Porter Authell (Thel) Martin

April 30, 1916 - September 10, 2002



In memory of Porter (Thel) Authell Martin. He was born in Beaver, Utah April 30, 1916 to William Porter and Wanda Iretta Easton. He was the first of nine children. His brothers and sisters were: Reva Martin, born December 5, 1917, William Samuel Martin, born December 4, 1918, Louise Martin born February 2, 1921, Virginia Martin, born June 9, 1925, Nina Rea Martin, born may 15, 1923, Daniel Easton Martin, born November 25, 1927, Mitch Martin, born in 1929 and David Ralph Martin, born February 2, 1930. All of the children were born in Greenville, Beaver County, Utah except for David Ralph who was born in Milford.

Thel and Elsie on their 50th wedding anniversary

Thel married, Elsie Merle Shipp in Parowan, Utah on July 14, 1934. They had one son Earnest Shipp who was born on Februry 10, 1935 in Beaver City, Utah.

Thel worked in Elko, Nevada for the city for many years and upon retirement, moved bach to Beaver City, Utah. He and his Uncle Ray Easton loved to take their horses to the foothills by trailer, where they would spend several hours riding.

The following is taken from the Memoirs of Earnest Shipp Martin which he wrote in 2016

I was lucky enough to be born to Porter Authell (Thell) and Elsie Merle Martin. Thell and Elsie in 1934. Are they not a most handsome couple ? They were just kids themselves when they were married on July.14, 1934 in Parowan, Utah with her brother Otto and his wife Jessie standing as witnesses. He was only eighteen and she was twenty-one. I was born at home and arrived a little early at seven months. Apparently I hadnít had time to get as pretty as my handsome parents, because my dad turned to my grandfather Shipp (a Mormon Bishop) and said, ďisnít he ugly, he looks like a baby bird that fell out of a tree onto the sidewalkĒ. My grandmother Martin and old Doctor McQuarrie made the delivery. I was so small at birth, they didnít have a scale to weigh me so they wrapped me in cheesecloth and put me in a shoe box behind a wood stove, as an incubator. They weighed me at six weeks and I weighed 2 1/2 pounds. At 6 months I was at normal weight. Ainít life amazing? In 1935 this country was in the depths of the great depression caused by the collapse of the stock market in 1929. On top of that, the center of our country, the Great Plains agricultural farmlands, where the soil was so rich it produced bumper crops, but was farmed without any ecological awareness of the effects of mother natureís wrath. Consequently due to several continuous years of drought, the wind and erosion combined to turn the rich farmland into the Great Dust Bowl.

Unlike my motherís family history, I was able to dig up some interesting background on my dadís family tree. There were eight children in my dadís family, five boys and three girls. There were my dad (the oldest), Bill, Louise, Nina, Dan, Virginia, Ralph and Mitch. Big families were the norm out in the country. You must remember, this is Utah weíre talking about. And on top of that, there was no TV. The Martin side descends from my great-great-grandfather, Daniel Stiles Martin. Daniel Stiles was the second child of six born to Irish-Catholic immigrant parents. His father, Edward, a tailor, and mother, Anne left Londonderry, Ireland, on May 10, 1834, and arrived in St. Johns, New Brunswick, Canada, June 13, 1834. Their immigration papers revealed that their hometown was Strabane, Tyrone County, Ireland. Their final destination was Newark, New Jersey where other family members resided. We can only speculate that upon disembarking in St. Johns the young couple probably engaged a small boat to the mainland and then procured a wagon for transportation as was the customary mode of travel for these times. Daniel was born February 6, 1836, just a year shy of a century before my birth. The fate of the other five children is unknown. Daniel was fifteen when he enlisted in the United States Army on the 6th of April 1858 in New York City. His occupation list at the time of enlistment was farmer. His physical description was: hair brown, eyes hazel, complexion fair, height 5 feet 5 Ĺ inches. He was assigned to the Company E, 2nd Dragoons. In 1857 when James Buchanan became president there were charges by Federal officials that the only authority recognized in Utah was the Mormon Church. They charged that the Mormon majority thwarted attempts by the Federal government to punish polygamy and murder and failure to protect gentiles who were victims of illegal actions. In May, 1858, three hundred new recruits, including Daniel Stiles Martin, arrived in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the major point of concentration for supplies and men for the upcoming campaign against the Mormons. However, peace was negotiated between the Mormons and the federal government. Indian problems in Utah and Oregon Territories, a civil war in Mexico and the impending war between the states gave the young recruits much to think about. Nearly half the dragoons deserted. We will never know what caused Daniel to desert on August 2, 1859 and eventually brought him to Beaver, Utah, where he would meet his future wife, Elizabeth Ann Porter.

