From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; page 544, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing
Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical
Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Joseph Parke was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1818.
His father, Jonathan, was born in the same place and died at an
advanced age, when his son was so small that he has no recollection of
him. There were ten sons and the same number of daughters in this
family, all coming to adult years, but all have now died. The mother of
this remarkable family was Marjory Woodward of the same county. She
lived some fourteen years after her husband's death and they both now
rest in the Marshalltown cemetery, a large Quaker cemetery. These
parents were well-to-do and gave the family a good education.
Joseph was sent to a Quaker school at Western Academy. He was
reared to farm life, but at twenty-one he began school teaching, taught
two years in Pennsylvania and four years in Ohio. At his mother's death
he was put under a guardian, who gave him additional educational
He was married in Logan county, Ohio, in his twenty-sixth year,
to Mary Ann Wilson. She was a daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Holt)
Wilson. They, Mr. and Mrs. Parke lived for five years in this county
and taught school. In October, 1840, they came West, overland, and
settled in Brooklyn township, entering 160 acres. This was wild and
they made the first improvements, building a log cabin with a sod
chimney. Mr. Parke still has the cabin as a part of his present
dwelling but the sod chimney is now a brick one and the cabin is
weather boarded externally and lathed and plastered inside. He has 300
acres, a part of which he has deeded to his daughter. About 1865 they
buried one son, Jonathan, aged twenty. They next buried Elizabeth, Mrs.
Taylor Gray, at the age of twenty-six; in 1885 their daughter, Ada
Sario, age about eighteen years old, died at Dr. Prince's establishment
at Jacksonville. His wife had fits for some twenty years and in March,
1891, fell into the fire and died the same day. He has only one living
daughter, Eliza, second wife of Taylor Gray. She has four children:
George W., Mary Florence, Estelle and Nellie Jane. She has buried one
infant son. She and her husband are operating the farm for her father,
who lives with them. Mr. Parke has been a constant toiler since 1840,
when he came to this home. He has served in some of the township
offices and taught school one year. He has been a general farmer,
although he has made the most out of wheat, growing from fifteen to
thirty bushels per acre. Hogs have been the best paying stock and
horses have paid well in a small way.
He has voted the Democratic and Republican ticket, but is now a
Farmers' Alliance man. He and his family have been Universalists,
although he has been reared a Quaker.
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