Bio-Pen Pictures

            Charles Marvin, the noted expert who has charge of the trotting ranch at Palo Alto farm, is a native of New York, born in Genesee County, in 1839.  In 1844 his parents moved westward, locating at Lowell, Michigan.  At the age of twelve he commenced a residence in Central Illinois, and in 1856 went to Clinton, Iowa.  From there he went to Pike’s Peak, in 1860.  In the second year of the war he offered his services to the Union cause, and was assigned to the Second Colorado regiment, as a member of which he served until the close of hostilities, though most of the time on special duty, and in the capacity of a scout.  In this line of duty his personal courage and quickness of decision stood him in good stead.

 In 1865 he removed to Kansas City, where he picked up a couple of runners and commenced training race horses.  His success attracted the attention of P. B. Gardner, a liveryman of Kansas City, and the latter engaged his services, about the close of the year 1865.  He remained in Mr. Gardner’s employ about two years, and was especially successful in converting pacers to a trotting gait.  In 1867 he went to Mexico, where he remained two years.  Returning to Kansas City, a partnership was formed between Mr. Marvin and E. L. Mitchell, Mr. Marvin again developing some trotters and pacers.  In 1872 they removed to Olathe, Kansas, constructed a track, and commenced training on a larger scale.  During that year a Mr. Morgan brought to Olathe a big brown pacer to be trained, having concluded to make a trotter out of him.  This horse was Smuggler.  On the ninth of August Mr. Marvin commenced to teach him the trotting gait, and soon found that all his patience would be required in the task.  On the twenty-eighth the horse struck the trotting step, and twenty-one days thereafter he trotted two consecutive mile heats in 2:32¼ and 2:30½ respectively.  The next spring $10,000 was offered for the horse, but refused, and he was sold the same year for $30,000, and five years later, by Colonel  Russell, of Boston, for $40,000.  The career of Smuggler was always a matter of special interest to Mr. Marvin, who it is safe to say never knew a prouder day than that on which he drove Smuggler in that great race in which he beat Goldsmith Maid, the acknowledged Queen of the Turf.

 In the winter of 1877-78 Mr. Marvin took Smuggler to California, but the great horse went wrong, and was shipped to his Eastern home, while Mr. Marvin remained in California.  He offered his services to Governor Stanford on trial, and that they have been appreciated by the latter is evinced by the great confidence he has in the manager of his trotting interests.  His reputation in his profession is evidenced by the following testimonial from Col. H. S. Russell, owner of Smuggler, with whom he was so long associated, in a published letter to the editor of the Breeders’ Gazette:--

            “In addition to your very just praise of Charles Marvin as a driver, I beg leave to give my testimony of him as a man.  Not only the horse, but the owner as well, may have every confidence in him.  If the trotting interests of the country had been piloted by such men as he, there would have been more honest owners in the field to-day, and the better part of our citizens would be ready to encourage, rather than suspect, the motives which prompt capital to invest in a pastime which unfortunately has been shamefully abused.”

            Mr. Marvin was married, in Kansas City, to Miss Fannie Martin, a lady of much intelligence and refinement.  She is a native of Waukegan, Illinois, and daughter of Daniel and Didana Martin.  Her parents, who were formerly from the village of Hartford, Washington County, New York, located in Chicago among its early settlers, when there were hardly a dozen little cabins to mark the site of that now wonderful city.  After a residence of three years at Chicago, they removed to Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois, and there remained thirteen years.  From there they removed to Bates County, Missouri, during the excitement of the Missouri-Kansas border troubles, and the family, who were the only Free-Soilers in the community, fared none too well in their own home.  After three years of residence there, they removed to Osawatomie, Kansas, the home of John Brown.  Mrs. Marvin well remembers the old hero, who was a frequent visitor at the Martin homestead and a warm friend on account of their antislavery sympathies.  When the Civil War came on, four of her brothers offered their services on behalf of their country’s flag, and one of them, who was also a member of the Kansas Legislature, was killed in defense of the Union, at Bridgeport, Alabama, in 1865.  The father of Mrs. Marvin died in 1858, and her mother in 1884.  Mr. and Mrs. Marvin were the parents of four children, of whom one, Addie, died at the age of two years.  Those living are:  Howard, Jessie, and Charles, Jr.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 355-356
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler
Proofread by Betty Vickroy



SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight