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Charles Thomas Marsden and
Elizabeth Caroline (Pilling) Marsden

Pinepound Reflections - A History of
Spring Coulee and District pages 283 - 284

Charles Thomas Marsden Jr. "Tot" was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 17. 1877. He was the oldest son of the family of 13 of Charles Thomas Sr. and Isabell Harker Marsden. The family moved from Salt Lake City to Taylorville, Utah in 1844. In August 1892 "Tot" started to Cardston, Alberta, Canada with his father, his brothers Joe, Levi and Sam Buck. He was only 15 years of age. They travelled in covered wagons with four head of horses to each wagon and trailed extra livestock. They arrived in July.

He took on responsibilities at an early age and helped in the pioneering of Cardston district. He rode the range, taking part in the roundups, branding and training horses. One of his driving teams was very high spirited. He would drive them into Cardston and tie them up at the hitching post in front of the barber shop while he went in for a hair cut or shave. As long as Tot sat in the barber chair the horses stood quietly, watching him constantly through the window. As soon as he stood up to leave they began to rear. This continued until he would take hold of the reins and get into the buggy. Then immediately they calmed down and responded to his guidance.

His work horses were of the best. He worked them on many projects such as irrigation building, plowing fire guards and farming. Travel was by buggy, wagon or horseback. The fields were plowed, the crops and hay gathered by horsepower. Later machine power was used. His first car, a Dodge was purchased about 1918. Tot was interested in stock. He bought, fed and shipped beef. The beef he butchered was of high quality due to his very careful way of handling it. He ran large herds of sheep and always said that the sheep would pay for themselves if they were properly cared for.

He was married to Elizabeth (Lizzie) Caroline Pilling, May 17 1899. She was the youngest daughter of Richard and Catherine Pilling of Aetna, Alberta They were married in the famous Pilling home. Her sister Margaret(Maggie) was married to James E Nielson the same day. Following the marriage Tot and Lizzie made their home on the homestead of his brother Joe, about five miles northeast of Cardston near the St. Mary River. It bordered the homestead of Charles Thomas Marsden Sr. After about seven or eight years they moved to Cardston where they were located for 30 years. Tot's late life kept him from home a great deal. This deprived him of a real home life with his family which he loved very much.

Before marriage "Lizzie" worked hard with her family members as there was always plenty of work to be done in the Pilling home. It was a place of hospitality. There were cows to milk by hand, extra beds to be made, dishes to wash and meals to prepare. Often in hunting season tubs of wild ducks would be brought into the kitchen to be plucked, drawn, and prepared for the next meal. From her early experience and training Lizzie became a good housewife, cook and loving mother. She loved the nice things of life. She became a great seamstress, using her own patterns and creations. She had poor health. After her husband's death she became an invalid due to rheumatoid arthritis. During the remaining 30 years of her life she set a marvelous example to others with her pleasant, uncomplaining attitude toward her great affliction. She gave service in the church and home as much as possible. They had two daughters.

In 1908 Tot and Joe purchased six sections of land from William Mclntyre about five miles south of Spring Coulee. Here they became known as the Marsden brothers. They carried on extensive farming and ranching, Joe and family lived there working and managing the farm. Tot and family lived in Cardston. Tot took care of the business affairs of Marsden Brothers. In 1938 his health began to fail. While visiting in Utah with his daughter, he passed away April 24, 1939, in Payson, Utah at the age of 62.

At his funeral service Attorney P Clarke of Lethbridge had this to say. "I knew Tot intimately in a business way. I knew his business, his ideas, his ideals and his desire to do the right thing. Tot was a man who by training, by example and companionship was a gentleman. Because of the nature of his work being out so much with hired men, he could have been a rough stone. But as I knew him he was a man, morally, physically and mentally, a man who did not partake of his surroundings in the sense that it made him less a man. Tot thought a great deal of his family and made every sacrifice for his wife and daughter. He was a good father, a good husband and a hard worker."

Elizabeth Marsden passed away November 13, 1971 in Cardston at the age of 90 years. Interment for both took place in the Provo City Cemetery, Provo, Utah.

Together they had worked to assist in the development of his district, receiving love and respect from all who knew them.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup