by Shane K. Bernard, Ph.D.
Avery Island, Inc., Archives March 2013 Copyright © 2013 by Avery Island, Inc.; updated 3 April 2013
According to Marsh’s granddaughter, Mary Eliza Avery, the first member of the Marsh family to settle in North America was Samuel Marsh. Mary Eliza recorded that Samuel was born around 1620 in Essex County, England, and immigrated to North America “in 1645 with the New Haven Colony,” settling “first at Boston, then at New Haven.” This implies Samuel came to America with New Haven’s founders. They, however, actually arrived eight years before Samuel, debarking at Boston before founding New Haven in 1638. Moreover, Samuel does not appear on the list of original New Haven settlers. While it therefore seems doubtful he arrived with the colony’s founders, he could have sailed to North America in 1645, as Mary Eliza noted, and settled in the preexisting New Haven colony.
Considerable immigration occurred in the late seventeenth century between New Haven and New Jersey, whose colonial-era capital, Elizabethtown, lay some eighty miles southwest of New Haven. Samuel and his wife, Comfort (last name unknown), took part in this immigration and, according to Mary Eliza, settled in 1665 at
“Elizabeth-town, New Jersey, . . . on a ‘house lot’ of seven acres with 200 acres of outlying land between Elizabeth Creek and Rahway River near Tremley Point.” This outlying tract made up what came to be the family farm, Cherry Bank.
Little is known about the next few generations of the Marsh family. Records show that John Craig Marsh’s grandfather, Moses, was born in 1740 and married a woman six years his junior named Eunice Alston, and that among their seven children were Jonathan Alston Marsh and a sister, Mary Alston Marsh. About Mary this story survives:
Once the British took a pet heifer belonging to pretty Mary Alston Marsh, daughter of Moses Marsh, one of Linden’s first settlers. She made up her mind to save the pet, so she contrived to stampede all the cattle the British were driving. The cattle fled in all directions, trampling a few redcoats and scattering, so that the British were forced to go back to Staten Island empty-handed. Mary went home safely with her pet heifer.
Jonathan Alston Marsh, father of John Craig Marsh, was born in 1765, married Sarah Craig, and had six children. Going by his middle name, Alston was known, at least later in life, for his garden. The Rahway newspaper observed in 1826,
We were highly gratified, the other day, by a visit to the farm of our friend, Mr. Alston Marsh, near this village. What excited our particular admiration was his extensive peach orchard, containing about 3,000 trees, many of which have been inoculated with the choicest species of that delicious fruit which could be procured. . . . Mr. M. has also figs, almonds, &c., growing in his grounds; but we were particularly delighted with an arbour of about a hundred yards in length covered with native and exotic grapes. . . . Mr. M. deserves credit and success for the pains he has taken to improve his fruit, and, if a bountiful providence smile[s] upon his labour, we have no doubt he will receive it.
Another story about Alston survives and, unlike the one about his garden, it is brutal in its content. Written by John Craig Marsh’s brother Jonas in early 1820, when Alston was about fifty-five years old, it concerns a dispute over the use of the Marsh docks on the Rahway River (where, to this day, “Marsh’s Dock Road” runs through a sprawling industrial tank farm that occupies the former site of Cherry Bank).
“Father has become a great fighting character,” Jonas recorded about the middle-aged Alston, stating that his father had fallen out with a neighbor, Arthur Wilson, which resulted in Alston forbidding Wilson the use of one of his docks. In response to this ban, Wilson, noted Jonas, declared, “I will be damned if I don’t knock the old rascal . . . with a handspike [a sometimes pointed bar, pipe, or lever].” When Wilson nonetheless tied his sloop to Alston’s dock, Jonas, at his father’s bidding, untied the vessel and cast it off. “Arthur came on the dock and again began with his abuse,” wrote Jonas.
My father told him that he was an abusive fellow and he forbid him [to enter] his land . . . but [Wilson] made answer, “I will go where I please, you damned old rascal,” and [he] stept up and shook his fist in his [Alston’s] face, when my father gave him a black eye. He [Wilson] then went back, picked up a stone and threw it, struck my father on the wrist and crippled him so that he could not lift his hand. He [Wilson] then took up a pole 8 feet long and as thick as your wrist . . . [and] beat . . . father shamefully. No one dare go to his assistance . . . [until] after he [Wilson] had beat him until he was satisfied. . . . My father had lost the use of one arm, the right one, by the stone, but had not lost his spunk. After he had recovered a little he took a club 2 feet long in his left hand and drove the coward off the dock. He [Wilson] went off crying murder.
