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 6 of 47)
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voice he ever heard, and remembers some of the stories which
she told him.

The family homestead in Shrewsbuiy, situated in a very excellent locality
for scenery and health, may partially account for his large family of strong
and rugged children, whose descendants are so numerous. The selection of
this locality throws credit upon the Shrewsbury ancestor, Mr. Amos Parker
of Lexington. It was a large farm of fertile land, situated just north of the
town centre. A view of 30 miles is distinctly seen and seven distinct towns
meet the eye, Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Hop
kinton, Framingham and Shrewsbury. Amos Parker was also a 'joiner," a
trade which he learned of his father in Lexington. A part of the front side of
his original Shrewsbury home, built in 1750, is still well preserved. It includes
the front door, the large antique latch and door cap, and is doing service as
the front part of the continuous row of sheds which runs from house to barn.
The house was rich in old-fashioned furniture, much of which still exists,
scattered among his descendants. Around the open fireplace we can well
imagine the times past at this homestead where halted many who, emigrating
westward, sought the advice and knowledge of Mr. Parker. Here his brothers
Thomas and Andrew often visited, before and after making their final settle-
ments in Princeton and Barre. The farm is now smaller than formerly,
houses having been erected on the east part. The appearance of the build-
ings is as they were when the estate was owned by Mr. HoUis Parker. The
place is now carried on by Mr. Samuel Allen.


The following is taken from an interesting letter written by
his youngest son, Rev. Frederick Parker, at Canterbury, N.
H., 1798, regarding the famil}^ It also related to the death
of his brother Isaac Parker.

"At Portland, Bro. Isaac (with Br. Hollis, who accompanied
him) walking with me feelingly observed the cause of gratitude for
the prosperity of our family — he recounted to my fixed attention from
what small beginnings the estate arose, the difficulties of dry years —
a broken leg — and Sir I. Stone — but notwithstanding both our
parents live with their 9 children — the brothers especially all pro-
vided for well to live, men of a pretty good share of sense and sound
constitutions and ' no very mean one he said among them all,' that a
xvhole family should make out so v\^ell and be so creditable and pros-
perous he thought rather singular. I know not why I write these
things, unless because I intend to write not a short letter and 'tis
much easiest to write upon those things which fancy is most busy in
conjuring up to view. — Well do I remember the scene when I first
knew sorrow, viz : at the death of our honored Father — to Isaac's
lot it fell to be sitting by him, wiping from his brows the damp of
death when he died — that night I slept or rather talked with him for
late it was before we closed our eyes — He believed, he said, that our
honoured Father was a man of real Religion^ and one reason he
particularly mentioned his often having overheard him in secret
prayer ; a hearty strong man in his day ; went forward in his work
and said 'Come boys' or at other times 'Follow me.' In a work
infinitely more important we must sooner or later all 'follow' him to
that land of spirits from which there is no return."

Out of ten children nine grew to maturity, the oldest and
youngest being daughters, while all of the seven sons were in
the Revolutionary War, more or less, except the youngest.
He was the common ancestor of very numerous descendants,
and these have won worthy laurels for themselves and their
ancestors. He d. Dec. 23, 1790, at the age of 68 years.
The widow x\nna d. Nov. 18, 1799, at the age of 73.

Their children were :

