Captain Obed Marsh (1800?-1878)
//by Raymond H Rich
Captain Obed Marsh used his three ships, the Columbia, the Hetty, and the Sumatra Queen to build a mercantile empire in the Massachusetts town of Innsmouth beginning in 1820 and lasting over two decades. It was on an early expedition that Marsh procured gold artifacts from Polynesian islanders who claimed to receive them from a race of fish-people (Deep Ones) in exchange for human sacrifices.
Marsh became a student of their legends and folklore during his many visits to trade for more gold. Arriving in 1838, however, he found that the islanders had been slaughtered by their neighbors, and his source of gold was lost. Innsmouth had come to rely upon the gold he brought back from the island, so in the wake of this tragedy, its economy crumbled.
Obed Marsh founded the Esoteric Order of Dagon, preaching a new religion that promised success and prosperity in exchange for fealty to the Polynesian gods. All of Innsmouth’s churches were converted or closed. The plague of 1846 decimated half of Innsmouth’s population and left the other half firmly in Marsh’s grip. After his death in 1878, the Marsh family continued its control of Innsmouth until Project COVENANT in the winter of 1927-1928 and the death of Robert Marsh, presumed to be the end of the line.
from The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana by Daniel Harms, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" by H.P. Lovecraft, and Escape from Innsmouth by Kevin Ross.