Biography of Judge William A. Marsh

This is a biographical sketch of William A. Marsh, a leading businessman in Grand Junction who has had an inspiring and varied career. Born in 1856 in Sonoma County, California, he attended school in California and Nevada, and later graduated from the law department of Michigan State University in 1883. After working as assistant cashier of the Mesa County State Bank, he became county judge and then started a successful real estate business. He is a prohibition Republican, active in church work and a member of the Masonic order. He is married with four children and has also helped to organize the Home Loan and Investment Company and the first building and loan association in Grand Junction.

The interesting subject of this review, who is one of the leading businessmen of Grand Junction, has had a varied and inspiring career. Tried by both extremes of fortune, he has never been unduly influenced by either, but at every turn of the wheel has kept his faith with his manhood, his determined spirit, his self-reliance and his inflexible integrity. He was born on February 9, 1856, in Sonoma County, California, the son of Washington and Maria P. (Smith) Marsh. They were natives of New York. In 1849 the father went to California by the perilous and tedious route around Cape Horn, and the mother followed him there in 1852, she going by way of the isthmus and Lake Nicaragita. For a number of years, the father followed mining and farming successfully in his new home, then lost all his accumulations in a Los Angeles real-estate boom. He died on March 13. 1898, in Riverside County, California, at a small town where he conducted a modest store and was postmaster for a few years prior to his death. His widow is still living there. During the Civil war the father was a member of a militia company which kept them in secret ready for emergencies. The Judge lived in various counties of his native state and Nevada during his boyhood and youth, and attended the district schools as he had opportunity. Later he was a student at the Collegiate Institute at Napa, California, and was graduated there in 1879. He then taught school one year in California and one year in Nevada. In 1881 he entered the law department of the Michigan State University and was graduated there from in 1883. He came at once to Grand Junction, this state, then a straggling village of five hundred population. Soon after his arrival he was appointed assistant cashier of the Mesa County State Bank, and during the next seven years he held this position. In the fall of 1889, he was elected county judge, and at the end of his term of three years he started the real-estate business which he is still conducting and which he has built up into one of the leading enterprises of this kind in the western part of the state. He has succeeded handsomely in his operations and is now one of the substantial men of his section in a material way, and in business circles has a wide and helpful influence. In politics he is a prohibition Republican but is seldom an active partisan. In church work he is more energetic and the results of his labors in this field stand out prominently in his everlasting credit. He helped to organize the Sunday school of the Methodist Episcopal church and was elected its superintendent, a position he has held continuously from the organization of the school until now. Later he aided greatly in effecting a church organization, of which he and his wife are zealous members, and which through their efforts with those of others has grown strong and effective for great good in the community. Fraternally he is connected with the Masonic order in lodge and chapter and has held high offices in both organizations. In July 1886, he was married to Miss Rosa H. Harris, whom he met while attending school at Napa, California. She was born in Nevada, the daughter of W. G. Harris, a mining man during the whole of his mature life. The Judge and his wife have four children, William E., Alice A., Mabel and Walter W., all at home. In January 1897, he was instrumental in organizing the Home Loan and Investment Company, with a capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars, and he has been its secretary and manager ever since its organization. He also helped to organize the first building and loan association at Grand Junction, and in this association, he has been chairman of the property committee from its foundation. In all the relations of life he has walked uprightly among his fellow men, and in the means of developing improving and elevating the material and moral welfare of his section of the country he has been potential in enterprise, wise in counsel, conservative in action, and beneficial in every way.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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