Capt. John Marks (1740 – 1791)
“In England there were two brothers of the names Peter and John, the latter was killed by a fall from his horse in London City. Peter Marks married Lady Betty Hastings and emigrated [sic] to Virginia. They raised five sons and one daughter. The sons were Peter, John, Hastings, James and Thomas. Peter married Joann Sidnor of Hanover County, Va. John married the widow of Col. Wm. Lewis, mother of Meriwether Lewis. Hastings married Ann Cary Jefferson sister of President Jefferson. James married a Miss Harvie one of nine brothers and sisters whose aggregate weight was twenty-seven hundred pounds.” (McGhee, p. 18) The above quote gives a colorful description of John Marks’ family and their kin.
Within six months after her husband, Capt. William Lewis’ death in 1779, Lucy Meriwether Lewis married Capt. John Marks (b.1740, died 1791) on May 13, 1780. Capt. Marks was a respectable Virginian, connected by marriage to Thomas Jefferson through his brother’s marriage to Thomas Jefferson’s sister. He had risen to the rank of captain in the Continental Line during the American Revolutionary War, but he resigned his commission in 1781 due to ill health. Capt. Marks was a magistrate of Albemarle County and was appointed sheriff in 1785, even though he had moved to Georgia in 1784. (Rev. Edgar Woods, p. 263) Letters indicate that the elder Marks’ did travel back to Virginia occasionally.
Soon after their marriage, John Marks became interested in the prospects offered by new lands in northeast Georgia. Col. George Mathews, who served in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War, noticed the productive land in nearby Georgia and took an option on a large area. Back in Virginia, he induced many planters to return with him to begin the cultivation of tobacco in fertile ground. A number of planters from Albemarle County, including Francis Meriwether, Benjamin Taliaferro and Thomas Gilmer immigrated with him to land along the Broad River in Georgia in 1784. “They lived on widely separated plantations but formed an intimate society based on personal cooperation.” (Writers from the Works Progress Administration, p.27-28) The Marks family’s land was originally 293 acres at the confluence of Millstone Creed and Broad River. (Hendrix, p. 27) He acquired additional land in the area later.
Upon John Mark’s death in 1791 (causes unknown), Lucy and her children, Reuben, John, and Mary, returned for good to their home at “Locust Hill” in Albemarle County. Lucy’s daughter, Jane, and her family joined the household soon after. Her son Meriwether had already returned to Albemarle to attend school. Lucy and John Marks had two children:
- Dr. John Hastings Marks (1785 - 1822). He received his medical education in Philadelphia and possibly William and Mary. He never married. Gilmer (p. 84) writes that he “went deranged, died in a lunatic asylum.” John Hastings died while in the City Hospital of Baltimore, Maryland, a hospital that evolved from an early “retreat” established for the care of the mentally ill in 1797. (www.springgrove.com/history) A letter from Dr. Colin Mackenzie to Reuben Lewis tells of the death of his half-brother, giving him details of his last two weeks of life (Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, 1823).
- Mary Garland Marks (May 8, 1788 - 1864) married Major William Harvie Moore (1787-1866), “a man of fortune” (Gilmer, p. 84). He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Moore of Broad River Settlement, Georgia, and the adopted son of his aunt, Mrs. Davenport. Mary Garland Marks and William Harvie Moore had twelve children.
Patricia Zontine, April 2009