Alston subsequently took Wilson to court, demanding $1,000 in damages.
John Craig Marsh was born July 28, 1789, and grew up on Cherry Bank. Nothing is known of his childhood and he does not appear in the historical record until shortly before he arrived on Petite Anse Island, now Avery Island, to pursue his career as a sugar planter. These earliest references indicate that by late 1817, during his twenty-seventh year, Marsh worked in New York City as a merchant. By April 1818 he had formed a business partnership with William Stone, whose wife, Euphemia Craig, was Marsh’s cousin through his maternal line. The partnership bought from landowner Jesse McCall roughly the entire southern half of Petite Anse Island. Marsh and Stone would use this land to grow sugarcane, which in turn they would process on site into sugar, molasses, and, to a lesser extent, rum, for commercial sale on the open market.
The cultivation of sugar required labor, so in summer that year Marsh and Stone began to invest large sums of money in black slaves — buying up between July and October 1818 no less than thirteen enslaved workers. This activity made its way into a New Jersey lawsuit, which, while of no significance to Marsh and Stone themselves, provides a snapshot of their activities in 1818. Evidence presented in the suit tangentially mentioned that
“William Stone was concerned in purchasing Negroes that season; witness saw Negroes in his possession at South Amboy on board a vessel, and also on shore. . . . John C. Marsh, the brother of Jonas Marsh, and partner of William Stone, was engaged in buying Negroes; John C. Marsh had Negroes on board the vessel. . . .” The testimony noted that these slaves were “destined for New Orleans. . . .”
Marsh and Stone transferred their newly purchased slaves from the East Coast to Louisiana just as the New Jersey legislature prepared
“to prohibit the exportation of slaves or servants of color out of this State,” to cite the bill itself.
The legislature enacted this law on November 5, 1818, only about a month after Marsh and Stone had purchased one of their thirteen New Jersey slaves, and shortly after the partners shipped the last of their slaves to Louisiana. For good measure, Marsh and Stone required some of their slaves to affirm in court their consent to be shipped to “New Iberia” (nearest town to Petite Anse Island). In this manner the partners avoided any breach of New Jersey law.
They purchased no slaves in New York, however, because in 1799 that state had authorized the gradual emancipation of its slaves. Any slave born after July 4 that year, it decreed, would be reclassified under the less constrictive term “indentured servant.” Eleven laborers Marsh and Stone secured in New York in 1818 were, in fact, indentured servants, presumably black indentured servants. And while black indentured servants born in New York after the 1799 act remained in servitude until age twenty-five (for females) or twenty-eight (for males), Marsh and Stone agreed to release their indentured servants after forty-five months in Louisiana. (This finite period of servitude did not discourage one of their indentured servants, Betsey Carpenter, from running away — twice.)
While Stone remained in New York City to conclude business up north, Marsh arrived in Louisiana sometime between October and December 1818. In early December, Stone wrote to Marsh in New Iberia,
“I hope you have had a prosperous and pleasant passage and by this time [you are] with all your force on Petite Anse.” He added, “If we do not arrive in a reasonable time after starting, think nothing of it” — suggesting Stone would soon join Marsh on the Island.
Marsh and Stone — and, for that matter, their northern slaves — apparently had no prior experience in the sugar industry. As such, they likely spent much time in their new home learning how to plant, harvest, grind, and process cane into raw sugar of marketable quality. The task required great skill, for any number of mistakes could ruin an entire vat of sugar juice. Like all planters they would have relied heavily on an experienced “sugarmaker,” who knew just the right moment to pour a “strike,” as they called the final step in the process.
By October 1826 Stone was dead from unknown causes, leaving Marsh to contend with the plantation and the legal and monetary complexities of dealing with Stone’s heirs. Gradually, however, Marsh became an experienced planter and manager. Years later he sought to convey this knowledge to his son, George, an affable hunchback who would remain a bachelor and, at least in later years, deal more closely than anyone with the plantation’s day-to-day operations.
“Pay you particular attention to preparing for taking in of the crop,” Marsh counseled young George. “It is very important that we should make a lay over this year. Have the Negroes’ clothing ready in time. You may want some addition to the ox team, but I hope not much.”
