Martin P Marshall 1798 – 1883
Source – Entry #182 in Paxton’s Marshall Family
(written circa. 1885)
(written circa. 1885)
182 ELIZA COLSTON MABSHALL, b. at Washington, Ky. ,March 17, 1801; d. July 19, 1874; =Seprember 19, 1819, her cousin Martin Picket Marshall, b. in Warrenoon, Va., February 10, 1798; d. in Washingt.on, KY, May 9, .1883. See No. 234.
I knew cousin Eliza in her prime. Tall, handsome, stately and commanding, she was perhaps the most radiant of the daughters of Capt. Marshall. It was my delight in my college vacations, to visit Belle-Grove, the charming villa in Fleming Co., Ky., where she presided. And when the family removed to Washington, and established themselves in the old homestead, I was often entertained and instructed by the brilliance and power of her conversation. But in her later years her intellect was clouded, her vivacity hushed, and her spirit veiled.
Cousin Martin was one of the most superb old gentlemen that I ever met. He lost his father when he was a boy, and his uncle, Chief Justice Marshal, took him into his family at Richmond. Here he remained several years, reading hisliory and philosophy. I will let him tell his own story. In 1876 I had a long conference with him, in his private study, in which he remarked:
In 1816, I left my mother in Virginia, determined to work out my own destiny. Uncle John proffered to send me to college, but I desired rather, to build on my own resources, I had nothing “but poverty for my inheritance, and energy for my capital”. With this independent spirit, I made my way to Kentucky. I brought no letter of introduction, and my coming was unannounced. I had no acquaintance on whom I could call for assistance.
I first saw my uncle, Alex. K. Marshall, (68) and told him I was a son of his brother Charles, and that his brother John would write in my behalf. He embraced me with affection, and told me his brother’s son had no call for recommendations to him. Under his guidance, I resumed the study of law. When on my first visit, I presented myself to my uncle Thomas, he asked why I had come to Kentucky. I told him I was on my father’s business, and in search of his wild lands.
Aunts Fanny Marshall and Susan McClung met me kindly. Behind them, I saw a sweet face, and, at Aunt McClung’s command, Eliza modestly advanced and saluted me with a kiss. I now devoted myself to the study of law, with Uncle Alexander. My diligence was untiring. Of Saturday nights, I would go in to see Eliza, and would return Sunday evenings.
But I had an enemy in Eliza’s brother, Thomas. He poisoned her mind against me, and she rejected me, much to the chagrin of her mother. I visited her no more, and our engagement was· forgotten. In 1818, I was licensed to practice,. and settled in Paris, where Uncle Humphrey was living. In six months I had earned $500, and was greatly elated. In April 1818, I visited Washington, and my suit for Eliza’s hand was renewed. I was accepted, and we were married.
Owing to an epidemic that broke out in Paris, about the date of my marriage, I determined to adopt the suggestion of Cabell Breckenridge, and settle in Cincinnati. Eliza and I rode to the city on horseback, and remained there eleven months. Our prospects were good, but my health broke down, and we concluded to return. After spending several years in Washington, we went in 1823 to Fleming.
Seeing that Cousin Martin was feeble, I suggested that he lie down and rest, while I visited my father’s grave. “Go William,” he exclaimed, ” and you will find there a fresh and unmarked grave. There lies my sainted Eliza. I am· waiting for my own death, when one stone shall cover us both.” In speaking these words the tears rolled down his cheeks, and the long white locks of hair fell over his face. Exhausted, he fell upon his bed.
Mr. Marshall was prosecuting attorney for Fleming County, and prosecuted Isaac Desha, for murder. He represented the County in 1825 and 1827. He was twice elector for Harrison and for Clay. He was a member of the Convention of 1849, that framed the present Constitution of Kentucky; and was elected Senator from Mason in 1861. He opposed secession, and was a prominent supporter of the Union cause.
Cousin Martin had a large and well selected library, and the children were expected and required to use it. Cousin Eliza delighted in young company, and her parlors were a favorite resort of numbers of the most accomplished of both sexes. Many a week have I spent at their hospital mansion when the halls and dining room presented the appearance of a lasting reception. With private tutors for the children, and educated and accomplished visitors, books were the theme of constant discussion. Cousin Eliza presided as a goddess surrounded by nymphs.
Cousin Martin was my beau-ideal of a patriarch. An orator by nature, he announced his opinions with emphasis, and sustained them with earnestness. Upwards of six feet tall, and erect as a Soldier, he bore in his left hand a lofty staff, whose ponderous thud clinched his arguments. His well combed locks fell far down on his shoulders, and gave him a venerable appearance. He and his family united with the Methodist Church, and to his death he was a liberal supporter of every christian and benevolent cause. He was a friend of Henry Clay, and espoused gradual emancipation. Though he had not practiced law for fifty years, yet the Maysville bar was called together, and complimentary resolutions were passed on the occasion of his death.
Mr. Marshall’s will is recorded in Maysville. It is dated in 1868 and ten codicils were added at different times. His children are made equal, and his son Charles is appointed executor. The homestead and appurtenant lands are granted to Mary and Phoebe. The shares of his daughters and of the sons of Lucy McKnight are settled on trustees. The library and pictures are given to Mary.
A marble slab is to be placed over the graves of himself and wife, and the graveyard is to be enclosed with an iron fence.
Again Paxton includes verse that he wrote as a tribute. For brevity I do not include them here, but you are free to access them in the PDF file available on the Information Resources page.