“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Marshall in Madison County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)


Divided Loyalties

Marshall Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 27, 2014
1. Marshall Marker
Inscription.  On May 13, 1861, voters gathered here in Marshall, the Madison County seat, to elect a delegate for the Secession Convention to be held in Raleigh. The citizens were divided in their loyalties. Sheriff Ransom P. Merrill and others were later described as “husawing for Jeff Davis & the Confederacy,” while men of different opinions were shouting for “Washington and the Union.” One witness later noted that “a good Deel of Liquor had been drank that day.” When a dispute broke out between some Unionists and the sheriff, Merrill drew his pistol and shot and wounded Elisha Tweed. Neely Tweed, Elisha’s father and former clerk of the superior court, then shot Merrill with a double-barreled shotgun and killed him. The Tweeds later joined the 4th Tennessee Infantry (U.S.), Neely died of fever in 1862. The voters elected secessionist J.A. McDowell to the state convention.

The local “war within a war” had escalated in the mountains by January 1863, when Unionists from the county’s Shelton Laurel community were deprived of salt. A band of 50 or 60 Union soldiers and civilians raided Marshall, taking
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salt and other provisions and wounding Confederate Capt. John Peek. The raiders also ransacked the house in front of you, the home of Col. Lawrence M. Allen, 64th North Carolina Infantry. Two of Allen’s children who were lying in the house desperately ill at the time, afterward died.

Confederate troops marched on Shelton Laurel to “put down the insurrection” and recover property taken from Marshall. Meeting resistance, the Confederates summarily executed at least 13 prisoners, men and boys, in what became known as the “Shelton Laurel Massacre.”

(lower left) Marshall, 1870s, with two-story white Allen House on right and courthouse behind it. — Courtesy North Carolina Collection, UNC, Rufus Morgan Collections
(upper center) Sheriff Ransom P. Merrill Courtesy Merrill family
(lower right) Col. Lawrence M. Allen and Mary Allen - Courtesy Mars Hill College Archives, James O. Hall Collection
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1863.
Location. 35° 47.838′ N, 82° 40.992′ W. Marker
Marshall Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 27, 2014
2. Marshall Marker
is in Marshall, North Carolina, in Madison County. Marker is on South Main Street (Business U.S. 70) west of Hill Street, on the left when traveling east. The marker is located next to the First Baptist Church. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 53 S Main St, Marshall NC 28753, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Buncombe Turnpike (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); David Vance (about 300 feet away); Colonel Edward F. Rector, USAF (about 300 feet away); Marshall High School (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jewell Hill (approx. 4.7 miles away); Mars Hill College (approx. 7.7 miles away); a different marker also named Mars Hill College (approx. 7.8 miles away); Bascom Lamar Lunsford (approx. 7.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Marshall.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 22, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 807 times since then and 69 times this year. Last updated on July 22, 2014, by Keith S Smith of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 22, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 8, 2023