Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mary Emeline Marks Kizer

For updated research be sure to read the Blog, I found your daddy, William Buck Marks

If you have been following along with this Blog, you will recall back in Oct 2017, I made mention of Mary Marks in my King of Uwharrie post. For a very long time I wondered who she was and if she really did exist or if her mention was, perhaps, a prank pulled by her brothers, Edward and Tom, on the Census taker. For a while, I really put my focus on Mary and tried to find any slither of information on her that I could.

It was not until I began the Uwharrie Roots Blog that I ran across a document that, finally, proved Mary Marks was a real human being. While writing the King of Uwharrie post, I discovered that Mary Marks signed as a witness to her brother, Tom Marks’, marriage to Barbara Lefler, on 26 Jan 1876, at the residence of their father, William Buck Marks, in Eldorado Township, Montgomery County, North Carolina. Unfortunately, I still had no idea, at that time, who the Mary was that signed as a witness, or how she related to my Marks family.

After weeks of research, I put Mary aside as I was not able to find any information on her. I went on to help a newfound cousin research his Tucker line. The Tucker’s are another family with Uwharrie Roots and I was happy to learn about them. As with anything new, one must familiarize oneself. I began hunting down the Tucker families in Montgomery and Stanly and surrounding areas and putting their families together. I was in the process of researching marriage records for a Lavina Tucker when I stumbled upon Mary Marks, quite by accident. To my surprise, the person I had spent months looking for was listed in the Montgomery County Marriage Register directly above Lavina Tucker.

Genealogy tip for the day: you never know what you will find when researching other lines – so pay close attention!

The first mention of Mary Marks was on the 1870 Census. Listed as age 18, which means she would have been born in 1852.

However, according to the 1880 Census, Mary, now married to David Kizer for about two years and living across the river in Furr Township, Stanly County, is listed as age 18. David and Mary have no children.

Further proof that her age was incorrectly listed on the 1870 Census can be found in the Montgomery County Marriage Register. David, age 23 and Mary, age 18, were married 29 Nov 1878, making Mary born in 1860.

Lastly, Mary’s death certificate states she is 67 years old in 1928, when she died, making her birth year 1861. It is my belief that Mary was most likely born around Jul 1861, about one year after the 1860 Census was enumerated. Thus the reason she is not found on the 1860 Census and is most likely 8 or 9 years old on the 1870 Census. She is not found with her mother, Leah Marks, in 1880 as she married in 1878, two years before that Census was taken.

According to the Montgomery County Marriage Register, David Kizer and Mary Marks were married on 29 Nov 1878 but I found a newspaper article dated 31 Jul 1879 announcing the Kiser, Marks wedding. Someone with a sense of humor, who probably knew David and Mary, wrote the poem for them.

I am not sure what to make of the poem as it seems to allude that David was an ‘orphan,’ that ‘death’ had taken away his joy and he was ‘at the widow’s door.’ I cannot help but wonder if the ‘death’ that had taken away the joy of the wedding was Mary’s father, William Buck Marks, and the widow was Leah Marks, Mary’s mother. We do know that Leah Caroline Fesperman Marks is listed on the 1880 Census as a widow.

The year 1900 finds David (going by his first name, James) and Mary Marks Kizer, in, of all places, Gulf, Chatham County. Seven children have been born between the years 1883 and 1900. James (David) Kizer and his oldest son, Charlie, have a listed occupation as Fireman Stationary Engineer and Marshall, the second oldest, is listed as Farm Labor.

I had to look up what a Fireman Stationary Engineer was. According to, there were two classes of jobs and Census takers were instructed to distinguish between the two job classes. One class was a boiler operator and mostly worked in the many Industrial Mills that were popping up all over the country. These jobs were to be listed as ‘Stationary.’ The second class of jobs were Fireman Locomotive Engineers and these jobs were to be listed as locomotive engineer or locomotive fireman. As with so many other families of this era, people were on the move looking for work. They moved wherever work could be found. Farming had become outdated after the Civil War.

The Kizer family, listed as farmers on the 1880 Census, had moved from Stanly County to Chatham County between 1880 and 1900 to, most likely, find work. Somewhere along the way, David had acquired a skill to work on boilers and was able to land a job in this field; his oldest son looks to have also acquired the same skill.

Looks like the job was a dangerous one too!

Richmond Dispatch, 25 Feb 1894, Sun, Page 6

Gulf, Chatham County, sits just about 7 miles west of Cumnock, once Chatham, now Lee County, North Carolina, where, in 1895, a huge mine explosion killed Charlie Poe, husband of Sarah Hamilton. Sarah is the daughter of Lee Thomas and Julia Marks Hamilton. I wrote about Sarah and her horrific life in my blog Sarah Ann Hamilton...daughter of Julia Ann Marks Hamilton

It would seem that David and Mary Marks Kizer might have been in Gulf at the time of the Cumnock explosion.

The year 1910 finds David and Mary Marks Kizer and family in Alamance County, Haw River Township. Charlie Kizer, the oldest, looks to not be living in his parent’s home. Marshall, Mary Bertie, Medina, William (Willis), and Robert are still at home. Ida Johnson Kizer is the wife of Marshall and their children, Ernest and Gurnie are listed as grandchildren to David Kizer.

Nora Emeline Kizer, seen on the 1900 Census as age 5 months would passed away in Haw River in 1901 and is buried at Haw River City Cemetery.

The year 1920 shows that most of the children are grown and have left home; some have not gone too far. Marshall and Ida Johnson Kizer live next door to David and Mary and have added a daughter, Ruthie, to their family.

Charlie, the oldest, married Daisy Bowen, Mary Bertie married Edward Reeves, Medina (Maude) married Dennie Wood, William Thomas, whom I believe is named after Mary’s father, William and her brother Thomas, married Carrie Bright and Robert married first, Minnie Pearl Mitchell and second, Roxie Overman.

I am not able to find a death certificate for David Kiser. I did find a death index for a David Kizer but the dates are off. The 1920 Census enumerated on 13 Feb 1920. The death index I found for David Kizer is dated 3 Jan 1920. The county is Alamance and there is no other David Kizer found. I am still investigating if this is James David Kiser.

After the death of her husband, David, Mary Emeline Marks Kizer would move to Danville, VA with her sons, Robert and William. Mary’s sister, Cyrona Marks Hamilton would die in 1922. Cyrona’s death notice ran in The Concord Daily Tribune and noted that Mary lived in Danville, VA and Julia Marks Hamilton, living in Swepsonville, North Carolina, would die three months later. Lee and Julia Marks Hamilton had probably already moved back to Eldorado as Julia died there and was buried at Lanes Chapel in Blaine, North Carolina.

The only documentation I am able to find on Robert and William being in Virginia is their marriage licenses. In 1923, William married Carrie Bright in Pittsylvania, VA, about 16 miles north of Danville. In 1915, Robert married Minnie Pearl Mitchell in Danville, VA. Minnie died in 1916 from Puerperal Eclampsia, with a contributing cause of Nephritis. Minnie was only 18 years old.

Sometime between 1916 and 1919, Robert, William and Mary Marks Kizer, migrated back to Alamance County, North Carolina and Robert married Roxie Overman 14 Jun 1919 in Alamance.

On 27 Aug 1928, Mary Emeline Marks Kizer, age 67 years, 1 month and 2 days, died from Apoplexy in Burlington, Alamance County, North Carolina. Her death reported by her son, Marshall.

Mary is my third great Aunt and the daughter of William Buck Marks and Leah Caroline Fesperman.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

ZACHARIAH THOMAS MARKS - Part 1 of 3 By: Sharon Marks

For updated research be sure to read the Blog, I found your daddy, William Buck Marks

Zach is David’s grandfather and for many years was a mystery. Family members barely knew his real name. What few stories of him that circulated widely contradicted each other. Grandma Marks barely talked about him.

Our newly found North Carolina relatives hesitated to tell us what they knew of him, even though we said we were prepared for anything. It wasn’t until our second trip to Buies Creek that they started to open up and tell what little they knew.

Since then, we have uncovered dozens of newspaper article on him. It turns out that grandpa was the black sheep of the family and led a very colorful life.
 Zach was born in March of 1870 in Chatham County, North Carolina. He was the oldest living son of Lucian H Marks and Clementine Gattis. He saw his older brother Wesley died when he was only 14 years old, along with three other all too young male siblings. His enlistment papers said that he had measles and chicken pox as a child. Perhaps this is what claimed his siblings.
Sometime in the 1870s, Lucian relocated his family to a one-room log cabin in Buies Creek in Harnett County. Zach mostly likely helped with the farm chores as he grew. Times were hard in the post-Civil War depression that gripped the South and Harnett's finances took a long time to recover. "Money was scarce and taxes hard to collect after the war. There were no banks nearer that Raleigh and Fayetteville.

