Archibald W. Marshall


ARCHIBALD W. MARSHALL was born March 29, 1840, on the farm in Rayburn township, Armstrong county, where he now resides, son of Archibald and Rebecca (Taylor) Marshall. The Marshall family has been settled in this part of Armstrong county for several generations, and its members have always contributed to the well-being of the community.

William Marshall, the emigrant ancestor of the family, was born in 1722 in Ireland. Nothing can be learned concerning his ancestors. When a young man he went to Scotland, where about 1748 he married Elizabeth Armstrong, a native of that country, and they soon afterward came to America. They settled in the southern part of what was then the Province of Pennsylvania, about sixty miles northwest of Baltimore, Md., near where the Marsh creek crosses the Pennsylvania and Maryland line -- in what was known as the Conococheague settlement. It is now included in Adams county, Pa. Their family of six children, John, James, Margaret, William, Archibald and Samuel, were all born at this place. About the year 1783 William and Elizabeth (Armstrong) Marshall removed with part of their family to Westmoreland county, Pa., settling in that portion now included in Indiana county, to which section their sons John and James had emigrated several years previously. They had been driven back by the hostility of the Indians, however, John and his family returning to their first settlement in the East, and James, who was then unmarried, stopping at Sewickley settlement. William Marshall, the father, settled on a tract of land at Blacklegs creek, now included in the township of Conemaugh, Indiana county, where he and his wife died, Mr. Marshall in 1796, Mrs. Marshall in 1806. A copy of his will is on record at Greensburg, Pa., in the Westmoreland county courthouse, in Will Book 1, page 134. We have considerable information concerning their family, which is mentioned fully elsewhere in this work.

Archibald Marshall, fourth son of William and Elizabeth (Armstrong) Marshall, was born March 29, 1762, and in 1787 married Margaret Wilson, half-sister of Catherine, his brother William's wife. Mrs. Margaret (Wilson) Marshall's mother was a native of Germany. About 1800 Archibald and Margaret (Wilson) Marshall moved out to Westmoreland county, Pa., where his parents and brothers already resided, and there they lived until 1814, when he sold out and removed to Armstrong county, purchasing land about one and a half miles from the present site of the borough of Dayton. He and his sons cleared away brush to make room for a cabin, which stood where the home of his grandson, Harry S. Marshall, is now located. They, had no stable, the horses standing hitched to the trees, and the sheep had to be brought indoors over night to save them from the wolves. Here Mr. and Mrs. Marshall lived the rest of their lives, he dying in November, 1835, she in 1837. They are buried in the Glade Run cemetery. They had the following children: Catherine, William, Joseph, John (born in 1794, who married Elizabeth Stewart), Margaret, Archibald, James and Samuel.

Archibald Marshall, fourth son of Archibald and Margaret (Wilson) Marshall, was born Nov. 4, 1802 (another record says 1799), near the Ebenezer Church in Indiana county. In 1814 he removed with his parents to their farm near Dayton, Armstrong county, and for several years after his marriage lived on another farm in Wayne township. In the year 1834 he purchased a farm in what is now Rayburn (then Valley) township, and moving to that place April 1, 1835, there made a permanent home, this being the homestead now occupied by his son Archibald W. Marshall. There were some improvements on the place, including a log cabin and log barn, the double cabin being about 20 feet square (outside measurement) and divided by an entry. Many were the shifts which these pioneers had to make because of the lack of ordinary appliances or the means of purchasing them. They made harness by sewing tow strings together, using chains for the traces. But they prospered by dint of unceasing industry, and made a comfortable home, which they occupied until they died, Mr. Marshall passing away Nov. 28, 1878, Mrs. Marshall on April 28, 1884. They are buried on the farm. They were originally members of the Presbyterian Church, in 1857 changing their membership to the United Presbyterian Church.

On May 22, 1823, Mr. Marshall married Rebecca Taylor, who was born July 18, 1799, eldest daughter of Thomas Taylor, one of the old settlers on Cowanshannock creek. Seven children were born to this union: Martha T.,

born Jan. 23, 1825, is deceased; Margaret, born May 1, 1827, is the widow of Charles Todd and lives west of Kittanning (Mr. Todd was a grocer by occupation; he served during the Civil war in the Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteers); Esther I., born Sept. 26. 1830, died Sept. 26, 1845; Rebecca, born Feb. 20. 1833, is the widow of A.A. Marshall and makes her home at Dayton, Pa.; Thomas T., born Jan. 24, 1836, died Oct. 3. 1841, Archibald W. was born March 29, 1840; Elizabeth C., born March 26, 1844, is the widow of William B. Shaum, and lives on a part of her father's farm.

Archibald W. Marshall received his education in the public schools of the home locality. He never left the homestead, making his home there after his marriage as he had before, and he was successfully engaged in general farming throughout his active years. He has been quite prominent in the neighborhood, having served his township as assessor two terms, as school director for ten years, and justice of the peace for fifteen years, still holding the latter office. In politics he is identified with the Republican party. His church connection is the same as that of his parents, and he has been an elder of the U.P. congregation for a number of years. He is highly respected throughout this district, where his upright and useful life has won him many friends.

On Feb. 21, 1867, Mr. Marshall was married to Elizabeth A. Speer, a native of county, born May 16, 1838, daughter of Robert Speer, of Manor township. Six children were born to this marriage: Norman W., born Feb. 24, 1868, was drowned July 9, 1889; Jennie R., born Nov. 6, 1869, is at home; Thomas W., born Sept. 2, 1871, was married June 15, 1898, to Fanny A. Stewart, daughter of John Stewart and has one child, Thomas W., Jr.; William S., born Dec. 21, 1873; is at home, at present having the management of the farm; Phoebe R., born June 13, 1877, died Aug. 5, 1885; Mutter A., born June 24, 1879, died Feb. 18, 1896.

Robert Speer, father of Mrs. Archibald W. Marshall, was born in Ireland, and was one year old when he came to America with his parents, the family first settling in South Carolina. When he was twelve years old they moved to Lawrence county, Pa., and subsequently (before his marriage) he came to Kittanning, Armstrong county. His first work here was making nails, by hand, and later he bought a farm and sawmill which he operated throughout his active years. He died Nov. 27, 1880. For his first wife Mr. Speer married Barbara Lowrie, by whom he had a family of nine children. His second marriage was to Martha Wilson, who was born April 23, 1807, daughter of Hugh Wilson, a native of Ireland (born May 12, 1770) who came America, arriving Sept. 7, 1795; his children were: William B., born Sept. 16, 1795; David, May, 1799; Elizabeth, April 1, 1801; Hugh, Oct. 5, 1803; Martha, April 23, 1807. Mrs. Martha (Wilson) Speer died in 1841, aged thirty-four, the mother of three children, Hugh Wilson, Elizabeth (Mrs. Marshall) and Barbara. By his third marriage, to Jane Erwin, Mr. Speer had six children..

Source: Page 468-496, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed May 1999 by Michael S. Caldwell for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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