During the 1870s, Madison J. Marcus (died 1897), a Prussian Jew, joined Polish immigrant Simon Brown (1829-1906) in his business in Blackville, South Carolina. Together, they sold an extensive variety of goods, ranging from boots and hardware to furniture and perfumes. To encourage local farmers to visit their store, Brown and Marcus purchased cotton at the “highest prices paid,” which they then resold to larger textile companies. This practice of buying and selling cotton to attract customers and increase profits was not uncommon in southern agrarian communities during the latter half of the nineteenth century. In 1881, Marcus left Brown to start a saddle, draft, and livestock business in Blackville. The business closed by the end of 1882.
Main Image: Madison J. Marcus advertisement. Reprinted from The People, May 5, 1881.