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A web of family : letters from a Kentucky family

 File — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 3956

Scope and Contents

Contains letters from a Kentucky Family, 1816-1896, contains ninety-two letters written by members of the family of Dr. Louis Marshall, of "Buckpond," Woodford County, Kentucky, or by close relatives. There are eight letters from Chief Justice John Marshall which touch on affairs at "Buckpond." 257 typed pages, including a title page, 5 page preface and 40 page introduction with biographies of family members. These are mostly domestic letters written from women to women about babies, diets and household medicines, servants, neighborhood visits, family talk and problems. There is a little information on the relationship between owner and slave, travel, and agricultural depressions.


  • 1816-1896


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from A Web of Family : letters from a Kentucky Family must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Louis Marshall was the youngest brother of Chief Justice John Marshall. He went to Kentucky in 1785 as a boy of twelve. After beginning his education at home, Marshall went for further study to Edinburgh and Paris. He participated in the attack on the Bastille in 1789. There is some disagreement in sources about whether he witnessed atrocities of the French Revolution, or whether he was imprisoned in France. When he returned to Kentucky, he settled at "Buckpond," given to him by his father, and married Agatha Smith in 1800. In 1830, Marshall was named president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia. Sources say that Dr. Marshall dramatically changed the structure of Washington College. "Rules were discarded and a state of nature was declared." No classes met in groups unless a group so desired. Individual students went to a professor to recite or confer at any time. Dr. Marshall installed an arm chair and bed in his own classroom and received his students as he lounged, pipe in hand. In 1838, he was elected professor and president of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he served for two years. After 1840, Dr. Marshall from time to time conducted a school for boys. He lived to be ninety-three, spending his last years partly at Buckpond with his son John and partly visiting other children and relatives. He passed away in 1866 at Buckpond.


1 folder (0.08 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

These items were donated to Special Collections in 1990.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donation; Margaret Cardwell; 1990.


19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts.

Related Materials

These items are part of the 19th Century Western and Mormon Americana Archives.

Related Materials

KF 8745 .M3 A44 Mason, Frances Norton. My dearest Polly : letters of Chief Justice John Marshall to his wife, with their background, political and domestic, 1779-1831.

Register of A web of family : letters from a Kentucky family
Rose Frank
2011 June 16
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States