My great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Ann Porter was born December 11, 1847 in Hinton, NSW, Australia. She was the second child of John and Mary Ann Bryant Porter. The curly red hair that she would eventually pass on to her many descendants already crowned her head. Like her brother William, she was blessed in the Methodist church in Hinton. By the time she reached her fifth birthday she had already been subjected to the escalating discord between her father and mother. When her mother made the choice to join the members of the Mormon church who were immigrating to America she also chose to leave her husband John behind. They boarded the barque ďJulia AnnĒ which sailed to San Pedro, California, in 1854. All of the family ties with John Porter were severed. For three years they labored with settlers in San Bernardino. In 1857 two events occurred that would ultimately unite Elizabeth Ann with her future husband. First the family moved from San Bernardino to the Utah Territory and became a part of the first pioneer group to settle in Beaver. We do not know the details, nor can we trace the steps that brought them together in Beaver, where they were married April 11, 1863. He was 27 and she was 15. After their marriage they made their home in Beaver. Daniel had several occupations, mostly he was a farmer but he also tried acting and teaching at different times. What was remarkable was the size of their posterity. They had 14 children, 7 boys and 7 girls. Elizabeth Ann died April 4, 1892, she was 45. Daniel Stiles died July 1912 at the age of 76.

My grandfather, William (Bill) Porter Martin, was the third child of 8 children of Daniel Oliver and Sara Jane. He was known around those parts as the town drunk. His main hangouts were the Beaver Pool hall or the jail in the basement of the courthouse. It was rumored that he had a cell with his name on it. He was a character with adventures you could write a book about. My motherís family must have been shocked when she took up the likes of the son of Bill Martin. He was believed to be buddies with Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid and the Hole In The Wall Gang. My dad and the Old Man (as he referred to him) did not have a great relationship, but dad could go on for hours telling tales of the adventures of his dad. I guess you could refer to him as a paradox. He was a character you could love and hate at the same time It was fascinating to sit and listen to dad tell stories of growing up with the likes of this character. Granddad was a bootlegger during Prohibition. They lived on a farm in Greenville, Utah. The Sheriff would raid the farm looking for the sour mesh and stile he was using to make moonshine. So he would station the kids up the lane so they could warn him when the law was coming. Dad said the Sheriff never did figure out where he hid the goods. When dad was about twelve, he was with his dad to deliver whisky to someone at the hotel in Beaver. They had the whisky in gallon jugs. He said when they got out of the Model T in front of the hotel, the Revenuers and the Sheriff came around the corner on both ends of the street. Dad said he thought the jig was up. But Granddad just dropped the bottles in the street and drove away.

When electricity came to the area and they were stringing the lines, they went to every house and asked if they wanted to connect. The Old Man declined. He just watched them connect other folks and when they left, he climbed the pole and connected up himself. In dadís Sophomore year in high school he got into a fight with the Old Man because he hit my grandmother. Dad hit him with a whiskey bottle, and nearly killed him. Dad moved out and lived with grandma Easton. I could go on and on with stories about the Old Man. That could be the subject of my next book. The fact of the matter was, when he was sober, he was a real charmer.

