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Marshall, Texas

Old Courthouse, Wonderland of Lights

Marshall is a city located in Harrison County, Texas. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 23,935. It is the county seat of Harrison County6, and is situated in East Texas. The city partcipates in the bi-state Holiday Trail of Lights.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Demographics
5 Notable Natives, Citizens, and Associated People
6 Related Geographic Articles
7 External links


Republic of Texas and the Civil War

The city was founded in
1841 as the seat of the newly established Panola (later Harrison) County, after repeated failed attempts to establish a city on the Sabine River. The Republic of Texas decided to choose the site of land granted by Peter Whetestone and Isaac Van Zandt after Whetestone proved that the hilly location had a good water source.

By 1860 the city was the fourth largest city in Texas and the seat of the richest county. The county had more slaves than any other, making it a hot bed of anti-union sentiment. When Gov. Sam Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the confederacy, Marshall's Edward Clark was sworn in as governor. Marshall would also produce Texas' third confederate governor Pendleton Murrah. Marshall became a major Confederate city; becoming the capital of Missouri's exile confederate government, producing gun powder and other supplies for the C.S.A. Army, and hosting three conferences of Trans-Mississippi and Indian Territory leaders.

Marshall became the seat of civil authority and headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi Postal Department after the fall of Vicksburg. The city may have been the intended target of a failed Union advance that was rebuffed at Mansfield, Louisiana. Towards the end of the war Richmond had $9 million in Treasury notes and $3 million in postage stamps shipped to Marshall, possibly meaning this was the intended destination of a government preparing to flee from advancing armies.

Reconstruction and the Railroad Era

Marshall was occupied by Union forces on June 17, 1865. During Reconstruction the city was home to an office of the Freedmen's Bureau and was the base for Union troops. In 1873 The Methodist Episcopal Church founded Wiley College to educate free men. African-Americans flocked to the city seeking opportunities and protection until 1878. When the "Citizens Party" led by Confederate General and war hero Walter P. Lane took control of the city and county governments and ran Unionists and many African-Americans out of town. Ultimately declaring Marshall and Harrison County "redeemed" from Union and African-American control. However the African-American community would continue to progress with the establishment of Bishop College in 1881 and the certification of Wiley by the Freedman's Aid Society in 1882.

Marshall's "Railroad Era" began in the early 1870s. Harrison County voters elected to offer $300,000 bond subsidy, and the City of Marshall would donate land north of the city center to the Texas & Pacific Railroad if the company would move to Marshall. The T&P's President, Jay Gould, accepted and located the T&P's workshops and general offices for Texas in Marshall. The city benefited immediately from a population explosion. By 1880 the city was one of the American South's largest cotton markets. The city's prosperity was made apparent when the first department store in Texas, J. Weisman and Co., opened in 1878. During this period of wealth many of the cities now historic homes were constructed.

Despite the prosperity of the Railroad Era, poverty continued to be a problem in the city among all races, but tensions between whites and African-Americans continued to worsen as segregation crystallized in the city. The rural areas of Harrison County saw greater interaction between whites and African-Americans and a white person having a black neighbor was common place. Even though the areas surrounding Marshall were somewhat integrated, racism certainly was still apparent in every day life. The fact that several plantation owners divided up sizable tracks of land and gave them to their former slaves may also have contributed. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries children of both races were raised to accept the status quo. Children such as George Dawson, who would later write about his experiences, were raised to accept the status quo. However, in some instances demands were to outrageous to follow. In his book Life Is So Good, Dawson wrote of an instance when a woman he was working for expected him to eat with her dogs, he refused.

20th Century

In 1949, the movie Pinky was banned from showing in Marshall because of its controversial content. The city was sued and the case went all the way to the US Supreme Court which over turned the city's censorship law. That was also the year that one of Marshall's most famous residents, George Foreman, was born.

Law and Government

The City of Marshall has a Council-manager form of municipal government, with all governmental powers resting in a legislative body called a Commission. The Commission passes all city laws and ordinances, adopts budgets, determines city policy, and appoints city officials, including the City Manager. The city manager, rather than a mayor, serves as the executive of the city government and thus is in charge of enforcing city laws and administering the city’s various departments.

The City Commission

The City Commission has seven members, each elected to serve a single member district. These seven districts are divided into odd numbers, which divide the city into four districts, and even numbered districts which divide the city into three districts which overlap the odd districts. Each Commissioner is elected to a two year term. The odd numbered districts hold elections in odd years and the even districts in even years, thus an election for all city citizens in May of each year. After each election the city Commission selects a Commissioner to serve as Chairman of the Commission, generically called a Mayor, until after the election next year. The City Commission meets twice a month on the first and second Thursdays, in addition to any special sessions that are called. The Commission provides for a public forum before each regular session. The Commission meetings are broadcast on radio and a public access television station.

