Memorable Manitobans: Joseph Albert “Joe” Martin (1886-1936)
Born at Queenstown, Ireland on 3 April 1886, he was working as a trapper in northern Saskatchewan when, in 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force at Saskatoon. For a few months, he served overseas as a private in the First Pioneers. Military service exacerbated a pre-existing condition that resulted in a medical discharge in 1916. He returned to Winnipeg and, on 25 September 1917, he married Jean Brown (?-?). They subsequently had three daughters.
In 1919, he became involved in the Winnipeg General Strike. At a rally at Victoria Park on 12 June 1919 he warned strikers to “beware of camouflage and buncombe.” His response to threats to evict workers behind with their rent was, “Well, they can’t throw us all out.” At a rally on 20 June, he referred to the proposed Saturday parade as “the only weapon we have left.” He was part of the soldier-striker party that met with Mayor Charles Frederick Gray on the morning of 21 June but refused to call off the parade. He was charged by the government with seditious utterances but the grand jury refused to indict. He was an independent Labour candidate in a 1923 federal by-election for the North Winnipeg constituency but came in a distant fourth place.
In his later years, he resided at Winnipeg Beach and spent much time in hospital. He died at Selkirk on 9 March 1936.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
“Crown closes case against Martin, Grant and Farnell,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 August 1919, page 3.
Marriage and death registrations [Joseph Albert Martin], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Tribune, 12 March 1936, page 4.
Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 21 February 2022