Biography of Benjamin Marks

A stanch and sturdy pioneer of the western country, commendable and loyal and patriotic as a citizen in all his relations since, a faithful member of society, and a progressive agriculturist and stockman of the Imnaha country now, the subject of this brief article is eminently fitted to be represented in any volume that purports to detail the lives of the pioneers and the leading men of the county, consequently it is with pleasure that we accord space for mention of the salient points in an eventful and interesting career in which our subject has universally manifested virtues of a high moral order and displayed both integrity and capabilities of rare worth.

On January 14, 1840, Mr. Marks was born in Jackson County, Missouri, being the son of Bluford and Martha W. (Moore) Marks, natives of Kentucky and prosperous agriculturists in Missouri at the date given above. The first thirteen years of our subject’s life were spent in his native place, where he received a good training in the schools, and then in company with his parents he came across the plains with ox teams, escaping the bloodshed so common among the immigrants of that time, but in no wise being free from the hardships and deprivations that were incident to such a stupendous undertaking. In due time the weary immigrants rested their teams in Linn county, and taking advantage of the laws of the country they took one-half section of land and devoted themselves to subduing it and making a home and a good farm. In 1873, having removed to Crook County, the father died, but the mother is still living in Grants Pass, this state, with her daughter, Mrs. J.J. Fryer. Our subject remained with his father until twenty-two years had crowned his life and then he set sail on life’s sea for himself, going first to John Day county, where he mined for three years and then returned to Willamette valley and with the proceeds of his labor purchased a farm in Linn county. Until 1883 he continued on this farm, being numbered as one of the successful and prosperous tillers of the soil in Linn County. Then he sold out and repaired to Gilliam County, taking a preemption claim, and working at the blacksmith trade until 1889. Then he determined to secure some of the fertile soil in the Imnaha country for his own, and accordingly came hither and homesteaded his present place of one-quarter section. In addition to this, he has a farm on the Snake River and is engaged in stock raising and farming, being attended with his accustomed good success in his endeavors. The people of the country have taken advantage of the ability and sagacity and faithfulness of Mr. Marks and have kept him in the justice’s chair for two terms since he has resided there, and to his credit be it said that he has faithfully discharged the duties of this office and has also displayed an ability and uprightness in dispensing justice that have won the esteem of his constituents and the confidence of all.

Mr. Mark’s married Miss Elizabeth, daughter of A.P. and Unity (Vulgemore) Nye, pioneers of Linn County in 1851, the wedding of our subject occurring on January 21, 1866. A goodly fruitage of fourteen children has been the heritage of this happy union, and the names of the children are as follows: Thomas O.: Lydia, deceased: Annie, Samuel, deceased: Mammie, deceased: Clem, Nettie, Alfred, Jacob, Charles, Minnie, Ira, Archie and Roy. Mr. Marks is one of the patriarchs of the land and his bright example of unswerving integrity and sound principles with uprightness in his life commend him to all lovers of good and make him eminently worthy to be followed.



An Illustrated history of Union and Wallowa Counties: with a brief outline of the early history of the state of Oregon. Western Historical Pub. Co., 1902.

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