But, on a lighter note, it seems that Lucian wasted no time seeing that his children received an education. Buies Creek Academy opened in 1887 with the belief that no student should be denied admission because of lack of funds. The 1888 rolls shows, Zaccheus (age 18) among the students.

Enlisted Into the Army
After piecing together Zach’s life I believe he was too restless to settle for farm life and yearned to go out into the world in search of adventure. On October 19, 1891 he went to Durham and enlisted into the army. His papers listed him as a farmer; he is described as 5’6”, 140 pounds, dark brown hair, blue eyes, a fair complexion and a depressed scar to the left of his eye. He had measles and chicken pox as a child. It was said that he never grayed out and looked twenty years younger than he actually was.

Zaccheus enlisted on Oct. 19, 1891 in Durham, North Carolina, and served in company “H” 17th Infantry US Army at Fort D A Russell in Cheyenne. According to one of the local newspapers he was a hospital steward.

The Johnson County War and its aftermath had provided some excitement for the 1890s when little else seemed to be happening. The 17th Infantry detachment picked up 43 civilian prisoners, stockmen and their employees and escorted them to Fort Russell, arriving on April 24, 1892.

The prisoners were housed under guard in the post bowling alley at Fort Russell, with some of the more prominent stockmen being given the freedom of the post. It was about four months later they were able to bail on their own recognizance. A trial date was delayed several times and finally the case was dismissed.

The garrison schedule served as a daily habit for most soldiers with little need for a clock to remind them what came next. A full and active schedule served a useful purpose in keeping the soldiers in fighting shape.

Army units remained remarkably strong throughout the Indian wars period despite very low and slow promotions. There was a high desertion rate, epidemics and hardships that caused most civilians to wonder why a soldier would stay with it.

According to one veteran, enlisted members of one company seldom sought friends or associates outside ones own company. Members of two regiments on the same post often were comparative strangers to each other, and particularly so if they were infantry and cavalry. The barracks room where the men were quartered represented their home and their most important room; other facilities such as orderly room, the storeroom, and library were merely adjuncts to the barracks room.
The local paper, “The Leader” on August 10, 11 and 12, 1894, reported a growing list of soldier complaints of their treatment in matters by Cheyenne Marshal T. Jeff Carr. Zach was in jail in Cheyenne, but the case against him was dismissed and this maybe tied in with all the problems they were having with the sheriff.

The newspaper charged, “The troops at Fort Russell, officers and men, were buying civilian clothes to wear when they had to come to Cheyenne to avoid being arrested by Marshal Carr. Soldiers started to avoid the town. The newspaper included a reminder that about $6,000 per month was paid to the enlisted men of the post, the greater part of which stayed In Cheyenne. Marshal Carr denied the Leader’s allegations, but the city must have been paying attention; it did not continue his employment for long.

An important part of the usual garrison duty” when troops were on post included rifle target practice. The recognition of good shooters played an important part in that program, and Fort Russell always had its share of highly qualified marksmen. The heavy escort and patrol demands on assigned units, plus the annual summer campaigns, made it difficult to find the time for target practice. Also target practice required additional ammunition, which cost money, and military appropriations were sparse after the Civil War. Another consideration, the arms and ammunition in the pre - 1890 period were less reliable, and target practice meant earlier failure or wear out of the arms.
Four companies of the 17th Infantry were ordered to Green River, Wyoming, in May 1894 to assist federal marshals there in protecting railroad property threatened by the Commonwealth Movement also known as the Commonwealers and Coxyeites. The nationwide strike had been called by the American Railway Workers Union, which was headed by Eugene Debs. Most of the strike violence occurred in the Chicago area, but the potential for violence existed in many railroad towns, including those in Wyoming. Two companies of the 17th Infantry were ordered to Pueblo, Colorado, and additional companies went of Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Pocatello, Idaho.

As the labor turmoil intensified, more army units of the Department of the Platte were ordered out to guard the railroad. The commander of the department, Brigadier General John Brooke, had orders to keep open the Union Pacific line. Army units were scattered all along the railroad, and soldiers were put aboard all trains. Brooke was considered general manager of the Union Pacific system for the period of this strike. Not until late summer did the rail strike wind down to the point the companies of the 17th Infantry could return to Fort Russell.

