Martin moved to New York in search of a career, and he became a successful carpenter. He later married Bridget, and they had a son (Tom) and a daughter. He was described as a man who had 'never done a dishonest thing in his life'.
Despite his happy family life, Martin was also a violent alcoholic, who suffered from periods of depression. After his wife became ill and died from venereal disease, Martin's drinking became worse, and he deserted his family leaving Tom and his sister out on the streets.