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Hon. Hosea W. Parker, of Claremont, N.H., attorney and counsellor at law, was born in Lempster, Sullivan County, May 30, 1833, son of Benjamin and Olive (Nichols) Parker. His father was an esteemed citizen of Lempster, where he held many positions of trust and 1845, leaving three children-Emilie, Hiram, and Hosea W. Emilie L. married Ransom Beckwith (deceased), by whom she had two sons-Walter P. and Hira R., the former a graduate of Tufts College and the present superintendent of the Salem Normal School, the latter a well-known architect, residing in Claremont, N.H. Hiram Parker is a merchant of Lempster, has held different offices in the town, and has been a Representative to the legislature. He ranks among the most prosperous and enterprising farmers in the county, and has for many years been a prominent member of the State Board of Agriculture.
Hosea W. Parker acquired his early education in the district school, and at home assisted his brother on the farm until he was eighteen years old. He later attended Tubbs Union Academy, Washington, and the Green Mountain Liberal Institute, South Woodstock, Vt. Entering Tufts College in 1855, he there remained two years, and then began the study of law in the office of Burke & Waite, of Newport. While thus engaged, he taught school in Newport and elsewhere. In 1859 he was admitted to the Sullivan County bar, and began to practise in his native town; but in the fall of 1860 he removed to Claremont, where he has resided ever since. He has built up an extensive and most excellent practice, and is considered a very competent counsellor. He is strong and influential in the Supreme Court, and as a draughtsman of legal documents it is said he is not excelled in the State. His services are in constant demand wherever sound counsel and legal ability are appreciated. He was admitted to practice in the United States Circuit and District Courts in New Hampshire, and in 1873 was admitted to the Supreme Court at Washington, D.C. He has been engaged on one side or the other of almost every important case tried in the county, and as a lawyer ranks with the foremost of New Hampshire.
Mr. Parker is a Democrat in politics, and has been a prominent leader and worker in the cause of Democracy ever since he became a voter, attending county, State, and national conventions. In 1859 and 1860 he represented the town of Lempster in the New Hampshire legislature. In 1869 he was the Democratic candidate for member of Congress from the Third New Hampshire District, which had almost always been Republican; and he was defeated by Jacob Benton. In 1871 he was again a candidate, and was elected; and in 1873 he was re-elected by an increased majority. “Corruption was rife at Washington during the time of his service, but jobbery and extravagance in every form found in Mr. Parker a persistent opponent. The Congressional Record will show his vote recorded against every jobbery, subsidy, and plunder scheme, of whatever description, brought before Congress during his term of service, and in support of every measure calculated to promote the interests of the masses of the people, and especially in the direction of revenue reform. There and everywhere he has been earnest and outspoken in opposition to those features of the tariff laws calculated to enrich the few at the expense of the many. He was a member of the Committee on Education and Labor, and also of the Committee on Patents, rendering valuable service in both committees. It was in the Forty-third Congress, as a member of the last-named committee, that Mr. Parker rendered his constituents and the people of the entire country a service of inestimable value. It was at this time that the patents held by the great sewing-machine monoply, a combination of the leading companies entered Mr. Parker, with his unyielding hostility to monopoly and especial privilege in every form, was unalterably opposed to such action from the start; and it was largely through his persistent efforts that the committee finally reported against the extension by a majority of one vote, and the committee’s report was sustained by the House. A reduction of nearly fifty per cent. in the price of sewing machines soon followed, a result hailed with joy in almost every family in the land.”
After the close of his second Congressional term Mr. Parker was out of politics, giving his time and attention wholly to the practice of his profession until 1892, when he was nominated unanimously in convention of the Second District for member of Congress, but was defeated by a small plurality. He has been on the State Central Committee of the Democratic party for thirty years. At the session of the New Hampshire legislature in 1897 Mr. Parker was the Democratic nominee for United States Senator, and received the votes of the Democratic members. The party, however, being in the minority, he was not elected.
For five years he has been one of the Commissioners to establish free public libraries in New Hampshire, and the work has been carried on to such an extent that at the present writing nearly every town in the State has a free public library. In 1883 the degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon him by Tufts College, and he was elected a Trustee of the college, which position he still holds. He was for ten years Trustee of the State Normal School at Plymouth, N.H. He is a member of the Southern New Hampshire Bar Association, is a prominent Free Mason, and was for over twenty years Eminent Commander of Sullivan Commandery, Knights Templar, of Claremont. In religious faith and fellowship a Universalist, for the past thirty-six years he has been superintendent of the Universalist Sunday-school; and he has been President of the United States and Canada Universalist General Convention.
He married Louvisa C. Southgate, daughter of Mark Southgate, of Bridgewater, Vt., and has one child, Lizzie S., who is one of the prominent alumnæ of Smith College, where she was graduated in 1888. She married the Rev. Lee S. McCollester, a graduate of Tufts College and Tufts Divinity School, who has also studied and travelled extensively abroad. He is now pastor of the Church of Our Father, a large and flourishing society in Detroit, Mich. His father, the Rev. S. H. McCollester, D.D., of Marlboro, N.H., is the author of valuable works of European travel.
Mr. Parker, it may be added, is a descendant of Captain Joseph Parker, and a relative of the late Rev. Dr. A. A. Miner, a distinguished divine of the Universalist faith, who was born in Lempster, and long a favorite among the church-goers of Boston, Mass. Mr. Parker, it has been well said, is “a citizen eminently public-spirited, heartily supporting” all schemes of local improvement. He is liberal to a fault, and never hesitates to contribute to any object for which his aid is sought, unless convinced that there is sham and hypocrisy. For hypocrites and pretenders, whether in politics or religion, in public or in private, in business or in social life, he has a thorough and ardent contempt.