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James Preston Marley
James P. Marley was born in Sheridan, Texas on November 20, 1882, and later in his life returned to
his home state to marry his wife, Augustana Anne Bonner, on June 10, 1909 in Luling, Gonzales County, Texas. He
died in 1952, only ten years after retiring from the army.
His wife, the daughter of Dempsey DeKalb Bonner and Emma Virginia Johnson, was born in Austin, Texas on January 10,
1884, and died there on July 29, 1973. Augustana B. Marley was a musician, a composer, a writer, and a
poet, so that in addition to being included in the International Who’s Who in Poetry, Vol. 2, she wrote the
book Maternal and Paternal Ancestors of Dempsey DeKalb Bonner and Emma Virginia Johnson Bonner under the name Anne
B. Marley. Her penn name for some of her workds was Enna Rennob, and before working, she attended the B.
Musical Institution of Musical Art in Washington D.C., as well as Chicago Musical College.
Eventually to serve both in the U.S. and the Philippines, patrol the Mexican Border and serve in both the First and Second
World War, Marley began his military involvement after graduating from the University of Texas, and enrolling in the United
States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where his Cullum Number was 4557. He remained there from
June 15 of 1903 until his graduation on June 14, 1907, when he graduated ranked 27th of the class.
After his graduation he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the 1st Field Artillery, and was first
sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he remained from September 16, 1907 until February 28. At the Fort,
Marley became the first Lieutenant of the 6th Field Artillery (on July 20, 1908), and was then transferred back
to the 1st Artillery on the 29th of August, 1908. From March 1st until
April 2, 1910 he was traveling to the Philippines, where he remained at Fort William McKinley from April 3, 1910
until February 2, 1913. On that date he began his journey to Fort Riley, arriving on March 6, 1913 and
resided there until April 23 of 1914. Marley was then put on border patrol at El Paso, Texas until December
11. After working in Arizona for various stations, he was sent to Fort Sheridan on May 20, 1917 and stayed
there through December 11. At the Fort, Marley was temporarily promoted to Major General of Field Artillery
on August 5 and on December 5, 1917 was made Inspector-General. He stayed in Washington D.C. in the Inspector-General’s
Department from December 12, 1917 until March 15, 1920, when he was put back as a Captain. However, while
he remained there he was temporarily placed as Lieutenant-Colonel for about 4 months until becoming a Colonel of Field Artillery.
In “A Wisconsinite in World War I: Reminiscences of Edmund P. Arpin, Jr. (Part
I: Initiation)” by Edmund P. Arpin, Jr. and Ira Berlin, Arpin describes James P. Marley, who in Fort Sheridan during
WWI was Arpin’s commanding officer, as “a man of the finest type” (7), and how when he needed reliable advice,
he “naturally turned to the one man in my limited experience in whom unqualified faith could be placed—Captain
Here is a copy of one of his letter during WWI from “Eyes Of The Army”:
July 28, 1917 Letter from Capt. Marley
My dear Lawrence-
I must offer apologies to you for not
having written you sooner, but tho’t I had. However I have just found out that I did not. Was very glad to hear you
had enlisted. I knew you would and if you get a chance to go up for a commission take it. Had you been able to stay I feel
sure you would have been one of those selected as officers. Your work was very satisfactory in the Battery & I disliked
very much seeing you go. I feel sure you have the qualifications of an officer and your education and intelligence are quite
in line with what is desirable in an officer. I should not hesitate to recommend you for examination for commission or for
commission in either the Infantry or Artillery.
I feel sure that hereafter the system of officering the Armies to be raised
these contemplated at present be by promotion and commission from the
have heard that you are a non-commissioned officer, if it
is true congratulations. Keep your eye on and work for commissioned grade
– Study & work hard, be anxious to absorb knowledge from any
one who has it and if you have the wide awake interest and knowledge you
exhibited here you will make it alright. If it is a recommendation you
me know, you can make your own way. Keep your eyes & ears open,
use your common sense and keep your mouth closed unless asked
about something is the rule for all soldiers who succeed. Let me hear
from you again. I shall take great interest in hearing of your advance.
Very truly yours
James P. Marley
|Augustana Ann Bonner Marley
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|USMA Class Ring of 1907
|Created between 1905 and 1945 by Harris & Ewing
|8th Infrantry Division Insigma
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In March of 1919, Marley was involved in
a War Expenditures hearing about his investigation as Inspector-General of motor transport operation in Muscle Shoals, Alaska.
In his report he worried over the reparation of private automobiles at Government expense, but in the hearing, the
Director of Construction of the Nitrate Plant took the blame for the actions and claimed it was his orders that led Major
Sullivan (whom Marley had blamed for the incidents) to carry out the procedures. The director ultimately
said: “The…cases of Government repairs to private automobiles mentioned by Col. Marley seem to fall within this
class, and are justified upon the same basis”.
Throughout World War II, James P. Marley was promoted to higher positions until he became a Brigadier General in 1940
and eventually a temporary Major General in 1941. He commanded the 8th Infantry Division from
December of 1941 until February of 1941, and then again from April of 1941 until July of 1942, when he was replaced by General
Paul E. Peabody. Marley then went to become a Commanding Officer at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, and
retired when he was 60 years old, in November, 1942.
The 8th Infantry Division, of which Marley was a Major General for at two difference times, was nicknamed
the “Golden Arrow Division” or “Pathfinder” in WWII because of its insignia. The
Insignia itself represents John Fremont, a 19th century explorer of California as the division was formed in California
in the year 1918.
In WWI, directly after being formed, the division was sent to France but they then returned and were
deactivated without ever being sent into battle. However, in WWII the division was sent to Utah Beach in
Normandy on just weeks after D-Day, on July 4, 1944, and went on to capture French cities and head into Rhineland and Germany.
There, along with 82nd Airborne Division, they encountered the Wöbbelin subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration
camp near Ludwigslust, which had been set up specifically to keep the Allies from liberating the prisoners. The
Division was ultimately recognized in 1988 by the U.S. Army's Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum as a liberating unit for their actions.
Denslow, William R., and Harry S. Truman. 10,000 Famous Freemasons. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger, 2004.
Arpin, Edmund P., and Ira Berlin. "A Wisconsinite in World War I: Reminiscences of Edmund P. Arpin,
Jr. (Part I: Initiation)" The Wisconsin Magazine 51.1 (1967): 3-25. Wisconsin Historical Society. Jstor.
Gabel, Christopher R. The U.S. Army GHQ Maneuvers of 1941. Washington, D.C.: Center of Military
History, U.S. Army, 1992.
Select Committee on Expenditures in the War Department, House,
United States Congress. War Expenditure: hearings before subcommittee no. 5 of the war on expenditures, Vol. 3. 1920.
Cullum, George Washington, and Edward Singleton Holden. Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduate
of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York (1910-1920). Ed. Wirt Robinson.
International Who's Who in Poetry. Vol. 2.
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