The Marsh Family

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Peter Marsh (1800's)

The first gamefowl breeder/cockfighter in the family. He bred and fought Whitehackles, Smokeballs, and Roundheads. He took part in small money mains and local tournaments. He became associated with George Green who was to become the father-in-law of Peter's son Phil.

Phil Marsh (1869-1945)

Phil was probably the best known of the Marsh family as he became nationally known through his efforts in breeding and fighting gamefowl. It was Phil who made the Speeder bloodline and along with his son Bill created the Butcher fowl. He operated a meat market in Fort Plain,N.Y., and the Butchers were named after his profession. Phil was considered to be a better breeder than conditioner and his son Bill was just the opposite. He prided himself on excellent physical condition and at the age of 70 could still kick higher than his head. Phil was an avid coon and fox hunter with the hounds and took pride in his hound breeding also. He passed away after sustaining injuries brought on after being kicked in the kidney by a cow in his slaughterhouse.

Bill Marsh (1894-1977)

Son of Phil. Fed and conditioned his first main alone at the age of 13. Considered to be a better conditioner than breeder. When he and Phil fought at the Orlando Tournaments he went down to Florida one month ahead of the tournament with the fowl. He did most, if not all, of the conditioning from age 15 on. Bill fought cocks along the eastern United States from New York to Virginia. He worked most of his life as a cattle dealer and was a bootlegger during Prohibition. Like his father he was an avid bird, coon, and fox hunter as well as an avid carp fisherman. In the 1950's Bill would occasionally fight under the name "Goodman".

Alfred Marsh (1897-1971)

Alf was not as well known as his brother Bill. He basically dabbled in small mains and tournaments and took care of the fowl when Bill was unable to. Although he was not involved with the fowl to the extent that Bill was he was by no mean a pushover and won many mains on his own. Alf worked all his life in the family cattle business.

Phil Marsh II (1918-1995)

Son of Bill and named for his Grandfather. Serves as a Captain in the Military Police in WWII and served in North Africa and Europe. Participated in the Anzio campaign and the Battle of the Bulge. He also served as an aide to General Mark Clark while in Italy. He worked as a truck driver most of his life. After his retirement Phil was active in the sport fighting most of his fowl in New York and Pennsylvania.


Philip W. Marsh, 77, of Fort Plain, N.Y., died early Thursday morning, October 26th, at Little Hospital following a brief illness. Mr. Marsh was born August 18, 1918 in Fort Plain, the son of William G. and Iva Plan Marsh. He was educated in Fort Plain and served as a captain in the military police in the Army during World War II, serving in North Africa, France, Italy, Germany, and Austria. He took part in the Battle of the Bulge and the Anzio Campaign and was awarded the bronze star. He also served as an aide to General Mark Clark while in North Africa. He was employed as a truck driver for Dellwood Foods in Herkimer, retiring in 1980. Mr. Marsh was a member of the Fort Plain-Nelliston Elk Lodge 2621, Veterans of Foreigh Wars Post 3275 in Fort Plain, American Legion Post 554, and the Utica Teamsters and operating engineers. Survivors include one son, Mark Marsh of Fort Plain; one daughter, Diane Fausel of Scottsdale, Arizona; one sister, Helen Van Volkenburg of Fort Plain; a daughter-in-law, Donna Marsh of Fort Plain, and several nieces and nephews as well as two grandchildren. A graveside service was held Monday, October 30th at the Fort Plain Cemetary officiated by the Rev. Phyllis Holzhauer, Pastor of the Methodist Church. Contributions may be made to the V.F.W Post 3275 Memorial Squad, 30 River Street, Fort Plain, N.Y. 13339. -- Keb Mofatt


The Gamecock, January 1996

Mark Marsh (1962-present)

Son of Phil II and employed in the law enforcement field for over 17 years. Learned from Bill and Phil and is fortunate to have access to many of their personal notes, breeding records as well as the family keep. Started caring for fowl at 4 years of age. Former amateur boxer and a well known softball player in central New York. Like his ancestors he is an avid hunter and carp fisherman and appreciates his heritage in the sport.

Mark left, Tom right
Mark left, Tom right


Letters To The Editor

Dear Ms. Leverett:

My grandfather died November 29, 1945 and was buried December 2nd, the day I landed in New York after three years in the North Africa, European theater in World War II.

I attended most of the “big” mains fought at Foley’s Pit, Troy, NY, starting when I was ten years old. I still have, or rather my son has, the old slow, low point 1 ¼” heels my father and grandfather used to prefer to fight in. They first fought in long heels at the Orlando Tournament in the early 1930’s. They tied for first one year and finished second the other. Incidentally, out of the thirty fights fought, they were only able to get one even bet.

-Phil Marsh II


Page 118, The Gamecock June 1982

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