By Rick Steelhammer.
Crewmembers pole the Mary Marshall upstream along a stretch of the Greenbrier River near Talcott. . More media. . TALCOTT, W.Va. -- When U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall and his survey crew arrived here 200 years ago in a 60-foot wooden boat on the way from Richmond to Gauley Bridge, the Greenbrier River was in droughth stage.
"The labor of removing stones, and of dragging the boat over those which could not be moved, was so great that [we] at one time were enabled to advance only three miles in two days, even with the assistance of a horse and of many additional laborers," he wrote. .
On Wednesday, a crew of six Virginians tracing the route of Marshall's epic 1812 voyage along the James, Jackson, Greenbrier and New rivers to identify an inland water navigation route to the Ohio River Valley, arrived in Talcott on a Greenbrier swollen with rain..
"We worked hard for a month, poling our way upstream from Richmond to Covington," said Lexington, Va., native Andrew Shaw, the captain of the 47-foot long, 7-foot-wide Mary Marshall, a white oak batteau of similar design to the vessel piloted by Marshall. "Now, we're reveling in being able to travel downstream. It gives us the time and leisure to see the country we're passing through and talk to the people we see along the way.".
Like Marshall, Shaw and his crew carried their batteau overland from Covington to Caldwell, following the route of present-day U.S. 60. Marshall and his 20-man crew used an ox-powered wagon to make the shuttle, while Shaw's party made use of a mobile home trailer and a truck..
After arriving in Caldwell on Sunday, the crew of the Mary Marshall put more than 200 miles of upstream travel behind them when they shoved off on the Greenbrier River leg of their journey, which will end today with their planned arrival in Hinton, where the river flows into the New..
"It took Marshall ten days to get from Caldwell to Hinton," a trip that under prime conditions could be accomplished in one day, Shaw said. "He wanted to travel the river when it was at its driest and worst, so he would know what kinds of navigational improvements would be needed to make the route viable. That's why he made the trip in September, instead of May or June.".
The crew of the Mary Marshall got a warm reception, as well as food and coffee, from residents of Alderson, as they passed through that Greenbrier River town earlier this week. In Talcott, crewmembers were greeted by members of Friends of the Lower Greenbrier River, a group of curious onlookers, and children from a kindergarten class at Alderson Elementary. The kindergarten kids climbed aboard the batteau to check out its onboard fire pit cooking system and its huge wooden steering oars and poles. .
"The people in West Virginia have been so receptive to us, and so excited about what we're doing," said crewmember Dylan Schumacher. "But really, a lot of what we're doing is having fun.".
George Washington was among the earliest and strongest boosters of the idea of establishing a water route to the Ohio Valley from Virginia's population centers. With French, British and Spanish influence spreading into the Ohio frontier, a new transportation route connecting the Ohio Valley to Virginia's agricultural and manufacturing base was needed to forge strong economic ties with frontier settlers, and link them to the new nation. .
At Washington's urging, the Potomac Company and the James River Company were formed in 1785 to accomplish that goal. The role of the James River Company was to study the possibility of a canal route linking Richmond to the Kanawha River, which was already used to reach the Ohio River by boat. In early 1812, that company was given the funds needed for preliminary survey of the route by the Virginia General Assembly..
Marshall, who served as a lieutenant under Washington at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War, was an officer in the James River Company, as well as the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. At the age of 56, he agreed to serve as leader of the survey expedition, which would include the first recorded descent of the New River Gorge's treacherous whitewater section..
"Marshall celebrated his 57th birthday during the 1812 trip at Graham House, just a short distance upstream of here," said Shaw, who, with his crew, camped near the site on Tuesday..
Graham House, the still-standing log home established in 1770 by pioneer settler James Graham, is now a museum and community center for the Lowell area. The Graham House Preservation Society will host a birthday celebration dinner for Marshall at the historic site on Sept. 23..
Shaw said he found it inspiring that Marshall, given his age and status, "was willing to put himself at great personal peril to find a way to get through the Appalachians safely, link with the Ohio Valley, and claim that western territory for the United States.".
