|Robert Alexander Parker|
|(no scanned image available)|
|Birth:|| ?? ??, 1809|
Person County, North Carolina
|Death:|| November 29, 1864|
in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee
|Burial:|| Elmwood Cemetery,|
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee
|Father:||William L. Parker|
|Spouse/Partner:||Lamira A. Minter|
|Marriage:|| April 22, 1830|
probably in Maury County, Tennessee or Fayette County, Tennessee
A son of William L. Parker and Susannah Moore, he was born in Person County, North Carolina. Family tradition had held that he was born in Halifax County, North Carolina, but there was no evidence of him there. In fact, some of his Moore ancestors were from Halifax County, Virginia, which probably created the confusion.
It is worth noting that I cannot absolutely tie him to the William L. Parker and Susannah Moore Parker of Person County, but I can tie him to a William L. and Susannah Parker of Maury County, Tennessee. While I cannot prove that the family moved from North Carolina to Tennessee, it does seem quite likely.
At any rate, Robert moved with his family to Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee from North Carolina in the early 1820s. In 1830 he wed Lamira Minter, whose family had moved south from Columbia, Kentucky. At about the same time, the new couple moved to Somerville in Fayette County, so it is unclear in which county they were married. Here, Robert became a cotton factor, a shipper of cotton. He was quite successful and moved to Memphis in 1841.
In Memphis, Robert soon built a splendid mansion for his family. He had materials brought from England and also decorated his home with silver service pieces, many also from England, engraved with his name (something along the lines of "Made in England especially for Robert A. Parker 1841"), many of which survive in the possession of various descendants. He enjoyed drinking and playing whist with his fellows and became known as "Cap'n Bob" Parker. The mansion survived until sometime after 1941, when it was being used as an apartment building. It has long since been torn down.
Unfortunately, the Civil War closed the curtain on Robert's success. Military blockades were surely quite detrimental to his business and perhaps helped to drive him to an early grave in 1864 at the young age of 55. The drinking was probably also a factor, as he looks older than 55 in his only known picture.
I hold Cap'n Bob in high regard because it is likely that a remanant of his fortune served as the dowry for my great-grandparents' marriage and also would have made up a portion of my great-grandfather's initial investment in our family business. And it is that family business, coupled with other successful investments, that have allowed us to live the nice lives that we live today.
- Dupuy, B. H. The Huguenot Bartholomew Dupuy and His Descendants. Louisville: Courier-Journal Job Print. Co., 1908.
- Goodspeed's History of Tennessee 1887