Grayson County TXGenWeb 
Minnie M. Marsh Jones

 


Minnie Marsh (Mrs. Charles H. Jones)
Teacher in Denison Educational Institute, 1895.
Detail from group shot of 1895 Educational Institute graduating class, in Grayson County's 140th Birthday (1985), p. 124.

Minnie M. Marsh (Mrs. Charles H. Jones)

Minnie M. Marsh (1869–1953) was the daughter of Julian P. Marsh (1833–1898) and his wife Maria Roxana Cole. They had five children. In addition to Minnie, these were Ida E. Marsh Stratton (1861–1943), Walter M. Marsh (1865–?), Anna Zona Marsh Cobb (1878–1873), and Edith Estella Marsh (1880–?).

Born in New York, J. P. Marsh came to Denison around 1885 after prospecting for gold in California. He manufactured and sold boots and shoes at 314 West Main Street from his arrival until his unexpected death in 1898. Starting in 1891 and at least through 1900, son Walter worked in this family business.


The Gazette
(Ft. Worth, Texas)
June 18, 1886

Minnie M. Marsh became a noted teacher, school principal, lecturer, and clubwoman in Texas at the end of the nineteenth century. She graduated from the Educational Institute (first DHS); by 1889 she was teaching there and by 1894 was serving as principal of the Institute. In the 1894 summer session at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she studied introductory French.

Minnie's sisters Edith and Zona graduated from the Educational Institute in 1897 and became music teachers. In 1901, Zona was listed in the City Directory as proprietor of the family shoe factory, at 204 West Main Street.

Minnie was admired as a charming, brilliant, and attractive public speaker. The Denison Sunday Gazetteer of April 17, 1898, described her gifts as a lecturer:

Miss Minnie Marsh, of this city, will deliver a lecture in Sherman on the 22d inst, on Tolstoi. Speaking of the lecture which the gifted young lady delivered recently in Dallas, the [Dallas] News said, "It was one of the most eloquent and polished orations, not as compared with amateur efforts, but with those of distinguished orators. This young woman has only to make known the spell of her beautifully modeled voice, her graceful pose and gesture, her soulful face and the liquid flash of her unaffected eloquence to charm multitudes wherever English is spoken."

In 1897-98, Marsh was Federation Secretary of Denison's XXI Club. An undated poster suggests that she was running for some office (perhaps in a national Federation of Women's Clubs) and was "endorsed by the Texas Federation [of] Women's Clubs."

According to the Dallas News, April 30, 1900, Minnie presented an address to the Dallas Federation of Women's Clubs:

"The address by Miss Minnie Marsh, president of the Denison XXI Club, created a most favorable impression of the dignity and character of woman's work from the platform. Miss Marsh's subject, 'Song Writers of the South,' was a happy selection, and awakened so much interest among the patriotic students of Southern literature, that the seating capacity of the Harmony Club could not accommodate the audience that came to hear her."

Around the turn of the century, Minnie was instructor in English and American Literature at the North Texas State Normal School. Her successor was announced in the summer of 1902. That July she married and returned to Denison to live.

In Denison, the marriage of Minnie Marsh and Charles H. Jones (1863–1924) was celebrated as the local match of the year. Born in Missouri the son of Martha Ann Younger (1835 - 1918) and Lycurgus A Jones (1826 - 1897), Charles arrived in Denison in 1881 and, with his brothers, established a furniture store that did business over North Texas and Oklahoma. The 1887 Denison City Directory lists Lycurgus A. Jones in partnership with the Jones Bros. and living at 319 South Barret Ave. at the corner of W. Owings.  A few years before his death in 1924, he sold his interest in the store to his brother, Harry A. Jones (1855–1926). Then he went into the real estate business. He joined others in founding the Hotel Denison and was a leader in the Chamber of Commerce.


This view, taken from the 1914 Denison High School, looks east on the alley between Woodard Street (at left) and Main Street.
The picture shows a large sign, at right, advertising Charles H. Jones's housewares and furniture store in the 500 block of West Main.

Minnie seems to have given up her career teaching and lecturing when she married. In 1904, she and Charles had a daughter, Janis. The girl attended Kidd-Key College in Sherman. Also part of the Jones household was a girl named Alice Jones, born in Pennsylvania, who was listed in the 1920 Census as a teacher in a private home. As early as 1910, Minnie's widowed sister Ida Marsh Stratton lived with the family, too.

Charles became ill while he and Minnie were on a trip to Dallas, and he died unexpectedly on March 14, 1924, of pneumonia. He was 61. At his funeral, Minnie delivered a moving oration, quoted in full in the local newspaper. We reproduce it here:

Mrs. Jones' Tribute

My friends—Mr. Jones and I have invited you into our home together for the last time. He loved his home, and he loved to have his friends to gather around him in his home.

Here in this room, which represented to him his idea of heaven, surrounded by his books each one of which was a warm personal friend to him, we come together to bid him our last farewell.

I am sure that all who have come into this home today are friends—loyal and true—who will see nothing inappropriate in what I am trying to do.

I feel that you have come to grieve with us—to sympathize, to mourn.

You all know the pronounced anti-religious views which Mr. Jones held—so courageously, unfalteringly, even aggressively.

He often said he would himself write the things he wished most to have said at his funeral. In looking through his papers nothing of that nature have I found. He has charged me repeatedly not to have anything said at his funeral that would conflict with his views.

