Robert Marsh

Pamunkey tribe member who fought in the American Revolution

- from the collection of Wayne Head. Source unknown

York District, South Carolina, 25 October 1820. Robert Marsh aged 62 enlisted in 1776 15th regiment, Virginia Continental Line. Colonel Mayson, commanded by Capt. Gray Transferred to the 11th Regiment and to the 1st Regiment.

A Pamunkey Indian. He fought on the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown under Gen. Woodford for 2 years. Re-enlisted to a Regiment of 1st and 15th under Col. Rupell and Lt. B. Ball. With Capt. Will Mosely he marched to Charlestown and was there until they surrendered to the British. He was a prisoner of war for 14 months. then carried to Jamestown and exchanged. He was attached to Col. ??? and Capt Kirkpatrick then assigned to Col. Posev and marched to Georgia where they joined General Wayne. Now about 60 years old, Robert March a privated completed assignment in 1782.

The only Catawba, or Indian connected with the Catawbas, who received a federal pension for his service was Robert Marsh, a Pamunkey, who settled among the Catawbas after the war. He drew his annual $96 pension from York County under an 1818 Act of Congress, for service with the Virginia Continental Line.

Marsh-Munsh-Mush-Quash became a Baptist Minister, and preached sincerely at Hopewell Baptist Church, but not effectively enough to convert many Catawbas. He had a melodious voice and used natural gestures. The white minister serving this church was John Rooker, who was also minister at Sugar Creek Baptist Church, which had only twelve white members. Marsh, the Indian minister educated his five children at Hopewell Baptist Church school, taught by James Lewis. The schoolhouse, serving also as a house of worship, stood on the eastern side of the river, in Landcaster County. The school had been established by Rooker in 1803, the same year his missionary work was begun.

Marsh, described as an excellent character, had a son John, who served in distinction in the war of 1812. John Marsh left the Nation and moved to Chester County, never returning except to receive rents, which were considerable, that were due his Catawba wife. He later brought suit in Chester County when he was refused the right to vote on the grounds that he was an Indian. Several descendents of Robert Marsh later migrated to Utah with Mormon missionaries.

To see the record from the South Carolina Court of Appeals, visit John Marsh v. The Managers of Election for the District of York.


There has been some confusion on names in several sources. It is believed that it was actually Robert Marsh, and not his son John, who had to appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals for the right to vote. Although the name John Marsh appears as the appellant on the court record of this case, the description of the appellant matches Robert Marsh and not his son John Marsh.