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

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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 2 of 47)
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and whose son Thomas Parker by his own wonderful dili-
gence and perseverance in study, and the use of a most
retentive memory, became a most powerful lawyer and
a man of invincible influence at the bar. He was known
as the silver-tongued orator, instituted many reforms in Eng-
lish laws and was created Earl of Macclesfield, an honor
which is still held by the family. III. Robert, cup-bearer to
Queen Catharine.

Another illustrious line of the Parker family has been living
for several centuries at North Molton, Co. Devon, near the
southwest shore of England. Their histor}- is interesting and
their emigrative growth has been rapid. Some of this branch
removed to Castle Lough, Ireland, and became the founders
of the Parkers of this portion of the island (Tipperary Co.).
where many of the name reside. They are characterized by
being strongly Protestant in faith. The Irishmen in America
by name of Parker are mainly descended from this line.
Another earlship was attained by the early founders of the
Molton Parkers, the Earl of Morley being the title which
descends from father to son in like manner with the Earl of
Macclesfield. Sir William Parker, standard-bearer to King
Richard III. (1483), was the first of the Morley and Mont-
eagle Parkers. Molton Parker issues emigrated to : I. Petterell
Green, Co. Cumberland. II. Warwick Hall. III. Plympton,
IV. Whiteway, Co. Devon. V. Homington. Co. Warwick.
VI. Melford Hall, Co. Suftblk.

Extwistle and Cuerden Parker issues emigrated : I. to Brows-
holme. Co. York : II. Norton, Co. Derby : III. Whiteley Hall,
Co. Lincoln. The Browsholme lines spread out to : I. Hare-
den, Co. York. Later those of Norton found their way to : I.
Park Hall : II. Woodthrope, Co. York ; and from the Park Hall
family descended the Earl of Macclesfield, lately represented
by Thomas Augustus Wolstenholme Parker (b. 1811), Shir-
burn Castle, Tetsworth, Carlton Club, S. W. ; 94 Eaton
Square, S. W. His heir is George Augustus Parker. Vis-


count. The Park Hall family is now represented by Thomas
Hawe Parker, Esq., son and heir of the late Thomas Parker,
grandson of Sir Thomas Parker, Chief Baron of the Ex-
chequer, while the occupant of the ancient Cuerden estate,
Lancashire, is Thomas Townley Townley Parker, Esq., of
Cuerden Hall.


The early coats of arms of the Parkers of Extwistle were : —

Gu. a chevron between three leopards' heads, with arrow
in mouth of each leopard. Crest, a buck trippant ppr. trans-
pierced through the body with an arrow point downwards,

That of the Browsholme line was very similar and the fol-
lowing was used by Edward Parker, son of Thomas: Vert.,
a chevron between three stags' heads, caboshed or. Crest, on
a chapeau a stag trippant ppr. Motto, "-JVonJluctu necfatti
movetur -Parkers of Browsholme." (Unmoved by either
wave or wind).

This coat of arms was granted to the Parkers of Norton Lees
and used by them: Gu., a chevron between three leopards'
faces, or. Crest, a leopard head aftrontee erased, or, ducally
gorged, gu. Supporters, two leopards regardant ppr. ; each
gorged with a ducal coronet; gu. Motto, '•'•Sefre Ande'''
(Dare to be just). The same coat of arms has descended
through the Park Hall and Statfordshire lines, and is now used
by Sir Thomas Parker, Earl of Macclesfield, England.

The arms of Earl of Morley : A stag's head caboshed be-
tween two flaunches ar. Crest, an arm erect vested az. slashed
ar. cuft'of the last, the hand grasping the attire of a stag gu.
also stag, greyhound, horse's head, etc. Motto : Fideli
Certa Merccs. (The reward of the faithful is sure).

Arms of Cambridgeshire Parkers — A buck trippant betw.
three phoens ar. within a burdure rugr. of the second hurtee.

Arms of Essex Co. Parkers — Or, three inescutcheons sa.
charged with as many phoens ar. Crest — A lion's gamb.
erased or. grasping an arrow gu. headed and feathered ar.


Park Hall (Stafford, Derby) — Chev. betw. 3 leopard faces
and leopard's head guard, erased at neck or, ducally gorged.

Macclefield — Chev. betw. 3 leopard's heads, and leopard
head guardant, erased at neck or, ducally gorged.

