Major Alexander Parker

Is your surname Parker?

Research the Parker family

Major Alexander Parker's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Major Alexander Parker

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
Death: 1791 (37-38)
Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Parker and Margaret Elizabeth Parker
Husband of Rebecca McClure
Father of Margaret Parker; John Parker; Mary E Robinson; Ann Alexander Parker and Alexander Parker
Brother of Mary Sarah Fleming; Agnes Denny; Richard Parker; Margaret Calhoun; Elizabeth Campbell and 1 other

Managed by: Ross Lyon Campbell, III
Last Updated:

About Major Alexander Parker

DAR# A087279

Alexander Parker, another son of John and Margaret (McClure) Parker, was born in 1753, and died in 1792. He served in Colonel's Irvine's regiment in the Revolution, and was a captain of the Pennsylvania line. After the Revolution he laid out the town of Parkersburg, at the mouth of the Little Kanawha river, in West Virginia. He married Rebecca Blair, daughter of William Blair, and she, after his death became the wife of Charles McClure, Judge William McClure of Pittsburgh, being a son of this second marriage, Judge McClure was thus a nephew of John Parker's wife, Margaret McClure, she being a sister of his father. - Environs: From Prehistoric Days to the ..., Volume 6 By George Thornton Fleming

Colonial And Revolutionary Families Of Pennsylvania By John W. Jordan Sketch on James Alexander Robinson Parkersburg, West Virginia is named after Alexander Parker.

No one got off a boat at the confluence of the Little Kanawha and Ohio rivers and stepped upon the shore proclaiming this land will be called Parkersburg.

With the stroke of a pen and the perseverance of Alexander Parker's daughter 200 years ago, Newport was no more and Parkersburg was born after years of litigation ended with an out-of-court settlement and the exchange of money for land.

Parker after he mustered out of the Continental Army in 1783 purchased 1,350 acres of land along the north side of the Little Kanawha River near the confluence of the Ohio for $50 from Robert Thornton of Pennsylvania. Thornton in 1773 made a tomahawk claim on the land in what was then Virginia. (A settler made a tomahawk claim by ringing or marking the trees at the corners of the land to mark the claim. The claim would have to go through a legal process before the title would be granted.)

Capt. James Neal, another Revolutionary War officer who was a deputy surveyor of Monongalia County, in 1784 surveyed the land sold to Parker. Thornton instructed Neal to survey the property in straight lines, which omitted nooks of land along the riverbank. A year after Parker died, Thornton transferred the nooks, about 69 acres, to John Stokely by quit-claim deed on April 18, 1792, and Stokely in that same year filed the claim in Harrison County.

In 1796, Stokely surveyed and established the town of Springville, also called Stokelyville, a typical rudimentary frontier settlement of log cabins, inns, a tannery and a forge. The Virginia General Assembly chartered the town as Newport on Jan. 6, 1800, and pronounced it the Wood County seat on Nov. 11, 1800. By this time, Wood County was created from Harrison County in 1798 by the Virginia General Assembly.

Parker, born in 1753, died a young man in 1791 at Carlisle, Pa. Mary Parker, Parker's daughter and heir, sued Stokely in 1802, claiming the land title Stokely received from Thornton that was based on the survey done by Neal was in error and overlapped Parker's land. Another heir, a daughter, was involved in the suit and has been identified as Nancy, but of Parker's four children, none were named Nancy unless it was a nickname for Anne, who was born in 1791 and died in 1809, which is line with other written accounts that said Nancy died before the lawsuit was settled. Agnes Parker Denny, a sister of Parker's, also was known as Nancy. She also was the mother of Parker's nephew, Maj. Ebenezer Denny, whose military journal is often cited by historians.

The court in Wood County ruled against Stokely, but upon appeal the following year in 1806 a state district court in Morgantown overturned the decision. After the reversal by the state district court, Stokely and Hugh Phelps, Neal's son-in-law, purchased all of Thornton's land interests from Thornton's estate including the land sold to Parker by buying Parker's unredeemed bonds.

Mary, now married to William Robinson Jr., a prominent citizen from the Pittsburgh area, did not let the case die. The Robinsons, married only two months before on July 3, met with Stokely and Phelps in September 1810 in Newport and reached an out-of-court settlement whereby Stokely and Phelps sold all their land interests to the Robinsons for $1,696.16.

This agreement was a turning point for the frontier town. Development was slowed because land sales were stifled by the question over the title of the land, wrote Judge Donald F. Black in his "History of Wood County" published in 1975. The agreement between Stokely, Phelps and the Robinsons effectively gave the Robinsons undisputed clear title to the land including the parcels Stokely and Phelps had earlier sold to other settlers.

Soon after the agreement, the Robinsons commissioned George D. Avery to resurvey Newport. From this survey completed by December 1810 came the familiar streets with names known today: Avery Street, Ann Street and Julianna Street by its first spelling.

And Newport was renamed "Parkersburgh" in honor of the late Parker. (The "h" was dropped from "burghs" around the end of the 19th century when President Benjamin Harrison said the government determines what names will go on a U.S. map. Eliminating the silent "h" from "burgh" also saved money, the postal service said.)

