Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Marsh Family in Fredonia
By Doug Shepard, 2012 

          The earliest local record for Henry Nelson Marsh is a property deed of 20 April 1837 from Ephraim Marsh (father?) of Pomfret NY to Henry Nelson Marsh of the same. It was for a 50-acre piece just over the Fredonia line in Dunkirk NY in the southwest corner of the Holland Land Company’s Lot 27, Twp.6, Range 12, with Brigham Road as its eastern boundary. A copy can be obtained from the County Clerk at P.O.Box 170 / Mayville NY 14757 – 0170. (It is in Liber 18, p.415 of Deeds.) 

          Since H. N. Marsh was born in 1815, this acquisition was made when he turned 21. Although his obituary says that he first apprenticed with Benjamin Bosworth in the jewelry trade when he was 16 (ca. 1831), first advertisements with his name included were for Taylor & Marsh’s “cash store” in the village. The Censor of 14 August 1839 reported that their dry goods store had been robbed. There are a series of small ads in the 1840s listing their offerings, which included beans, codfish and toys! The Censor of 22 April 1840 reported that the co-partnership of A. F. Taylor and H. N. Marsh had been dissolved. Taylor was to continue the business on his own. 

          The 1850 Census finds Marsh on Green (later Cushing) Street and listed as a “Goldsmith.” This suggests that he was working at his trade but did not as yet have a jewelry store of his own. The next entry is on 11 May 1852 announcing that D. Tucker, the tailor, would be found over H. N. Marsh’s Jewelry Store. On 1 June 1852 the store was described as directly opposite the Post Office and between Magee’s and Clement’s stores. (S. M. Clement had a dry goods store at today’s 32 West Main Street in the 1850s.) 

          By the time of the 1855 Census, the family included Henry N., 38; Martha P., 37; Helen, 14; Oscar H., 10; and Eva ,6.  Henry Marsh’s obituary states that he first enlisted in Co.A. of the 68th Regt. in 1855 as a 1st Lieut. and became a Captain in 1861. In 1862 he formed a company of the 49th NY Volunteers. In their roster he is listed as Henry A. Marsh, Captain. There are several contemporary references to his being too frail for actual combat.  

By 1860 he and Martha had added Charles, 6 months; and a “domestic,” Amelia Chapin, 16, to their household.  Oscar attended the Fredonia Academy beginning in 1859, when he was 15, through 1861.  On16 March 1865, Oscar, 20, married 18-year old Mary E. Clark in the Fredonia Baptist Church. The 1865 Census lists the two Marsh households next to each other. This probably reflects the two houses on the Marsh property on Cushing Street shown on the 1867 map of the village. By 1870 the Oscar Marsh family is living out on West Main Street with Oscar listed as a “farmer.” Also in the family is Oscar’s mother-in-law, Louisa Clark, 60 and a 16-year old “farm laborer,” Charles D. Story

          There are several references to Henry Marsh dealing in real estate. In June 1857 he sold a lot on Eagle Street and in May 1881 he and O. W. Johnson owned 42 acres on Prospect Street. Marsh sold his half interest to G. N. Tremaine and E. S. Ely for $2500. The land was going to be used to put a new street through and sell off the building lots. It was about then that Henry Marsh and his younger son, Charles, began their watch repair business as H. N. Marsh & Son as advertised in the Censor of 23 March 1881. Henry, who soon retired with Charles taking over the business, died on 21 March 1883.  

No comments:

Post a Comment