The Parker Family
The Powell Valley of Tennessee starts in the Cumberland Mountains and runs west to LaFollette (follows today's Rt. 63). Here Barnett J. (Barney) Parker and Louisa Jane Wagner Parker chose to raise their family. In 1915, Barney took a job as Superintendent of the Free-Soil Farm in Caryville, Campbell Co., Tenn. They lived there about 14 years. The farm consisted of about 1200 acres of grazing and agricultural lands. Most of the children of our generation were born there on the farm. Barney and Louisa lived in the big house and there were several smaller houses on the property for the sons and daughters and their families.
In the meantime, some of the family members left home to find employment elsewhere. Milton Kasper Parker left home to work in the coal mines in Middlesboro, Ky. He lived with Grant Seals and his family. There, Margaret Jane Seals and her mother came to visit her brother and so they met. Apparently, it was love at first sight. They developed a romance by mail and soon decided to get married. Margaret, being the youngest daughter in a large family, was pretty well guarded, but she managed to get away to go to town in Tazewell, Tenn. for a July 4th celebration where she met Milton and was married in the front yard of the courthouse. She had come to town with her girlfriend, Ora Cope, who later married Margaret's brother, Tom, after a 40 year courtship. (Apparently they were not as anxious to tie the knot as Milton and Margaret were.)
The newly married couple left Tazewell and went to live back on the farm in Caryville. Later, when Margaret became pregnant with her first child, she returned to her mother's house and there her first born son, Warren G. Parker, was born at the old homestead on Oct. 26, 1920. The country was in the process of electing a new president and Margaret's father, being a staunch Republican, insisted on naming him for his favorite candidate, Warren G. Harding, even before he was elected later in early November.
As soon as the new mother and baby were ready to travel, Roxie Treece and her new baby girl Ruby came to Tazewell to help her brother move his wife and son back to the farm in Caryville. Margaret, being very well educated for that time, became the bookkeeper for the Parker family's records on the Free-Soil Farm. There also, her daughter Esther Ruth Parker and son Charles Hubert were born. Sadly, in 1925, Margaret became ill and doctors were unable to diagnose her condition of gallstones. She was very ill for a short time and died on Oct. 1, 1925. The doctors said that her gall bladder had ruptured. Milton and his three children moved back to the big house to live with his parents. At this time, his two sisters Carrie and Stella were living at home. Charles, being only 9 months old when his mother became ill, was cared for by his Aunt Carrie. He called her "Mama" until she left home a year or so later. When Milton married Louise in 1926, his family, especially his mother, refused to let him take their baby with him to set up a new home. When Carrie Parker left home, Charles started calling Stella "Mama." Since she raised him, his children also called her "Grandma." Most people thought she was his mother and, in effect, she really was.
The Parker family left the farm in 1929. Barney and Louisa moved to a smaller house in Caryville with Stella and Charles, where they lived until Stella married William Arby Russell. At this time, Barney was still living and he sold this house and bought the house in which Stella later lived with her family. Louisa died in 1936 and Barney died in 1942. Barnett J. and Louisa Jane (Wagner) Parker had eight children as follows:
1. James Roscoe Parker was born on Dec. 24, 1895. He married Cora Ellison, born March 8, 1894. Children of this marriage were:
- James Carl, b. 1918, m. Ida Mae Cicotte (1921-1989).
- Leroy, b. 1922, m. Isabell Steelo (1923).
- Lawrence Eugene, b. 1928, m. Edna Ruth Stegner.
Cora Ellison Parker died in 1932. Later Uncle Roscoe married Cordelia Cox (Axie) Baldwin, a widow, who became a good mother to his three sons. James Roscoe Parker died in 1976. Axie Parker died in 1988.
2. Bryan Parker was born in 1896. He married Teresa (Ressie) Webb. Children of this marriage are:
- Cecil, b. 1922.
- Shirley, b. 1924.
- Allene, b. 1927.