The Noble Order of the Knights of Marshall is a historical society founded along the lines of the Order of the Knights of Columbus of the United States of America. It is a Catholic Fraternal Organization in West Africa and London with its Supreme Headquarters in Sekondi, Ghana, and aims at bringing Catholic men (and women) together in the practice of Unity, Charity and Service.
In the year 1925, some enthusiastic young men of St Paul’s Catholic Church, Sekondi, rallied themselves together to plan the formation of a purely Catholic Friendly Society in West Africa for the purpose of bringing together Catholic men for effective lay apostolate and Catholic Action and provide that friendly social forum for Catholic men, who might otherwise be attracted into other non-Catholic secret societies.
These ardent young men made enquiries as regards the history of the Knights of Columbus. They found that whilst the Knights of Columbus exists as a fraternal organization, it also immortalizes the name of a layman, Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America. Inspired by a similar spirit, this band of Catholic young men, with their zealous leaders: Brothers J Brookman-Ammisah and JA Kwesi-Aaba decided to institute a fraternal society that would immortalize the memory of Sir James Marshall, who acting on the West African scene, championed and espoused the re-establishment of the Catholic Church in the Gold Coast (Ghana), West Africa in the year 1880, after nearly 250 years of the breakdown (1637) of the first Catholic Church established by the Portuguese in 1482.
Their researches into the history of the Catholic Church in West Africa revealed that Sir James Marshall, MA, BL, CMG, KCSG, a Scotsman and a Catholic layman, working in the British Colonial Service in Lagos, Nigeria and accredited to the Gold Coast, Ghana, most persistently added his voice and the weight of his endeavour to the appeals and pressures that made Propaganda Fide assign the Gold Coast to the Society of African Missions (SMA). Following the assignment, the SMA transferred the pioneer Priests Rev Fathers Auguste Moreau and Eugene Murat, both French nationals, from their Island of St Helena Station (South Africa Mission), to establish the Catholic Mission in the Gold Coast (Ghana). The pioneer Priests arrived at Elmina, Gold Coast (Ghana) on 18th May 1880 soon after Sir James Marshall had been transferred from Lagos to Accra as Chief Justice. He gave the Priests every encouragement and assistance in establishing themselves and the faith in Elmina.
Sir James Marshall was, for some time, a Chief Magistrate and Judicial Assessor at Cape Coast, Gold Coast (Ghana), Puisne Judge in Lagos (Nigeria) and finally, Chief Justice of the Gold Coast and Nigeria, and resident in Accra, Gold Coast.
Sir James Marshall was also known to have played a significant role in enhancing the growth of the Catholic Church in Lagos, and was involved in the preparatory work that led to the establishment of the Catholic Church at Asaba, Southern Nigeria which actually occurred in 1888, long after he had retired from the Colonial service. It was to immortalize the name of such a great soul that the Founders named the Society after Sir James Marshall, hence the name Knights of Marshall.
The First Council of the Knights of Marshall was inaugurated and consecrated in Sekondi on 18th November, 1926. There are presently 130 Councils spread throughout Ghana, Togo, Benin, Liberia, Serria-Leone, Burkina Faso and the United Kingdom.