25. Anna Parker, b. in Holden, Oct. 6, 1746: m. Dea. Jonas
Stone of Shrewsbury.

26. Amos Parker, b. in Holden, Sept. 26, 174S ; m. Lucy Robin-
son of Barre.


27. Isaac Parker, b. July 15, 1750; m. Margery Maynard of

28. HoLLis Parker, b. Oct. 2, 1752; m. Louisa Bragg of Royal-

29. Elisha Parker, b. Dec. 31, 1754; m. Sally Baker of West-

30. Ephraim Parker, b. Oct. 4, 1757; m. Abigail Baker of

31. Nahum Parker, b. March 4, 1760; m. Mary Deeth of Gerry
(now Phillipston).

32. Frederick Parker, b. March 4, 1762; m. Susan Foster of
Canterbury, N. H.

Betsey Parker, b. March iS. 1764. When but a child of towards
three years of age, she one day went into the field wherein her
father, Amos, was mowing. She stepped towards him, and
speaking, picked some wild flowers, saying " Pretty flowers," and
then went into the house and died. This occurred Aug. 20, 1766.
This was a sad blow to the family, who loved their daughter
dearly, and it also touched a tender chord in Mr. Parker's nature.
Ever afterward in mowing and coming to this spot, he Would stop,
lean on his scythe, and with downcast countenance shed a tear, then
turn around and leave that corner of the field to grow as it would.
He held too sacred a feeling for those flowers to ever disturb them.

Betsey Parker, b. March 23, 1769; m. Amos Whitney of Wor-
cester. They were farmers and lived northwest of the village.
They had no issue.

10. Thomas Parker (Andrew,^ John,^ Hananiah,^
Thomas^), third son of Andrew and Sarah (Whitney) Parker,
was baptized in Lexington, Dec. 24, 1727 ; m. in Lexington,
by Rev. Ebenezer Bridge, March 8, 1750, Jane Parrot, then
of Chelmsford, b. 1729. Toward the opening of the Revolu-
tionary War many records are found regarding him. He took
an active interest in his country's welfare, being, like all his
name in Lexington, firml}^ patriotic to the American cause.
He lived upon a part of his father's homestead in the south
part of the town, neighbor to Capt. John Parker, his cousin.
He was quartermaster of the Lexington military Co. 1774.*

In the years 1776 and 1777 when the duties imposed upon
the town officers were arduous and responsible, in conse-

♦This is proven by the assessors' sheets of the highway tax rate of 1774,
Capt. John Parker being then assessor.


quence of the peculiar situation of atfairs, Mr. Parker was
chosen each year selectman. What the town regarded as an
important movement was the Lexington Declaration of Inde-
pendence, which they drew up at this time. Thomas Parker
was one of the 26 signers of this document, thus placing him-
self in open defiance against English rule, and pledging his
assistance and future prospects to the Colonies. These patriots
fully realized their responsibility in this act, knowing the fate
which would await them in case King George should ever be
able to punish his Colonial children. It seems that he was not
with Capt. Parker's company at the Lexington fight. Tradition
says he was ill at this time and was confined to the house.
The British wantonly ransacked houses on and near their line
of march. Two "redcoats" broke open the entrance to Mr.
Parker's house and demanded of Jane, his wife, to be shown
through the rooms. He had but one son and he, Corp. Ebene-
zer Parker, was doing service with his company. Thomas
Parker was a tall and very large, broad shouldered man ; he
had great vitality and strength, and although sick was not
helpless. He was of a strong family. Jonas Parker, who
had been murdered by the British the morning of that day,
was the strongest wrestler in the town. Amos Parker, the
eldest brother, who was settled in Shrewsbury, is said to have
been a remarkably strong man in his da}^ Mr. Parker's
family was equal to the emergency. Apparently complying
with the soldier's demands, she presently brought them into
her husband's room. It seems that the daughter had mean-
while brought her father strong cord and he had quickly pre-
pared himself. He seized them both and with ropes bound
them tight. The tradition also says that he turned them over
to the Colonial authorities. He was 48 years of age at this

The Parkers of these early times were industrious and pru-
dent. By his characteristic foresight he dealt successfully in
real estate and accumulated a respectable property. He sold
his land in Lexington to his cousins there, also bought timber
land in Shrewsbury, and new land in Hubbardston, formerly
owned by his brother Amos. In 1777 he made the purchase


of the estate in Princeton,* whereupon he with his son settled
and made it their home. The grantor was Elisha Hedge,
then of Marlborough.

" For and in consideration of the sum of Thirteen Hundred and
Thirty pounds [over $6,000], well and truly paid by Thomas
Parker of Lexington, gentleman, one certain tract or parsal of Land
situate and being in Princeton containing Four Hundred Acres,
together with the Road passing through the Same, it being the Black
Grove farm, so called, and it being all the land which the sd Mr.
Hedge ownes in Princeton."

