Colonel Jason Marsh

2014.47.1 - cane head watermarked

Colonel Jason Marsh

Born in 1807 in Woodstock, Vermont, Jason Marsh, Jr. came to the Rockford area in 1839 along with his family and wife Harriet’s brothers. Initially they arrived in Chicago, but finding the climate not to their liking, they continued on to Rockford. Jason passed the bar in New York and practiced law when he arrived in Rockford along with farming. He was involved in Winnebago County’s Whig party, along with different agricultural groups, and was a school inspector for a time as well.

He joined the army in 1862, colonel in the 74th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. An injury at the battle of Lookout Mountain in November of 1863 (also called the battle of Missionary Ridge), forced Marsh to leave the service.

In 1873, in honor of his 66th birthday, Colonel Marsh received a gift from his friends. It is described by the Rockford Weekly Gazette as “…a magnificent gold headed, black ebony cane.”

This month, a descendant of Colonel Marsh donated the cane to Midway Village Museum.
The head of the cane bears this inscription:
‘Sixty Sixth Birth Day
Presented to
Col. J. Marsh
From Friends
Rockford, ILL March 4, 1873’

The cane was used by Colonel Marsh during his life, and after his death in 1881, the cane was passed down through generations of Marshes. Midway Village Museum is very excited to have this cane as a part of our collection of artifacts documenting Rockford’s history.