Each day this November, thanks to Eileen Loucraft, a native of Chelmsford, who while researching her family history, became interested in remembering those from Greater Lowell who fought and died in the First World War, we will present a contemporary news story of one such soldier. Today, we learn about Manuel Martin:
Another Lowell man has given up the greatest treasure he possessed for the well-being of his country. Private Manuel Martin of Co. G, 104th U.S. Infantry, son of Mrs. Mario Martin, 1 Charles Street court, has been killed in action in France. His name is included in last evening’s casualty list. . .
Private Martin was 20 years of age. He was well known among the Portuguese-American residents here and had been employed as a carpenter before joining Co. G in February, 1917. His father died in the Azores when Manuel was but a child. Besides his mother he leaves three sisters, Julia, Baptista and Alda. He attended the Coburn grammar school. Like the other members of Co. G, he did guard duty in New Hampshire last spring and successively went to Ayer and Westfield. He embarked on this final journey in September.
The final letter which was received by his mother was written by Private Martin on Jan. 3. Mrs. Martin received it toward the end of the month. In substance, it was like the hundreds of other letters which Lowell boys have sent to their loved ones, but its reproduction at this time seems to lend it greatly enhanced significance:
“Somewhere in France, Jan 3, 1918.
Dear Ma: – I just received your package and was surely glad to get it. I am feeling very good at present and am situated as well as could be expected. What has bothered me, ma, is that I have not received any letter from home recently, although I have sent my address.
Also, ma, would you be kind enough to tell everyone that knows me to write to me, for at the end of a day’s work a letter cheers one greatly. Also, ma, be sure to write every three or four days, for news from home is salve to a burning heart.
I wish to beg sister’s pardon for slighting her by not writing a letter last month, but I will try to be better. It was pure laziness on my part, but I am fast learning to overcome that. You know what is natural is hard to overcome in a short while.
Please send some cigarets and candy. Give my best regards to all. With love, I remain,
Sincerely, your son, Manuel.”