MARSHALL S. PIERSON, president of the Haskell National Bank, Haskell, Texas, is a man who has for years figured prominently in the business and social circles here. Briefly, a sketch of his life and ancestry is as follows:
The Pierson family first made its appearance in America at an early period in the history of this country. One branch found a home in South Carolina, from whence some members moved to Alabama, settling principally in Tuscaloosa county, where William Howell Pierson, the father of Marshall S., was born in October, 1814, son of William Pierson and one of a family of five children, two sons and three daughters, that lived to be grown. In February, 1848, William Howell Pierson moved from Alabama to Texas, locating in Rusk county, where he owned several hundred acres and carried on extensive farming operations. He made his home in the town of New Salem, near the west line of Rusk county, and while there he was elected and served as justice of the peace for some twelve or fourteen years. He sold his farm afterward and moved to Gilmer, Upshur county, for the purpose of giving his children better educational advantages. He died there in 1868, at the age of fifty-four years. His wife, to whom he was married in Tuscaloosa county, Alabama, was Miss Malinda Sharp, a Tennessean by birth. She was injured in a cyclone at Emory, Rains county, Texas, March 17, 1894, and died from injuries on the 24th of that month, at the age of seventy-four years. Of her ten children, seven sons and three daughters, six sons grew to maturity.
Marshall S. Pierson dates his birth April 6, 1838, and was his tenth year when he came with his parents to Texas. Up to the age of fifteen his time was divided between work on the farm and attendance at the common schools. His father then sent him to a high school at Larrissa, Cherokee county, where he had been less than a year when he was taken ill with typhoid fever. As soon as he recovered he returned home, and again went to the schools near his home, attending school off and on until he was nineteen. At that age he was employed by his uncle, Marshall Pierson, in the general merchandise business, and remained with him two years. Then he began teaching school. After he had ten months’ experience in teaching, he was employed by some of the more wealthy people in the community to teach a private school, and was thus occupied when the country became intensely excited over Civil war events. Closing his school, Mr. Pierson enlisted, in the spring of 1862, in Company C, Seventeenth Regiment, Texas Cavalry, commanded by Col. James R. Taylor; and soon after entering the service was elected in all the engagements in which his regiment took part, many of them hotly contested fights. At the battle of Mansfield, Louisiana, he was wounded in the foot, which laid him up for a while. Several officers of his command were killed in that engagement and the adjutant of the regiment was wounded. Before he could walk Mr. Pierson was in the saddle on duty and about a month after the fight he was appointed to act as adjutant in place of the disabled officer, a position he filled until the close of the war. His regiment disbanded on the Brazos river in southern Texas.
On his return home from the war, Mr. Pierson resumed his work in the school room, as teacher at New Salem. He continued teaching four years, after which he went to Emory, Rains county, and engaged in the mercantile business on his own account, a business he continued for a period of thirty-six years, ten years after his coming to Haskell county. He also has a mercantile business at Winsboro, Wood county, which is in charge of his brother, W. C. Pierson. It was in 1890 that Mr. Pierson came to Haskell county. His first work here was in connection with the organization of the Haskell National Bank, of which he was made president, a position he has since occupied. This bank was organized with capital stock of fifty thousand dollars, which in 1903 was increased to sixty thousand dollars, and which is one of the most successful business enterprises of the town. Mr. Pierson is also a stockholder and president of the First National Bank of Aspermont, Texas. In Haskell and Stonewall counties he has large farming and stock interests, having some two hundred and fifty acres of land under cultivation.
Mr. Pierson was first married July 13, 1865, to Miss Roxana Ryan, a native of Union Parish, Louisiana, born July 30, 1845. She died May 31, 1881, leaving five children, as follows: Lee, William, Alice, wife of D. R. Couch, Marshall and Samuel. He was married again, April 8, 1883, to Miss Bettie Barker of Emory, Rains county, Texas, who died December 19th of the same year. His present wife he married Miss Maggie Rice, is a native of Laclede county, Missouri, and was born September 20, 1863. They have six children, three sons and three daughters, namely: Maggie, Mary, Cleveland, Alfred, Rice and Ruth.
Mr. Pierson has been a Mason since he was a soldier in the army, in 1864, and he has advanced through the various degrees of the order up to and including the Knight Templars. For thirty-eight years he has been a worthy member of the Baptist church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 559-560.