On the other hand thereís the other half, my grandmother. She was a saint. How she got mixed up with the likes of my grandfather is a total mystery. Wanda Iretta Easton was only fifteen and he was twenty-three when they were married in 1915. She was one of six children of William Joseph and Eva Jane Easton, a farmer in Beaver and my great-grandparents.

Thell stepped up and took the lead as big brother along with his mother in the business of raising the family. Dad did not get a chance to finish high school because he had so many responsibilities. Times were tough during the depression years of the 1930ís.

There was not a lot of career opportunities ln Beaver, so Porter made a life changing decision to move to California

My dadís brother Bill was going with a girl named Ardella (Ardie) Farnworth, from California. The Farnsworth family was originally from the Beaver area, but had relocated in Southern California. Bill and Ardie were fixing to get married so Bill and Dad decided to pull up stakes and move to California. Ardie had a twin brother Odie. It turned out that the Farnsworth clan in the Temple City area just northeast of Los Angeles, had some possible connections for jobs. I was just four years old and just vaguely remember the excitement they were experiencing starting a new life adventure. Odie had just bought a new Chevrolet and Bill and my mom and dad and old Ern, went sailing off to California with Odie and his new Chevrolet.

We were lucky and Bill and Dad got jobs right away. I think their first jobs were as laborers. We rented a house and settled in San Gabriel. I donít remember much about that first year, but there was food on the table and work was steady. Life was good.

We only lived in San Gabriel for a short time after we moved to California, less than a year I believe, before we ended up in East Los Angeles. Lund and Margret Turner, friends from Beaver, lived there and we rented a house next door to them. Lund worked for the Union Pacific Railroad and the railroad yards were two blocks from our house. The house we rented was a little one bedroom house at 1360 S. Marianna Ave.

We didnít have a refrigerator, but we had running water and inside plumbing. We had an ice man and milkman. Dad partitioned the one bedroom to make two really tiny bedrooms. On top of that, we always had one of the family living with us from the time we moved in. First it was Virginia (Virg to family and friends), my dadís youngest sister. She was a little wild the last couple of years in high school in Beaver, in fact she got married on a dare after a party one night (they had it annulled the next day). Well, her big brother decided she needed some guidance. So, he brought his little sister to California to live with us. She was really a character and we had a lot of fun when she was with us. Our house was small and we slept together.

Dad had several jobs during the war years. For a year or so, he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad as a security agent at the main yard in East L.A. We lived just two blocks from the railroad yards. I remember he dressed in a suit and tie and hat and a shoulder holster. He looked like an FBI agent. The railroad was an important distributer of troops, equipment and supplies for the war. After that he worked as a bus driver for the Union Pacific Railroad distributing passengers from the East Los Angeles Train Station to outlying cities like Pasadena, Anaheim and San Pedro.

Looking back at those years we lived in E.L.A. leaves me with some very fond memories. We didnít have a lot of money. The house was very small, probably around 800 sq. ft. To make it even smaller, we always had that extra body living with us. Virg was just the first. She lived with us until she met and married Blaine Miller. Blaine was a truck driver when they met, but after they tied the knot he went to work as a driver for Greyhound. They moved to Las Vegas. That was when Bugsy Segal and the Mob moved in and transformed Vegas into the major gambling center it is today. She was there from the mid-forties through the fifties. She knew them all.

For transportation during the war years we had a 1927 Studebaker touring car. Dad got it from a little old lady in Pasadena. He bought it because it had four brand new tires and tires were really hard to find during the war. It turned out to be a great car. I remember it had a large wooden steering wheel and you could sit in the back seat with your legs straight out and not touch the front seat.

My folks loved to dance. They would get on the bus and go to places like The Riverside Rancho, by Griffith Park, and dance to the music of Tex Williams and his band (Tex had a hit record titled, Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette). Or Ocean Park Pier and dance to the music of Lawrence Welk. Or they could go to The Palladium and dance to the sound of big bands like Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Freddie Martin. They would go alone or with friends or family like Bill and Ardie. My mother once said that those years in E.L.A. were some of the best years of their lives.