No buildings are mentioned in the deed. He located the
home upon the beautiful spot so familiar to the family as the
old homestead. Here Mr. Parker's descendants are still
living. This place was then, as now, a charming locality.
It is an elevated region overlooking water close at hand and
the West Sterling valley toward the east, while at the west
Mount Wachusett stands noble and distinct, and picturesque
Princeton centre lies nearly in the same direction. He soon
added a few more hundred acres to the estate, a part of which
he later sold out to his friends, thus regulating who his neigh-
bors should be. Other Lexington families setded in Princeton
in this way. The beautiful rich valley here, miles in extent,
is a rich farming district. It was originally a part of the
"Black Grove" farm ; it now contains many valuable farms,
and as many more dwellings. Thomas Parker's estate ex-
tended from Sterling line to Rutland line, and also more than
a mile to the north of the homestead.

The small red house which was first erected upon the place,
was after a number of years partially superseded by a large

*It is said that previous to his selection of the Princeton estate he thought
very favorably of buying a large tract at "Valley Village," now West Boyl-
ston, including the valuable water-power there. A century's development
has highly prospered this locality, and we may be apt to judge that his finan-
cial prospects at least would have been better had he selected this site. But
this was not al)-sutTicient in Mr. Parker's esteem. He was a farmer, not a
manufacturer, and the water-power at Princeton could run a saw-mill. He
must attend constantly to his spiritual needs, and the Church at Princeton
was favorable. Again, the land in Boylston was less in area^and more in
price, while the fact of its adjacent location to Worcester was* of no weight
then, as railroads were not thought of and Worcester was no more populous
than the average town.


brick house adjoining the red one. This was used as a tavern
by Thomas Parker and later b}^ his son Ebenezer, while the
original house continued duty as kitchen only. He purchased
land in Rindge, N. H., in 1790, which he rented from year to

Thomas Parker was 50 years of age when he came to
Princeton, Upon settling he purchased the meeting-house pew
which was long used by his descendants. The deed, under
date of 1788, shows that he, "Thomas Parker of Princeton,
Gentleman," bought of John Bradley and wife of Holden, the
one undivided half of a pew in the meeting-house in Prince-
ton, situated in the southwest part of the body seat. He d.
July 3, 1799- His widow Jane d. Aug. 17, 1814, aged 85.
They were both interred in the pleasant family grave-yard at
the homestead. His children were all b. in Lexington.

^^ur?ia/ (/h^A^^

Their children were :

33. Ebenezer Parker, b. Aug. 13, 1750; m. Dorcas Monroe of

William Parker, bap. Dec. 29, 1751 ; d. young.

They buried two infant children, probably b. between William
and Mary.

34. Mary Parker, bap. July 13, i76o; m. Jonas Smith of Wal-

11. Lucy Parker (Andrew,^ John,^^ Hananiah,^
Thomas^), dau. of Andrew and Sarah (Whitney) Parker, bap-
tized in Lexington, April 4, 1731 ; m. March 24, 1750, Joshua
Mead, b. Nov. 9, 1715, son of David and Hannah (Smith)
Mead of Lexington. This David was b. in Cambridge, 1678,
son of David and Hannah (Warren) Mead, and m. in Water-
town, Hannah Smith, in w^hich town he lived before coming to
Lexington. They were admitted to the Church Dec. 8. 1751.
Though Joshua Mead united with the Church in Lexington,
and a part of his children were baptized there, he resided
within the limits of Waltham. His uncle was Hopestill Mead,


whose dau. Abigail, bap. Aug. 30, 1713 ; m. Oct. 23, 1729,
Nathaniel Jennison of Weston, and whose dau. Abigail m.
Andrew Parker of Lexington. Joshua Mead d. in Waltham,
March 31, 1794-

Their children were :

