Submitted Wed, 05 Mar 1997 by Judi Pegg
Ross Parker Ross PARKER, fifth son of William and Elizabeth PARKER, was born in Fayette county, Indiana, October 5, 1823, and passed to the world beyond at 4:15 o'clock Monday morning, November 23, 1908, aged 85 years, 1 month and 18 days. With his parents Mr. PARKER moved to this state in 1835 and settled near Old Henderson. The following spring they moved to Richland Grove township where he has resided continuously ever since. He was stricken with apoplexy November 14th, from which it was thought he was slowly recovering until he suffered a second stroke Sunday evening. In 1857 he was united in marriage to Katherine SHURR of Richland Grove. To them were born eight children- Janey, Mary and Elizabeth dying in infancy. The five living are: Ellen ROBERTSON, Rivoli Township; Chas. PARKER, Richland Grove; Mrs. Anna WHAN, Suez; Frank and Fred PARKER of Moline. Besides these, his wife and two brothers, William and George, also remain to mourn his demise.
Mr. PARKER enjoyed the distiction of being the oldest resident pioneer of Richland Grove township, but not the oldest man in the township. His brother George, was the first white child born in Richland Grove. Ross PARKER was one of the brave men who made it possible for the present generation to live in this land of plenty, where a total crop failure is never known. Coming as he did, at an early day, when there were dangers and hardships on every hand, he had many obstacles to overcome, yet in spite of these, or because of them, he, and others prepared the way for your coming and mine. His early days were those of homespun garments; the days when houses were made without nails, plow mull boards constructed of wood three or four inches thick, grain harvested with the sickle and cradle and scooped with wooden scoops, barrels were unknown, the meat being nicely stacked in one corner of the cabin and salted for winter use. These were the days of oxen and carts made from logs, the wheels being cut from a round tree, the axles made of a round bow and when in use each wheel had a different tune. Hogs were first sold at Lacon near Peoria for a $1 per cwt; later they were driven in large droves across the country to Chicago. Then came a railroad to Rock Island, bringing the market nearer home. Flails were used to thresh out the grain and to clean it one man would stand on an object and pour out the grain while two men holding a sheet would wave it and thus blow out the chaff. Rail splitting brought 50c. a day, as did corn husking, and labor in general was very cheap. When Mr. PARKER first came to Illinois corn was $1 per bushel, but after the settlers chopped holes in the prairie sod and raised their own corn they had to take it to Rock Island and then got only 10 or 11 cents for it. Wild game was in abundance, as were the Indians, but as Mr. PARKER came soon after the Black Hawk war, they were peaceful. Their worst fault, in Mr. PARKER's opinion, was that they would steal everything in sight. Sometimes there would be a thousand or more congregated around the old homestead. All honors to the noble pioneers who gave to us this great commonwealth of Illinois. Mr. PARKER, during his lifetime, was an example of true manhood, his life dealings being based upon the principles enunciated in the golden rule. he was held in high esteem by all who knew him. His word was considered as good as his bond. Although not a member of any church, he was a believer in and an exponent of that practical christianity which is the basis of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The funeral services were held in the Swedona Methodist church at Swedona, cunducted by Rev. George W. SCHROEDER. Burial was in Swedona cemetery (west). "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age. Like as a shock of grain cometh in in his season."-Job 5:26. The singing was by a choir composed of A.J. CHRISTY, Arthur LINDORF and the Misses Esther and Clara LINDSTROM. "Then full of days, like weighty shocks of grain, In season rept, shalt in thy grave be lain."