(Homer Marks was born on August 20, 1903. He lived to be 102 and passed away on August 25th, 2005)
As I was conducting interviews for my documentary on the Tri-State Water War, “Apalachicola Doin’ Time” in April of 1999, I met with fishermen, politicians, seafood operators, hotel owners and other business people as well as representatives of regulatory agencies. But, the interview that left the biggest impression on me was the one with Apalachicola resident Homer Marks. Homer was 95 years old when I talked with him at his home in April of 1999. Homer was like a living history book on the area. He had memories of the early years of the seafood business in Apalachicola when he sold ice to the oystermen. He had tales of working in the Tupelo honey business moving his bee hives up and down the Apalachicola River. He knew about the early turn of the century hurricanes that took a toll on the town. He remembers where all the old cypress sawmills used to be located. He also remembers when there was no bridge that connected St. George Island to Eastpoint.
Homer also knew heartbreak in his life. When he was only 21 years old, his young girlfriend, 17 year old Margaret Howell, was killed on the first day of school back in 1923 in a pickup truck accident that injured three others. Homer did eventually find love again and married Agnes Segree in 1927 and had two daughters, Barbara and Louise. Those who really knew Homer shared how they often saw him head to the Magnolia Cemetery to tend to Margaret Howell’s grave and later his wife Agnes’ gravesite on the north end of 12th street and Bluff Road.
When I first showed up at Homer’s home in 1999 I had the opportunity to briefly meet his daughter Barbara and two other family members before I sat down on Homer’s porch for an interview.
To listen to the entire interview at one time (approx. 46 minutes) click the play button immediately below or you can listen to the interview divided up into 8 separate segments (to make it easier to listen to certain parts again if you wish. There are also more pictures of Homer Marks and the Apalachicola area below).Full length 46 minute interview:
Interview separated into 8 segments:
Part 1 In the Homer Marks Interview Pt 1 Homer reflects on some of the businesses he’s run during his 95 years in Apalachicola, everything from an ice house to a wholesale grocery business as well as an outboard marine business. He also briefly addresses the growth in the town since the construction of the two bridges in the community.
Part 2 In this segment, Homer talks about what it was like when he had 1,500 bee hives when he was in the Tupelo honey business and also the “juke joint” he operated.
Part 3 In this segment Homer shares the bittersweet story of the death of his first girlfriend, Margaret Howell who died in 1923. He shares his knowledge of some of the historic houses in Apalachicola and what kind of doctors serviced the town in the early years. You’ll hear about how he had to have his foot stitched up somewhere around 1907.
Part 4 In part 4 Homer talks briefly about his wife Agnes, his love of gardening and hunting and his memories of the construction of the bridge connecting Eastpoint to St. George Island.
Part 5 In this segment Homer shares how even at 95 he is still driving. He continues his thoughts about gardening and talks about some of his historic citrus trees and some of the devastating freezes that wiped out most of the citrus in the area.
Part 6 Homer reflects on some of the colorful history in Apalachicola, including the period when several sawmills operated there before fires burned most of them down in 1900 and 1910. He shares his views on the tri-state water war involving Florida, Georgia and Alabama and the potential effects on the seafood business there. Homer also talks about his father’s bakery business and his dad’s years in the town’s politics.
Part 7 In this segment you find out what teenagers did for fun back when Homer was young in the early 1900’s.
Part 8 And finally, in part 8 you will hear more about the story of Homer’s first girlfriend, Margaret Howell, who died in a vehicle accident in 1923 on the first day of school, an accident that left three others injured. You will also learn more about Homer’s parents and their ancestry.
Homer was born on August 20, 1903. He lived to be 102 and passed away on August 25th, 2005. He’s buried next to his wife Agnes who died on April 16, 1991.
Homer’s story was incorporated into the “History of Apalachicola” segment of my documentary, “Apalachicola Doin’ Time” that aired nationally in 1999. Here’s the link to that segment:
See the gallery below for more pictures of Homer Marks and some of the historic areas of Apalachicola he refers to in the interview: