submitted by Jo Fletcher
The History of Will County prepared by the Will County Bicentennial Committee stated that the early settlement of Joliet Township owed a good bit of its population to those who came from New York. Among those who came were: Horatio Nelson Marsh, my great, great Grandfather.
He had come West with his father, Quartos Marsh and five of his sons, four of whom were brothers of H. N. Marsh. These men were Edwin, Jonathan, Henry and Frank. The father and the four sons remained in Crete with H. N. Marsh moving to Joliet. It is stated that "the family as a whole, was one of the best in the township."
The 1850 Census lists Edwin and Jonathan as farmers, and Henry, a mechanic. This census was taken shortly after the death of Quartos, and it is interesting to note that Jonathan provided a home for his Mother, Sally Holt Marsh.
Horatio Nelson Marsh became the editor of the True Democrat, and later when the party was formed was called the Joliet Republican. He became a citizen of Joliet in 1835.
H. N. Marsh was born on November 15, 1812 in Montague, Franklin, Massachusetts. He was a cabinet maker by trade and pursued that same until 1847 when he purchased the True Democrat. He was a School Commissioner of the county for two years, later taking charge of the office of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company. He served as freight and ticket agent of that railway.
From 1864 to 1867 he served as Postmaster of Joliet, and in 1850 he was appointed Assistant U.S. Marshal to take the census of Will County in which capacity he served for several Censuses. He was elected a member of the City Council in 1876, and again in 1878.
H. N. Marsh married Mary KILE on October 14, 1835. They had one child, William Henry Marsh, born August 15, 1840. Mary died on December 19, 1840. William Marsh was a Union soldier in the Civil War, and died of wounds received. His discharge papers are being retained in our family.
H. N. Marsh married my Great, Great Grandmother, Mary Lavina POND, born May 18, 1818 on April 29, 1833. They had two children, Clarissa C. Marsh, born on December 21, 1846 who died on March 18, 1848. The second child, Francis (Frank) E. Marsh born on June 27, 1849. Mary Lavina died in October of 1868. He later married Jennie E. Foster, who had been a missionary to the Southwest U.S. Indians.
The Biography of Will County, of 1900 along with the biography and family ancestry, of Horation Nelson Marsh also published the poem he had written which established the pronunciation of "Joliet."
H. N. Marsh and Mary Lavina Pond's son, Frank E. Marsh was a grain merchant in partnership with H. S. CARPENTER. Frank was born in Joliet, on June 27, 1849. He was educated in the Joliet Public Schools and at the Chicago Academy. He also worked for the C., R.I. & P. RR as ticket agent and telegraph operator. F. E. Marsh was Superintendent of the Will County Historical Society in 187l and 1872, previous to, and at the time it became Joliet Public Library.
He married Kate RICHMOND, who became my Great Grandmother. They had three children, my Grandfather Horatio Richmond Marsh, his brother Loren William Marsh, and one sister. My Great Grandmother died May 16, 1879 two weeks after the birth of her daughter who was called Katey R, according to the census of 1880. Katey was still living at the time of the 1880 census, but died soon after that. Frank provided a home for his mother-in-law, Jennet Bliss Richmond, following Kate's death.
Following the death of Kate Richmond Marsh, my Great Grandfather married Mary Ida PIERCE. They had two children, Mary Agnes, born June 18, 1884, who died on August 11, 1883 and Ralph Levi Marsh, born A pril 16, 1889. Mary Ida Pierce Marsh died on January 13, 1891.
I have heard the story that someone of note stated at the dedication of the F.E. Marsh Elementary School that many have had a school named "after" them, but Frank Marsh had the distinction of having the school named "for" him as he was still living when it was built and dedicated.
Frank Marsh married married Jessie GASKILL following the death of Mary Ida Pierce, and she is given the credit for keeping alive, Ralph who was a weak and ailing child. Jessie Gaskill was still living when I moved to Illinois. She was an interesting woman.
At some point in his life, Frank E. Marsh opened a shoe store on Cass Street in Joliet. Ralph Marsh later became the owner of the store and took as his partner, a young man, William Storey of Joliet. The store was a prosperous one, and upon the death of Ralph, William was given the option of buying it as a reduced amount, with the sale proceeds going to named inheritors, of which I was one.
My Grandfather, Horatio Richmond Marsh, called Richmond, was born February 13, 1874 to Frank E. and Kate Richmond Marsh. He too completed his public school education in Joliet, later going to the University of Illinois. Following his college education, he went to New York to enter a Medical School. Upon completing his M.D., marrying my Grandmother, Emma Josephine Cargain, a New York native, and becoming ordained a Presbyterian Minister upon examination, he departed to Barrow, Alaska as a Medical Missionary and Pastor. He had been appointed to be the Government Agent prior to his departure. While there he was also the superintendent of schools.
I remember when my Great Grandfather Frank E. Marsh died. I was six years old. Strangely that was the same age my Grandfather was when his Mother died. However the death of a Great Grandfather certainly did not impact me as the death of Grandpa's Mother had impacted him. To me it is significant that my ancestors cared for their widowed Mothers and provided a home for them. The same thing was true of my Mother who provided a home for her Father, and in turn, I provided a home for my Mother during her disabling neurological illness of 11 years, and a cousin also provided for her Mother. I think this kind of caring is distinctive among the Marsh family.
I had the "good fortune" to live with my Grandparents, due to the "bad fortune" of my Father's death when I was 5 weeks old. Therefore, the Marsh family history was always a part of my life and knowledge, as well as the heritage my Mother brought with her, having been born in Barrow, Alaska.
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