Through Our Parents Eyes
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Introduction
Tom's Childhood & Early Life

Thomas Keith Marshall, a name of no great notoriety in Tucson history until you match it together with that of his more famous mate -- Louise Foucar Marshall. Alas, so few people seem to know and remember this handsome, rambunctious young man who arrived in Tucson in 1899 and met his untimely end in a strange, if not notorious murder case, 32 years later. Tom Marshall was not a successful businessman. He leaves no legacy as a special pioneer at a time when so many other stood forth for their accomplishments. Though good natured, friendly and ambitious, Tom lacked drive and disciplined focus. He may have remained anonymous in history except for a magnificent collection of photographs he took or acquired of his life experiences. Making a part of that collection available to the public is the purpose of this book.

Thomas Keith Marshall, c. 1907
Thomas Keith Marshall, c. 1907

Tom Marshall was born on August 3, 1870, in Fort Scott, Kansas. Tom's childhood on that Kansas prairie, so steeped in American history, established values he carried throughout life. Anderson County's location near the Missouri border and Tom's birth date, only five years after the close of the Civil War, contributed to the young boy's social and ethical make-up. This was the land of II Bloody Kansas," that brutal civil war that had raged between the citizens of the Kansas-Missouri border. For many living on that turbulent prairie, memories of the hard times lingered, but in an era of intense religious revivalism, others felt optimistic about better times and opportunities which lay ahead.

Tom and his sister Alice in Fort Scott, Kansas, c. 1876
Tom and his sister Alice in Fort Scott, Kansas, c. 1876

Tom's father died of tuberculosis when the boy was six years old and his sister Alice, three. They then moved north to Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas, and had, in succession, two stepfathers. His mother divorced the first when he abandoned the family; the second because he proved to be an abusive alcoholic. Probably because of this experience, Tom abstained from the use of alcohol and crusaded for temperance.

As soon as possible Tom left that unhappy home, but continued to visit and send money to support his mother. He worked as a farm laborer and then gold miner. He may have finished grammar school, but had no high school record when he enrolled at the University of Arizona in September of 1899. He began his University experience in the preparatory department when he was 29 years old although he listed his age as 25.

Tom's personality - he was sociable and outgoing - included a desire to be important, to be a leader. Unfortunately, he had a restless nature and short attention span. He tried to improve himself. He also was an opportunist and an adventurer. He went places, did and observed things that people with more responsibility were not able to do. His diary and other writing were done with humor, correct spelling and punctuation. He took many photos and was good as he had a "photographer's eye."

Panoramic view of the Tomboy Mine, five miles east of Telluride, Colorado. One of a series of photos taken by Tom between 1911 and 1916. This scene today is obscured by mine tailings
Panoramic view of the Tomboy Mine, five miles east of Telluride, Colorado.
One of a series of photos taken by Tom between 1911 and 1916.
This scene today is obscured by mine tailings

While Tom lacked a formal education, he received a practical, on-the-job understanding of mining technology while working at the Tomboy Mine in Telluride, Colorado in 1894. This mine was developed on unstable land and thus need to be heavily timbered. The engineering of the Tomboy was reputed to be among the best in the nation. Tom established friends in Telluride who remained life-long friends. By 1899, he had relocated to the gold mine near of Mammoth, Arizona.

Continue with The University of Arizona Student, 1899-1900