Posted by Jim Fitzgerald
In a speech, recorded in the "Marshall News Messenger", dated June 12, 1947,  Mrs. J. F. Lentz, recalled the beginning of The Marshall era.
"The “Republic of Texas” chartered Harrison County on January 28, 1839, and named it for Jonas Harrison, a brilliant lawyer of the Republic”, she said.  “Greensborough, near the present location of Board’s Ferry on the Sabine River, was named the first county seat."
She shared also that a couple of years later one of the settlers (Peter Whetstone), in what is now known as Marshall Texas, offered 160 acres of his land to build a county seat for the new county.
Eventually, in 1841, the settlement was named "Marshall",  after Chief Justice of The Supreme Court (1801-1835), John James Marshall, and recognized as the county seat of Harrison County, by the “Republic of Texas” (1836 – 1846).   By 1850 it was the fourth largest city in Texas.  
According to the “Texas Republican” (Marshall Edition), on June 13, 1850 the settlement/town of Marshall held an election to incorporate.  The result of that election was announced and the “town” of Marshall became a legal corporation, afterwhich, Bylaws and Local Ordinances were passed and approved on July 6, 1850., to run the corporation.
During that time, the city’s affairs were governed by 5 Aldermen, a Mayor, a Town Constable, a Treasurer, and a Recorder.  
In 1909 the town of Marshall Texas applied to the State of Texas to be, incorporated and officially become a “city” of the Great State of Texas, operating under a statutory city charter mandated by the State of Texas, with a Council type structure, run by 5 commissioners and a mayor. 
When the Rotary Club was organized in 1919, an article appeared on June 11, 1919 asking the question, “It is often ask what the Rotary Club stands for and what the idea of its establishment is?.
"In the first place the organization is not to supplement or replace in any way the Chamber of Commerce. Working together the two build for the growth of elites of cities and the stimulating of interest to bring about a change in business from the old methods to the new ones."
Working closely with the Chamber of Commerce, the new Rotary Club, became a driving force in city and county affairs, and possibly a little too powerful.  During those first few years, the coalition of the C of C and Rotary Club, basically ran the city and county government. 
By 1926, the Rotary Club and Chamber had come to realize that Marshall needed a Professional manager instead of the well-meaning, but relatively untrained commissioners and mayor to manage and supervise the growing city infrastructure.
So, 1926 the Rotary Club of Marshall and the Chamber, started a petition to change it from to City-Council type government, to a Council/Manager type.
In 1927, an election was held, and the city charter was amended to change to a Council/Manager type government, which remains the governing body of our city to this day.
Since then the club shifted its focus away from civic affairs to business ethics, humanitarian programs, and educational projects. A shift that has changed thousands of lives and improved the business climate in Marshall for almost a decade and improved the lives of countless others.
For this and many other reasons the Rotary Club of Marshall Texas, will be “Celebrating a Century of Changing Lives in Marshall – and Beyond”, next August 24, 2019, at the Marshall Convention Center.