JOHN G. MARSHALL. Kansas should always be proud of the indomitable spirit of its pioneers who reclaimed the western counties from the domain of the wilderness. It required both courage and foresight to settle down on the frontier and make a living and endure the harsh and trying conditions of soil and climate.
When John G. Marshall came to Edwards County over thirty years ago he thought it the most God forsaken country he had ever seen. He hardly knows now how it came about that he stuck to his post, but in time conditions became better and he has lived to enjoy a generous prosperity. He is now living retired in Kinsley, and from that point supervises some large interests as a farmer.
Mr. Marshall was born at Cleveland, Ohio, August 15, 1846. His grandfather, John Marshall, was a farmer in Cornwall, England. The children of John Marshall were named Richard, John, James, William, Frank, Julina, Rebecca and Betsy Ann. James Marshall, father of John G., was born in Cornwall, England, and became a coppersmith by trade. In 1840 he came to the United States, locating in Cleveland, Ohio, where he spent his last years. He died there in August, 1866, at the age of forty-six. He married Jane Mane, of England. She died in 1852. Her children were: John G.; William, a marine engineer who died in Chicago in 1915, at the age of sixty-seven; Mary, who died in 1915, at the age of sixty-five, was the wife of Robert Houck, also a marine engineer at Chicago. There was also a half brother, Joseph, now a machinist in Chicago.
John G. Marshall secured a common school education, and at the age of eighteen left Cleveland and went out to Missouri, where he worked as a farm hand for Henry Baker, nine steady and consecutive years. It was hard work, but he was thrifty and saving and accumulated enough money in that time to buy forty acres in Livingston County, Missouri. He soon left his farm and returning to Cleveland worked three years on a Lake Erie tug boat. In 1875 he went to Missouri again, and continued as a farmer until 1884, when he came out to Edwards County, Kansas, bringing his wife and family.
On arriving here Mr. Marshall proceeded to homestead the northwest quarter of section 8, township 25, range 18 in Brown Township. At that time the country was unfenced and with the exception of the Sun City stage route there were no roads. It was customary when traveling to take the shortest line between two points or the line of least resistance. Mr. Marshall did not come to Kansas as a last resort when at the bottom of his resources, and was therefore not content to live in a dugout. He built what was then a house of considerable consequence and dignity, consisting of seven rooms and a substantial frame building. It is still standing on the old homestead. However, he was satisfied to use as a stable a hole in the side of the hill, merely a dugout. In 1888, however, he built a barn 35 by 38 feet, with capacity in the mow for twenty-five tons of forage. He had less difficulty than many others in adapting himself to the changed climate as affecting his crops. The first year he planted about twenty-five acres of sod corn and sorghum. There was a good yield, enough to feed forty head of cattle through the winter with the help of such grazing as could be obtained.
Mr. Marshall had come out to Kansas through the influence of an uncle who had some extensive cattle interests in the state. These cattle the uncle thought were not receiving proper attention, and the forty head Mr. Marshall pastured and fed during the winter were a portion of his uncle's herd.
Gradually he drifted into the wheat business, and that has proved the core of his success as a Kansas farmer. After the death of his uncle he bought in 1888 from the estate the south half of section 5, township 25, range 18 in Brown Township. He paid the appraised value, $800. As improvements the land had a small four-room house and a small barn. Mr. Marshall for a number of years alternated in his cropping, raising corn one year and wheat the next. His best yields of wheat have been 5,000 bushels, and he has harvested and threshed that amount a number of times. But the returns for the labor have fluctuated between the extremes of 45 cents a bushel, frequently received in the early days, and the remarkable price of $3.15 a bushel paid him for a quantity of wheat sold in 1917. While still looking after his farm Mr. Marshall retired in 1911 to Kinsley and has a five room modern house near the business section of the town. He assisted in organizing the Farmers Elevator at Kinsley, was the first president of the stock company, but has since sold his interest.
Mr. Marshall married Eva Miller. Her widowed mother, Irena Miller, came from Germany and settled in Ohio. Mrs. Marshall had a brother, John, now a dairyman at Cleveland, and a sister, Clara. Mrs. Marshall died at Kinsley, May 31, 1916, at the age of sixty-eight. Her children were: Mayne, who married Lulu Crow, daughter of Joseph Crow, a pioneer of Edwards County, and they have a daughter, Mary Catherine. Frank married Lena Kirsh, daughter of John Kirsh. Charles, whose home is in Ford County, Kansas, married Rosa Elson, daughter of Jerome Elson, and has a daughter Eva Ellen. Clara is the wife of Stewart Elson, a Hodgeman County farmer, and they have a son, James. John married Pearl Russ, daughter of A. C. Russ, and has two children, Margy and Harold. Dorothy, the youngest of the family, is still living at home with her father.
In politics Mr. Marshall is a republican in national affairs, and cast his first presidential vote for Grant in 1868. Locally he is independent. He has served as justice of the peace in Kinsley, and held various township offices in Brown Township. He assisted in organizing Columbus School District No. 42 and was a member of its board for eighteen years. in the Masonic Lodge he has held the office of tyler, and is also a member of the Knights of Pythias at Kinsley and belongs to the Congregational Church.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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