MARTIN B. HELMS
History of the Upper Ohio Valley
Martin B. Helms, a highly esteemed citizen of Cameron, was born in Marshall county, W.Va., March 2, 1838. He is the son of Adam Helms, a native of Ohio, who previous to the war, was occupied as a carpenter. In 1861 Adam Helms enlisted as a private in the Third West Virginia infantry, and was subsequently discharged on account of poor health. In the spring of 1864 he re-enlisted in Battery D, First West Virginia Light artillery with which he served until the close of he war. He was then occupied as a carpenter until he died at the age of sixty-five years, in February, 1881. He was married to Elizabeth Bonar, who died in the fall of 1852, at the age of thirty-five years. She bore her husband three children: Martin B., George M. and Rebecca S., who married John A. Pierce. Mrs. Pierce died in 1865,
aged about twenty years. At the age of fourteen years Martin B. Helms began work as a farm laborer, and continued until five years later, when he began a four-years' service as a deck hand on the river. This continued until May, 1861, when, in answer to the call for
75,000 men, he enlisted for ninety days, and at the end of that time re-enlisted for three years in the First West Virginia infantry. He took part in the battles of Kernstown, March 23, 1862: Fort Republic, June 8 and 9, 1862; Cedar Mountain, August 9; Thoroughfare Gap August
27, 1862, second battle of Bull Run, August 30, 1862. On September 11, 1863, he was captured in a skirmish at Morefield, W.Va., and thence taken to Libby prison, where he remained eight months. Here he suffered much hardship, but worse things were to follow. He was sent
to Macon, Ga., and was confined in Camp Oglethorpe four months without shelter, and from there was transported to Charleston, S. C. where he was kept under the fire of the Union guns for one month. The yellow fever breaking out he and his fellow prisoners were removed to a camp about two miles from Columbia, S. C., where he was two months, and then at the asylum grounds, three months; Sherman's troops advancing he and his comrades were hastily taken to Charlotte,
where they remained four days; thence to Raleigh, for three days, and from there they went to Goldsboro, where they were paroled. His imprisonment covered a period of eighteen months, filled with untold hardships. He entered the service as private, was promoted sergeant
at the battle of Kernstown, and first lieutenant to date from the second battle of Bull Run. He was discharged at Annapolis, on account of expiration of service. Since the war he has been engaged in clerking, and has been in the employment of E. B. Hicks for the past fifteen years, a testimonial to his efficiency and value as a business man. He was married in June, 1865, to Mrs. L. C. Anderson, and they have had two children: Willie T. and Ostie P., who died in
1876. Mr. Helms and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and he is a member of the Masonic order, the I.O.O.F., S. B. Stidger post, G.A.R., and the National Union. In politics he is a republican.
Brant & Fuller, 1890; Vol. I, pages 702-703.