On another occasion he advised George:
Let your mill and kettles first be in order and the carts and such other necessary fixtures as will carry us on without and break down or [cause] detention. Prepare the new plantation [located on the Island’s east side] to work as fast, your horse cart to be well fixed and in order. Also, ox carts, and if necessary buy more oxen, but let them be good ones if you pay more for them. Have everything in good order on the new plantation and begin to roll [i.e., grind sugarcane] if possible by the 1 or 3 Octr. The sleeping accommodations for the Negroes must be improved. Also shoes for the mules and oxen there.
No documents record the extent of Marsh’s earliest sugar production. But later business records indicate that his plantation — which at the time occupied only part of the Island — produced during the 1846-47 grinding season at least 252 hogsheads of sugar and 138 barrels of molasses. Before collecting payment on this crop, Marsh had to settle his operating expenses, which, as for all sugar planters, included fees for brokers, freight, drayage, platform dues, cooperage, insurance, and weighing, as well as gauging of molasses (evaluation of its quality), the cost of tarpaulins (to keep barrels dry) and security (to guard against theft during shipment). That year Marsh’s expenses for these services ran to $1,670.07 (or 9.6 percent of his gross income from the crop), leaving him with a net profit of $17,485.80. Still, this revenue had to cover a variety of other expenses back on the plantation, including medical bills for sick slaves, repairs and improvement to sugar house machinery, and the purchase of food, furniture, clothing, and assorted other items for the family and plantation.
But the place could produce considerably more than 252 hogsheads of sugar per season, if nature cooperated. As George Marsh enthused in 1849, comparing the original plantation fields (near Marsh House) to the newer, more fertile fields on the Island:
At the old place we did not average over one hhd. [hogshead] to the acre. At this place the yield has been not less than 1½, some pieces [of land] have given two. It is increasing daily and I hope to average two hhds. per acre. All our best cane is yet standing and if nothing happens we must make a good crop, say, 375 and perhaps more. We have the cane to do it, if we can get a common yield, say, two hhds. per acre. (We often get three.)
In coming years sugar production on the Island would run between 179 hogsheads for a “backward” year to 445 for a banner year. The plantation’s average sugar yield over twenty-four years (1845-1869) totaled about 332 hogsheads annually. When compared to the 1,800 hogsheads produced in 1861 by one of the state’s largest plantations, one understands historian James H. Dormon’s claim that the Marsh plantation was
“only a medium-sized sugar plantation for this region.” But, he added, “it was also in this respect more typical.”
While Marsh dedicated much of his life to business, we do know at least a little about his personal life and character. For example, we know that Marsh married three times, each wife dying prematurely. He first married Helen Catherine Baldwin, who died of unknown causes around 1815, after which he married Helen’s sister, Eliza Ann Baldwin. (It is from Eliza Ann that all present-day Avery family members descend.) She in turn died in New York City in August 1826, also of unknown causes. Finally, Marsh married his cousin and late business partner’s widow, Euphemia Craig, known as Miss Effy. According to oral tradition, she died after falling down the front steps of Marsh House while pregnant. As family member Gray Osborn relates,
“[I]n the late 1820s a dying friend entrusted her youngest child, a little girl named Susan Randolph, to Miss Effy to protect her from an abusive father who was said to have been a brother-in-law of Jean Lafitte, the pirate. In Grandpa Marsh’s absence Randolph came to the Island to demand the return of Susan. Moments later, during the confrontation, Miss Effy, her protective arm about her little ward, slipped and fell down the front steps of Marsh House. Being pregnant . . . she had a miscarriage — and died.”
In a more lighthearted vein, we know that Marsh enjoyed hunting and fishing. In 1830 Marsh purchased a trained setter named Dash for tracking and hunting. On one occasion he asked his son-in-law D. D. Avery (husband of Sarah Craig Marsh) to bring his own “fine pointer dog” to the Island so that he could use it for hunting. On a visit to New Jersey in 1841 he scouted a field on which he shortly planned to hunt.
“I went on the woodcock ground,” he recorded, “and put up [scared into flight] thirteen. I had no gun or dog. I think we shall have good shooting.” Two months later while on the same extended visit he noted to his son, “I hunted and shot more woodcock than any other sportsman in the neighborhood and caught more bass than even your Uncle Stewart, who is the best fisherman on the coast.”
