Theodore Parker.

Genealogy and biographical notes of John Parker of Lexington and his descendants: Showing his earlier ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass., from 1635 to 1893 online

. (page 10 of 47)
Online LibraryTheodore ParkerGenealogy and biographical notes of John Parker of Lexington and his descendants: Showing his earlier ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass., from 1635 to 1893 → online text (page 10 of 47)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Parker, b. 1754; served in the Revolutionary war; m. Sally,
dau. of Esq. Joseph Baker and wife Martha Death of West-
borough. He was a man of energy and enterprise, and
dealt largely in land. In Templeton, Westminster, Winchen-
don, Sterling and Phillipston he bought and sold much origi-
nal land. He first settled in Templeton, where, until about
1788, he was quite active in the early settlement of the town.
He then removed to Gerry, of which town he was an early


and influential settler. This is now Phillipston. He lived in
the house and upon the farm now occupied by J. Damon
Parker of that town. From this place he again entered the
U. S. service, enlisting as a private but returning as Major.

The father-in-law, Esq. Baker, was one of the early pio-
neers of Vermont. He removed through the settled part of
the State, pushed on beyond new towns into the virgin for-
ests to the northern part, where he founded and was the first
settler of the thriving town of Bakersfield. It was one year
before his wife and daughter saw the face of a woman, then
Stephen Maynard, their son-in-law, and wife came. They
were followed in 1800 by Maj. Elisha Parker and family, and
later by his nephews. In this way Bakersfield was settled for
the most part by Mr. Baker's descendants. Maj. Parker settled
in the south part of the town. He was a worthy citizen and a
kind father.

He was a fine singer, as quite a number of the family were.
And when he and his brother Nahum lived at Gerry, and they
two were in the singers' seats, no matter who else sang or did
not sing, the audience had very line singing. Nahum's voice
was for the bass, and Elisha sang the air or leading part and
had great compass of voice, which was bold, sonorous and
powerful. He could sound the highest notes with perfect ease
and no one could wish to hear a sweeter voice. Had he
turned his attention to music he might have been one of the
celebrities of the country.

He d. Nov. 9, 1818. His widow, Mrs. Sally (Baker)
Parker, survived him and went to live with her son, Jonas
Parker, until her death, which occurred Jan. 7, 1838.

Elisha Parker's commission is still preserved :

" By His Excellency Increase Suainer, Esq., Governor and
Commander in Chief of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
" Increase Sumner to Elisha Parker, Esquire. Greeting :
" You being appointed Major of the fifth Regiment in the Second
Brigade Seventh Division of the Militia of this Commonwealth, By
Virtue of the Power vested in me I do by these Presents (reposing
special Trust and Confidence in your Ability, Courage, and good
Conduct) Commission you accordingly : — You are, therefore, care-
fully and diligently to discharge the Duty of Major in Leading,


Ordering, and Exercising said Regiment in Arms, both inferior Offi-
cers and Soldiers ; and to keep them in good Order and Discipline :
and they are hereby commanded to obey you as their Major. And
you are yourself to observe and follow such orders and Instructions,
as you shall from Time to Time receive from me, or your superior

"Given under my Hand, and the Seal of the Said Commonwealth
the fourth Day of September in the year of our Lord 1797, and in
the Twenty Second Year of the Independence of the United States
of America.

''John Avery, Sec'y."

His eldest dau., Sally E. Parker, thus wrote to her uncle
Nahum Parker, Esq., of Fitzwilliam, N. H., under date of
Nov. 14, 1818 :

" My Dear Uncle Nahum :

" Gladly would I save you the trouble of
reading a letter of my composing, but it must not be so — I must
write, tho it wrings my heart. Death has come boldly and resolutely
into our windows and taken my Dear Father and laid him low, even
in the grave. Yes, Dear Uncle, your Brother Elisha and my
Father, lies shrowded in the tomb ! ! He died on Monday morn,
about five oclock, aged almost sixty four. O Hard we find it to
part with our Father — There was everything done for him that could
be done ; my Mother waited on him by night and by day, and now
she bears up her trouble with Christian fortitude. We have always
been to my Father for advice, and now when we want his advice the
most we can not have it. Uncle, if you lived here what a benefit
you would be to us. We all join with Mother in sending love to
you and Aunt, and all your children. Dear Uncle, may we all be
prepared to meet Death, whenever it comes. Adieu.

" Sally E. Parker."

Their children were :

Sally E. Parker, b. Jan. 10, 1780 ; d. unm. at her brother Elijah's
home at Cambria, N. Y. She was a school-teacher, a very
accomplished and remarkable lady.

