Sunday, July 8, 2018

Zaccheus Thomas Marks - Part 3 of 3 By: Sharon Marks

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

Interestingly I found the following notices in the Fairhope Courier on October 20, 1911 “Mr. J Marks, wife and daughter of North Carolina have moved on and will take charge of the store recently owned by Charles F Davidson. We wish them much success with the work.” “Mr. and Mrs. Z. Marks spent Wednesday in Mobile where they went to get a new stock of goods”. Then on November 17, 1911 that “Mrs. Marks went up to Bay Minette last Tuesday on business”.

These notices create a gray area. Obviously, J. Marks is a type-o and should be Z. Marks. This then brings into question my previous assumption. It looks like Zach moved the family to Stapleton, Alabama to avoid Stella’s testimony against him. Zach appeared before the Grand Jury in Santa Rosa County Florida on the October 4, 1911 and a continuance was requested and granted and he posted a $500.00 bond.

Perhaps they made a bargain that she not go through with the charges and they would divorce. This is a guess since he married about seven months latter.

Addie Phillips and Trouble Again
The next record we find of Zachs whereabouts is a marriage bond dated July 24, 1912 for “Zacharias Marks” to Addie Phillipps performed in the home of George Phillipps by Judge J. H. H. Smith in Baldwin County Alabama.

Addie was the daughter of George W and Susie Phillips, born 1896 and lived in Stockton & Deans, Baldwin County, Alabama.

The Baldwin Times said, ”We wish them a long and happy life. The groom is 45 years of age while the bride had just passed sweet sixteen”. The next evening a large number of young people gathered at the home of the bride and groom and spent the evening dancing. Everyone said it was the most successful dance they had attended in several years.

Zach and Addie moved in next door to Dale and Nora Luttrell who ran a country store in Stapleton. But, life with Zach doesn’t stay quite for long. Although there was a prohibition on liquor he was probably manufacturing and selling. Records show that he was out on bail for violating the Prohibition law on May 25, 1912. Then on November of 1912 he was brought up on charges of selling liquor to William Ward, a minor.

In August the Yaryan Navel Stores Company began operations in Stapleton. Also J. W. Luttrell & Company extended their store and expanded their stock. About the time Zach was reported to have made multiple trips to both Moblie and Pensacola to purchase goods to complete his stock. He also installed a fireproof safe in his store. In October, Evie Pollard accepted a position as clerk in his store and in November 1912, Zach, Walter Ward and Hugh Feagin all went on a hunt to the Bay Minette basin.

Things took a turn for the worse on December 14, 1912. The papers reported the Zach and Luttrelle were both after the business of the Yaryan Naval Stores Company and that Fortenbury transferred his business from Marks store to Luttrells. Angered at the success of his competitor Zach “loaded himself with a few drinks of liquor, a rifle and a shotgun last Saturday night and proceeded to shoot up the town”. More specifically, he started shooting from about 7pm to 11:30pm at his neighbors, the store of J. W. Lutrell & Son and into the dwelling rooms of D. M. Luttrell above the store narrowly missing Nora Luttrell who was upstairs with her two children cooking supper. Several other people were in the house and Zach was swearing a blue streak and threatening to kill them. Dale Luttrell ran out after the Sheriff Richardson. “They arrived early Sunday morning and found Marks still bellicose and was arrested at the point of a gun as he was trying to reload his own weapon”.

Zach was arrested and the case went to trial. They listed him as Zachariah Marks and the alias Zee Marx and T Z Gaddis. He was found guilty on May 28, 1913 and sentenced.

• Case No 18 - Guilty of using obscene language in the presence or hearing of a woman and was fined $10, which he didn’t pay and was sentenced to 45 days hard labor to cover the fine and court costs. (May 28, 1913 – July 11, 1913)
• Case No 58 - On the first indictment of Assault to Murder he was sentenced for two years plus 76 days hard labor to pay for court costs. (July 12, 1913 – Sept. 26, 1915)
• Case No 57 - On the second indictment of Assault to Murder he was sentenced for seven years in the Penitentiary of the State of Alabama. (Sept. 27, 1915 – May 28, 1822)

The records of convicts sentenced to hard labor in Baldwin County shows he was contracted to the Horse Shoe Lumber Company in River Falls, Alabama at .75 cents a day.

