

Commanding Officer: Colonel William P. Hardeman

Organization: 31 st Texas Cavalry. This unit was also known as the Texas 1 st Cavalry Regiment, Arizona Brigade. Martin enlisted in the unit in 1862. This unit fought in the Camden Expedition (March – May, 1864); at Poison Spring (April 18, 1864); Massard’s Prairie, near Fort Smith (July 27, 1864), and at Cabin Creek (September 19, 1864).

After the end of the Civil War, between 1865 and 1890, Martin and his family lived in Caldwell County, Texas. He also received a land grant in Bastrop County, Texas. Martin was a farmer and rancher. At some time after 1890, Martin moved his wife and family to the Wimberley area of Hays County, Texas. In 1899 he filed his Confederate Pension application papers in Wimberley, Hays County, Texas. His wife Isabella died there in October 1904 and was buried in the Wimberley Cemetery. After her death Martin moved to Runnels County, Texas, to live with his son Levi Newton Cochran, Sr., and his son’s family. Martin was pictured in a 1906 reunion of Confederate soldiers in Ballinger.

Martin died at the age of 75 on March 9, 1907, in Truitt, Runnels County, Texas. He was buried in the Truitt Cemetery near Winters, Texas, which is also in Runnels County.

Martin and Isabella had a family of ten children, of which were six son’s and four daughter’s.

In Summary:

Martin Baty Cochran and his wife Isabella West are a “First Texas Family” of the Republic of Texas, as certified by the Texas State Genealogical Society. They are also certified as “Citizen’s of the Republic of Texas” by the Sons of the Republic of Texas .

On October 11, 2010, the Veterans Administration approved my application for a gray granite headstone for Martin’s service in the army of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. The Sons of the Republic of Texas have recognized Martin’s service with a 2 ½ inch bronze grave medallion.

This ceremony is a remembrance not only for Martin and his family, but also a “Celebration Of Remembrance” for all that are buried in the Truitt Cemetery, Runnels Cty Texas.

In Closing:


"Linger awhile and walk with me into the shadowy mist that was yesterday. Stroll across the faded pages of history and from our hardships learn the ways of a better life. Pass me not for I am the spirit of your ancestors. In your veins flow my blood and the blood of my fathers. Linger awhile, if only for a moment and through your thoughts I will know I am remembered."

Updated 08/28/2013
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