Oscar MarshallX

Born: August 5, 1882

Hello. I would like to share a bit of my life and career with you. I am Oscar F. Marshall, born August 5, 1882 in Norway or Calumet MI to Peter and Matilda Marsyla/Marshall. I came to the Houghton Canal area near Houghton MI to be a farmer’s son in the early 1890’s. I had only 4th grade education. At age 31 I married a neighbor Emma Koski. (My siblings could help mom and dad with the farming now). We raised two sets of twins (Adolph and Arthur) (Doris and Ruth); also Carlos and Dolores while I was in the Portage Ship Canal Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard just down the road and across the canal from where I grew up. My son Adolph died of TB when he was out of High School, and my twin girls died in infancy. My wife died 2 years before me so I took my family to my wife’s homestead to have Aunt and Uncle help me raise the children. My son Arthur followed in my career and helped raise his teen- aged brother and sister on the homestead when I died. Arthur and Dolores were stricken with TB but survived with treatment. My career injuries and TB took my life. I was in the Marine Hospital in Chicago 11 days after my wife’s death (1936) until I was pronounced incurable with TB and chronic arthritis after 18 months of treatment. My 39 year career in the Life-Saving Service which later became known as the Coast Guard was one filled with being a carpenter, temporary surfman and surfman going on shipwreck rescues. Our regulations say “We have to go out, but they say nothing about coming back.” (you must try to save the mariners on ships in distress). In 1913 my surf mates from Portage and Eagle Harbor Stations each earned a Gold Medal for rescuing 24 crew off the Waldo stranded and later broken in two on Gull Rock reef at tip of the Keweenaw in a gale and snowstorm of hurricane violence. We were in 20 to 30 foot seas asking the crew to jump into our 36 foot life boat when the lake swell came up alongside the ship. We took the crew to a tug awaiting in Keystone Bay which took them to Houghton. Another shipwreck rescue was the Maplehurst near our station. See www.stantontownship.com and click on history for information on all the rescues and assists. Come to the Eagle Harbor Life-Saving Museum to see some of my medals I earned.

Contributed by: Barbara Koski, Houghton, Michigan