|James Barrus and Mary Josephine "Mollie" Marmion on their wedding|
|James Barrus and Mary Josephine "Mollie" Marmion in middle age|
|James Barrus Marmion,
oldest son of Henry and Mary Elizabeth Barrus Marmion.
Last Mayor of Houston Heights, businessman and civil servant.
James Barrus Marmion was born to Henry M. and Mary Elizabeth Marmion on April 25, 1871, in Washington, St Landry Parish, Louisiana. When he was still small, his family moved to Houston; and when he was fifteen, his father was permanently injured. James, as the eldest son, with four brothers and two sisters to help care for, went to work selling papers and acting as messenger boy for the Ben Reisner Company.
Four years later, he owned his own blacksmith and carriage shop and had four men working for him. This energy and determination characterized J. B. Marmion throughout life. Possibly, too, because he had to push a boy's strength to meet a man's responsibility, he became adept and practiced in aggressive struggle.
The Marmion family had lived in old Fifth Ward. There J. B. Marmion settled after his marriage in November, 1893 to Miss Mary Josephine Harris. In 1910, he took his growing family to Houston Heights, where immediately he became a leader in civic affairs.
In August, 1914, R. F. Isbell, Mayor of Houston Heights, resigned from office and the group who had supported Isbell put up W. P. Hamblen, Jr., for the special election called for September 5 to fill the vacancy. J. B. Marmion, nominated on a ticket which identified him as opposed to corporate interests, defeated Hamblen. Marmion was later re-elected and was still in office when the Heights was annexed in February, 1918.
After that event, Mr. Marmion served in various positions at City Hall in Houston. His scrapbook unconsciously shows his personal preference in his different posts. For some time he was Park Commissioner and most of his pictures were taken at Sam Houston Park (old City Park), of the grandstand, with his children in different beauty spots. In Marmion's report in 1915, while he was still Mayor of the Heights, he had pleaded for a park where children could play, something bigger and better than the old Heights Playground.
J. B. Marmion seems to have been the greatest fighter of our early Heights political leaders; but like most fighters, he was at heart a very gentle man, a man who loved his own children and who fought for parks for other people's children.
excerpt from "History of Houston Heignts" by Sister Agetha
|Located on Heights Boulevard at 18th Street, Marmion Park is the original location of the Cooley mansion, one of the first houses built in Houston Heights. The house was demolished in 1965. The land sat vacant until 1979 when it was purchased by the Houston Heights Association for the purpose of constructing Marmion Park, named in honor of the last mayor of Houston Heights, J. B. Marmion. The park's award-winning Kaiser Pavilion was designed to emulate the Cooley home's unique turret. This beautiful, tree-lined park and large gazebo are extremely popular for weddings and concerts.|
|his niece Vera recalls how JB and family really knew how to celebrate an occasion. They were a very happy family.|
|note: we have found no evidence that Henry was too injured to work, we have confirmed he is listed as employed on the census until his death in 1906|