Origin of the Parker Name

The PARKERs and Massachusetts and Virginia

Sheryl Slaughter, author of a newsletter on PARKERs, provided the following to the PARKER mail group on the Internet: Parker Connections in MA (from Genealogy of John Parker of Lexington, Theodore Parker, 1893, Worcester, MA)


The Massachusetts PARKERs

It has not yet been positively ascertained from which line of Parkers our ancestor descended. From tradition and clues we can base our own judgment. By records it is known that he was born in the year 1609. He died in Reading, 12 Aug 1683, "aged about 74," according to his gravestone. What success seemed to crowned the genealogists' efforts when the family of John PARKER of Little Norton was reached, showing a son Thomas, baptized 31 Mar 1609! But upon searching the fatherıs papers dated 1632, and also his will, bearing date of 1637, no mention of a son Thomas is made. That leaves us to suppose one of two things, 1st, that he died young; or 2nd, that he went to live with his Browsholme relatives or early removed far from home. Tradition helps the case along from its statement that our ancestor was connected by marriage with the Saltonstall family. We know that the Browsholme Parkers were so connected. In this manner he could have easily become interested in the work with Sir Richard SALTONSTALL, Jr., was doing toward the colonization of New England. It is also traditioned that Thomas PARKER was one of three brothers who came to America at an early-day and settled finally in three different places, viz.: Reading, Chelmsford and Groton. In fact this tradition is so common among the PARKER family in general as to make it worthy of much reflection. One of the brothers, Abraham PARKER, settled in Chelmsford, and in his family there descended an heirloom, the PARKER Coat of Arms, which his descendant, Dr. Wm. Thornton PARKER, describes in heraldry as follows: "Gu. a chevron between three leopards' faces or. Crest, a leopardıs head affrontee erased, or, ducally gorged, gu." This seems to be the copy of the arms of the PARKER family of Little Norton, and shows genealogical connection. The name in Norton and Little Norton was characterized with intelligence and industry. They were well known families and lived well for the times. Thus Little Norton is supplied with a majority of evidence toward claiming.

But the descendants of Abraham PARKER of Chelmsford have the universal tradition that their ancestor came from Wiltshire County, England. In fact, Mr. CUTTER, in his history of Jaffrey, NH (where an illustrious family of Abrahamıs descendants settled), states that Abraham PARKER was born in Marlborough, County Wilts, England. This might easily be so.

From Newbury, County Berks, there came to Newbury in New England, Joseph PARKER (Joseph PARKER asol owned an estate in Ramsey, eight miles from Southampton, which by will he gave to his wife Mary), brother of one Nathan PARKER, who soon followed. They remained in Newbury a few years, when they removed to Andover, Joseph being one of the founders of the Church there in 1645. From Wiltshire there came Rev. Thomas PARKER, a man characterized by his generous teachings of intellectual improvement and spiritual progress. He was the only son of Rev. Robert PARKER, who was called "Rev." in the English Nation at the age of 22. The son Thomas was born in 1595, and while in England published a treatise on repentance, also several on the prophecies. Rev. Thomas PARKER came to Ipswich in 1634, then in 1635 to the first settling of Newbury and taught school as well as preached. He died in Newbury unmarried, 24 Apr 1677. He was a finely educated man, a speaker of ability and was properly appreciated and well beloved. it is said that he was born in Newbury, England, which is in Berkshire. He was a most prominent man of early Newbury, MA, his good influence was widely felt and it was in his honor the town was named Newbury, which verifies the tradition that he was born in Newbury, England, thus in memory of his native home. Parker River in Newbury was also named in memory of him.

Doubtless Rev. Thomas, Joseph and Nathan were brothers, and descended from the family seat at Newbury, England. The Puritan minister had no issue, but the children of Joseph and Nathan born the names of Joseph, Stephen, Thomas, Samuel, John; John, James, Robert and Peter. There is such a striking similarity of names herein shown with the names of the five brothers who settled in Billerica, Chelmsford and Groton, and their children and of our ancestor, Dea. Thomas PARKER and his children, that there seems to have been strong family connections. This method of naming in honor of relationship was in olden time more universal than at present. Our ancestor, Thomas PARKER, was of the same name as the preacher of Newbury, and the name of Thomas occurs in two lists of children. Joseph of Andover was himself of the same name as one of the five brothers, furthermore, our ancestor had in 1642 a son whom he named Joseph, but who died in 1644. His next child was a son whom he also named Joseph, but who also died young. Then again, the name Nathaniel occurs among his children, as well as sons Thomas and John and grandsons Stephen and Samuel. A Samuel is also found to be one of the sons of James, one of the five brothers. One of the five was John, and this name occurs among the children of Joseph, James and Abraham, and this James had a son James.

Abraham PARKER might easily have been born in Marleborough, England, which is situated near Newbury, and have been connected with the Newbury line. So far as the tradition goes that Dea. Thomas was one of three brothers, he could be brother of joseph and Nathan of Newbury and Andover, but the remainder of the tradition would not thus apply. If he was not a brother to the five he must have been related as near as a cousin. The coat of arms just mentioned shows that the brother belonged to a junior branch of the Norton Lees family. There was a difference of 14 years between Rev. Thomas PARKER of Newbury and our ancestor, Dea. Thomas PARKER. Thus they could easily have been uncle and nephew. Further research toward this end in Newbury, England, may bring to light the proper records which will clear away all lingering doubts and present us with this much sought information of the past.


The Virginia PARKERs

(from Colonial Families of the Southern States, Stella Pickett Hardy, 1911, NY)

In 1650, two PARKER brothers came to VA; one located in Isle of Wight Co., and the other in Accomack Co. Thomas PARKER of "Macclesfield," Isle of Wight, Co., VA, born 1629, in England; died 1685, VA; married, and was the ancestor of many distinguished men and women, one of which was Col. Josiah PARKER, of Revolutionary fame, who was on of Washington's much trusted officers; as a soldier he was distinguished; he was also a member of the first Continental Congress. George PARKER, of Accomack Co., VA, born 1633, in England; died in VA. He seems to have landed just previous to Baconıs Rebellion, and doubtless obtained his title of Captain while in the service of that redoubtable warrior. However, there is no authentic record of this. He married, and was the ancestor of many distinguished citizens, of which were Judge George PARKER, of Accomack Co., VA, and Robert PARKER, of Watt's Island, many of whose descendants have filled positions of honor and trust.

The early records of the family in VA are very imperfect, and though it is positively known that Dr. Alexander PARKER, of "Tappahannock," Essex Co., VA, was the grandson of Judge George PARKER, of Accomack Co., and a descendant of Capt. George PARKER, of Accomack Do., VA, and a kinsman of the Earls of Morley and Macclesfield, but the record is so vague it is best to withhold it.


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