Leslie Seymour Marden

Sadly, I never met Leslie Seymour Marden, but from stories related by family members and information discovered in documents, I am proud that he was my Grandfather.


He is described as quiet,  very intelligent, stubborn, determined to make things right and undeterred by his handicaps.  He was missing one hand and a leg disabled by Polio at a young age. 






His Father having left  the family in Neillsville,  accompanied by Leslie's older Brothers, to "go West" ,as they said in those days , Leslie then helped  his Mother Charlotte, raise the rest of the children and in selling off, when money was short,  pieces of the 40 acres that his Father, William Henry Marden had earlier homesteaded. Finally, he and his then Wife, Eva cared for Charlotte in her final days.   


There are stories of his having repeatedly driven a horse and buggy from Neillsville to Wausau to visit with Eva Newell who became his wife after years of his suit, in 1913. 


Later, he, without horse and buggy, walked, selling sewing machines, thread, thimbles, needles, ectera,  and repairing those machines that had problems. It was through this route when he was unable to continue, that his Son, Erwin, met my Mother, Ethel Arp, in Greenwood,.


Leslie was for some years the supervisor of Neillsville's first ward.  His pallbearers seem to testify to the respect with which he was held.  


Following is a response to his death that was in addition to the formal obituary in the newspaper written by someone who obviously admired and respected him .  I quote it as it was written:


"The Worker


A Neillsville church was filled to overflowing last Sunday for the funeral of an humble man.  The tribute was seemingly greater than the man's modest estimate of his own importance.  He had not attained what the world calls success.  He had gained neither fame nor wealth.  He was a mechanic, working for a living.  To explain his position in the community and the deep regret for his departure, it is necessary to look beyond outward circumstance.  This simple man was known to his small world as Leslie Marden. Perhaps something of his standing grew out of his genius for mechanics.  He liked to make things fit.  Many a housewife in Neillsville has called upon him when something was a misfit, and he would make it right. When he finished it fitted.  From fitting things, he developed a sense of the fitness of things.  This became part of him.  Mr. Marden made things work. When mechanical equipment was out of order and went on a strike, when work had thus been stopped and the workers were idle, it was a community custom to call for Mr. Marden. By his labors, he put the tools and the machines in order and work started again.  Thus he lifted hundreds of miniature depressions.  In Neillsville he gave a demonstration much needed in our days of defeatism, that a good worker does not worry about carefully dividing a limited amount of work, but rather by his efforts creates work for others.  Leslie Marden never leaned on a shovel.  It was a matter of pride with him that he would not seek help.  Many a man in his situation would have given up the struggle and would have leaned all his life.  For Leslie Marden was a mechanic with but one hand.  Throughout his days he had only five fingers to work with.  What he lacked in fingers he made up for in character.  If all Americans of today worked as he did, without leaning at all, the depression would soon become a memory. "


Submitted 2006


by Judy Marden Hansen  

In memory of Leslie Seymour Marden 


Memorials & Tributes Index



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