Marshall, Perry S.Alternative names
Image of Perry Marshall, from the Vermont Alumni Weekly .
Dr. Perry Marshall (1850?-1929) was a resident of New Salem, Massachusetts. A minister, published poet, and doctor specializing in "surgical disease of women," Marshall attended the University of Vermont and graduated in 1871. He bought his home in New Salem in 1891, which burned after his death in 1929. In Marshall's 45th year he married 38-year-old Ella Maria Ormsby on Dec. 4, 1895, and the two had three daughters. Ella Maria Ormsby was born in Hampden, Massachusetts on March 9, 1857. She was a bird enthusiast who advocated bird protection and safe feeding practices. A member of the American Ornithologists' Union, she was elected an Associate of the Union in 1912.
As a poet, many of Marshall's writings appeared in the Athol Transcript, while others were self-published. Vinland, a collection of historical poetry documenting the Norse discovery of America was published by Charles Kerr and Company of Chicago, and the Athol Transcript published the collections Light and Shadow, Irene, and Austria .
Perry Marshall served a church appointment between the years of 1911-1915 in New Salem, later becoming Justice of the Peace for the town. Throughout his life, he continued to write poetry, and in the last two and a half years of his life he corresponded with a student attending Fitchburg Normal School, Dorothy Bullard, also a resident of New Salem.
Bullard was the second of four daughters of William and Harriett (Paige) Bullard, born in North New Salem, at the Bullard Farm on July 31, 1910, and graduated from New Salem Academy in about 1928. Dorothy's father, William Bullard worked in lumber with his brother Robert under the business name Bullard Brothers. Bullard's family had strong ties to the Swift River Valley, and her family had lived in New Salem for generations. Her sister, Marion, attended nearby Massachusetts State College, graduating as valedictorian in 1934.
Dorothy's interests included playing piano, studying American history, and literature. She was especially interested in poetry, and could recite long passages of Whitman and Longfellow. After attending two years at Fitchburg Normal School she taught for a few years in a one-room schoolhouse in New Salem before marrying. Bullard's daughter, Janet Hankins, suggested that Dorothy was "a little frustrated that she had not been able to complete more college."
She married Paul H. Fitz of Natick, Massachusetts in September of 1933, a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute who she met through her cousin Warren Doubleday. Paul and Dorothy had two daughters, Janet in 1934 and Jean the following year. The family lived in Natick and in Dover until Fitz's Naval reserve unit was called up in 1940, just before the United States' entry into World War II. Dorothy moved back to North New Salem with the girls and lived with her parents until the end of World War II, when the family was reunited in Dover.
After the Second World War, Fitz was employed as an engineer at the Sears-Roebuck plant in Boston. In 1955, he transferred to the Sears plant in Philadelphia, and the family lived in Langhorne, until Paul took retirement in 1965, when the couple moved back to New Salem to live at Bullard Farm.
Marriage did not stop Dorothy from being engaged in her community with Girl Scouts, women's club, button clubs, round dancing, and the Friends of the New Salem Library, of which she was the founding member. Paul H. Fitz died in 1981, and Dorothy died in 1990, at a nursing home in Greenfield, a year after suffering a stroke.
From the guide to the Perry Marshall Papers MS 493., 1902-1929, (Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries)
- Poets, American
- New England (as recorded)
- New Salem, (Mass.) (as recorded)
- Quabbin Reservoir (Mass.) (as recorded)