By Taylor Boyd
Al Martin’s first novel, “The Sharecropper’s Son,” is a tribute to his father, George Ruffin Martin and the life he lived growing up on his farm.
George Martin was born and raised in Patrick County and was one of 16 children. He migrated to Amelia County in an area referred to by the locals as “Little Patrick,” because “so many people moved from Patrick County to Amelia County” in the early 1900s.
“The book itself is a combination. It’s about how my father became a sharecropper because he bought a farm when he first came to Amelia with my mother and he later lost it because he couldn’t come up with $500 to pay the mortgage,” he said.
While this sounds strange, Al Martin said, it was in the 1920s during the Great Depression. He said later on, his father bought a 160-acre farm with a house on it for $2,800. The photograph on the front cover of the book depicts George Martin and his wife in front of the log house that was on the property they lost, he said.
He said the second part of the book and his inspiration for writing it was to preserve the way of life he and his lived. “I decided I better let my children and grandchildren know how my style of life was so different from theirs. Then I said that since I was going to put this in a book, that I might as well try and sell it,” he said.
George Martin, he said, followed after his own father in farming in the old-fashioned way, using horses instead of tractors on his tobacco farm.
Al Martin said the 100-page book is primarily a bunch of short stories with some being funny and others focusing on more serious situations and topics.
His favorite chapter focuses on his late sister, who died before he was born. “I was sitting on the back porch one day, this was the newer property, and my mother and I heard some whip-poor-wills calling in the distance. All of a sudden, she had tears running down her cheeks and I said, ‘what’s wrong mama?’ She said Betty-Ann loved the call of the whip-poor-will,” he said.
Al Martin said other chapters focus childhood life lessons, teenage dating, working on the farm, and accomplishments of the sharecropper.
“The Sharecropper’s Son” is available online on Amazon, Target, and Bookbaby.