Albert Martin (soldier)

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Albert Martin
Born 1808
Providence, Rhode Island
Died 1836
San Antonio, Texas
Allegiance Texian Army
Years of service 1835-1836
Rank Captain
Unit Old Eighteen [6]
Gonzales Rangers
Battles/wars Texas Revolution
*Battle of Gonzales
*Siege of Bexar
*Siege of the Alamo
*Battle of the Alamo

Albert Martin (January 6, 1808– March 6, 1836) was a merchant and Captain of the Gonzales Mounted Rangers who delivered Travis's famous letter "To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World" and who died while defending the Alamo garrison.

Early life and career[edit]

Martin's grave (cenotaph) memorial in Providence, RI, referencing the Alamo
Martin's grave (cenotaph) memorial in Providence, RI

Martin was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Joseph S. Martin, a merchant, and Abbey B. Martin. Martin's parents were fourth cousins, and both of their fathers both fought in the Revolutionary War. Albert Martin attended Vermont's Norwich University, which was then known as the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy.[1] Then, following his father, a merchant, and older brothers, Albert Martin left Rhode Island in 1832 and went to Texas by way of Tennessee and New Orleans, where he joined Martin, Coffin & Company. With his growing family, Martin eventually moved to Gonzales, Texas by 1835 where he ran a successful general store business affiliated with Martin, Coffin & Co.[2]

Texas Revolution[edit]

Soldier[edit]

At the outbreak of the Texas revolution, Martin was one of the defenders of Gonzales known as the "Old Eighteen," who protected the "Come and Take It" cannon. He was part of the Texas force during the Siege of Bexar in the fall of 1835 and then by December returned to Gonzales to recover from an ax injury for a period before returning to Bexar.[3]

Alamo courier[edit]

On February 23, 1836, the first day of the siege of the Alamo, Lt. Col. William B. Travis sent Captain Martin as an emissary to meet Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna's adjutant, Col. Juan N. Almonte. Almonte rejected Martin's invitation to come to the Alamo and speak directly to Travis. The next day, Martin left the Alamo carrying Travis's famous letter "To the People of Texas," which he delivered to Lancelot Smither in Gonzales.

Ranger Captain[edit]

In Gonzales, a relief force was organized to support the Alamo's scant defenders despite Martin's father's warnings not to return to the Alamo. On March 1, 1836 Martin returned to the Alamo with the supporting force from Gonzales, numbering approximately thirty-two. On March 6, 1836 Martin was killed in the Battle of the Alamo.[4] Martin's obituary was published in the Manufacturers and Farmers Journal and the New Orleans True American in July 1836.[5]

Legacy[edit]

In the North Burial Ground in Providence, Rhode Island there is a slender, red stone memorial marker from 1858 or earlier that states "Albert Martin Fell at the Alamo, Texas, In Defense of his country March 6, 1836, Aged 28 yrs & 2 mo's."[6][7] Within the cemetery, the memorial is near Central, Summit, and Elm Avenues and is Rhode Island's only memorial to the Alamo. Although Albert Martin's body was likely burned and his ashes scattered in Texas by the Mexican troops, the cenotaph memorializes his death at the Martin family plot in Providence.

A later plaque at the Alamo incorrectly stated that Martin was from Tennessee.[8]

In 2012 Albert Martin was inducted in the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.[9]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Daughters of the American Revolution, The Alamo Heroes and Their Revolutionary Ancestors (San Antonio, 1976).
  • Michael R. Green, "To the People of Texas and All the Americans in the World," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 91 (April 1988).
  • Bill Groneman, Alamo Defenders (Austin: Eakin, 1990) [7].

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.norwich.edu/about/news/2004/alamo.html
  2. ^ Rhode Island Historical Society
  3. ^ Bill Groneman, "MARTIN, ALBERT," Handbook of Texas Online [1], accessed May 28, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  4. ^ Daughters of the American Revolution, The Alamo Heroes and Their Revolutionary Ancestors (San Antonio, 1976). Michael R. Green, "To the People of Texas and All the Americans in the World," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 91 (April 1988). Bill Groneman, Alamo Defenders (Austin: Eakin, 1990) [2]
  5. ^ Providence Journal, eEdition [3] "Among those who fell at the storming of San Antonio was Albert Martin, a native of Providence, Rhode Island and recently a citizen of this city of the firm of Martin, Coffin & Co. aged 29. Mr. Martin had a large establishment in Gonzales, about 150 miles from San Antonio where for the last year or two he had been carrying on an extensive business. He had left the fortress and returned to his residence, where he was apprised of the perilous situation in which his late comrades were placed. His determination was instantly taken. In reply to the passionate entreaties of his father, who besought him not to rush into certain destruction, he said 'This is no time for such considerations. I have passed my word to Colonel Travers, that I would return, nor can I forfeit a pledge thus given.' In pursuance of this high resolve he raised a company of sixty-two men and started on his way back. During the route, the company, apprised of the desperate situation of affairs, became diminished by desertion, to thirty-two. With this gallant band he gained the fort and the reinforcement, small as it was, revived the drooping spirits of the garrison ....Thus died Albert Martin, a not unapt illustration of New England heroism. He has left a family, and perhaps a Nation to lament his loss, and he had bequeathed to that family an example of heroic and high-minded chivalry which can never be forgotten and which is worthy of the best days of Sparta or of Rome."[4]
  6. ^ TAMU, Gonzales Rangers
  7. ^ Legendary Texas 2: The Promised Land [Paperback] Jeff Carroll (Author) September 30, 1999
  8. ^ Mark Sennott, "Right Man, Wrong Sign At Alamo," March 19, 1987, Providence Journal [5]
  9. ^ http://chse1971.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html