After a fishing trip to the Hammock, located on Vermilion Bay near Cypremort Point, Marsh wrote the following pun-laced description:
We now attacked the inhabitants of the Bay, who are of various tribes, the red fish, the sheep head, &c., &c. They seemed to be mild, docile tribes & you know that I have always spoken well of them, but I am bound to say they are a scaly set. . . . Had not the season been so far advanced, we would have attacked some oyster settlements in the neighborhood, said to be very rich. They are bankers. I have made war on them heretofore, yes, war to the knife, and although they are close-fisted, I have made them shell out. Thus we continued in great health and full of spirits for four days. . . .
Marsh was not averse to spirituous drink, noting on the same fishing trip the presence of “John Brown” (a euphemism for whisky):
[W]hen the old gentleman made his appearance, he was received with a hearty welcome. I declare that I never saw the old fellow in finer spirits. He had lost, certainly, the burning fire of his youth, but then he had acquired a mellowness & richness and fullness, which were more than equivalent. Everyone present took him by the hand more than once. He promoted universal harmony, and like Falstaff, tho “not witty himself, he was the cause of wit in others.” The last act of kindness of the old gentleman that evening was, putting us all to bed. Luckily a botanist had been sent out on the expedition, and having an eye for the health of the forces, had collected some mint, with which & some other samples, after consulting John Brown, he had a vegetable draft, to be taken first thing in the morning. I don’t like medicine, but for the sake of health, I gulped it down & must say I did not find it bad to take.
Various business and personal papers disclose random morsels of biography about Marsh. He disliked writing letters, for example, for two relatives mention this aversion in their letters to him. Another example: In 1819 he served as a south Louisiana magistrate, and in 1845 he became president of the corporation of Iberia. During his early days on the Island he hunted bears — his brother Jonas refers to
“the skins of the bears that you talk of killing so many of” — and he tried to earn extra income by trapping fur-bearing animals. In 1827 a New Orleans agent charged him “for bailing skins” and around the same time Marsh sent a quantity of skins to London for sale. Instead of reaping a profit, however, he found himself indebted, for, as his brother Stewart wrote him from New York, “[T]here is a deficiency, the skins . . . being very much damaged. Some of them sold as low as 2 pence per lb.” Another document reveals that by 1844 he owned a seven-ton sloop named the Little Red, which a man named “Hoyt” built for him in exchange for the manumission of an enslaved son, “the boy John Henry. . . .”
On September 10, 1849, John Craig Marsh sold his plantation, in three equal shares, to his son George and to his two sons-in-law Avery and Ashbel Burnham Henshaw (husband of Margaret Marsh). The three men chose to acquire the plantation even though it came burdened with over $30,000 of debt. Some of these obligations derived from John Craig Marsh’s responsibility to the Stone heirs; others came from Marsh’s assumption of debts belonging to his brother Jonas, who in 1825 had followed him to the Teche country to try his hand at sugar planting.
Following the sale Marsh returned to Rahway, where he planned to retire to Cherry Bank with brother Stewart. It is unclear, however, if Marsh immediately returned to Rahway or if he remained in Louisiana for some time before heading north. He is known to have been in the New Iberia area in January 1850, when son-in-law Avery wrote to him there from Baton Rouge,
“We all remembered you and George on New Year’s Day and regretted that you both could not be with us.” By 1851, however, he had returned to Rahway, for in summer 1853 he commented from Cherry Bank, “I have been for the last two years so happily located and satisfied here that I have not been to any of the fashionable places. . . . I have only been to N. York but once in two months. I prefer my comforts here to the confusion and dust of the city.” In the same letter he dismissed “the whirlpool of the fashionable world.” Still, Marsh continued to show interest in the family lands back in Louisiana, hinting to daughter Margaret, “I should be much pleased to receive a letter occasionally from Mr. Henshaw and George about plantation affairs and the news in general.”
Marsh did not entirely quit business, however, for
“we farmers are busily at work,” he informed Margaret, noting “The season for hay and harvest has come. . . .”
By the end of the decade he would own $35,433.76 worth of property, including his share of Cherry Bank, five horses, five cows, two oxen, three pigs, and forty-two chickens and ducks. He also owned ploughs, wagons, and a two-thirds interest in sixteen tons of hay. Clearly, however, he was not engaged in large-scale farming.
