Childhood: Facing Academic Adversity
George C. Marshall, Jr. was born on December 31, 1880, the youngest of three children to George C. Marshall, Sr. and Laura Bradford Marshall. He had both an older sister, Marie, and an older brother, Stuart who were already in school by the time young Marshall could walk. Though his parents had roots in Virginia and Kentucky, the Marshall family lived in Uniontown, Pennsylvania where business with the coal industry provided a good living for his father.

George Marshall grew up during the late 19th century, which in many ways closed one chapter of American history and opened another. Children spent most of the their time outdoors, Marshall mostly getting into mischief. The trouble he caused was minimal in comparison to his lack of study skills, which did not live up to his parent's expectations.

Marshall's brother and sister excelled in school, however Marshall lagged behind in almost every subject. He was ashamed of his pitfalls, but he did exhibit talent and great intelligence in one subject: history. Despite his status as a struggling student, he would one day rise to become a piece of history himself.

Marshall struggled with academics throughout his student career. When it came time to attend college, his own brother begged their mother to hold Marshall back from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia from which Stuart had already graduated. He feared sending Marshall would only disgrace the family name. Marshall overheard this conversation and despite the hurt it caused, he resolved to prove his brother wrong.

Listen to General Marshall speak about:

Growing Up in Uniontown and Attending Grade School (MP3 6MB)

Interest in Army Life as a Young Boy (MP3 2MB)
Ferry Boat Incident (MP3 7MB)

Next: At VMI

Selected Bibliography

Pogue, Forrest C.
George C. Marshall
4 vols., New York: Viking, 1963-87
Vol. I, Education of a General, 1880-1939

Skutt, Mary Sutton
Growing Up, by George
Lexington, Va.: News-Gazette, 1997

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