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Martin was founded in 1856 as a stop on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. It is named for William B. Martin, an early resident who donated land to build the railroad through his property. The city incorporated in 1870, but did not incorporate again until 2000 when it merged with Weakley County's other municipalities (including Whiteville). The University of Tennessee at Martin was established by act of the state legislature on March 9, 1909; classes began September 15, 1910 with an enrollment of 96 students and four faculty members under President John Runkle (1858-1928) and Professor Wm H Boyd . In 1914 a fire destroyed most of campus except for Old Main which still stands today as UTM's oldest building .