1833 – 1901
Bryan Marsh was born in Alabama in 1833. After moving to Texas he settled in Smith County near Tyler. During the Civil War, Marsh served with distinction as a captain of Company C, 17th Texas Calvary. He was promoted to colonel before the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee. He was wounded at the battle of new Hope Church, Georgia in 1864. As a result of his wounds he lost his right arm below the shoulder and the left hand was badly mutilated.
Marsh was made captain of Company B, Frontier Battalion in December of 1880. In February 1881 he and his company were called to help with a riot situation in San Angelo. A black soldier from Fort Concho had been shot and killed, raising tensions between the soldiers and the townspeople. Rumors that the man responsible for the killing was free and in San Angelo sent fifty soldiers, black and white, from the Fort into town where they shot up the Nimitz Hotel. Arriving at Fort Concho, Marsh held a meeting with Colonel Grierson and asked for his assistance in helping to keep the peace. The Rangers stayed in San Angelo for several more days. No further attacks on the town were made.
Due to budget restrictions, Marsh’s Company B, Frontier Battalion was disbanded in August 1881. Marsh returned to Smith County where he served as sheriff for many years. He died March 25, 1901 in Tyler.
Ranger Jeff Milton described his Captain this way:
“. . .he would drink right smart and scrap right smart. He was an old Confederate war colonel with one arm shot off at the shoulder, and the other hand almost gone. But he would fight his shadow; wa’n’t afraid of anything.”
Suggestions for further reading:
- Frederick Wilkins, The law comes to Texas, Austin: State House Press, 1999
- J. Evetts Haley, Jeff Milton, a good man with a gun, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1948
- J. Evetts Haley, Fort Concho and the Texas Frontier, San Angelo, TX: San Angelo Standard-Times, 1952
- Vertical files, Texas Ranger Research Center, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas