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History: Origins of Marshall Hill (Monett, Missouri)

If one is around Monett too long, the words "Marshall Hill" will be found in conversation. While Marshall Hill is not labeled on any modern map nor can one find it on a GPS, locals can quickly direct an inquirer to the south hill that lays parallell to downtown overlooking the railroad. In short, Marshall Hill could be described, unfortaunately, by some locals as "the most run down part of town where abandon homes are littered with rotting furniture on the porch and rusting automobiles in the yard". No doubt in decades past this could be true but there is a revival taking place and at the forefront are the people whose roots go deep in the community. The following biography is of the man who started it all.

Twin brothers Paul and Saul Marshall

 

David Marshall sr. was born the oldest of five children in 1833 to Saul (or Paul) and Nancy (Lambert) Marshall. Following the thousands of other Americans who were heading west, The Marshall's along with their four children; Perlina (Carter), David, Eli, and Rebeccah (Hobbs) left their North Carolina home and soon found themselves in Jackson County, Tennesee. During this time, Saul and Nancy gave birth to two more children; Elizabeth Jane (Keeland ) and Littleton. While research for this story did not result in details of what exactly happened to make The Marshall's decide to pick up again and go further west with a few other families from Tennessee via oxen pulled wagons we do know they ended their travel in a little village known as Billings, Missouri, a small farming community north of the Barry county seat, Cassville. This area was perfect in every detail. The thick woods offered much wild game for hunting. The semi-rocky ground was good for planting. Atop a hill laid the 80 acre Marshall homestead (assumed) and to the north ans the south two flowing creeks (Kelly and Clear).

 

1851 Homestead life was typical, cabins were built from the trees and the wild uncultivated land was plowed by a wood beamed plow. As the Marshall men worked in the hot humid Missouri sun, the Marshall women spinned yarn on looms and raised the kids under the shade of walnut trees. By 1860, son David married a fellow pioneer, Elizabeth Mulkey of Neosho. Sadly, as quick as the Marshall family began growing, months later the nation was in civil war.  Without a doubt, the Marshalls had much to lose. While Missouri was a slave-state per the Missouri Compromise of 1820 this status was quickly put into question by two events; The Kansas-Nebraska act, that was signed in 1854, and the 1857 case of Dredd Scott Versus Sanford. In both cases the compromise was replealed. Thus, Missouri was in limbo and Southwest Missouri was its crossroad. Altho slavery was prominent in the region there are no records that state the Marshalls ever had slaves and it is safe to assume they were possible union loyalists due to the fact David and Eli enlisted as Privates in The Union army and served in Company G. of the 15th Missouri Cavalry as scouts. 

 

As the smoke of war lifted, David returned to Billings alone, Eli was missing in action. No doubt the Marshalls faced many struggles through those dark years since Neosho was the Confederate Capitol of Missouri and Cassville was a busy hub for many confederate troops who crossed Barry county on their way to fight in The Battle of Carthage, The Battle at Wilsons Creek and numerous other skirmishes. This struggle however soon paid off for within a short amount of time the couple had property rights to the 160 acre hill that overlooked the clear creek at a cost of $1.25 per acre and $15 filing fee. Soon David Marshal purchased more land on the northside of the clear creek all the way to present day Central Avenue.

 

By 1871, the families who pioneered the area had gained much property and turned their farms into subdivisions for housing. The little village of Billings grew so much the residents decided the area needed a new name and in October each resident petitioned for Billings to be renamed Plymouth (reason why this name was chosen is unknown). The town encountered further change when in June 1876 the main shareholder of property in Plymouth, The Altlantic & Pacific Railroad Company, petitioned the local court to change the name to Monett, soon after the railroad approached Marshall and purchased a coridore along side the clear creek which was now called Kelly Creek. This arrangment made David Marshall monetarily rich.  

From "History of Newton, Lawerence, Barry,Mcdonald Counties- Missouri. Goodspeed Publishing, 1888

 

The turn of the new century was good to David Marshall, he was wealthy in many ways; he had land, money, a good reputation in a thriving town with memberships in many organizations ( to include being a firefighter with his son, David jr.), a beautiful wife, and fathered fourteen children (6 boys: Eli, Martin, Oliver, Charles, Eugene, and David jr., 6 girls: Nancy, Blanch, Pauline(?), Millie, Mary, Ida, and two undefined children that were possiby still born). Throughout the northern part of the county people knew and trusted the Marshalls. Each member of the Marshall family were constanly invited to parties and visited friends in nearby communities and family (to include his widowed father Saul who moved to Carroll County , Arkansas to be with his new bride). This happiness came to a maximum realization on December 27th 1910, when 75 friends and family came from as far as Witchita, Kansas to celebrate David and Eliabeth's 50th anniversary.  By this time all of the daughters and sons were married off to other families throughout Southwest Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Sadly this was the last time the entire family was together for such a happy time. 

 

In 1912, the David and Elizabeth began having health issues starting with David suffering from an "attack of the 'grip'" also known as Influenza. While he recovered in February, David's son-in-law William R. Glasby (of Sarcoxie) died from a hernia operation in Saint Louis, the body was transported by his wife Nancy and her brother David Jr. to Monett and a funeral was hosted by David and Elizabeth in their home. Now Nancy was alone since She and William never had children.

 

Soon after, in April 1913, Elizabeth fell quite ill.

September 19th, 1913, The Monett Times

The matriach was so ill that granddaughter Ida Emory travelled from Witchita to be by her side. Other events also passed quickly to include a secret wedding of David jr. and his second wife Gertie Lynde, a daughter of a local concrete worker, that was conducted on February 3rd by Revend St. Louis of the Methodist Episcipal church. Clearly this illness was very harsh for each week in

The Monett Times

 an update was given on her condition. By October 24th, Elizabeth died. 

 

Unlike David Sr. and Elizabeth's 50 year anniversary, the funeral was a somber event. Lying in the casket in the parlor of the home in which her husband and her built. Even during her ailing years, Elizabeth was decribed as "having a great fortitude, and her sweet Christian character and cheerful disposition were an excellent example to those whom she came in contract (sic)" Friends and family hurried after Sunday services to the farm on the hill to view the body. Then, at noon, per Elizabeth's dying wishes, the casket was shut for the last time and transported to the Baptist Church for the funeral at 2:30. Her body was soon buried at the International Order of Odd Fellows cemetary north of town.

 

While Elizabeth's death was hard on the family, life continued. For a month later, David junior and a few friends left for Oklahoma for a hunting trip. This normal attitude soon ended when another hunting Marshal male, son Eugene, returned to his home from a rabbit hunt with friends on Thanksgiving day. As the death of his mother was just 3 weekes fresh in his mind he met his demise when he placed his shotgun on a brushpile near his slaughterhouse. As the muzzle of the firearm pointed at the 32 year old Eugene, the firearm slipped, and the trigger caught. With a loud bang, the gun discharged sending buckshot through the hand that grabbed for the barrel. As the blood flowed Eugene quickly felt a sharp pain in his chest, the the pellets also penetrated his heart. In intense pain and blood wetted clothes, Eugene was carried on a cot by his companions to his house then within a few yards gave his last breathe. Days later he was buried beside his mother at the IOOF cemetary.

 

No doubt 1913 was a rough year for the Marshall's. It seemed no matter what, death was around the corner until David junior and Gertie gave birth to a daughter  and named her after David's aunt Pauline. In many ways David junior was blazing a path for himself by his work for The Frisco Railroad as a switchman. He, like his father, was also civic minded and became a 3rd degree (Master) Mason and Dictator of the Loyal Order of Moose in 1914. 

 

As 1915 came, so did another illness. The patriach, David senior, began having health issues. The illness was so bad David senior was diagnosed with Brights disease, a kidney disorder where the patient experiences kidney stones that lead to inflimation of the kidneys, followed by intense pain, bloody urination, and edema (liquid filiing of the legs). Telegrams and phone calls were relayed all over the country and family began to arrive in anticipation of death. Like the death of David senior's wife Elizabeth, preperations were taking place. Previously, David junior took care of all the details of his mothers passing now he was called upon to do the same for his father. Gathering his father's records, David soon discovered a potential problem; of the 160 acres only 120 acres could be accounted for on the title. With paperwork in had, David junior made a trip to Springfield to inquire about the missing title. In short, the official in charge of the land deal in 1871 was replaced by another offical and the Marshall homstead was never collected upon and now that it had been occupied since that time by the Marshalls the government had to sell it to them at the original price of $100. David junior made the deal of a lifetime. He acquired rights to a $6,000 property for $100! Days later, on June 25th, the 82 year old man who helped build Monett recieved a Baptist funeral and was laid to rest beside his wife and son.

 

A year later, 267 acres of the Marshall family homestead was advertised for sale in The Monett Times by David Marshall of 401 Euclid. While the newspaper has no mention why the Marshall homestead was for sale it does have a mention of a court case (James. Martin Marshall vs. David Marshall;et al, partition) in its March 9th, 1917 edition. This case was quickly dismissed on March 24th according to The Cassville Democrat. It can be assumed whatever family dispute over the Marshal homestead there was it was quickly resolved when the newly weded sister Mary and her husband William Hardin moved onto the farm. This seemed to be a good solution to whatever issue arose for in October, 1920 Mary hosted a family reunion on the anniversary of their mother's death. It was a grand celebration complete with a big lunch, ice cream and cake for desert, music from a Victrola record player, and visit to the Rialto theatre. 

 

While this author could continue on with more of the story, the option to end it on a happy note has been chosen. But for those who wonder if there are Marshall descendants among the citizens of Monett, we have our suspisions. We challenge the curious to began the search by looking at our links below.

 

Sources:

Standard Atlas of Barry County, Missouri (1909) (online via the Missouri Digital Heritage website) Map of Monett

The Monett Times (1909-1922) (online via The Library of Congress) Family information, deaths, births, property concerns 

My People - Ancestors & Genealogy of Wendy Henry Marshall (Huntinmyroots.com) Photo of the Marshall twins

Monett: The Centenial Salute 1887-1987 (book) Monett history, Marshall Family history

National Park Service (online) Civil War Military records, rank


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