Tombstone Tuesday: George C. Marsh

by Laurel | April 24th, 2012

These photos are from a series taken about 14 years ago in Forestdale cemetery (as usual, click to see a larger version).

George C. Marsh, Forestdale Cemetery

George C. Marsh, Forestdale Cemetery

George C. Marsh, Forestdale

George C. Marsh, Forestdale

When I began to seek out information on George C. Marsh the most confusing part was trying to learn his actual birth and death dates. The detail image on the right reads (from the memorial plaque with the bugle): “George C. Marsh, 1846 – 1899, A hero of the Civil War.” However George C. Marsh actually died 26 November 1900. His obituary from the Springfield Republican published on Tuesday, November 27 reads:

George Marsh, 52, died suddenly early yesterday morning from an intestinal trouble which had its origin in the civil war, in which Mr. Marsh was a volunteer. He was a well-known produce dealer and a member of Kilpatrick Grand Army post and of he Knights of Pythias. He leaves a widow and one son. The funeral will be held at the house to-morrow afternoon at 2. Connecticut Valley knights of Pythias will have charge of the funeral exercises and all the members have been requested to meet at the lodge room tomorrow at 1. The Grand Army will also be represented.

Additionally, from the 31 May 1901 Springfield Republican is a Memorial Day edition listing those who had died during the previous year and first mentioned is “George C. Marsh, 54, Co. H. 1st United States cavalry, bugler, died November 26, 1900.”

Catherine E. Marsh, George C. Marsh’s widow, died on 14 January1915 after a 10-week illness. They have one surviving son. (From her obituary in The Springfield Republican)

From the Find-a-Grave website, there seem to be discrepancies in the entry:

Birth: Dec. 7, 1847
North Hadley
Hampshire County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Nov. 26, 1899
Hampden County
Massachusetts, USA

The son of Colton MARSH and Eliza BARNUM, Private Marsh was a bugler for Company A of the US Cavalry who participated in 31 battles of the Civil War. He was mustered into service on 20 January 1862 at the age of 15. Wounded defending Washington DC at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, one of the last and most decisive of the war, he was discharged in 1865 at the age of 18.
Family links:


Catherine E Ward Marsh (1847 – 1915)*


Estella Belle Marsh (1869 – 1871)*

Having only looked briefly at George C. Marsh, I feel secure in saying his death year was 1900. I am guessing the plaque on his tombstone is off by one year in both birth and death — not an inexpensive correction to make. One assumes his widow, Catherine, must have been aware of the error, likely it would have been a costly fix. It does happen, I have seen plenty of errors in memorial inscriptions — misspelled names, wrong dates. One tombstone in Forestdale, that of my great uncle, is merely a marker — he is not actually buried there at all and the stone inscription says nothing of it. Which of course brings us full circle to the debate about accepting memorial inscriptions as a primary source.

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