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Biography of H.Parker Thomas

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Thomas Harrison Parker, Mayor of Woodstock, and one of its most successful one business men, was born in Cumberland, England, February 10, 1828. His parents are John and Jane (Harrison) Parker, members, for a long period, of the industrious farming community. Both the Parkers and Harrisons are old Cumberland families. Jane Harrison was a niece of Jonathan Walton, a wealthy proprietor of coal and lead mines in that part of England. In 1831 the family immigrated to Upper Canada, and settled in Peterborough, where our subject spent fifteen years in farming, and attending a public school part of the time.

In 1846 the family removed to the township of Zorra, county of Oxford, where John Parker purchased a farm, and cultivated it for some years. He is now living in Woodstock. His wife died many years ago. She was an earnest christian, very domestic in her habits, and thoroughly devoted to the interests of her family.

At the age of twenty years our subject returned to Peterborough, and engaged in the lumber business during the summers, and attended the Rev. Mr. Taylor’s grammar school in the winters. From 1850 to 1855 he was at Brantford and Hamilton a merchant’s apprentice, when, having acquired a knowledge of dry goods, he came to Woodstock, and set up for himself. At the end of one year he formed a partnership with John D. Hood, and he continued in the mercantile trade until 1873, when, having realized a comfortable competency, he sold out, and retired from active business.

While in trade, the excellent business habits of Mr. Parker were patent to the public, and he was frequently called to perform various duties in the municipality of Woodstock, being in the council two or three terms, and subsequently filling the office of second and first deputy reeve. In 1878, after a warm contest, he was elected mayor, and did so well the first year, and became so popular, that he was re-elected by acclamation, and is still holding the office, making a very efficient chief magistrate. He is also President of the Mechanics’ Institute, an office which he has held for seven consecutive years. He was the first President of the Woodstock Board of Trade, and is thoroughly identified with all the interests of the town.

Mr. Parker is a Liberal in politics, a Reformer from principle, being in every sense a progressive man. He evidently believes that the ” world moves,” and that man ought not to do less. He, is a Master Mason, but we cannot learn that he has been very active in the order.
June 1, 1859, Miss Annie Hood, daughter of Jabez Hood, Esq., of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and sister of John D. Hood, already mentioned, was married to Mr. Parker. Their family consists of two daughters, twins, Annie Louisa and Jessie Eleanor.

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