Circling Back to those Virginia Roots Washington and Elias Marks: Part 2 of Lost in Virginia


This post is a continuation of my research into the Marks family of Virginia.  I conduct my genealogical research by circling.  I research anyone and everyone connected to my subject.  And my circles most often grow bigger, and sometimes much bigger, before they zero in on what I really want to know–in this case, how this Southern Virginia Marks family came to America.

To make a long story short, I first pick up ancestor James Marks Sr. (who I am presuming, but not concluding, was the father of James Marks Jr.) in Ohio and understand from various records that he was born in Virginia.  After my last post, I was left with many connections to Virginia among numerous tightly knitted families with many loose ends and little definitive proof.  The families include these potentially important individuals:  Washington Marks, Daniel Marks, Elias Marks, Jesse Marks, Thornton Marks, Jane and Elizabeth Boice, Joshua and Jacob Dobbins, David Wallace Sparks, the Templetons, Mary Polly Drummond,and Elizabeth Wyant.  I was also left with a lot of questions, which map out a plan for how I am going to broaden my circles:

  • What happened to Elias and Washington Marks after Mad River? Does that provide any clues on whether they are James’s brothers? Or cousins? Or what?
  • When did the Markses first show up in Mad River Township, Ohio? What do the 1830 and 1840 censuses show?
  • Where was James Marks in 1840? Ohio? Or some place else?
  • Who was Mary Marks who married Jacob Dobbins in 1842 in Indiana?  What happened to them?
  • What do DNA matches tell me about how and if these Marks families fit together?
  • What can they tell me about possible common ancestors from Virginia?

Circling the Hoosier and Buckeye States:  

I am starting with three premises: First, I know that James Marks Sr. was in Mad River Township, Clark County, Ohio in 1830, along with many other Marks families.  Second, I know that James Marks, Jr. married Susan Templeton in Greene County, Indiana and appears there on the 1850 Census, again with a number of other Marks families.  Third, I know that Elias and Washington Marks remained in Mad River Township, Ohio for the 1850 Census.

Here is Washington Marks in 1840 in Mad River Township, Clark County:Family Marks Washington 1840 Census

Here is Washington in 1850 in Mad River Township, Clark County:Family Marks Washington 1850 - Copy

Here is Elias in 1850 in Mad River Township, Clark County:

Family Marks Elias 1850 - Copy (3)

So, what happened to Elias and Washington Marks after Mad River? Well, thankfully, this is a pretty easy question to answer.  And doing so yields some pretty solid returns.  Washington and Elias Marks and their families did not stay in Mad River Township indefinitely. Instead, they to migrated west to Delaware County in the Hoosier State.

The distance is approximately 100 miles on Google Maps:

Family Marks Washington 1860

I first pick up Washington and Elias in the 1860 Census, both living in Delaware County.  Here is Washington (a farmer) and his wife Elizabeth Boice living close to their children John, Charles, and Jane Marks Pittenger (all three of whom were born in Ohio).

Family Marks Washington 1850.PNG

And here is Elias (a farmer) with his wife Elizabeth Winget (niece of Elizabeth Boice Marks) and their Indiana-born daughter, Sarah.  But there are also a few other Markses in the house as well–Mary E. Marks (born 1844); John Marks (born 1846); and Phebe Ann Marks (born 1848).  Who are these children? I am going to keep them in the back of my mind as I work.  Are they Elias’s from a previous marriage? Or more likely a relative’s?  There is also a Mary Shick in the house, who may or may not have a connection to the children.  (I know the Shicks are connected to the Boices).

Family Marks Elias 1860 Census

And then I start looking for anything else I can find–wills are first. To me they are like pay dirt. They almost always yield some sort of valuable relationship information beyond just the name of the testator. But no such luck in Delaware county for either Elias or Washington.

I do see, however, that there is a lot of information on from the family of Washington Marks. There are some awesome pictures and also a bio on the find-a-grave site, which lists Washington’s relatives. The bio author contends that Washington’s parents are James Marks and Sally Hughes of Virginia.

And then . . . I come across this! A contemporaneous bio of Elias! I am so excited for this small victory. It confirms that Elias’s parents are James Marks Sr. and Sally Hughes of Virginia. That means, if the find-a-grave bio is correct, that Washington and Elias are brothers. It also confirms that this is the same Elias Marks from Mad River, Ohio who married Elizabeth Winget in Clark County. And finally, it gives me so many more clues.

  • James and Sally had 9 children! There are a lot more brothers and sisters to find.
  • Elias went to Allen County after his majority–that would be after approximately the mid to late 1830s.
  • He bought a plot of land in Delaware County in 1851.
  • And he only had one child–Sarah.

So as the circles get bigger it is back to the records for me. Unfortunately, I have no further concrete evidence tying Elias and Washington to James Jr. Now, however, I have good reason for my strong belief that Elias and James are in fact James Jr.’s brothers.

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