Hi Paula. Was doing some searching on family history and found your note. Since Howard was my father I can cover some of the facts but the answer from tcole71 was a good start.
I'll give you what I have and then note the questions about the info.
Martin Francis Sexton was born around 1848. Records show birth place as both AR and MO.
He married Mary Covey. No date. Records show birth place as both AR and MO.
As best as I can tell they had four children. (1) William Edward Sexton. (2) "Pete" Sexton. (3) A girl called "Mattie" or "Maddie" that can be shorthand for almost any "M" girls name. and (4) another boy name unknown.
I found birth dates for William E., on various forms signed or approved by him, that included 1868, 1869, 1871, 1875 and 1877. On several forms, draft card, marriage license, he listed birth place as either Kansas or Missouri.
He married Anna Blance Thompson, (born 1892 in WA), in 1912 in Spokane. I found a copy of the marriage license on Ancestry.com. They settled near Harvard, Idaho. They show on the 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 census.
The had three children Floyd Marshall born in 1914. Howard William born in 1916. Ada Mae born in 1918. All born in Idaho. They lived near Harvard, ran a farm/ranch, worked ground with horses, raised hay for cows, did a little of everything which was common at that time.
Floyd married Melva Butterfield. They had two children Ann Louise and Dallas. Floyd died in1999. They lived on the original William E farm site near Harvard. I believe that was on Maple Cr or Jerome Cr. We visited there often was I was young.
Howard married Iris Layton and had a daughter Janet (now deceased). They divorced and Howard married Barbara Young. They lived in Troy for many years. They had four children William Felix born in 1947 who died at birth. Kenneth William born 1949. William Tony born 1951. and Randy Howard born 1953. Howard died in 1969.
Mae married David Nicols. They had three children, Kathy, Linda and Norma. They lived in Princeton, Idaho.
So that is a quick summary of the Sextons. As tcole71 noted, William E listed many birth dates and at least two birth states. The range of birth dates and birth places seems really odd. Almost like they were made up to cover up some history. I also heard the story about William E being born in Southwest City, MO. and that he was killed in Kansas in a shooting acting as a sheriff about 1888.
I can find nothing on William E, that is definitive, prior to arriving in Idaho. There are numerous Sextons in MO, AR, and KS. Many William's. But no where that I've looked so far can I put Martin with Mary Covey or any of the children. I checked several lists of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in KS, MO and AR but did not find Martin Sexton. William E. also supposedly worked with cattle drives down into TX for several years in the 1890 to 1900 time frame. And later ended up traveling thru Idaho as a cattle buyer for a stock yard and packing plant, perhaps in Spokane, but again no certain facts.
After Martin was killed, William E returned to ?Kansas??? I believe. At which time he move Mary Sexton, and Mattie (who had about then married a Walter Blakely), to Denver.
In 1941 when William E was killed in a logging accident on the ranch, they were going thru the Will and Mattie was noted in the document with the address of Denver. So I am assuming she was alive in 1941 and living in the Denver area.
So that about covers it. I have absolutely nothing on Martin Francis Sexton or Mary Covey Sexton. There are several Martin and Mary Sextons noted on some of the searchable documents on Ancestry. BUT, they are not in MO, KS, or AR. AND, they never list children with the right names. So dates and places and names never line up with family history/rumors. There are a couple of places a William E Sexton is noted as a boarder or labor in MO, around the right age?????, but not enough info to confirm it is the correct Wm E.
So, it is possible there was a name change for some reason. It is possible much of the so called "history" is made up. I haven't found a Mary Sexton or Mattie Blakely in CO, that seemed to match the rest of the history.
I'm in the middle of giving it another shot for the next couple of weeks, but it seems very much a dead end. While it is possible Martin Sexton and family just never got captured in any available paper work, it is also possible there was a name change and some made up history to cover up something they didn't want to deal with back then.
That's really is ALL I've got at this point. See ya------------Bill Sexton