In 1853 Marsh traveled for unknown reasons to Cleveland, Cincinnati, New York, and Buffalo. The next year found him back in the area of New Iberia and Avery Island. Returning home to Rahway, he made the same round trip in 1857. Later in the decade brother Stewart recorded that
“[W]e had talked much about the future, and had pretty much concluded to repair the old Homestead [at Cherry Bank], make an addition to the house, and make it comfortable, and end our days there.”
In autumn 1857 Marsh travelled again to Louisiana, a departure viewed ominously by his brother’s family. As Stewart recalled to nephew George,
[Your] father left a will. It was handed to me the morning he sailed and from his manner I have no doubt with misgivings. I never saw him leave for the south before with spirits depressed. It was noticed for some days by all our family. My son Stewart said to his brother, as we were returning from the ship the morning he sailed, “John, you will never see Uncle again. He will not live to return.”
John Craig Marsh died from unknown causes during that visit; the date of death was April 26, 1858. His son George followed him in December 1859.
Among the items Marsh left behind at Cherry Bank were, besides furniture, books, and some family silver, fishing tackle, an eel spear, and oyster tongs. These objects reflected a life spent, as befit his name, in coastal wetlands, both in New Jersey and in Louisiana.
For clarity the author has corrected misspellings and modernized punctuation in quoted material.
[Mary Eliza Avery McIlhenny], “Marsh Family,” genealogical abstract, ca. 1885, AD.
Originally published in the Linden [N.J.] Observer, 17 October 1940, quoted in Lauren Pancurak Yeats, Linden, New Jersey (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2002), 110.
Originally published in the Rahway [N.J.] Adv. [Advertiser], n.d., republished in New England Farmer V (8 September 1826), 53.
Jonas Marsh, Rahway, N.J., to John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., 9 February 1820, ALS, Avery Family Papers (henceforth AFP), Avery Island, Inc., Archives, Avery Island, La.
John Craig Marsh is referred to as a New York City merchant in Bond agreement between John Craig Marsh and Abraham Bell/Robert H. Bowne, New York, N.Y., 27 November 1817, ADS, AFP.
Jesse McCall wrote to partners John Craig Marsh and William Stone in mid-April 1818. Jesse McCall, New Iberia, La., to John Craig Marsh and William Stone, New York, N.Y., 15 April 1818, ALS, AFP.
Thomas Gibbons versus Isaac Morse, New Jersey Court of Errors, November term 1821, in William Halsted, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature of the State of New Jersey, Vol. II, 3rd ed. (Newark, N.J.: Soney and Sage, 1902), 255, 260.
A. Q. Keasbey, “Slavery in New Jersey,” Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society V (January 1906): 12.
For example, see bill of sale, female slave named Jane, Middlesex County, N.J., 16 October 1819, ADS, AFP, note on recto stating “she was willing, and that she freely consented to remove and go out of this state to New Iberia.”
Paul Finkelman, An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism, and Comity (Clark, N.J.: The Lawbook Exchange, 1981).
Indenture contract between John Craig Marsh/William Stone and Betsey Carpenter, New York, N.Y., 28 August 1818, ADS, AFP.
William Stone, New York, N.Y., to John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., 1 December 1818, ALS, AFP.
John Craig Marsh, Baltimore, Md., to George Marsh, New Iberia, La., 4 August 1840, ALS, AFP.
Ann Patton Malone, Sweet Chariot: Slave Family and Household Structure in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1992), 301 (n. 71); John Craig Marsh, New York, N.Y., to George Marsh, New Iberia, La., 20 August 1841, ALS, AFP.
John Craig Marsh sugar and molasses sales to Kelly and Conyngham, [New Orleans, La.], February 1847, AD, AFP.
George Marsh, Avery Island, La., to D. D. Avery, Baton Rouge, La., 15 November 1849, ALS, AFP.
Richard Follett, “Documenting Louisiana Sugar 1845-1917,” Louisiana sugar plantation production database, University of Sussex, http://www.sussex.ac.uk/louisianasugar/index.php, accessed 4 August 2011; Clement Eaton, A History of the Old South: The Emergence of a Reluctant Nation, 3rd ed. (Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press, 1975), 226; James H. Dormon, “Aspects of Acadiana Plantation Life in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: A Microcosmic View,” Louisiana History XVI (Fall 1975): 362.
Petition of John Craig Marsh to be appointed tutor of his children, 29 July 1829, St. Mary Parish, La., ADS [official handwritten copy], Stone Papers, Avery Island, Inc., Archives, Avery Island, La.; Gray Osborn, “The Island,” TD (unpublished manuscript), December 2011, Avery Island, Inc., Archives. Quoted with permission.
