Charles Alexander Marshall 1918 -1998

Charles A. Marshall Jr was born after Paxton published the Marshall Family
so there is no information from that source

I, Charles W Marshall, am writing this portion of this entry on Mar 2, 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 life of Charles A Marshall Jr.

Some of this information comes from

Charles Alexander Marshall was born on March 8, 1918, in Akron, Ohio, to Julia Alma Webb, age 20, and Charles Alexander Marshall, age 23. His father Charles A. Sr worked as a draftsman for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

His brother James Paxton was born on July 31, 1922, in Akron, Ohio, when Charles Alexander was 4 years old.

Shortly after Pack’s birth Charles and Julia moved their family back to Fayette county KY. I believe that Charles Sr. had become unhappy being a very small cog in a very big corporation, In addition, it is easy to believe that Julia Webb Marshall would welcome the move back to her hometown.

All that I have heard, makes me think that the Charles A Marshall Sr family was very happy at the Forks of the South Elkhorn, during this period..

Charles A Jr started school at Picadome Elementary School. It is indicative of Julia Marshall’s personality, and achievement that on Thursday August 27, 1925, in her position as President of the Fayette County Parent Teacher Association), she presided at a county-wide PTA meeting. Tragically, she died of typhoid fever on Sunday Aug. 30, 1925.

Julia’s death certificate

Charles A Marshall Sr. married Ruth Ewalt in Kentucky in 1925 (?) when Charles Jr was 7 years old.

Ben H Marshall asked Charles Sr. to return home and take over the operation of Walnut Grove. Charles Sr. moved his family back to the Washington community. In 1929 Charles Sr. built the wood-frame house on a two-acre plot cut from the farm. This would be Charles Jr. home until he left for the University of KY.

Upon arriving back in Mason County Charles Jr entered Washington Elementary and repeated the last grade he had taken in the Fayette school system, because of the tumult of his last year in Fayette Co.

1930 Census: Marital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Son, District 5, Mason, Kentucky, USA

Charles Jr was athletic in school. He was a starter on the Washington High School Pioneers varsity basketball team.

Julia Webb Marshall’s mother, Mary Dandy Gunn  Webb, died in 1934. To settle her estate, Webbs decided to sell most of their family farm, on Greendale Road, in Fayette, County KY, to the Spring Valley Golf Club. The Webb’s then divided the proceeds equally among Julia Webbs and her siblings. Julia Webb’s portion was used to establish an educational fund for Charles and Paxton.

Upon graduation from Washington High School, Charles opted to attend the University of Kentucky. Charles Sr. still did not believe in the need for a four year degree. Instead he worked with the Ag professors, he knew through his work in extension. They devised 2-year curriculum, where Charles Jr. took only the courses Charles Sr. and the professors thought had practical application for a person who intended to return to farm in Mason County KY. This meant that Charles Jr was taking 200 level course in his second semester, 300 level course in first semester sophomore year and 400 level courses in the second semester of his second year. This is not to say all courses where strictly aligned this way, but rather that he finished all the 400 level courses his father and professors thought appropriate. This system started with the assumption that Charles Jr had no hope or need of ever attaining a degree. This allowed him to skip many degree track requirements and prerequisites. I never heard his grade point mentioned, but understood that he in fact completed all his courses successfully.

I do not think Charles Sr did Charles Jr any favors with this arrangement, but it was Charles Jr. decided to go along with the 2-year plan. His brother Pack, did not agree to the plan, when he started UK. He instead started on a 4-year track. However Pack’s college education was interrupted by WWII. So when he came back from his time in Patton’s army, his well deserved GI bill payments helped him afford to complete his BS in Agriculture.

While Charles Sr was arranging Charles Jr. U of KY program, he was also trying to improve the sheep operation on Walnut Grove. U of KY Professor (I think) Harold Barbour, was considered a national expert in sheep production. Charles Sr. arranged for Charles Jr. to “live” at the sheep barn, for his 2 years at U of KY. This gave Charles Jr. 2 years to work daily with Professor Barbour and absorb all of his techniques possible. It also saved his cost room (and maybe board. I am not sure of the exact details.) However I think most would agree that the education one gains in the dorms and common areas, is as instructive as the classroom. Charles Jr spent most of these hours at the sheep barn.

A high point of his time in the sheep barn, was when he went to the International Livestock Show, held at the Chicago Stockyards. He rode with the sheep, in the livestock rail car from Lexington to Chicago. Stayed in the same pen as the U of KY sheep, while at the show. During the event, he helped show the sheep. After the show was over, he rode, in the livestock rail car, back from Chicago to Lexington. This was the first time Charles went on a long trip, without his family. I think it was a significant event in his early life.

Charles Jr was always conscious that he had “never worked” for a non- family employer. He had always worked for his father or managed his own operation. I have no doubt that he could have worked “off” the farm, but I think he did.