Thanks in part to the outbreak of the War of 1812, work on the canal route did not begin until 1832, starting on the James River. A canal was completed between Richmond and Lynchburg by 1840, and extended to Buchanan, a short distance northeast of Roanoke, by 1851..
For many decades before that section of canal was built, batteaus were the main means of commercial transportation between Richmond and Covington. The wooden boats were also used extensively on the Kanawha River in the era that preceded steamboat traffic..
While canal work was going on in Virginia, channels were being dug and obstacles removed from the Kanawha River to improve navigation in present-day West Virginia. The Richmond-Buchanan canal continued to operate through the 1870s, but floods and competition from new railroads brought the James River & Kanawha Co., the canal company that evolved from the James River Co., to an end in 1880..
"Even though a completed canal was never meant to be, the route Marshall surveyed proved to be the right one to penetrate the Appalachians," said Shaw. "In Virginia, railroad line goes right over the canal's towpath, and then it follows the Greenbrier and New River to the Kanawha and the Ohio Valley.".
Parts of U.S. 60 and Interstate 64 also follow the route, Shaw said..
From Hinton, the crew of the Mary Marshall will begin their voyage through the New River Gorge, a section they say they respect, but do not fear..
Marshall described his Gorge descent as "an almost continued succession of shoals and falls, from which the navigator is sometimes, though rarely, relieved by a fine sheet of deep, placid water.".
Shaw and crewmember Kevin Ferrel are experienced whitewater kayak paddlers. The crew has consulted with the National Park Service and the staff at Class VI Mountain River to coordinate a safe run through the Gorge. Before running the New, crewmembers will make scouting trips to make sure they know the correct lines to follow when traversing the most challenging whitewater. Safety boats will accompany the Mary Marshall through the Gorge..
"We're approaching the New River section with caution, but we're fairly confident we'll get through OK," said Shaw..
A sheath will be added to the boat's bow to help the craft deflect waves during the Gorge descent.
Marshall and his crew made the descent unhurt, with their boat intact but leaking, when they arrived at their end point at Kanawha Falls. For many years, the rock formation at Hawks Nest State Park now known as Lover's Leap was known as Marshall's Pillars. Marshall is the namesake of Marshall University..
It took about 75 days for crewmembers and other volunteers to build the Mary Marshall, patterned after one of nearly 60 James River batteaus unearthed in the 1980s during excavation for Richmond's James Center Plaza..
A grant from National Geographic's Young Explorer's program helped make the trip possible..
To learn more about the 200th anniversary re-tracing of John Marshall's voyage, and follow the crew's progress, visit http://www.vacanals.org/marshall
John Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an American statesman and jurist who shaped American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court a center of power. Marshall was Chief Justice of the United States, serving from February 4, 1801, until his death in 1835. He served in the United States House of Representatives from March 4, 1799, to June 7, 1800, and, under President John Adams, was Secretary of State from June 6, 1800, to March 4, 1801. Marshall was from the Commonwealth of Virginia and a leader of the Federalist Party.
The longest-serving Chief Justice in Supreme Court history, Marshall dominated the Court for over three decades (a term outliving his own Federalist Party) and played a significant role in the development of the American legal system. Most notably, he established that the courts are entitled to exercise judicial review, the power to strike down laws that violate the Constitution. Thus, Marshall has been credited with cementing the position of the judiciary as an independent and influential branch of government. Furthermore, Marshall made several important decisions relating to Federalism, shaping the balance of power between the federal government and the states during the early years of the republic. In particular, he repeatedly confirmed the supremacy of federal law over state law and supported an expansive reading of the enumerated powers. Early years
John Marshall was born in a log cabin near Germantown, a rural community on the Virginia frontier, in what is now Fauquier County near Midland, Virginia, to Thomas Marshall and Mary Randolph Keith. From a young age, he was noted for his good humor and black eyes, which were "strong and penetrating, beaming with intelligence and good nature". Marshall served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and was friends with George Washington. He served first as a Lieutenant in the Culpeper Minute Men from 1775 to 1776, then as a Lieutenant in the Eleventh Virginia Continental Regiment from 1776 to 1780. During his time in the army, he enjoyed running races with the other soldiers and was nicknamed "Silverheels" for the white heels his mother had sewn into his stockings. After his time in the Army, he read law under the famous Chancellor George Wythe in Williamsburg, Virginia at the College of William and Mary, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was admitted to the Bar in 1780. He was in private practice in Fauquier County, Virginia before entering politics.
