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More of Don's
photo series.

The grave of my great grandfather, Samuel G. Mark.

I never met my great grandfather, of course—he died nearly 60 years before I was born. But it is sad to think about him and his family; he was married at 20, to Roxie Jane Purnell, who was 18. They had four children in five years. Then Samuel died in the Civil War, in an army hospital. If you have read about army hospitals during the Civil War, you know what a terrible end he must have come to.

Roxie Jane bundled up the children and moved back to her father's house.

Roxie Jane had a brother, Benjamin, about whom you may have read. He was a mild-mannered David Karesh, starting a religious sect called House of David. For many years House of David had a baseball team which traveled all over, like the basketball team Harlem Globetrotters. The men didn't shave, so had long beards.

In the House of David, men and women lived separately, so there were no children to carry on the faith. Uncle Ben, though, had a secret passage from his quarters to the women's dorm, so his life wasn't as austere as the other mens'. Or so the story goes.

More on the House of David.