Paul Jones Marrs

by Edmund Starling, 1886

 

PAUL JONES MARRS.-The subject of this sketch, the only son of Samuel R. Marrs, of Virginia, and Rachel Stinson, of Indiana, was born in Posey County, Indiana, on the twenty-eighth day of February, 1838. His father, Samuel R. Marrs, left his place of nativity when quite young to seek a fortune in the far West, as hundreds of pioneers who had preceded him. He traveled by horse and on foot over mountains of rock and valleys of mud, never once looking back to the home of his birth, or trembling beneath the dangers that met him at every turn of an unguarded wild road. Mr. Marrs' journey was as successful as he could wish under the trying circumstances, and after many days of travel he found, as he regarded, a suitable camping ground for life, in what is now known as Posey County, Indiana. Here he settled and went to work in earnest. When in his eighteenth year, he married Miss Rachel Stinson, a lady remarkable for her personal beauty, fine physique and domestic character. From the union of these two young loving hearts there came into the world two children, Paul J. and Mary, who in after life married George M. Barnett, of Henderson County. A short time after the birth of their youngest child, Mr. Marrs died. A few years subsequent to his death, his widow married Captain Payne Dixon, of Henderson County, and with her two children removed to his home in this county. Here at the age of six years young Marrs found a new home, and there he lived until 1850 or '51, when he began life's journey on his own account. His education was exceedingly limited, the only opportunity afforded him being that of county school in Indiana and Kentucky, but he improved every hour's opportunity allowed him. At the age of thirteen or fourteen, young Marrs removed from his country home into the town, and commenced his business life as a clerk in the store house of Wilson & Ingram, at that time one of the leading dry goods firms of the town. He continued with this firm for three years, when he accepted a clerkship with Ira Delano, the then leading druggist of the town. At the end of two years he left Delano and accepted a clerkship with George Lyne, druggist. We next find him with L. C. Dallam, Dallam & Soaper, Allen & Hall, and then in business for himself, under the firm name of Cromwell & Marrs.

At the breaking out of the war Mr. Marrs sold his interest in the drug house of Cromwell & Marrs, and during the latter part of 1861 enlisted as a private under Colonel Adam Johnson, Confederate Army. During his army life Captain Marrs was engaged in many skirmishes and several battles. In 1862, he with others, was captured and sent to prison at Evansville; from Evansville he was sent to Camp Morton, Indiana, where he remained one year, from thence he was sent to Johnson's Island, and a short time thereafter to Fortress Monroe, where, in 1863, he was exchanged and returned to his command. At the close of the war he returned to Henderson, surrendered himself to Captain Platter, then in command of the post, took the oath, and from that day to this has remained loyal to the Government, and proven one of the most successful of business men.

On the eleventh day of may, 1872, Captain Marrs married Miss Juliet Rankin, granddaughter of Dr. Adam Rankin, one of the early pioneer physicians to this part of Kentucky. They have had three children, William R., Juliet and Mary, all living, bright and promising. After the close of the war he clerked for a time with Holloway & Hopkins, and subsequently associated himself with Green Marshall & Co., in the wharfboat and commission business, including tobacco sales, until 1882. During that time he had charge of the large wharfboat and transfer of freight to and from the boat and warehouse. In 1882 he sold his interest and invested with one or two others in the telephone enterprise. Under his management this enterprise grew from a small beginning to a corporation of wealth and power. He was one of the organizers of the Great Southern Telegraph and Telephone Company, and from 1882 to 1885 was engaged in establishing the service in Nashville, New Orleans and other Southern cities. He is at this time the owner of twenty-five thousand dollars of stock in that company, and is its Vice President. In 1882 he located in Nashville, and there remained until 1885; he returned to Henderson, purchased property and settled down. In July 1885, Captain Marrs was elected a Director of the Henderson Cotton Mills, and by the Directory elected Secretary and Treasurer, clothed with full authority to purchase all material for the mill and to sell its produce, a business confidence most worthily bestowed. In conclusion, it is no over-drawn picture to say, that Captain Marrs has proven himself one of the most enterprising and successful business men of his day and age; to use an every day expression, he began life's journey "flat footed and alone," at the age of thirteen or fourteen years, full of vim, pluck and energy, but no money. Undaungted by the frowns of a grasping and crushing world, he has fought his way, till to-day, after thirty-five years of untiring industry, faithful application, integrity and honesty, we find him even more spirited and vigorous than when a young man, and possessed of a competency that has given him a reputation far beyond the limits of his State. A far-seeing, far-searching  mind, coupled with an unlimited will power, and endeavor, has brought him from the humblest of life to the front rank of men of capacity and commercial ability. To sum up: a poor boy with few friends, scanty education, and no wealth behind him, by his own exertions ahs produced a self-made man, worthy of all confidence and credit. Captain Marrs, though a strong Democrat, has never been an applicant for office. At the instance of many of his friends he was elected to his first office, City Councilman, on Monday, August 8th, 1887. He served a number of years as wharfmaster. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, but by no means an active participant in its mystic ceremonies. Though thoroughly moral in all he does, entertaining views akin to social order and religious teachings, the Captain is not connected with any church. His bounty in behalf of those near and dear to him has known no limit-very few persons aside from himself know the extent of his benefactions.

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