Another Marshall school master in St Kitts

Vanity Fair: Teachers and Headmasters; ‘Badger’, The Reverand Edward Hale, January 30, 1892 public domain image from

My husband’s great-great-grandfather was Richard Johnson Marshall (about 1845-1922), who was born in Antigua. He was educated there to be a teacher, and settled in St Kitts where he worked as a school master for several decades. He may very well have been the son of enslaved parents, and his education (and no doubt hard work) set him on the path to a successful career. There was another Marshall who was a teacher and headmaster in St Kitts about the same time, who came from very different circumstances.

Henry Worgan Marshall was baptized in London in 1831. His father’s occupation in the parish church record was “gentlemen”. Henry went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Christ’s College, Cambridge University, in 1855 and 1858. In the 1861 UK census, Henry was living with his wife Georgianna in Arborfield, England, where he was working as a private tutor. By 1867, he started appearing in the civil records of St Kitts, first as the father of a son born in Basseterre, when Henry Worgan was a “grammar master”. More children were born in the coming years: 1868, 1870, 1871, and 1875. During that period, Henry was identified in the records as “master of arts”, school master, and principal of the grammar school.

One of his sons, John Worgan Marshall, was born in England but also came to live in St Kitts. He died in a tragic accident in 1881, when he had just taken the position of planter (manager) of Pogson’s sugar estate, according to a newspaper article of the time. He had attempted to get home to Pogson’s one day, but heavy rain forced him to stop along the way at the house of a friend living on another estate. After dinner he set out with his carriage driver, in spite of his friend’s warnings that the dark and the rainy weather made the journey unwise. Sadly, his horse and buggy slipped off the edge of a 60 foot cliff on the way home, throwing his driver to safety, but taking John Worgan to the bottom of a ravine. The horse landed on top of him, and the official cause of death was deemed suffocation. In a particularly sensational detail, the newspaper noted that it all must have happened very suddenly and violently, because he still had a cigar in his mouth when his body was recovered.

Henry Worgan and his family appeared again in the UK census of 1881, when he had returned to England after working for a time as Inspector of Schools for the Leeward Islands. Interestingly, under “rank, profession, or occupation” his wife Georgianna was listed as having an “income from trust fund”. In the 1891 census, Henry and Georgianna were living in Teignmouth, Devon with several of their children, along with a visitor from St Kitts named Christian Branch. Branch was listed as a medical student at the University of Edinburgh. Christian Campbell Branch was the son of William John Branch, a physician of St Kitts. Christian later returned to the island to practice medicine himself.

Henry Worgan Marshall died in 1898 in England. A brief mention in a British newspaper stated that he was “well-known and respected in the district and was an ardent supporter of the Liberal cause”.

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