Albert B Osborne.

Makers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) online

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college education was never realized but he persisted in his youth-
ful determination to be a lawyer, and faithful home study, some-
times alone, and sometimes under the direction of Colonel I. G.
McKissick and William Munroe, Esquires, of Union, South Caro-
lina, supplied the lack of university training. He is an ardent
advocate of higher education and is now assisting more than one
orphan boy through college. While he has done much to make up
for his early inability to obtain a collegiate education, his advice
to every boy who aspires to the legal profession is to go to college.
However, only those who know him intimately are aware of his
youthful handicap as to education.

Year after year this patient boy tilled the soil and snatched
moments as he could for his books. Ambitious, and with a recep-
tive, eager mind, he ever studied with a purpose.

His merit was so fully recognized that, while living on the
farm in 1894, he was elected to the legislature, from Union
County, serving in the session of 1894 and then again in 1896.
Mr. Otts was elected a delegate from Union County to the Con-
stitutional Convention in 1895, and was the youngest member of


that body. In 1894, being then twenty-five years of age, he mar-
ried Miss Sibbie Spears, the daughter of William Spears of
Union, South Carolina. Unfortunately, Mr. Otts is the last of
his line, as no children have blessed this union to perpetuate his
name and his splendid character.

In 1896 Mr. Otts was admitted to the bar in South Carolina.
After one year of law practice in Union, with his partner, Mr.
J. C. Wallace, Mr. Otts moved to Gaffney, South Carolina, the
seat of the new County of Cherokee. The partnership of Wallace
and Otts still continued and for three years longer the former
was the resident member of the firm at Union, and the latter at
Gaffney. In the year 1900 this partnership was dissolved and
Mr. Otts practiced alone for nine years, forming in 1909 a new
partnership with Mr. K. A. Dobson, which continued until Mr.
Otts moved to Spartanburg. During his residence in Gaffney,
Mr. Otts lost his mother. With her death in 1902 there passed
out of his life one who had been his inspiration for many years,
and from whom he inherited the indomitable will that has con-
tributed so largely to his success. He says of his mother: "She
was a woman of unusual intelligence, force of character and
business ability."

While practicing law at Gaffney, Mr. Otts was employed by
the Actors' Society of America to assist the State in the prose-
cution of a celebrated murder case. This case went up to the
Supreme Court, and is reported in Column 72, South Carolina
Reports. His argument before the jury in this case attracted
much attention, and marked him as a lawyer of pronounced
ability. In 1904 he was a legislator from Cherokee County, and
from 1906 to 1909 served in the State Senate. Governor Ansel,
recognizing his superior legal ability, appointed him solicitor
for the Seventh Judicial Circuit to succeed Judge Thomas S.
Sease, who was elected Circuit Judge immediately after begin-
ning his last term of four years as solicitor. While holding this
office Mr. Otts prosecuted many noted cases which were so faith-
fully handled by him that the decisions he secured were almost
invariably sustained in appeal to a higher court.

Mr. Otts has written considerably on political and legal sub-
jects. He has always stood for the highest ideals of his profes-
sion and has unflinchingly discharged all its duties and obliga-
tions even when such action necessitated the initiation of disbar-
ment proceedings. It has always been his desire to be known as
a lawyer. The political offices he has held are but incidents in
his career, his life work is the law. His first years of practice
marked the hard struggles of the young lawyer. His success
came slowly but surely. His youthful habit of serious reading
has remained with him through all the changes of his life, and
now history and biography claim such time as he can spare from


his legal duties. His collection of legal books forms one of the
most extensive and valuable private law libraries in the State.

Being of a genial and social disposition, Mr. Otts has joined
a number of organizations, in all of which he is a valued member,
both because of his professional ability and his personal worth.
He is affiliated with the South Carolina Bar Association ; the
American Bar Association ; the Commercial Law League of
America ; the Woodmen of the World ; and the Knights of
Pythias, being past Chancellor of Spartan Lodge, and a member
of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina. He was Captain of Com-
pany "M" of the South Carolina National Guard in Union County
for six years, from 1890 to 1896, and later Captain of Company
"H" of the South Carolina National Guard at Gaffney, South
Carolina, which command he resigned in 1905. Mr. Otts assisted
in organizing the Gaffney Building and Loan Association and the
Globe Cotton Mills, in both of which corporations he is a Di-
rector, although he takes no active part in their management,
except in his capacity as attorney.

