James Marson (14 August 1810 – 29 March 1898) was a Staffordshire chemist and druggist who converted to homeopathy to become the first homeopathic chemist in England. In 1832, Marson established what would become J. Marson and Son, Chemists, at 53 Greengate Street, Stafford

Marson was taught homeopathic pharmacy by Dr. Sarkes C. Davids, the founder of the Manchester Homeopathic Dispensary.

In 1878, Marson’s son, William (1851 – 1918), joined the family business as a chemist and druggist. He became a Justice of the Peace and in 1905 Mayor of Stafford.

James Marson was born in Acton Trussell, Staffordshire, on 14 August 1810, the son of James Marson (1779 – 1853) and Susannah Rogers (1783 – 1854).

In May 1838, Marson married Eliza Yates (1820 – 1900). They had thirteen children, including Francis Herbert Marson F.R.C.S. (1862 – 1939) and dental surgeon Cyril Darby Marson (1863 – 1942).

Marson died in March 1898, aged 88. An obituary published in The Chemist and Druggist was reprinted in the May 1898 edition of the British Homoeopathic Review:

The Chemist and Druggist, of the 9th ultimo, has the following account of the late Mr. Marson, of Stafford :—

“On March 30, at Earl Street, Stafford, Mr. James Marson, chemist and druggist. Aged 88. Mr. Marson was the ‘father’ of the trade in the borough. He was the son of a farmer and miller, and went to Stafford as an apprentice with Mr. Dawson, chemist and druggist, who occupied premises in the Market Place. He commenced business for himself in 1832, when he founded the business carried on at present in Greengate by his son. He was then 22 years of age. He married at 27, his wife (who survives him) being at the time only 17. Although Mr. Marson carried on business as an allopathic chemist, he was from the first a convinced homoeopath, and was no doubt the first homoeopathic chemist practising as such in England. He was taught the art of making triturations, globules, &c., by Dr. Davids, a young homoeopathic physician, son of the then Court physician to the Shah of Persia. Dr. Davids afterwards settled in Manchester. Mr. Marson was preparing and selling homoeopathic medicines in 1837-39, and had & high reputation in the Midlands at the time, when H. Turner, the first homoeopathic chemist in Manchester, was a schoolmaster, and when both Messrs. Leath and Epps, who afterwards became famous in the business, were, we believe, connected with the publishing trade.

“He was the last survivor of those leading burgesses who signed the oath of allegiance to her Majesty when she ascended the throne in June, 1837, and the fac simile of his signature appears in the recently-published volumes of the Royal charters of the borough. The late Mr. Marson was doubtless the oldest Freemason in the province. He was initiated in 1833, and installed W.M. of the Royal Chartley Lodge of Fortitude in 1836. He was one of the founders of the “First” Staffordshire Knot Lodge, formed in 1836, and in that year he was appointed J.D., and subsequently became Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. In religion he was a sturdy adherent to the Plymouth Brethren cause. Had he lived another month he would have been enabled to celebrate his diamond wedding. He leaves eleven children, besides his widow. Only a few days before his death Mr. and Mrs. Marson were walking out together. He was a skilled botanist, and had an extensive knowledge of ancient and modern languages.”

Of Interest:

William Marson (1851 – 14 February 1918), son of James Marson, took over the family chemist and pharmacy business at 53 Greengate Street, Stafford. William Marson was an original member of the Society of Chemist Opticians. He became a Justice of the Peace for Stafford, Chairman of the town Public Health Committee and, in 1905, was elected Mayor of Stafford. Following William Marson’s death in 1918, the business was purchased by his former apprentice, the councillor, optician and pharmacist Harry Eymer (1882 – 1960), who would himself become Mayor of Stafford in 1925.

James Thomas Marson (1854 – 1925), son of James Marson, was a partner in Mason and Marson boot and shoe manufacturers and, like his father, a Freemason. In March 1896, he was installed as Worshipful Master of the Staffordshire Knot Lodge No. 726 at a meeting held in the Odd Fellows Hall in Stafford. At this meeting he proudly noted that his eighty-five year old father was the oldest living Staffordshire Freemason, having been initiated into the Lodge of Fortitude No. 427 in 1833.

Francis Herbert Marson M.D. F.R.C.S. (1862 – 1939), son of James Marson, was an orthodox surgeon at the Staffordshire General Infirmary in 1914. Prior to this, in 1895 he received his M.D. from the University of Durham and was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. In 1907, he was appointed as Medical Officer and Public Vaccinator for the Stafford District.

Dental surgeon Cyril Darby Marson M.R.C.S. L.R.C.P. L.D.S. (1863 – 1942) was another son of James Marson who entered the medical profession. C. D. Marson was a gifted student and won several awards at Queen’s College Birmingham. He became an active member of the Central Counties Branch of the British Dental Association and, in 1893, he was listed as a member of staff in the Dental Department of Mason College, Birimgham.

James Furness Marson M.R.C.S. L.S.A. (d. 1879) [no evident relation] was Resident Medical Officer to the Small-Pox and Vaccination Hospital, Holloway, London.