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Where did Thomas L. Marsalis go?

Posted by Jim Barnes 
Ralph Black,
Greg Jaynes wrote that his personal copy of his Dallas Pioneer Cemetery compact disk (c.d.) is packed away somewhere that he can't easy access, but that Cecil Jones (in Chicago) has a copy. Cecil's email was last posted on this website as:
I myself hope that there will someday be one in the Dallas Public Library and/or Dallas Historical Society library.
Greg replied to me from the last email address that he posted here (February 2004) which is: jaynes@mail.com.
Thanks for posting all these interesting newspaper articles. Fascinatingly surprsing. I hadn't heard of the Dallas fire before.
Yes, I think the last one is indeed a posting on Thomas L. Marsalis, Jr., based on the prior information that you yourself provided. But what is he now doing in Maryland?
I can't find any sort of outline New York State or Manhattan Death Index online. Such lists must be quite large and still only available on microfilm. Unless you see some easier way, I think we're close enough that I would be willing to pay a professional in New York City for one hour to pull the microfilms for 1916-1920 inclusive and see if they can find him in the Manhattan Death Index for those years. With a Death Certificate Number, I can then order a full copy from the State, and with the date for the Index list, we can look for newspaper obituaries in New York and perhaps Dallas.
Any better idea of how to close the chase?
Fred Ragsdale
Re: Where did Thomas L. Marsalis go?
July 20, 2004 02:37AM
Sharon, you're giving us very good information regarding T. Marsalis! Thank you for the postings!
I wonder if the fire was one of the events that led to his financial failure in Dallas and led to his move to NY?
Today, I checked the NEW YORK TIMES indexes for 1914--1922 and found no new mention of any Marsalis. The 1916 article I had sent previously was indexed: "T.l. Marsalis-implicated in plot to influence Congress on armed liner issue, exposed by NY World, Mar.8, 1916."
I have checked several NY city cemeteries with indexes and so far nothing. We could contact the New York city vital records department online and request a search. This will take 6-8 weeks.See the following:[www.ci.nyc.ny.us]. I'll look some more and decide.
I'm under the impression that obituary notices aren't indexed along with ordinary newspaper articles, though that is a convention which might vary between publications. Dallas newspapers from that period simply have no indexing at all. One early, pioneer era, Dallas newspaper was indexed by a W.P.A. grant, but that catalog of the Dallas weekly Herald only extends up until about 1894. From then, until the arrival of computers in the 1970s, its ALL unindexed.
It's possible that Thomas L. Marsalis, Sr. died in Washington, D.C., during a lobby activity, or on a vacation, or at some special-out-of-Manhattan medical facility. Then his Death Certificate and the Indexing of his Death might well be another Borough, another State, or even another nation. {Perhaps he died in the Dallas Pioneer Cemetery trying to find his own tombstone -- just a joke.}
I notice that no one by the name of Marsalis is listed in the directory of Queenstown, Maryland today. That's a town on the eastern side of Chesapeake Bay, more like a vacation retirement center then a place to grow a family or make money in stock deals.
I don't know what we will find, but I my ignorant hunch is that Thomas Marsalis was buried in some old-family cemetery in New Jersey. Stay tuned.
The date of this fire in January of 1887, and the first indication that I have that Marsalis was in financial trouble, in April of 1892, don't seem to match up very well. It's in October of 1887 that the first auctions for lots in Oak Cliff were a huge success and Marsalis' credibility skyrocketed, even when partner Armstrong pulled out.
The rise and fall of Marsalis' Dallas real estate developer days is fairly short. In 1887 he is a very successful grocery wholesaler. Six years later he's a busted real estate developer, and has 'had to leave town'. Not unusual, except that so much of his vision had been built in those six years.
I will double check the NYTimes Indexes in our Archive library but I believe each volume listed at least some deaths.
I even checked each one's "accidental" list. However, even if deaths were included, it always has depended on whether the surviving family submitted it. Guess govt. search will be best option unless something unforeseen turns up.
the NEWS newspaper, Frederick,Maryland.1956,14 Sept.
