A Governor for Tennessee

Historical Marker # 1333 marks the birthplace of Albert Smith Marks, the twenty-fourth governor for Tennessee.

Born in Daviess County, Kentucky, Marks lived in Kentucky until he was nineteen years old. In 1850, at age fourteen, Marks’s father passed away. Marks promptly quit school in order to be the head of the household. Five years later, he left Kentucky for a relative’s law office in Tennessee. After studying law, Marks was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1858.

Although Marks was staunchly against secession, he enlisted in the Confederate Army when Tennessee withdrew from the Union. Initially elected captain, Marks was later promoted to colonel of the Seventeenth Tennessee Infantry. In December of 1862, at the Battle of Stones River at Murfreesboro, he was wounded while leading a charge, which resulted in the amputation of his right leg. When he finally recovered, Marks served as a judge advocate to the staff of General Nathan Bedford Forrest until the end of the war.

After the Civil War, Tennessee, the first state readmitted into the Union after the war, was the only former Confederate state to not have a military governor installed during Reconstruction. Like the rest of the south, as well as Kentucky, civil unrest spread throughout the state. Marks went back to law after the war, and gained the reputation as one of the most brilliant lawyers in the state. Because of this, he was convinced to enter politics and run a governor for Tennessee, of which he won in 1878. However, problematic state issues, including civil unrest and debt, were so troublesome that Marks declined to run for a second term. Instead, he returned to his law practice, although he stayed involved to some degree in politics after his term ended. For example, in 1888, Marks was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention held in St. Louis, Missouri.

Albert Smith Marks died at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee on November 4, 1891. He is buried in the Winchester City Cemetery.

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Albert Smith Marks

Albert Smith Marks

Albert Smith Marks was governor of Tennessee from 1879-1881. Courtesy of Tennessee State Library and Archives. View File Details Page

Battle of Perryville

Battle of Perryville

While serving with the Confederate Army, Marks fought at the Battle of Perryville in 1962. Courtesy of Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Battle of Murfreesborough

Battle of Murfreesborough

It was at the Battle of Murfreesborough, on December 31, 1862, that Marks was severely wounded and would have later need to have his leg amputated. Courtesy of Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Hundred Oaks Castle

Hundred Oaks Castle

Marks™s home was situated on a plantation which was purchased by him in the 1860s. It is said that his son Arthur counted the oak trees that dotted the land and came to the sum of one hundred, hence the name “Hundred Oaks”. Hundred Oaks Castle was formed from Arthur™s childhood home and his inspiration from Scottish castles. Courtesy of Hundred Oaks Castle. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Ashlee Chilton, “A Governor for Tennessee,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed April 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/636.

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