State political career
In 1782 Marshall won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, in which he served until 1789 and again from 1795–1796. The Virginia General Assembly elected him to serve on the Council of State later in the same year. In 1785, Marshall took up the additional office of Recorder of the Richmond City Hustings Court.
In 1788, Marshall was selected as a delegate to the Virginia convention responsible for ratifying or rejecting the United States Constitution, which had been proposed by the Philadelphia Convention a year earlier. Together with James Madison and Edmund Randolph, Marshall led the fight for ratification. He was especially active in defense of Article III, which provides for the Federal judiciary. His most prominent opponent at the ratification convention was Anti-Federalist leader Patrick Henry. Ultimately, the convention approved the Constitution by a vote of 89-79. Marshall identified with the new Federalist Party (which supported a strong national government and commercial interests), rather than Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party (which advocated states' rights and idealized the yeoman farmer and the French Revolution).
Meanwhile, Marshall's private law practice continued to flourish. He successfully represented the heirs of Lord Fairfax in Hite v. Fairfax (1786), an important Virginia Supreme Court case involving a large tract of land in the Northern Neck of Virginia. In 1796, he appeared before the United States Supreme Court in another important case, Ware v. Hylton, a case involving the validity of a Virginia law providing for the confiscation of debts owed to British subjects. Marshall argued that the law was a legitimate exercise of the state's power; however, the Supreme Court ruled against him, holding that the Treaty of Paris required the collection of such debts.
In 1795, Marshall declined Washington's offer of Attorney General of the United States and, in 1796, declined to serve as minister to France. In 1797, he accepted when President John Adams appointed him to a three-member commission to represent the United States in France. (The other members of this commission were Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Elbridge Gerry.) However, when the envoys arrived, the French refused to conduct diplomatic negotiations unless the United States paid enormous bribes. This diplomatic scandal became known as the XYZ Affair, inflaming anti-French opinion in the United States. Hostility increased even further when the Directoire expelled Marshall and Pinckney from France. Marshall's handling of the affair, as well as public resentment toward the French, made him popular with the American public when he returned to the United States.
In 1798, Marshall declined a Supreme Court appointment, recommending Bushrod Washington, who would later become one of Marshall's staunchest allies on the Court. In 1799, Marshall reluctantly ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives. Although his congressional district (which included the city of Richmond) favored the Democratic-Republican Party, Marshall won the race, in part due to his conduct during the XYZ Affair and in part due to the support of Patrick Henry. His most notable speech was related to the case of Thomas Nash (alias Jonathan Robbins), whom the government had extradited to Great Britain on charges of murder. Marshall defended the government's actions, arguing that nothing in the Constitution prevents the United States from extraditing one of its citizens.
On May 7, 1799, President Adams nominated Congressman Marshall as Secretary of War. However, on May 12, Adams withdrew the nomination, instead naming him Secretary of State, as a replacement for Timothy Pickering. Confirmed by the United States Senate on May 13, Marshall took office on June 6, 1800. As Secretary of State, Marshall directed the negotiation of the Convention of 1800, which ended the Quasi-War with France and brought peace to the new nation.