1. Lucy Mead, bap. Jan. 19, 1752 ; d. Dec, 1752.

2. Mary Mead, b. May i, '753; in. Dec. 3, 1772, Abraham


3. Moses Mead, b. Dec. 2, 1754; m. May 22, 1777, Lizzy Viles,

last of the 13 children of John and Suzanna (Beinis) Viles of
Waltham. He was in the Revolutionary war. Children :

I. Moses, b. March 7, 1778.

II. David, b. Oct. 23, 1779.

III. Suzanna. b. March 22, 1781.

IV. Elizabeth, b. Feb. 20, 1783; d. Sept. 28. 1800.
V. Jacob, b. Jan. 20, 1785 ; d. Jan. 9, 17S6.

VI. Abner, b. March 19, 1787.

VII. Nathan, b. March 29, 1789.
viii. Sophia, b. Feb. 20, 1792.

IX. Watson, b. March 14, 1794.
X. Clarissa, b. Aug. 27, 1796; d. Oct. 3, 1800.

4. Lydia Mead, b. May 17, 1756 ; m. June i, 1775, Joseph Adams

of Newton.

5. Elijah Mead, b. Sept. 30, 1758 ; m. Abigail . Children :

I. Polly, b. Sept. 25, 1779.

II. Betsey, b. July 30, 1781.

III. Isaac, b. May 7, 1783.

IV. Samuel, b. May 14, 1785.
V. Lydia, b. June 20, 1787.

And perhaps Nabby, bap. July i, 1787.

6. Jacob Mead, b. Oct. 30, 1760; d. Sept. 14, 1816. By wife

Polly had :
I. Jacob, drowned Jan. 9, 1796.
II. Jacob, b. Aug. 10, 1797; d. Sept., 1800.

III. Child, d. April 5, 1799, aged 4 weeks.

IV. Jacob, b. May 3, 1802.

V. George Murdock, b. Aug. 22, 1804.

\i. John, b. April 17, 1807.

\'ii. Charles, b. April 4, 1810.

VIII. Mary, b. Oct. 3, 181 2; d. 1813.
IX. Jesse, b. Sept. 20, 1815.


12. Dea. Andrew Parker, Jr. (Andrezv,^ John,^ Han-
am'ah,^ Thomas^), 3'Oungest surviving son of Andrew and
Sarah (Whitney) Parker, was b. in Lexington, April ii,
1738; bap. April 16, 1738. His diary is in preservation at
Worcester. In it he inscribed these words :

••I, Andrew Parker, was born in the year 1738, in April, the
eleventh day thereof — my wife born in April 22 day, 1737, one year
older than I, lacking eleven days.

" I moved from Lexington to Weston about y^ middle of April,
1763. then Last Week in August I came to work at Rutland District
& Prepared to move my family. I went down & brought up my
family the last week in November.

" I took possession of my house at Rutl'' District y'^ 8 day of
December 1763.

'• I Andrew Parker was given in marriage in y^ year 1759 on the
29 day of November."

His wife was Abigail Jennison of Weston, dau. of Nathaniel.
She was twin sister of Sarah. Her mother was Abigail Mead.
See Mead family, page 61. Her father, Nathaniel Jennison,
was b. April 5, 1709, son of Samuel and Mary (Stearns)
Jennison of Watertown, the fifth of their family of 11 children.
He, Samuel, was son of Ensign Samuel, and the latter was
son of Robert Jennison, one of the earliest proprietors of
Watertown, and who was the common ancestor of the name.
The intention of marriage of Andrew Parker, Jr., of Lex-
ington, and Abigail Jennison of Weston, was entered upon
the records of Weston April 8, 1759. They made their peace
with the Church in Lexington, April 20, 1760, and were dis-
missed to the Church of Rutland, May 10, 1765. "Rutland
District," then a part of Rutland, was what is now the town of
Barre, it being incorporated as a separate town in 1774. We
find that her brother had previously removed to the district,
as on Aug. 4, 1763, Nathaniel Jennison, then of Rutland
District, sold to "Andrew Parker of Weston," 63 acres of
land in said district, bounded at length upon the west "from
an upper to y' lower fording of Moose Brook, and is a part of
Great Farm No. XXVHL" He later, in 1777, purchased of
Ichabod Robinson ^6\ acres of new land " lying at the North-
west of the Meeting House Lot."'