Woodthorpe (York) — Ar. a chevron pean betw. three mul-
lets sa. on a chief az. as many buck's heads caboshed ar.
Crest, a talbot's head couped ar. ears and tongue gu.




It has not yet been positively ascertained from which Hne
of Parkers our ancestor descended. From tradition and clues
we can base our own judgment. By records it is known that
he was born in the year 1609.^ What success seemed to have
crowned the genealogists' efforts when the family of John
Parker of Little Norton was reached, showing a son Thomas,
baptized March 31, 1609! But upon searching the father's
papers dated 1632, and also his will, bearing date of 1637, ^^
mention of a son Thomas is made. That leaves us to suppose
one of two things, ist, that he died young ; or, 2nd, that he
went to live with his Browsholme relatives or early removed
far from home. Tradition helps the case along from its state-
ment that our ancestor was connected by marriage with the
Saltonstall family. We know that the Browsholme Parkers
were so connected. In this manner he could have easily
become interested in the work which Sir Richard Saltonstall,
Jr., was doing toward the colonization of New England. It
is also traditioned that Thomas Parker was one of three
brothers who came to America at an early day and settled
finally in three different places, viz. : Reading, Chelmsford
and Groton. In fact this tradition is so common among the
Parker family in general as to make it worthy of much reflec-
tion. One of the brothers, Abraham Parker, settled in
Chelmsford, and in his family there descended an heirloom,
the Parker Coat of Arms, which his descendant, Dr. Wm.
Thornton Parker, describes in heraldry as follows: **Gu.
a chevron between three leopards' faces or. Crest, a leopard's
head affrontec erased, or, ducally gorged, gu." This seems
to be the copy of the arms of the Parker family of Little
Norton, and shows genealogical connection. The name in

' He died in Reading, Aug. 12, 16S3, "aged about 74," so savs his grave-



Norton and Little Norton was characterized with intelligence
and industry. They were well known families and lived well
for the times. Thus Little Norton is supplied with a majority
of evidence toward claiming our ancestor. But the descend-
ants of Abraham Parker of Chelmsford have the universal
tradition that their ancestor came from Wiltshire County,
England. In fact, Mr. Cutter in his history of Jaftrey,
N. H. (where an illustrious family of Abraham's descendants
settled), states that Abraham Parker was born in Marl-
borough, County Wilts, England. This might easily be so.

From Newbury, County Berks, there came to Newbury in
New England, Joseph Parker,^ brother of one Nathan Parker,
who soon followed. They remained in Newbury a few years,
when they removed to Andover, Joseph being one of the
founders of the Church there in 1645. From Wiltshire there
came Rev. Thomas Parker, a man characterized by his gener-
ous teachings of intellectual improvement and spiritual prog-
ress. He was the only son of Rev. Robert Parker, who was
called " Rev.'* in the English Nation at the age of 22. The
son Thomas was born in 1595, and while in England pub-
lished a treatise on repentance, also several on the prophecies.
Rev. Thomas Parker came to Ipswich in 1634, then in 1635
to the first settling of Newbury and taught school as well as
preached. He died in Newbury unmarried, April 24, 1677.
He was a finely educated man, a speaker of ability and was
properly appreciated and well beloved It is said that he was
born in Newbury, Eng., which is in Berkshire. He was a
most prominent man of early Newbury, Mass., his good influ-
ence was widely felt and it was in his honor the town was
named Newbury, which verifies the tradition that he was born
in Newbury, Eng., thus in memory of his native home.
Parker river in Newbury was also named in memory of him.

Doubtless Rev. Thomas, Joseph and Nathan were brothers,
and descended from the family seat at Newbury, Eng. The
Puritan minister had no issue, but the children of Joseph and
Nathan bore the names of Joseph, Stephen, Thomas, Samuel,
John; John, James, Robert and Peter. There is such a

'Joseph Parker also owned an estate in Ramsey, eight miles from South-
ampton, which by will he gave to his wife Mary.


