In 1904, Joseph Mark (1882-1951) immigrated from Upina, Russia (present-day Upyna, Lithuania) to Burton, South Carolina, where his sister, Esther Mark Schein (1875-1933), and her family lived. Shortly after his arrival, Mark opened a general store that served the local farming community. After his girlfriend back home in Russia, Anna Banisch, refused to move to Burton, Mark began writing to her sister, Lena Mae (1887-1965). After seven years of letters, Lena Mae immigrated to the United States in 1912, and the couple married later that year. They lived above the store in Burton with their five children. Eventually Lena Mae and the children moved to downtown Beaufort, with Mark looking after the store and visiting on the weekends. In the early 1940s, however, a hurricane (possibly the 1940 South Carolina hurricane) struck the South Carolina coast and blew down Mark’s store with him inside. Following the catastrophe, Mark moved into town with the family, and opened a grocery store on Carteret Street and a liquor store on West Street.