Favorable mention is made of Andrew Parker in Mr. Edwin
Woods's Historical Discourse of Barre, in which he says :

" There soon came to be associated with the town Dea. John
Mason, Nathan Sparhawk, Asa Hapgood and Dea. Andrew Parker.
The last named came from Lexington, and possessed many of the
traits exhibited by his blood relation of Revolutionary fame, Capt.
John Parker, and also the late distinguished reformer and preacher,
Theodore Parker. Under the management of these men the district
advanced rapidly in population and prosperity. Forests were felled,
roads were opened, streams were spanned with bridges, saw-mills
turned out lumber, houses went up, harvests ripened and on every
hand were signs of thrift which made all hearts glad. In the im-
portant convention at Cambridge, 1777, for the purpose of framing a
constitution of government, Barre was xepresented by those clear
sighted and trusted men, always foremost when any grave and public
service was to be rendered, John Mason, Esq., Lieut. Andrew Parker
and Lieut. Asa Hapgood."

Subsequently Mr. Parker served upon an amendment com-
mittee. He was one of the five chosen Committee of Corres-
pondence for Barre during the year previous to the outbreak
of the Revolution. A full account of his public service would
be too tedious. But his able assistance was given at the time
it was most needed ; it was when our ancestors, with cool
heads and stout hearts, dared to be their own masters, and
unitedly risked all in the common cause. Then they laid the
foundations of government of this now greatest of nations, and
"built better than they knew." He was selectman 1783, 1787,
town clerk 1787. moderator of town meetings 15 times, on
committee to remonstrate against loan by bills of credit, Dec.
10, 1777 ; on committee to enlarge common and draw plan of
new meeting-house. May 9, 1785 : on Shays rebellion griev-
ance committee, Jan. 6, 1787 : on school district committee,
Jan. 25, 1790.

He was very intimate with his brothers, Thomas Parker
who lived in Princeton and Amos Parker of Shrewsbury. He
visited often and his name is found attached as witness to his
brothers' most valuable papers. In his pocket diary, already
referred to, is a reference to a transaction with his brother in
Lexington, he probably little thinking that his odd statement
would be preserved for centuries —


"Oct. y* 25, 1768.. I bought two heifers of brother Jonas for
which I was to give four pounds eight shillings, and broke my shins
a coming home with them."

Our ancestors for many generations have possessed a good
knowledge of that important trade in their day, woodworking.
A woodworker was called a joiner. All farm implements
and most of the common machinery were then made of wood.
Thus a very extensive and thorough knowledge was required
to rank well in this art. In Barre Dea. Parker continued this
vocation during his spare time. He made wagons and all
farm implements, house furniture and was expert in making
spinning wheels. Probably most of the spinning wheels used
in Barre — that indispensable machine — were made by Dea.
Parker. One of his make has been preserved b}^ the family.
It was made at an early date, perhaps in Lexington, and he
gave it to his dau. Abigail in her outfit for marriage. It
remained at the Allen homestead after Mrs. Allen's decease,
passing into the possession of the dau., Mrs. Elizabeth Carter.
It is in perfect preservation, although it was used by mother
and dau. for over 80 years, and its age necessarily exceeds
100 years. It is fondly cherished as a souvenir of Dea. Andrew
Parker, as it properly deserves to be.

Dea. Andrew Parker was a devout man. It is said that
before he removed from Lexington he was an officer in the
Church there. When in Barre, for several years he and his
family were obliged to go to Rutland, ten miles, in order to
attend church. This he traversed, probably horseback, until
sufficient families had settled in Rutland District to build
a church. Dea. Parker helped build the first church in
Barre. He was made its deacon. He was a conscientious
man and entertained views of his own accordingly. In one
instance he warned the minister, it is said, that he would not
pay him anything for preaching doctrine in which he did not
believe. In his diary he made notes of many of the first ser-
mons preached in Rutland District (now Barre), and in its
midst is a treatise on religion of great length. His homestead
was in the northwestern part of the town. As his farm ex-
tended south from Petersham line to the "lower fordway of
Moose Brook," it seems that his house must have been situated



on the road from Barre to Petersham, a short distance south
of the junction of this brook and the Petersham road.