89. Betsey Parker, b. March 35, 17S2; m. Gardner Paige,
native of Ilardwick.

90. Lydia Parker, b. March 8, 17S4 ; m, Amory Parker (cousin),
native of Hubbardston.


91. Elisha Parker, b. Nov. 23, 1787 ; m. Eunice Dean")

of Barnard, Vt. 1 .

92. Elijah Parker, b. Nov. 23, 1787 ; m. Rhody Butler 1
of Fairfield, Vt. j

93. Patty Parker, b. May 3, 1790; m. Elijah Barnes.
Francis D. Parker, b. May 13, 1792 ; d. Feb. 9, 1793.
Francis Dana Parker, b. July 18, 1794. He removed from town

but where he settled is not known.
Augusta Parker, b. May 29, 1796; d. April 3, 1809.

94. James Sullivan Parker, b. Aug. i, 1798.

95. Jonas Parker, b. Sept. 15, 1800; m. Lima Freeman, native
of Barnard, Vt.

Frederick Parker, b. Aug. 10, 1802 ; d. Dec. 4, 1804.
Frederick Parker, b. April 11, 1805 ; d. May 7, 1809.

30. Ephraim Parker ( Amos, ^ Andrew,^ yohn,^ Hana
niah,'^ Thomas^), the fifth son of Amos and Anna (Stone)
Parker, was b. in Shrewsbury, Oct. 4, 1757 ; d. Dec. i, 1810,
aged 53 years.

[The following sketch was written by Hon. Amos A.
Parker of Fitzwilliam, N. H., who still survives, aged 100
years, to tell us the true story of the olden time :]

Ephraim Parker was a Revolutionary soldier, but the time
of service cannot be ascertained. There were seven brothers
and all but the youngest went into the army. The latter,
Frederick Parker, was too young to be a soldier, but he was
also a firm patriot and wrote encouraging letters to his brothers
while in actual service ; some of them are now before me.

Ephraim Parker, after the Revolution, went to Royalston
and resided there a few years, then removed to Fitzwilliam,
N. H., in 1786, and settled on two lots of land in the west part
of the town and bordering on Richmond town line. After he
had cleared land and erected a comfortable house he m.
Abigail Baker of Royalston. She was a cousin of Abel
Baker, one of the earliest settlers of the town of Fitzwilliam,
and her residence was near that of her cousin ; so they were
neighbors during life.

Ephraim Parker was a good and successful farmer. He
owned some 200 acres of good land, which he so well culti-
vated that in time it became one of the best farms in town.


He had two large barns, sheds, corn-barns, etc., all in their
season well filled of the products of the farm, such as hay,
grain and vegetables. He had much to sell besides supplying
his own family. He was a man of good judgment, honest and
exact in all his dealings, and might have filled many of the
offices of the town, but he would not take any, though often
urged to do so. And the only office he was ever known to
take was that of highway surveyor in his own district. On
being asked the reason of his declining all office, he said he
preferred \\\s farm, oih^rs, ^preferred o^cq, and so his course
of life was gratifying to himself, and to his fellow-citizens also,
and therefore was a wise course to take.

He lived on a farm bordering on the Richmond town line
on the west, and my father, Nahum Parker, lived on a lot
bordering on the Rindge town line on the east, so they were
as far apart as they could be and live in the same town. Six
miles of the town was between them, but as the roads were at
the time it was one mile further, but notwithstanding the seven
miles the families frequently visited, generally on horseback.

Both brothers were constant attendants at meeting on Sun-
day, and at noon, in some secluded place, they met and had an
hour's interesting conference. If anything happened so that
my father did not attend meeting I had to take his place at the
noon conference. But it was no irksome task, for he was a
man of mind, solid good sense, a great reader and interesting
in conversation. Although pleasant "in manner," he was
always sedate. I never heard him laugh or crack a joke or
make a pun.

Strangely enough (although not a solitary case), as he
became rich he felt poo?-^ and as he became richer and richer
he felt poorer and poorer, until he really imagined he should
come to want. He was on the alert, looked after his affairs
with much zeal, urged economy at his table and in all things,
indoors and out. My father tried every way to convince him
that he was really far above want, that it was not possible he
should end life in a poor-house, that he had an abundance of
property, and no probability of any loss, but rt//, allm vain.
No one could convince him of the true state of his affairs,
though he "rose from the dead."


This, finally increased as time wore on, so much so he could
not sleep nights in any good, quiet, healthy sleep, and some
nights none at all. At last, he became an excited monomaniac,
and on the first day of December, 1810, after a sleepless night,
he rose at daybreak, went to his corn-barn and with the reins
of a harness strangled himself I Thus lived and thus died
Ephraim Parker, — an honest man, good citizen, kind husband
and true friend, and in the full vigor of health, wealth and at
the early age of 53.

