My Ancestors (10) – Joseph Marshall – 1672 – 1748

 (1) Joseph Marshall, (2) Major Elihu Marshall, (3) Elizabeth (Marshall) Guion, (4) Elijah Guion, (5) Elijah Guion II, (6) Alfred Beck Guion, (7) Alfred Duryee Guion, (8) Alfred Peabody Guion, (9) Judith Anne Guion

Mercy Short, Joseph Marshall’s first wife, wasn’t our ancestor. She bore Joseph six children, then died in Boston in 1700. It’s rather interesting that our progenitor, Joseph Marshall, was married by the Rev. Cotton Mather, most famous of which-burning Puritans, even though we aren’t descended from that marriage.

A year or two after Mercy’s death, Joseph Marshall, a man of 30 with a half-dozen children, somehow met and promptly married Abigaill Hussey, Stephen Hussey’s daughter, of Nantucket. They had but a single child, a second Joseph Marshall

So, while we know nothing of detail about the lives of Joseph Marshall or of his son Joseph Junior, we can infer much. As stated, the older Joseph married Abigaill Hussey and went to Nantucket about 1702 and died there in 1748.

How Abigaill met Joseph Marshall, whose wife, Mercy Short, had died in Boston at just about the same time, I do not know. If I knew where Joseph and Abigaill were married, I might infer how they met, but it wasn’t on Nantucket; it might have been in any of a dozen towns. One guesses that Abigaill left the island for a time, staying with Hussey or Bunker relatives while recovering from the shock (This story will be told next Sunday) and so met the recently-widowed Joseph.

At all events, the two got married and were living on Nantucket Island in about 1702; and this must have meant a completely new life for Joseph Marshall, who had lived in Boston all his days. Abigaill’s father, Stephen Hussey, owned both land and ships, and it is easy to infer that he provided his new son-in-law with all the work he was capable of doing. Nantucketers were web-footed if not actually amphibious, it’s safe to say that Joseph, and his son Joseph after him, followed the sea.

Joseph Marshall and Abigaill Hussey evidently lived down there early bereavements, for they put in 46 years of married life. Joseph died on Nantucket in 1748 at the age of 76; Abigaill outlived him by 15 years and died in 1763 at the age of 84. They became Quakers when the rest of the Islanders did, in the early 1700s. Their one son, Joseph, was born on Nantucket in 1722, and he lived 80 years, on up into Jefferson’s administration. Lacking any details about their lives – for the Marshall’s left no individual records except their vital dates – we still can infer a good deal from the general background of Nantucket existence, of which much has been written.

It was a place like no other in the colonies. Whaling dominated the little island’s entire economy the greatest industry in all the colonies centered here and New Bedford, across the sound.

Whaling, combined with Quakerism, gave the island a finer type of democracy than could have been found, I think, anywhere else in the colonies. We have noted that these Nantucketers were liberal and cooperative individualists to begin with; and you may have observed that nothing was amiss when Abigaill Hussey, daughter of one of the island’s foremost ship-captains and land-owners, with the blood of Stephen Bachiler and Christopher Hussey in her veins, married the plain-going son of an unknown Bostonian who didn’t own an inch of land. Caste distinctions just weren’t in Nantucket thought.

Source: COLONIAL ORIGINS of the CALIFORNIA GUIONS, An Informal Genealogical Study by Ernest Jerome Hopkins, finished in 1952.

We will follow the story of Joseph Marshall’s wife, Abigaill Hussey, next Sunday.


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