Elias Parker is perhaps the oldest business man in Jesup or in that section of Buchanan county, and although
he is now eighty five years of age he is to be found daily at his store, which is one of the important concerns
of the city. He was born in the state of New York, August 20, 1829, a son of Oliver Parker, and was left an orphan
at the early age of three and a half years, after which he made his home with relatives, by whom he was reared
and educated. At the age of eighteen years he started out to make his own way in the world, and to this end served
a three years' apprenticeship to the blacksmith's trade.
Mr. Parker remained in the east until April, 1857, which date marks his arrival in Buchanan county. On locating
in Littleton, he had but twenty five dollars in his pocket but he was determined to establish himself in business.
He purchased a slab shanty on credit and went to work at the blacksmith's trade, going in debt for his material.
In August following he was joined by his wife, whom he had wedded in the east, and to provide a home for her he
had to borrow money, paying for the same four per cent interest per month. He was also obliged to borrow a stove,
bed and other necessities but he went to work in earnest and for six years conducted a blacksmith shop in Littleton.
He then purchased a farm in Perry township, paying for the same eight hundred dollars, this money having been furnished
him by his wife's people. He broke the wild land, cleared and improved the same and thereon made his home four
years. On the expiration of that period he took up his abode in Jesup and opened a wagon and blacksmith shop, which
he conducted with success until 1884, when he disposed of his interest in this line and engaged in the hardware
and implement business. In February, 1912, he once more sold out and embarked in the furniture and undertaking
business, to which he has since added a line of implements and also deals in coal. He is associated in business
with his son, Oliver, and they enjoy an extensive and gratifying patronage, being classed among the representative
business men of this section of the county. Mr. Parker does not feel the weight of his years, being still hale
and hearty, and is found daily at his place of business, discharging his duties in the same capable manner that
has ever characterized his career.
Mr. Parker was married on the 8th of October, 1856, to Miss Amelia C. Brown, a native of New York, and they reared
five children to years of maturity: Ida A., the wife of James McSparran, who lives in Jesup; Oliver, who was born
October 3, 1860, and is now associated with his father in business; Isabelle, the wife of V. W. Davis, cashier
of a bank in Fairbank, Iowa; Fred E., who died when a young man; and Leora, the wife of C. A. Emerson, of Jesup.
Two children died in infancy.
Mr. Parker gave his early political allegiance to the whig party but when the republican party was formed he joined
its ranks. He never aspired to public office though he has served as a school director. Looking back over his past
record, one cannot help rejoicing in the success he has achieved and feel that it is justly merited, for, deprived
of parental care at a tender age, he early had to depend upon his own resources and though at times the outlook
seemed discouraging, he worked on with tireless energy and today stands among the successful and representative
men of Buchanan county.
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Bachanan County, IA
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