Tag Archives: Jonathan Parker

Making Both Ends Meet—Or Not? Parker Update

Rabbit holes can be great fun to chase down, but they are more fun when there is a clear path in and out.

I’m not sure if I accomplished much or not. After finishing up my posts earlier in the week on Loyalist Jonathan Parker, I started looking for more recent research done by other people. It was enough to send me running for the Advil, as the family data online looks to be copy and paste, merge, confuse people with the same name and create new people – like “Jonathan Benjamin Parker” – who I don’t think ever even existed.

My question is this: Can the descendants of Elisha Parker of Barnstable, Massachusetts, Woodbridge, New Jersey and Staten Island, New York be connected to, with documentation, the Parker Loyalists who sailed on the ship Camel in 1783 from New York to New Brunswick, Canada? Or, is this connection just wishful thinking on the parts of many people?

Using the ship’s passenger lists, I created a hypothesis that formed a possible family configuration that looked like this:

  1. Jonathan Parker (Sr.) – he appeared alone on the 1783 ship’s list for the Camel. I surmised that he could possibly be the father of Benjamin. If he was the father of Benjamin, he likely was born before 1720.
  2. Benjamin Parker – with a wife, 3 children over the age of 10 and 2 under the age of 10. If his children were, say, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15, then he could possibly be the father of Jonathan Parker Jr. He might or might not be the father of other Parkers on the list, but if he is the father of Jonathan, then Benjamin was probably born not later than 1743 and possibly quite a bit before then.
  3. Jonathan Parker Jr., born c1764, based on his age on the 1811 militia list of Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada.

My Benjamin was a son of Jonathan Jr. With this hypothesis, it looks like there was a father-son naming pattern happening here. My theory is based on two documents which actually exist – the passenger list of 1783 and the militia list of 1811. My theory also looks reasonable and provides me with a research plan of sorts.

I became quite excited as I followed various links on line which led me to many MANY people who have created chaos with records that I have found because they obviously copied each other’s mistakes.

It has been written (NOT PROVEN) that these Parker Loyalists descend from:

  1. Elisha Parker who married Elizabeth Hinckley in Barnstable, Massachusetts on 15 July 1657. Massachusetts records include this marriage so this information is correct. some attribute three wives to this man, Elizabeth, plus (2) Hannah Rolfe, who an Elisha married on 26 March 1691 in Woodbridge, New Jersey and (3) Ursula Craig, who he married after Hannah died on 14 October 1696 and before Elisha’s and Ursula’s daughter, Elizabeth, was born on 21 March 1698. I believe that Hannah and Ursula married the son of Elisha and Elizabeth Hinckley. The son Elisha was born in November 1660. See below where I discuss land deeds in Staten Island.
  2. Thomas Parker who married Mary (some say Mott, but I find no proof). This Thomas was born 15 May 1658 in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Some say he was born in Middlesex County, New Jersey, but his birth and that of brother Elisha and sister Sarah are recorded in Barnstable.

Here is where things get messy. Most say they don’t know what happened to Thomas, but also say he is the father of Benjamin, born 4 January 1692 in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey.

It is a documented fact that Elisha Parker left Barnstable sometime after daughter Sarah was born in March 1662 and before son Samuel was born on 3 March 1669. It is said he removed to Staten Island for those seven years, but the only land records found there for him were both for purchases in 1682, not 1662.

Back to Thomas. Thomas and Mary likely married c1681. They had the following children, whose births are recorded in the vital records of Woodbridge, New Jersey:

  1. Thomas, born 9 March 1682
  2. Elisha, born 20 August 1684
  3. Daniel, born 1 May 1686
  4. Joseph, born 18 September 1690
  5. Benjamin, born 4 January 1692
  6. George, twin, born 30 March 1695
  7. Mary, twin, born 30 March 1695

There are Parker records found in Woodbridge and Perth Amboy, New Jersey, both in Middlesex County and in Staten Island, Richmond County, New York. Geographically, these places are very close.

Woodbridge and Perth Amboy are both directly across the river from Staten Island.

