Ben Harbison Marshall 1861 -1937 & Orra Moore Calvert Marshall 1874 – 1930

Source – Entry #696 in Paxton’s Marshall Family
(written circa. 1885)

Benjamin Harbeson Marshall, b. at Walnut Grove , Ky., August 28, 1861. Ben has been helping his father on the farm, and is now waiting for some lassie to volunteer to attend to his wardrobe. Ben is modest, but he is handsome and sensible.

Since Ben Harbison Marshall lived so long after Paxton publish the Marshall Family, there is significant info missing.

Some of the Information below comes from

Benjamin Harbeson Marshall was born on August 28, 1861, at Walnut Grove, Mason County KY., to Phoebe Ann Paxton, age 43, and Charles Alexander Marshall, age 52. Benjamin Harbeson Marshall married Orra Moore Calvert in Maysville, Kentucky, on October 15, 1893, when he was 32 years old. She was 19. They had 4 children:

  • Charles Alexander was born on September 27, 1894, in Mason, Kentucky.
  • Thomas C. was born in 1904 in Mason, Kentucky.
  • Ben Harbeson was born in 1906 in Kentucky.
  • Emily Paxton was born in 1909 in Kentucky.

His wife Orra Moore passed away in 1930 in Maysville, Kentucky, at the age of 56. They had been married 37 years. Benjamin Harbeson Marshall died at Walnut Grove near Washington KY. on January 5, 1937, when he was 75 years old.

1870 Census
Orra Calvert birth certificate
1880 Census
Marriage Bond
1900 Census
1910 Census
1920 Census
1930 Census
Orra Marshall death certificate
Ben Marshall Death Certificate

I, Charles W Marshall, am writing this portion of this entry on Feb 27 2019. It contains the oral history I have heard growing up on Walnut Grove Farm. You should understand it may not be accurate. I hope others will review and make entries that correct, extend and clarify the lives of Ben and Orra Marshall. They are folks we current Marshalls have heard about, all our lives, but never met in person.

Ben H Marshall was the youngest of Col. Charles A Marshall’s children. He was the last generation of our line that felt as a “Marshall” he had enough capital (land) that he could be a “Gentleman” farmer. Let me explain, a “Gentleman” farmer believes he has enough acreage so he can afford to pay a tenant farmer with a share of the crop to provide the labor needed on a farm. (Typical split is 50% of Gross) When the Marshalls had thousands of acres, there was no way that they could clear and farm it, so this system worked well.

Successive generations of Marshalls lived well, and sold land to pay for their life style. In addition, the Marshalls in this line tended to have large families and in their wills divided their land among their children uniformly.

When Ben H Marshall was age 68, all three of his sons had reached maturity and left home. He realized he could not afford to pay a tenant’s share, and soon realized he, due to his age, could not provide the labor Walnut Grove needed. So in 1929, Ben H Marshall asked his oldest son Charles A Marshall (my Grandfather), to come back to actively farm Walnut Grove (then 285 Acres).

During Ben and Orra’s lives, Walnut Grove was primarily a subsistence farm. By this I mean that most of the production of the farm was consumed on the farm. Such a farm would raise some

  • chickens for meat and eggs
  • hogs for pork
  • sheep for wool and meat
  • cattle for milk and meat
  • horses and mules for motive power
  • grass fields for pasture, and hay to feed livestock
  • corn, wheat, rye, barley and oats for grain

Animals were slaughtered on the farm and their meat processed and stored on the farm.

Most of this production was consumed to feed and cloth those living on the farm. However they did have some cash expenses, so they needed to produce something that they could market for that cash. By 1900, I believe that tobacco was their main “cash” crop, but truthfully I have no documentation to support that. In any case, the annual land tax, was only one of the severe financial stress events of the year. Farms such as Walnut Grove would run “tabs” at stores. These were due to be settled when the “crop” was sold. Even in the 1950’s I heard about families who lost their home to a grocer to settle their “tab”. It was explained to me that they sold out, one “can” of beans at a time.

When Ben H Marshall was courting Orra Calvert of Lewisburg KY, they started discussing marriage. I have heard that Orra said she needed a better house than the one on Walnut Grove. (The original 1793 era house, on Walnut Grove, had burnt down before 1880 and had been replaced by the 2 story brick shotgun house.) Although they where married in 1893 her house was not built until 1913. But Ben did in fact build this 2 story, four square house. I lived here with my parents Charles A Marshall Jr and Nell Click Marshall, from 1950 until 1978, except from 1967 – 1973 when I attend U of KY, and worked in NC).

House built by Ben Marshall for Orra, this picture taken just prior to it’s demolition in 2019

Orra Calvert Marshall’s mother, who was referred to as “Grand Mother Calvert “, is buried in her family’s cemetery in Lewisburg KY. Baptist Church graveyard.

Newspaper Articles

Local News

Typhoid Fever


Orra Moore Calvert Clippings

Graduates from Nursing School

Marrage Announcement