Striking similarity of names herein shown with the names of
the five brothers who settled in Billerica, Chelmsford and
Groton, and their children and of our ancestor, Dea. Thomas
Parker and his children, that there seems to have been strong
family connections. This method of naming in honor of rela-
tionship was in olden time more universal than at present.
Our ancestor, Thomas Parker, was of the same name as
the preacher of Newbury, and the name of Thomas occurs
in two lists of children. Joseph of Andover was himself of
the same name as one of the five brothers, furthermore, our
ancestor had in 1642 a son whom he named Joseph, but who
died in 1644. His next child was a son whom he also named
Joseph, but who also died young. Then again, the name
Nathaniel occurs among his children, as well as sons Thomas
and John, and grandsons Stephen and Samuel. A Samuel is
also found to be one of the sons of James, one of the five
brothers. One of the five was John, and this name occurs
among the children of Joseph, James and Abraham, and this
James had a son James.

Abraham Parker might easily have been born in Marl-
borough, Eng., which is situated near Newbury, and have
been connected with the Newbury line. So far as the tradi-
tion goes that Dea. Thomas was one of three brothers, he
could be brother of Joseph and Nathan of Newbury and
Andover, but the remainder of the tradition would not thus
apply. If he was not a brother to the five he must have been
related as near as cousin. The coat of arms just mentioned
shows that the brother belonged to a junior branch of the
Norton Lees family. There was a difference of 14 years
between Rev. Thomas Parker of Newbury and our ancestor,
Dea. Thomas Parker. Thus they could easily have been
uncle and nephew. Further research toward this end in
Newbury, Eng., may bring to light the proper records which
will clear away all lingering doubts and present us with this
much sought information of the past.

Mr. John L. Parker of Lynn, genealogist of the descend-
ants of Abraham Parker, thus writes upon this subject :
"Abraham Parker was born in Marlborough, Wiltshire.
The exact date of his birth cannot at present be given, but it is


believed to be 1612. The Parker brothers were probably
young fellows who saw a chance in the New World to better
themselves, and embraced the opportunity to come over and
join the settlers at the mouth of the Charles river, where they
first settled and where they found employment in the first
buildinuf of the town. The men who settled Charlestown
were of a sturdy sort, possessing the true spirit of the pioneer,
and endowed with courage, independence and perseverance.''

This work does not take up the descent of these Parker
brothers ; it has not the room to follow complete all the fami-
lies descended from Dea. Thomas Parker, but takes up in full
only one branch of the Dea. Thomas Parker tree. Imagine,
then, the necessary research to make his genealogy complete,
and what a vast amount of genealogical matter would be the
collection of that relating to all of the Parker brothers. But
it is hoped the completion of this genealogy will make it
a less troublesome task for the succeeding historian to take up
other branches of the family, and that some day the records
of each branch will be preserved in suitable book form.

In the great work of reclaiming the grand, unbroken forest
from its wild state ; in founding this greatest of nations, and in
planting for the benefit of succeeding generations the many
blessings of our good government, — the public schools, the
freedom of speech, worship, and all things that are right,
how much are we indebted to our ancestors ! Can anyone
who brings these subjects into account say as many do, that
this matter of genealogy is of no sense or importance? Is it
not disgraceful, yes, even wicked, to so decide? Every
patriotic son of America should feel proud that his ancestors
took part in the American Revolution, Having once obtained
full knowledge of this do we feel like parting with it? No,
indeed, not for wealth I True, genealogy is an interesting
study, and the deeper we go into it and contrast old times with
the present the more it teaches us and the more interesting it
becomes, Daniel Webster once said, "There is a moral and
philosophical respect for our ancestors which elevates the
character and improves the heart." It is just this spirit which
prompts the genealogist and fills him with zeal to carefullj'-
gather all important matter, and in the face of financial loss


in his undertaking to finish his publication. It is that worthy
love for our ancestors and an effort in the writer to preserve
those records and make so accessible to the family that should
cause all to share a proper interest in those of their family
who have gone before.

To illustrate the part in this great task which the Parker
name has performed would make a most exhaustive work and
many volumes. This work is confined mainly to the family
in Lexino-ton and their issue. In that town the scene is inter-
esting. Connected with the outbreak of the war for independ-
ence will be always associated the name of Capt. John Parker,
the commander of the first organized company of patriots who
so nobly opposed by his guidance the advance of the British
troops into our country. Near the Common there lived Jonas
Parker, a martyr of that morning and who so faithfully kept
his avowal that he would never run from an enemy. A
grandson of the captain was the Rev. Theodore Parker, the
world-renowned theologian and founder of the Parkerism
faith, the most noted man which Lexington ever produced.