The land deeds for Richmond County, New York are digitized and online on FamilySearch. An index check turned up two deeds for Elisha Parker and wife Elizabeth, dated 18 November 1694 and 23 September 1696. Both deeds say they were of Staten Island.

Notice this is Elisha and his wife Elizabeth, mentioned in deeds dated 1694 and 1696. Elisha Jr. must be the man who married Hannah in 1691, as I stated above. These two men are the only Elisha Parkers in the neighborhood.

It appears that Elisha Sr. and wife Elizabeth may have remained in Staten Island for the remainder of their lives.

Elisha Parker Jr. wrote his will in 1709 in Woodbridge, New Jersey, but it was not proved until 1717. He named wife Ursula, son John (whose mother was Hannah Rolfe) and his children by Ursula, who was expecting a child at the time. He mentions the possibility of his “transitory life” on Earth ending soon, but does not say what prompted that belief. He appears to have survived well past that date, though, given the date his will was recorded.

There is one land deed for Thomas Parker, no wife mentioned, dated 6 February 1695, buying property, and a second deed dated 18 May 1696, where he is selling land. In both deeds, he is called a resident of Woodbridge, New Jersey, so it appears he didn’t move to New York, or if he did, it was for a very short period of time.

Warning Here: Genealogy without proof is mythology

All these lineages continue with the possible Loyalists:

3. Benjamin Parker, born 4 January 1692 married ?
4. Jonathan Parker, born c1714; died c1792. This is supposedly the single Jonathan Parker on the Camel list, the man who is designated as Jonathan Sr.
5. Benjamin Parker, born 1745; died 1816; married Rachel “Thropp.” Her surname is probably Thorp, based on Middlesex County, New Jersey records proving Thorps lived there, if Benjamin did actually marry this person. This would be the Benjamin on the Camel list with a wife and five children.

I spent many hours in the Family History Library searching through early new Jersey records.

The big question: What did I find? The short answer: Not much

My plan was to pick up the trail of Benjamin born in 1692 or else to find land or court records for the Jonathan Parker born c1714 and Benjamin born c1742. They were nowhere to be found buying or selling land, nor were they found in wills or probate records.

However, I found one very tantalizing clue in one deed book abstract:

Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1762

Robert “Mack Clanen” appoints Thomas Morrall, both of Monmouth County, New Jersey to “recover and receive” according to account and sum, debts owed to him by a whole list of people including JONATHAN PARKER and BENJAMIN PARKER, who appears in the list immediately following Jonathan.

If these are my Jonathan and Benjamin, in 1762, Jonathan would be way more than legal age, he’d be about 47 years old, and Benjamin would be in his mid 20’s.

Unfortunately, court minutes for Monmouth County do not begin until 1785 and there are no Jonathan or Benjamin Parkers to be found in them; estate records don’t begin until 1800.

I have found nothing to even suggest that the Parker lineage proposed by many and outlined above is not correct, but the only shred of information I have found to support it is the 1762 Monmouth County entry on 24 June 1762 filed by Robert “Mack Clanen.”

This seems to be the end of the paper trail for Jonathan and Benjamin Parker. I don’t know any Parker descendants personally, but this might be a case where DNA testing could conclusively disprove a familial connection with Elisha Parker of Barnstable or provide further support for the theory that the Campobello Parkers share a common ancestor with the Parkers of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, New Jersey.

In any case, neither Jonathan nor Benjamin Parker appear in any Middlesex or Monmouth County, New Jersey records nor in those of Richmond County, New York in the post-Revolutionary War era.


Updated Family of Loyalist Jonathan Parker

If yesterday’s background data on Loyalist Jonathan Parker Jr. left you a bit confused, I have to admit that it did not clear the waters for me either.

What I did determine from looking at the various lists is that I believe, at least today, that there were at least two generations of Parkers on the ship Camel and there were probably three generations.

My current thinking as I try to work through all this is that one Jonathan Parker might have been the senior family member.

Benjamin Parker with the wife and four children may have been his son.

