Benjamin Alfriend Marshall, Sr.,
Can you identify anyone in the picture below?
following have been identified as:
Click on the picture to see full size
Seated Left to Right- Nannie Upton, Martha Jane Gravely, Martha Dyer/Pattie Leith
Standing Left to right- Eleanor Barkley, Ben F. Gravely, Joe W. Gravely, Minnie Skinker, and Luttie Mitchell
Martha Jane Marshall Gravely Col. Joseph J. Gravely
Grandma Gravely Dies Widow of Civil War Colonel Was in Her 90th Year
Nestled snugly on the side of one [of] Cedar county's prettiest hills is a little red farm house; a wooded [copse] extending west up the hill to Paynterville, known to postal officials as Bear Creek itself. It is the home of Mr. And Mrs. George Barkley. For the last year and a half it has also been the home of Mrs. Barkley's mother, Mrs. Martha J. Gravely, widow of Col. Joseph J. Gravely and last of the Virginia Marshall's.
At 5 o'clock last Sunday morning the sweet old soul of this woman left the tired, worn body and took voyage for the Great Hereafter. Her age - 89 years, 5 months and 13 days - tell the story. She had been ill at times for several months. Several days before her death she fell into a sinking spell from which she never regained consciousness. Death came within two miles of the place on which she and her husband had first settled when they came to Missouri from the far-a-way land of old Virginia sixty-nine years ago.
The body was taken to Lindley Prairie Cemetery, 1 mile west of Paynterville, at 1 o'clock Monday afternoon, February 26. Services were held in the chapel, conducted by Rev. J. W. Matthews, pastor of the Fair Play M. E. Church. The body was laid to rest for its long sleep in the Lindley Prairie Cemetery, beside her husband, who preceded her in death almost 51 years, and beside her eldest son, Lewis S, who died in 1838 at the age of 5.
At the time of Mrs. Gravely's 89th birthday last fall, on Tuesday, September 12, she was in fairly good health after a spell of sickness. The previous Sunday she talked with Bolivar relatives who came over to see her, walked to the kitchen and ate supper with them and smoked her evening pipe, a custom for years. It is during this visit that she related to her grandson at his request her remembrance of the eventful years of her life which is the basis for the following life story:
Martha Jane Marshall was born September 12, 1833, in Henry county, Virginia in that section of the county known as Leatherwood. She was the eighth of sixteen children. Fifteen of them lived to be grown and she was the last of them to leave this world.
Her parents were Benjamin Alfriend Marshall and Nancy Nance Marshall. Benjamin Marshall had been educated as an English, Latin and Greek scholar, also for the practice of medicine. Finding medicine unsuitable, he abandoned its study and turned to teaching school and farming.
Martha's grandfather was Dennis Marshall, a school teacher. Among her papers in existence today is a bill of sale for a slave named Will from Dennis Marshall, dated December 24, 1805. Her great-grandfather was Captain Sam Marshall, who served in the Revolutionary War. He came from England and was in the army with Washington. He was a recruiting officer, and is credited with having recruited more men than any other officer that was sent out.
Another native of the Leatherwood section of Henry county Virginia, was Joseph J. Gravely. He was born September 25, 1828. With the financial assistance of a friend he was enabled to go to New York City to study. He was a well educated man and very talented. He and Martha were reared within three miles of each other. She met him when he came to her district to teach school. She went to his school every day of the six months. She was about 12 years old then. He taught in the district for several years. The half of the year that school did not keep, he worked on the farm. He tried the manufacture of tobacco for a while, but his father missed him so badly on his farm that he went back there.
Joseph Jackson Gravely and Miss Martha Jane Marshall were married June 23, 1850. The ceremony was performed by Rev. John Lee at the home of the bride's parents.
That same year the Marshall's emigrated to Missouri. They thought of locating in Mississippi or Arkansas, which states some of the sons had tried, but decided that Missouri was more healthful. In the fall of 1850 Benjamin Marshall and family settled on a hillside 1 mile east of the Bear Creek ford on the north road from Fair Play to Paynterville. He bought 850 acres of land, including a house, for $350. That Cedar county farm has continuously been occupied by members of the Marshall family ever since Martha's youngest sister, Eliza, was four years old when they moved there sand that washer home for 70 years, until her death three years ago. It has since been occupied by Dennis Hopkins, one of her nephews, who moved his house across from the slope of the opposite hill.
Martha and her husband did not come to Missouri at that time, but they were making plans to leave also. Joseph's oldest brother was a fine lawyer, and one day the judge of that district said to young Gravely, "You ought to take out a license and be prepared to practice law when you go to Missouri." This he did; he read law in his brother's law office in Virginia.
They made the long journey to Missouri in 1854, joining the Marshall's in Cedar county. They lived at the Marshall place a while; then moved to a farm three miles south west of there.
Mr. Gravely entered a quarter section, 160 acres of government land, and bought 40 acres of valuable land in the Sac River bottom. He erected "the prettiest log house I ever saw," was the way Mrs. Gravely described it last fall. It was made of great big logs, and was nearly two stories high. They were living there, and Mr. Gravely was teaching school, when the Civil War broke out.
Mr. Gravely had received pretty good military training back in Virginia, and had a faculty for the leadership of men, so he organized a company. He went in as lieutenant, was soon a captain, and a short while later became Colonel of the 8th Missouri State Militia. He served in that position until the end of the war.
