Select Marshall Miscellany

Here are some Marshall stories and accounts over the years:

Lord Marshals, Earl Marshals, and the Like

A marshal originally meant a person who looked after the horses.  Its meaning progressed at one level to describe a farrier, blacksmith, or horse-doctor.  At another level, its meaning was elevated and the name came to portray a very important personage within a royal or noble household, one with either military or ceremonial responsibilities.

In England, William Marshal, the Earl of Pembroke, was one of the most powerful men in the land and went by the name of Lord Marshal.  The title of Earl Marshal has continued into modern times, albeit in a more ceremonial sense, with the Dukes of Norfolk.  In Scotland it has been the Keith family which has held the ceremonial title of Earl Marischal or Earl Marshal.

Marshals also grew in reputation elsewhere in Europe as they became trusted members of the courts.  In France the Marshal, first created in 1185, was one of the great offices of the Crown.  Some rulers have used the "Marshal" title to reward military leaders.  Most famous of these were the Marshals of France that were created by Napoleon.  Mussolini followed this practice in Italy in the 1920's.  Marshal of the Russian Federation is the highest military rank in Russia today. 

In the United States, the term marshal is used for various kinds of law enforcement officers.     

Ann Marshall's Crime

The Marshalls of Urswick were part of a small group of interlocking families among the landed gentry of north Lancashire, the Stanleys, Sawneys, Sandys and Harringtons.  When John Marshall should look for a wife, it was nartural that he look no further than this circle.  In 1726 he married Margaret Sawney.  It was an arranged marriage, the sole purpose being to produce an heir.

This did not happen and Margaret died childless in 1740.  Within a year John had married Margaret's unmarried cousin Ann from Hawkshead.  This union soon produced two children and Ann was expecting a third.

All was going well until 1746 when Ann was charged and convicted of theft.  Just why Ann should steal is a mystery, given the comfortable nature of their lives.  But the law was merciless in those days.  Ann was senrtenced to death.  She would have to endure the spectacle of a head shaving and a public hanging.  It was only through the intercession of the two families that Ann's sentence was transmuted to life transportation to the Virginia colonies.

The family's shame was visited upon Ann's husband John.  He was cast adrift from the family, disgraced, and forced to join the aimless laborers seeking work around Lancashire.  He and his three sons were ejected from the bosom of the family, never to return.


William Marshall of Scartho and Grimsby

William Marshall was a farmer, shipowner, and he established a milling business, the Cartergate mill, in Grimsby in 1817.

He was atheletically built and used to walk most of his journeys, frequently walking from Scartho to Gainsborough, from Gainsborough to Cockerington, from Cockerington to Louth and back to Scartho where he lived.

He was rather eccentric in some points of his character.  He had his own tombstone placed in the churchyard over thirty years before it eas required.  Here he set forth the virtues of his wife who preceded him.  He also had engraved some emblematic representations of his work and progress in life.

Billy Marshall, King of the Gypsies

Billy Marshall was born in Ayrshire in 1672 of Romany stock and claimed to be King of the Gypsies in southeast Scotland for most of the 1700s.  He became famous as a boxer - and as a bandit.  He was the so-called 'King of the Randies,' running a gang of gypsy tinkers in Galloway and terrorizing much of the countryside.

His legendary exploits included deserting from the army no less than seven times and from the navy three times.  He was reputed to have married on 17 occasions, had countless children (both in and out of wedlock), and fathered at least four children after the age of 100.  He was alleged to have lived to the age of 120, dying in 1792 and being buried in St Cuthbert's churchyard in Kircudbright.  His grave can be visited and a coin left for the next gypsy who passes.

Reader Feedback - Thomas H. Marshall of Dayton, Pennsylvania

Thomas Hindman Marshall was my great great grandfather and he lived in the town of Dayton, PA.  There is a museum in our little town of Dayton, PA with the house built by Thomas Hindman Marshall and it has much history recorded. 

The museum can be seen online at along with a family history of Thomas H Marshall. 