The 17th Infantry had barely found time to unpack when they received change-of-station orders to Columbus Barracks, Ohio. Three companies of the regiment would remain a Fort Russell for another year and then join the regiment in Ohio. The concentration of the army units near the big eastern cities, a policy inaugurated by the secretary of war and announced in September 1894, did sound ominous for the future of Fort Russell. The majority of the army regiments had been located in the West after the reconstruction occupation ended in the South after the Civil War. Now a regional balance was being sought for the peacetime deployment of the nation’s small army. Such cities as Washington, DC, St Louis, New York, Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio were mentioned as recipients. More western posts were to be abandoned, and again Cheyenne’s concern arose that the number of soldiers at Fort Russell might be scaled down or even worse, the post might close.

Cheyenne’s concern soon lessened when five companies of the 8th Infantry, plus the headquarters and band, arrived at Fort Russell in October 1894 for Fort McKinney and settled in for a four-year stay.

The units at Fort Russell spent an uneventful winter, with the usual garrison duties. Lt. General John Schofield, commander-in-chief of the army, and party visited Fort Russell in June three months before his retirement. He received a warm reception at the post and in Cheyenne. Major General Nelson Miles, a distinguished Civil War veteran who had also served for many years in the West, would replace Schofield in September.

Zaccheus was discharged on Jan. 18, 1895 with good character at Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming.

The Chandler Case (1895)
Late on January 3, 1895, Zach was on furlough and in civilian clothes along with several friends from the 17th Infantry at May Foster’s (a.k.a. May Hunt) house of ill fame at 612 West 18th Street. Around 10:00 pm, eight men from the 8th Infantry arrived and rang the bell. It was suggested the door was not answered quickly enough and they kicked it in. Words were exchanged and the 8th suggested throwing the 17th out. Just as a fight was about to break out, officer Bob Ingalls arrived and told them to quiet down. This had no affect and Ingalls began to clear the place and things escalated.

Two men jumped Ingalls and he reached for his club and knocked one man down when he suddenly staggered forward. He had a life threatening cut to his neck and cheek from a knife or razor. Private Grimes was attacked and cut behind his ear by a soldier from the 8th when he went to the policeman’s aid. The attackers, privates Chandler and Ewing (8th Infantry) fled the scene, but were brought in the next day.

Officer Ingalls and Grimes were walked down to the Palace Pharmacy leaving a trail of blood in the street and the doctor was called to tend their wounds. Zach followed them in and “removed his coat and began to care for his wounded comrade”. By the time he had cleared away the blood, the doctor arrived and Zach refused to identify himself.

Joseph Wagge, Melvin Reaves (owners of a photography studio), John Gambrel (8th Infantry solider) and Zaccheus Marks (hospital steward at Fort Russell) where all listed as material witnesses in what became known as The Chandler Case. The witnesses were gathered up and then let out on parole the next day and then Gambrel deserted. It was expected that Gambrel would prove an important witness for the state. It was totally unexpected when the three witnesses for the defense swore at the preliminary hearing that Gambril was the actual assailant.

The three witnesses said that the officer knocked down Private Chandler with his billy club and was at that moment Private Gambrel “proceeded to carve the big policeman’ anatomy with a razor”. Several other witnesses testified that it was actually the other way around and that Chandler committed the deed.

The search for the deserter was renewed and he was picked up at his family home in Kentucky. Private Gamrel stated he had nothing to do with the cutting and had several witnesses to collaborate his story. He also testified that defense attorney Tew had gone out to the Fort and said if he where to go away, there would be no trouble in clearing Chandler. Mr. Tew promised to pay to protect him and defend him gratis if he got into any trouble through his action. He said there where three witnesses who would positively clear Chandler and promised him $50.00 to leave to which he finally consented, but only $25.00 was delivered.
On March 19th Prosecuting Attorney Baird filed charges of perjury against Zach and two other men and they were taken immediately into custody. According to the rules of the court, Zach could call in witnesses at his own expense, but since he had no means, the county paid the expenses to enable him to have a proper defense.

Joseph Wagy went to trial first and was acquitted by a jury and since it involved the same testimony the prosecuting attorney moved to dismiss Zach’s case on June 7, 1895. Chandler was sentenced to 14 years.

Re-Enlistment (1895 – 1898)
Now that the charges had been cleared up, Zach re-enlisted on June 21, 1895 at Fort D. A. Russell; his rank was listed as Artificer (skilled in working on artillery devices in the field). He was forecast to company “A” Infantry, then company “B” 17th Infantry.

