Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Joe Marshall

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

By Mrs. Lillye Younger, Sun Correspondent

Retired Civil Examiner 'Exceeds Life's Goals'

PARSONS, Tenn. — "I have exceeded my goal in life," says Joe Marshall, retired postal clerk. "As a youngster I had big dreams, however, I have done better than I expected with the chance I had."

The slender dark-haired mar was born March 27, 1903, at Hurricane Mills, Tenn., son of the late Henry and Nora Shannon Marshall.

"I attended my first school in Ferry County, which was a one-room frame structure. My first teacher was Miss Betsy Nix and she taught all eight grades. I recall two big boys who were twins, Zeb and Zack Nix, who took turns carrying ma around the school ground on their backs my first year," Marshall said with a twinkle in his eye. "I later attended Horner School on Tom's Creek, finishing the fourth grade."

A tragic incident occurred when Marshall was 11 years of age. His father and older brother drowned, leaving his mother with four young children to support. "Being the oldest child in the family, it fell my lot to quit school and start to work ‘to help support the family." he said. His two brothers and sister were able to stay in school.

"My first job was working on the farm at the age of 11. I got paid with bacon, meal and other produce. Money wise it amounted to about 50 cents a day," he said.

He continued to work at various jobs. He chose the waterways and became junior mate on a tow boat. "My job was waking the workers up," he added. "Sometimes they were not so cheerful about getting up early."

Later he tackled factory work in St. Louis and Hickman, Ky. Times were not so good and factories began to close, so in 1921 Marshall volunteered for the United States Army. "It was the best pay at that time and I learned the welding trade during the three years I was in the service," he said. "Funny thing, I never did follow the trade," he added. "I was afraid it would blind me."

On Oct. 5, 1924 Marshall and Gertrude Price were married. They lived in the Hog Creek Community, later moving to Decaturville. In 1933 the Marshalls moved to Parsons.

Marshall passed the Civil Service examination and started to work at the Parsons Postoffice as a clerk on Sept. 1, 1942. He was appointed secretary of the Civil Service Examiners in 1944 and served until 1950. He was also appointed to fingerprint persons.

"My health failed me when I underwent a lung operation in 1900," he said. "I developed p heart ailment and arthritis." Ill health forced him to retire from the postal service Sept. 17. 1963. He received honorary recognition for "devotion to duty in the cause of an honorable career in the U.S. postal service" upon retirement from active duty. On Jan. 21, 1963 he received a Superior Accomplishment Award in recognition of notable performance.

His hobbies are fishing, gardening and stamp collecting. "I started collecting stamps in 1956 and have quite a nice collection which I keep in my safe deposit box," he said. "I feel like I'm the best gardener in Parsons." He already has his cabbage, lettuce, radishes and turnips planted. "As for fishing, I haven't started yet but will soon." He has a cabin on Hog Creek where the fish bite best.

"The world conditions are baffling today," Marshall said. "It is a struggle between freedom and communism. If something isn't done to stop the communists, they will take over country by country, the little countries first," he said.

"There have been many changes made since I was a boy. I remember the first car I rode in," he reminisced. "It was a 1914 Model T and I thought nothing could ever be made to surpass that car."

He made his first plane ride in 1963 in a small two-passenger Cub. Last year he visited his daughter in Pittsburgh , Pa., and went by jet plane. "If I bad lots of money I'd buy a plane. You can see lots more up there than down here and get where you are going much sooner," he said.

Marshall served as Boy Scout Master for five years. "The Buffalo River boat float was the highlight of my scouting career. We spent three days afloat," the soft-spoken gentleman said. "There were plenty of hard work and thrills too."

His advice to the youngsters of today is to get a good education. It is the only avenue to successful living. "I have had to study hard to get where I am and it didn't come easy with me," be said. "I still do quite a bit of studying. We never get too old to learn, however it is more difficult the older we get."

A member of the First Methodist Church, Marshall has served as Church School Superintendent for 28 years. He served eight years at Hayes Chapel on Hog Creek and 20 years in Parsons. "I enjoyed serving as superintendent more than any office in the church because I personally got to know every child and adult and felt a keen interest in them also," he said. He is teaching the Wesleyan Adult Class now. He is also lay leader, lay delegate to Annual Conference, assistant Church School Superintendent and president of the Methodist Men's organization. He has been a Mason for the past 42 years and is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Tragedy struck again in his life when his wife died on Sept. 26, 1965. He lives alone at 1036 Price Street and does all of his housework. "I think I'm a pretty good cook," he said. "However, it's not as much fun cooking for one."

He has two daughters, Mrs. Nancy Graizer of Alleson Park, Pa., and Mrs. Elsie Mae Perry of Helena, Ark.

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