The Marshall Court from 1801 to 1835
Marshall was thrust into the office of Chief Justice in the wake of the presidential election of 1800. With the Federalists soundly defeated and about to lose both the executive and legislative branches to Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans, President Adams and the lame duck Congress passed what came to be known as the Midnight Judges Act, which made sweeping changes to the federal judiciary, including a reduction in the number of Justices from six to five so as to deny Jefferson an appointment until two vacancies occurred.As the incumbent Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth was in poor health, Adams first offered the seat to ex-Chief Justice John Jay, who declined on the grounds that the Court lacked "energy, weight, and dignity."Jay's letter arrived on January 20, 1801, and as there was precious little time left, Adams nominated Marshall, who was with him at the time and able to accept immediately. The Senate at first delayed, hoping to Adams would make a different choice, but recanted "lest another not so qualified, and more disgusting to the Bench, should be substituted, and because it appeared that this gentleman was not privy to his own nomination". Marshall was confirmed by the Senate on January 27, 1801, and received his commission on January 31, 1801. While Marshall officially took office on February 4, at the request of the President he continued to serve as Secretary of State until Adams' term expired on March 4.
Soon after becoming Chief Justice, Marshall changed the manner in which the Supreme Court announced its decisions. Previously, each Justice would author a separate opinion (known as a seriatim opinion), as is still done in the 20th and 21st centuries in such jurisdictions as the United Kingdom and Australia. Under Marshall, however, the Supreme Court adopted the practice of handing down a single opinion of the Court. As Marshall was almost always the author of this opinion, he essentially became the Court's sole mouthpiece in important cases. His forceful personality allowed him to dominate his fellow Justices; only once did he find himself on the losing side. (The case of Ogden v. Saunders, in 1827, was the sole constitutional case in which he dissented from the majority.)
The first important case of Marshall's career was Marbury v. Madison (1803), in which the Supreme Court invalidated a provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789 on the grounds that it violated the Constitution by attempting to expand the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Marbury was the first case in which the Supreme Court ruled an act of Congress unconstitutional; it firmly established the doctrine of judicial review. The Court's decision was opposed by President Thomas Jefferson, who lamented that this doctrine made the Constitution "a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please."
In 1807, he presided, with Judge Cyrus Griffin, at the great state trial of former Vice President Aaron Burr, who was charged with treason and misdemeanor. Prior to the trial, President Jefferson condemned Burr and strongly supported conviction. Marshall, however, narrowly construed the definition of treason provided in Article III of the Constitution; he noted that the prosecution had failed to prove that Burr had committed an "overt act," as the Constitution required. As a result, the jury acquitted the defendant, leading to increased animosity between the President and the Chief Justice.
During the 1810s and 1820s, Marshall made a series of decisions involving the balance of power between the federal government and the states, where he repeatedly affirmed federal supremacy. For example, he established in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) that states could not tax federal institutions and upheld congressional authority to create the Second Bank of the United States, even though the authority to do this was not expressly stated in the Constitution. Also, in Cohens v. Virginia (1821), he established that the Federal judiciary could hear appeals from decisions of state courts in criminal cases as well as the civil cases over which the court had asserted jurisdiction in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816). Justices Bushrod Washington and Joseph Story proved to be his strongest allies in these cases, whereas Smith Thompson was a strong opponent to Marshall. The text of the McCulloch v. Maryland decision, handed down March 6, 1819, as recorded in the minutes of the Supreme Court of the United States, in which the Court determined the separate states could not tax the federal government.
As the young nation was endangered by regional and local interests that often threatened to fracture its hard-fought unity, Marshall repeatedly interpreted the Constitution broadly so that the Federal Government had the power to become a respected and creative force guiding and encouraging the nation's growth. Thus, for all practical purposes, the Constitution in its most important aspects today is the Constitution as John Marshall interpreted it. As Chief Justice, he embodied the majesty of the judiciary of the government as fully as the President of the United States stood for the power of the Executive Branch.