He is connected with the Methodist Church South, serving
as steward in his home church.

Mr. Otts takes a broad view of the questions of the day.
According to his own statement, he is a believer in national pro-
hibition, free trade, compulsory education, compulsory trade
school, the short ballot, compulsory arbitration of labor disputes,
woman suffrage and simplified procedure in the courts. His
early struggles and disappointments have not embittered him
nor caused him to indulge in vain regrets, but have made of him
a man, tactful, sympathetic, regardful of the rights of others and
tolerant of their opinions. A writer to the Union Times in May,
1912, says of Mr. Otts :

"He is a man of strong and positive character, and will make
his mark anywhere. As a boy, he was full of promise; we all so
regard him ; none of us are surprised at his success."

As he stands now, it is a far cry from Cornelius Otts to the
barefoot boy who picked cotton, hoed corn, and followed the
plough on his mother's farm, but that sturdy little lad of set
purpose was father to the man.

"Our deeds travel with us from afar;
What we have been, makes us what we are."

The Otts family is a very ancient one of the Bohemian Nobil-
ity. They were knights in 1534 and evidently left Bohemia on
account of the religious upheavals of the sixteenth century.

Authentic records give the names of George Ott, isen (son
of) Los of Alt - Hutten; John Ott of Nisbnrg, 1538; Christof of
Nisburg; Ydenko and Albrecht of Nisburg, 1002; Adam of Alt


Hutten; George and Henry of Xislmrg; .'Jaraslar and Zdenko II
of Hlazouis.

A celebrated warrior of the race was Michael Ott von Effer-
denger, born near Stuttgart, Wurttemberg, in U7!. He was a
-ion of the Tyrolese nobility. He served under the Emperor
Maximilian who, in 1503, made him Chief of Ordnance. His
bravery and genius for military strategy were pronounced and
rendered him famous throughout Europe. Histories of the time
teem with his exploits during twenty-nine years until his death
in in:*.'.

Perhaps the most distinguished of the name was Baron Karl
Ott von Baterdreg, born in 1737 at Grau. To recite his career
would be to write the history of the wars of the latter half of the
eighteenth century, for he was the foremost of the German Gen-
erals in all that goes to make up the undaunted, intrepid leader,
ever ready to sacrifice self, ever alert to save his troops. At the
battle of Noir, he commanded the left wing of Kray's division.
He inspired his men, tortured and exhausted by the heat, by his
heroic example, making more successful attacks upon the enemy.
Kray in the turmoil of battle, exclaimed: "I cannot think of
terms or words eloquent or strong enough to express my surprise
and gratitude, or to do justice to the two exceptionally daring
and able commanders, Field Marshals, Lieutenants, the Duke of
Belgrade and Baron Ott."

Ott was decorated with the military order of Maria Teresa


in 1799. Dying in 1809 at Ofen, he did not see the downfall of

John Henry Ott, born in 1617 in the Canton Zurich, was a
noted Swiss divine. He studied at Lausanne, Genoa, Grouning-
hen, and Leyden. His son, John Baptist Ott, born 1661, also be-
came a minister. He held important professorships, was arch-
deacon of the Cathedral at Zurich, and w^rote in Latin and

His brother, John Henry Ott, w r as librarian to Archbishop
Wake at Lambeth, England, also held the rectory at Black-
manston, Kent, in 1721, and in 1730 was a prebend of Peter-

John K. Ott was a noted landscape painter born 1708, whose
father was one of the privy counsellors of the Emperor.

John Henry Ott, born 1744, received the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy in 1762 and was a Bachelor of Theology in 1765;
Doctor of Law 1772 ; prebend of St. Stephen's and member of the
ecclesiastical council in 1801. He died in possession of three
clerical benefices.

Whether in church or state, on the field of battle, or in civil
pursuits, the Otts of the old world have left distinguished names


as legacies to their descendants, many of whom are in the ranks
of the brave and loyal "Makers of America."

Christopher Ott in 1612 joined the Jesuit order in his six-
teenth year. (This no doubt was the "Christof" of Msburg.) He
later became a priest, was a noted scholar and a beloved spiritual
director. He was a brilliant writer. Among his works are:
"Eminent Converts to the Catholic Church/ 7 and "Roma Glori-
osa," embracing the times of two hundred and forty-nine Popes.


