This site is our attempt to share information on the 0.75-acre tract, deeded for Marshall Cemetery at Federal Hill in Washington Kentucky. It is surrounded by the Federal Hill Farm, which is private property. Lisa Fryman (email@example.com) needs to be contacted to arrange access to the Marshall Cemetery at Federal Hill.
These pages contain our family’s history, as we understand it. Some of it came to us orally, as storeies we heard, while growing up as descendants of Col Thomas Marshall. You should understand it may not be accurate. We hope that you and others will review and advise ways to correct, extend, and clarify the life and times of our forebarers. Please send your suggestions, via email, to firstname.lastname@example.org
First some background on the Marshalls and how we came to be in Kentucky.
Thomas Marshall fathered and his wife Mary Isham Keith gave birth to fifteen children who lived well into adulthood.
Thomas Marshall worked on surveying parties, with George Washington, for Lord Fairfax. When the Revolutionary War broke out, he was an early volunteer. At the end of the war, having had distinguished service, he held the rank of Colonel when he returned to his home in Virginia.
At the war’s end, “service bonus” (promises made to Revolutionary War soldiers) came due. Each state had promised payment, and Virginia faced these facts:
- The continental dollar had little to no gold or silver to back it. In fact, the phrase “worthless as a continental dollar” was in active use. So soldiers did not want to be paid with paper money.
- Until the debt owed to the revolutionary soldiers was paid, the risk that they would become restive was a concern. These men formed various revolutionary units who had just proven their ability to overthrow a central government. If Virginia reneged on the promised payments, there was the risk they might opt to break Virginia into cantons ruled by local warlords. The Whiskey Rebellion later confirmed that this fear was justified. Particularly before the ratification of the US Constitution strengthened the central government.
- The Treaty of Paris signed in 1783 defined the western boundary of the United States of America as the continental divide along the Appalachian mountain range.
The solution adopted by Virginia was to pay off Virginia’s Revolutionary Soldiers with land grants of land west of the Appalachian mountain range. It had these advantages
- No more paper money need be issued,
- “Service bonus” obligations were settled with land that Britain, based on the Treaty of Paris, still claimed
- Encouraging these Revolutionary veterans to move West,
- Established these proven fighters as a defense on the western frontier
- Removed their potential for rebellion in Eastern, more populous, settlements.
- Once settlements were established west of the Appalachian mountain range, there were few natural barriers to the West. If viable western settlements could be established, then they could form a jumping-off point, to claim the bounty of land even farther West.
This solution required the appointment of a surveyor general to transform the concept into reality.
Because of their work together surveying Lord Fairfax’s land in western Virginia, George Washington knew of Col. Thomas Marshall surveying and organizational ability. Col. Thomas Marshall’s faithful service throughout the revolution was widely respected in Virginia. These facts resulted in Col. Thomas Marshall being appointed surveyor general of the lands in Fayette County Kentucky in 1783. To reduce the cash Virginia had to expend, Col. Thomas Marshall agreed to fulfill his duties as surveyor general in return for a portion of the tracts of land he was to survey.
Although this meant that Col. Thomas Marshall had to bear all the upfront expense of fulfilling the surveyor general duties, it also meant that he got the first choice of which tracts he would take as compensation. I have never found written documentation of the percentage of the land surveyed, that was his compensation. However, I have heard oral history that he received 50% of land surveyed. While 50% seems high. Consider what the surveyor general duties included:
- Organize records of what land was due to each Virginia Revolutionary War veteran, and then bring that information to Kentucky.
- The task of coming from Eastern Virginia into the Kentucky wilderness was daunting when the only routes to and inside Kentucky were rivers and buffalo traces.
- Managing the actual survey of this vast land entailed:
- preparing legally binding documentation of each plot
- leaving boundary markers that others could use to identify each grant, years later.
- Organize the land grants with a mind to where roads, towns and villages could/should be located. This would ensure Kentucky commerce would be self-supporting and settlers could profit by working their new land.
- Get documentation back to Virginia so veterans could make plans on how to best benefit from their grant.
- Handle issues such as
- People already living on the land, without a grant from the British Crown or Virginia
- Some of these “people”, where the native American’s living in KY before the settlers arrived.
- Begining on page 17, A Native History Of Kentucky – Kentucky Heritage Council, describes those native Americans, before, during and after the arrival of settlers with European origins
- Boundary markers being moved or misinterpreted
- Veterans/speculators selling a land grant more than once
- Speculators selling land grant they never owned
- Identifying if a person claiming to be Sgt. John Doe really was the Sgt. John Doe due the land grant in question.
- People already living on the land, without a grant from the British Crown or Virginia
- Assist new arrivals to find their land grants.
In 1783 Col. Thomas Marshall established his office in Lexington,. ( He came to Kentucky via the Ohio River route.)
By 1785 he was able to bring his family to Kentucky. Col. Thomas Marshall’s first Kentucky home was at Buck Pond near Versailles, then part of Fayette County, which had not yet been split into multiple counties.
We can look at how Col. Marshall ended up being buried at Federal Hill by looking at where his sons settled.
John James Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835), their eldest son, never moved to Kentucky but instead, stayed in Virginia. Among other accomplishments, he served as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835. Marshall remains the longest-serving chief justice and fourth-longest serving justice in Supreme Court history, and he is widely regarded as one of the most influential justices to ever sit on the Supreme Court. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Marshall served as the United States Secretary of State under President John Adams
Col. Marshall’s second eldest son, Capt. Thomas Marshall, Jr, came to Washington in approximately 1793, and lived in a log house on Clark’s Run. By 1800 Col Thomas Marshall funded establishing Federal Hill as Capt. Thomas Marshall’s home, and the family seat of Northern KY. In addition to the brick home, a smaller brick building, which served as the Mason County Clerk Office, was built. (The bricks in these buildings were brought in, via Ohio River, from Virginia.) Our family’s cemetery at Federal Hill was established at this time. Capt. Thomas Marshall, Jr. and his wife had seven children.
Col. Thomas Marshall and wife, upon retirement, opted to leave Central Kentucky and return to Federal Hill. Upon death, each was buried in the Federal Hill cemetery. Likewise, Capt. Thomas Marshall, Jr. and his wife are buried in our cemetery. Since then, descendants of Col. Thomas Marshall, Jr. and their spouses, have had the opportunity to be buried in the Marshall Cemetery at Federal Hill.
Please checkout the Cemetery Map. Clicking on a name leads to info, that we hope will allow you to better appreciate the life and times each person buried here. Many of the entries reference The Marshall Family, by William McClung Paxton, Baltimore MD. In those cases we have copied the content directly from the “The Marshall Family”, the first-person voice in these entries is that of W C Paxton. These type of entries start with this information: “Extracts on Col Thomas Marshall from Entry #16 in Paxton’s Marshall Family (written circa. 1885)”. The entry# is the index number used by Paxton. The reference to 1885 is to remind the reader that this source work was completed in 1885. Thus for many of those in the cemetery, much has happened that we will document from other sources.
Slavery was common in KY before the emancipation proclamation. Sadly the Marshalls did in fact own slaves. A 2017 book published by the Kentucky Historical Society called “A History of Blacks in Kentucky: From Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891,” covers some of these topics over the same time period but without specific mention of Col. Thomas Marshall or his descendants.
The perpetual care of our cemetery is managed by Marshall Cemetery at Federal Hill Incorporated registered as a 501(c)(13) in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.