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To Mrs. Chester M. Davis
November 19,1952 [Pinehurst, North Carolina?]
My dear Mrs. Davis:
I receive so many requests somewhat similar to yours that it is not practicable for me to meet them. However, I will try, in a few words, to give you a partial answer to yours.1
My mother exercised a constant and lasting influence on my life. I was always very close to her, as her youngest child and because for some years my brother and my sister were away at school while I was at home with her. She was both gentle and firm, very understanding, and had a keen, but quiet, sense of humor, which made her my confidante in practically all my boyish escapades and difficulties.
She was a conscientious churchwoman and saw that I was always regular in my attendance. What I came to admire most about her while I was still young, and much more later on, was the way she bore a very heavy burden during the great financial depression of the nineties. She was in poor health, yet did all the work of our home and made it a cheerful place, where most of the young people of our various groups would assemble in the evenings when we were free, for music, good times, and interesting discussions. This was most uncommon in our community at that time. The custom was brought north by my parents from Kentucky.
All my mother’s life, she sent me a check for $10.00 on my birthday. The point was, she gave me. Our only quarrel that I can think of was her insistence on my mailing her letters immediately they were written, and they generally seemed to be written very shortly after the carrier had collected the mail. I recall that when I returned home in 1927 from China to find her confined to her bed shortly before her death, she immediately directed me to mail a letter in the mailbox across the street, though it was then 6:30 in the morning and I had but greeted her a few moments previously after a three years’ absence. I thought she was joking, but she was merely being her same self—always thoughtful of others, but determined in a few small things for herself.
She was a very wonderful mother, and I was very lucky to be her son.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Retirement, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Mrs. Davis (Elisabeth Logan Davis) had written General Marshall on November 4, requesting information about his mother for a biographical sketch. Mrs. Davis was writing Mothers of America (Westwood, N.J.: F. H. Revell, 1954), a book about mothers of famous American men. Laura Bradford Marshall is not mentioned in the book.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), p. 5.