Tuesday, February 18, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks = Week #7; Thomas K Mark; Carpenter

This prompt comes from Amy Johnson Crow at her blog, No Story Too Small. She suggests we “write once a week about a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, a research problem — any that focuses on that one ancestor.” 

I have decided to begin with my grandparents and to work back through the generations. Of my 8 great grandparents only Thomas & his wife were still living when I was born. Because Thomas lived so far away I saw him rarely and have only vague memories of this gentle man. 

Thomas Kenneth Mark
19 July 1879 OH – 12 Feb 1975 OH
My Great Grandfather
Thomas K Mark c 1967 OH

ThomasK Mark was the son of William Mark & Elidia Rebecca Ritter.[1] He was the second of 11 children. His siblings were: George Washington, Margaret Maude, Emma Jane, William Hercules, Mary, Amos Martin, Eslie Guy, Charles Forest, Elva Gale & James Everett.

In 1880 the William Mark family was in Wayne Co., OH. William was a day laborer. Thomas was one of 5 children at home.[2] By 1900 Thomas was living with Eli Reed in Lafayette, OH and working as a farm laborer.[3]

On 28 Jan 1903 Thomas married N Regina Gruissy, the daughter of Augustus Ceaser Gruissy & Esther Barbara Wolf. They were both 23 years old when they married.[4] According to a grand daughter, Thomas K. Mark did not know how to read when he got married. Regina taught him to read, using the Bible.

In 1910 Thomas & Regina were renting a farm in Westfield Twp., Medina, OH. They had three little girls: Isabell, Vera & Ivy.[5]

Thomas worked as a farmer and a carpenter. His daughter, Ivy, said he would buy a house, fix it up, sell it and buy another one. He did this about every 3 to 5 years.[6] The 1920 census shows him to be a carpenter.[7] Thomas helped to build summer cottages on Chippewa Lake, a summer resort in Medina Co., OH.[8]  In 1930 Thomas, 50 years old, was still using his carpentry skills. He & Regina were living in Guilford, OH. Four children were still at home.[9] Even after an accident that injured his back, Thomas continued building things.

My great grandfather lived a long life. My mother said they would, on occasion, get word from Ohio that he was not well and the New York relatives should come and say good bye. Relatives would quickly pack up and make the drive to Ohio only to find him in improved and good health. I remember rare visits to Ohio when I was a child but I was overwhelmed by all the relatives and often did not understand how they were connected to me.

Thomas' 95th Birthday
A clipping from an unknown newspaper wrote about Thomas’ 95th birthday.

"Thomas Mark Celebrates 95 Birthday" Seville. Thomas (T.K.) Mark will be honored for his 95th birthday Sunday from 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. during an open house in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Alvin Braun, 9846 Lee Road, Seville. He survives 13 brothers and sisters and is the son of the late William and Rebecca Mark of Overton.  He and his wife, the former Regina Gruissey [sic], who died in 1959, have lived most of their married lives in Medina, Wadsworth, and Seville. From this marriage there are seven children: five daughters, Mrs. Isabell Nee, of Wadsworth, Mrs. Vera Ballard of Lakeland, Fla., Mrs. Ivy Brown of Kinderhook, N. Y., Mrs. Viola Nothstein of Maryland, and Mrs. Wava Braun of Seville; and two sons, Owen of River Styx and Clarence of Akron, Ind.  He has 20 grandchildren, 49 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren. Mark laughingly recalls reading his own obituary in an Akron newspaper.  He said, "I was involved in an automobile accident several years ago sustaining a broken back and wasn't expected to live through the night and the next edition of the newspaper carried my obituary."  He continued, "However, as you can see, I am very much alive."  HIs son Owen said, "I refer to my Dad as 'Two at a time, Tom' because on our fishing trips to Quebec, Canada, he would catch two walleyes at a time using a pole and two hooks while I, using a rod and fancy lures, many times caught nothing."  His daughter Wava of Seville has a table he made while an employee of Bennett Lumber, Medina.  Mark had his appendix removed at the age of 80.  He will celebrate his 95th birthday Friday and presently makes his home in the Sara Lee Nursing Home, 140 Wall Road, Wadsworth, where he enjoys watching sports on television and winning at Bingo - the prizes being fruit. Before making his home in the nursing home, he always had a good garden reports his son Owen.”


Thomas died 12 February 1975.[10] He and Regina are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Wadsworth, OH.[11] The last of their children died in 2011. Thomas has many descendants still in Ohio and others scattered across our country. One of my cousins is a talented carpenter and I think he inherited his skill from Thomas.

Thomas K Mark & his daughter, Ivy Mark Brown [both seated]
My parents, Delbert & Joy Brown
My brothers & Me c 1963 NY


 Related Posts:




[1] Birth Record for Thomas K. Mark, 19 July 1879, Volume 2, Page 200, #25, Wayne Co Probate Court, Court House, 107 W Liberty St., Wooster, OH.
[2] 1880 US Census Soundex, Ohio; 1880; Vol.67,E.D. 226 Sheet 29; Line 35; Family History Library Microfilm #0448458; History Center Microfilm #0448458; William Marks family.
[3] 1900 US Census; Medina Co., OH Vol.105 ED45 Sheet 6 Line 74 FHC Microfilm #1241302: Thomas K. Mark.
[4] Probate Court, Medina Co., Ohio, License & Certificate # 780 Thomas K. Mark & Regina V, Gruissy, m. 28 Jan 1903.
[5] 1910 U. S. Census, Medina Co., Ohio; 7 May 1910; E. D. 144, Family#237; ; Federal Archives, Pittsfield, Mass., T1272 Roll M620 (Soundex) and T624 Roll 1205 (Report); Thomas K. Mark family in Westfield Twp.
[6] Interview with Ivy (Mark) Brown (Sept. 1993).
[7] 1920 United States Census, Medina County, Ohio; Volume 147, ED 67, Sheet 5, Line 37, Family History Center Microfilm # 1821417: Thomas K. Mark family.
[8] Information from Clarence William Mark; 1811-1950's; The Mark & Gruissy Families; written Oct. 1994.
[9] 1930 U. S. Census, Guilford, Medina, Ohio, SD 4, ED 52-5, Sheet 11B; Thomas K Mark family.
[10] Certificate of Death for Thomas K Mark;  Ohio Dept. of Health, Div. of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Death, Primary Reg. Dist. #5201, State File #021347, Reg. #19 Thomas K. Mark.
[11] The Medina County Genealogical Society, Tombstone Inscriptions from the Cemeteries in Medina County, Ohio, 1983. Evansville, Indiana: Whipporwill Publications, 1984. Thomas & Regina Mark.

1 comment:

  1. I knew only one great-grandparent. You are fortunate to have these pictures and stories. It's really a lovely tribute that family made the trip from Ohio to say good-bye - even when it turned out to be a false alarm.

    ReplyDelete