History of Tufts College, 1854-1896Start, Alaric Bertrand
JOHN P. MARSHALL, A. M.
|JOHN POTTER MARSHALL was born in Kingston, New Hampshire, August 11, 1823. Both his parents were of the old New England stock, his mother being the great granddaughter of Governor Dudley. Both were strong Universalists.|
The boy began his preparation for college at the academy in Kingston, and afterward spent two years at Atkinson Academy. At the age of sixteen he was prepared to enter college; but his father, who was a practical man, considered him too young, and advised his pursuing for a time some trade which would furnish opportunity for physical development. He accordingly went to Boston, and spent the next year working as a builder of carriages.
In 1840 he entered Yale, where he steadily maintained a position in the front rank of his class, graduating at the end of four years with honors. Owing to the illness of his brother he was unable to be present on Commencement Day to deliver the part which he had prepared.
The winter after graduation he began teaching at a Baptist academy in Effingham, New Hampshire, where he remained for two years, resigning to become Principal of the Lebanon (New Hampshire) Liberal Institute, where he remained for two years more. He then spent some time in the South with his invalid brother, and upon his return began teaching in his native town, from which he went not long after to Danvers, Massachusetts, to become Principal of a high school just opened there. While there he joined the Mt. Lebanon Lodge of Masons in Boston. At Danvers, Mr. Marshall was visited by Dr. Leonard, who was then a
|member of the Chelsea School Committee, and soon after he received a call to become Principal of the Chelsea High School. Here he taught most successfully, until he received the offer of a professorship in the new college, together with an urgent request that he would consent to lend his aid to the work of its establishment. After serious consideration Mr. Marshall decided to accept the professorship. The salary was very small, and the work much more difficult than that in which he was engaged; but he felt that it was his duty as a Universalist to aid the advancement of the college by every means in his power.|
Professor Marshall at first had charge of all the scientific work of the college, teaching Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Natural History, and also Senior French. Later, as the college grew, and new instructors were engaged, his burdens were gradually lightened, until only Mineralogy and Geology remained. These branches, which are his favorites, he is still teaching.
Professor Marshall was Dr. Ballou's most active assistant in the work of organization, and for the year following the Doctor's death was acting President of the college. He was the first Professor to be appointed, and is the present senior member and Dean of the Faculty. He resided in Medford for two years after beginning his work in the college, but then moved to the Hill, where he had built himself a house. This was the second dwelling-house on the Hill, and is still occupied by Professor Marshall.
Professor Marshall was married in November, 1853, to Miss Caroline Clement, of Chelsea, Massachusetts. She was a beautiful and talented woman, and in the early days of the college did much to make life on the Hill pleasant for students and Faculty. She died in February, 1895, leaving her husband with their two children, a son and a daughter. During the Civil War, Professor Marshall spent two years in hospital service in the South. Many urged him to return
|and attend to his college work, but he replied that the many who were fighting for their country needed him more than the few who remained behind.|
In 1872, being greatly in need of rest, he obtained leave of absence from the college, and spent fourteen months in visiting England, Germany, and Italy. He passed the winter in Berlin, studying Mineralogy and Geology. He made another trip abroad in 1874, travelling principally in Switzerland.
Professor Marshall has always been deeply interested in general educational matters. He was chiefly instrumental in the establishment of Sanborn Academy at Kingston, New Hampshire, and has been a constant visitor to Dean Academy. He was a member of the State Board of Education for eight years, and served on the Somerville School Committee for a long period.
When Professor Marshall came to Tufts he brought with him a small private collection of minerals and fossils. Through his earnest efforts this collection has been enlarged by gifts from various quarters to its present splendid proportions, and the care of it has always remained in his hands. He is an enthusiast in his work, and not only in the classroom is he ready to impart the knowledge which he has acquired in a long life of constant activity. In leisure hours many a student has learned under his painstaking instruction the art of grinding lenses, the intricacies of which Professor Marshall mastered many years ago in the desire to supply his laboratory with suitable instruments. His interest in the young men and women of the college is deep and personal, and in past years, in cases of sickness or trouble, he has always been ready to act a father's part. Gentle, chivalrous, kind-hearted, with that rich old-school courtesy which is so rare among us in these modern times, he enjoys the same love and respect from the students of to-day which he won from their fathers when our Alma Mater was in its infancy.
Published by the Class of 1897. The original contains appendices with a directory of alumni, the college catalog, and the college charter. These were not included in this addition.
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