“The men worked eleven hours per day. In summer they work from twelve to thirteen hours per day. This is additional to one hour's time required for going back and forth between the prison and the lumber mills. At the time of the visit men were breakfasting at 4:45 a. m. and went to work at 6 o'clock a.m. They had one hour for dinner and worked eleven hours. The records showed that, in summer, the men breakfasted at about 3:30, and worked from twelve to thirteen hours. The guards were on duty from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., with an hour for dinner, leaving thirteen hours on duty. The guards work every third Sunday. They have three annual holidays—Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas”.
Photo from an Aug. 10, 1915 ad in “Lumber World Review” for Atkins silver steel saws, which included an endorsement letter from Horse Shoe Lumber Co and a photo of one of the prisoners. (Makes you wonder if this is Zach)
 “The hospital is a fairly good building, but out of repair and cannot be kept sanitary. There is a good sleeping porch for three white patients, with clean beds; an inside ward with three beds, not very clean. The convicts' dormitories had white mattress covers and white pillow-cases, but the hospital beds had no mattress covers. There was a good hospital ward for Negro patients. The dormitories for white and colored were in good condition, with clean sheets, pillow-cases, mattress covers, and good army spring cots, but with very poor floors”.

“The water supply is inadequate. The water is muddy and clothing cannot be washed clean”.
“There was a good supply of white bread, corn bread and biscuits. There were two big kettles for cooking, but no ranges. There were very poor floors in the kitchen and dining-room”.

“There is a new dairy building, scrupulously clean and well kept; a storeroom, clean and well kept. The cow barns were clean, but primitive. The clothes are washed and wrung by hand. The prisoners are supplied with white suits, well washed by hand. The storeroom was clean and very well kept”.
(Social Progress of Alabama: A Second Study of the Social Institutions and Agencies of the State of Alabama - By Hastings Hornell Hart, 1922)

Zach’s Letter to the Baldwin Times – Jan. 11, 1917
Dear Sir – I will thank you to please print the following letter in your valued paper:
I was arrested December 15, 1912, and convicted May 28, 1913, charged with assault to murder Dale Luttrel. I was in jail some five and a half months in Bay Minette. During this time the jail in which I was confined was condemned and I was transferred to Mobile. When the new jail at Nay Minette was completed I was the first white prisoner to enter its portals, and Robert Porter, a Negro, the first of the colored race. Sheriff Richardson and his deputies treated me with kindness and consideration. Too much cannot be said in praise of these gentlemen, for I was furnished plenty to eat, and my sleeping quarters were sanitary and clean.

Judge Smith always came to the jail at least once a week to see how I was getting along. I shall never forget the kindness of these gentlemen and officers during my incarceration in Bay Minette jail. Four years have passed, and it still finds me in prison at River Falls. During my sojourn in prison at River Falls I’ve also endeavored to live a clean life, and my conduct has always been of the highest standard. I foster no malice in my heart for any man, on the contrary, I have naught but good will toward all. This has been a long four years and one month. I’ve worked every day that I was able to go, and enjoy being at work more than laying in the cell house day after day.

At the mill of the Horse Shoe Lumber Company I have a rather responsible position for a convict to fill, I am doing my best to please. Restraint, of course is the worst punishment a liberty loving man can endure, for he is locked away from all that makes life worth the while. Nevertheless, when my tie has expired and I go forth “into almost a new world,” I’ll do my best to live a clean life and make a law-abiding citizen of the commonwealth of Alabama.

Again, I wish to thank those who in the past have had my interest at heart, and in the future days to come will leave no stone unturned to make myself worthy of their confidence.

Yours truly, Z. Marks

On August 8, 1918 an application was made to the Board of Pardons and the Governor of Alabama, which must have been turned down since the records show that he was released on June 28, 1920.

Where’s Addie?
Nothing more has been uncovered regarding Zach’s marriage to Addie. I can only imagine that the marriage was dissolved, but no record has come to light on it. I did have brief contact with a niece of Addie’s who wasn’t aware of the marriage to Zach but, did know of three marriages thereafter and said she never had any children.