Jonathan Parker, Jr., in turn, may be the son of Benjamin.

Yes, this is all supposition at this point, but I’ve pointed out before that we have to begin somewhere and this configuration makes sense.

If Joseph Parker, a grantee at St. John, was part of this family, the connection isn’t evident and the name Joseph doesn’t appear in any of the Parker families on Campobello or Deer Islands in New Brunswick.

My Jonathan Parker may have married at Beaver Harbour, as history shows that many of the Camel passengers who landed at St. John eventually continued on and settled there. I read a short history of Beaver Harbour, found online, that included information about their meeting house burning in 1790 with all their early records lost. That might account for the dearth of marriage information for this group.

“My” Loyalist Jonathan Parker married about 1786 or early 1787, which would fit well with a 1764 birth date. My Benjamin, his son, was born c1787-1788. The fact that Jonathan’s eldest known son was given that name supports my theory that Jonathan Jr. may have been the son of the Benjamin with the wife and four younger children on the Camel.

Very old research on the Campobello Parkers identified Jonathan’s children as Benjamin, Thomas, James M., Rebecca, Richard, John and William. I don’t believe that Richard, John and William were his sons unless there are younger men of the same name who I haven’t yet come across.

Richard and John both leased land from David Owen on Campobello in the early 1790s. Jonathan could not have been the father of these two men since they had to have been of legal age – 21 – to sign a contract, putting their births no later than c1771. Remember, Jonathan was born c1764. It is much more likely that they were his brothers.

As for William, he was not on the 1811 militia list that I shared yesterday; that is, he isn’t on the list under Jonathan. I tend to believe because of the ages of Jonathan and Richard that Benjamin and Thomas are his sons and that William is the (probably eldest) son of Richard Parker.

1811 Parkers on the Militia List

In any case, William is a moot point in terms of descendants because there is no evidence he had a wife or family and he died in a shipwreck in Casco Bay, Maine on 22 December 1821. He would have been about 27 years old at the time.

Yesterday, I also referenced a manuscript by Mary Gallagher, which is reportedly housed at the Campobello Library. I have not seen this manuscript myself. I’ve only seen notes transcribed from the original. However, the Parkers are mentioned several times in it.

Jonathan Parker apparently never owned any land on Campobello Island. When he lived there, he leased it from David Owen. That is supported by the leases I’ve found in the land deeds for Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada. It is said that Jonathan decided to leave Campobello Island in 1814 and he, with his family, removed to St. John for two years, returning to Campobello in 1816.

The Gallagher manuscript gives the names of two other (reputed) daughters of Jonathan – Frances and Mary.

There are also some early marriage records for Campobello people starting in 1795 into the early 1800s. First, Richard Parker married Catherine (Kitty) Miars/Mears/Mairs on 5 March 1795. Catherine Parker, wife of Richard Parker, died 14 March 1829, aged 54, so she was born c1775. Again, data is ruling him out as a son of Jonathan. Second, there is a Thomas Parker who I haven’t seen in any other very early records who married Ann Mairs (probably a sister of Kitty) on 2 May 1801. Assuming that he was at least 21 when he married, this Thomas was born c1780. Next, one William Mitchell married Elizabeth Parker on 6 August 1795. Elizabeth is a potential sister of Jonathan, Richard and Thomas, but this couple isn’t found in the 1851 census. They may have both died before then.

There are three females who married a couple of decades later. Rachel Parker married John Woodward Wilson on 3 September 1818. They were married by David Owen. Rachel is likely to be a daughter of Jonathan. See below. Isabella Parker married Edward Calder on 15 December 1819. Isabella was born c1800 and died 22 February 1842. Her gravestone is still legible. Edward was born c1796 and died 13 November 1864. Ann Parker married Daniel Mitchell Jr. on 22 March 1827. She may well be a child of Jonathan, too, as the witnesses included _____ Mitchell and William Tinker. William Tinker married Rebecca Parker, c1817.

