CHILDREN OF JOHN (1797-1851) AND LYDIA MARSH (1800-1875)
OF ROCHESTER, BEAVER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
John and Lydia are buried in Lacock Cemetery, East Rochester, Beaver County, PA. Lydia died in North Dakota. Bismarck newspaper articles read: "DIED: Lydia Marsh, aged 75 years, at the Capitol Hotel, Bismarck, May 26, 1875. Mrs. Marsh made a number of calls during the day and retired that evening about 9 p.m., feeling unusually well. She wakened about 12, complaining of a pain in her breast, and died twenty minutes afterwards. R. R. and Monroe Marsh accompanied her body east." Census records indicate Lydia was born closer to 1802 or 1803. The second article: "Mrs. Marsh, mother of Grant, Russ, Martin and Monroe Marsh, died at the Capitol Hotel last Wednesday evening. She was sick but twenty minutes." (Martin was Lydia's nephew, not her son.)
1. CATHARINE MARSH, b ca 1831, m ca 1852 ROBERT M. GORDON, steamboat master and pilot, b ca 1832. In 1860 and 1870 censuses of Rochester Boro, Beaver Co PA. Children: Alvin R. Gordon, b ca 1853, Laura L. 1857, Harry M. 1859, Huldah E. Gordon (Aug 1861-1907). Huldah is buried in Warren Co PA, her name inscribed on the same stone as Walter W. Marsh (son of Francis Grant Marsh). She is listed in Walter's household in Warren Co in the 1880 census.
2. AMANDA S. MARSH, b ca 1833. She may be the Amanda GORDON, age listed as 26, who appears in the 1860 census of New Sewickley Township, Beaver Co PA, with JOHN GORDON, steamboat steward, age 29, and children Grant 6, Francis 3 and Monroe 1. Unable to locate this family in 1870 census. Note below that Amanda S. had brothers named Grant and Monroe.
3. GRANT PRINCE MARSH (1834-1916). Steamboat captain renowned for his speedy trip on the Missouri River bringing wounded soldiers back to Fort Lincoln, North Dakota, from the Custer battle site on the Little Big Horn River, Montana, in 1876. See Grant's biography, "The Conquest of the Missouri...", by Joseph Mills Hanson. The book can currently be read online. Grant married CATHERINE "KATE" REARDON in St. Louis; had nine children, six names known: John R. Marsh, Grant C. Marsh, Caroline "Carrie" HALL, Nellie P. ALBERT, Katheryne "Kate" GAINES ROPER, Lillian B. "Lillie" WISE.
4. ROBERT RUSSELL "RUSS" MARSH, b Dec 1837 Chautauqua Co NY, d between 1901-1910 Bismarck, Burleigh Co ND; m at Rochester, Olmsted Co MN, 4 Oct 1871 PHOEBE ANN MARSH, daughter of Francis Grant Marsh and Catherine (Thomas) Marsh. Francis Grant Marsh (recorded mostly as Grant Marsh) was a brother of Russ's father. Phoebe was born in Warren Co PA 17 Feb 1842. She died after 1915 and before 1923, possibly in Bismarck. She and Russ raised two adopted children.
Russ is listed in his mother's household in Rochester PA in the 1860 census, his occupation steamboat steward. Exactly when he came west from Pennsylvania is not clear. A Bismarck newspaper article claims Russ was the brother who was invited with Grant to a "venison" dinner (actually roast dog) in Dakota Territory in 1868 (see page 110 of "Conquest of the Missouri..."), but the book names Monroe as the brother. Russ has not been located in the 1870 census. Possibly he was then traveling in unsettled territory where census-takers weren't venturing.
A Bismarck Tribune article reports: "In 1872 Mr. and Mrs. Marsh came to Bismarck, making the long, hazardous trip on the old Nellie Peck steamboat up the Missouri River on August 28th with Martin L. Marsh, Phoebe's younger brother, and founded the first hotel in Bismarck, called the Worlington House, a tent with a board front, which was blown down that fall and replaced with a log cabin christened the Capitol Hotel." A photo of this hotel is currently online, with Martin L. Marsh identified as one of the men pictured. Google "Capitol Hotel" "Martin L. Marsh", using the quotation marks.
The following, with some editing, is another article printed in the Bismarck Tribune in 1947:
"R. R. MARSH, HOTEL OWNER, ONCE WAS STEAMBOAT STEWARD"
R. R. MARSH, steward on Missouri River steamboat, owner of the old Capitol Hotel, part owner of the Merchant's Hotel, Burleigh County Auditor, and onetime operator of the Western House hotel. He arrived in Bismarck some time before the territory became a state as a steward on a Missouri River steamer captained by his brother, Grant Marsh.
