William Kepler Parker was born March 3, 1851,
in Mt. Vernon Township, near the site of the present Elks Country Club.
His parents were Dr. James Thomas Parker and Miccah Ann Hutchison. While
he was still a boy the family moved to Clay County, but lived there only
a few years. The father died in Decemher, 1864, and the mother and six
children returned to Jefferson County in 1865.
William farmed in early life. When about twenty-one
years of age, he began reading medicine with Dr. W. Duff Green of Mt. Vernon,
and also worked for about four years in the blacksmith section of the railroad
shops. In 1883 he was graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons
of Keokuk, Iowa, and immediately began the practice of medicine at his
home in Field Township.
On September 15, 1886, Dr. Parker was married
in Mt. Vernon to Laura Ella Dennison, who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio,
and reared in Franklin County, Indiana. Her parents were both natives of
England. Except for a few years residence in Kell, Dr. and Mrs. Parker
spent most of their married life in Field Township, at their home just
west of Divide. About 1931 they moved to Dix, where Dr. Parker continued
his medical practice until he was eighty-five. He received a Fifty Year
Award from the Illinois State Medical Society.
Dr. Parker died in June 1940 at his home in Dix.
Mrs. Parker died in June 1942 in Mt. Vernon, at the home of her son Fordyce
Parker. Both are buried in Union Chapel Cemetery. They were the parents
of five children: William Garfield Parker. M.D., a Mt. Vernon physician
for over fifty years; Talmage DeWitt Parker, cashier of the former Bank
of Divide, and for many years with the Wabash railroad; James Fordyce Parker.
at one time a teacher, and a long-time employee of the Mt. Vernon Post
Office, now retired; Sidney Lawrence Parker, a teacher, a county superintendent
of Jefferson County schools. and a member of the Illinois State Legislature
for several terms; and Ruth Mary Parker, now retired, who formerly taught
school, and was also an employee of the Illinois State Library for a number
of years. In 1936, Dr. and Mrs. Parker celebrated their Golden Wedding
anniversary, with all their children and grandchildren present.
SUBMITTED BY: Misty Flannigan