Marshall, John M.
Place of Birth: Scarbrough (sic)
Date of enlistment: 6 February 1872
Age given at enlistment: 32 9/12
Location on 25 June 1876: At Fort Rice, Dakota Territory
Did he go to Scarborough Fair?
Scarborough, North Yorkshire,
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there,
She once was a true love of mine.
- If the age given on enlistment on 6 February 1872 is correct then, at 32 years 9 months (Hammer, 1995, p.217, says 39 9/12) Farrier John Marshall was somewhat older than the average new recruit. He joined the U.S. Army at Cincinnati, Ohio, signed on by Lt Myles Moylan, 7th Cavalry, and described as having blue eyes, light hair, a fair complexion, 5′ 6″ tall, previously employed as a labourer.
- Marshall was sent to St Louis Barracks where, on 21 February, he was transferred to the 7th Cavalry and two days later joined Company H at Nashville Tennessee, which was engaged on Reconstruction duty. He was appointed company farrier on 28 October, to date from 1 September, the same year.
- He was with his company on the Yellowstone Campaign (1873) and Black Hills Expedition (1874).
- On 5 May 1876, possibly due to temporarily being a patient in the post hospital, Marshall was left in charge of privates Francis Pittet and David (or Daniel) Tapley at Fort Rice to guard Company H’s property and to tend the large garden there. Consequently he did not take part in the Little Big Horn Campaign.
- He was discharged at Fort Rice on 6 February 1877, a farrier of good character and re-enlisted at the same place on 8 January 1878 by his company commander, Captain Frederick Benteen. On this occasion however Marshall said he was 35 years-old (i.e. born 1843 or more likely 1842?), a butcher, born in a place (in England) that this writer has not yet been able to decipher from the entry in the U.S. Register of Enlistments. It ends in ‘ford’ – no county given – though there is no village or town in Yorkshire that even remotely matches this spelling.* Clearly, this puts his claim of being born in Scarborough very much in doubt and, in common with so many other troopers, his true identity must continue to be uncertain.
- Marshall deserted from Fort Lincoln on 10 May 1879.
- His fate is not known.
- (*) Can you help? The Editor invites visitors to this site to consult the U.S. Register of Enlistments for 8 January 1878 to see if they can read the place of ‘Marshall’s’ birth. He would very much like to hear from you.