He decided to remain in the little frontier town and start in business for himself. A short time later he sent for his sweetheart and they were married in Minnesota. She brought her brother, Martin L. "Mart" Marsh, with her. Mart was the saloonkeeper in Russ's hotels and was later elected chief of police. He was the father of Grant C. Marsh, Terence J. "Ted" Marsh, and Anna Mary GEHNER.
In 1875 R. R. Marsh was one of a party of six men who went to the Black Hills of South Dakota to verify General Custer's claim that gold had been discovered. They went in the fall of the year by stage coach, and the Bismarck people thought they would all be killed by the Indians before they could get back. In the spring, when the Bismarck people saw the stage coaches coming over the hills south of old Fort Lincoln, they put on a big celebration for the return of the prospectors. [A monument inscribed with Russ's name marks the spot where the group first sighted the Hills. It can currently be viewed by googling "Trail Blazers" "South Dakota Historical Markers" "Russ", using the quotation marks.] Later he returned to Deadwood, S. D., and opened the "Custer House" hotel, a two-story frame structure on the corner of Main and Lee streets, which he ran from July to December, 1876.
Since his wife did not wish to leave Bismarck, Russ sold his hotel interests there and returned to Bismarck, where in 1882 he entered into a partnership with J. D. Wakeman as operators of the Merchant's Hotel, which at the time stood on the corner of Third and Main.
After several years he sold his interest in the Merchant's and filed on a half section of land in Boyd Township. [Around this time - the mid-1880's - the newspaper refers to Russ as postmaster at Menoken.] A short time later he was elected Burleigh County Auditor.
In 1890 a letter to the editor of the Bismarck Tribune from a Dakotan traveling in Washington state reported that Russ was in Spokane, looking for a location. Around 1898 he and the family moved to Centralia, Washington, and ran a hotel there for a time, but they returned and rented the Western House hotel that was located on Main Street, across from the Northern Pacific Railway depot.
A daughter, Mrs. Mabel Wilton of Mabton, Washington, and her husband rented the homestead from him and while they lived there a representative of the Bismarck Tribune sent samples of their Scotch Fife wheat to the Chicago World's Fair. A short time later they received a certificate and a gold medal for the winning sheat sample entered. Sometime later a sample of the wheat was sent to the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, Oregon, and again it took first place honors."
5. LYDIA O. MARSH, b Apr 1841, d 26 Jun 1932; m ca 1860 WILLIAM GORDON (1839-1900), a steamboat pilot. Both are buried in Lacock Cem, East Rochester, Beaver Co PA. Children: infant 1861-1861, Edwin C. 1862-1862, Robert R. 1863-1863, Oliver O. Gordon b ca 1865, Catherine A. Gordon 1868, Robert Russell Marsh Gordon 1870, Rhoda M. Gordon ca 1877, Orpha S. Gordon 1880-1900. Photos of some family members are at Ancestry.com. ============================================================
6. JAMES MONROE MARSH, b Jun 1844, d 26 Jan 1915 at 3020 Franklin St., St. Louis MO. Occupation: marine engineer. He is recorded in early censuses as James or James M., and later as Monroe Marsh.. (See his online death certificate. Google "Missouri Digital Heritage Death Records" and search for "Monroe" Marsh.) According to the certificate, Monroe was to be buried at Rochester PA. He died from accidental asphyxiation by illuminating gas (gas used in lighting homes). He was a widower. Birthplace listed as New York, birth year about 1844, father's name listed incorrectly as Grant Marsh; mother's name not known.
A search for Monroe in the 1870 census was unsuccessful. In 1880 he's in Bon Homme Co SD. This county is next to Yankton Co, where Grant was living that year. Around 1875 Monroe married SUSAN ----, b in England Mar 1850 according to census, but death record has 1846; d 8 (or 6) Sep 1902 in St. Louis. Census shows two children. One may have been adopted, or possibly the birth date of one was recorded incorrectly: James N. Marsh, b Dec 1877 SD; Dora Marsh, b Jan 1878 OH. The family was in St. Louis in 1900.
Page 110 of Grant's biography mentions Monroe as being with him at the "venison" dinner in 1868. A Bismarck newspaper article says Russ was the brother invited to this feast along with Grant, but maybe all three were there. Page 197: Monroe was one of the engineers with Grant on the Josephine when it left Yankton SD in May 1875. It had orders from the Army to examine the "Yellowstone River from its mouth to the mouth of the Big Horn, or still further up, if practicable." Grant named Monroe Island in the Yellowstone River for his brother.
On page 103 Monroe is mentioned in a description of the steamship Ida Stockdale coming under an Indian attack: "Down in the engine room, the captain's brother, Monroe Marsh, was calmly handling his levers and answering the pilot's bells while the bullets kicked splinters in his face from the stanchions along the sides and the firemen cowered in the shelter of the wood-piles."