The Virginia General Assembly established the town of Parkersburg on Jan. 11, 1811, according to Alvaro F. Gibbens' history written for the Wood County centennial in 1899, "Wood County Formation: A Century of Progress." Gibbens was a respected historian from Wood County.

The Robinsons on May 1, 1811, donated about 2 acres of land in the center of town for public buildings and another lot for the Methodist Episcopal Church. The present day Wood County Courthouse is upon that land. The public square was the first conveyance of property under the Parker land titles. By 1843, the Robinsons sold all the land they had in Parkersburg.

The Assembly named Parkersburg the county seat, which wasn't agreeable to everyone.

A bill was presented in the Legislature on Dec. 14, 1811, Saturday by the way, asking lawmakers to remove Parkersburg as the seat of justice: "...which petition being partly read, a motion was made and agreed to by the House, that the reading thereof be stopped, as containing matter highly indecorous and scandalous, reflecting on the character of a member of this house, and couched in terms unworthy of its dignity. The result was that a motion to withdraw the offensive petition was granted," Gibbens wrote.

The Assembly chartered Parkersburg in 1820. Parkersburg was incorporated by the West Virginia Legislature in 1863 after West Virginia split from Virginia during the Civil War and was made a state by proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln.

The Robinsons never lived in Parkersburg. They returned to present-day Pittsburgh where they died in 1868 and were buried in the Allegheny Cemetery.

William Robinson was no stranger to the area. In December 1806, a youthful Robinson was arrested with a party of other men from affluent families from Pittsburgh by the militia from Wood County on suspicion they were conspirators with Aaron Burr and Harman Blennerhassett, William H. Stafford wrote in 1853 in the "The Life of Harman Blennerhassett." Their boat was forced to the shore by ice on the Ohio River where they were spotted by the militia that was under orders to arrest Burr and Blennerhassett on suspicion of treason. Suspecting a group of conspirators, Robinson and Morgan Neville were taken to Blennerhassett Island to await the arrival of the militia commander, Phelps.

No one was convicted of treason. The Burr affair led to the ruination of the wealthy Blennerhassetts, but the Robinsons became successful in the Pittsburgh area. He was the first mayor of Allegheny, now a part of Pittsburgh, was president of a railroad and an envoy to Europe. A veteran of the war with Mexico, Robinson named the streets in a section of Allegheny after battles and commanders in the war. It is today known as the Mexican War Streets Historic District. Archaeologists in 1999 found artifacts from the Robinson household in the back yard of their home on their estate, Buena Vista, when construction started on the new PNC Park, the home field of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A frontier businessman, Stokely, the first county clerk of Wood County, also eventually sold all his land in Parkersburg. Stokely served in the Revolutionary War in the Westmoreland County (Pa.) Militia. He was married in 1780, but his wife, the former Naomi Little, died a few years later and they had no children. Stokely was involved in land speculations before he settled around the Little Kanawha River. He also represented Wood County in the Virginia Legislature for four terms and emancipated his slaves on Nov. 16, 1818, setting free York Jones, his wife, Sukey, and their five children. He then traveled westward and died in 1829 at the age of 69.

Neal after his survey mission to Wood County for Parker returned in 1785 and built the first permanent settlement, Neal's Station, along the south side of the Little Kanawha River about a mile from the confluence with the Ohio River. Neal died in 1821 and was first buried at the present-day Tavenner Cemetery where Bob Enoch, president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, in August 2009 discovered the original grave cover, called a ledger. Neal's remains were moved to Mt. Olivet Cemetery in 1915 and the ledger had been buried in the original grave, as is tradition. The ledger has been reassembled and placed on permanent display at the Blennerhassett Museum, Second and Juliana streets, Parkersburg.

It is Neal, not Stokely, who is called the Father of Parkersburg. An interesting note is the land where Neal's Station was built wasn't part of Parkersburg until it was annexed in July 1950.

Parker is buried with his first two children, John and Margaret, in the Meeting House Springs Cemetery near Carlisle. His widow, the former Rebecca Blair, remarried after his death and had additional children.

Parker joined the Continental Army's 6th Pennsylvania Regiment in 1775 when he was 22 and was commissioned a lieutenant. He eventually rose to captain and fought in Canada in the Quebec Campaign where he barely escaped British capture. Parker and his men made their way out of hostile territory and later joined Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne at Fort Ticonderoga. He fought in the Battle of Monmouth under troops commanded by Gen. George Washington. Parker served until 1783 at the close of the war. He is identified as a major in the inscription on his grave ledger and in a notice of the sheriff's sale of goods from his estate that appeared in "The Carlisle Gazette and Western Repository of Knowledge" on March 16, 1791.

He never set foot in Parkersburg.

Parkersburg News and Sentinel April 22, 2010 Parkersburg, WV

view all

Major Alexander Parker's Timeline

1753
1753
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
1784
1784
Carlisle, Cumberland, Pennsylvania, United States
1786
1786
Carlisle, Cumberland, Pennsylvania, United States
1789
1789
Carlisle, Cumberland, Pennsylvania, United States
1791
1791
1791
Age 38
Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
1792
1792
Age 38
Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States
????