Sammy Marks

Names: Marks, Sammy

Born: 1843, Lithuania

Died: 1920, Johannesburg

In summary: An entrepreneur.

The entrepreneur Samuel Marks was born in Lithuania in 1843. He arrived on African shores in 1868 where he began his career by hawking cheap jewelry and cutlery in Cape Town. Later he moved on to Kimberley where he went into business with his brother-in-law Isaac Lewis and Jules Porges. Together they formed the French Diamond Mining Company.

Following this Lewis and Marks decided to relocate to the Eastern Transvaal, and after trading in the boomtown of Barberton, established the African and European Investment Company. This company proceeded to become a major Rand finance house with controlling interests in several gold mines. An example of this is one of the companies he started, the Zuid-Afrikaanscheen Oranje Vrystaatsche Mineralen en Mijnbouvereeniging, which became the basis of the town Vereeniging. Marks also developed the Viljoen’s Drift coal mine and encouraged the expansion of the Witbank coalfields.

Sammy Marks was also a close friend and admirer of Paul Kruger and a popular figure within the Transvaal business community. He advised him to build a railwayline from Pretoria to Lorenco Marques. He was however not invited to the opening function of the railwayline. He served as a senator in the Union Parliament from 1910 until his death in 1920 in Johannesburg