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Carroll County Biographies


Mrs. Caroline Mark widow of the late James Mark. was, with her husband, one of the earliest pioneers of Salem Township, to which they came prior to their marriage. Mrs. Mark came with her brother from Maryland in 1847 (other sources show an arrival date of 1836 which is most likely the correct year), and went with him to Arnold's Grove, where they lived two years (?); at the expiration of this time Miss Caroline was married to Mr. Mark, March 31, 1849 ( ** 11 May 1843 per IL Marriage Records **). They settled on a tract of raw prairie in Salem Township. where Mr. Mark put up a good log house and worked almost night and day in order to be able to enter his land.

Mr. and Mrs. Mark occupied that primitive dwelling five or six years. Mr. Mark had, prior to his marriage, in addition to his labors on his land, worked for a time in Elkhorn Grove, at splitting rails, in order to get money to secure his first claim. This accomplished, he began making fences, setting out fruit trees, and each year putting in the season's crop. Mrs. Mark herself dug up a portion of the soil with a spade and planted locust seeds in rows, from which sprang the first artificial timber on the farm, and much labor and care was employed in getting these trees in a growing condition. Her first rolling-pin was an ear of corn, and the next a black bottle; finally she manufactured a rolling-pin out of a stick of wood, with a saw and a draw-shave, and this she still uses. She also performed many other feats which the young ladies of Carroll County at the present time would consider either beneath their dignity, or impossible. Mr. and Mrs. Mark occupied their log house five or six years, then removed into a frame structure, which, at tbat time, was considered quite elegant.

Mr. Mark raised grain mostly the first few years, which he hauled to Chicago with teams, taking his provisions with him, and camping by the wayside wherever night overtook him. After a few years he found himself on solid ground with surplus capital, which he began investing in land, until he was at one time the owner of 1,500 acres, which he divided up into five farms. One of these has since been sold.They continued to live upon tbeir original purchase, upon which Mr. Mark expended much time, labor, and money, beautifying and improving it, until his death, which occurred in February, 1869, and then Mrs. Mark purchased a fine home in Mt. Carroll, to which she removed, retiring from active labor.

James Mark was born in Scotland in 1814, and emigrated to America when a young man twenty-­one years of age. He settled first in New York, where he occupied himself at teaming, and a year later came to Cherry Grove, this county, with a capital of seventy-five cents in his pocket. He was thus essentially a self-made man, accumulating his property by his own industry and perseverance, ably assisted by the lady whom he made his wife. He became a prominent man in his community, and at the time of his deatb was President of the First National Bank of Mt. Carroll. In early manhood he had allied himself with tbe Democratic party, but upon a close examination of the questions arising during the progress of the late Civil War, he considered that he had reason to change his views, and he became one of the most earnest defenders of Republican principles, which he thereafter supported. He was honest and upright in his business transactions, and enjoyed the confidence and esteem of all who knew him. As a pioneer he performed his part well, and always mantained a warm interest in the growth and development of his adopted county.

Mrs. Mark was born in Jefferson County, Va., Feb. 2, 1820 and is the daughter of Richard and mary Ann (Diddy) Wade, who removed from Maryland when she was a child of seven years. Her mother died not long afterward in the latter State and caroline thereafter was thrown mostly upon her own resources. She kept house for her father and two younger children until his death, which occurred when she was twelve years old. She maintained herself thereafter, until coming to this county with her brother. Richard Wade was born in Maryland, it is supposed, and there married Miss Mary Ann Diddy. They became the parents of seven children, five of whom lived to mature years; one of these is now living. Mr. Wade was at one time well-to-do, and carried on farming quite extensively. By undersigning notes for his brother-in-law he lost all of his property and thus left his children penniless.

Portraits & Biographical Pg 871

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