Startling reports began emanating from Jackson Hole in northwest Wyoming in late July 1895, when 300 Bannock Indians reported to be full of fight showed up on the Hoback River. The Bannocks felt they had a treaty right to hunt in Jackson Hole. The arrests, and the death of one Bannock, created exaggerated rumors that the natives would revolt, and the paper reported that the Bannocks had massacred a large group of settlers in Jackson's Hole. In response the 8th Infantry, and the 17th Infantry were dispatched, but when troops arrived it was found that the situation was peaceful and the fears of uprising were unjustified.

With the Indians settled on reservations and relative quiet, Fort Russell now had time for organized recreation programs. No gym had yet been built, but the multi-purpose “post hall” served as a gym, and also a theater, chapel, and reception hall for social events. Each company now kept a library room.

A declaration of war with Spain occurred in April 1898, the 8th Infantry left Fort Russell on April 20 for Chicamauga Park, Georgia, an assembly point for units to be used in invading Cuba.
In May 1898, four companies of Wyoming National Guard from four different towns were called up and assembled at Fort Russell. After a short stay, the four companies moved to San Francisco for further movement in June to the Philippine Islands. There they participated with distinction in the Battle of Manila, which occurred on August 13, 1898, the day after the armistice had officially wined the war.

Zaccheus was discharged on June 18, 1898 at Fort D.A. Russell; right about the time that the Spanish-American War was bringing renewed importance to the post. The register of enlistments also indicates discharged June 20, 1898 at Tampa, Florida.

Marriage to Stella Almina Mull Small
Stella was only a year old when her mother past away at their home in Horse Creek on November 23, 1879 and it was agreed that it would be best for Stella’s grandmother raised her. They both lived in the home of her sons Alec and James. A few years later, Stella’s father, Braxton remarried to Mary McGinn and they made their home some 50 miles from the Jacksons.

Both Mr. Mull and his new wife wanted Stella to live with them, and were willing to keep and care for her and support her; that on one or two occasions a request was made for her of Mrs. Jackson, who did not receive it, very kindly. Stella did occasionally visit her father, and sometimes remained as long as six weeks.

Stella married George W Small on March 11, 1894 in Cook County, Illinois. They had a daughter, Leah who was born in Cheyenne, the Wyoming Territory a year later 1895. They were divorced by 1897. Although no record has been uncovered, Zach married Stella in 1897 and this may have been the reason he decided not to re-enlist. If he had, he probably would have been sent out with his unit to the Philippine Islands.

Back Home in Harnett County, NC (1898 – 1902)
Zach and his new family made their way back home to North Carolina. The County Union Newspaper in June of 1898 reported, "Mrs. Zaccheus Marks and two children arrived here Monday." It’s unknown at this time if the second child was Zach’s or from Stella’s first marriage. But, the infant did not live long after their arrival.

It seems that he tried his hand at photography at opened a gallery on August 15, 1898. He may have been inspired to try his hand at this because of the friendship he had with photographers Wagy and Reaves back in Cheyenne. One job was reported in the County Union paper on April 12, 1899: “Mr. Zaccheus Marks, the photographer, was call to Benson yesterday to take a photograph of the infant child of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Cavenaugh which died yesterday morning”.

Apparently, he wasn’t able to make a living off his photography and settled into the life of a merchant by the 1900 census for Aversboro Township, Harnett County and they was renting a home very close to his brother Walter’s home. It’s very likely that he was working at his Uncle Sim’s store.
Back in Cheyenne Wyoming, Stella’s grandmother Mary Jackson past away sometime after June in 1900. A probate file (Laramie County District Court probate 1-451) shows she left her property (of which there was none) to Stella Small, "a non-resident."

Our North Carolina relatives heard stories of Zach’s reputation of being the wild one; he would openly carry his rifle into town and liked to travel a lot. The Raleigh newspaper reported on January 12, 1901 that a case against Zach for carrying a concealed weapon and was set for the next term. At that time the case was suspended on payment of cost. Both sides of the family seemed to have the story that Zach was married to an Indian Squaw and lived on the reservation in Oklahoma. If it were Stella they were speaking of, they would have been mistaken. The 1900 census shows that her father was born in Tennessee and her mother in Illinois. They may have believed she was Indian because she was from Wyoming.

