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Cherokee County Biographies

William C. Marsh

William C. Marsh, a Union veteran, has resided in Cherokee county for fifty years, bearing his share in the work of development and progress, and Aurelia numbers him among its honored pioneers. He was born March 31, 1840, in Clinton county, New York, and is the fourth in a family of six children. The others were Julia, Madison and Emily, all of whom are deceased; Nancy A., who has also passed away; and Susannah, a resident of Armour, South Dakota. Their parents were Lyman and Polly (Comstock) Marsh, the former a native of Massachusetts and the latter of Vermont.

Mr. Marsh came to the middle west in his youth and was a student at Lawrence University of Appleton, Wisconsin. He engaged in farming until 1862 and on August 2 enlisted in Company B, of the Thirty-second Wisconsin Infantry. He was discharged in March, 1863, and returned to Wisconsin. In the summer of that year he went to Chicago for the purpose of attending the bryant & Stratton Business College and after completing his course entered the employ of the government in the capacity of chief issuing clerk. His duties took him from Ringgold, Georgia, to Atlanta and a year later he was sent to Louisville, Kentucky, thence to Baltimore, Maryland. There he took a steamer for Savannah, Georgia, passing around Cape Hatteras, and after reaching his destination found that General Sherman had already departed with his command. Mr. Marsh then returned to New Bern, North Carolina, where he remained until June, 1865, aiding in the work of repairing the railroads, after which he took a tug to Fortress Monroe, Monroe, Virginia, and went from there to Baltimore by steamer. In October, 1875, he came to Cherokee county, Iowa, and a year later built the first hotel in Aurelia. He conducted the business for two years and then began speculating in farms. He also embarked in the grain business, operating an elevator in this locality, and prospered in all of his undertakings. He displayed wisdom and foresight in making his investments and his plans were carefully formulated and promptly executed.

Mr. Marsh married Miss Frances Hubbard, who passed away October 7, 1918, and eight children were born to them: one who died in infancy; Grace, also deceased; Edith, at home; Lyman, deceased; Winnie, who is the wife of Bert Wilson, of Prince Rupert, British Columbia; William C., who lives in Aurelia, Iowa; Ethel, who married C. W. Persons, of Aurelia; and Mrs. Lula Royer, of Cherokee.

Mr. Marsh is allied with the republican party and was twice honored with the majoralty by his fellow townsmen. He was also elected county supervisor and made an excellent record in both offices. His record as postmaster is notable. Appointed to the office, he served for four years and three months, after which President Cleveland appointed another to the position, but in ten days less than a year Mr. Marsh was returned to the office and served constantly for nineteen years and one month - a fact which indicates clearly his ability and fidelity in the position. He is a Knight Templar Mason and belongs to Custer Post, No. 25, of the Grand Army of the Republic. He has been loyal to every trust reposed in him and faithful to every duty. He has always dealt honorably with his fellowmen and at the venerable age of eighty-five years can look back upon a well spent life, enjoying the respect that is ever accorded the citizen of worth.

Source: Allen, Arthur Francis., ed. Northwestern Iowa Its History and Traditions 1804-1926. Vol 2. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1927.

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