Leonard Parker of Anaheim, was born in the town of Boston, New York, March 1, 1818. His parents, Joel and Annie (Woodcock) Parker, were natives of Massachusetts. The senior Parker, by trade a carpenter, was employed as a builder and contractor in the city of Buffalo, New York, for many years, and the subject of this sketch had very little opportunity for getting an education.
At the age of twenty-one years he started out as a farmer, and afterward learned the blacksmith trade, his early life being a rugged one. He walked five miles to work and then cradled wheat for 50 cents a day, at the same time paying $2 a bushel for corn! In 1852 he moved to McHenry County, Illinois, and bought out a claim on the frontier, and this he improved and cultivated for twenty years, being successfully engaged in general farming and stock-raising.
April 1, 1870, he came to California and bought 200 acres of unimproved land near Anaheim; it was then almost completely covered with cactus and sagebrush. One can scarcely realize now, as he beholds the beautiful flowers and the orchards of oranges, apricots and prunes full of delicious fruit, that the land was once so wild and bare. Surely, Mr. Parker has made the “desert fertile and blossom as the rose.” He has today over 3,000 orange trees which yielded last year (1889) over 5,000 boxes of fruit.
September 15, 1838, Mr. Parker married Miss Kate Kennedy, a native of Montgomery County, New York, and born in 1820, the daughter of Abraham and Catherine (McGregor) Kennedy, parents natives of Scotland. Mr. and Mrs. Parker have reared a large family of children, viz.: Joel B., of Orange; Anna L., wife of Simeon Tucker; Walter M., in Texas; Mary A., wife of Owen Handy; Della, now Mrs. R. A. Brown; Eva L., wife of Arthur Lewis of Los Angeles; Jesse R., of National City; Lydia, wife of Captain O. S. Wood, of Anaheim; Er-nest T., of Orange; and Kate, who died at the age of sixteen years. Mr. and Mrs, Parker in 1888 celebrated their “golden wedding,” and were the recipients of many valuable presents. They are remarkably well preserved, both in mind and body, having been all their lives in the practice of the principles of temperance, which they advocated, but do not believe in orthodoxy or Christianity.