Martindale, Justin (1804-1855?)
Justin Martindale (1804-1855?) was active in the carpenter’s trade in Raleigh and perhaps elsewhere for several years. He is known as one of the three artisans who contracted to build the walls and roof of Christ Episcopal Church in 1848.
Martindale, identified in the United States census of 1850 as a native of Massachusetts, was in North Carolina by the 1830s. The first known reference to him in the state appears in the record of his marriage to Evelina (Eveline) A. Lamb in Chowan County in 1834. Whether Martindale worked on construction of the State Capitol (1833-1840) in Raleigh has not been determined, but he was associated with some of the stonecutters and stonemasons on that project and accomplished several tasks on the building in later years (see below). In 1838, he contracted with the board of the Raleigh branch of the Bank of the Cape Fear to erect a 2-story brick office building on Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street.
Also in 1838, he advertised in the Raleigh Register his interest in taking “one or two lads, as Apprentices to the Carpenter’s trade. To avoid trouble, none need apply unless they have heretofore sustained an unexceptionable character.” The notice was dated January 7, 1838, but was still running in the March 23, 1839 Register. Later in 1839, Martindale placed a notice seeking the return of two apprentices who had evidently caused him considerable trouble: “One cent reward, but no thanks, will be paid for the apprehension of Henry and Jackson Phelps—brothers, and bound Apprentices to the Carpenter trade. The Public are also cautioned against harboring said boys, or trusting them on my account, as I shall avail myself of all legal privileges” (November 16, 1839, in Weekly Raleigh Register, December 7, 1839).
Along with several artisans who had been involved in the construction of the State Capitol, Martindale participated in the Raleigh Mechanics Association. At the Independence Day commemoration of 1841 he was one of many mechanics and other men who offered toasts at the celebration. He suffered financial problems over the years and in 1842 sought to be declared bankrupt by a district court. (Weekly Raleigh Register, April 8, 1842).
In the 1840s he was employed by the state for carpentry jobs at the State Capitol. When the state moved the Supreme Court’s chamber from the third story to the first story in 1843, Martindale accomplished much of the work, as indicated by his bill for $102.50 (Supreme Court Papers, copy courtesy of Ray Beck). His tasks included “preparing and letting down rostrum by teacle [tackle]” for $35.00 and “placeing it in lower room” for $10.00 as well as “unhinging cutting off and hanging of three doors” for $5.00. In November 1845, he was paid $39.75 for “sundry work done at the Capitol,” and his colleague the stonecutter William Stronach was paid $200 for work done at the Capitol as well (Weekly Raleigh Register, Nov. 28, 1845).
Martindale’s best-known work is as carpenter at Christ Episcopal Church in Raleigh. As noted in the biographical entry for architect Richard Upjohn in 1848, the church contracted with stonemasons James Puttick and Robert Findlater (both previously employed in constructing the State Capitol) and carpenter Justin Martindale to erect the stone walls and timber roof for the Gothic Revival edifice. Realizing that local builders might be unfamiliar with the truss roof system he had designed, besides sending plans for the building, Upjohn provided a model of the roof truss system which the builders could examine in three dimensions to understand how to build it. It is likely that Martindale made use of this model.
The body of the church follows a cruciform plan, with the strongly defined recessed chancel oriented eastward in traditional medieval fashion. The thick walls were of rough-cut granite blocks, with the simple pointed arched openings outlined only by smooth stone surrounds. The interior finish of the church likely involved a separate contract, and the carpenters and plasterers have not been identified, though it is possible that Martindale was involved. The main body of the church was completed in 1852, and the diocesan convention met there in 1853. Upjohn planned the dramatic tower with its stone spire as a separate side structure that could be erected later—as it was.
Little is known of Martindale’s life. According to a family genealogy posted on the web, his parents were Justin and Desire Martindale of Williamstown, Massachusetts. In 1840 the United States Census listed Justin Martindale as a head of household in Raleigh, and the census of 1850 identified him as a carpenter aged 45; he was not listed as owning any real estate, but he did own one enslaved girl. His household included Eveline, 42, and children Edward B., Ella, Henry H., and Florence, aged from 7 to 14, all born in North Carolina. Their neighbors included other artisans as well as lawyers and other professionals, including the English-born stone cutter James Puttick and his family.
No record or notice has been found of Justin Martindale’s death, but according to a family website, he died in Raleigh in 1855. His widow may be the “Mrs. E. A. Martindale” of Raleigh who served as “matron” of the State Hospital for the Insane in Raleigh in the late 1850s. In 1860, Eveline Martindale, 55, was listed as a seamstress and head of a household that included her grown children Henry, Florence, and Ella. In 1870, Eveline, a widow aged 63, headed her own household in Baltimore, Maryland, with her children Harry and Florence. In 1880, she was living in Hyde County, North Carolina, with her daughter Florence and Florence’s husband, William Murray. Eveline died on September 23, 1884, and was buried in the Thomas Mann cemetery in Hyde County.
- Elizabeth Reid Murray, Wake: Capital County of North Carolina, Vol. I, Prehistory through Centennial (1983).
- Dates:1848-1861; 1913 [additions]; ca. 1925 [additions]Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:N. Wilmington St. at Edenton St., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ReligiousImages Puslished In:Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
Davyd Foard Hood, To the Glory of God: Christ Church, 1821-1996 (1997).
Frances Benjamin Johnston and Thomas Tileston Waterman, The Early Architecture of North Carolina (1941).Note:Christ Episcopal Church is one of the preeminent surviving churches by Richard Upjohn in America. It has been maintained and expanded over the years, including additions by his grandson, Hobart Upjohn, in the early 20th century and a major renovation in the late 20th century.