Recollections of George Washington Marsh (1828-1911)

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Contributed to The Thames Family of North Carolina 1735-1805 by Cathrine Marsh-Cashwell. Commentary provided by Cathrine Marsh-Cashwell, Walt Gabennesch and Becky Thames-Simmons.

George Washington Marsh was the great-grandson of Cornelius Thames and Mary Evans. Cornelius and Mary’s daughter Mary married John Beard. John and Mary (Thames) Beard’s daughter Martha married Absalom Marsh, and George was their son.

George Washington Marsh’s Narrative

My grandfather was named James Marsh. He died January 7, 1830. [Jan 7 1830 is his grandmother’s (Sarah) death date; James died about 1817] His wife’s name was Sarah. He and his descendants were the only Marshes in Cumberland County up to 1850.

He lived and was buried near the Cape Fear River about twelve miles south of Fayetteville near the Wilmington Road. His oldest son (that I remember) was John Marsh, another was named Evan, and one Hiram, and my father was named Absalom.

John Marsh’s wife was named Hannah. One of John Marsh’s daughters married an Englishman name Hitchenor, another daughter married Neill Beard and Azor married my sister Betsy.

Brother Neil was taken prisoner at the fall of Ft. Fisher [The Fall of Fort Fisher occurred south of Wilmington NC in January 1865], carried to Governor’s Island, NY afterward removed to Elmira, N.Y. near the close of the war, when they thought he would die, he was paroled. He passed through Richmond, was heard of at Greensboro but nothing more was known until twenty-five years later it was accidentally discovered that he was buried in the Confederate part of Oakwood Cemetery at Raleigh. No. 14 is on his headstone.

Born January 2, 1782
Died December 8, 1842

Absalom Marsh (my father) married Martha Beard [daughter of John Beard and Mary Thames, Mary being the daughter of Cornelius Thames (son of Thomas Sr) and Mary Evans] and they lived and died about twelve miles south of Fayetteville near the Cape Fear River. He is buried at the head of Long Branch by the side of his wife. He had fair skin and blue eyes. His hair was gray and he was partly bald as I remember him. My mother said that in earlier times he wore a queue and it was so long he could sit on it. He was very industrious. He would turn his hand to almost anything such as making axles, etc. He was a farmer. He had a school house built and employed teachers. The neighbors were permitted to send their children. One of our teachers was Mr. John Shaw.

John B. (my oldest brother) married Mary Ann Calder.

MaryAnn died single

Joseph died at the age of eleven

Elizabeth married Azor Marsh

Absalom married Mary Butler

William married a Miss Young first, Amanda Butler next

James married Leona Ferrell

Neill married Caroline Smith

Daniel W. died single. Was killed by a mule

Kate married Hiram Tolar

George W. married Annie Faison Herring, a widow

George W. and Ann Faison were married January, 1864

Col. Thames [Joseph Thames, son of Joseph and Martha (Newberry) Thames] was living after the Revolutionary War. My father took old Peter and cared for him until he died. He lived to be nearly a hundred. John Beard and Mary Thames Beard [Mary Thames who married John Beard was the daughter of Cornelius (son of Thomas Sr) and his wife Mary Evans] were the parents of Martha Beard (my mother). John Beard died November 6, 1799. Mary Thames died about April 1787. Martha Beard was born March 23, 1787 and died June 18, 1859.  My mother was raised by her grandmother Thames, (I think her name was Martha). [“Grandmother” Martha Thames was Martha (Newberry) Thames, wife of Joseph Thames (son of Thomas Sr), and she was Martha Beard’s great aunt; Martha Beard’s grandfather Corenlius Thames and Joseph Thames were brothers.]

She was living in America during the Revolution and she had a son who fought in the war. His name was Joseph. He was a colonel. My great grandmother kept an inn near Gray’s Creek Church. [The statement that she (Martha Newberry Thames) kept an inn is likely true. If the inn was located in the area that was Bladen County during the Revolutionary War, record of a license and bond to operate the inn would have been lost in one of the courthouse fires.] [Gray’s Creek Church is Cape Fear Baptist Church] She had a son named David who was a Baptist preacher. [David the Baptist preacher was Martha’s grandson (not son); he was the son of Rev William Thames and his wife Lucy Holloway] She seems to be right well off. My mother had one sister named Mary (called Polly) who married Matthew Burns. I think she had a brother named John and another named Neil. During the Revolutionary War the British took off some of my great grandmother’s Negroes. She rode as far as Elizabethtown and got them back. Uncle Peter, an old colored man, said he was Col. Joseph Thames’s waiting-boy. 

John T. Gilmore was Col. Thames’s heir but I do not know how or why. [John T(hames) Gilmore was Col. Joseph Thames’s grandson] John Gilmore had a brother named William Gilmore who had a suit with a man named Fuller over the property. I do not remember whether Joseph Thames ever married. [Joseph Thames married twice; first to Sarah Gause, and second to Hannah (Frink) Gause]

[Ed.- Handwriting changes from that of George Washington Marsh to that of his daughter, Mary Virginia Marsh]

In a very old Bible in the possession of the family I find Mercy Moore, her book 1744. My father has no idea who she was. [An intriguing detail for more research – who was Mercy Moore, and how did her Bible end up in the Marsh family? Certainly she is an unidentified ancestor as of yet.] I think it is possibly the maiden name of Martha Thames. [At the time this notation was made, it was not known that Martha’s maiden name was Newberry] Absalom Marsh, son of James, and Martha Beard Marsh were married August 3, 1809. 

The following are the children of Absalom & Martha Beard Marsh

John B. Marsh     Born May 25, 1810

Mary Ann Marsh   Born August 9, 1811

Joseph Marsh         Born March 30, 1813
                                Died April 16, 1824

Elizabeth Marsh     Born Oct. 15, 1814

Absalom Marsh     Born Mar. 14, 1816
                                Died August 1893

Martha Marsh        Born August 22, 1817
                                Never married

William Marsh     Born April 26, 1819

James Marsh         Born Jan. 25, 1821

Neil Marsh             Born August 31, 1822

Catherine Marsh   Born Mar. 15, 1827

Daniel Marsh

George Marsh         Born December 3, 1828
                                  Died July 1911

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