Leopold Marks (1851-1910) left Germany to avoid conscription by the German army. He landed in New York in 1868. He knew no English and arrived with only $0.27 in his pockets. Nonetheless, Marks was Quitman County's first representative to the state legislature and served in that capacity for eight years. In 1875 he married Pauline Toomin Marks in Memphis, Tennessee, who was born in 1852; she died in 1901.
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.
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 H Marks, donated land to the town to be used as a cemetery.
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