BKFOKIC the days of the Conqueror or. to he move explicit,
in tlie year 1)01, there was a family of the name of Parker
settle'! at Boxley, on the Eastern coast of England. The
head of this family was one Geoffrey Parker, whose prin-
cipal occupation was to see that the palings enclosing the seig-
neurial grounds were* kept in excellent condition lest they rot
and allow the deer to break through. As the name implies, it
was at first borne by "'keepers of the park." In the old days this
was a very responsible office and one which entailed constant
vigilance upon him whose chief duty it was to superintend the
care of the grounds in order that the game might be preserved.
As the chase was a popular and principal form of sport at that
time a plentiful supply of game was important. The name of
Parker is also represented among the Danes, and Normans.
Johannes C. Parker kept the Koyal Parks under William I. The
name is spelled variously in different countries, and even in dif-
ferent sections of the same country : Parke, Parkre, Pare-here,
Parchour, and Parkerre.

General usefulness, good social standing and spiritual prog-
ress have been the chief characteristics of this ancient family.


An examination of the marriage registers of England shows that
there was much intermarrying in the Parker families. They
very soon were found in all parts of England, and some even went
to Scotland and Ireland. There were Parkers of Macelenfield,
Melford Hall, North Malton, County Devon, and the Baronies
had been held in abeyance since the time of Edward II. The Earl
of Macelenfield married Dorothy, daughter of Sir Clement Smith,
chief Baron of the Exchequer. Their son John married Frances,
daughter of Jeromy Mayhew, Esq. of Boriugdou. They had three
sons, one named Edmund.

Among the earliest Parkers who came direct to this country
were: Charles Parker, sent from Dorchester, 1635; Daniel Parker,
who is mentioned as having had a wealthy wife and many serv-
ants, 1635; Nathaniel, Thomas and Joseph, who came to New
England, and Nicholas, Robert and Thomas, who came to Vir-

The early seventeenth century was a troublous time in Eng-
land and there were many uprisings during the reigns of the
Stuart Kings, James I and Charles I, and during the time of the
protectorate. The Parkers had their share in the military actions



at Hopton Heath, Marston Moor, Naseby and Worcester. Many
were taken prisoners and suffered for their loyalty to the king.
It was not an uncommon thing in those days for political pris-
oners to be banished to foreign possessions by those in authority,
in an effort to keep peace at home. Thus, the Bermudas and
Barbacloes colonies far away became the home of many English
planters, Negro slaves first mentioned in 1617, Indian slaves
shipped from Massachusetts in 1652, and white bond-servants.
The last were in some cases Scotch and Irish political prisoners.

One William Parker, a rebel, was sent to the Barbadoes from
Somersetshire in 1623. When the Governor of the Barbadoes,
Sir John Yeamans, left the Islands for the Carolinas, he took
with him fifty families; among them one by the name of Parker.
This was in 1671. Ten years later the colony moved to Oyster
Point, at the Junction of the Ashley and the Cooper Rivers, where
the city of Charleston was founded. Here in 1725, mention is
made of a James Parker; later a John Parker was born in
Charleston in 1719, who may have been the sou of James; later
still in 1768, was born Joseph Parker, who may have been the
sou of John. As the James Parker of the present sketch was the
grandson of a Joseph who went from South to North Carolina,
it might be that he was descended in this line; though whether
it was from the New England emigrant or the Barbadoes family
is not certain.

The Joseph who came to this country owned an estate in
Ramsay, eight miles from Southampton. As the naming of chil-
dren in honor of their parents and grandparents was even more
universal in those days than now, it seems reasonable to suppose
that the Joseph in South Carolina may have been a direct descend-
ant of the emigrant from Ramsay.

The names of many of the Parkers are recorded in the pages
of English history. They are to be found in the reigns of Henry
III, Edward I, Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry VII. Among
the first rulers of the English Church is the name of Sir Matthew
Parker, who was the second Protestant Archbishop of Canter-
burv, the successor of Cranmer.

t/ 7

John Parker, born in Charleston in 1749, and educated
abroad, graduated at Middle Temple, London, in 1775, and on his
return to South Carolina, acquired an extensive law practice and
gave much of his valuable time to the service of his State and
country. In 1776 he married Susannah, daughter of Henry and
Mary (Williams) Middleton, of South Carolina, and sister of
Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
In this day of hurry and confusion many persons believe that
there are more industry and energy displayed than in the days
of their forefathers. This is seemingly true, for it is indeed an
age of marvelous inventions and enormous accomplishment; yet


these persons fail to realize the immense difficulty of the task
faced by the men of early days in America. The truth is that
what they were able to accomplish without the help of modern
facilities, was indeed a wonderful work.