William Edgar, Jr., New York, to John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., 28 October 1830, ALS, AFP; John Craig Marsh, New Orleans, La., to D. D. Avery, Baton Rouge, La., 7 December 1857, ALS, Sara Avery McIlhenny Collection [hereafter SAMC]; John Craig Marsh, New York, to George Marsh, New Iberia, La., 16 June 1841, ALS, AFP; John Craig Marsh, New York, to George Marsh, New Iberia, La., 20 August 1841, ALS, AFP.
John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., to unknown, May 1847, ALS, typewritten transcript in the Avery Island, Inc., Archives.
Sarah [Craig Marsh], Baton Rouge, La., to [John Craig Marsh], care Stewart C. Marsh, New York, N.Y., 15 September 1851, SAMC; Sarah Craig Marsh Avery, New Iberia, La., to John Craig Marsh, n.p., 21 July 1855, SAMC; Jonas Marsh, [Rahway, N.J.], to John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., 25 December 1819, AD, AFP; [T.?] Lamperez, New Iberia, La., to John Craig Marsh, New York, N.Y., 9 June 1845, ALS, AFP; Jonas Marsh, Rahway, N.J., to John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., 9 February 1820, ALS, AFP; Stewart C. Marsh, New York, N.Y., to John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., 17 February 1827, ALS, AFP; George Orr and Co., n.p., Bill for Stone and Marsh, 7 July 1827; License issued to John Craig Marsh for the sloop Little Red, District of the Port of Franklin, La., 1 November 1844, DS, AFP; John Craig Marsh, memorandum, [5 May 1856], ADS, AFP.
George Marsh, Avery Island, La., to D. D. Avery, Baton Rouge, La., 15 November 1849, ALS, AFP; Balance sheet, debt owed on plantation by George Marsh, D. D. Avery, and Ashbel Burnham Henshaw, 16 September 1849, AD, AFP; S[tewart] C. Marsh, [New York, N.Y.?], to John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., 5 October 1825, ALS, AFP.
John Craig Marsh, Rahway, N.J., to Margaret Marsh Henshaw, New Iberia, La., 21 June 1853, ALS, AFP.
Inventory of the Personal Property of John Craig Marsh, Deceased, 1 May , AD, AFP.
John Craig Marsh, Cleveland, Ohio, to George Marsh, New Iberia, La., 13 October 1853, ALS, SAMC; John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., to D. D. Avery, Baton Rouge, La., 9 March 1854, ALS, AFP; John Craig Marsh, memorandum, [5 May 1856], ADS, AFP; D. D. Avery, New Orleans, La., to George [Marsh], n.p. [New Iberia, La.?], 15 or 16 March 1857, ALS, AFP; Stewart C. Marsh, Rahway, N.J., to George Marsh, 27 May 1858, ALS, AFP.
John Craig Marsh, Cleveland, Ohio, to George Marsh, New Iberia, La., 13 October 1853, ALS, SAMC; John Craig Marsh, New Iberia, La., to D. D. Avery, Baton Rouge, La., 9 March 1854, ALS, AFP; D. D. Avery, New Orleans, La., to George [Marsh], [Avery Island, La.?], 15 or 16 March 1857, ALS, AFP; Stewart Craig Marsh, Rahway, N.J., to George Marsh, [New Iberia, La.?], 27 May 1858, ALS, AFP.
The cenotaph memorial to John Craig Marsh in the Sacred Grove cemetery on Avery Island gives Marsh’s date of death as April 26, 1857. This is incorrect, however, for not only do two letters from Mary Eliza Avery to “Grand-pa” exist from late 1857 (her other grandfather having died long before her birth), but Marsh himself penned a letter to Mary Eliza’s father, D. D. Avery, on December 7, 1857, to announce his arrival in Louisiana. John Craig Marsh, [New Orleans, La.], to D. D. Avery, Baton Rouge, La., 7 December 1857, ALS, SAMC.
Stewart Craig Marsh, Rahway, N.J., to George Marsh, [New Iberia, La.?], 27 May 1858, ALS, AFP. George Marsh died around 17 December 1859. Receipt for George Marsh’s coffin, 17 December 1859, ADS, AFP; Receipt for rental of wagon for George Marsh’s funeral service, 18 December 1859, ADS.
Inventory of the Personal Property of John Craig Marsh.
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