My uncle, Hollis Parker, came from Shrewsbury to attend
the funeral. I went with them, the Rev. Mr. Sabin officiated,
and it was an impressive scene, better imagined than described.
At the grave-yard, after the body was place in the grave, Mr.
Sabin came forth and made a short address — more fervent and
pathetic than I ever heard him before or since. He began
"In the midst of life we are in death," and closed with "Let
this event be another instance of the frail nature of man."

He had but one child, a daughter, named Abigail, after her

96. Abigail Parker, b. March 5, 1796; m. March 31, 1S12,
Joshua Worcester of Jaffrey, N. H.

The widow of Ephraim Parker m. for a second husband,
March 24, 1814, Jonas Fay of Mason, N. H. She d. Feb. 13,
1840, aged 82.

31. Hon. Nahum Parker (Amos,^ Andrew,'^ John,^
Hananiah,^ Thomas"^), son of Amos and Anna Curwen
(Stone) Parker. This sketch is a son's memory of his honored
father. It was written in April, 1889, ^J Hon. Amos A.
Parker in the 98th year of his age.

Nahum Parker, the sixth son of Amos Parker of Shrews-
bury, was b. at Shrewsbury, March 4, 1760. He was a
Revolutionary soldier and went to the war at the early age of
16 years ; was in the Continental army ; was at the surrender
of Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777.

After the war he m. and settled in Gerry, now Phillipston,
August II, 1783. He moved to Shrewsbury in 1784, and to
Fitzwilliam, N. H,, in March, 1786. The History of Fitz-
■williani truthfully says :


Hon. Nahum Parker.

"The fidelity and ability of Mr. Parker were at once recognized
by the people of Fitzwilliam, and he was soon called to fill offices of
trust. The proprietors of the township elected him their clerk and
treasurer, and he held these offices till the closing up of the business
of the proprietors in 1815. Though not admitted as a lawyer, he
was well acquainted with the forms and merits of civil proceedings,
and brought to all his public duties a well trained mind, a habit of
exactness in all legal proceedings, and accounting for all the funds in
his possession. To all these qualifications for public service he
added an almost faultless penmanship, so, from the date of his elec-
tion as clerk of the proprietors, their record books became easv of

"In 1790 Mr. Parker was chosen one of the selectmen of Fitz-
william, and held the office for four successive years. Beginning
with 1792 he was chosen moderator of town meetings, and served

Nahum Parker at the age of 15 years, with five of his brothers, was a soldier
in the Continental army and was present and took part in the battles that
resulted in the capture of Burgoyne's forces near Saratoga, N. Y., in 1777.
After the surrender he was discharged and came home on foot, walking with
his luggage from Saratoga, N. Y., to Shrewsbury. At Fitzwilliam the family
still has in its possession, and will with pleasure show to those interested in
such things, a relic which Nahum Parker brought oft" from the field of battle
after the surrender of Burgoyne's army. It is a bottle of dark glass with a
very short neck, holding about a quart. This was doubtless lost in the fight
by some British soldier or Hessian trooper.


in that capacity more than twenty years. In 1792 he was chosen to
represent the town in the Legislature and served in that capacity
annually until 1804 — a period of ten years. In 1S06 he was again
chosen Representative and served the town in that capacity for
twelve years. He was also Councillor, member of the State Senate,
of which he was chosen President, and for some twenty years was a
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1S06 he was chosen by
the Legislatui"e a Senator in the United States Senate. He died
November 12th, 1S39, aged So years. His disease was paralysis of
the brain.

•' He was a Revolutionary pensioner, and during the Revolution-
aiy war he kept a diary and sent that to the Secretary of War with
his oath, declaring he was the identical person who kept it, and
asked what further testimony was needed to obtain a pension. The
answer was ' none^' and immediately he received his pension certifi-
cate. John C. Calhoun was then Secretary of War."

Nahum Parker never had the benefit of a public school.
He attended a private school a few weeks, and his mother did
all she could to instruct him, but she was not an educated
woman and had but little time to devote to any one of so large
a family of children. But with little ivsirjicttoii he at last
became well educated. He had learned to read well before
he went to the Revolutionary war, and there began the prac-
tice of writing by keeping a journal of events, and in after-
life, when selectman of Fitzwilliam, he kept a journal of all
his transactions. At length, he became a very perfect pen-
man. On a page it looked elegant and faultless. He was a
deep thinker and a great reader. After settling in Fitzwilliam
he took the Columbian InJ^ornier, printed at Keene, and when
that was merged in the JVew Hampshire Sentinel took that
to the day of his death. He also took a newspaper printed at
Worcester, as that would give him news of his friends settled
in and around his native town of Shrewsbury. Books of in-
struction he bought as fast as he was able, but no novels. He
also accumulated quite a law library. In short, he became a
well posted citizen and a good lawyer, so that in all the vari-
ous ofiices he held he was well able to discharge all their
duties with ability and credit.

