Marshall Street

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As printed originally in the Oregonian, October 26, 1921[1], origin of Marshall Street's name.

The history and the collection of Portland has from its earliest days depended to a large extend upon the volume of water transportation. Portland was chosen for a townsite largely because of the favorable harbor it offered and the harbor has been one of the chief features of the city down the years to the present time.

Many of the early residents were drawn to the city through its connection with ocean and reiver transportation and their part in developing this branch of the city’s life makes them worthy of special tribute in the city’s history. John Marshall, still living, for whom M street was renamed, was prominent among the men engaged in river transportation for approximately 50 years.

He was born in Southampton, England, May 26, 1837, and came to America when he was ten years of age, living in Chicago until 1852, when he crossed the plains to Oregon. A personal account of his life has it that Front street was the only street in Portland when he arrived and but one house stood on the east bank of the river at the time. Another anecdote relates his refusal to pay $5 for passage on the “Eagle” steamboat from Portland to Oregon City. He started to walk and arrived nearly as soon as the did the boat.

So far as in known John Marshall is the oldest of river navigators still alive. Among his business associates were Jacob Kamm, Captain Ainsworth and Colonel Lovejoy. He retired from the shipping business in 1902 and since then has remained in Portland, living on the street named in his honor.

He married Sarah E. Davis and five children were born of the union. But one is still alive, Dr. George A. Marshall, who has two sons to carry on the family name.