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Last name origins & meanings:

  1. English and Scottish: status name or occupational name from Middle English, Old French maresc(h)al ‘marshal’. The term is of Germanic origin (compare Old High German marah ‘horse’, ‘mare’ + scalc ‘servant’). Originally it denoted a man who looked after horses, but by the heyday of medieval surname formation it denoted on the one hand one of the most important servants in a great household (in the royal household a high official of state, one with military responsibilities), and on the other a humble shoeing smith or farrier. It was also an occupational name for a medieval court officer responsible for the custody of prisoners. An even wider range of meanings is found in some other languages: compare for example Polish Marszałek (see Marszalek). The surname is also borne by Jews, presumably as an Americanized form of one or more like-sounding Jewish surnames.
  2. As the fourth chief justice of the U.S., John Marshall (1755–1835) was the principal architect in consolidating and defining the powers of the Supreme Court. He was a descendant of John Marshall of Ireland, who settled in Culpeper Co., VA, sometime before 1655.
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