Commission Members

As of 2003 The Commission Memebers were:
District 7- Ed Smith (Mayor)
District 1- Katie Jones
District 2- Alonza Williams
District 3- Ed Carlile
District 4- Jack Hester
District 5- John Wilborn
District 6- Bryan Partee

Commision in 1999
District 4- Audrey Kariel (Mayor)
District 1- Jean Birmingham
District 2- Alonza Williams
District 3- Chris Horsely
District 5- John Wilborn
District 6- Chris Smith
District 7- Martha Robb


Marshall is located at 32°32'34" North, 94°21'49" West (32.542897, -94.363727)

Census Bureau Statistics

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 76.8 km² (29.6 mi²). 76.6 km² (29.6 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.27% water.

City Layout

The city is bisected along a north-south axis by East End Blvd. (Highway 59). Much of the city's businesses stretch out along Highway 59 dominated by chain restaurants and stores in the north and hotels and car dealerships to the south where US 59 intersects US Interstate 20. Several important civic structures are also located on US Highway 59. These include; Texas State Technical College at Marshall and it's Center for Applied Technologies, the Marshall Civic Center, Marshall High School, and Marshall Independent School District Headquarters. To the east of Highway 59 are vast primarily upper middle class and affluent neighborhoods of Cedar Crest, Indian Springs, Jasper Heights, Southern Manor, and Country Club. The eastern half of the city is bisected along an east-west axis by US Highway 80 which east of it's intersection with Highway 59 is called Victory Drive and west of it is named Grand Ave. The Harrison County Airport and Airport Baseball Park are located to the south of Victory off of Harper Drive.

To the west of Highway 59, south of Pinecrest Drive are older suburban areas and the city's first gated community, Oakwood Estates. North of Pinecrest Drive are poor and middle class neighborhoods. This is the oldest portion of the city and it stretches northward over seven hills. This portion of the city radiates out from downtown which is centered on the Old Harrison County Courthouse in Peter Whetestone Square. Downtown Marshall contains most of the city's important structures including the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce, City Hall, the Harrison County Courthouse, the Michelson Museum of Art, the Business Development Center, the Marshall Visual Arts Center, and the Central Fire Station and Police Headquarters, many historic homes and churches, several large bank buildings and the structures of the Starr Home State Historic Park. The city’s tallest building the historic Hotel Marshall is also located downtown. Immediately to the north is the adjacent Ginnochio National Historic District which houses the temporary location of the Harrison County Historical Museum and the Texas & Pacific Railway Museum and Amtrak Terminal. This region of the city is bisected along an east-west by Grand Ave. (Highway 80). Spreading out from downtown is a belt of Antebellum and Victorian homes centered on both Rusk and Houston Streets.

To the west of downtown are some of the oldest African-American neighborhoods in Texas, including the James L. Farmer birthplace. These neighborhoods are centered around Wiley College and contains Marshall Junior High School and the former locations of Bishop College and the plantation home, Wyalucing, both of which have been demolished. North of Grand Ave. (Highway 80) are neighborhoods that were largely built by the railroad workers for the Texas & Pacific Railroad. In addition to the Ginnochio National Historic District, this part of the city is home to East Texas Baptist University, the former location of the demolished Texas & Pacific Workshops, and three historic cemeteries: Marshall Cemetery, Powder Mill Cemetery and Greenwood, which is divided into Christian and Jewish sections. The northside is by far the most racially and ethnically diverse part of the city containing white, black, and a sizable Hispanic (largely Mexican) populations.

The smallest region of the city lies between downtown and Highway 59 along W. Houston St. This section of the city contains historic homes and several small business, as well as the City Library. Another sizable Hispanic population lives in this district but also spills over Highway 59 into the southeastern quadrant of the intersection of Highway 59 and Highway 80.

Marshall became a sister city with Taipei, Taiwan on November 29, 1978, both Mayor Lee Teng-Hui (Taipei) and Mayor William O. Burns (Marshall) were present at the signing cermemny.


As of the census of 2000, there are 23,935 people, 8,730 households, and 6,032 families residing in the city. The population density is 312.5/km² (809.5/mi²). There are 9,923 housing units at an average density of 129.6/km² (335.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 54.66% White, 38.59% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.83% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 8.64% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. The Asian population are mainly Indians from Maharashtra or are Telugu and Chinese from Hong Kong and Fuzhou

There are 8,730 households out of which 32.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% are married couples living together, 19.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% are non-families. 28.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.55 and the average family size is 3.12.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 13.4% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 82.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $30,335, and the median income for a family is $37,438. Males have a median income of $30,146 versus $21,027 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,491. 22.8% of the population and 17.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 32.5% are under the age of 18 and 15.1% are 65 or older.

Notable Natives, Citizens, and Associated People

Related Geographic Articles

External links