Marshall wrote several important Supreme Court opinions, including:
* Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803) * Fletcher v. Peck, 10 U.S. 87 (1810) * McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819) * Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 (1819) * Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264 (1821) * Johnson v. M'Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823) * Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824) * Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515 (1832) * Barron v. Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243 (1833)
Marshall served as Chief Justice through all or part of six Presidential administrations (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson), and remained a stalwart advocate of Federalism and a nemesis of the Jeffersonian school of government throughout its heyday. He participated in over 1000 decisions, writing 519 of the opinions himself. He established the Supreme Court as the final authority on matters of constitutional law.
His impact "on American constitutional law is peerless" and the totality of his work on the court has been likened to his being the "Babe Ruth" of the Supreme Court. "As the single most important figure on constitutional law, Marshall's imprint can still be fathomed in the great issues of contemporary America."
Despite modesty and blandness, Marshall held strong views. He dominated the Court and "was personally responsible for elevating it to a position of real authority." Despite all that, he "often curbed" his personal opinions, preferring to arrive at decisions by consensus. He adjusted his role to accommodate other members of the court as they developed. His performance as chief justice established the paradigm for all chief justices who followed in his place. President John Adams offered this appraisal of Marshall's impact: "My gift of John Marshall to the people of the United States was the proudest act of my life."
Biography of Washington
Marshall greatly admired George Washington, and wrote a highly influential biography. Between 1805 and 1807, he published a five-volume biography; his Life of Washington was based on records and papers provided him by the president's family. The first volume was reissued in 1824 separately as A History of the American Colonies. The work reflected Marshall's Federalist principles. His revised and condensed two-volume Life of Washington was published in 1832. Historians have often praised its accuracy and well-reasoned judgments, while noting his frequent paraphrases of published sources such as William Gordon's 1801 history of the Revolution and the British Annual Register.
Other work, later life, legacy
Marshall loved his home, built in 1790, in Richmond, Virginia, and spent as much time there as possible in quiet contentment. While in Richmond he attended St. John's Church in Church Hill until 1814 when he led the movement to hire Robert Mills as architect of Monumental Church, which commemorated the death of 72 Virginians. The Marshall family occupied pew No. 23 at Monumental Church and entertained the Marquis de Lafayette there during his visit to Richmond in 1824. For approximately three months each year, however, he would be away in Washington for the Court's annual term; he would also be away for several weeks to serve on the circuit court in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In 1823, he became first president of the Richmond branch of the American Colonization Society, which was dedicated to resettling freed American slaves in Liberia, on the West coast of Africa.
In 1828, he presided over a convention to promote internal improvements in Virginia.
In 1829, he was a delegate to the state constitutional convention, where he was again joined by fellow American statesman and loyal Virginians, James Madison and James Monroe, although all were quite old by that time. Marshall mainly spoke at this convention to promote the necessity of an independent judiciary.
On December 25, 1831, Mary, his beloved wife of some 49 years, died. Most who knew Marshall agreed that after Mary's death, he was never quite the same.
On returning from Washington in the spring of 1835, he suffered severe contusions resulting from an accident to the stage coach in which he was riding. His health, which had not been good for several years, now rapidly declined, and in June he journeyed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for medical attendance. There he died on July 6, at the age of 79, having served as Chief Justice for over 34 years. He also was the last surviving member of John Adams's Cabinet and the second to last surviving Founding Father, the last being James Madison.
Two days before his death, he enjoined his friends to place only a plain slab over his and his wife's graves, and he wrote the simple inscription himself. His body, which was taken to Richmond, lies in Shockoe Hill Cemetery in a well kept grave.
JOHN MARSHALL Son of Thomas and Mary Marshall was born September 24 1755 Intermarried with Mary Willis Ambler the 3rd of January 1783 Departed this life the 6th day of July 1835.
Monuments and memorials Marshall Memorial by William Wetmore Story
Marshall's home in Richmond, Virginia, has been preserved by APVA Preservation Virginia. It is considered to be an important landmark and museum, essential to an understanding of the Chief Justice's life and work.
