”Honor the Past; Deserve the Present“

Grinnell Martin

Captain, Field Artillery
(July 18, 1887-January 16, 1972)

Contributor:  Webster Rasmussen


Grandfather of John Mathers
Feb 18, 1887 (NYC)-January 16, 1972 (Sutton, VT / Venice, FL?); interred April 17, 1973, at NY Marble Cemetery (on-line, NY Marble Cemetery)
Father = Newell Martin, born in NingPo, China, 1854
Mother = Laura Griswold Grinnell, born 1859 in NYC
Wife = Myra Tutt Fraser, (August 21, 1899, in Millbrook, NY-January 25, 1969, in Venice, FL; interred May 9, 1969, at NY Marble Cemetery (on-line, NY Marble Cemetery)
Children = Myra Tutt Martin, born July 23, 1921
Jane Fraser Martin, born January 28, 1924
Laura Grinnell Martin, born May 17, 1926

Background

  • Graduated Harvard, BS, 1910
  • 1911-1917: Manager and Treasurer of The Beaver Brook Farm Company (dairy farm) in Milford, CT
    • Note—Farm was "his family's large dairy farm." [W. Morgan Shuster, letter to the Commanding General, Governors Island, New York, 24 April 1917]

Meeting Myra Tutt Fraser (Frazer?)

  • While managing the dairy farm he met Myra Tutt Fraser, who lived with her family on Long Island's North Shore. They became engaged in 1916. War interrupted plans.

Commission in Army

  • Applied for commission (admitting no previous military experience in letter dated April 24, 1917; with accompanying letters of recommendation), in the Field Artillery Officers Reserve Corps
  • Commissioned first lieutenant in field artillery in August 1917; assigned to Battery E, 304th FA, at Camp Upton, in September 1917 [Online source: Harvard College Class of 1910 (Cambridge, Crimson Printing Co., 1921), pp. 242-243]

    The 304th FA Regiment was part of the 77th Division's 152nd FA Brigade—

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    [Information for chart provided by Mike Hanlon, Great War Society]

  • Captain in the 444 New York; cavalry officer
  • When he was told he would shoot big guns he went to the New York City Public Library—only books found were on German artillery.

Departure for France

  • Sailed for France in April 1918 [Harvard College Class of 1910, p. 243]
  • 77th Sustainment Brigade, formerly the 77th Infantry Division; nicknamed "the Statue of Liberty Division"; this division was called the Metropolitan Division [Telephone conversation, Mike Hanlon, Great War Society]

    CO of 77th was Major General Robert Alexander; hdq at Fort Totten, Bayside Queens, NYC, NY; organized from draftees, drawn mostly from NYC and trained at Camp Upton in Yaphank, NY (Suffolk County, Long Island); the camp today is Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • 77th Infantry Division was the first American division composed of draftees (mostly from NYC) to arrive in France in WWI; departed U. S. in March; arrived in France in April 1918; overall, it was the eighth of forty-two divisions to reach France in WWI

    Major General Robert Alexander described the 77th as "these backwoodsmen of the Bronx, the Bowery, and Hester Street," speaking "forty-three languages and dialects . . . and there were quite as many shades of religious belief and disbelief." In addition to "Americans of English-speaking lineage," the 77th was made up of "Hebrews," Italians, Germans, Poles, Austrians and Russians. He believed "every race on the globe was represented except the Negro. We even had a number of Chinese. . . ." [Robert Alexander, Memories of the Great War (NY: Macmillan, 1931), pp. 107-108, quoted in "Captain Grinnell Martin and the War to End All Wars," ephemera, family papers]
In France
  • Since he was an officer he received NY Times daily
  • Fought in Battle of Chateau-Thierry on July 18, 1918
  • Major operations in Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Oise-Aisne
  • Became Regimental Adjutant on July 5, 1918
  • Promoted to captain on September 10, 1918
  • As Regimental Adjutant at the front Martin had significant experience in map reading
  • Colonel Coply Enos commanded the Regiment after the Armistice and gave Martin command of Battery C on January 3/22 (?), 1919, until discharge on May 11, 1919
    • Note—A letter Martin received in late March 1919 suggests that not all officers went home with their units. One of Martin's fellow Battery C officers apologized for not being able to say good-bye in person and went on to write that he was attending King's College, University of London, since "neither Oxford or Cambridge had much to offer in engineering." [Thomas C. Morgan, letter to Capt. Grinnell Martin, 23 March 1919]

Return to U. S.

  • In late February 1919 an acquaintance at the U. S. Army Embarkation Camp advised Martin that the 77th Division was scheduled to return to the U. S. in early April and that 1,050,000 troops would return to the U. S. between March 1 and June 30. [Henry (last name not legible), U. S. Army Embarkation Camp, A.P.O. 701, letter to Capt. Grinnell Martin, 25 February 1919]
    • Note—Many doughboys returned to the U. S. just as Prohibition began. The last paragraph of the letter advising Martin of the 77th Division's scheduled return to the U. S. includes an appeal. "If you get home before that country of ours quits drinking, save a bit for me." [Henry (last name not legible), U. S. Army Embarkation Camp, A.P.O. 701, letter to Capt. Grinnell Martin, 25 February 1919]
  • 77th returned to U. S. in April 1919, to huge tickertape parade up Fifth Avenue in NYC
  • Discharged May 11, 1919 [on-line, digitized, Harvard,1910—Fourth Report, pp. 242-243]

Marriage to Myra Tutt Fraser / Frazer (?)

  • Married Myra Tutt Fraser (Frazer?)on May 29, 1920, in NY
  • Grinnell and Myra hosted weekend parties at their Long Island home in the 1920s; Hemmingway and Fitzgerald were among the guests

Employment

  • Beginning June 1, 1919, employed with Charles F. Souittie & Co., 27 Cedar St., NYC [Harvard College Class of 1910, p. 243]
  • Employment at Care, Frazer (Fraser?) & Spear, 20 Exchange Place, NYC
  • Import business after the war; then investment banking
  • In 1931 Martin and his close friend and associate Ferdinand Eberstadt became partners in the Wall Street investment firm of F. Eberstadt & Company at 39 Broadway in NYC
    • Note—Eberstadt had served on the Reparations Commission in the 1920s; he would later help form the Atomic Energy Commission and National Security Council

WWII

  • In 1941 Martin left F. Eberstadt & Co. to serve as a colonel in charge of anti-Japanese submarine warfare/intelligence officer in Washington, D.C.

Later Years

  • Spent his later years on his farm in Vermont during the summer and in Sarasota, Florida, during the winters
(rev.12.07.09)