When the war ended in 1945, uncle Mack Easton came home from the war in the Pacific. Mack was really my dadís uncle, even though dad was older by about six months. Mack was my grandmothers brother. He moved in with us while he was working on his CPA at UCLA. He was with us about a year before he finished school and got married

After the war ended in 1945, dad got into the building trade. GIís were coming home by the thousands and they needed places to live. So, the construction of new houses was a booming business. Dad got a job as a plasterer working out of the union hall. He worked freelance as a plasterer for about year, then he got a chance to work steady for Ludlow Brothers Plastering Contractors in San Gabriel. They really liked him and he fit into the company very well. Given the opportunity, he worked his way up to Superintendent. He ended up making more money than he had ever made in his life. We were in fat city. Remember I told you about the 1927 Studebaker; well he traded that for a 1937 Studebaker. Dad really babied his cars. He had me dust them every day, because we didnít have a garage. Well maybe he did it sometimes. He loved his automobiles. One day he spotted the car he always wanted, a black 1941 Ford coupe, and he bought it. That car was his pride and joy. Things were going so well that in 1949 he decided to buy a brand new Hudson Hornet and build a new home in Temple City. His brother Bill had already built a house there. So, dad bought a lot and built his own house, with help from friends and relatives. It was a real exciting time for all of us. We had our own home. It was only twelve hundred square feet with one bathroom, two bedrooms and den, but it seemed like we had so much room. We had a backyard and a two car garage. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I had my own bedroom for the first I time could remember. I wondered what we going to do with all of this yard, front and back? Then I found out, I was going to mow it.

1957 THIS WAS THE YEAR MOM AND DAD MOVED TO CARSON CITY. This was the year that my dad and his best friend and neighbor in Temple City, Woody Johnson, decided to move to Carson City Nevada and start a contracting business, free from the Unions that they had to contend with in California. The building business was not exactly booming at that time, but they were getting established when a terrible tragedy happened. Woodyís eighteen year old son Dick was deer hunting on the mountain just north of Carson City with a friend. And his friend accidently shot and killed him. My dad and mother stepped right up to ease the burden of such a tragedy. Thatís what best friends do.

MARCH 1965 MY GRANDPARENTíS 50TH ANNIVERSARY March of 1965 I flew up to Carson City, picked up my mom and dad and flew them to Beaver for my grandparentís 50th wedding anniversary. Actually, other than short little flights around Carson City, my folks had never flown before. So it was like their first airplane ride. I think they were a little nervous. I say that because my dad left his suitcase with all of his clothes at home. The flight from Carson City to Beaver is about 550 miles across the state of Nevada south of Ely into Milford Utah to refuel. Beaver is about 20 miles east from there. It actually took a little longer because I had to skirt some weather. I had to contact flight control in Cedar City and make some deviations to my flight plan or they would be out looking for us. But that was all standard procedure; at least it was back then. You had to navigate with a map, compass and slide rule. Today you have all of the instrumentation like GPS. When we got to Beaver, we buzzed the grandparentís house and waved our wings at all of the family waiting for us to arrive. It was quite a happening for Beaver. Most of them had never flown in an airplane before. I spent that afternoon giving rides. It was great fun. For some unknown reason no one took pictures, so I inserted this picture of my roommate, Jim Pinaro, Mike, Mark and myself with the same airplane I flew to Beaver for this anniversary.

