Biography of Nathaniel G. Parker
Buchanan County, IA Biographies





Nathaniel G. Parker is a veteran of the Civil war who has spent practically his entire life in this county, remaining for sixty eight years in the vicinity of Quasqueton. He is now living retired in the town which in the early period of the county's existence was the county seat. He was born in Linn county, Iowa, in 1843. His father, Nathaniel G. Parker, Sr.; was born in Pennsylvania, near the Ohio state line, in 1806, and in early life learned and followed the ship carpenter's trade near Sandusky, Ohio. There he resided until 1838, when he went to Illinois, where he remained for a year. He then came to Iowa, traveling overland to Linn county, where he settled in 1839. He worked as a millwright near Cedar Rapids, being employed in a mill on Otter creek. He afterward came to Buchanan county and helped put in order the mill at Quasqueton.

In 1846 Mr. Parker removed his family to that town and for four years operated the mill At that period Quasqueton was the only village in the county and pioneer conditions everywhere existed, the work of development and civilization having scarcely been begun. Most of the houses were built of logs and they stood in the midst of a country of wild prairie and uncut forests. The Indians still visited the neighborhood and there was plenty of wild game. Deer were frequently killed, while it was no uncommon thing to secure wild turkeys, prairie chickens, quails, etc. Mr. Parker was one of the first six taxpayers and he became closely and actively identified with the progress of the county. He helped to lay out the roads and erected the first church and schoolhouses built in the county. Investigation into the early history shows how closely and helpfully he was associated with the pioneer development. He acquired lands from time to time until his holdings were quite extensive, and he broke the sod on the wild prairie with ox teams. In 1857, however, he sold the farm which he had cleared for thirty dollars per acre and removed to Texas, where he remained until 1860. He then returned northward to Kansas and traded a yoke of oxen for a claim, but there was a scourge of grasshoppers, totally destroying all crops, and feeling that he could not earn a living for himself and family in that state, he traded his claim for a pony and returned to Iowa, where he remained until his death, which occurred in 1877 when he was seventy one years of age. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Maria Walker and was born in Connecticut in 1812, passcd away in 1855.

Nathaniel G. Parker, who was largely reared in this county, pursued his early education in the little brick schoolhouse at Quasqueton which is still standing, and he went through the usual experiences, trials, hardships and privations incident to pioneer life and at the same time enjoyed those pleasurcs which come through the close companionship that is usually a feature of frontier communities. Time passed on uneventfully for him until after the outbreak of the Civil war, when on the 5th of September, 1862, at the age of nineteen years, he enlisted as a member of Company G, Sixth Iowa Cavalry, being enrolled as a private at Quasqueton. He was mustered out as sergeant. The regiment was organized at Davenport and he became the company's saddler, having previously learned the trade under the direction of his father. He participated in the battle of White Stone Hill from the 3d to the 5th of September, 1863, was in the battle at Manovatse on the 30th of July of the same year, and at Takaokuty on the 28th of July, 1864, being on duty much of the time in the territory of Dakota

When the war was over Mr. Parker returned to Quasqueton, where for a short time he was engaged in the harness business. He afterward carried on general farming but is now living retired and for sixty eight years has made his home in the vicinity of Quasqueton.

In 1878 Mr. Parker was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Biddinger, a native of Ohio and a daughter of William and Katherine (Kitch) Biddinger. Her father was born in Pennsylvania, in 1810, and his life record covered the intervening years to 1874. The mother was born in Ohio, in 1824, and passed away in 1901. Mr. Biddinger was a farmer in Ohio in early life and on coming to the west in 1849 settled in Liberty township, Buchanan county, when this was a frontier region. He traded Ohio property for Iowa lands and made his way westward by boat to Dubuque and thence across the country to his destination. He became a factor in the early development of this section of the state and his wife was active in church work. In their family were eight children, including Mrs. Parker, who has spent much of her life in Iowa.

Mr. and Mrs. Parker have had no children of their own but have reared two. Fraternally he is connected with thee Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he also wears the little bronze button that indicates his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic. He is interested in that organization, which affords him opportunity for association with the "boys in blue" who defended the Union during the darkest days in the country's history.

From:
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1914


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