He was given much employment as a draftsman by his fel-
low-townsmen in drawing up deeds, agreements and all con-


tracts, however difficult to make. When he was chosen select-
man in 1790, the town's affairs were in a confused state and it
took him four years to bring order out of chaos.

In 1795 he was chosen moderator of the annual town meet-
ing, and he was such an efficient officer that he preformed
that duty for more than twenty years, as has been stated.
Although courteous, he had a sedate, positive manner and a
strong, commanding voice, and when he called for order,
order came. Few men could accurately dispatch business
like him. Solemn, sedate and silent was his walk, yet he
appeared to be in deep thought. He was seldom known to
crack a joke or laugh at one, and yet his deportment was
always such as to indicate a kind heart and true benevolence.
His charities were many, yet private, for his motto was " Not
to let his right hand know what his left hand was doing."

One fine trait in Nahum Parker's life was, he was not an
office seeker. His motto was that "Offices were for the
public and not for the individual." In proof of this two letters
are now extant, one from Gov. Langdon and the other from
Gov. Plummer, both urging him to accept the office of Judge,
when they severally sent him his commissions. What a con-
trast now I Men are now running mad for office and will
compass heaven and earth to obtain it, and those the least fit
for office are ahead in the race.

He was also a man of strict morals and pure in speech.
No one ever heard him use profane, vulgar or obscene lan-
guage. He was a keen observer of passing events and a deep
thinker. On the road, nothing worth seeing escaped his
notice, and when he had passed over a long distance he
could give another man correct directions over the entire route.

At work in the field, he did not permit storv-telling or talk,
except in regard to the work in hand. At home, he was
never talkative, but generally absorbed in deep thought or
reading a book and oblivious to all surrounding movements.
And yet, at times he would hold forth on some important sub-
ject and sift it to the bottom. It was marvellous to hear him
take hold of a subject with such an irresistible grasp, and so
fully and clearly explain it. Sometimes, he would enter into
particulars and give his children solid advice, teach them how


to behave, how to act and how to learn. He would observe
that a person might learn something all the days of his life
did he note passing events. The besetting sin of the people
was lack of attention. Few people were good listeners,
interested in the subject before them, and could give no par-
ticular account of what they had heard. Few people could
tell much about a sermon, or discourse immediately after de-
livery, and because they had not paid attention when it was
delivered. In fine, he was a safe example to follow, in word,
thought and deed. Sometimes hard to follow, but I am glad
I did.

When in the full vigor of life his business was great and
extensive, for he not only superintended the cultivation of a
large farm, keeping one of the best stocks of cattle, but in
settling estates, acting as referee and in making deeds, con-
tracts, etc., far and near. No townsman was equal to him in
la3'ing handsome stone wall, and this he continued to do until
all the cultivated part of his farm was walled in.

In wakeful hours, he spent no idle time. He was never
known to go to a party, take tea or dine in his own neighbor-
hood or in the village. But he had his strong friendships and
pleasant companions, among whom was Dr. Phillip Monroe
of Surry, N. H., some 20 miles away. The Doctor was a
man of mind, well educated, social, pleasant and good compa-
ny. When they met, they became so much interested that
they took no note of time, and midnight came before they
were aware, and still they must have a few last words.

Among the stated visitors was Judge Abel Parker of Jaffrey,
N. H., eight miles distant. They were distant relatives. It
was settled that each with his wife should visit the other, alter-
nately, twice a year. The men had been acquainted with each
other many years before their wives met, and when they did
meet, a practical joke was played upon them. But this was
planed and engineered by Judge Abel, Judge Nahum simply
looked on and enjoyed it. It was in this wise, Judge Abel in
coming over on their first visit to Fitzwilliam told his wife that
the lady she was about to visit was very dea/ and she must
halloo quite loud to make her hear. So when they arrived
and passed into the house Judge Abel said in a loud voice,


"Mrs. Parker, shall I make you acquainted with my wife?"
His voice was so loud she thought his own wife was deaf.
The reply was in a loud voice, "Pretty well, I thank you."
The first speaker said, "You need not talk so loud for I am
not deaf \i you are." "But I ain't deaf.'''' "Then neither of
us are.'" They stared at each other a moment, and then
looked around and saw their two husbands in a broad grin ;
the joke was manifest, and all four had a jolly time over it.
The acquaintance of the wives, so facetiously begun, ripened
into a strong friendship and ended only with life.