After I had finished the rides detail. I asked my grandmother if she would like to take an airplane ride. You must understand she thought 50 mph in a car was twice as fast as anyone should go. I thought she was going to faint just thinking about it. I really didnít think she would take me up on the idea. The next morning she came to me and said she had been thinking about my offer and if my mother would accompany her, she would love to have her oldest grandson take her for her first airplane ride. Before she had a chance to change her mind, my mother and I got her to the airstrip as fast as we could.. We had half of the town following us. We took off to the north. The runway at Beaver is at an elevation of 6,000 feet. Keeping Innerstate15 on our right until we until we climbed to 9,000 feet. The view was breath taking. We were west of Fillmore and I made a slow right turn east then south. We now have Interstate 15 on our right. We flew along the west side of the mountains keeping the highway off to our right. The view was spectacular. It was a perfect flying day. It was as smooth as glass. Then we made a slow descent into the Beaver valley and flew over Greenville and the old farm and back over the house and then a smooth landing. It was a magical day for her first and last airplane ride. This was her s pecial day in the sun and she told me she loved every minute. I asked her later if she would like another ride and she declined. I think she felt that she had pushed her luck as far as she dared. It was worth getting my pilotís license.

TOUGH TIMES FOR MY MOM AND DAD We were entering the Ď70ís when a terrible thing happened to my dad. His business partner and supposedly his friend took off with everything, leaving him holding the bag on several houses they had deposits on that dad didnít know about. Woody was arranging loans on the side and doing business with another silent partner. Dad made the mistake of letting Woody put everything in Woodyís name. He convinced dad that was best way to handle the tax issues. He played my dad for a couple of years and left town overnight and leaving everyone thinking dad was part of the scam. Dad ended up having a heart attack. He survived and eventually cleared his name with the people that mattered. They stayed in Carson City and he retired as a Superintendent for the State of Nevada. My dad was a proud man and I think the fact that a friend could do that hurt a lot more than losing the business. As it turned out, the contracting business went on a boom right after that and two of the guys that worked for them ended up rich. Donít know what became of Woody, but I hope he rotted in hell.

1982 - DAD RETIRED Back in Carson City, Nevada, on the 1st of May 1982, my father decided to retire as a Building Superintendent for the State of Nevada and move back to Beaver. Most of their closest friends in Carson had retired and moved and the family in Beaver was working on them to move back home. After being away for over forty years they moved home to Beaver. Dad was more for the move than my mother. He liked to hang out with his boyhood pals like Raymond Hutchings (Hutch) and Ray Easton. He and Ray were particularly close. They would fish and hunt and ride the range on their steeds. Unfortunately Hutch died less than a year after they moved back to Beaver. Then Ray died suddenly only couple of years later. Losing those two really took the fun out of retirement for him. He still had his horse, Jeff, but it was never the same. To top it off, he had always figured he would go before my mother. Well it didnít turn out the way he planned. He was left without her for over 5 years. It was a sad ending for a true gentleman. He will always be my hero.

1984 - This year was my mother and dadís Golden Wedding Anniversary (50th). They were married July 14, 1934 in Parowan, Utah. They had been back in Beaver for a couple of years after my father retired. Dadís family put on one great party. Everyone in both dadís and motherís family that were still living were there. Of course we were there along with my old friends Gary and Phylles and George and Carole. The move back to Beaver turned out to have good and some negative aspects. They bought a house right up the street from Dan and Louise and before they even got settled, they had a property line dispute with the neighbor. It really upset dad and took some of the fun out of the move. On the positive side, Ray Easton, my grandmotherís brother (Dadís uncle) and Dad were very close to the same age and very good friends. It was like they were kids again. Dad got a horse (Jeff) and he and Ray rode all over the mountain. They fished and did whatever retired friends do. Then just when everything was going right, Ray had a heart attack and died. I donít think Dad ever got over that.
Note - Ray died of a ruptured anurism of a major artery.

