Marshall, Texas

Marshall, Texas

Downtown view of Marshall, the seat of Harrison County, Texas. Photograph by Renelibrary.
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Promotion: Nearby Map of Harrison County

Marshall is located on Interstate Highway 20 approximately thirty-nine miles west of Shreveport, Louisiana, in central Harrison County. At the time Harrison County was created in 1839, its county seat was located at Greensborough on the Sabine River. Marshall was established in early 1841 to serve as the seat of justice for Panola Judicial District. Two years later, as a result of a Supreme Court decision that invalidated judicial districts and in an effort to influence the commissioners who were choosing a site for the county seat of the newly-constituted Harrison County, Peter Whetstone offered land for a courthouse, a church, and a school. The offer was accepted, and the town, named by Isaac Van Zandt in honor of Chief Justice John Marshall, became the county seat in 1842. It was incorporated by the Texas legislature in 1844 and enlarged in 1850 to include an area of one square mile with the courthouse at the center. Marshall was the first town in Texas to have a telegraph; by 1854 the local paper had a telegraph link to New Orleans, which gave it quick access to national news. By 1860 Marshall was one of the largest and wealthiest towns in East Texas, with a population estimated at 2,000. The community had an outstanding group of lawyers and political leaders including the first and last governors of Confederate Texas, Edward Clark and Pendleton Murrah.

Marshall, encouraged by Robert W. Loughery's ultra-Southern newspaper, the Marshall Texas Republican, voted unanimously for secession in 1861. The Confederate government of Missouri located its capitol there during the war. After the fall of Vicksburg split the Confederacy in 1863, the town became a center of operations for Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's Trans-Mississippi Department. A federal army advanced up the Red River toward the Shreveport-Marshall area in the spring of 1864, but an invasion was averted when Confederate forces won the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, in April. During the spring of 1865, however, the army of the Trans-Mississippi Department disintegrated, and Marshall was occupied by United States troops on June 17. Reconstruction after the war was bitterly controversial, as the town became not only the base for occupying forces but the home for an office of the Freedmen's Bureau as well. White citizens angrily opposed federal authority and the influx of Blacks who came seeking government protection. The Whites were not satisfied until the Citizens party "redeemed" Marshall and all of Harrison County in 1878.

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Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Marshall is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Marshall is classified as a Town


Latitude: 32.53698810
Longitude: -94.35138300

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2021 View more »


Place Type Population (Year/Source) Currently Exists
College or University Yes
College or University Yes
College or University Yes

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