Born on a farm in Springwater Valley, Genessee County, New York in 1839, Charles Marvin's equine skills began at an early age, in handling rough horses and riding. His family moved to Michigan and from there to Dubuque, Iowa in 1852. Ten years later he started on his own for the West Coast and became a teamster during the Civil War. After the war, he raced runners but returned to trotters in 1872 and located in Kansas with a track and stable. In 1878 Marvin moved to California, where he was hired by Leland Stanford at Palo Alto Farm. His champions consisted of Smuggler, Arion, Sunol and Palo Alto. Marvin is best remembered for introducing the "Palo Alto System" of colt training with emphasis on early speed work in a colt's development, as explained in his book, Training the Trotting Horse. From 1901-04 Marvin was employed by Senator Bailey and in 1904 he opened a public stable in Lexington, Kentucky, which he operated until his death on February 1, 1907.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 1994 book, The Immortals