The Parker families of early times were universally pros-
perous and flourishing. In their characters we find a con-
stant fire of devout Christian spirit, and they were in short
very religious. They prayed often to the Father of us all and
the Giver of all mercies. In their letters to each other they
always desired the blessing of God. They all belonged to
the Church and vigorously supported it. As early as 1720
there were in Reading 18 adult persons by name of Parker
who were in full communion with the Church. They took
no part in crime or intemperance of any kind. No evil or
disgraceful act recorded against the early Reading or Lexing-
ton Parkers has been found. Up to 1834 forty-one by name
of Parker had graduated from Harvard and thirty-eight from
all other New England colleges. This strong New England
teaching brought forth some of the most worthy men of our
land ; supporters of principle, well educated and thoughtful,
firm minded and conscientious, while they seldom allowed their
public ambition to extend but little beyond their own home.

A general view of the early genealogy of the five Parker
brothers is taken up in the Appendix, together with other


Parker trees of America. There has heretofore been no
printed genealogy in full of any one branch of the Parker
family ; the researches for this work have required the writer's
spare time for five years, and everything available concerning
the earliest generations has been obtained so far as known ;
hence may this volume be of some interest to all of the Parker

The following is a fac-simile extract from Horton's Copy of
the London Records, from Chapter entitled :

[Regi]ster of the names of
all y^ Passinger w""^ Passed
from y^ Port of London for
on whole yeare Endinge at
Xp^^' 1635.

1635 — Passinger wch Sailed From ye Port of
London — 1635.

\n the Suzan & Ellin Edward Payne Mr for New Eng-
land. Theis pties hervnder expresed have brought
Certificate from the Minister & Justices of their Conformitie &
that they are no Subsedy Men.*



Husbandman John Procter 40

Tho : Wells


with family

Peter Cooper


Alice Street 28

Wm. Lambert


Husbandman Walter

Samuel Podd


Thornton 44

Jeremy Belcher


with family

Marie CHftbrd


John North 20

Jane Coe


* The term that thev were " no subsedy men" implied that they were not at
that time connected with the English army.



Francis Pynder


Marie Riddlesden


with family

Jo : Pellain


Richard Skofield


Matthew Hitchcock


Edward Weeden


Elizabeth Nickols


George Wilby


Thomazin Carpenter


Richard Hawkins


Ann Fowle


Tho : Parker


Edmund Gorden


Symon Burd


Tho : Sidlie


Jo : Mansfield


Margeret Leach


Clement Cole


Marie Smith


Jo : Jones


Elizabeth Swayne


Wm. Borrow


Grace Bewlie


Phillip Atwood


Ann Wells


Wm. Snowe


Dyonis Tayler


Edward Lumus


Hanna Smith


Husbandman Richard

Jo : Backley




Wm. Battrick


with wife and child


r ^0 Ixy^cA <^y^\/'^2^J^^ir^ The ships Suzan and Ellen,
^ y I in which our ancestor sailed

from London, March ii, 1635, were fitted out by Sir Richard
Saltonstall, with whose family it is traditioned that he was con-
nected by marriage. It is probable that one ship carried the
major part of the passengers, while on the other was placed
their wherewithal with which to begin life in the new land.
From the articles still in preservation of those things which
our ancestor brought over from England, it is evident that his
outfit was large and of the best. Sir Richard Saltonstall, Jr.,
had already been assistant governor of Massachusetts. It
was his son who accompanied the voyage and who afterward
settled in Ipswich.

At this time a passage across the Atlantic was a perilous
and tiresome journey of several months' duration. Would
that we knew all about the circumstances which caused
Thomas Parker to bid farewell to relatives and friends, to
brave the dangerous ocean voyage, and to enter upon the
hardships of life in a wild unsettled country. But we find
that our ancestor was a devout follower of Christ. He shared
the Puritan's desire for a freedom of worship. Fettered as
this was at home he was obliged to share the fate or fortune
of his fellow Puritans in the new country and new govern-
ment of New England. In spiritual matters he took a deep
interest, being one of the founders of the twelfth Congrega-
tional Church in Massachusetts.

