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. 316-22.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  W. W. Parker

W. W. Parker, a well known representative of the farming interests of Buena Vista county, owns an excellent tract of land of three hundred and twenty acres in Nokomis township, and three hundred and twenty acres in Washington township.  He has lived in this and Sac counties for thirty-six years, while his residence in the state dates from about 1854.  He was a little lad of five years at the time of his arrival in Iowa, his birth having occurred in Canada, April 21. 1849.  His father, Joseph Parker, was born and reared in England and was a son of William Parker.  During his boyhood and youth Joseph Parker labored in the fields during the day and in the evening worked in a shop, showing the long hours one had to work at that time in England.  When a young man he crossed the Atlantic to the new world, settling in Canada, where he married Miss Ann Radford, who was also a native of England and had spent her girlhood days in that country.  For some years Mr. Parker followed farming in Canada, residing there until after the birth of three of his sons.  He then came to Iowa, settling in Dubuque county, where he purchased a tract of raw prairie and opened up a farm, transforming the wild prairie into rich and productive fields.  Upon that place he reared his family and later he sold the farm and removed to Alta, where his last years were passed.  He died here in 1900, having long survived his wife, who died in Dubuque county in 1861.  He was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church and his life was in consistent harmony with its principles.  All who knew him respected him for his upright manhood and his devotion to the principles of justice and truth.


W. W. Parker is the eldest of a family of four sons and three daughters, six of whom are yet living.  He was reared to manhood in Dubuque county, and is largely a self-educated man, becoming well informed through his extensive reading and observation since he attained his majority.  His youth was largely occupied with work on the fields of the home farm, and he gained practical experience in the best methods of cultivating the crops.


While still living in Dubuque county he was married, February 22, 1870, to Miss Amelia J. Evans, who was born in Wisconsin, June 28, 1851, but spent her girlhood days in Iowa, coming to this state with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Evans, who were of English birth.  They lived for some time in the Badger state and then came to Iowa.  After their marriage Mr. Parker followed farming for two years in Delaware county, Iowa, and then went to Sac county, where he purchased land and developed a new farm of three hundred and twenty acres, continuing its cultivation for eight years.  He then sold that property and in the spring of 1880 located on a farm in Buena Vista county, purchasing three hundred and twenty acres of land, known as the W. H. Farrar farm.  He began the further development and improvement of this place, building thereon a comfortable residence and substantial barn, fenced the fields and remained upon the farm for six years.  He then bought a residence in Alta, where he now makes his home, but still gives his personal supervision to the farm.  He has since purchased another tract of land of three hundred and twenty acres in Washington township.  It was raw land when it came into his possession but he has transformed it into a valuable and profitable tract.  He started out in life in limited financial circumstances, worked as a farm hand by the month and through his own industry has gained a place among the substantial agriculturists of the community.  He was eighteen years of age when he started out for himself.  The father said to his son, "If you save your earnings, well and good; if you are disposed to squander, I will collect your earnings myself."  The son, therefore, was careful to hold on to what he gained, saved the money which came to him in return for his labor and in the course of time was thus enabled to purchase property for himself.


Unto Mr. and Mrs. Parker have been born two children:  Lillian E., born in Sac comity, July 20, 1872, is now the wife of A. M. Conner, one of the prominent residents of Alta, who is mentioned elsewhere in this work, Frank W., also born in Sac county, May 12, 1876, married Miss Herma Smith and follows farming in Buena Vista county.  The mother of these children is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Alta, but Mr. Parker holds membership in the Pentecostal Nazarene church, and both take an active interest in religious work.


Politically Mr. Parker is a prohibitionist and a stalwart advocate of the temperance cause.  He has twice served as mayor of Alta, but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking, but holding office at the solicitation of his friends, who recognized in him a progressive and loyal citizen and knew he would be faithful to the duties of the office.  He and his wife have made three trips to California, spending two winters there and other points on the Pacific coast.  At the present writing, in 1908, they are preparing to move to the Golden state and may make their future home there if they are pleased with it.


Mr. Parker well deserves the success that has come to him for his life has been one of untiring industry and honest toil.  In all his dealings he has been straightforward and all who know him recognize in him a trustworthy man and one who well merits the confidence and respect which are uniformly accorded him.  He has lived to see the county develop from a wild and unbroken prairie into a tract of rich and fertile land, divided into thousands of fine farms which are well kept and well improved.  Towns and villages have also sprung up and developed along modern lines and the county has kept pace with the other counties of this great commonwealth in its intellectual, social and moral progress, as well as its material growth.