Marks, Mississippi

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Marks is a city in Quitman County, Mississippi, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 1,551. It is the county seat of Quitman County[1]. Marks was named for Leopold Marks, a Jewish immigrant trader of the late 19th century whose market became one of the earliest centers of business in the area.

Contents

Geography

Marks is located at 34°15′18″N 90°16′22″W / 34.255°N 90.27278°W / 34.255; -90.27278 (34.254918, -90.272784)[2].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square miles (2.7 km²), all of it land.

History

Marks is notable for being the starting point of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Poor People's Campaign in 1968.[3]

The town of Marks was named after Leopold Marks (born 1851 - died 1910) who left Germany to avoid conscription by the German army. He landed in New York in 1868. He knew no English and arrived with only 27 cents in his pockets.

Nonetheless, Leopold Marks was Quitman County's first representative to the state legislature and served in that capacity for eight years. In 1875 he married; his wife, Pauline Marks, was born in 1852 but her year of death is unknown.

Leopold Marks realized the potential of the Coldwater River region and the dense forests and the fertile banks of Cassidy's Bayou when he bought a small trading boat and peddled goods up and down the river area. He opened his store and began to buy land at $0.40 per acre. He also peddled jewelry across the county until he reached Friars Point, Mississippi.

Prejudice at first kept him from obtaining the land grant that he sought. He was shot at several times. (Source: page 77-78 "Jews of Early Mississippi" published by University Press of Mississippi) He skirted the issue by forming the Marks Townsite Company and did manage to get the grant.

He encouraged the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad to come into the area by giving the railroad company, without cost, the right-of-way through his plantation plus 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land. Leopold Marks' son, Henry Marks, donated land to the town of Marks to be used as a cemetery.

The official "founding" of the town is considered to be May 12, 1907; on May 12, 2007, the town celebrated its centennial.

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