Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Milantha Hall Marsh

The Syracuse Herald, Sunday, Feb 4, 1912, page B12


Mrs. Milantha Marsh Bright and Active at 100 Years

Birthday of Centenarian

Decendant of One of the Oldest Families in That Section - She Learned to Weave at an Early Age - Traveled Considerably

Special to The Syracuse Herald
Phelps - Feb. 3. - In full possession of her mental faculties and well preserved physically at the age of 100 years, Mrs. Milantha Marsh observed the anniversary of her birth Wednesday. The event, which was celebrated at the home of her granddaughter, Mrs. Eugene Helmer, consisted of a family gathering, with a few near friends present.

Mrs. Marsh was born on January 31st, 1812, at Melvin Hill in the town of Phelps, and has lived a full century in the same township. Her father, John Hall, came to the region from Conway, Mass. in 1798, and her mother, whose marriage to Mr. Hall took place at Melvin Hill a few years after, was from the same New England town. Her maiden name was Serna Swan. Seth Swan, grandfather of Mrs. Marsh, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war and was killed in the Battle of Bunker hill while throwing up breastworks. He was supposed to be the only American killed in that engagement.

Mrs. Marsh is the youngest of five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hall. She began weaving at the age of 9 years, using a hand loom hewn out of the virgin forest for her mother long before sawmills were introduced into this section of the country. After the death of her father, who was killed in 1824 as the result of a kick from a horse, this occupation was the means of rendering considerable support for the family. At the time of Mr. Hall's death he had under consideration a large frame house and it was the money earned by Mrs. Marsh at weaving that made it's completion possible. The house still stands in an excellent state of preservation. The same hand loom is also in existence and Mrs. Marsh has operated it until very recently.

Mrs. Marsh was married at the age of 23 years to Samuel Marsh, whose parents came to these parts from Rutland, Vt. Six children were born to the couple, five of whom are living. They are Enoch and Edward F Marsh, Miss Eugenia Marsh, Mrs. Calista Hull, and Mrs Louise Sweet, all of Phelps. There are also thirteen grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren. Her husband died thirty three yeras ago. Fifteen years ago, after eighty-five years of continuous residence on the farm at Melvin hill, Mrs. Marsh and her daugher, Miss Eugenia, came to Phelps to live.

The centenarian has always enjoyed the best of health and has never had occasion to call upon a physician on account of illness until she had passed her eightieth year and has very few times since. She attributes her long life to her plain and industious mode of living. At present she is enjoying fairly good health, able to care mostly for her own needs, reads without glasses and occasionally goes for a visit with some member of her family. Mrs. Marsh was educated at the Melvin hill school and at the age of 13 years she became a member of the Baptist church of that place. After coming to Phelps she joined the Methodist Episcopal faith, of which she is still an honored member.

After Mrs. Marsh had raised her family she indulged in considerable traveling, about the only recreation she ever cared for. She and her husband took at least ten trips into the far West, and her last journey to that section was made after she had passed four score years in company with her daugher, Miss Eugenia.

Milantha died in 1914 and is buried in Melvin Hill Cemetery. She had a brother, Olney 1810-1871. So far I have been unable to determine who her other three siblings were.

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