"...were luncheon guests of Mrs. Thomas Marsalis, My Lord's Gift, Queen Anne County,on Wednesday.Mrs. Marsalis is flower chairman for the Eastern Shore area and discussion was held on that area"
My Lord's Gift is an historic area of Queen Anne Co. (Google search)
Do you know of any children that Thomas L. Marsalis, Junior and his wife, Lillian had?
By any rare chance, do you know what happened to Thomas Senior's daughter Lelia (or Lalia)? Do we have any married name to work with?
Has your "Marsalis book" arrived?
I know from the 1920 census (NJ, Verona, Essex Co.)and the 1930 census (NJ, Essex, Montclair) that T.L., Jr. and wife Lillian D. (maiden name unk. at this time) had a daughter Barbara, born ab.1915. So far thats all found on Barbara.The 1920 census was enumerated Jan.28, 1920 and if Barbara's age was 4 years 9 months as listed then she would have been born in April or very early May of 1915. On the SSDeath Index,assuming she had married, there are 130 Barbara Ms. listed, 20 are in that birth month range and one in Baltimore that I am pursuing.
As for my book , yes it came. Its called A SEARCH FOR POLLY, compiled by Harry L. Marsalis in 1971. I am also corresponding with another researcher who contributed to this book but has also added to, amended, and addended Marsalis and related lines for over 50 years. She is Tempe Fenn Crosby and her manuscript is "Pieter Marcelisen-Peter H. Marsalis-Six Generations", with Van Voost,Pintard, Hutchins and Gordon Research material. The material is in the Jackson, Ms. Archives and the McComb Ms. library but unfortunately they don't loan out genealogy works.
The tree in the book only says that" Thomas Marsalis (son of Patterson and Martha L.Terrell Marsalis}was born 4 Oct. 1852, d.? and married Lizzie Crowdus 1873, Dallas, Tx. Issue: Allene b.?,d. age 4, Lalia, and Thomas L., Jr."
I have done all kinds of wild card searches on Lalia's name but nothing found after 1930 census.
You have certainly provided a lot of very interesting material.
Without married surnames, it looks like Lalia and Barbara are going to difficult to track. Thomas L. Marsalis, Jr. certainly sounds like a successful businessman; the whole family sounds quite successful, for several generations.
I wish we had Manhattan Directories online from 1890-1920.
Ancestry.com does have an 1890 directory but he is not in it since, as you determined, he either was still in Dallas or Philadephia. Guess sometime I'll try to plow thru 1900 census since he was President of the American Grocery Co. by the 1890s.Yesterday I really looked at his daughter Laila/Lalia/? and in the 1920 census where her mother is listed as widow, Lalia's age is off by 10 years, I THINK. Instead of 32 she should have been 42 if her age of 2 was correct in 1880. Therefore I wonder if she never married. Regardless it looks as though the Marsalis name of this family ended with T.L., Jr.
From the book I bought and my correspondence with Tempe Crosby I have learned that the 2 bothers John and Peter back in 1700s in the BoundBrook/ GreenBrook, NJ area ended up with THEIR descendants spelling MARSELIS differently. Peter's descendants who for the most part went to Pennsylvania spelled it MARSEILLES and John's who went south spelled it MARSALIS. Some of the Marselis lines that ended up in Canada think the Marselises were originally French Huguenots who fled to the Netherlands because of intense persecution in the 1500s and ended up marrying "Dutch". Others think the Fr. ancestry thought came from marrying into the French line of Pintard in early 1700s. There is alot of fascinating history of this family and the lines the men married into.
Do you know if Thomas L. Marsalis had family relatives in Philadelphia in 1892? Could he have been there "visiting" with them?
The April 1892 Dallas newspaper story about hte West Dallas Railway makes it sound like Marsalis' relocation to New York was already underway at that time (Dallas visitors report visiting him at his home in Philadelphia AND New York).
Have you happened to have had time to look for Marsalis family members in the Maryland census listings, after 1920?