Finally, there are two deaths, which might be of interest. There is a gravestone for a Mary Parker, wife of Samuel Parker, found on Campobello. She was born c1804 and died 18 May 1857. However, this couple hasn’t been found in the 1851 census, either together or singly. Last, there is a death announcement for Anna Parker, 33 years old, who died shortly before the 31 May 1828 announcement in the Eastport Sentinel. It did not say whether she was married or not.

From all these bits and pieces, a tentative family can be cobbled together for Jonathan Parker and his unknown wife:

  1. Benjamin, born c1787/88, New Brunswick, Canada; died October 1870, Deer Island, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada; married (1) Maria Wilson, 12 April 1812, Campobello Island, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada. Maria was born c1796; died shortly before 25 October 1828, when her death notice appeared in the Eastport Sentinel newspaper (2) Susan Herson. Susan was born January 1813, New Brunswick, Canada; died 7 April 1910, Deer Island, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada. There is some confusion as to the marriage date for Benjamin and Susan. It is recorded as 19 December 1848, however, her father’s permission was given. Many believe that they married on 19 December 1828, which would only be about two months after Maria died.
  2. Thomas, born August 1791, New Brunswick, Canada; died 19 March 1871, Campobello Island, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada; married Elizabeth (MNU). She was born c1806, Nova Scotia; died 6 January 1871, Campobello Island, West Isles, new Brunswick, Canada, aged 66. I have seen mention that Thomas married (1) Miriam Ludlow, c1814, but I have found no record of them anywhere.
  3. Frances, born c1794, New Brunswick, Canada; died 29 March 1860, Campobello Island, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada; married Christopher Young, 2 September 1815, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Christopher is said to be the son of George Young, a wealthy Loyalist from Long Island, New York. Christopher was born c1794, New Brunswick; died after the 1861 census. Both likely died on Campobello Island.
  4. James M(anning?), born c1792, 1793 or 1796, but he is not on the 1811 militia list so under 16 at that time. That would make 1796 a likely birth year; he died 2 June 1877, Campobello Island, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada; married Euphemia Sinclair, c1820. Euphemia was born c1799, New Brunswick, Canada; died 27 March 1884, Campobello Island, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada. Her obituary said she was survived by six children, 36 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren.
  5. Rachel, born c1797, New Brunswick, Canada; died before 1851 census; married Captain John Woodward Wilson, 3 September 1818. They were married by David Owen on Campobello. John was born c1792; died shortly before 11 November 1826, when his death was announced in the Eastport Sentinel newspaper.
  6. Rebecca, born c1799, New Brunswick, Canada; died between 1861-1871 censuses; married William Tinker, c1817. William was born c1794, New Brunswick, Canada; died after the 1871 census.
  7. Mary, born, say 1801, New Brunswick, Canada; died before 1851 census; married Thomas Patterson. Thomas is said to be the son of Stephen Patterson and grandson of Josiah Patterson, one of the first grantees of St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.
  8. Ann, born c1806, New Brunswick, Canada; married Daniel Mitchell Jr., 27 March 1827, Campobello Island, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada.

How accurate is this family grouping? Right now, it’s the best I have. I believe it is accurate based on the information I have today, but that might change with future research.

If you are descended from any of these Parkers, please leave a comment!!!

Loyalist Jonathan Parker of Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada

I decided it was time to take a fresh look at Jonathan Parker, another of my Loyalist ancestors. A lot seems to be known about him, but there is much that is not.

Before we jump into a morass of details, Jonathan Parker arrived at St. John, New Brunswick in 1783. Most of the Loyalist passengers went on to Beaver Harbour. The Parkers then removed to Campobello Island. Here is the area off the coast of Maine where they lived. As you can see, travel by land would have been a lot more cumbersome, but by sea, these three places were not far apart.

Let’s begin with one of the only facts that document his life. Jonathan appears on an 1811 militia list of Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada.

Portion of 1811 Militia List

There are many, many Parker descendants on Campobello Island today, but back in 1811, there were only five men aged 16 or older who were on the militia rolls. Jonathan was the first listed, aged 47 years. That puts his year of birth as approximately 1764.