By 1918, Addie married William Thomas Glidewell III. His records show he was a carpenter at the International Shipyard and are living in Pascagoula, Mississippi. By 1924 they are both renting a place in Mobile Alabama and Addie is now working as a seamstress at the Kahn Mfg Company in Mobile. By 1928 directories are listing her as living by herself.

They must have divorced before 1930, although William listed himself as a widower on the 1930 census. She married a third time a man named Taylor then fourthly to Max Hellman on July 15, 1949 in New York. How she ended up there is still unknown. By 1956 she was back in Mobile working at “The Dressmaker Shop” and using her maiden name.

Addie past away on October 5, 1983 and is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Stapleton, Alabama under the name of Addie T Hellman.

Dessie Jane Peterson’s Story
Dessie was born September 28, 1894 in Molino, Escamibia, Florida to Daniel Ander Peterson and Emma “Pinkie” Andrews. Daniel was a section foreman for the L&N railroad in Tunnel Springs, Monroe, Alabama for 40 years, retiring in 1932.

The 1900 census shows the Peterson family living in Kempville, Monroe, Alabama. Under the section for rent or own, it’s marked “RR”. Clynton Peterson (Daniel’s great nephew) said that he heard that all the RR section Forman where provided with housing and that they could always tell which houses Daniel had lived in, they where the only ones with indoor plumbing. He would cut a hole in the floor of the bathroom.

In the 1910 census for Tunnel Springs, Monroe, Alabama, we find Dan still employed with the railroad as a Section Foreman. The family has grown to eight children and Dessie is now 15.

Dessie first married Carl Askegreen (Son of Carl Mauritz Askegreen, born on October 1885 Florida) on November 30, 1912 in Century, Escambia, Florida. They had two child together, Ruby Louise and Carl Willard Askegreen, nicknamed “Buddy”.

The 1910 census shows that Carl was a laborer, inspection in the turpentine industry. Century was founded in 1900 to house mill employees of the Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company, the largest mill-town in Florida. The company had its own railroad, which ran from Century to Alger-owned timberlands in Alabama. Ninety miles in length, the railroad hauled prime virgin longleaf logs for manufacture of lumber and export timbers at the Century mill. Logging crews lived in railroad camp cars on sidings. Oxen were used in the woods to skid logs to the railroad for loading.

Their marriage was a short one; Carl died in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1917 and is buried in Brentwood, Florida

The census taken on January 17, 1920 for Tunnel Springs, Monroe, Alabama shows that Dessie (25) is a widow with two children; Carl (4) and Ruby (7) and are living with her parents.

Enter Zach
As mentioned before, Zach was released after serving 5 years on June 28, 1920. I have not been able to find him on any census, but the reason might be that his release date happened about the same time that the census did. The details are a little fuzzy on what happened over the next couple of years, but family stories indicated that Zach returned to the Stapleton, Alabama area.

He became friends with Walker W Peterson and on one of his visits to his home, Zach happened to meet Walker’s half-sister, Dessie Jane Askegreen. The Marks charm won out again and they were married on March 21, 1923 in Escambia County Florida and he now became a family man with two young step-children, Buddy and Ruby.

We were told at this time there was a thriving timbering operation in the area and perhaps this drew Zach to the area. Nine months later on Dec. 18, 1923, their first son Daniel was born. By the time their daughter Emma was born, May 22, 1925 in Mobile, they were living on the property near Live Oak Landing.

Zaccheus Marks received a land grant from the Register of the Land office in Montgomery, AL (patent #: 982191) on July 13, 1926. The east half of the southeast quarter of Section nine in Township four south of Range two east of the St. Stephens Meridian, Alabama, containing seventy-nine acres and eighty-five hundredths of an acre.

In September of 1927, just before everything began to unravel, Zach and Dessie were entering into a timbering agreement with Mike Buzbee. It stated that Buzbee was to have timbering rights on the property for a sum totaling $400.00. The sum of $50.00 to be paid with this agreement, $50.00 more to be paid in one year and the balance of $300.00 to be paid on Nov. 1,1929.

Once payment was made in full Buzbee could start timbering on the agreed area until May of 1936, at which time all timbering and removal must be halted. This agreement was filed and recorded on December 16, 1927.

