Monday, June 20, 2022

Edward H. Marsh, Friend of William Howard Taft

Edward H. Marsh was born in Cincinnati in 1851, and came to Sandusky with his father in 1872. Edward Lockwood Marsh, the father, was a pioneer in the gypsum business. Both Marsh men were involved with a plaster business in Sandusky, and later developed a larger gypsum business in Ottawa County. Edward H. Marsh eventually became the sole owner of the gypsum business.

In 1879, he married Caroline Mackey Lea, the daughter of James Davis Lea, a Sandusky businessman. She was known as “Carrie.” The couple was married by Rev. Josiah Strong at the Congregational Church. A reception was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lea on Wayne Street, where the Great Western Orchestra provided musical entertainment. The couple left on the evening train for a trip touring the Southern United States. Upon their return, the newlyweds lived at a lovely home at the corner of Washington and Franklin Streets.

Sadly, on June 10. 1885, Carrie Lea Marsh died, leaving her husband a widower with two very young children, Edward Lea and Caroline Marsh. Mr. Marsh would never remarry. An article from the Grace Episcopal Church tells of Carrie Lea Marsh having been a Sunday School teacher at the St. Luke’s Chapel of Grace Episcopal Church for many years. The chapel did not have a bell, so after Mrs. Marsh’s death, a fund was designated for the purchase of a bell. This bell is now located just outside the side door of Grace Episcopal Church, in memory of Carrie Lea Marsh. The Marsh family also gave a processional cross and a window to Grace Episcopal Church.

After the death of Mrs. Marsh, Edward H. Marsh continued to live at 334 E. Washington Street. It was at this home that William Howard Taft visited Edward H. Marsh in 1908. The two were classmates in Cincinnati. Pictured below is William Howard Taft with Edward Lea Marsh in the front seat of an automobile. J. Warren Kiefer is sitting beside Edward H. Marsh in the back seat.

Edward H. Marsh died on December 17, 1921. On the day of his funeral, which was held at Grace Episcopal Church, the entire U.S. Gypsum Co. closed down, in respect of Mr. Marsh.

To read more about the Marsh and Lea families, see Helen Hansen’s book At Home in Early Sandusky at the Sandusky Library. This title is also available for purchase at the circulation desk at the library.

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