The United States Bar Association commissioned sculptor William Wetmore Story to execute the statue of Marshall that now stands sits inside the Supreme Court on the ground floor.Another casting of the statue is located at Constitution Ave. and 4th Street in Washington D.C. and a third on the grounds of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Story's father Joseph Story had served as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court with Marshall. The statue was originally dedicated in 1884.
An engraved portrait of Marshall appears on U.S. paper money on the series 1890 and 1891 treasury notes. These rare notes are in great demand by note collectors today. Also, in 1914, an engraved portrait of Marshall was used as the central vignette on series 1914 $500 federal reserve notes. These notes are also quite scarce. Example of both notes are available for viewing on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco website.
Having grown from a Reformed Church academy, Marshall College, named upon the death of Chief Justice John Marshall, officially opened in 1836 with a well-established reputation. After a merger with Franklin College in 1853, the school was renamed Franklin and Marshall College. The college went on to become one of the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges.
Four law schools and one University today bear his name: The Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia; The Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio; John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia; and, The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois. The University that bears his name is Marshall University in Huntington West Virginia. Marshall County, Illinois, Marshall County, Indiana,Marshall County, Kentucky and Marshall County, West Virginia are also named in his honor. A number of high schools around the nation have also been named for him.
John Marshall's birthplace in Fauquier County is a park, the John Marshall Birthplace Park, and a marker can be seen on Route 28 noting this place and event.
Marshall, Michigan was named by town founders Sidney and George Ketchum in honor of the Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall from Virginia—whom they greatly admired. Occurring five years before Marshall's death, it was the first of dozens of communities and counties named for him. Marshalltown, Iowa was allegedly named for the Michigan city, but adopted its current name because there was already a Marshall, Iowa
John Marshall was an active Freemason and served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Virginia
Col. Marshall's will was executed June 26, 1798, in Woodford Co., KY and is found of record in Mason Co., Book B, p. 212. It was probated February 15, 1803. The following is an abstract of its provisions. He gives: To his son, John: "The "Oaks", in Fauquier Co., VA, two tracts on the Licking, one of which contained 1,000 acres, and the quanity of the other is not stated. To his son, Thomas: Part of a tract of 14,717 acres, on Clark's run, in Mason Co., and 1,000 acres elsewhere. To his son, James M.: 6,000 acres from a survey of15,000 on the North fork of Licking. To his sons Charles and William: 13,616 acres on the South side of the North fork. To his son, Alex. K.: 10,500 acres on Mill creek: 1,800 acres on the Ohio, above the mouth of Salt creek, and 200 acres more at the mouth of Salt creek, and some other lands and three negroes. To his son, Louis:"Buckpond," containing 575 acres, with the stock thereon, and one-third of my negroes, after the death of my wife. Also a tract adjoining Fitzpatrick's. and my certificates for military services. To Elizabeth Colston: My part of a survey near the Yellowbanks. To Mary Anne Marshall: 500 acres adjoining Crittenden's premption; also 400 acres on the Ohio, at the mouth of Hardin creek, and some military lands. To Judith Brooke:One-third of my land on the Kentucky river, at the mouth of Gilbert's creek; also one-half of 1,500 acres on the North fork and Cabin creek; also two negroes. To Thomas Ambler:3,816 acres on Johnson's fork, and 4,000 acres South of the Licking. To Susanna McClung:The Blue Spring tract of 2,000 acres, one-third of the Bullitt tract, and four negroes. To Charlotte Duke: One-third of 2,800 acres in Mason County, KY; 500 acres elsewhere; and one negro. To Jane Taylor:One-third of 8,2000 acres and one-third of my Gilbert creek lands on the Kentucky river, and one-third of my slaves after my wife's death. To Nancy Marshall:The residue of my Ohio lands; the remaining third of my Gilbert creek lands and one-third of my slaves after my wife's death. To Elizabeth Colston: 500 acres as a token of my remembrance for her dutiful assistance in raising and supporting my younger children. To my wife for life: My slaves. The remainder of his lands are given to his executors, Thomas, Alex. K., and Humphrey Marshall, in trust that they shall sell the same and make my children equal; and their compensation is to be settled by my son, John. August 8, 1803, the three executors qualified.