The Marks property consisted of 80 acres of land with the Sibley Creek running through it, located near an area of Bay Minette Creek known as Live Oak Landing. Emma (Zach’s daughter) remembered that the home was a small three-room house surrounded by a chain link fence. She remembered that she and her brother Dan would often run out to the gate to greet Zach when he came home from work. He would pick Emma up laughing and call her his little princess and tosseled Dan’s hair and call him his big lummox.

There home was a small modest three room. A couple of steps lead into the kitchen, which had a stove and table, the family room, had a fireplace with one bedroom off of it. Out side the fence was a spring.

Emma said one time Zach brought a horse into the bedroom. Her father loved to eat hot peppers, saying it kept the bugs away. He would laugh at the kids saying they could eat them as fast as he could. She said Dessie really couldn’t cook very well. She had grown up in a home where they had a black servant to cook and clean.

Buddy’s wife, Nellie Askegreen shared soe of Buddy’s stories. “Buddy lived on a homestead near Mobile, Alabama after she remarried”. “Not much of that time was very good for him and his sister Ruby. He was afraid of his stepfather, as he was a drinking man with a terrible temper”.

Aunt Mattie “was a big help to her sister when they were raising their children. Buddy said she nursed him back to health when he had malaria, when he was about ten years old. He never forgot as he said he would have died. She would spoon feed him a rice gruel and bath him.”

During one of their bigger argument, Dessie called her brother to come pick her and the children up and she was leaving Zach. It was a few days latter when he arrived and Zach said he wasn’t taking his family anywhere. He must have been drinking at the time because he -became so enraged with his brother-in-law that he took an ax to his car and pummeled it. Years later, the car could still be seen in his yard in Pensacola.

Buzbee Lumber Mill, Baldwin County, Alabama
David and I had an informal and informative talk with Leslie Buzbee back in 2003. He ran a fish camp near the mouth of Bay Minette Creek in Spanish Fort and was the son of Mike Buzbee who was Zach’s employer and neighbor. He was only a small child when Zach lived in the area but remembered very clearly all the talk at the time. There was no activity going on at the camp so he was very willing to spend about an hour with us relaying what he had heard so many years ago.

Mike Buzbee was a well-respected man in the community and ran a mill operation on the creek just above the fish camp. Mike's sawmill was at the end of what is now Buzbee Road. He paid the best wages in the area, but worked his men hard.

Zach lived a short distance down river from the mill and Buzbee would often loan him the use of his boat to commute back and forth. Mike did have an underside; he was also running a still operation and could be mean when he drank. Leslie thought he was doing well with the mill and didn’t really understand why he did moonshine. Many moon shiners used the trade as a supplement to farming.

Before going further we must establish the completion of the people living in the area. Leslie said, “Mr. Marks did run a still out back, but everyone did back then, Buzbee, Sloan, Durant, Trawick, and they were all leery of other getting to close”. The newspapers of the time reported on April 3rd Nancy Durant was “accidentally” shot while out hunting with her husband, or so the story goes. Tensions must have been high with Zach’s turning states evidence and his subsequent murder; Buzbee gave us the real story behind it all. Ed Durant and his men were running their still out in the woods and in order to enter the area you had to give a password. Nancy was bringing lunch out to them, had forgotten the password, and was shot before the men realized who was there. Many of the men in the area could be mean, and they could just as well shoot you for looking at them wrong. Buzbee said as a child he loved to search for civil war relics, but if he started to smell that corn mash off in the distance, he high-tailed it out of there. So one had to be tough living in this area.

Buzbee remembered that Zach wasn’t a bad sort when he wasn’t drinking, however, when he did he was hell. He quickly added that his father could be the same way. Sometimes when Zach drank too much he would start shooting off his shotgun wherever. The Sloans who lived the closest would throw a mattress up against the wall and get down trying to avoid stray shoots (Sounds like he never learns).

Live Oak Landing Leslie said that much of Sibley Creek has dried up over the years due to soil erosion and beavers building dams. In order to get to the property its several miles down on a dirt road named D’Olive Road on the left. The surveyors office said that no building stand on the property. If you imagine taking away the recent development, you are left with a very remote wooded area. It appears that the current owner of the property I 2000 was Leon Wildberger Jr, unfortunately, all this didn’t come together until after our trip.

