John M. Parker by Wm. H. Stinson

Among the many worthy sons of the old Granite State who by their business enterprise, executive ability, and genial manners have won a position on her honored roll, appears the name of John McGaw Parker, who was born in Goffstown, September 17, 1824, the eldest son of William Parker by his second marriage, one of the early settlers of the town. His mother, Hannah Adams, of Derry, was a most estimable lady, whose christian influence over her family of three children was most enobling. She was a descendant from that honored and illustrious family whose representatives were called to the executive head of our nation. She died February 26, 1869, having reached the age of four score years. We trace the ancestry of his father to Josiah Parker, who came from England to Cambridge, Mass., prior to 1700. His son, Rev. Thomas Parker, was the first settled pastor at Dracut, Mass., where he died in 1765. A son of his settled in Litchfield, this state, from whose family sprung the father of the subject of this sketch.

During his early youth, young Parker received such training and advantages as were offered by the district school, united with the best of home influences. At the age of eleven years he was placed in the academy at Hopkinton, by his father, who was desirous of giving his son the benefit of a business education; the following year he entered old Derry academy at Derry, where his education was completed.

Displaying much aptitude for business, his father, who was engaged in the lumbering and the mercantile trade, as well as farming, placed him in his store as clerk; the succeeding year he was clerk in a store at Concord, but the next year, 1839, he returned to his home, taking charge of the business of his father, who was in failing health, and who died on the 9th of August following, at the age of sixty-four years.

His father's death necessitated changes in home affairs, and in March, 1840, he entered the store of William Whittle, at Goffstown, where he remained until twenty-one years of age; he then returned once more to his home and went into the mercantile trade at his father's old stand. This was in 1843; he continued the same until 1847, when he formed a partnership with his younger brother, David A., under the firm name of J. M. & D. A. Parker, which union continues at the present time. In addition to the mercantile and agricultural interests, they have engaged extensively in the wood and lumber business, and as the "lumber kings" in their section of the state their business has grown and developed into one of no inconsiderable magnitude, requiring the investment of a large capital which has accumulated through their indomitable energy and business sagacity, backed by a judgment of such soundness as years of experience can but give. The building of the N. H. Central Railroad, now the Manchester & North Weare road, chartered in 1848, added greatly to their business facilities for the transportation of their wood, bark, and lumber, which enterprise received their earnest encouragement.

On the 30th of November, 1854, he married Letitia C., second daughter of the late Capt. Charles Stinson, of Dunbarton, who was born March 9, 1835. Their married life has been a truly happy one, and such a kindly home as all members of the household will ever revert to with the fondest of recollections. They have three children: Charles Stinson, born November 3, 1855; Henry Woodman, born February 26, 1859; Frank Adams, born June 1, 1866. The two former, Charles and Henry, inheriting their father's traits of character for business, are merchants at Goffstown village, while Frank is pursuing his studies at Gilmanton Academy.

Since the organization of the Republican party, Mr. Parker has ever been a zealous advocate of its principles, and his abilities have been recognized most honorably by his political party in their public preferments. In 1855 he was elected a commissioner for his county, and re-elected in 1856; and a member of the state senate in 1858 and 1859. Among his associates in this body were Hon. Walter Harriman, Hon. John G. Sinclair, Hon. Austin F. Pike, and Hon. John D. Lyman. He represented his town in the legislature in 1869. In 1876, without consultation and greatly to his surprise, he was selected as the nominee, by his party, for councilor from his district, and owing to his popularity received a majority of the suffrages at the election following, in the face of a Democratic majority of six hundred in the district the year previous; and was re-elected in 1877. At the institution of the state board of equalization, in 1879, he was commissioned by the court as one of the five members; re-appointed in 1881, and selected as president of the board.

When the Guaranty Savings Bank of Manchester was organized, in 1879, he was elected its president, a position still retained; and is also a member of the board of directors of the Merchants National Bank of the same city.

Mr. Parker filled the position of postmaster at the Goffstown office during a period of four years; and he has a wide reputation in all the surrounding towns as one of the most successful auctioneers, where his services are ever in demand. Being possessed of a judicious and candid mind, he is often called to act in the capacity of referee, where his mature judgment has assisted in the friendly adjustment of disputed and antagonistic questions which threatened the peace and harmony of families, neighborhoods, and towns.

His business prosperity enables him to exercise a liberal spirit towards objects and institutions that tend towards worthy ends; and he is certainly one of the most industrious of men, whether attending to the demands of the farm, the store, the lumber interests, selling of estates, or to the almost countless calls from his public and minor private duties that come crowding to his immediate notice. In all matters of a public nature he has ever taken an active interest, especially in the growth of enterprise in his native town.

Mr. Parker's love for social life allows the years to sit lightly. Of a happy, open disposition, ever approachable, at his delightful residence at Parker's station, Goffstown, presided over by his amiable and generous-hearted wife, a cordial welcome is assured all who enter his hospitable doors.