HON. CHRISTIAN PARKER
Is a native of Preble County, Ohio, where he was born September 11, 1807. His ancestors were English. Amariah Parker, his grandfather, fled from Cornwall to escape being pressed into the English Army, landing and locating at Boston Mass in 1861. Prior to the Revolution, also, followed three of his brothers, each, too, settling at or near Boston. Dissensions arising between the feeble, young Colonies which had given them refuge, and the strong, tyrannical Mother Country, it was no hardship for them to determine the part they would take. With true sympathy for those who were wronged and with spirits hungering for personal and political freedom, they fearlessly and at once espoused the cause of the Colonies. They first helped to constitute that ever memorable company who threw the Cargo of tea into the Boston Harbor. Amariah Parker fought bravely at Bunker Hill, and one of his brothers, a Lieutenant Colonel in a Massachusetts regiment, was killed in that same fierce battle. Subsequently, Amariah removed to Morristown, N. J., where he married Miss Tamer Munson. By occupation, he was both farmer and mechanic; he was industrious and prosperous. But failing health eventually caused him to sell his farm, and, unfortunately, he received "Continental money", in payment, which, becoming uncurrent, left him in penury, from which he never recovered.
At the death of our Revolutionary hero, his Son, Jacob Parker, father to the subject of our sketch, was left an orphan of thirteen years, without a home and without means of support. To be taught a trade he bound out to a blacksmith in the city of New York. Here, receiving ill usage beyond forbearance, the proper authorities remonstrated and secured his release from the situation whereupon, fearing he might again be placed in the hands of an aggressive master he made prompt escape to the far western frontier. He brought up, finally, at Fort Washington, Ohio, where he enlisted as a soldier under Capt. Kibby. He served under Gen. Anthony Wayne, in his campaign against the Northwestern Indians; and was wounded in the fight near Fort Miami on the 20th of August, 1794. He continued in the service until 1795, when the treaty of Greenville for a time terminated hostilities. After his discharge, he settled near Middletown (now Butler County), Ohio, where he married Miss Mary Loy, who, became mother of( the subject of our narrative. In 1801 they removed to the adjoining county of Preble (since organized as such), where they became among the earliest of pioneers. Mr. Jacob Parker afterward served his country in the war of 1812. Still a resident, of Preble County, he died, honored by all who knew him, in the seventy-first year of his age.
Christian Parker was the son of this soldier under General Anthony Wayne. During Christian's early boyhood, situated as they were, remote from schools and churches, his attendance at the same was necessarily limited; but the mental and moral rudiments thus acquired, proved, in after years, the foundation for a grander development. They magnified into a noble manhood, possessing a rich fund of knowledge, the fruits, indeed of patient years of home-culture. Constant manual labor, too, in the woods of his native county, developed the physical man, fitting him well for the hardships of pioneer life in Allen County.
He out his way into the wilds of St. Joseph Township, in the month of October, 1833, and there fixed his abode, selecting and purchasing a piece of land on Section 20, during the ensuing winter, and, before the month of February, he had hown the logs and completed a comfortable cabin, ready for its occupants. Like others of his time, he came, hoping that among its cheap lands he might find a home whereon patient toil would yield greater results than in the older settlements. And this motive was well founded. Each year witnessed new improvements and new purchases. Thus he bought and sold, while increase in value was fast, gaining him wealth; and thus he provided for the declining years of life, and for his children who might survive him.
Time passed on, he reared a family. That dreadful war of 1861 came, when three of his sons, with valor which had characterized their forefathers, volunteered their services in the army for the Union; and they were immediately followed by his two sons-in-law and six nephews. One son, one son-in-law and the six nephews, fell in their devotion to the flag of their country, the honor of which they sought to maintain. Mr. Parker, although disqualified by age for the duties of a soldier, yet was an active friend to the Union cause, using his time, influence and money to encourage enlistment. The successful termination of the war was joyously hailed, and yet it left a void at his hearthstone and an aching in his heart, which even the healing influences of time have been unable to assuage.
He has always been a prominent member of the community in which he cast his lot. In 1834, he was chosen to fill the office of Justice of the Peace for his township, continuing in the same four years. In 1844, he was elected to serve as County Commissioner, and, in the same year the Whig candidate, was elected Representative to the State Legislature, being re-elected to the same four successive terms, up to 1849.
Prior to his removal to Allen County, on June 18, 1829, he was united in marriage with Miss Rachel Cassell, daughter of Henry Cassell, Esq., a pioneer farmer, also of Preble County, Ohio. She was born August 1, 1807, in Wythe County, Va., her parents having emigrated to Preble County when she was a girl of about seven years. Her religious faith, from childhood, was in a world's salvation. Throughout her husband's pioneer life, and, during his painful sacrifices from the war, she, the wife of his youth, ever comforted and sustained him. Together they raised the following children. Samuel C. born April 24, 1830; Francis A. born December 21, 1831; Harriet born July 17, 1837; Allen H, born April 9, 1839; Caroline born May 10,1841; Henry C. born 1875; Maria born January 14, 1846; Oliver P. born October 13, 1848; Mary E. born January 21, 1851; Winifred S. born July 19, 1853. But, alas! to earth she is no more. The tie that bound two loving hearts was severed on the 14th day of February, 1879, when faithful companion and loving mother crossed to those brighter shores; ever social and amiable; deeply mourned by all who knew her; a loss irreparable to husband and family, and wanting but a few short months of her golden marriage anniversary, her lamp of life went peacefully out.
Mr. Parker has reached the age of seventy-two years, his life has been marked by the strictest integrity, both in public and private affairs, and no one enjoys more fully the esteem and confidence of his fellow-men.