The Raleigh & Cape Fear Railway
In order to haul lumber and logs, Jake Williams built a small railroad in 1899 from Apex in Wake County to his farm in Harnett County. This was a step up from using an ox cart and mule-drawn wagon to move lumber and logs.

According to an October 1902 newspaper account, Zach had secured a job as a sawmill operator.

A Drastic Turn In Events
In reading through newspaper articles of the time report events that drastically changed the course of Zach’s life. On October 27, 1902 Zach went to the home and Cider Shop of Daniel J McLeod in Neill’s Creek with his younger brother Joe. Both Marks and Ellen had been drinking and started to argue about 10pm. Marks threatened Ellen and he dared Marks to shoot saying, “Shoot, damn you, if you dare; I am not afraid of you”. Whereupon Marks shot him and Ellen started to fall at his feet. Marks then shot him a second time in the back of the head.

Ellen was said to be a man of “desperate character” and had been jailed more than once for crimes. Marks was also know to “be desperate” when drinking.

What brought about the argument is up for debate. There are several stories circulating.
Zach’s daughter, Emma Anderson heard that Ellen called Zach a “Son of a B-“ and he angrily called back to the man that he could insult him, but not his mother and shot the man.
Other sources recounted that Zach was working at a store and a man was bothering his cat. When Zach caught him in the act, he told him to leave his cat alone or he would kill him. Later that day, he found his cat dead and immediately went after the man.
Another story, which Zach himself later told the papers was that he and his little brother Joe went to a neighbor’s house to buy some blackberry wine. He claimed Ellen was drunk and tried to push some wine on McDonald and when Zach tried to stop him, things escaladed and Ellen came at him with a knife and he was only defending himself.

If Joe was with him, he would have taken him home told his family what had happened and departed. It’s said that he boarded the ferry and crossed the river and was never heard from again.
Governor Charles B Aycock offered a $200 reward for the “apprehension and delivery” of Zach Marks. The criminal dockets for September 4, 1905 in Lillington show that Zach had been charged with murder and had fled the area having never been prosecuted. When inquiring about further documentation on the charge we were informed that burned in the fire they had at the courthouse. Later on we will look at this again by way of newspaper accounts and hear Zach’s side of what happened.

Zach Marks married Stella Almina Mull sometime in 1897 Wyoming. She was the daughter of Braxton Peter Mull Jr and Martha Agnes Jackson (b. Mar. 31, 1878 in Wyoming Territory / d. Feb. 5, 1967 in Canton, Saint Lawrence, New York)

Stella first married George W Small on March 11, 1894 in Cook County, IL. He was the son of William P and Rebecca Small (b. 1878 Posey, Rush, IN). They had one child:
1. Ruth Leontine “Leah” Small was born January 21, 1895 in Laramie, Wyoming. She died July 9, 1970 in Canton, New York.
2. Child Marks or Small. The County Union Newspaper in June of 1898 reported, "Mrs. Zaccheus Marks and two children arrived here Monday." It’s unknown at this time if the second child was Zach’s or from Stella’s first marriage. But, the infant did not live long after their arrival and could have been one of the babies buried on the Marks farm in Buies Creek, NC.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

McDonald Marks “Don” By: Sharon Marks

McDonald was the youngest son of Lucian and Clementine Marks, born on September 9, 1887 in Chatham County, NC. As a child he played sandlot baseball with Paul Green.

As an aside note, Paul Green is a Pulitzer playwright best known for his historical dramas of life in North Carolina during the first decades of the twentieth century. To get a flavor of the speech and attitudes of the time, read Green’s book “Home to my Valley”.

It seems that Lucian wasted no time seeing that his children received an education. The 1898 rolls for Buies Creek Academy list Donald (age 12) as one of their students.

McDonald married Lina Eetelle Reardon on July 14, 1907 in Neills Creek, NC. She was the daughter of John Randerson Reardon and Emma D Ryals. She was born May 3, 1889 in Harnett County, NC.

Lucian had past in 1904 and Clementine in 1907 and although he was the youngest son, he ended up with the family farm. Dorothy Marks (his granddaughter) said he would have liked to go off and do some of the exciting things his siblings had done, but he held to many responsibilities. Actually looking back at his life one would feel he had much to be proud of.

He wore many hats in the community, a deacon at the Baptist Church, town clerk, property renter and business partner in a pharmacy with J. Campbell, he counted out the pills and accompanied Doc Joe McKay in his buggy on some of the calls (Doc Joe took over his father’s practice in 1885 and retired in 1935).

