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LEONARD MARKER

 

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LEONARD MARKER.

While never neglecting his business, Leonard Marker found time and opportunity to follow his inclination toward collecting relics of His family, and historical facts relative to it and the town of Versailles, Ohio, where he is conducting a furniture and undertaking establishment. He is without a doubt one of the greatest and most enthusiastic collectors of relics and curios in the State. His store contains many valuable curios and is a museum that will well pay any one to visit. The guns, some of which are relics of the Revolutionary war (over forty in the collection) and the revolvers, about seventy-five in the collection, are certainly worth studying along the line of development.

The totems, tribal emblems, and other interesting articles from Alaska were secured through a teacher who now lives in Crossroads, near Miamisburg, by the Rev. Rosen Miller, a Lutheran minister, and they had a family as follows: Leonard, who was the eldest; Allen, who lives at Versailles; Hiram, who died in 1867 aged eighteen Nears, and Margaret, who married George Burns, now resides at Cleveland, Ohio, having been a widow for a quarter of a century.

With the death of his father in 1855 Leonard Marker left the Marker homestead in the vicinity of Versailles, then called Jacksonville, near the old Bowers saw and grist mill, being taken to Liberty, Ohio, near Dayton, by His uncle Perry Marker, who died in 1869. When he was fifteen years old, Leonard Marker left school. Returning to Versailles, Ohio, in 1864, he learned the cabinet making trade from Bartholdt Engelken, a native of Germany, being apprenticed to him under articles, and during the years he remained with this skilled workman he learned everything pertaining to the making of high-grade furniture. When he was twenty-one years old, he began business for himself, making furniture to order, and very recently was called upon to refinish some furniture he had made for Elias Bashore forty years ago. During that period this furniture had required no repairing, so solid was it. His present business dates from 1867, when he established himself one-half a block from his present location, but in 1880 moved to three blocks east until 1884. When this was destroyed by fire he went to the old J. C. Reed block on Main Cross street, but in 1907 built his present building on Main and West Streets, a frame structure, which replaced the old D. R. Barley building he had been occupying, and to which he had made additions. In that year he added the handling of carpets to his business. Mr. Marker has a record of the funerals he has conducted, as he went into the undertaking business when he founded his furniture house. In earlier times he made the coffins himself, they being what was known as sharp tops, the lumber was sawed on a sash saw mill, each coffin he built to order. His first funeral was that of the daughter of Richard Brown, and took place November 24, 1867, the entire outfit costing the father eight dollars. Mr. Marker also has in his possession the book in which his father kept his records as township clerk in 1853 and 1854. As a collector of curios Mr. Marker has gained considerable reputation. Some of them he has bought, but those which he prizes most highly are the ones which have been presented to him by friends and relatives, the history of which is known to him. He Is also collecting data relative to his family, and among other things has discovered that the eighty-six Marker voters in Darke county are all Democrats, as are all he can trace in Maryland, and he lives up to family traditions by adhering to the principles of the same party. About twelve years ago he inaugurated a Marker family reunion which has taken place annually ever since.

On April 1, 1869. Leonard Marker was married at Versailles,Ohio, by the Rev. Charles Farnsworth, pastor of the Methodist church, to Miss E. Gertie Reed, daughter of the late Jas. C. and Rhoda Reed, who were among the first settlers of Versailles,then Jacksonville. Jas. C. Reed was a general merchant and grain merchant at this point, and held some township offices, such as that of township treasurer, while he was a councilman of Versailles. Mrs. Reed was a member of the Christian church. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Reed were as follows: Rachel, who is a widow, lives at Union City, Ohio; William C.; Jerusha, who is a widow, lives at Cleveland, Ohio; Allen L., who lives at Anderson, Ohio; James F., who is deceased; Jesse lives at Chicago, Ill.; Isabel, who is deceased; Gertie and two who died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Marker have had four children: E. Grace; James R., who lives at Columbus, Ohio, is state highway commissioner, superintendent of the State board of public works, county surveyor for five years, is a graduated civil engineer from the Ohio State University, and was appointed chief engineer on the board of public works by Governor Judson Harmon, and he has been a member of the good roads movement of the State and Nation, and is one of the organizers of the National Good Roads Association; Maude F. is at home, and Raymon J., who is a student at State University, is taking an agricultural and arts course. The entire Marker family belongs to the Christian church, as does Mary J. Herbert, who has been reared by Mr. and Mrs. Marker as a daughter, she being an orphan niece. For about fifteen years Mr. Marker served his church as a trustee and is now one of the five trustees of the Miami conference, which covers a wide territory. He has held a number of offices, such as those of township clerk, councilman, and others of similar importance, and can always be depended upon to do all in his power to aid in civic advancement and moral uplift. Although he is now in comfortable circumstances, he has had to work hard for his success, and in the early days often worked all night to complete an order.

History of Darke County Ohio From its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time In Two Volumes, By Frazer E. Willson Milford, Ohio. The Hobart Publishing Company 1914. Pages 192-195.

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