1997 MY MOTHER DIED - ELSIE MERLE (SHIPP) MARTIN b. November 20, 1912 d. June 21, 1997
My mother passed away June 21st 1997. The first time we noticed something was wrong with was during the holidays at the end of 1996. We were up in Beaver visiting my mother and dad. I was setting in the kitchen with mom, and she turned to me with a totally confused look. It was a look I had never seen before. It was something simple, but it caused me some concern. Louise had also told me that she had noticed some confusion with my mother. She went in and had some tests and an MRI. There was not a qualified specialist in southern Utah, so Jean and I took the MRI results up to a Neurologist in Provo. He looked at the film for about fifteen minutes. He then told us that my mother had a brain tumor that in his opinion was not operable. He said she would have no pain; she would slowly lose the use of the right arm. He estimated that she had three months. We returned to Beaver and informed the family. We then went to work to arrange for Kevin and Staci, Rick and Michele and Jean and I, to get together in Beaver to say goodbye. That doctor in Provo was amazing. She followed his script exactly. I donít think she was afraid of dying but she was really afraid of suffering a lot of pain. I told her that the doctor in Provo assured us that she would have no pain and he was right on the money. She was a wonderful mother. She was the leader of my fan club. No matter what I did, I always knew she was on my side. Mothers are like that. I could have been a mass murderer and she would still be there defending me. Fathers on the other hand stick with you, but just might look at the evidence. She loved to have fun. She loved to dance and was good at it. When we had the water fight in ELA, Itís a good bet she was the instigator. When they lived in Carson City, they had a group of five couples that would hit all of the dance clubs in the Reno, Tahoe and Reno area on Saturday night and boogie all night, ending up somewhere for breakfast. When they moved to Carson in 1957, they made friendships and formed this little dance group, each couple put $300 in the pot and made my mother the banker and made a rule that if anyone won at gambling they must put half in the pot. All expenses were paid by the banker. When the group broke up about ten years later they had not added a single dollar to the pot. One thing I know for sure, my mother would have loved The Colony and The Colony would have loved her. I loved her and miss her every day. Dads are our heroes, moms are our connection to life..

PORTER AUTHELL (THELL) MARTIN b. April 30, 1916 d. Sept 10, 2002
My dad joined my mother September 10, 2002. They were finally together again. I donít know what power controls the wonders of life, and if there is any fairness in the script, then they will be together for ever. He was the first born and the fifth of the eight siblings to pass. He was always the big brother and Chairman of the Board of his family. He was also a wonderful brother, father and husband. Unfortunately when two people are joined together as was my mother and father, one of them must exit first. And he ended up just waiting to die. Itís just not fair. Endings should be happy. And dad, if you are somewhere watching or listening there is something I would like to get off my chest. I did something that caused you to be angry with me in the last few weeks of your life. On the advice of the doctors, I took away the keys to your truck. I would like to apologize for the profound lack of respect on my part. It made you very unhappy. You deserved the respect you earned. For as long as I can remember you were the guy to step up when anyone needed help. Any kind of help. If you needed money you would give you your last dollar. If someone was freezing and needed a jacket he would give you one of his. If you needed a place to live, his home was your home. He taught me his two rules to live by. First donít take what does not belong to you. Second donít lie.

Thel died in the Beaver County Hospital,  Beaver City, Utah, on September 10, 2002 at the age of 86.


April 30, 1916
Beaver, Utah

William Porter and Wanda Iretta Easton Martin

Elsie Merle Shipp
Married: July 14, 1934

Ernest Martin

Passed Away
September 10, 2002
Beaver, Utah

Gary Nelson
Greg Myers
David Martin
Monte R. Hutchings
Mart Hutchings
Robert Easton

Family Prayer at Mortuary
Vocal Solos
Dedication of Grave
Bishop Blake Smith
Calvin Shipp
Robert Wright
Keith Barton
David Robinson
Clifford Williams
Mountain View Cemetery
Beaver, Utah


Russell Long
Monte L. Hutchings
Clay Davis
Jeff McMullin
Danny Long
Daniel Martin
David Lund
Mike McMullin

The Final Flight

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call,
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I've found that peace at the end of the day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things too I will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My Life's been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one' touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.

Author: Unknown


Thel's wife Elsie Merle Shipp

Thel's Father William Porter Martin

Thel's Mother Wanda Iretta Easton

Thel's bother Daniel Easton Martin

Thel's sister Louise Martin

Thel's brother William Samuel Martin

Thel's brother David Ralph Martin


This page last updated on March 04, 2012 .