Brief History of Marshall
In 1830, Sidney Ketchum (b. 1797) from Peru, Clinton Co, NY decided to build a
settlement here and returned a year later with seven others. The town was named
"Marshall" after Chief Justice John Marshall. It was also designated the county
seat in 1831.
Many politicians favored making Marshall the state capitol to succeed Detroit. However
these hopes were not rewarded.
In 1834, Isaac Crary and Rev John D. Pierce developed the concept for a public school
system which was later adopted in many other places.
In 1846, an escaped slave named Adam Crosswhite, who was living in Marshall, was
tracked down by his owners. Many town citizens had strong abolitionist views and rather
than allow Crosswhite to return to slavery, they had the slave hunters arrested and
ordered them to return to Kentucky without their slave. Crosswhite and his family were
freed and given safe passage to Canada. These events and other similar episodes resulted
in the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850.
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the oldest union in the United States was
founded here in 1863.
Marshall is know for its distinctive architecture and many
structures have been
Early officers of the village of Marshall were Sidney S.
Alcott, mayor, Cyrus Hewitt,
clerk, C.M. Brewer (b. 1814, Otsego Co, NY), treasurer, A.S. Hays, trustee, Charles T.
Gorham (b. 1812, Danbury, CT), trustee, John Hutchinson, trustee, and Marvin Preston,
assessor. Early officers of Marshall township were Henry Cook (supervisor), Marvin Preston
(clerk and justice of the peace), Thomas J. Hurlbut (treasurer), Isaac E. Crary (justice
of the peace), Benjamin Dwinnell (justice of the peace), and Calvin Smith (justice of the
Link to John
C. Sherwood's "One
Flame in the Inferno," a study of Marshall's "Crosswhite
Affair." This paper provides an interesting look at the events
surrounding the attempted retrieval of the escaped slave Adam Crosswhite
and his family from their home in Marshall.