The Encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War: A Political Social ..; Volume: 1
Early Colonial Settlers
of Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck Counties
Source – Entry #176 in Paxton’s Marshall Family
(written circa. 1885)
(written circa. 1885)
176 (a) GEN. THOMAS MARSHALL, b. in Mason Co., Ky., April 13, 1793; d. in Lewis Co., Ky., March 28, 1853; = about 1819, in Virginia, Catherine Taylor, who died in Kentucky in 1820; =.2d, in Washington City, November 6, 1821, Julianna Winchester Whetcroft, b. at Annapolis, Maryland, 1805, died in Fleming Co., Ky., October, 1860.
Mr. Marshall received the best education the ·west, in his day, afforded, and he was prepared for his future career by the study of law. His frame was large and muscular, his eyes were black and piercing, his voice was loud and commanding, and his courage quailed before neither man nor demon.
Yet withal, he was a true and generous friend, a skillful and successful politician, an able statesman, a sincere patriot and a fearless soldier. His temperament suited the times when the duel was the arbiter of all disputes. April 19, 1812, Mr. Marshall fought his celebrated duel with Chas. S. Mitchell, on the banks of the Ohio, above Maysville. He challenged Mitchell for some insult offered his father, Capt. Marshall. Mitchell was an expert with the pistol, and at the first fire, shot Mr. Marshall in the hip. But the latter was not satisfied, and wanted a second round. This was refused by his friends.
Mr. Marshall received from his father a tract of three thousand acres of land in ·Lewis Co., Ky., and here he lived from his marriage until his death. He lorded over a large number of tenants. Though overbearing and profane, he was liberal in his charity. His tenants loved him in spite of his faults, and they found him a powerful protector. No one near him was permitted to suffer, if relief was in his power. His irritability was increased by the occasional torture produced by a broken ankle, caused by his fall from a horse. He as a decided Democrat, and frequently a candidate for the Legislature. He represented Lewis County for six terms, 1817, 1828, 1836, 1839, 1842’and 1844. At one time he was-Speaker of the House.
When the Mexican war broke out, President Polk appointed him Brigadier General of volunteers, and he served from July 1, 1846, to July 20, 1848. He was with Gen. Taylor in the Buena Vista campaign, and was with Gen. Scott in his invasion of Mexico. During the last six months of the war, he was the Military Governor of Mexico. His daughter, Mrs. Bland, (632) just before her death, wrote me her version of her father’s life and death, from which I make some ex tracts:“My father went to the Mexican war when about 52 ears of age. I remember one instance of his promptness, which I will relate: He had been ordered to guard a very dangerous pass between :Monterey and Buena Vista, and had labored twenty-four hours to throw up immense breastworks, when, just at dark, he received a peremptory order to hasten on to Buena Vista under cover of night and darkness, with his heavy artillery. He called his officers together, and informed them of the command he had received, and the necessity of immediate relief to their endangered comrades. Each man hastily swallowed a cup of coffee, and eagerly commenced his rugged march of thirty miles. Frequently they would have to dismount, and push the heavy guns up the mountains. The General himself assisted in this work. The Mexicans had heard that Gen. Marshall’s command consisted of six thousand men, when, in truth, he had only one thousand. When he reached the summit overlooking the bloody field of Buena Vista, he announced to his men that it was either victory or death for them, an,l h gave orders that the first man that faltered should be shot down by his comrades. The cannon were posted, and the cavalry charged down on the enemy. The Mexicans supposing the Americans were reinforced by a large army, fled in confusion. On reaching the bloody battle ground, Gen. Marshall found no enemy. In his bitter disappointment be is said to have wept the only tears that ever moistened his eyes. The battle of Buena Vista was gained by father’s stratagem and by his prompt and heroic obedience. But of this he never bad the credit. He always complained of injustice from both Taylor and Scott.
Gen. Marshall always claimed to have been the “Blucher” of Buena Vista, and often cursed his fate in having been placed behind, where he could not share the glory of the victory he achieved without striking a blow. Mrs. Bland thus details the circumstances of Gen. Marshall’s death:
Mv father was murdered by a desperado named Tvler, of Mt. Carmel, Fleming Co., Ky. Tyler attempted to ingratiate lather’s favor by telling on the tenants. He bought a piece of land off father, and made only one payment. He proved very troublesome, and father, trying to get rid of him, got another tenant to buy Tyler out. Learning the facts Tyler became exasperated, and threatened to kill father. With an accomplice, Tyler attacked father on the highway one dark night, when coming home. But this attempt at assassination failed. Tyler then burned, as believed, a new distillery of my father’s, containing several thousand bushels of glain. Tyler told the neighbors that he intended to insult Gen. Marshall, so that he might have a pretext to shoot him. This he did, when Gen. Marshall was in his field measuring com; but my father struck and choked him. Tyler went off muttering revenge. He procured a double-barrel shotgun, and went to a tenant’s, where father was, and called. for him. Father went to the door, and Tyler asked “Are you ready?” My father answered “Yes,” as he went down the steps into the yard. Someone then offered him an empty rifle, saying, “Take this, General; it will scare him.” My father remarked, “Let’s have fair shooting, Tyler. Don’t get behind a tree. We have carried this thing far enough.” Just then Tyler fired both barrels into father’s breast. Without speaking, he fell on his knees and died. Tyler escaped to Ohio and died there.
( d) Mrs. Marshall left her husband some yea.rs before his death, and lived with her daughter, Mrs. Fleming. She was a lovely wo man. Her soft, sweet temper, contrasted with the violent na ure of her husband. She was a daughter of William Whetcroft andAnne Winchester/of Annapolis, Md. She had two sisters and a brother: 1, Mary F. Whetcroft, = Samuel Chase, of New York; 2, Sa.rah Ann Whetcroft, = Judge Alfred Cavalry; 3, William Whetcroft, who died single. Gen. Marshall was buried at Washington, Ky. His wife was interred at Maysville, Ky .
I Charles William Marshall am writing this paragraph March 17 2019. While I believe it to be fact it is based on oral history I heard from CA Marshall Jr. and may not be as accurate as I think. Paxton says “Mr. Marshall received from his father a tract of three thousand acres of land in ·Lewis Co., Ky.,”. I believe this to be located just outside Tollesboro KY.