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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thomas Gordon Parker

Thomas Gordon Parker is the brother of my Great Grandfather, James Madison Parker.

Thomas was the youngest of the Parker clan.  He was born 16 November 1885 on McKinney Mountain, Madison County, Alabama.  This would be in the New Hope, Alabama area - what was once called Cloud's Town. His parents were George Washington Parker and Sarah Elizabeth Cloud

Thomas was only 9 years old when his father passed away in January of 1895.  I believe life must have changed drastically for the Parkers when this happened.  They had always lived and farmed in New Hope until George died.  After his death we find the Parker family moving to the 'big' city of Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama.  It is unknown why the family 'sold the farm' as it is assumed they did.  But, when we find Thomas next, he is in the 1900 Census in Huntsville and the whole family is working at the cotton mill.  Thomas is only 14 years old - but he is still working to help support the family.  You can see a picture of the Dallas Mill, where I believe the family worked, in the blog on Garrett Preston Parker.

In 1910 we find Thomas - referred to as Gordon from here on - living with his mother and siblings in Blackfoot, Bingham County, Idaho.  His occupation is listed as farming.

At some point between 1910 and 1914 Gordon moves down to Utah.  He marries Margaret Buchanan Shepherd 18 July 1914 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Margaret is the daughter of John Shepherd and Elizabeth Stratton, both from Scotland.  Below is a news article with an account of the marriage date as stated by Margaret years later - I'm not sure of the reason for the article.

 Their first child was born in December of 1915 named Nona Jeannette Parker in Roosevelt, Sevier County, Utah.

In the military draft record of 1918 we find Gordon in Elsinore, Sevier County, Utah.  He is employed at the Utah Idaho Sugar Company.  He is described as tall, of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair.  His permanent home address is listed as Rockyford, CO - so we can assume that he and Margaret lived there for a while prior to 1918.  It's possible, and likely, that Gordon's nephew, Thomas Watson Parker, is living with him at this time.  This is due to the fact that Thomas Watson Parker also filled out the military draft card in Sevier County - although one year earlier - and Thomas Watson was also employed at the Sugar Company.  The draft record is below for Gordon.

I have been unable to find Gordon in the 1920 Census.   Their second child, Mazie Marjorie Parker, was born in Dragon, Utah in 1920 - so this is where they reside even though the census doesn't show him.  We do find Margaret's parents living in Dragon, UT in 1920 - most likely Gordon and Margaret and Nona are living with them.  We do know that in 1921 Gordon was in Canyon County, Idaho from the moonshining news article posted on the blog about Garrett Preston Parker.  Also Margaret and Gordon had a son that was not named in 1922 in Canyon County, ID, the son did not survive.  They are still in Idaho in 1923 when their next child is born, Creede M Parker.  By 1925 they are back in Utah.  They have another child born, Elizabeth Maxine Parker, in November of that year.  Elizabeth passes away in February of 1926 of pneumonia in Dragon, Uintah County, UT.

The following picture is probably taken some time around 1928, presumably in the Dragon, Utah area.  From left is John Shepherd, Elizabeth Stratton Shepherd, George Archie Parker (this could also be Thomas Gordon Parker), George Hunting, Ellen (Nellie) Shepherd Hunting, Nona Jeannette Parker, standing in front is Mazie Marjorie Parker and Creede M. Parker.  This picture was provided by the daughter of Nona Parker, Louise Banta Sharp.

We find Gordon in the 1930 Census living in Garland, Box Elder County, Utah.  There is a note on the census that says 'no house number'.  It also says 'West Mountain Road - State Road north of Sugar Factory'.  This area must be pretty rural.  My mother recalls going to stay at an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere that used to belong to Aunt Margaret, as she said.  She said it had dirt floors but had a built in bed.  The stove was outside the house.  She said when they went to stay there, there was still canned food in the cellar - and they ate it.  My Mom said she loved staying at this abandoned house - even though they were only there for a short time.

This next picture would have been taken around 1941.  They were together saying goodbye to Creede as he entered the Army.  From the left is Ellen Shepherd Hunting, George Hunting, George Archie Parker, Creede Parker, Gordon Parker, Nona Parker Banta.  Seated is Elizabeth Stratton Shepherd.  The children are Nona's.  They are Jeanne, LaReta and Louise.  Louise supplied me with this wonderful photo.  Thanks Louise!!

Gordon Thomas Parker and Margaret Buchanon Shepherd had the following children:

1. Nona Jeannette Parker - born 15 Dec 1915 in Roosevelt, Sevier, UT, died 22 Jun 1981 in Ventura, CA.  Married Robert Anderson Banta. Married Harland Lee Miler. 
2. Mazie Marjorie Parker - born 25 Sep 1920 in Dragon, Uintah, UT, died 11 Feb 2000 in Bremerton, Kitsap, WA.  Married Francis Luther Swett.  Married Robert Henry Tromley.
3. un-named boy - born 17 Dec 1922 in Nampa, Canyon, ID, died 17 Dec 1922 in Nampa, Canyon, ID
4. Creede M Parker - born 1923 in Nampa, Canyon, ID, died 2 Jan 1946 in the Phillipines (World War II)
5. Elizabeth Maxine Parker - born 10 Nov 1925 in Dragon, Uintah, UT, died 21 Feb 1926 in Dragon, Uintah, UT

The Parker family left the rural Utah area for the Northwest settling in Bremerton, Washington.  This happened sometime around 1950.  Gordon passed away in 1961 in Washington.  I have been unable to locate an obituary, death record or a headstone photograph.  I'm not sure where he is buried but it is most likely in Bremerton.  Margaret also passes away there in 1981.

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