Guide to the F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company Records 1894-1959
Cage 338

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company
F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company Records
Cage 338
Date [inclusive]
2500.0 items.
General Physical Description note
7 linear feet of shelf space.
Business and financial records, including daily reports of wheat prices, tax returns, expense records, property assessments, grain orders, general ledgers cash books and other records of a flour-milling company in Cheney, Washington, with interests in real estate, farm land, rents, stocks and bonds. Company officials included F.M. Martin, C.D. Martin and Elizabeth Goerling.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 338, F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company Records. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

The F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company was founded in August, 1907, by Francis M. Martin (1858-1925) and J. F. Smith, with the assistance of Clarence D. Martin (1886-1955). The company was capitalized at $50,000 with 200 shares of common stock. F. M. Martin retained the controlling interest with 174 shares, Smith had twenty, C. D. Martin had one and two other investors held five shares. The founders were careful not to limit the company to operating a general grain and milling business. According to the Articles of Incorporation, the company's purpose included the ability " to buy, acquire, lease, own, control, operate, improve, sell, mortgage and convey any and all kinds of grain, mills, water power, electrical power, stocks, bonds, personal property and real estate, to borrow and loan money; and to do and perform any and all things deemed by the officers of said company as necessary in carrying out the general purposes [of the company]."

F. M. Martin was elected president and general manager and retained that position until his death in August of 1925. During the first decade of operation, the company was extremely successful. Profits were such that the company directors declared substantial dividends in the years from 1910 to 1916. In 1916 alone the dividend was $100 per share. The exception to this succession of prosperous years came in 1912 when a fire at the mill, causing over $20,000 in damage, forced the directors to defer issuing the customary dividend. The company expanded its operation in 1918 with the construction of a new and larger mill which was fortuitously completed just after the destruction by fire of the old mill.

Clarence D. Martin, son of principal founder F. M. Martin, succeeded his father as president and general manager in August, 1925. In November, 1932, C. D. Martin was elected governor of the state of Washington and, therefore, took up residence in the Governor's Mansion in Olympia. Until January, 1941, when he returned to Cheney, he left the operation of the business to his business secretary, Elizabeth Goerling, and his eldest son, William F. Martin. Early in 1943, after months of negotiation, Martin sold the mill to the National Biscuit Company for $1,000,000 cash. This was not, however, the end of the F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company. The company, which retained its headquarters in Cheney, had acquired substantial real estate, business and financial interests throughout the state of Washington as well as numerous stocks and bonds. In August, 1955, C. D. Martin died and the firm passed to his three sons. The company continued in business with Elizabeth Goerling as business secretary. The last entry contained among these records of the company is for December, 1959.

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Scope and Contents note

The records of the F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company contain financial and business records for the period 1907 to 1959. There are two series: unbound material and bound volumes. The unbound material contains daily reports of wheat prices and mill inventory for the decade of the 1920s. Income tax returns for the years 1927, 1929 and 1932 are especially interesting since they give a picture of the milling business in both the prosperous pre-Depression period and also when the Depression was at its height. A complete run of cancelled checks or check registers from December of 1941 to December of 1959 serve to document the financial dealings of the company in the 1940s and 1950s. There is no business correspondence series among the mill records. Some of that correspondence does exist, however, from the early 1930s to about 1954, included in the personal, business and political correspondence series of Clarence D. Martin Papers, 1896-1954, in the Washington State University Library. Other material in the unbound series, such as property assessments for 1920-1921 and 1925-1931, savings passbooks for January, 1943 through November, 1953, grain orders and prices, insurance forms and sample contracts, serve to enrich the financial picture of the mill.

