Monday, January 26, 2015

52 Ancestors: #4 - Lester Randall MARSH Birthday Buddy

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

This week’s theme is to focus on a relative who shares my birthday (not counting the year, of course).  There are five candidates, but one died at age 2, one woman didn’t live long enough for her name to appear in a census, and the others are still living.  So by default, the dubious honor goes to my third cousin twice removed Lester Randall Marsh.

One of twelve children, Lester was born to Benjamin Franklin Marsh and Alice Salisbury on May 27, 1903 in Madison County, Virginia.  He was the grandson of Peachy Lamb and Layton Marsh, and great-grandson of Lucy Walker JOLLETT and Peter Marsh of nearby Orange County.

Lester grew up on a farm.  Apparently Benjamin did not own his farm as he was listed as a “farm laborer,” rather than farmer; also the 1910 census indicated that he was NOT self-employed.

Lester’s parents and oldest brother could neither read nor write, but the rest of the Marsh children received an education, at least enough to say they attended school and could read and write.

By 1920, Benjamin was able to obtain a mortgage on a house for the family, but still he and the older boys worked for other people.  Lester and the younger children attended school.

Lester R and Mabel Marsh family
Lester and Mabel Marsh
Oldest to youngest: Mary, Bernice,
Edith, Helen
Photo courtesy Trisha Steel on Ancestry
In 1926 Lester took on a ready-made family when he married twice-widowed Bessie Mabel Floyd Meacham Anderson.  She had four daughters, but apparently Lester and Mabel had no children together.  In 1930 the family was living in a rented house on Fairview Avenue in Manassas, Virginia, where Lester was working as a house painter.

At least by 1935, Lester and family had moved to Elon in Amherst County.  Lester was a painter for the railroad, a position that commanded a respectable salary for the times at $1200 a year.

City directories indicate that Lester and Mable moved to Alexandria, Virginia between 1940 and 1947.  Lester worked as a fireman, possibly for the railroad since in 1953 he was listed as an engineer.

Mabel and Lester are buried together at Fort Hill Memorial Park in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Lester R. and Mabel Marsh Tombstone Lynchburg, VA
Lester R. Marsh
27 May 1903 - 25 Sep 1993
Mabel B. Marsh
8 Nov 1896 - 1982 courtesy Joan Mays

© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. A birthday share how cool is that, not the same year of course, and May, that is close to mine, May 30th and my sister was born on May 29th seven years earlier. Of course she passed far too young,, but I always wondered if my mother had only given me a brother (like I begged) would he or she been born about the same day too?!

  2. So do you have any idea what a painter for the railroad did? Did they paint the train cars or the train station or what? I guess I am surprised the railroad needed a full time painter. That is very interesting.

    It's funny but one of my favorite ancestors shares my birthday and it's amazing how a simple little thing like that can help you feel connected.

  3. I agree that a painter for the railroad sounds like something I'd like to know more about. It makes you wonder what they did!

    I didn't find any ancestors that shared my exact birthday. Too bad!