This has placed me in a peculiar position, in that I could not ask friends who differed with him to speak, nor could I embarrass friends by restricting what they should say; so I decided to write it myself, and in doing so to give as it were his last message to the world.

He had the courage of his convictions, and in death he stands fairly for what in life he so consistently upheld. He offers no apology, nor mitigates one iota from facts founded upon scientific research, and he rejects all statements that are upheld only by so-called inspiration or act of faith.

He was a seeker after truth. Truth to him was the elemental principle of the universe, and he contended for this undeniable right to use the intelligence he had in deciding for himself which grain was truth and which was not.

An omnivorous and intelligent reader, he gleaned from sources far and wide and sifted for himself the grains of truth scattered throughout all knowledge.

He did not claim this privilege for himself alone. He conceded to all mankind—Jew, Gentile, Catholic or Protestant, Christian or heathen—the right of each individual to gather his truth in whatever way he chose and to abide by the convictions he is compelled to arrive at—therefore freedom of thought and the right to express honest convictions were his slogans. He divorced morality and religion—morality to him being the higher term.

The fact that one denies the religious tenets such as the divinity of Christ, the doctrine of the trinity, the infallibility of the pope, the inspiration of the Bible, did not in his opinion brand a man as immoral. Morality is based upon conduct alone and not upon beliefs, and all who knew him can attest that in his case a more moral, upright, honest, honorable man never lived.

His insistence upon his privilege of thinking as he must, according to convictions based upon evidence, did not in the least mean that he was free to live without moral restrictions. On the contrary, he thought he was under the greater obligation to lead a clean, wholesome, moral life in order to deny that freedom of thought and freedom of morals are identical. They are not, my friends, and his life proves it. He was an avowed atheist, or free thinker, or what to me seems to be a better word, more fully expressing it—a truth seeker—and such being the case, he held views widely apart from those held by most of you here today. If Mrs. Jones were right in his views, he maintained, he is now at rest, and I am content. If he were wrong, he is now happy in the reunion with loved ones gone before, and again I am content. What matters it, my friends? The thing to judge a man by is his life here and now, and if its heritage is such to inspire or to blast.

All who knew Mr. Jones knew that a more noble, more inspiring life was never lived than his. After twenty-two years of intimate association with him, I was constantly striving to reach a higher goal of living, trying to attain a perfection that he seemed to be always pointing to unconsciously—never by word.

It was merely the power of righteous living so simply performed, so matter of fact, so taken for granted that it glowed like a burning coal in a dark grate. He did not have to be. He simply was.

A friend in Dallas yesterday, with streaming eyes and choking voice, said to me: "Miss Minnie, he was the best friend I had, the finest man I ever knew, and the real beauty of it was that he himself was perfectly unconscious of being so."

He was one's best friend to all humanity; a lover of nature, scenery, tall waving trees, wide expanses, beautiful vistas. Mother earth delighted him, as it does all simple souls. A tender father, a devoted husband, a loving son and brother. "None knew him but to love him, nor named him but to praise." Such is the man with whom today we come to the parting of the ways. Shall we meet again? He thought not, perfectly content to return to the oblivion from which he sprang.

But whether we do or not, the stroll we have taken together through this little second of eternity is so fraught with beauty, with love, with all that any life could offer that is worthwhile that it alone pays for its having been. And whether he wishes it or not, he lives again in the beauty of his simple and loving life—an inheritance to those left behind.

To him this world was the place to be happy in, and one's duty was to make happiness for others; no trappings of woe nor habiliments of grief to dampen the spirit of others—such were his preachments; "Smiling Thro" his motto; and you, my friends, who knew him, know, too, how he carried them out.

This is not such a paper as he would have written. It does not set forth his views so powerfully as he would have presented them. It would not meet with hi approval had he been consulted. He was modesty personified. But, my friends, a mistaken modesty forbids giving one his due of righteousness.

Justice is indeed blind. "We come to bury Caesar—not to praise him," cries the offended multitude. So be it. The best friend I had; the finest man I ever knew.

And now, my friends, I ask you to come with me to the open space where in silence and in reverence we will return to mother earth the son who loved her so well.

After the casket is lowered, it is my wish that all return to their usual haunts of life, leaving me, alone, to cover the sacred spot with these beautiful flowers you have so kindly sent. We thank you.

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,

    And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

    When I put out to sea,

 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

    Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

    Turns again home.

 

Twilight and evening bell,

    And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

    When I embark;

 

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place

    The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

    When I have crost the bar.

—Tennyson

Minnie M. Marsh Jones's daughter Janis died in 1932. Minnie lived on until July 24, 1953, dying in Denison at age 84. She was buried in Fairview Cemetery next to her husband and daughter. Her father was also buried there.

The Minnie M. Jones Trust was established in 1953 to support and promote quality programming for underserved .  Special consideration is given to charitable organizations that serve the youth of Denison, Texas and Grayson County, Texas.  The grants are administed by Bank of America.

Buried in Fairview Cemetery:

JONES  CHARLES  H      1862–MAR 14,1924
  H/O-  MINNIE  MARSH  JONES.  DIED  DALLAS, DALLAS  COUNTY, TEXAS.

JONES  MINNIE  MARSH     1868–1953
  W/O-  CHARLES  H  JONES.

JONES  JANIS           1904–1932
  D/O-  CHAS  H  &  MINNIE  JONES.

JONES  HARRY  A        1855–1926
  *S/W-  FRANCIS  W  ATKINSON  JONES.

MARSH  J  P                1828–1898

 






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Elaine Nall Bay
2012