Philip P. Martin was born in Hutchinson, Kansas in the mid 1890s. He moved to San Diego, California as a child, where he attended
Our Lady of Peace Academy. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War I and served as first lieutenant. After his
military service he owned and operated Martin’s Dairy in Santee, where he was a rancher for 30 years till his retirement in
1951. As riparian landowners along the San Diego River, he and his neighbors were directly affected by water development projects
on the river, particularly the construction of the El Capitan Dam. Philip Martin led a lawsuit against the City of San Diego
in the mid-1930s concerning the use of that dam. His interest in San Diego’s water problems continued for decades after the
case, and he continued to collect related materials and to correspond with city officials on the subjects of dams, flood control,
and water reclamation.