Joyce Jamsion (

Robert Marshall, An Early Settler in Pictou County, Nova Scotia

Robert Marshall was part of the Dumfries contingent who came to the Highland colony of Pictou in 1776.  The early times were harsh for him.  Robert initially neither the tools nor the knowledge to farm, fish or hunt.   His wife Elizabeth died and he had young children to raise.

He was known as "the deacon" and was a man of strong religious beliefs.  Stories of his strong convictions have survived in the many books and histories about the Pictou county settlers.  Before the arrival of a permanent minister, he would conduct Sabbath services in English and counsel neighbors whenever they had problems.

When the Rev. James MacGregor arrived in 1786, he described his meeting with Marshall as follows:

"Robert Marshall and his family suffered everything but death in Prince Edward Island by hunger and nakedness; for though they had plenty of clothes of all kinds when they came he had to part with every article of them that could be spared for provisions. 

Soon after he came to Pictou he lost a most amiable consort and for some time had a great struggle in bringing up his family.  But he was filled with the joy and peace of believing and abounded in hope not only of everlasting happiness, but of hearing the joyful sound of the gospel in Pictou.

He was afterward an elder and a great comfort for me, but for many a day he had to go to hear the sermon in an old red coat which an old soldier had given him and a weaver's apron to hide the holes and rags of his trousers."

George Marshall and the Mississippi Lansdowne Plantation

Both George Marshall and his wife Charlotte Hunt came from prominent Natchez planter families.  George Marshall's father Levin was a millionaire, among the top ten wealthiest individuals in Natchez district and one of the only thirty five millionaires in the country at the time.

Beginning in 1852, their Lansdowne plantation was part suburban Natchez estate and part cotton plantation.  They replaced the original house with a finer one.  Many of the twenty two slaves there would have worked to support the house, a butler, a cook, house maid, nurse for the children, someone to wash the clothes, someone to care for the yard and garden, etc.  The rest would have worked on the limited cotton operation on the plantation.

George went to fight in the Civil War and was quickly wounded in Tennessee in the Battle of Shilo.  He paid someone to finish fighting the war in his place.  After the war George and Charlotte were much less well off than before.  They worked hard to make Lansdowne as productive as it could be, even selling butter and eggs in town themselves.  As a result, they were able to keep Lansdowne and pass it on to their descendants.

Pilgrimage house tours have finally brought in money to preserve Natchez big planter homes such as Lansdowne.  The story goes that there were pots on the floors to catch the rain water at the time of the first tours.

The big house and 120 acres of the original 600 acres of Landsowne are still with the Marshall family today.

"Time has almost stood still at Lansdowne since the 1850's.  For example, the drawing room is decorated as it was back then with the original Zuber wallpapaer, the double set of Rococo Revival rosewood furnitire covered in rose brocade, the Aubusson carpet, the gilded cornices and copies of the first brocaded damask lambrequins.  The imported white marble mantel is decorated with an unusual carved calla lily design.  The house also contains black Egyptian marble mantels in the bedrooms and rosewood bedroom furniture, original glass and silver and many antique objets d'art."

It is a private residence, but open during the spring pilgrimage tours in Natchez each year when descendants of the original owners will host a dinner for invited guests.

Charles Marshall, Emancipated Slave

Charles Marshall was born into slavery in 1841 on the Marshall plantation near Greensburg, Kentucky.  He served as a volunteer soldier in the Union forces during the Civil War.  After the war he was one of the many slaves to be given his freedom along with several acres of land near Greensburg.

In subsequent years racial tensions ran high in this area.  Spiteful white neighbors would set fire to the barns on his farm because he was a black landowner.  He and his wife Hariette endeavored to stay but finally, fearing for their safety, they sold up in 1898 and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana.  Charles was able to purchase land north of the city limits and they raised a family of eight there.

In the 1980's Charles Marshall was honored postumously at Crown Hill cemetery at the African American Civil War soldier tribute in Indianapolis.  Members of the Marshall family conducted the ceremony, descendants who still lived in the Indianapolis area.

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