JAMES D. PARKER. On January 18, 1915, James D. Parker passed from the scenes of his labors in Erie County, but
the memory of his pure life, his many benefactions and his kindly deeds still remains. A man of sterling character,
be was honorable in business, stanch in his friendships, sincere in his religious professions and true to every
trust, and probably no man has ever lived in Perkins Township whose death caused more general regret and a sense
of greater community loss.
James D. Parker was born near Monroeville, Huron County, Ohio, February 17, 1850, and was nearly sixty five years
of age at his death. His parents were Joshua and Jane (Francis) Parker, both of whom were born in England and were
of substantial English stock. They came to America and settled in Huron County, and for many years lived at Monroeville.
James D. Parker grew up near that village, and his primary education came from the public schools, including the
Monroeville High School. When in his eighteenth year he went to Sandusky and for a time was a student in the old
Buckeye Business College in that city. Here there came in evidence a quality which was manifested frequently in
his maturer years. That was an ability not only to comprehend but to make others understand the knowledge which
was so clear in his own mental channels. He became an instructor in the business college, and subsequently bought
the school and conducted it as its proprietor until 1875, when on account of ill health he was obliged to sell
Following this business experience Mr. Parker moved to a farm in Perkins Township, locating on what is known as
Yankee Street, and was profitably engaged in general agriculture there for six years. He then turned his attention
to merchandising, and bought the general store at the little Village of Bogart, and was the successful proprietor
and the genial merchant at that point for more than twenty years, until 1902. It was only a logical expression
of his character that in his work as a merchant he should be known for a strict integrity and high standard of
commercial methods, which governed all his transactions. He had a large trade, and his customers were constant
in their patronage. He also served as postmaster of Bogart fourteen years, and in 1897 succeeded Thomas Wood as
superintendent of the Sandusky, Milan and Norwalk Electric Railroad, and managed that interurban line during 1897,
1898 and 1899. He was one of the original promoters of this railway, which was a notable distinction as having
been among the first electric interurban lines in the United States.
In 1902 Mr. Parker retired from merchandising at Bogart and removed to the home where he had his residence thirteen
years until his death. During that time he served a number of years as justice of the peace in Perkins Township
and was also a notary public. For three years preceding his death he was secretary of the Farmers' Mutual Insurance
Company of Erie County.
His part as a citizen was characterized by the utmost public spirit, and throughout his life he labored unselfishly
to improve conditions in his home township and county. In politics he was a republican, and was a member of the
Erie County Humane Society and at one time president of the Erie County board of visitors. He was one of the prominent
Masons of Erie County, having affiliations with Science Lodge No. 50, F. & A. M.; Sandusky City Chapter No.
72, R. A. M.; Sandusky City Council No. 26, R. & S. M.; Erie Commandery No. 23, Knights Templar; and with the
thirty second degree of Scottish Rite. The Knights Templars had charge of his funeral services.
Aside from these varied interests Mr. Parker's enthusiasm was perhaps best manifested in hips relations to the
Perkins Grange. It is said that his activities in that body would constitute all important part of its entire history.
He served for several years as master of the grange, and his genial manner and good humor brought pleasure to every
gathering. Hem exemplified throughout his life a sterling Christianity. Personally he was noted for his dry humor,
which always gave a certain spice of interest to his conversation; but probably his dominant trait was his tireless
industry. Hem was for many years identified with the Methodist Church, which he served as treasurer, trustee and
steward. He bad united with the Methodist society in Sandusky soon after his marriage, and thence transferred his
membership to the Perkins church and surrendered his official places in that society only a short time before his
Mr. Parker was married November 3, 1869, to Miss Sarah S. Gurley, who survives him. Mrs. Parker was born at Avery
in Erie County, Ohio, a daughter of William B. and Nancy J. (Stevenson) Gurley, her father a native of Connecticut
and her mother also of New England stock. Mrs. Parker's grandfather was Rev. William Gurley, one of the Methodist
pioneers of Ohio. Throughout his career as a minister Rev. William Gurley displayed the enthusiasm which he had
acquired by his early associations with the founder of Methodism, Rev. John Wesley. Rev. Mr. Gurley was ordained
in Ireland by this noted divine and after coming to the new world located in Bloomingville, Ohio, in 1811. He was
one of the earliest circuit riders, and for many years carried on his arduous and self sacrificing labors in behalf
of humanity, and two of his sons followed his calling in ministry.
To the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Parker were born five children: Eva J., now deceased, who married Mr. James Jarrett,
of Erie County: Laura F., who died in infancy; Dr. J. D. Parker, a successful and
well known physician at Sandusky; Mrs. Jessie A., the wife of Lee S. Merriam, of Bogart, Ohio; and Leila M., who
is a graduate of the Milan High School and lives at Bogart with her mother. Mr. Parker was also survived by two
half brothers, Charles and Lewis Parker, of Shelby, Ohio. At the time of his death there were also seven grandchildren.
Mrs. Parker and her daughter enjoy the comforts of a modest and desirable home at Bogart, and are esteemed members
of social circles in Perkins Township.
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chicago and New York 1916
Erie County, Ohio
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