He performed experiments for the state on seed and plants. They were advertised in the “The Progressive Farmer” and sold up and down the eastern seaboard. One year he had a run of bad luck, with hail destroying the plants, which was not insured that year.

They had to return the money that was sent in from the advertisement. He was the first to introduce tobacco into the area and was the first one to own a car.

Cecil would bring home some of his college professors for dinner and the family was very proud of their company. They would wear a new suit from Walter Marks store and have a wonderful meal. One story that has been told is when one of the professors came over; the family went to a store in Dunn (probably Sims’s) and brought back new silverware for the meal. It was said; Herman held up his knife and exclaimed he didn’t know which side to use.

McDonald was a friend of Dr. Campbell, and helped him at the start Campbell University. When Dr. James A. Campbell died March 19, 1934 at age 72, services were held at the auditorium of the college. Being a deacon of the Baptist church McDonald was one of the honorary pallbearers.

By the 1900 census, Neills Creek Township, Harnett County, NC
We find that Clementine has had ten children in all, but only six survived. Four children are in the household: Leola (25), Elmond E (17), Joseph E (14) and McDonald (12). We see that everyone can read and write and the three boys are attending school. Lucian owns his farm free and clear of mortgage.

The family said several children are buried in the Marks family cemetery on the farm. As I mentioned in my last blog, several of the stones were plowed under along with their names and dates.

1910 Census for Duke, Harnett Co., NC for Don Marks
He along with his brother Joe and family rent a house on 41 J Street. Don is a laborer in a cotton mill and has been married for two years and has one son, Cecil (2).
Joe is married to Minnie and is a machinist in the cotton mill. They have two children: Eldridge (4) and Hortense (2). All the adults can read and write.

 *Duke is now called Erwin.

The Erwin Cotton Mill Number 2
The following quotes are from mill worker Joe Johns:
“They bought land in the 1890s and the mill was up and running by 1903. They built a big mill and a power plant and a brick mill. They built the churches, a hospital, houses for folks. They owned the railroad, too. We had our own icehouse, our own cotton gin, blacksmith shop. And in town, everybody had a garden. I mean a big garden. Out on the edge of town, the mill owned all the land and if you wanted a bigger garden, you could have your bigger place down just 4 or 5 blocks away. A lot of folks would raise hogs and the hog pens were all on the edge of town too”.

 “They didn't just work in the mill. The mill provided us with a swimming pool, tennis courts, a bowling alley, even started a theater”.

“Lots of times, you'd have folks who, back in the early days, worked on the farm all their life. That farming life was tough. They'd have a family in town that they knew, and they'd come in and live with them because the person in town here had a steady job, where the guy on the farm did not”.
“Cotton was hand-picked in the fall of the year. Then the farmer would take it to the gin and you'd see a line of trucks and mules and wagons here to the mill. Cotton was weighed and sold right here, and they'd end up weaving it and selling it. We made more denim cloth than any place in the world”.
“I'll never forget that mill whistle either. You had your "wake whistle." That was an hour or more before you started work, then when the "work whistle" sounded everything started humming. Most of the time, folks got used to it and never even heard it. It was just part of the scenery”.

It doesn’t appear that Dan was at the mill for very long. The family members I spoke made no mention of this. In 1915 he was on the Tax List for Neills Creek, showing he had real and personal property valued at $476.00 and taxed $5.93.

On 6 April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and officially entered World War I. Six weeks later, on 18 May 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed, which authorized the president to increase the military establishment of the United States. As a result, every male living within the United States between the ages of eighteen and forty-five was required to register for the draft. Of course, not all the men who registered actually served in the armed forces.

There is no indication that he actually served, but does provide us some information. He is living on Lillington R 1, is married with four children. He was described as having gray eyes, light hair and medium build. Although family members say he had blue eyes, brown hair and a receding hairline (which probably happened later on).

1920 Census for Neills Creek, Harnett Co., NC for Don Marks
They live on a farm on Byrd Street, which he owns free of mortgage. The family has now grown to four boys: Cecil W (11), Mendell (7), Herman H (5) and McDonald Jr (5 mos).

1930 Census for Neills Creek, Harnett Co., NC for Don Marks
He lists himself as a farmer and the family is now up to five children: Lucian M (17), Hermon H (15), McDonald (10), Stacy E (7) and John N (3).

McDonald’s oldest son, Cecil and his bride of six months Virgie were living next door. Cecil listed himself as a farmer.

