Biography of Elisha J. Parker
ELISHA J. PARKER. – A man who posseses the qualities that enable him to brave the dangers of the new country and settle in and develop the same, while he makes a success of the various undertakings that are incident to pioneer life, maintaining a record for uprightness, honor and ability, is one who deserves to be represented in the history of his county, while his name should be placed high in the roll of honor. Such an one is the gentleman of whom we know have the pleasure to write, and the strong character of Elisha J. Parker has left its impress for goood indelibly on the communities where he has resided, and it is to such stanch characters that we are indebted for the advancment of our county and the upbuilding of our free institutions.
Mr. Parker was born in Shelby county, Missouri, in 1845, on a farm and in 1852, when he was seven years of age, he was taken across the plains with the balance of the family, and the sad event of the father’s death occurred when they were in the midst of the weary journey across the plains. The mother went on with her little flock and located in October, of the same year, on a farm which the father had taken in Sonoma county in 1849. They lived there one year and the mother married again, and then sold the farm and bought another in a different part of the county. Our subject was active in working out during the summers and in attendance upon the schools of the section in the winters. Two years also he worked for his board while attending school. At about the age of fourteen years, he went to Lake county and engaged in herding stock for two years. Then he went to Healdsburg, and there attended the academy, graduating therefrom in 1862, being under the tuition of Professor Mathison. He immediately came to the north after this, locating in Union county in 1863. He first engaged in packing and freighting, taking goods to the Idaho mining camps. He has the distinction of being with the first pack train that unloaded in Blackfoot City, his connection being bell boy and cook, and the train in question belonging to a Pegleg Smith, and the date, 1865. He continued in this business until 1868, then went to Mountain City, Nevada, and there killed the first beef, sacrificed in that place, then in 1870 came back to Lagrande. He rented a farm for five or six years and then paid sixteen hundred dollars for the relinquishment to one quarter section, which he homesteaded, living on that place for twenty-four years. In 1897, he sold it for five thousand dollars, and bought a quarter where he now lives, one and one-half miles east and one and one-fourth miles south from island City. To that he has added from time to time bypurchase until he owns a fine estate of ten hundred and forty acres. He is one of the heavy stockmen and leading agriculturists of the county and is a fancier of blooded cattle and hogs, having some fine registered specimens. Mr. Parker has his farms well improved and he handles them with skill, while he has erected fine commodious buildings which make his place both attractive and comfortable, and a general air of thrift and care pervade the premises, showing industry, wisdom, and attention to business, governed by good taste.
In 1871, Mr. Parker married Miss Martha E., daughter of William and Elizabeth (Dodson) Lanman, and they have become the parents of the following children: Vernon, married to Jake L. Bartimass and living on Rock creek: Deloras, wife of Walter Williams, engaged in a grist mill in Island City: Maude M. was married to Claude Childers in Alicel; Pearl E., Walter C. and Roy V. Fraternally, Mr. Parker is affiliated with the Masons, being one of the oldest members in Lagrande, while in politics he holds with the Democrats, and is a stanch supporter of his belief in the Jeffersonian Democracy. Mr. Parker is esteemed among his fellows, maintains a standing for uprightness and morality that is gratifying, while his wisdom and vigor have place him in the prominent position that he holds today.