JOHN PARKER, deceased, one of the pioneers of Benton County, who deserves especial mention in this work, was a native of Ireland, born in Londonderry, on the 18th of June, 1817. His parents were James and Sarah (Smith) Parker. He emigrated to the United States in 1840, going immediately to Coshocton County, Ohio, where he spent seven years, and at the end of that time had saved from his meager earnings a little money, and being desirous to better his condition, he started for the then "Far West," and soon arrived in this county, which in those days was considered the border of civilization. Here he engaged to work for Thomas P. Johnson for $12 per month. He also entered land on section 36, Benton Township. During the year 1851 he made a trip to Ohio, returning the same year, and commenced improving his land. He voted at the first election in the township, it being held at the residence of John Pogue.
In 1854 Mr. Parker united in marriage with Harriet, daughter of David and Nancy Kirkpatrick. She was born in Ohio, April 5, 1833. He continued improving his land until he possessed one of the most pleasant homes in the county. He was a devoted Christian, being a member of the Presbyterian Church. It was principally through his efforts that the first sermon was preached at Vinton, which was delivered in the court-house, which was then being built. He was also the leading spirit in the building of the Presbyterian Chureh at Shellsburg, which he attended during the remainder of his life. He always worked hard, observed economy, lived honestly, and thus made life a success. His death took place on the 22d of March, 1885, and his remains were buried in the Shellsburg Cemetery.Mrs. Parker still lives on the homestead. There were five children in the family. David K. was born July 20, 1855; in 1878 he visited the Paris Exposition and also went to Ireland. During this trip he was a newspaper correspondent. Returning home he engaged in the dry-goods business at Shellsburg. He died at the age of twenty-eight years; he was highly respected by all. The children living are Thomas A.; Nancy A., wife of Emery Bowe; Sarah A. and Mattie E.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 333-334.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 18th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.