Luke Martin Jr., Son of Ex Slave & Civil War Veteran

luke martin jr, private luke martin sr, escaped slave, former slave, civil war solder, senior citizen, elder, grandchildren, black history month, north carolina colored volunteers, 35th us colored troops, battle of olustee

AP Photo/The New Bern Sun Journal, Bill Hand

The son of a former slave and Civil War soldier, Luke Martin Jr. passed away on January 25, 2015. He died in the home where he was born in 1917 and had lived all of his life, built by his father Luke Martin (senior) in New Bern, North Carolina in the 1890’s.

Luke Martin Jr. was born July 11, 1917 and like his father, worked as a brick mason, later teaching high school vocational classes for 20 yearsand finally working as a funeral attendant at a New Bern mortuary from 1960- 2014 (age 97!)

A member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, in his senior years he received recognition from his local community, with Craven County in North Carolina designating September 18, 2014 as Luke P. Martin Jr. Day. He was also honored on the floor of the U. S. House, and awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in North Carolina.

According to his daughter Fannie, Luke Martin Jr. “Had a long, full life…He enjoyed every minute of it…He was glad that he lived long enough to be recognized.” He is survived by his 4 children, 13 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and 13 great great grandchildren.

His father Luke Martin Senior was born into slavery at a Hertford, North Carolina plantation around 1837. Luke Martin Sr. escaped in 1862 and fled to New Bern, where he was one of the first to enlist in the 1st North Carolina Colored Volunteers, which became the 35th U.S. Colored Troops in the Union Army. Private Luke Martin (Sr.) was wounded in the Battle of Olustee, the biggest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War, before he returned to New Bern to live. He died when Luke Martin Jr. was a child. His family loaned his Springfield rifle and a Confederate sword to the State of North Carolina for a year, for display on a tour that included an original copy of the 13th Amendment.

Saluting Luke Martin Sr. and Jr. – Black History Month

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