One-sixth of the population of the town of Barre served in
the Revolutionary war. In 1774 Dea. Andrew Parker was
chosen lieutenant of the first company of militia. He must
have seen some service, although no records are known to
exist. He was one of the committee who, previous to the
Revolution, officiated for the town in changing its name from
Hutchinson to Barre. The name of Hutchinson, the Tory,
was very disgusting to the patriots of this town of liberty.

"The committee who had the petition in charge was made up
from the best minds in town — men commanding respect for their
attainments and force of character." — History of Worcester County.

It seems that his wife Abigail d. soon after 1766, thus living

but a few years in Barre. He m. (2) Mary . By

Mary he had son Artemas Parker, born 20 years after the
birth of his previous child. Andrew^ Parker died in May, 1791.
The widow Mary m. again, this time to Aaron Chamberlain
of Chelmsford, who was a gentleman of education and means.
They lived in Chelmsford until 1816, when they removed to
Swanton, Vt. Mr. Chamberlain was deceased before Nov. 4,
1822. She may have spent the remainder of her days with
her son Artemas.

"This inventory, apprized at the present true value in Lawful
money all the Estate whereof Dea" Andrew Parker late of Barre,
Deceased, died seized and possessed of that has been shown to us by
M'' Abel Loring Ad' of s'' Estate viz : "

Among the items were the following :

"The Farm with the Buildings thereon £270-00-0

One Pew in the meeting-house 8-02-0

One horse stable at the meeting-house 3-00-00

One old horse X'2-8, one mare & Colt £12. 14-0S-00

Four Cows and a Calf i!;«iS-oo

One three year old heifer 3-1^-00
Two heifers two year old — Two Yearling heifers and two

Calfs S-02-00

Nineteen Sheep and Lambs and three Swine 9-06-03
Three suits of clothes, one gown, cap, shirts, stocks,

stockins, mits. two pears boots 6-07-03



One pear Shoe Buckels 2s. 6d, One peai- Knee Do. &

Shock buckels 5/ 7-06-00

One pear Spectacles 9-00

Four beds, bedding, bedsteads, furniture, coverleds,

blankets, etc. 15-09-01

One Timepiece i£i-i6. One Desk and Bookcase 20/ and

one Case of Draws 15/ 3-11-00

Old chests and tables 1-02-00

One Candle stand, three armed chairs, and twenty seven

small Do. 3-02-10

18 Puter Plaits 15/ old Puter Dishes 5/3 four Platers and

eight Plaits 13/8 i-13-n

Two Brass Kettles JCi-10 old Brass ware 3/ handirons 14/
fier Peals & tongs 7/ Crains & hooks 8/ tosting &
Grediron 4/6 Case knives & forks 3/ Candlesticks
2/ Snufers /6 Stilerds 1/ Two pear of bellowses 4/
Two Seves 1/6 two brushes and brooms 2/4 2-13-08

Glass Bottles, tea Canester, warming pan, teapot, cups,
saucers, brown Earthen ware, five silver tea spoons,
plates and small vials 30-13-00

One honed Razor and Box i/io Gun and Bagnut 12/
and Sword 1/6 Two woolen wheels 8/6 one Lamb
and tackier £2 One flaxconib 24/ 3-12-06

One Cradle and Scales 3/8 two Cheese tubs, one churn

and six pails 12/10 16-06

Thirteen Barrels of Cyder £3-18. twenty one barrels 36/

three meat tubs 4/6 and four meal chests 10/ 6-08-06

A Lining wheel, 30*' of wool 40/ and six baskets 6/ 2-13-00

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 6 of 47)