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ONLY HIS SEVENTY-FIFTH LOG CABIN.
Jesse Marshall took up a claim on section 22, in Grove (Atlantic) township, in July, 1852, and settled upon it. He had a wife and ten children, and the family lived in the wagon until winter, when they moved into their shell of a log house. Marshall was a typical backwoodsman, having dwelt in the wildernesses of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and various portions of Iowa, and when he had finally finished his cabin remarked to a neighbor that it was only the seventy-fifth that he had built. Although two of his children were young men, he was the only one of the family who could read or write. It is said that if he could get a jug of sod-corn whiskey, a plug of dog-tail tobacco, a little corn meal and a saddle of venison, he was supremely happy; which was characteristic of the whole family. During the fall of 1853 he took his ox team and went to Rockport, Mo., for provisions, and during his month's absence the family subsisted on pumpkins and slippery elm bark. During this year he sold his original claim to Clayborn Marion, took up another on section 29, where he built his seventy-sixth cabin and died in January, 1854.
Jesse Marshall's was the first death in the township, and was attended by circumstances which well illustrate the peculiarities of his family and the times. Upon his return from Indiantown, where he had been on a drunken debauch, the father went to bed sick in his log cabin and in a few days died. Several days afterward Thomas J. Byrd, son of one of the pioneers of Pymosa and Washington townships, was riding by and hailing one of the Marshall boys asked him how the family were getting along.
"Oh, all right except dad--he's dead," replied the young hopeful.
Going into the house Mr. Byrd found Mrs. Marshall sitting by the smoldering fire, her face buried in her hands. He also asked her how they were prospering, to which she replied, "All right but the old man--he's dead."
Mr. Byrd stepped to the corner of the room and found the old man covered up with some blankets, truly dead, and on asking why he had not been buried was informed that George Reeves had been sent to Iranistan for a coffin, but that although he had been gone five days he had not yet returned. Reeves soon afterward returned with the coffin and the explanation that he had taken too much rum and forgotten all about his errand.
From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 53-54.
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