Over 90 years ago the funeral took place to the "Old Meeting House Green" in Newry of an elderly, almost forgotten lady, who was the last link with a group of forward thinking young men, who made a name for themselves in 1848 and inded only in our present day, is their story getting the limelight!!
The funeral in July 1913 was that of Henrietta Mitchel Martin, sister of a famous patriot of Newry and wife of his less famous, but just as important best friend.
It is a great pleasure here to record her last journey, where she rests now with her parents and siblings, yet her husband rests about 6 or 7 miles away, although on her headstone she is described as "widow of John Martin of Loughorne".
We are greatly indebted to Mr Noel Mitchel for providing the following article!!!
DEATH OF MRS MARTIN, JOHN MITCHEL'S SISTER. JULY1913
"The last link with a generation of great patriots is broken, the last links with two families, who have been associated with the hopes and sorrow, above all the sorrows of Irealnd and who have shed lustre on the town and district. The death of the widow of "Honest John Martin" and the sister of "Fearless John Mitchel" impresses on us very sadly that we are at last out of the speaking distance when the period of Gvan Duffy and Thomas Davis gathered around them a galaxy of patriotions and intellect such as never, perhaps indendified itself with the struggle of any nation for freedom. What a host of evangelists! Davis, Mitchel, Martin, Lalor, Duffy, "Mary", "Eva", "Speranza", Fisher, Murray, O'Hagan, Savage, McGill, Frazer who will enumerate them all and assign to each the proper palce of merit? But we are all agreed that John Mitchel ranks with Shane & Hugh O'Neil and Wolf Tone and as for John Martin, though he appears to be eclipsed by his closeness to such a giant as his friend and comrade the memory of his pure and generous and gentle , yet heroic nature will endure for all time.
Mrs Henrietta Martin whose death occurred on the morning of the 12inst, at her residence Victoria Lodge, Donnybrook, Dublin was a daughter of the late Rev John Mitchel, who was Minister of the First (Non Subscribing) Presbyterian Church, Newry from 1823 until his death in 1840, a sister of John Mitchel who passed away at Dromalane House on 20th March 1875 and was interred in the Old Meeting House Green. She married in November 1868, John Martin after his return from exile and who died one week after he had seen the remains of his compatriot Mitchel committed to earth. John Martin was buried at Donaghmore, Newry and the simple slab over his grave contains in afew words an eliquent tribute to his exalted love of country.
PUBLIC TRIBIUTES & FUNERAL
Mrs Martin who had reached a venerable age was worthy of the greatest honour. She was the daughter of one who had sworn allegiance to the United Irishmen, one who had loved his country passionately and had suffered much for the convictions he held so fearlessly.
At the monthly meeting of Newry Urban council, a resolution expressing the members regret at Mrs Martin's death and deciding to adjorn the meeting as a mark of respectto her memory was passed on the motion of Mr John Francis Small, seconded by Mr Robert H O'Rourke, Mr Danile Dowdall spoke in support of the resolution and the Chairman Mr J H McConvile, JP said that he had known Mrs Martin since he was a boy and as awoman he believed every Irishman honoured her.
A telegram expressing regret at the death of Mrs Martin was received by the Chairman from Mr John Redmond MP.
The remains arrived at Edward Street Station at 2pm on Monday and were reverently bourne by members of the Urban Council to the hearse in waiting. Wreaths on the coffin were from Mr William O'Brien MP and Mrs O'Brien, Mr & Mrs Purcell and Nurse webb, Dublin.
Members of the Urban Council, Irish National Foresters and othe national organisations walked behind the hearse.
The chief mourners were Meessrs Robert Dickson, Belfast, Robert Martin, Leacain, Kilbroney, Rostrevor and WH Lawlor, Dublin (nephews).
The clergy present were Rev George Slipper, Minister of the newry Non Subscribing Presbyterian Church, Rev FJ O'Hare cc, Rev JJ Fitzpatrick cc, Rev Rev DB Falvey OP & Rev Father O'Flaherty.
Arriving at the Old Meeting-house Green, where repose the remains of the deceased lady's parents, brothers and othe rrelatives, the remains were bourne to the graveside by members, of "John Mitchel" branch of the National Foresters. The internment took place in the burying ground of Mrs Martin's brother in law Hill Irvine, close to the tomb in which her parents and brother John are interred.
MINISTER'S GRAVESIDE ADDRESS
Rev George J Slipper who conducted the funeral service said that Mrs Martin was the last link with a family well known in Newry, not only for its religious and political influence but by all who were privilaged to realize and feel their friendship. "Mrs Mitchel Martin" he continued was perhaps known to many who are standing around this open grave. You will have known her not only as the wife of a good man, but also as the sister of agood man who in the faith of which I am represntative was not only an eloquent but earnest helper & worker. The late Rev John Mitchel in his ministry in the Church close by where we are now standing, gave the testimony of his heart to freedom and liberty in regard to things religious and as a faithful pastor ministering to faithful people he went about breaking the Bread of Life to those who stood in need of it. And now we lay to rest the last representative of his family, one who in years of honour and respect has passed onto that life which is immortal with God her Father, whom she served and with Christ, in whose spirit she walked in teh way of life.