© OdwyerProductions 2020
Sammy Marks


At forty years of age and a very wealthy man, Marks started thinking about marriage. He returned to Sheffield in England and married Bertha Guttmann, eighteen years his junior. This was an arranged marriage set up by Bertha's father who helped with Sammy's success during the years. Bertha was only 5 years old when Sammy set foot on the Cape's soil. From this union nine children were born, six boys and three girls. Only six children survived infancy. Having himself received a limited schooling, Marks set great store by education and saw to it that the children were taught at home by governesses – boys until the age of eight, girls until the age of twelve and then they were sent to private schools in England. Sammy could speak 5 different languages and had a great mind for business. Bertha, having married a very wealthy man, was often abroad buying décor for the mansion from France, Germany, India etc. Dolly was the youngest daughter to be born; doctors was afraid she wouldn't make it after birth as she only weighed 780grams at birth. She lived a full life and died at the ripe age of 96 years. The oldest son, Louis was very full of himself and had this attitude after studying in England, referring to himself as "Young Lord Louis" , even signing his letters with the initials "YLL". Sammy once entered a party where the coat boy took his hat and jacket and tipped the young man a generous 1 pound. After taking the tip, the boy turned to Sammy and asked if he could tip him more as his son Louis tipped him five pounds when he came in earlier. Sammy looked at the young man and replied with a well thought comeback: "Remember that my son has a very rich father, I on the other hand, do not." Gertrude was Sammy's oldest daughter and also favorite child as they were the closest to one another. She was very talented and went to England for her studies, where she met a young Christian boy. She was only sixteen at the time. After writing her father a very long letter explaining to him that she had met the love of her life and intended to marry him and convert to Christianity, Sammy being a Russian-Jew, he was disappointed and livid at the same time. He immediately sent for her to be fetched and brought back to South Africa where Gertrude, heartbroken, refused to marry in her life. She kept herself busy by attending charities and helping the less fortunate, but she never courted a man. She is buried on the Zwartkoppies farm. Joseph was the son who never wanted to be a businessman, and told his father that he wanted to be a farmer when grown up. He demanded his curtains, bedding, carpet, everything in his room be the color of green. Joseph studied agriculture and ran the farm after the death of his father, in addition to running his own nearby farm.
Marks and his family on a visit to England c1903. From left to right are Gertrude (Girlie) 1889, Joe 1892, Dolly 1897, Sammy, Louis 1885, Bertha and Phil 1900. Ted 1894 is absent