El Dorado County
LEANDER D. MARKS
Leander D. Marks, of Placerville, is a native of the Empire state, his birth having occurred in St. Lawrence County, on the 3rd of June, 1821. He has therefore almost reached the eightieth milestone of life’s journey. His record has ever been that of a man true to the duties of public and private life, faithful in friendship and honorable in business. He is a representative of one of the early families of New York. His grandfather, Reuben Marks, reared his children in the Empire state and among the number was Richard Marks, the father of our subject. He was born in New York and when he had attained manhood he married Miss Annie Bristol, also a native of that state. They were industrious farming people, faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and both attained the age of sixty-five years. In their family were eight children, but Leander Douglass is now the only survivor.
In 1834 the parents removed with their children to Ashtabula County, Ohio, and the father entered land from the government. There amid the wild scenes of the frontier Leander D. Marks was reared to manhood and in the public schools acquired his education. At the age of twenty years he went to Watterdown, Canada, where he was engaged in the manufacture of farming implements, such as scythes, sickles and rakes. While residing there he met the lady whom he afterward made his wife and who for the past fifty-eight years has been to him a faithful companion and helpmate on life’s journey. She bore the maiden name of Harriet Griffin Kent and was a daughter of William Kent. Their marriage was celebrated in 1842 and four sons were born to them in Canada. Hoping to more rapidly acquire a competence for his family in the west, Mr. Marks came to California in 1859 by way of the Isthmus of Panama, and the following year he sent for his wife and children. On the voyage one of the children had a violent attack of diphtheria, but owing to the tender and unremitting care of the mother his life was saved and with her little sons she reached her destination in safety. They settled in Amador City, where Mr. Marks was first engaged in school teaching. Later he became the proprietor of the Scott Hotel, then the only hostelry in the town. Subsequently he removed to San Joaquin County, locating ten miles below Ione, where he purchased a ranch. He made many improvements thereon and learned later that it belonged to a Mexican grant, and he and many other settlers were thus ruthlessly disposed of their property and he lost all he had made. He then rented the old Chapman place and in 1864 came to Placerville.
In this city Mr. Marks turned his attention to the grocery business and next engaged in teaming over the mountains from Placerville to Virginia City, Nevada. Along that route at short intervals were hotels and between four and five thousand teamsters were engaged in hauling goods. Later he became interested in freighting from Shingle Springs to Placerville. At that time the teamsters over the mountains were registered and at the depot they had to await their turn to get their load. It was a time of wonderful business activity, owing to the rapid development of the silver mines in Nevada. In 1867 Mr. Marks was called to public service, being elected a justice of the peace, and such was his ability in the office that he was elected again and again, filling the position for twenty years. His decisions were strictly fair and impartial and during all that time not a single opinion that he rendered was reversed. This was a splendid record and shows him to be a man of high rectitude of character and large intelligence. He has done an insurance business at Placerville and has had the agency of the Firemen’s Fund since 1873. He also represents several other companies and has enjoyed the continuous patronage of many people. Another enterprise which has claimed his attention is a meat market, which he conducted for three years. He is now in a measure retired from active business and resides with his good wife in a neat cottage, which he erected in 1889. A daughter was born to them in California, whom they named Grace Darling. In her seventeenth year death claimed her and they felt their loss keenly. Three of their sons are still living, Watson S., Henry K. and Louie, who are all men of high respectability.
Mr. Marks came to California about the time the Republican Party was formed. He espoused the cause of the Union and the restriction of the extension of slavery, and has ever been a staunch advocate of the party upholding the supremacy of the national government during the Civil War, which has stood as a protector of the American industries and American rights, and is now upholding the honor of the flag upon the foreign soil that the fortunes of war have given to this country. His wife is a valued member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and both are members of the society of Chosen Friends, and having passed the seventy-fifth anniversary of their births they have received from the order the benefit of one thousand dollars each. Through fifty-eight years they have traveled life’s journey together, sharing with each other its joys and sorrows, its adversity and prosperity, and now in the evening of life they are resting side by side in the companionship of love which has been growing brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.