n 1881, John's father passed away. John was only eight years old at the time and was sent to an orphanage, where he spent the next few years. He eventually ran away and tried to make his own luck living out in the streets. At the age of 11, John committed his first murder when he shot a man, although he claimed it was not his fault. In 1885, at the age of 12, Marston had been caught stealing by homesteaders in Illinois, who planned on hanging him. Dutch van der Linde stepped in and saved the young boy, taking him under his wing; John joined the Van der Linde gang soon after, alongside Hosea Matthews, Arthur Morgan, and Susan Grimshaw. The gang became a surrogate family to the young boy, with Dutch becoming his mentor and father figure. He taught John how to shoot, hunt, gather, read and instilled him with a love of nature and things other than power.
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