Mary Keith Marshall Green 1797-1887

Source – Entry #180 in Paxton’s Marshall Family
(written circa. 1885)

180(a)    Mary Keith Marshall, ,b. at Washington, Ky. , January 13, 1797, yet living,= 1st, March 1, 1825, JAMES A. PAXTON  (244), who d.  October  25, 1825; =2d, January 29, 1835, at Frankfort, Ky. Judge John Green, b. in Virginia, January 4, 1786, d. at “Waveland,” near Danville, Ky., September 30, 1838

My step-mother was reared at Washington, Ky., in its golden age.   Perhaps no town in the West  possessed a more literary and enlightened population, than was found in Washington the early part of this century. I have known no female that surpassed my step­ mother in intelligence, knowledge, vivacity and spirit. Her energy was a passion; her versatility was taken for frenzy, and her anima­tion suggested insanity. She sought excitement, moved from place to place, read every new book that came out, was ardent in her piety, enlightened in her views, and could maintain her sentiments against jurists, statesmen and theologians. Upon her marriage with  my father she went with him to Columbus, Ohio. But while on a visit to Kentucky, my father died in the old drawing-room on “The Hill,” and in the graveyard there, he lies buried. One child, Mary F. E. Paxton, was the fruit of the marriage. She was the widowed mother’s pride and darling, her joy and hope. But the little one, when three years old, wasted and died, and the mother was disconsolate. Its  remains lie  beside  its father’s, and  its epitaph  reads “Born December 19, 1825, died April 18, 1829.  Of  such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

(b) Her step-children now demanded her care. She took us to Uncle John’s (178), and had  a  room built  for  our accommodation. he herself became our  teacher.  Never was a mother  more faithful. But it was a religious rather than  a parental  instinct that impelled her. Her conseienoe was her supreme  ruler.  In  fulfilling  her duties she had a martyr’s firmness. It was not love to us, but her obli­gation to God. It was not  tenderness, but  a  moral impulse.  In 1880, she rented a house in Augusta, that she might  take  boarders, and send my brother and me to college. A few months experience disgusted  her, and  she went  to Cincinnati.  After sending me to Dr. John A. McClung’s for a year, she took me to Cincinnati and put me in the Catholic school known as the “Athenaeum.” Here I remained until December, 1834, when she went with metro Danville, Ky., and entered me in the Freshman Class of Centre College.

Here she met Judge John  Green, and in a short  time  they were married Judge Green’s palatial home was known as “Waveland,” and is one mile from Danville. I lived with them throughout my  college course. If Judge Green  was  ever  paid a cent for my board, I  do not know it.

Mr. Green was a tall and broad-shouldered man, of com­manding person and dignified address. He waa profound lawyer and a conscientious judge. His reading was extensive, but the Bible was his favorite study. His large household was  regularly gathered for prayer. He. waspatriarch, rather than a master, among his servants. His first wife was Sarah Fry, daughter of  the  distin­guished  teacher, Joshua  Fry. The  children of  his  first wife  were: 1, Willis Green, who married daughter of Bishop Smith and be­ came a missionary to India; 2, Sally, who married a Barclay; 3, Peachy, married Rev. Mr. Johnstone, and now lives in  Danville, Ky.; 4, Joshua, the apostle of Presbyterianism in Arkansas; 5, Su­san, married James Weir; and  6, William, married a  Weir, and was a Presbyterian minister in Leavenworth, Kansas, some years ago.

I regard it as one of the great blessings of my life, that I was brought under the influence of so great and good a man as Judge Green. Though he seldom spoke specially to me, yet his virtues had a wide-spread influence. His associates were the learned and pious men of bis day. Dr. Young, Dr. Lewis W. Green, Dr. W. L. Breckenridge,  Dr.  Nelson,  the  author of  the  work on Infidelity, Dr. Louis Marshall, and other good men often met in his par­ lor, and we were epcouraged to be present to enjoy their learned convocation.

(c) Mr. Green was one of the noble band of early emancipa­tionists in Kentucky. He placed on  record a paper liberating all his slaves, some forty in number, as they became of age; and, long before the war, they were free. His views on the slavery question were severely criticized, and caused him much vexation. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and represented Lincoln Co., in the State Legislature for seven terms, as follows: 1818, 1820, 1821, 1822, 1824, 1825 and 1832. He died in 1838, and his widow returned to Mason County. She lived a number of years in Covington, and is now with her son, Col. Thomas M. Green, in Maysville. She is the oldest of the eight surviving grand children of Col. Thos. Marshall. The seven others are Nos. 200, 202, 188, 262, 266, 286 and 288. She is very deaf, and quite helpless; yet she walks around and speaks intelligently. Perhaps I have the last long letter written by her own hand, and as I prize it, maybe others will be interested in it. It is as follows:

(e)                                     MAYSVILLE; KENTUCKY, November 1,1875.

W. M. Paxum, Plalle City, Mo.:

MY Dear Son:-1 received your letter sometime ago, and would have answered it sooner, but was told you were expected in Washing­ ton. I was born on the 13th of January, 1797. Your father was born the 13th of September, nine years before. He was seventeen years old when he came to Uncle McClung’s (72) to read  history and study law. He was about twenty-two when he was married to your mother. About a month later your Aunt Lucy (178) and I were sent to Virginia. Your father inherited a fortune of ten thousand dollars from his  Grand­ mother Paxton, a very old woman. With that  money  he  built  the house you children were born in. John McDowell read  law  at  the same time with Uncle Alexander (68). They met Saturdays in  town, and slept at the office with Cousin Marshall Key (16 s), and eat at my father’s, who was always called Uncle Tom by both of them. Some­ times they got into scrapes, writing against some of the candidates, and my father had to get them out.

The summer after your father was married, his mother and step­ father, Mr Moore, came to see them. They brought  his half-brother and half-sister, William and Jane Moore, and remained two years. Jane went to school with my sisters, to old Mrs. Lee, and William went to school to Mann Butler. Jane was  homely, but a girl  of  fine sense.  I do not remember hearing your father speak of his Paxton kin;  but he was very proud of his step-father.

I met with a letter written by your father when  twenty-one,  and sent it to your brother, Marshall. There were letters besides, but when I settled with the court, I gave up the property and with it the letters. I retained nothing excepting yourself; nor did I ever give you up until. I saw you married to Mary Forman.

( I got a letter from William Green ( her step-son)). I will an­swer next week. He talks of coming to see me sometime this winter. Paxton (690) will be at home with his wife this week. Lizzie Waller (686) is at home. I hope I shall be able to get to see them, but the house will be very full. I have seven grand-children, and a very fine family. Nannie (648) is a fine manager of them.

Give my love to Mary and the girls. I met with old Mr. Paxton [John D. Paxton, D. D.,] after  the  death of my  baby. He  was related to your father. Gen. Houston was a cousin. There is a family of Pax­ tons living in Lincoln County, who are related to you.

Your affectionate mother,


God bless the old lady, and may death come as a messenger of peace.

(Remember Paxton entire could been written no later than 1885 while Mary Keith died in 1887)

The Marshall Family by Paxton book’s entry continues on with great detail on the Green and Fry family, but is not included here for brevity.