John Marshall, 1801-1835 JOHN MARSHALL was born on September 24, 1755, in Germantown, Virginia. Following service in the Revolutionary War, he attended a course of law lectures conducted by George Wythe at the College of William and Mary and continued the private study of law until his admission to practice in 1780. Marshall was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1782, 1787, and 1795. In 1797, he accepted appointment as one of three envoys sent on a diplomatic mission to France. Although offered appointment to the United States Supreme Court in 1798, Marshall preferred to remain in private practice. Marshall was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1799, and in 1800 was appointed Secretary of State by President John Adams. The following year, President Adams nominated Marshall Chief Justice of the United States, and the Senate confirmed the appointment on January 27, 1801. Notwithstanding his appointment as Chief Justice, Marshall continued to serve as Secretary of State throughout President Adams’ term and, at President Thomas Jefferson’s request, he remained in that office briefly following Jefferson’s inauguration. Marshall served as Chief Justice for 34 years, the longest tenure of any Chief Justice. During his tenure, he helped establish the Supreme Court as the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution. Marshall died on July 6, 1835, at the age of seventy-nine. - See more at: http://www.supremecourthistory.org/history-of-the-court/chief-justices/john-marshall-1801-1835/#sthash.Tq8M9GeD.dpuf
John Marshall was born on September 24, 1755 at Germantown (now Midland) in what became Fauquier County, Virginia four years later. He served first as lieutenant, and after July, 1778, as captain in the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. John Marshall spent the winter of 1777-1778 with the troops in Valley Forge.
In 1781, he resigned his military commission and studied law. He soon began practicing in Fauquier County and later in Richmond. In 1786, he won a case of great importance regarding land known as the northern neck of Virginia. [Hite v. Fairfax: Involved the original title of Lord Fairfax to the large tract of country between the headwaters of the Potomac and Rappahannock. Marshall represented tenants of Lord Fairfax.] From this time, he maintained leadership of the bar of Virginia. He was a member of the Virginia assembly in 1782-91 and 1795-1797. He took a leading part in the Virginia convention called to act in 1788 on the proposed Constitution of the United States. In 1795 he was offered the attorney-generalship by Washington and the position of the Minister to France in 1796. He declined both offers. He did spend the autumn and winter of 1797-98 in France as one of the three commissioners appointed by John Adams to adjust the differences between the young republic and the directory. The commission failed, but the course pursued by Marshall was approved in America. Because of the resentment felt by the public at large of the way the commission was treated in France, he returned to United States exceedingly popular. This popularity and the advocacy of Patrick Henry aided his election as a Federalist to the House of Representatives in the spring of 1799 even though the sentiments in Richmond were overwhelmingly in favor of the opposition of the Republican Party. He was Secretary of State under Adams from June 6, 1800 to March 4, 1801. In the meantime he had been appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, his commission bearing the date January 31. Thus while still Secretary he presided as Chief Justice.
After the death of George Washington, as an expression of his love and loyalty, Chief Justice Marshall hastily composed a biography of his revered chief (1804-07). It contained five volumes. In 1832 he shortened the work to two volumes with an introductory book of Colonial history.
On a personal note, John Marshall married Mary Willis Ambler in 1782. She was the daughter of the then treasurer of Virginia. They had ten children, six of whom grew to full age.
His wife died in 1831 and he was never quite the same again. On returning from Washington in 1835, he was in a stagecoach accident, suffering severe injuries. His health, which had not been good, rapidly declined and in June he returned to Philadelphia for medical assistance. There he died on July 6. His body was taken to Richmond and he was buried in Shockhoe Hill cemetery.
As a tribute to his judicial service, a bronze statue stands on the lower west terrace of the Capitol. It represents the Chief Justice, sitting in his judicial robe, expounding some subject of great interest to him. The statue looks toward the monument of Washington whom he so greatly admired.
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