Marshall Anderson

Born in Summerville, Norwich Township, in 1845, Marshall Anderson was the son of Hannah and Rev. Lindsay B. Anderson, a preacher at the British Methodist Episcopal church in Otterville. Marshall married Sarah Turner with whom he had a daughter, Frances, ca. 1863. When Sarah died young, Marshall married her sister, Mary, with whom he had two children, Ernest and Maud. The family moved to Woodstock in 1880 after the death of Sarah and Mary’s mother, Mary Turner. The younger Mary, Marshall’s wife, died in 1881.

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In May 1893 Marsh (as he was commonly known) was hired by the businessmen of Woodstock to nightly patrol the downtown core. He was hired as a night watchman, but his acts in the line of duty covered all phases of police work as the regular force did not operate after dusk. After the police ended their duties for the night, Marshall patrolled the area around Dundas Street from Vansittart to Wellington. At first, he patrolled with a Newfoundland dog named Duke, but someone poisoned the dog. Marshall’s second dog was a Great Dane named Seeker. As Marshall checked the store fronts and ensured that the doors were locked, Seeker followed behind but always preceded his master into dark alleyways in order to sniff out lawbreakers and vagrants. If they found either one, they would march them to the lock-up, located in the old city hall building, which is now the museum. Vagrants would be released in the morning but lawbreakers would wait for a police judgement. Marshall was also a member of the Woodstock Fire Brigade. When he retired in 1920, the Woodstock Police Commission granted Marshall a pension for life. He died in 1932, at age 87.
The Woodstock Fire Brigade in 1894. Image courtesy of the Woodstock Museum & Archives.