Shine On…
The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1919, prohibited the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors" and their importation and exportation. The era of Prohibition ended in 1933 when the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st amendment.

Makin' good moonshine is quite an art. The basic ingredients are corn meal, sugar, water, yeast and malt. It takes lots of time and practice before one can whip up a good batch that sells. Throughout history, there have been many ways of making moonshine. Some folks would add a special ingredient or perform a certain method during the distilling period to make their moonshine taste distinct.

Two jail registers turned up for Z. Marks appearing. The first showing his arrest on March 20, 1924 on a warrant brought forth by B. O. Wiggins for illicit distribution, and released on June 4, 1924 when he was found not guilty. It’s interesting to see the alias listed for him: Zacharia Marks, alias Zacharia Marx, alias Z. Marks, alias Zee Marks.

It would have been interesting to see the registers from other years, but one gets a sense that this was ongoing, for on Dec. 13, 1927 he was arrested on warrant, again by B. O. Wiggins for possession of a still. He was discharged on bond on Jan. 31, 1928.

In looking at another newspaper article of the time violation of the dry laws could range from $51 to $100 fine or 30 days hard labor to 90 days in jail. One can only imagine that being caught with the actual still was far worse. According to Leslie Buzbee, the last time Zach was arrested the sheriff cornered him into either helping nail the other moonshiners or being prosecuted to the fullest extent. He agreed to help them and was deputized; of course, all the parties concerned were outraged, Zach knew them all.

We have the impression that while Zach was incarcerated; Dessie and the children went to stay with her family in Pensacola where Emery was born. By March 10, 1928 they were back in Baldwin County (Emma said that said Dessie use to call him Emery Joe Lucian Harrison Simeon Greenberry Marks. We now know several of these names were Marks family names. Dessie never really talked about Zach and we wonder if she was giving us some clues).

About two and a half weeks before Zach’s death, Dessie took out a loan of $33 from C. A. Thompson, which was to be paid back on or before August 1, 1928. As collateral she put up one small dark bay mare mule, one horse Chattanooga wagon and the entire crop raised on the property for the year of 1928.

On the date of Zach’s death, March 31, 1928 a newspaper article dated reported that officers seized stills and mash in joint raids. Could this article be the results of Zach’s work? “Federal Agents Hughes and Graves and State Law enforcement Officer Cannon Friday reported the seizure and destruction of two whiskey-making outfits and a quantity of liquor and mash. A 60-gallan drum still was seized between the Howell and Tanner Ferry roads, about 15 miles from Mobile. The officers reported the outfit had been in operation during the day, and a quantity of liquor was seized”.

“Combined federal, state and county prohibition squads have staged several successful raids recently and a number of arrests have been made. It is understood evidence has been obtained which will result in the arrest of several additional persons on prohibition charges”.

“Two persons were arrested and a boat equipped with an outboard motor, 35 gallons of rye whiskey and other materials were seized Tuesday when officers found a still in operation in the marsh boarding the bank of Blakely river. The men are being held in jail in default of bond”.

“During the past few weeks, officers have seized six boats in connection with raids conducted in the marshy delta city. Besides the boats, the squads have seized valuable supplies consisting of sugar, kegs, etc. Many persons have been taken into custody in connection with the seizures”.

It’s interesting to note the David and I had made trips to the area and made inquires about his grandfather. Not long after we received in the mail, a newspaper clipping the events I just quoted. There was no note or any indication of who it was from, which make me feel like the sender was telling us the events described were tied to Zach’s informing.

Where’s Zach?
In The Baldwin Times it was reported; “Dead at the hands of persons unknown was the verdict rendered by the Coroner’s Jury holding inquest over the body of Z. Marks”. He lived in the area known as Live Oak between Stapleton and Bromley and had been missing since Sunday April 1st when his empty boat was found floating near Bay Minette Basin. Having been shot with a load of buck shot his body was found floating in Sibley Creek on Saturday, April 7th by Mrs. Med D’Olive, Mrs. Pete D’Olive and Mrs. Joe Walters who were going down the creek in a row boat.

It is believed that his death was the result of a feud between prohibition law violators in that section.
Dorothy Marks remembers hearing that Uncle Zach got into an argument with someone before his death. Apparently, before any of the other shiners were arrested, they ambushed Zach down by the creek and shot him with his own gun. I searched the papers of the time for the whole year of 1928 and found no further mention of arrests after the initial trios were released. Buzbee said that the sheriff’s department had a very low opinion of moon shiners and probably didn’t try very hard, but the locals all did have their suspicions of who did it.

Baldwin Times: Apr. 12, 1928
Three weeks later the headlines of The Onlooker read; “Trio make bond in murder case”. “H. L. D'Olive 30, Fred Durant 30, and Lewis Watters 18 were arrested for the murder. At the preliminary hearing on Tuesday, waived examination and were released on bond of $500 each. The trio was returned to Bay Minette from Mobile, where they had been taken last Wednesday by State Enforcement Officers Cannon and Reid and were held incommunicado at the county jail”.

Grandpa’s Grave
Buddy Askegreen was 12 years old at the time of Zach’s murder. There was a lot of boot legging of liquor going on up in those woods where they lived. At the funeral he was so scared as all the men were carrying guns and he said he was shaking all over looking for someone he knew.” It would make scene that these men might have been deputies sent there to ensure no trouble was made.
Dessie and the children left in a hurry after the funeral to live with her parents in Westville, Escambia, Florida.

Emma and Emery, two of Zach’s children located their father’s grave back in the early 1990’s, and we tried to locate it almost ten years later without much success. There has been a lot of development in the area over the past ten years, and heavy machinery was still leveling iron soaked dirt roads within the Bromley area in 2003.

Leslie Buzbee felt that Zach had to be buried in Bankester Cemetery on D’Olive Road, which was the road leading back to the original family property. Several people told us we should be able to see it set back off the road surrounded by a fence. We were successful in finding the grave. It was a large flat stone laying flat with the name “Z. Marks” simply carved into it.

The Aftermath
He always wanted to take me (Nellie Askegreen) to what he called the homestead where he lived and where his Mom lived while married to Mr. Marks. It was not a very happy life. I was 15 when we met, and married him when I was 17 (1938). By then he was in the army, we had a very happy marriage for 53 years. “When we were stationed at Fort Barancas, Florida, Dan, Emma and Emery were all quite young, but they took turns staying with us for short visits now and then. Once when we were at Fort Bliss, Texas, Emery stayed with us and worked at a Borden’s Ice Cream business. He would bring ice cream home every night.

Dessie may have lost the land that she and Zaccheus had because she couldn’t pay the taxes; on the other hand it may be she couldn’t bear to live in that area any longer. Dessie never applied for her husband’s pension. It seems she never realized she could, even if she had known, she was to proud for what she would have considered a hand out.

The country was about to go into the Great Depression, and after Zach’s death, Dessie had no money and nowhere else to go when they landed at the doorstep of her parents in Westville Florida. Emma said it must have been difficult for her to now have to depend so much on her parent’s help. Her father was a difficult and demanding man, and at times became more than she could bear.

One time she woke the children up in the middle of the night and rushed them out of the house before Emma could put her shoes on. They walked up the road where she rented a room that was no more than a tarpaper shack in Ensley. There they would stay until lack of money forced them to return home. Emma remembered those times as being very cold and hungry.

Nellie Monroe Askergren recalled Carl saying that during the depression people had a rough time trying to survive. Luckily grampa Peterson had steady work for the railroad and also could farm the property where they lived. Bud said he did a lot of plowing as a kid and all the chores were tough. He had to give up going to school quite young to tend the farming that needed to be done in order to survive. He even plowed for other landowners. His grampa helped a lot of his own family get by during the depression as he had retired from the railroad and did have a steady income, which actually wasn’t a whole lot.

Emma remembers the family being very poor and living on only $2.00 a month. They became very creative in ways to earn extra money. They grew strawberries and turnips to sell. Dan and Emery would climb up into the trees to collect the mistletoe growing there and Dessie would tie them up with ribbons in neat little bundles to sell. Emma had one dress to wear to school, and washed it every night so it would be clean.