Next, I believe the last serious research into Jonathan’s life was done way back in the 1960s and early 1970s. At that time, his sons were identified as Richard, John, Benjamin, Thomas, James M. and William. It was said that his sons Richard and John leased land on Campobello Island in 1792.

Someone didn’t do the math because there is no way that Jonathan, born c1764, had sons old enough to lease land in 1792. Notice on this list the name of Richard Parker, aged 38. He is probably the man who leased the land, but he is only nine years younger than Jonathan Parker.

Campobello Island is a small place and, assuming these two men were related, it is a lot more likely that they were brothers.

Online family information indicates that Jonathan Parker arrived in New Brunswick in September 1783 on the Camel. He may well have, but if he was born c1764, he was only 19 years old at that time and probably not the head of household. (Note: I think he likely did arrive on the Camel, as the captain was William Tinker, whose son or grandson, also named William Tinker,  eventually married Jonathan’s daughter, Rebecca.)

Further, there is an unpublished manuscript of Mary Gallagher in the Campobello Library, which has been abstracted by Patricia McCurdy Townsend. Ms. Gallagher’s notes include the information that Jonathan Parker was of the Beaver Harbour group of Loyalists who arrived on the Camel. I don’t know the source of Ms. Gallagher’s information or when it was compiled, but the United Empire Loyalist Association has a list of Parkers, most of whom are affiliated with Beaver Harbour:

UEL Parkers

Some names are duplicated and I don’t know if the double listings, as for Jonathan, Robert and others, refer to one or more than one man. However, the only Parker to receive one of the original land grants in Beaver Harbour was Joseph Parker.

Could Joseph Parker be the father of some/all of these other Parkers?

Jonathan Parker is said to be from (1) Staten Island (2) Long Island or (3) New Jersey. It is also said that many of the passengers on the Camel either Quakers or Anabaptists, who believed that infant baptism was invalid. Jonathan Parker, it is said, belonged to the Anabaptist contingent. I don’t know if that was because he wasn’t found in Quaker records or if there is an actual source for that statement. I don’t disbelieve it, I just don’t know its origin.

There are numerous historical references to the Camel passengers, with some giving more detailed information than others. One such list has five Parker heads of household on it, but no Joseph:

Elisha Parker, one male and one female, from Jersey

Another page:
Benjamin Parker, one male, one female, three children over 10, 2 under 10, Jersey
John Parker, 1 male, Jersey
Samuel Parker, 1 male, Jersey
Jonathan Parker, 1 male, Jersey

Then, 14 lines down the list:
Jonathan Parker, 1 male, Jersey

Yet another source listed Benjamin, John, Samuel and Jonathan Parker on an adult list and then included names of children over 10 – Anna and Richard – and children under 10 – Ephraim, Joseph and Nathaniel.

A third source had Benjamin, John, Jonathan, Jonathan Jr., Joseph, Robert and Samuel Parker all at Beaver Harbour.

Each of these lists referenced passengers on the Camel who arrived in Canada in August/September of 1783 in the convoy from New York.

From the scattered bits of data, it is easy to see why some have said Jonathan was from New Jersey and others say from Staten Island or Long Island.

In looking at the family group with Benjamin Parker and kids, plus John, Samuel and then Jonathan Parker and the second Jonathan further down the list, I think this might be the family group that ended up on Campobello Island. I am even thinking that Jonathan Parker Jr., father of my Benjamin, might well be the son of Benjamin on this list. The elder Jonathan Parker doesn’t seem to have a wife or children with him so I wonder if he might be the father of the Benjamin on the list. That would create four generations: Jonathan Sr., Benjamin, Jonathan Jr. and then, later on, my Benjamin.

I also tend to believe that this group is probably from somewhere in New Jersey, but that they removed to New York during or at the end of the American Revolution. I wonder if I would have any luck finding land deeds or Tory accounts of a Benjamin and Jonathan Parker during the war? Something to investigate.

Tomorrow’s post will look at an updated reconstruction of Jonathan Parker (Junior)’s family.