The bound volumes include general ledgers, cash books, expense ledgers, receipt books and shipping records. The General Ledgers are the most complete financial picture of the company. They include entries dealing with apartment rents, farm rental property, accounts receivable, stocks, bonds, capital and undivided profits, capital gain and losses, insurance, expenses, taxes, dividends and interest. The General Ledger series includes volumes for the period 1923-1943 and 1949-1951, Included in the bound volume series is a ledger of dairy farm accounts and farm inventory for the years 1894 to 1901. This appears to be records of F. M. Martin's business interests prior to founding the mill. Also included in this series is a federal tax register of grain purchases of a Cheney brewery run by A. Schmid and later by J. Seible during the period January 3, 1910 to September 2, 1910.

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Arrangement note

The records of the F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company are arranged in two major series: unbound material and bound volumes. The unbound material has been arranged in two sub-series: A) financial and wheat records; B) cancelled checks and registers. There was little discernable order to the original acquisition and therefore the processor grouped like material in chronological order, i.e., material on wheat prices and mill inventory records are placed together and then arranged chronologically within the sub-series. All dated material within the sub-series was arranged chronologically and undated material was arranged alphabetically and placed at the end of the sub-series. Cancelled checks and check registers were arranged chronologically within their own sub-series.

The bound volumes were arranged chronologically according to the earliest entry in each particular volume. Consecutive and related volumes were grouped together and then arranged according to the earliest entry within the group, i.e., cash books for April 1943- May 1945 and June 1945-August 1950 were arranged consecutively within their respective sub-series.

Together the unbound material and the bound volumes give an excellent financial picture of the F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company from its founding in 1907 to late in 1959. The bulk of the records cover the period from the 1920s through the early 1950s with the most complete records from the 1940s. Prior to the 1920s the extant documentation is the Journal which includes the Articles of Incorporation, 1907-1916, and some shipping records for 1910-1913. Although the mill was sold in 1943, the Company continued its other financial interests in real estate, stocks, bonds, and outstanding loans.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1977
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The records of the F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company of Cheney, Washington, were donated to the Washington State University Library in September, 1976 by Frank M. Martin of Spokane and by Mrs. Charlotte Y. Martin of Los Angeles, along with the papers of C. D. Martin.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • F.M. Martin Grain and Milling Company --Archives

Personal Name(s)

  • Goerling, Elizabeth
  • Martin, Charlotte. waps
  • Martin, Clarence D. (Clarence Daniel), 1886-1955
  • Martin, Francis M., 1858-1925
  • Martin, Frank M. waps


  • Agriculture
  • Business, Industry, and Labor
  • Flour mills -- Washington (State)--Cheney
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Unbound Material 

Box Folder

Weekly Time Book November 1918-January 1919   1.0 item.

1 1

Assets 1919   2.0 items.

1 2

Wheat Prices and Mill Inventory 

Box Folder

 December 1920-October 1921   46.0 items.

1 3

 January 1922-January 1923   56.0 items.

1 4

 June 1923-January 1925   49.0 items.

1 5

 March 1925-June 1926   13.0 items.

1 6

 May 1925-January 1926   32.0 items.

1 7

 December 1925-April 1926   19.0 items.

1 8

 January 1926-December 1926   52.0 items.

1 9

 1926   19.0 items.

1 10

 January 1927-July 1927   36.0 items.

1 11

 August 1927-May 1928   53.0 items.

1 12

 December 1928-December 1929   94.0 items.

1 13

 April 1930-December 1930   79.0 items.

1 14

Current Wheat Prices 

Box Folder

 August 20, 1919-October 9, 1923   146.0 items.

1 15

 October 10, 1923-January 31, 1925   167.0 items.

1 16
Box Folder

Wheat Inventory September 3, 1921   2.0 items.

2 17

Wheat Inventory undated   37.0 items.

2 18

Property Assessments 1920-1921 1925-1931   98.0 items.

2 19

Corporation Income Taxes 1927 1929 1932   3.0 items.

2 20

Specification and Guaranteed Analysis, Flour Bid, Sperry Flour Co. Spring 1935   1.0 item.

2 21

Savings Passbooks January 1943-November 1953   2.0 items.