It seems that Thomas Parker was still an unmarried man
when he embarked in the Suzan and Ellen, March 31, 1635,
for no Amy Parker appears at a later or earlier date upon the
emigration records, and no mention of his wife is made in
the list of passengers, neither is there the name of an}- one
whose first name was Amy. It was customary in those days
of faithfulness and toil for the young men to emigrate, find a



proper settlement, erect a house, which was made generally
of logs, and start cultivation in the thin settlement. He would
then either return home and there be married, or send for his
bride and marry her soon after her arrival. But the majority
of the early unions came from the daughters of our sturdy
Puritan ancestors who were already settled in the colony,
together with those young men who had proved themselves
most worthy. The peculiar arrangement of dates 'almost
prove this the case with our ancestor. From his union with
wife Amy their first child was born some time in 1636. As he
sailed from London in March, 1635, and arrived at Boston or
Lynn in the latter part of the same year, it seems that it re-
quired five or six months to make the voyage. His wife Amy
must have been in America with him by the early part of
1636, and probably had the first records of Lynn been saved
from an ancient fire we would find it recorded that Thomas
Parker was married at about Christmas, 1635. Be that as it
may, it is certain that she made a true and happy companion
for him through life, and proved a kind, christian mother with
her large family of children. He probably arrived in time to
escape the greatest storm then known on the Atlantic coast.
It occurred in August of 1635, and many ships and lives were

A very small portion of the old records of Lynn are pre-
served. The part saved were jottings of public interest and
called "They Lynn Annals." Therein we find the following :

"1635. Came this year, Thomas Parker, a farmer, who
embarked at London, March 11, 1635."

In the Mass. Records we find the sumptuous prefix of M7'.
to his name in the list of freemen ; that was decidedly more
charily pronounced in 1637 than to-day. On May 17 of that
year, with scarce two years passed in America, he was made
a freeman in Lynn.* This was the lawful acceptance of his
allegiance to the colony, the grant of full suffi-age and the right
of holding public office. It was a very highly appreciated
right and was very often withheld to the settler for four, five or
SIX years. Following this in the first division of land made by

♦ It is recorded in Vol. I., page 195, of the Colonial Records.


the town in 1638, 40 acres, a high average for this division,
was allotted to him. But L3"nn seems to have been only a re-
cruiting-ground for our ancestor, as at this time he removed to
an inland habitation, being the first or one of the very first set-
tlers of what is now the town of Reading. It was first known
as Lynn Village. This was the abode and hunting-grounds
of the Indians, whose arrow-heads are still found along the
Saugus. The land was purchased from the Indians at a very
early date. Mr. Parker was soon active in the establishment
of a church. It was built about 1644 and stood upon the
Common. He was ever active in spiritual matters and taught
his large family that fear of God which he himself possessed.
He was made deacon, and it seems was later honored as chief
deacon, as certain documents bear the title "Thomas Parker,

In Sept., 1639, the inhabitants of Lynn petitioned the General Court for an
inland plantation at the head of their bounds. The "plantation" was called
Lynn Village urtil 1644, when it was incorporated as a town and named Read-
ing. It is said, but has not been proven, that Dea. Thomas Parker was con-
spicuous in naming the town, and if he chose the name it proves his con-
nection with the Parker family of Little Norton, Eng. , who owned land by
name of Ryddinge, as is spelt in the deed of 1591 of John Parker of Little
Norton, and which name Dea. Parker would naturally hold in fond remem-
brance. Moreover, in many of the town records the name continued to be
spelt Reddhig- for half a century.

The location of our ancestor's home in I..ynn has not been fully known,
but Alonzo Lewis, the Lynn historian, is credited with placing the original
homestead of Thomas Parker in the part which is now Saugus, where is now
the house of Mr. Albert Parker. This is but a short distance to the north of
the town hall and about 80 rods south of the very ancient iron-works which
flourished at about 1630. This is a very pleasant spot. The view comprises
that of the Saugus river and valley as far as Lynn itself. An allotment of
40 acres in this part of Lynn would necessarily have been a part of the land
upon which is now situated Saugus Centre. This theory may be doubted,
however, on the ground that the family now residing upon the place have no
records or traditions pointing to such a history, and the first records of Lynn
have been lost. But Mr. Lewis further added that the place has never passed
out of the Parker family but has been in the family for seven generations,
which would now be eight and even nine generations. If this be the case it is
one of extreme rarity.

He was one of the signers of the Armitage petition, spoken of at length in
the history of Lynn.

During the 256 years which have passed since the arrival of Thomas Parker
in America, the goods which he brought from England have been thoroughly

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 2 of 47)