In addition to Mr. Parker's large law practice, he found
time to devote to the interest of his rice plantation which proved
not only a source of revenue, but also of pleasure to himself and
family. He also served his people in the Continental Congress,
1786-1788. He died on his plantation in 1822.

In 1715 a general Indian conspiracy was formed in Virginia
and the Carolinas to exterminate the white people, and all the
tribes from St. Mary back to the mountains had united for this
purpose. The Creeks, Yaniasses and Appalachians had joined the
Cherokees, Catawbas and others who were determined to avenge
their misfortunes of 1712-1713, when they had been robbed of
their lands and slaughtered by the white people. It must be
acknowledged that the Indians had, both then and later, some
reason for their bitter and hostile attitude. They were imposed
on from the very first, their lands stolen and their people deceived.
The unfair treatment accorded them is one of the few blots on
the pages of American history. It was probably during this raid
that a Parker child was carried away by the Indians. She be-
came the bride of a Comanche warrior and had a son, Quannah
Parker. Friends found her after the birth of Quannah and took
her home, where she grieved for her son and finally died of a
broken heart because she was not allowed to return to him.

Quannah Parker after his father's death became Chief of the
Comanches and ruled with great wisdom and foresight, bringing
peace and prosperity to his tribe in Texas. Four of his children
are now ^students at the Carlisle Indian School.

Joseph Parker, born in 1768, moved to Gates County, North
Carolina, where he died in 1820. He was survived by his wife,
Rhoda Harrell, and two sons: David and James.

David was a prominent farmer in Gates County, North Caro-
lina, and married Sarah Gregory Hinton, a woman of excellent
qualities. Their son James Parker, whose name appears at the
head of this sketch, was born January 29, 1836. He attended the
University of North Carolina, from which institute he was grad-
uated in 1861. In 1876 he married Miss Lavinia Louise Whedbee
of Gates County, daughter of Joshua Skinner and Diana Hinton
Whedbee. Their children are: Sallie, Hulda, Jimmie Louise and

Sallie married Mr. Peter Cross and they have four children :
James Parker, Cathryn, Mildred and Dorothy. Hulda married
Mr. Thomas Gatling Hayes.

From 1885 to 1889 Mr. Parker represented his State in the
Legislature. His death occurred in February, 1908. The follow-

JAMES PAl: _.,-T 121

ing appreciation is taken from a North Carolina paper and is
produced here as a fitting tribute to his memory:

"With the passing away of James Parker, the last representa-
tive in this immediate section of a race that has for generations,
by its rugged strength and individuality, impressed itself upon
the memories of all, was laid with his fathers in the old family
burying ground near Gatesville.

"He was the last survivor of three brothers : Doctor Joseph
Parker, of Kaleigh, and John D. Parker of Perquimans, having
died some years ago.

"His Alma Mater, the University of North Carolina, was as
dear to him in his declining years as when first he left in 1861.
Among his classmates were Charles Stedman and the late Thomas
G. Skinner of Hartford. The friendship of these three began in
College ; ripened with the passing years, to be crowded at last in
the clay of immortal reckoning when true friends will be known
to have true hearts.

"He had for years been a Trustee of the University, and until
a few years before his death had attended all the meetings of the
Board and the Commencements.

"Associated with enterprise all over the Albernarle section,
he was probably the best known citizen of Gates County among
the business men of the section. He was regarded as a man of
sterling business integrity and of character that could be de-
pended upon, and wherever he was known his name was con-
sidered a guarantee of good faith.

"He was especially alive with commercial activities in and
around Elizabeth City, where he was a stockholder in all three
banks. He was also a Director in the Bank of Gates ; an institu-
tion in which he took especial and active interest. He had been
a Mason for twenty years, a member of Gatesville lodge, in which
he held the offices of Senior Deacon, Junior and Senior Warden,
and the loyalty which characterized his life was exemplified in
his attachment to his order.

