Son of ex-slave who fought in Union army dies at age 97

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Luke Martin Jr., whose father was an ex-slave and Civil War Union soldier, has died — 179 years after his father was born.

Martin's daughter, Fannie Martin-Williams, said he was 97 when he died Sunday at his home in New Bern, North Carolina. She said he had been in declining health for several months, she said.

They lived together lived in the house where he was born — a house his father built in the 1890s.

She said the elder Martin, who was born in 1836, was married twice, the second time to a much younger woman.

Multiple historical references say Luke Martin Sr. was enslaved at a plantation near Plymouth, North Carolina, but escaped and joined the 1st North Carolina Colored Volunteers, later called the 35th U.S. Colored Troops.

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