Buena Vista County, IA
IAGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 353-54.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Charles J. Parker

Charles J. Parker is filling the office of sheriff for the fifth term.  No higher testimonial of his efficient service could be given than the fact that he has continued so long in this position.  Abraham Lincoln said:  "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."  This fact is again and again exemplified in public life.  While incompetent men may be elected to office their incapacity is soon manifest and the party does not again call them to the position.  It is, therefore, proof of capability and fidelity on the part of .Mr. Parker that-he has so long been continued in this office by the vote of the public.  Widely and favorably known his life record cannot fail to prove of interest to many of our readers.  He was born in Dubuque county, Iowa, in 1858, and is a son of Joseph Parker, a native of Somersetshire, England.  He left the mother country and crossed the Atlantic to Canada in early manhood and afterward came to Iowa, where he died in January, 1900, at the age of seventy-five years.


Charles J. Parker spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the usual manner of farm lads.  His time was divided between the work of the schoolroom, the pleasures of the playground and the duties of the home farm, and he continued to till the soil until 1886.  He removed to Buena Vista county in 1875 and with his brother settled on a farm in Maple Valley township.  There he continued to cultivate his fields with good success for about eleven years, when he removed to Alta and established a meat market, which he conducted for three years.  On the expiration of that period he sold out and turned his attention to the grain business.  Later, he bought a half interest in a hardware stock, forming a partnership with D. A. Wilkenson under the firm name of Wilkenson & Company, and while thus engaged in merchandising he also engaged in buying stock.  His time and energies were devoted to these two lines of business until he was elected sheriff in November, 1899.  He has always regarded public office as a public trust, and those with whom he is acquainted know that no trust reposed in Mr. Parker was ever betrayed in the slightest degree.  He has done much to crush out crime in this locality and is looked upon by the law-abiding citizens with the utmost favor and with fear by those who do not hold themselves amenable to the law.  He was also mayor of Alta for four years and likewise served as constable there.


In 1882 Mr. Parker was married to Miss Annie Evans, who was born in Delaware county, Iowa, October 31, 1860, a daughter of Samuel and Jane Evans, who were born, reared and married in England and both are now deceased.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Parker has been born a daughter, Erma, who is a student in the Gem City Business College at Quincy, Illinois.  The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and Mr. Parker is identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen.  He has a very wide acquaintance in Buena Vista county, and as a business man, official and public-spirited citizen enjoys the highest degree of confidence and good will of all who know him.