1940 Census for Neills Creek, Harnett Co., NC for Lina Marks
Lina owns the farm and it is valued at $1,000. She is now a widow; three of her children are still living at home: McDonald (19), Stacy E (16) and John N (13). McDonald Jr is now working the family farm.

Cecil is still a farmer and lives next door to his mother and he now has three daughters: Peggie Joyce (6), Dorothy (3) and Virginia (2 mos).

Her son Herman is a farmer and also living next door with his wife, Ida (they married about 1932) and sons James D (6) and Howard L (1).

Health Issues
McDonald developed Bright’s disease (also known as nephritis), which involves chronic inflammation of the kidneys. Clementine and Herman Marks were also afflicted with the disease.
Family members said when comparing McDonald’s signature from 1903 and 1905, it is was obvious something was amiss. The first signature flows and is clear, the second shows signs of motor control problems.

In 1934 complications set in when he received a spider bite, which was treated with lithium, which also affects the kidneys. The cure was almost as bad as the ailment and he died within 24 hours of having been bitten. Doc McKay stayed with him through the night, McDonald said he heard music and saw his father. Some said he wasn’t logical, but other said he couldn’t have been more rational.

The family never got over his death, in fact Stacey always spoke of him as if he were still there. Buck who was only 8 never stopped missing him. He developed a close bond with his sister Stacey and after coming back form WWII Buck never missed a Christmas at the home.

On August 6, 1951, Lina sold 32.2 acres of land to her son-in-law and daughter, Horace E. & Stacey Johnson, leaving 3.7 acres. This property was located in Neills Creek Township is noted as J. H. Reardon Land, the deeds office noted that this would be an indicator of the original landowners. It is approximately one mile SE from the town limits of Buies Creek on a private road about 300 feet from US Highway 421 between Buies Creek and Dunn, before Old Stage Road. The land now owned by R.D. Lee Farms, Inc. and is still used for farming of cotton and asparagus. It’s interesting to note on the location map pin pointing this property, it noted the area as Marks Land.

Marks Reunion
One story June told us with such vividness that it almost pulled you back in time, was that family reunion of McDonald’s family back in the early 1950’s. She was only a child then, but has very special memories of that time. Everyone was so happy to get together and one could feel the love in the air. The children were outside playing all day. Playing so hard that they were all dirty before it was over. The adults were taking pictures to hold the memories of this day and someone would play the piano. They had a wonderful evening meal and as always would have storytelling at the table. Afterwards, the men would go out on the front porch to talk and the children would play until dark. At this time everyone would pack up the cars and head off. It would be so quiet, June said, she was so wound up with the excitement of the day, it was difficult to settle down to sleep.


1st row (3): Thomas Marks, Horace Johnson, Joe Marks 2nd row (4): Janice Marks, June Johnson, Donnie Belle Marks, Chris Marks 3rd row (4): Melinda Marks, Diana Marks, Robert Marks, Judy Marks 4th row (6): Ida Marks, Lina Marks, Ginny Marks, Freda Faye Marks, Vergie Marks, Howard Marks 5th row (13): Roger Austin (friend), ?, ?, Johnny Johnson, Herman Marks (glasses), Cecil Marks, Dorothy Marks, Patty Lou Marks, Nina Ruth Marks (forehead only), Christine Marks, Mendel Marks (glasses), John Marks, Brenda Marks Brownie (June's dog)

The Family Homestead
In August of 1951, Lina sold 32.2 acres of land to her son-in-law and daughter, Horace & Stacey Johnson, leaving 3.7 acres. This property is noted as J. H. Reardon Land, the deeds office noted that this would be an indicator of the original landowners. The land now owned by R. D. Lee Farms, Inc. and is still used for farming.

It’s interesting to note on the location map pin pointing this property, the area is called Marks Land. They sold off the house and a small piece of land to Jonnie Lee and farmed the rest. June Lackey lamented that they have allowed the house run down and wished they had been able buy it.
Doc McKay had quite a sizable amount of land, which butted up to the east side of McDonald’s property. Lantz said their house is situated on the site of one of Doc’s slave cabins. Something they looked back at with some amusement was that a trip to Raleigh back then was a whole day’s travel one way. Now with cars, people commute to work there every day.

Lina died from a heart attack on Sept. 4, 1962 at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC and was buried next to her husband in Buies Creek Cemetery in Lillington.