His wife and children remained in their home for a while after the head of the house had gone. But they found it useless to try to save their place, so left it, never to return. They moved into a little shanty on the Marshall place, as the house was full with other relatives. Their pretty log house which they had left was finally burned.
Those were terrible times. As soon as dark would come, a heavy curtain would be hung over the one window of the cabin, and no lights were permitted if there had been any disturbance in the neighborhood. The mother carded, spun and wove everything they wore. The merchants carried only a few goods during those dark days.
One winter Colonel Gravely wrote for his wife to come and visit him at Lebanon, where he was commandant of the army post. He was a member of the State Senate and had been in Jefferson City much of the time. She was to come to Bolivar and take a stagecoach for Lebanon. She started with her sister's brother-in-law, Jim Snodgrass, but it turned bitterly cold, and her whole right side was frozen. She was forced to turn back.
In a letter to his wife written from Lebanon June 8, 1864, Colonel Gravely, after mentioning that he had not been feeling well, wrote as follows: "Grant get on finely before Richmond. I think he will take it by the 4th of July. They are making large arrangements at Lebanon to celebrate the 4th of July. Lt. Tracy will be orator of the day. I have some idea of being a candidate for re-election to the Senate as I was unfortunate in drawing the short term, but if they run a Fremont man against me I will doubtless be licked. I am for Lincoln against the world for President. I intend to vote for the nominee of the Baltimore Convention. I despise Fremont." Yours affectionately, J.J. Gravely.
The war finally ended and her husband came home. They moved to Stockton, where Mr. Gravely took up the practice of law. He was elected a member of Congress in 1858 and in 1870 was elected Lieutenant Governor of Missouri.
The first of April 1872, he adjourned the Senate and came home. He had been gone to Jefferson City all winter. He took sick, and after a few days illness died on April 28, 1872.
The widow and her young children moved to a farm in the Bear creek Hills, living there for three years. In November 1875, Mrs. Gravely bought a little house in Bolivar and came here to send her children to school. She has been a resident of Bolivar almost continuously ever since, the only exceptions being about two years spent with her boys in Springfield in 1885 and 1886 and the final year and a half of her life with her daughter at Bear Creek.
Mrs. Gravely was a charter member of the Methodist Church organized at Lindley Prairie, near Paynterville. When she came to Bolivar she brought her membership here, and was associated with the local Methodist Church the remainder of her life. She delighted in reading the Bible, and before her eyesight failed had read the complete Scriptures a number of times - she didn't remember how many.
She kept house for many years, but partial blindness and the feebleness of age forced her to abandon this several years ago. Since then she has been living with various of her children, choosing to spend her wanting days in the Cedar county hills where the most momentous days of her life had been lived.
Mrs. Gravely had eight children, five girls and three boys. One son and all five daughters survive her. For fory years and more after the death of the father there was not another death in the family. There are twenty-four living grandchildren and thirty great grandchildren. Her children are as follows: Mrs. Nanny M. Upton, Bolivar. Lewis S. Gravely (died Sept. 1858, when 5 years old.) Mrs. Pattie D. Leith, Eudora, Mo. Mrs. Eleanor C. Barkley, Bear Creek, Mo. Benjamin F. Gravely (died April 4, 1914, in St. Louis) Joseph W. Gravely, Bolivar, Mo. Mrs. Minnie L. Skinker, Bolivar. Mrs. Lutie J. Mitchell, Bolivar. All the living children attended her funeral.
The grandchildren of Mrs. Gravely are Mrs. John W. Weaver, Savannah, Mo.; G. M. Upton and E. V. Upton, Bolivar, Mo.; Ernest D. Upton, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mrs. John Carter, Morrisville, Mo.; Robert Leith and Joe Leith, Eudora, Mo.; Alice Leith, Eudora, Mo.; Mrs. Ray Vickrey, Townsend, Mont., Martha Leith, Kansas City, Mo.; Mrs. William Underwood, Mountain View, Okla.; Mrs. J. Ben Montgomery, Mrs. John Wakefield and John Barkley, Whittier, Calif.; Mrs. Nannie Walker, Gardena, Calif.; Mrs. William Campbell, Humansville, Mo.; J.J. Gravely, St. Louis, Mo.; Ralph, Ruth, Jean Allen and Marshall Gravely, Bolivar, Mo.; Howard Skinker, St. Louis, Mo.; C. H. Skinker, Jr., Springfield, Mo.; Mrs. Claude Jameson, Bozeman, Mont.
The great-grandchildren are Joseph, Maurice and Margaret Weaver, Savannah, Mo.; Elizabeth and Wilma Upton, Bolivar, Mo.; J. B. and E. V. Upton, Jr., Bolivar; Geneva and Virginia Upton, Eldorado Springs, Mo.; Hubert, Lewis and Allen Carter, Morrisville, Mo.; Pattie Alice and John Henry Leith, Eudora, Mo.; Louise, George, Lester and Gertrude Leith, Eudora, Mo.; Robert and Helen Underwood, Mountain View, Okla.; Barkley Gammels, Mountain View, Okla.; Irene and John B. Montgomery, Doralee Wakefield, George and Gladys Barkley, Whittier, Calif.; Gene Scott and Pauline Campbell; Humansvile, Mo; Louise Jameson, Bozeman, Mont.; Margery Gravely, St. Louis, Mo.
Transcribed from the Bolivar Free Press, Published March 1, 1923
Submitted by: email@example.com
Ben Marshall Cemetery
Back to Main Page
<©>August 2001--2004-2005; All Rights Reserved. Kay Griffin Snow