"But the trait that most of all showed the spirit of the man
was his unfailing generosity. The churches, irrespective of de-
nomination, were beneficiaries of his good will.

"Reputed to be the wealthiest man in the county, he closed
not his ears to the cries of the poor, but was their friend in every
time of need.

"Few knew of the deeds of kindness passed on to the helpless
without his gates, but there are many among the importunate
negroes, who realized that their best earthly friend has passed
beyond their vision.

"Born of the blood that knew no weakness, no defeat, he was
true to his ancestry. Taking a stand when necessary, he was
never untrue to his word, his friends or his convictions, and the


of achievement was always before his eyes. Though getting
advanced in years, he laid not aside the burdens of business to
await quietly, perhaps for years, the coming of the day when lie
should be ushered into immortality; but chose, rather, by his own
hands and by his own direction to push vigorously to the last the
work in which he was interested.

"And when the summons came, he approached the grave
'like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies
down to pleasant dreams,' as a child trusting in the love of its
father, believing that he understands and doeth all things well."

Among the prominent Parkers of recent years on this side of
the Atlantic several may be mentioned.

Sir Gilbert Parker, Canadian novelist, who married an
American and has divided his time among England, Australia,
Canada and the United States.

Colonel David B. Parker, U. S. V., a Chautauqua boy in 1861
and afterward, has written his Memoirs of the Civil War and of
his experiences with Grant, Lincoln, Arthur, Johnson, Greeley,
the Cushiugs and others.

James Parker, formerly Lieutenant-Commander of the
United States Navy, Counsellor-at-Law of the Supreme Court of
the United States, and of the highest courts of Ohio, New Jersey
and New York, was one of the Counsel for Rear Admiral Schley
before the Court of Enquiry in 1903 the facts and reports of
which he has fully set forth in his book entitled "Schley, Samson
and Cervera."

The Reverend Edward L. Parker of New Hampshire, who
wrote an interesting History of Londonderry, was pastor of the
Presbyterian Church in East Londonderry for years.

Bishop Meade in his "Old Churches and Families of Vir-
ginia," mentions a Parker in nearly every County, from the latter
part of the seventeenth century down, either vestryman or
clergyman. Man} 7 of them suffered great hardships in the faith-
ful discharge of their duty. Not only, however, is the family
noted for its ministers, but it may justly claim statesmen, jurists,
doctors, educators, authors, naval officers, soldiers, musicians,
landscape painters and agriculturists.

Some speak sneeringly of the futility of tracing a long family
line, yet it is perfectly evident that men are the embodiment of
the mental and physical characteristics of their forbears. It
means much consequently, to be descended from men of moral
and mental worth.

James Parker has left no son to bear his name, but his
daughters are proud to call him father and hope to see exempli-
fied in their children the fine and admirable traits of character
which so distinguished him in life.


E3KING out upon the moving pictures of the German
pioneers as they spread gradually over the vast terri-
tory of the New World, we are irresistibly reminded of
their ancestors in the far off days of the Volkerwan-
derung. In the eighteenth century, as in the fourteenth century,
the German colonists entered the unbroken wilderness, clearing
first the lands in the valleys and along the river courses, then
climbing the mountains/' to other realms of industry.

Prior to 1735 Orangeburg County, South Carolina, had but
few white inhabitants. A Swiss gentleman, Peter Purry, had
established a settlement on the north side of the Savannah River,
calling it Purrysville. By his glowing account of the country,
which he had printed and distributed throughout Switzerland,
Holland, North Germany and the provinces along the Rhine he
induced many settlers to come to Carolina. Most of these immi-
grants came from the Palatinate, the history of which has always
been most interesting. These Germans, according to Kuhns were
among the best farmers in the world, in many districts having
cultivated the soil for more than thirty generations. Because of
their situation upon the great water highway of Europe, they
are said to have combined the best qualities of the North and of
the South, and were distinguished by indomitable industry, keen
wit, independence, and a high degree of intelligence.

The terrible conditions arising from the religious wars dealt
a deadly blow to the happiness and prosperity of the Palatinates.
Poverty and their sufferings from tyranny and intolerance turned

Online LibraryAlbert B OsborneMakers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) → online text (page 9 of 48)