The 1930 Florida census for Gonzalez, Escambia, Florida shows that Dessie and her children (Carl, Dan, Emma and Emery) were all living with her parents. Two of Dessie’s sisters where also living at home, Mattie & Ivy. Dan Peterson was still working for the railroad at this time along with his son Joseph. Joe and Curma Peterson where living next door.

The 1935 census for R3 on the outskirts of precinct 37 in Escambia county Florida shows that Dessie had an 8th grade education and is living with her parents and several siblings (Dessie’s children are listed in a different book) Carl Askegreen is working as a laborer, he is now 19 and has a 6th grade education and that Dan, Emma and Emery are listed as students.

The 1940 census for Cottage Hill, Escambia, Florida shows that Dessie and the three children are living with her brother, Walker’s family. She is working as a kitchen helper through the W.P.A. The Works Projects Administration was part of president Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and was the largest and most ambitious, employing millions of people to carry out public works projects.

1940 Dessie’s mother, Emma died in 1940 at age 70 after an illness and her father Dan died several years later in 1944 at age 84. At this time Dessie was living in Quintette, Florida.

Dessie along with several members of the Peterson family were living at Aragon Court in Pensacola. This was a newly constructed low-income housing project. Dan, Dessie & Emery lived here (where the Pensacola Civic Center is now). Still struggling, Emma recalled that Dan and Emery would fight for money and Emery was quite good at it. It’s not clear if these were organized tournaments or back alley bets, but this may be where his life long interest in boxing developed.

On December 31, 1941 at age 18, Dan Tommie Marks enlisted into the Navy up in Birmingham, Alabama. Two months later, on February 27th, Dan was received on the USS Hermitage (AP-54) and on November 2nd they departed New York. Six days later the North African invasion began, know as Operation Torch. By 1945 we find Dan back in Pensacola before permanently relocating to California.

On May 6, 1944 Emma married 2nd Lt in the Marine Corps, Gustave Edward Anderson who was stationed in Pensacola. After his enlistment was up, they moved back to Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where Gus was originally from and graduated from the Case Western Reserve Institute of Technology as a mechanical engineer in 1948. They then moved to San Diego, California

In 1946 Dessie was renting a place on North Palafox St in Pensacola with Dan and Emery who was working at Quality Dairy.

There was a newspaper account for 1947 reported that a car struck Dessie and her six year old grandson. This happened as they were getting off a city bus near Ensley, a suburb of Pensacola. Her grandson suffered a fractured pelvis bone and Dessie received a bruised forehead. The driver was placed in the county jail on charges of reckless driving due to improper brakes.

Emery cousin Tommy Ward seems to have been somewhat of a bad influence on him. In August 1950 the pair had been caught stealing watermelons out of a field in Ensley and later testing car doors over on Garden Street around midnight and the pair were given 30 days for pilfering.

There wasn’t much in the way of job prospects for Emery and he found himself heading to northeast Ohio in search of work. He found employment with the Paper Mill in Chagrin Falls. He may have chosen this area since his brother-in-law was from Chagrin and his parents still lived there. He soon started seeing Betty Lesko who was an office worker at the mill. He converted to Catholicism and they married on July 2, 1955 at St Mary’s in Bedford Ohio.

In 1951 Dessie joined Emma and Gus in San Diego and remained there until her death in 1966. Her granddaughter Linda remembered she played the piano and loved to read the bible, and read it cover to cover endless times. She was not an educated woman and felt somewhat inferior to others, but she was intelligent and continually strived to learn and better herself. Linda remembers that she would pick out new words from the dictionary and study them to expand her vocabulary.

Dessie passed away on November 11, 1966 in San Diego, California and was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego, California.


  1. What a fascinating life Zachariah Marks led. You found so much information. An immensily entertaining story.

  2. I am an archaeologist in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. My firm has conducted excavations in what used to be Gattis and many other sites around Live Oak Creek. These include homesteads and turpentine operations and camps. I would love to delve more into his time in this part of Florida and share some information. Jan Campbell, Prentice Thomas & Associates, Inc. generic company email is office if you are interested.