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 • Wise County
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Marshal H. Comstock
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Birth: Jun. 17, 1828
Kentucky, USA
Death: Oct. 28, 1885
Wise County
Texas, USA

Marshal Comstock was born somewhere in Kentucky, in 1828, the oldest of Nehemiah and Susan Rupe Comstock's eight children (Susan was possibly his step-mother). While Marshal was still a child, his father moved the family to Livingston County, Missouri, where Marshal spent the rest of his "coming up" years. His father passed away in 1845, leaving Marshal the head of his family. Before he turned 22, he and his mother and siblings were living in Lafayette County in Missouri, and in the 1850 Missouri census, Marshal's occupation is listed as "gold hunter" - and in the 1850 California census his name is found in the enumeration for El Dorado, not too far from Placerville. Whether he found any gold is unknown, but he returned to Missouri or Kansas sometime in the next few years.

Marshal wed the first time on 28 Oct., 1847 to Susan Rupe, a relation of his mother or step-mother. They had one child, a daughter Mary. Susan apparently died sometime between 1850 and about 1855. In about 1856, Marshal wed Permelia W. Gross, in Leavenworth County, Kansas. They had seven children, Boullin Franklin, William G., Thomas T., Felix W., Charles M., John Todd, and Ada May. Marshal was a farmer, and the next twenty years finds him and his living in various places in Missouri, Kansas, and Texas.

By 1878, when Ada May was born, Marshal had settled on a farm about three miles west of Chico, Texas, in Wise County, where he apparently decided to stay put awhile. On the 28th of October, 1885, he got up from the breakfast table and, while walking through the door to the next room, his son Tom came up behind him and shot him for no apparent reason. Tom fired four times at close range, the bullets entering Marshal's back and neck, killing him instantly. Tom ran outside, jumped on an unsaddled, bridleless horse and headed west. Authorities were notified, and Constables L. J. Peters of Chico and J. T. Stanfield of Precinct 7 in Wise County set out in pursuit. Tom - age 19 and described as a "wretch" in the Jacksboro newspaper, was arrested in Jacksboro and the Constables took him back to Wise County on the 29th. Tom was judged insane and committed to the North Texas Insane Asylum (later renamed the Terrell State Hospital), where he passed away.

After Marshal's murder, oldest son Frank became head of the family, raising his younger siblings, and taking care of his mother Permelia the rest of her life.

The discrepancy of the first initial is no doubt an error on the part of the headstone's engraver: the dates are correct, the location is right, and there is no record anywhere of a "W". H. Comstock in Wise or the surrounding counties in those days.

I have gone into more detail than I might have done concerning Marshal's murder and its consequences because for all these years, over 125 now, Marshal's murder has been the invisible elephant in the family parlor, and hope that what I have put here will help some others of his descendents understand what happened and why it has reverberated through the generations.

Thank you so very much to Mr. Dorman Holub, who so kindly sent me a copy of the article about my great-grandfather Marshal's murder in the Oct. 29th, 1885 edition of "The Rural Citizen", a Jacksboro, Jack County, Texas newspaper.

Family links: 
  Permelia Waldo Gross Comstock (1835 - 1916)
  Boullin Franklin Comstock (1854 - 1945)*
  Felix W. Comstock (1869 - 1936)*
  Charles Marshal Comstock (1872 - 1955)*
  Ada May Comstock Moody (1878 - 1964)*
*Calculated relationship
The name and dates are legible, but the transcription at the bottom is mostly impossible to make out.
Note: The stone has been vandalized with chalk. See bio about the discrepancy of the first initial.
Dunn-Comstock Cemetery
Wise County
Texas, USA
Created by: Dorothy Varnell
Record added: Oct 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59757463
Marshal H. Comstock
Added by: Roland J. Dillon Boulware
Marshal H. Comstock
Added by: Dorothy Varnell
Marshal H. Comstock
Added by: Jeannee Jones
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