Thanks to "Jean" who has read our postings we now know the following: 1900 census DALLAS, Thos. L. Marsalis is a boarder at the Windsor Hotel. Except for his age and occupation as "capitalist" (I think) nothing else is known which tells me that he was not present when the info was given. Perhaps he was going back and forth to NY. His presidency at American Grocery was probably over due to the liquidation proceedings begun in 1897 and by the 1910 census he was in "real estate" in Manhattan. Perhaps he was doing business connections of some sort or wrapping up loose ends in Dallas. Perhaps this stay also began the untrue "disappeared in poverty" story.
I have been slowly going thru 1900 records for NY which is tedious but nothing new so far. Jean also tried to find more of his family.
There are no other Marsalis names in Maryland than T.L.,Jr.and I have absolutely no idea who he might have known or not in Philadelphia. The Peter Marselis line that became Marseilles was there then {cousins to him) but have no clue if he knew them or that fact.
Unfortunately we may have found all we're going to for awhie. Of course I can't believe how much has come to light in one month.
Well, we've certainly got a lot of interesting little pieces of puzzle out on the table to look at, by just chatting on the internet. Thanks for taking up the hunt for a bit, you've added a great deal to our knowledge of Marsalis's life and family.
I'm surprised that Thomas L. Marsalis was still coming back to Dallas in 1900, but closing out his affairs must have been a large operation. I rather suspect that the stories of him fading into financial ruin may have been stories left in Dallas to soothe his troubled creditors. It actually sounds like the Marsalis family had a lot of financial clout in New York City.
I have taken the liberty of ordering a search for Marsalis' death certificate, via the online site with the City of New York that you last mentioned. I ordered a check for years 1916-1920 inclusive. I will post any results I receive.
Thanks, I would like to know if you find anything.I will keep looking too and post again if I find anything. Do you have access to the photo of T.L. you say is in the "Hidden City"? I have one of his father and stepmother (in the book).Its odd that we haven't come across any of him.
There are two photos of Thomas L. Marsalis in "The Hidden City". The only one where his facial features are clearly visible is a newspaper "dot-matrix" separation. The other is from a member of an old Dallas family, where Marsalis is part of a scene featuring a commuter locomotive. I will scan both and email to you directly, off the Message Board. "The Hidden City" is copyrighted material, so I feel uncomfortable spreading copies on the internet, beyond "limited" and "private" use, even if not for monetary gain.
I would love to have copies of Marsalis
Incidentally, there is a lot more information in "The Hidden City" about Thomas Marsalis than elsewhere. There are references to materials cited in their bibliography that I can't find in either the Dallas Public Library or the Dallas Historical Society. If you are interested in Marsalis' most famous Dallas escapade, I can only recommend the whole book. The photograph of Marsalis' Oak Cliff mansion alone would make it worth the purchase price.
(How was that for free advertising?)
Jean sent the following: the following article : "Is this your Thomas L. Marsalis?
The newspaper I found it in was the Ogden Standard Examiner dated 11
I wasn't looking for this particular info just trying to find some clues on my family research interests."
IN A TIGHT PLACE Dallas,Tx.,June 10 "The Dallas Land & Loan company made an assignment last night. Liabilities $300,000 and assets nearly $1,500,000. In an interview today L. Marsalis, president, said the company was forced to make an assignment which will be only temporary, to protect its assets. The company was the principal owner of the Oak Cliff, a suburb across the river from Dallas, and had to carry so much paper that they got caught in a tight place."
Gosh, this is really a great find. This definitely confirms that Marsalis was in financial straits long before the "Panic of 1893".
Keep up the good work Jean! Thank you so much.
Perhaps this is a good time for me to tell about the only "deal" of Marsalis' for which I have any copies of documentation, a real estate transaction 3 miles west of downtown Dallas, and about a mile northwest of Oak Cliff. It goes like so:
Most of the eastern half of the William Myers Section (302 acres, which are now Kessler Park, Kessler Square, Rosemont Elementary School, and Oak Cliff Annex along Kings Highway) were purchased from the descendents of William and Mary Myers in January of 1887 by a group of investors including: J.C. O
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