Dad told about when he had almost started working for a tobacco company. Dad was in an Ag class, with a fellow (let’s call him John Doe) whose dad was an American Tobacco Leaf buyer. Doe’s father had gotten him a job working 2nd shift, in the prize room. (American had a redryer plant directly across the street from the U of KY campus.) In the depression, one of these jobs was coveted. Any job was hard to find, and American paid a top wage.

Anyway Doe wanted the night off, to attend one of his fraternity activities. He asked Charles Jr, if he would work his shift for him. Dad was to clock in as John Doe, work the shift and the clock out. Doe was to give Charles Jr the money American paid for the shifts work..

So Charles Jr works the first day and enjoys the work, everything seemed to have worked as Doe had expected, with no apparent problems. John Doe must have liked the extra free time, more than the cash he was losing, by not working. Each day he kept asking Charles Jr. to work that day. Halfway through the third straight night of working, as John Doe, the prize room supervisor told “John Doe” to report to the plant manager’s office.

Dad walks into the office and the plant manager says, John Doe you are fired. You do not do a good job when you are here. Plus you are now sending other people to work in your place. If one of those people is ever hurt, we would all be in deep trouble. Dad said he was mortified and got up to leave.

The manager said, “wait, I know you are NOT John Doe, who I just fired. I have been watching you. I like your work and I want to hire you as yourself”. Charles Jr. said he was so flustered, that he said “no you just fired me, and I do not work where I have been fired” and left. Several times while I worked with him, Charles Jr would ponder what his life would have been like if he had taken up the American Tobacco offer.

Upon completing the planned 2 years at U of KY, Charles Jr. returned back to Walnut Grove and started working for Charles Sr. full time, along with acting as the tenant raising some of Walnut Grove’s tobacco.

Ruth E Marshall gave birth to Charles A Jr’s sister Linda Ruth Marshall  on 6 Oct 1943 • in Maysville, Mason, Kentucky, USA, when Charles Alexander Jr was 25 years old.

Charles Sr wanted his sons to not, in any way, volunteer for military service. Dad registered for the draft, but the draft board allowed him to stay on the farm to help produce agricultural products for the war. I know the USA needed the products that Charles Jr. help raise. But I also know that he was conscious that he was one of the only men, his age, who had not “served” in WWII.

In the late 40’s dad attended the national Farm Bureau Convention in CA. He traveled via train. He often talked about all he had seen and I think this trip did much to expand his horizons.

Soon after he returned from the trip west, he met Nell Jones Click when she came to be the Mason county home demonstration agent in USDA extension office.

Charles Alexander Marshall married Nell Jones Click in Cabell, West Virginia, on January 3, 1948, when he was 29 years old. and she was 28 years old.

Charles Jr and Nell Jo’s only child Charles William was born on August 8, 1949, in Maysville, Kentucky.

Charles Jr.’s father Charles Alexander Sr. passed away on May 4, 1950, in Mason, Kentucky, at the age of 55. Charles Sr died after shooting dogs who were attacking the sheep. Within a week it was decided to sell all sheep. Maysville was growing out toward Walnut Grove, and as more people had more dogs it was becoming impossible to keep the dogs from killing Walnut Grove sheep. (Remember: Charles Jr. had recently spent 2 years in a sheep barn so he could specialize in sheep.)

In 1950 Charles Jr took over providing management and labor for Walnut Grove. At this time Walnut Grove was owned equally by Ruth, Tom, Ben, and Emily.

At first Ruth “kept the Walnut Grove books” wrote checks etc. and my father Charles A Marshall did the day to day work and management on the farm and was paid by getting half the gross of any tobacco he raised. As can imagined friction arose between Mama Ruth and my father and mother on

  • on whether money in the bank should be distributed to partners or invested back in Walnut Grove.
  • Was it profitable to run the Shorthorn cattle, dad who raised feed and worked them for no labor income thought not, while Mama Ruth enjoyed the 1/2 of each stockyard check she received as the “tenant”.
  • Should the farm make substantial investments to get in to hogs or dairy?
  • and …

Suffice to say there was friction but everyone knew that all wanted the best for the family and at the base, loved and trusted each other. There were frequent open and frank discussions. (For the next story understand this is what I understood as a first or second grader listening to only one side of the situation).

Dad really felt put upon working on the Shorthorn Cattle. He felt that they really did not make any money in total . He believed Mama Ruth liked them because she got the income, but did not have to raise the hay to feed them or work with the cattle. So dad kept pestering her that the farm should sell the Shorthorns and get out of the beef business. (At this time the Shorthorn bred was fading out in any case and where considered less desirable than Hereford and Angus cattle.) So dad goes over to Mama Ruth’s house (which is now my home in 2019) and catches Mama Ruth just as she is about to leave for an appointment in Maysville. He starts in on his pitch and she says, “Well I have to go, if you think we should, then go on and sell them.” She drives off and dad immediately calls enough trucks to take the every Shorthorn animal on Walnut Grove to the stockyard for sale. When Mama Ruth returned and learned that they were ALL sold, she said “Well I did not think you would take me seriously”, but he had.