2 22

Notebook of Grain Orders and Prices August 9-October 19 (n.y.)   1.0 item.

2 23

Insurance forms   27.0 items.

2 24

Specifications for Fire Protection   1.0 item.

2 25

Standard Working Agreement for Mill (Grain contract)   23.0 items.

2 26

Cancelled Checks April 1, 1914-April 30, 1914   110.0 items.

3 27

Check Registers 

Box Folder

 December 1, 1941-April 16, 1942   1.0 item.

3 28

 April 16, 1942-September 3, 1942   1.0 item.

3 29

 September 3, 1942-January 13, 1943   1.0 item.

3 30

 January 13, 1943-June 14, 1943   1.0 item.

3 31

 June 14, 1943-May 7, 1945   1.0 item.

3 32

 May 7, 1945-January 9, 1948   1.0 item.

3 33

 January 9, 1948-February 28, 1951   1.0 item.

3 34

 March 1, 1951-November 6, 1953   1.0 item.

3 35

 November 6, 1953-December 31, 1956   1.0 item.

3 36

Cancelled Checks 

Box Folder

 January 1957-April 1957   121.0 items.

3 37

 May 1957-August 1957   120.0 items.

3 38

 September 1957-December 1957   122.0 items.

4 39

 January 1958-April 1958   114.0 items.

4 40

 May 1958-August 1958   122.0 items.

4 41

 September 1958-December 1958   104.0 items.

4 42

 January 1959-April 1959   102.0 items.

4 43

 May 1959-August 1959   107.0 items.

4 44

 September 1959-December 1959   104.0 items.

4 45

 December 1942-February 1950   173.0 items.

4 46

 March 1950-February 1956   

4 47

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Series 2: Bound Volumes 




Accounts (dairy) 1894   


Accounts 1898   


Inventory (farm equipment and livestock) 1901   


Journal. Articles of Incorporation for F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company; Constitution and By-Laws Stockholders and Officers; Minutes of Board of Directors Meetings August 15, 1907-August 1, 1916   


Account of all materials purchased for the purpose of producing fermented liquors January 3, 1910-September 2, 1910   


Account Book 


List of Insurance Policies and Companies 1911   


Grain shipping records July 11, 1910- May 16, 1911 May 8, 1912-July 11, 1913   


Sales Account Book November 1, 1932-January 29, 1938   


Daily shipping and receiving records July 11, 1918-July 30, 1920   


Account book August 1, 1912-July 31, 1913   


Ledger. Apartment rents, rents of farm land, stocks, bonds, insurance, wheat tickets, inventory, processing tax, general mill business 1923-1936   


Ledger. Apartment rents, rents of farm land, buildings, accounts receivable, bank stock, bonds, flour sacks, interest and dividends, insurance, misc. income, purchases and sales expenses, wheat tickets, notes receivable, reserve for taxes, accounts payable 1937-1942   


Ledger. Mill business accounts with bakeries 1942   


Ledger. Mill business accounts with bakeries; accounts with individuals 1943   


Ledger. Accounts receivable, apartment rents, rental property (farms and houses), stocks, bonds, capital and undivided provit, capital gain and loss, insurance, misc. income, expense control, notes receivable, taxes, accounts payable, wheat hedge, notes payable, dividends and interests 1949-1951   


Apartment Rent Book. Philena Apartments, list of tenants January 1939-December 1943   


Expense Ledger. Daily, itemized entries September 1, 1941-December 31, 1947   


Wheat Prices. Daily entries March 2,1942-January 31, 1948   


Ledger. Loans outstanding by F. M. Martin Grain and Milling Company (terms of loan, interest, schedule of payments); Notes Receivable 1943   


Cash Book. Daily list of income and expenses April 1, 1943-May 30, 1945   


Cash Book. Daily list of income and expenses June 1, 1945-August 12, 1950   


Receipt Book. Primarily rent receipts August 1, 1947-October 13, 1955   


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