One of the largest landholders of Johnson county, and a man who is widely known as an agriculturist and stock breeder, is Charles Marshall, of Belknap, a member of a family that has distinguished itself in various walks of life. He was born on a farm in Mason county, Kentucky, September 17, 1863, and is a son of R. M. Marshall.
The progenitor of the family in this country came from England during Colonial days and settled in Virginia, from whence Charles Marshall, great-grandfather of Charles of Belknap, and a brother of Chief Justice John Marshall, enlisted for service in the Colonial army during the Revolutionary war. Martin P. Marshall, son of Charles, was born in Virginia and was a pioneer settler in Kentucky, where he became speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives during the Civil war, and cast the deciding vote which held the state in the union. He had been a large landowner and slaveholder, and also owned much land in Ohio, and when he was forced to leave Kentucky to escape
capture by the Confederates he crossed the line and took up the practice of law. This, however, he abandoned after the close of the rebellion, and returned to his farm, on which a division of the Confederate army, under General Marshall, had camped at one time. He served as state's attorney and in other important offices, and died in 1880, one of the best known men in his state. Martin P. Marshall married a first cousin, Elizabeth Marshall, one of the Kentucky Marshalls, whose two brothers, Generals Charles A. and Humphrey Marshall, were officers in the Confederate army. R. M. Marshall, who served in the Kentucky Home Guards when a young man, resided in Rock Island, Illinois, for several years, where he practiced law, but eventually returned to Kentucky, where he remained on the farm until his death at the ripe old age of eighty years. He married Miss Forman, of Kentucky, daughter of William Forman, whose father, Joseph Forman, of Kentucky, entered considerable land in Southern Illinois. Joseph made a trip to New Orleans via flat-boat to market his produce, and returning in 1824 with several of his neighbors they landed on the Illinois side of the Ohio River and entered two sections of land apiece at the government office at Shawneetown. This land is now in the possession of Charles Marshall of Belknap. Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Marshall had nine children, but of the number Elizabeth F., Martin P., William F., Thomas and Louis are deceased. Those living are: John, residing on the home farm in Mason county, Kentucky; Logan, who resides in Texas; Robert M., a practicing physician in Denver, Colorado; and Charles, the subject of the present sketch.
Charles Marshall spent his boyhood on the home farm, and his education was secured in the public and private schools. When he was seventeen years old he entered Lebanon University, at Lebanon, Ohio, and studied two years, graduating with the degree of B. S., and during his second year pursued a general course which included engineering, etc. In 1882 he returned to his father's farm and worked for two years, and during the fall of 1884 came to Belknap, his maternal grandfather having given him 100 acres of timbered land to clear for himself. After his grandfather's death, in 1890, Mr. Marshall purchased the entire tract of 1200 acres, cleared the timber, and added to his holdings until he now owns 2500 acres, about 300 acres of which are inside of the Cache River Drainage District, 1500 acres being under cultivation. He makes a specialty of raising and feeding stock, and at the present time has a large bunch of cattle, horses and mules, hogs and sheep, the care of which necessitates the hiring of from ten to twenty employes. Mr. Marshall's vast operations have made his name well known among the agriculturists and business men of this part of Southern. Illinois, and he is known as an enterprising, progressive agriculturist and as a good and public-spirited citizen who is ever ready to do his full share in advancing the interests of his community. In political matters a Democrat, his private operations have demanded so much of his time and attention that he has never actively entered the public field. Fraternally he is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America, and he and his family are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
In 1889 Mr. Marshall was united in marriage with Miss Effie Williams, daughter of Marion Williams, a pioneer settler of this section and partner of W. L. Williams, and she died in 1893, leaving two children: Elizabeth F. and Robert M., both residing at home. Mr. Marshall was married (second) to Miss Clara Evers, the daughter of George Evers, of Belknap, and they have one son, William F.