Nell Jones Marshall’s parents helped Charles Jr, purchased the 1/4 share of Walnut Grove. This 1/4 had been then owned by Nancy, Tom’s widow. This made the ownership of Walnut Grove split evenly between Ruth, Ben, Emily Charles Jr.

Viewing Thomas Marshall’s journey to the depths of alcoholism, was why Charles Jr. seldom if ever drank alcohol.

While preparing the 1955 business plan for Walnut Grove farm Charles Jr. realized that the farm had to find a profitable livestock enterprise to generate cash flow.  He proposed to his partners that the farm start with a hog or dairy operation.  He told me he really wanted the hog option, but presented two options so the partners could understand the relative merits of alternatives being pursued in the area.

The partners selected Dairy.  Ben later told me that he did not want to pour a lot of capital into a new livestock operation, and thought dad would tire of two time a day, every day milking required by a dairy, before big capital was needed.

To “test” if dad could make dairy pay the partners said he needed prove he could milk successfully before they spent much capital. Charles Jr. started milking 10 or so cows, in the old hip roof barn (since fallen in) with 2 Surge bucket milkers and shipping his Grade C milk to Carnation in 10 gal cans.  The milk truck picked up each day.

In one or two years the partners agreed to build a, concrete block, purpose built milk parlor, that allowed production of Grade A milk..  Cattle number grew to 40 or 50 head milking at a time. (note in Dairy you need as many calves and dry cows as milk cows actually being milked at any time.)

Charles Jr had learned a great deal of construction techniques from Charles Sr, and loved to build things, like this milk parlor.  While he would contract skills like block laying, he would do most of the other tasks using farm labor as his help.

Under his management he built a modern dairy operation that was scaled to support 150 cattle on line. However was never able to sustain the herd above 140 cows on line.

In 1964 the farm across Key Pike, (Paxton Acres) came up for auction.  Dad tried to convince his partners that Walnut Grove should bid.  They did not want to be exposed to the debt required.    At the auction the farm was selling cheap. The auctioneer saw a prosperous Maysville businessman (Mr Deletell) passing by on the road, The auctioneer told him this land is selling cheap you should buy it, you cannot go wrong. So mr Deletell did.

Charles Jr and Nell Jop went home and decided at that price they should see if they could buy it from Deletell.  Within the week Charles Jr and Nell Jo had paid Mr Deletell a $5000 profit for his risk and owned (with a mortgage) Paxton Acres.  THis was the start of needing to keep expenses and income separate between Walnut Grove and Paxton acres, due to separate ownership.

Around 1968 the adjoining Gallenstein farm was put on the market to settle an estate. Dad again asked the recommended  that Walnut Grove purchase it. They asked if we declined will you purchase it  in his own mane.  Charles Jr. said yes. They approved letting Walnut Grove purchase the land. This brought Walnut Grove to 420 Acres.

As the dairy had grown dad started using Ed Schumacher, a neighbor,  to raise Walnut Grove’s tobacco on a 50/50 tennant basis. Dad chose Mr Schumacher because Dad said he always had the best crop in the neighborhood.  

The tobacco support program was expected to transitioning from controlling how many acres of tobacco a farm could raise to how many pounds it could sell.   Working with Mr Schumacher Charles Jr proceeded to do all possible, to achieve max production during the 3 year period that was used was used to convert the farms base from acres to pound.  Walnut Grove was one of only 3 farms in the county with a higher average pounds per acre,  than could be used in acre to pound, conversion equation..   Walnut Grove/ Paxton Acres’ tobacco was one of the top 300 bases in the entire Burley belt.

Charles Jr ws also active in farm organization like

  • Farm Bureau
  • Huntington Milk Coop
  • Livestock Improvement Association
  • Southern States Farm Supply Coop
  • American Dairy Association
  • Kentucky Artificial Breeders Association
  • Dairy Herd Improvement Association
  • … and more

He served on the national board of Select Sires. Represented Kentucky at numerous American Dairy nation conventions. He was on the local boards of the other organizations several times.

Charles Alexander Marshall Jr approx 1967

In 1972 Charles Jr and Charles William bought out Ruth, Ben, and Emily. From then until Charles Jr. death Walnut Grove was owned 50/50 buy by father and son. Once the other partners were out of Walnut Grove, the two farms where operated as one, DBA Walnut Grove.

During his last 5 years of life Charles Alexander Jr. had severe dementia and had 24 hr a day 7 day a week care in his home on Walnut Grove Farm.

Charles Alexander Marshall died on November 15, 1998, in Maysville, Kentucky, when he was 80 years old.

Newspaper Articles

Walnut Grove Farm