In regard to the religious belief of Judge Parker little need
be said, for one thing is clear, he honestly practised religion,
whatever might have been his belief: and it is well said that
an honest man is the noblest work of God. No doubt he had
clear and well defined views of the Christian religion and was
not "tossed about by every wind of doctrine." He and his
wife were members of the Congregational Church in Shrews-
bury. They transferred their connection with that Church to
the Church in Fitzvvilliam when they came here in 1786.
The Covenant of the Church was adopted in 1771. To this
they agreed and became regular members in full communion.
The First Brigham Covenant answered the purpose for which
it was made for more than half a century, until 1825, when
new light was said to be discovered. The creeds of the
several Congregational Churches in the County of Cheshire
were not all alike, and some of them not up to the strict
standard of Calvinism. Accordingly, the Monadnock Associa-
tion of Ministers, in solemn conclave at Keene, adopted a new
creed for all the Churches in the county, with instructions to
discard the old and adopt the new.

The New Lights had a large majority and were determined
to exercise that power, but lacked a plausible pretence. After
quite a number of Church meetings and various forms had
been considered, at last one short undefined resolution was
adopted. In substance this: Resolved, That A. B., etc., be
and hereby are excommunicated from this Church /i?/- error
in doctrine. Judge Parker and wife, with nine others, were
included in the resolution. He was present at the time, and
in a quiet, dignified, firm voice said, "I thank God that the


new Church of Fitzwilliam don't hold the keys of Heaven or
hell," and departed to return no more. From this time the
town was divided and the contest sharp and severe. Judge
Parker spoke of it with unending regret and it no doubt
shortened his days.

As it has been said, the Judge was not a talkative man.
Some one of his neighbors would occasionally call upon him
to have a social chat. He would receive them pleasantly and
then quietly sit and hear all the gossip of the neighborhood in
silence. The neighbor would do all the talking and he all
the hearing. When asked why he did not say something
himself, he would answer that his neighbor would not have
comprehended anything more than mere gossip, and as he
liked to talk and he had rather listen, both were gratified.

The wife, Mary Deeth, was a dau. of John and Jerusha
Deeth of Hopkinton. She is remembered as an efficient
woman and a good housewife. She d. June 4, 1837, aged 77.

Their children were :

97. Hannah Parker, b. in Shrewsbury, Dec. 26, 1784; ra. Luna
Foster of FitzwilHam, N. H.

98. AusTix Parker, b. in Fitzwilliam, N. H.. Jan. 24, 1787 ; m.
Susan Martin of Gardner.

Maria Parker, b. in Fitzwilham, July 26, 1789; m. Dr. Samuel
Lane, Jr., at her father's house in Fitzwilliam, June i, 1814, and
settled in Swanzey, N. H. Their infant child was b. March 25
and d. March 27, 1815 ; after great distress she herself d. April i,
1S15, aged 2^ years. He survived her but a few months. He
was a skilful physician and had a large practice.

99. Amos Andrew Parker, b. in Fitzwilliam, Oct. 8, 1791 ; m.
(i) Miranda W. Sanders of Medfield, (2) Mary McClary of
Epsom, N. H., (3) Julia E. Smith of Glastonbury, Ct.

100. Ephraim Parker, b. in Fitzwilliam, Aug. 18, 1793 ; m.
Lucv Stone of Fitzwilliam.

101. Nahum Parker, b. in Fitzwilliam, March 16, 1797; m.
Bean of Nottingham, N. H.

Selina Parker, b. in Fitzwilliam, July 5, 1799; m. John Damon
of Fitzwilliam.

102. Elmon Parker, b. in Fitzwilliam, Jan. 20, 1S02 ; m.
Abigail M. Gray of Belfast, Me.

Sidney Parker, b. in Fitzwilliam, July 3, 1804; d. April 26, 1815,
aged ten years.


32. Rev. Frederick Parker (Amos,^ Andrczv,^ Jokn.i
Hananiah,^ Thomas^ ), the youngest son of Amos and Anna
(Stone) Parker of Shrewsbury, was b. in Shrewsbury, May

4, 1762 ; graduated at Harvard University in 1784, and

Online LibraryTheodore ParkerGenealogy and biographical notes of John Parker of Lexington and his descendants: Showing his earlier ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass., from 1635 to 1893 → online text (page 10 of 47)