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The Singing Martin Sisters

Mrs Mart and her three daughters

The Martin Sisters from Wrigley began their love for music at an early age. Their parents were Mr. Jim and Mrs. Ella Pate. She was lovingly known by her children and grandchildren as “Mart.” Mr. Jim was a foreman at a wood yard for many years. He was loved by so many, and his great personality would light up a room when he entered. He always had a way of bringing laughter into a room. As a small child, I remember that he always smoked a cigar while at the Commissary in Wrigley, while talking to the men who waited while their wives shopped.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin had two sons- Buddy and JT- and three daughters- Anna Laura, Bertie Pate, and Marie (the youngest)- all very talented. Marie never had music lessons but learned play many instruments, all on her own, and she was best known for playing the piano “by ear.” Bertie Pate inherited her dad’s personality, and Anna Laura had talent as a seamstress, and made all of their singing clothes (identical). She especially loved to sew the shiny buttons on the dresses.

The Martin Sisters began entertaining at a very early age. They sang on a radio program called The Wally Fowler Hour at the Ryman Auditorium, on The Red Foley Show, and with Henry Regan and the Dickson Rangers All Night Singings. They sang many times on WDKN in Dickson and WHLP in Centerville.

Doug Bates, their friend from Centerville,  spoke at each of the girls’ funeral. His fond memory was as a small child, hearing Angelic singing coming from the open windows of Wrigley United Methodist Church as he played under a tree. He says that singing actually converted him to be a Christian. They played at church services, community benefits, and many other events. Sometimes they didn’t take their music seriously, but Mr. Jim would say, “Now settle down Marie and play it right.” They sang many old songs but they loved the old gospel hymns the best. Some of their favorites songs were Oh How I Love Jesus, Heaven Will Surely Be Worth it All, and I’ll Fly Away, and they actually wrote a song titled Too Far Out on My Journey. In later years, Senator Johnny Crow gave them credit for helping him win election as they traveled with him,  playing and singing on the back of a flatbed truck.

Everyone loved the Martin Sisters. They didn’t leave this world without passing their love of music to their children who are also great musicians. We will forever miss them.
The Martin Sisters



  1. What a fun pleasure it was to be raised by the Martin Sisters- yes Marie was my mother but the others Aunt Laura and Aunt Bert served as my mom as well. It was like having 3 Moms – All our cousins was raised to be close like sisters and brothers. Music was always being played in our home especially the piano . My fondest memories of growing up with The influence of search three wonderful lady was Aunt Bert’s humor – Aunt Laura’s style and creativity – and my Mom’s love for Music and life! They had 2 awesome brothers Buddy and JT- we are very fortunate to still have Uncle Buddy with us – many would remember him as a great baseball player! I’m blessed to had A childhood with the love of this family! Great job on the article Ms Jo thank you !

    1. So blessed to get to meet your mom, connection from hillview.
      And I love Buddy Martin, besides my dad, I don’t know of any better men, anywhere!!!

  2. As a young girl, I have fond memories of the music produced by the Martin Sisters and the pleasure of knowing some of their beautiful children who inherited their parents bubbling personalities. After their performances, The Martin Sisters always left everyone feeling better. What a gift.

  3. What a great story about really good people who loved God, family, friends, Wrigley, and music! I remember when Daddy Jim and Mother Mart lived at The Wrigley Hotel! I remember most of those stories about The Martin singers except the one about them singing at the Ryman – that’s awesome! Many years ago, we lived beside Buddy, Laverne & Jennifer in Wrigley- best neighbors, ever, and the others were just up the road! I consider them to be my family, too, but everyone in Wrigley was family! The offspring of the Martin family are just as wonderful, just as talented, and just as loving, too! What a blessing to have known their parents and to have had them and their current family members as role models – they were/are nurses, teachers, ball players, beauty queens, Christians, but mainly great trusted friends and dedicated daughters and sons! Buddy and Henry are doing a great job keeping Tina, Tabby, Vickie, Angie, Mitzi, & Jennifer and the rest of the crew in line! They are truly Hickman County treasures!

  4. The Martin sisters always sang beautifully. Our family would sometimes go to the old Hotel on Sundays. What meals and what wonderful music were offered in that home. They were all outgoing, loving people and were a very important family to Wrigley. Early in our life in Wrigley, our family was having some difficulty having enough food. I don’t know how they knew, but one morning Mr. Jim and Mart knocked on our back door and stood there with their arms full of groceries. It got us through our rough times. We loved them and the girls and still miss them. They passed that love and generous spirit to all their family members. Wonderful article and pictures.

  5. Loved reading this…..Knew them all and yes they were very talented and loved what they did. Thank you for sharing their stories!!

  6. I remember listening to the Martin sisters sing and make music on the flat bed truck at the Wrigley ballpark. They really made Wrigley day Reunion a very special event.wrigly and Lyle’s were blessed to know these ladies and their families. Carol and Johnny Brewer

  7. I am Kathy Scott, Jo Gossett’s daughter. I believe this is the last story my mom wrote before she died on July 19, 2017. She was determined to get this story written before she died. I didn’t know any of the Martin Sisters, but I did here her speak of them a few times.

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