Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Marsh brothers and Freedom ...


Back in October of 1862, brothers Isaac Marsh --- the elder at 41 --- and James Marsh, 26, left their home in Section 8 of Benton Township, said their goodbyes to family and friends in Chariton and then marched east on the old state road with other recruits of Company K, 34th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, to be mustered into federal service at Burlington.

The Marsh brothers both were natives of Guernsey County, Ohio, who had moved with their parents to Grant County, Indiana. Isaac and his wife, Martha, brought their children to Lucas County during 1858; James, still single, apparently joined them some time after 1860.

Company K was formally organized and mustered in Burlington on Oct. 15, 1862, but less than two weeks later --- on Oct. 30 --- James died in the camp hospital of complications from measles as that disease, now thought of as an occasional childhood ailment, swept through the troops.

Isaac fared somewhat better in the sense that, eight months later and desperately ill, most likely with chronic dysentery, he was furloughed home from Missouri to die --- and did so in Benton Township on June 17 or 18, 1863. He was buried in Freedom Cemetery, all that remains now of what once was a lively village. After the war, a marble obelisk was erected --- both to mark his grave and to serve as a cenotaph for James, whose remains have been lost.

+++

I came across the stories of Isaac and James while compiling the roster of Lucas County's Civil War dead I've been working on and, in the process, discovered something curious --- Marsh descendants seem to be a bit confused about the military records of their forbears. Part of that is a cautionary tale --- don't believe everything you find on Find A Grave, wonderfully useful site that it is.

While double-checking roster entries, I generally try to find outlines via Ancestry.com that will tell me more about the war dead and their families. In the case of Isaac March, quite a few of his descendants have copied the death date given at Find A Grave for Isaac --- 18 June 1867 --- into their family tree programs.

The date of death on his tombstone actually is 18 June 1863, as noted in the Lucas County Genealogical Society's 1981 book of transcriptions. These transcriptions, most likely, were the basis for the Freedom Cemetery entries at Find A Grave, so while disease caused Isaac's death it was a typographical error that, for many, misdated it.

+++

I was happy to find, while looking a little further, a brief biographical sketch of Isaac's widow, Martha, in the 1881 history of Lucas County --- a great resource for her descendants:

MARSH, MRS. MARTHA, farmer, section eight (Benton Township). Born February 4, 1822, in Harrison county, Ohio. Raised on a farm and educated in the common schools. In 1829, her parents moved to Guernsey County, Ohio, and in 1840, to Grant county, Indiana, where she married Isaac Marsh, November 9, 1843. He was born August 19, 1821, in Guernsey county, Ohio. His parents moved to Grant county, Indiana, when he was but a youth. He was raised on a farm, receiving a liberal common school education. In 1858, he came to Lucas county, Iowa. Enlisted, 1862, in company K, 34th Iowa infantry. Was in the attack on Vicksburg, and at the taking of Arkansas Post. Went with rebel prisoners to Chicago. Returned to St. Louis, and from there went to Pilot Knob, where he was taken sick, and returned home. He died June 17 (sic), 1863, having been at home only seventeen days. They had six children; four are living, and two are dead: Telitha, married to James R. Riggle; Anne E., married to Joseph Hall; James C.; Sarepta B., married to John O. Fent. Mrs. Marsh is the daughter of Joshua and Anne Thompson.

Martha herself died on Dec. 29, 1894, while living with a daughter near Humeston and was buried in the Humeston Cemetery, rather than at Freedom.

The general photos here were taken at Freedom Cemetery during November of 2013. The photographs of Marsh inscriptions were added to Find A Grave by Doris Christensen.


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Guernsey County was a hot bed of UGRR activity and some of those involved ventured to Iowa and helped out. Never know what might be lurking in that past that came forward in Iowa!