Henry Harrison Marshall

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1841 - 1916

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By Mrs. Mattie Pierce.

Eight miles out from Nashville, Tenn., and a little off the White's Creek pike, I well remember a barehead, barefoot boy, roaming among the hills and in the fields and meadows, hunting rabbits, and playing hide-and-seek with his dogs. He was a good-natured fellow, always happy and not disposed to be resentful, and the other boys delighted to tease him, just to hear his modest, "Oh! go off boys."

He never made a regular hand on the farm, as the other boys did, and "Uncle Peter," the foreman, would often say: "I can't get that boy to work--just as well let him go to school, and make a preacher. He is too lazy for anything else." Henry was not lazy, but farm work did not suit him. In school, he was studious and bright, always respectful to his teachers, and somehow, when other boys would get a flogging, Henry was on the right side of his teacher. From a small boy, education seemed to be the ruling passion of his life with the impression that he must enter the gospel ministry.

However, before his school-days were over, the bugle call was heard all over our land, summoning our boys to arms, in that sad and cruel war of the "Sixties." He was among the first to enlist, and was on duty four years. His comrades said: "A braver boy never faced a bullet." He loved his country, and trusted his God. Why should he fear? Of course he valued his life as every true soldier should. One day, just before a battle, he went to his colonel and said, "Colonel Butler, I have never shirked duty, or disobeyed orders, but God tells me if I go into that battle I shall be killed." The colonel looked at him and said: "Henry, take my horse to the camps." He was captured at Ft. Donnellson, remained in prison seven months, and was exchanged at Vicksburg, Re-enlisted the army at Jackson, Miss., and was in a number of hard battles. In Atlanta, he received a severe flesh wound, from which he has never fully recovered, and was on crutches at the last roll-call, at Greenville, S.C., and was honorably discharged.

When he returned to the home of his childhood, the orchard, the meadow, the splendid old colonial residence that crowned a small hill, were unchanged. But there was a vacant chair. His brother had been killed in the last battle, at Bentonville, S.C.

In a short while, he went to Lebanon to finish his education. He made a good record in school, and led an exemplary life both in and out of school. Took the full seven-year course.

As a minister, he has not succeeded as he would like to have done, on account of bad health, caused by the wound received in the army, and other disadvantages, but has done what he could.

When the call was made for soldiers, true and brave, to enlist in the protection of his church against the great onslaught of unionism, he was ready with his service, his means, and if need be his life. He has stood firm and unflinching for his ideals of a righteous cause, and has answered to nearly every roll-call since that most cruel of all wars began.

This is a leaflet from the life-book of Rev. H. H. Marshall, of whom we are justly proud--Because in his childhood he was a good boy; as a man he was honorable and upright; as a soldier, faithful, brave and true, and through all, down to his old age, his life has been in keeping with his views of God's word.

"Even down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love."

Modest worth rejects the aid of ornament."

[Source: Our Senior Soldiers: The Biographies and Autobiographies of Eighty Cumberland Presbyterian Preachers.Compiled by The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication. The Assistance of Revs. J. L. Price and W. P. Kloster is Greatfully Acknowledged. Nashville, Tenn.: The Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1915, pages 56-58]

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Updated 13 September 2018