Summer of 1977 was when I first heard about brothers Harmon and Jake Marshall, from their niece Vera Cook Steptoe, my paternal grandfather Vernon V. Cook's baby sister. She was called "Aunt Baby Sister" by the family, but not by me. I LOVED her name, "Vera"....and "Aunt Vera" was how I addressed her. Over the years, I'd hear about them again from my dad's siblings.
Harmon and Jake's parents, Cassius and Isabella Marshall
Harmon Marshall was born 1879, Overton, Rusk County, Texas. Jake was born to their parents Cassius and Isabella Mayfield Marshall in 1890, Houston, Harris, Texas. They had other siblings which I'll feature in another blog.
What blows my mind about these two is their GUMPTION to hobble..yes, HOBBLE on down to the WWI Registration Office, and sign up to fight....with THREE LEGS between them! See, big brother Harmon and baby bro Jake were playing along the Railroad tracks. Maybe they were just walking, "chunking" rocks or something. The exact circumstances aren't known to me. The only thing I know is, Harmon went back to get Jake out of the path of an oncoming train.....a TRAIN!!!
Harmon lost part of his left leg above the knee
.........And brother Jake lost part of his left leg, 6 inches below his left knee
Jake ambled on down to sign up for soldiering in June 1917. Harmon followed in September 1918. Fighting was over as of November 11, 1918, so, whatever Harmon signed up for is between him and the U.S. of A.
My theory is that both my great grand uncles adapted quite well with living without the parts of them left on the tracks. They HAD to be strollin', and struttin' like "It ain't nothin' but a thang, baby". I wish I had photos of them to share, but I was told that they were some "Good Lookin' Cats".
It's finding out facts like this that make me grin with amazement, and the utmost pride. I mean, Harmon and Jake HAD to know they'd be denied for service....but they strutted on up in the place ANY how.
This is the stuff that movies are made of. I can hear them now.....
Jake: "Hey man, I'm going down to register for the service"
Harmon: "Alright baby brother. If anybody gives you any flap, call me on their payphone. I'll be down there faster than a man running with two feet, to come whup their asses with my GOOD foot. Love you baby brother"
Jake: "Awww, man! Hahaaaa, I'll be alright. They don't want me to "Knee" 'em nowhere! Love you too, big brother"