Born in Westfield, Massachusetts, Parks attended the common schools and graduated from Harvard University in 1813, where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1819 and began his practice in Bangor, Maine in 1823.
Parks was elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth United States Congresses (March 4, 1833-March 3, 1837). He was a local leaders of the Loco-foco or radical faction of the Democratic Party, which was anti-bank, anti-paper money, and anti-monopoly. He was opposed locally by Bangor's "Bank Junto", or conservative Democrats, which included Samuel Veazie, William Emerson, John Hodgdon, and Thomas A. Hill.
In 1837 Parks was the Democratic candidate for Maine governor. The election was unusual in that Parks' opponent, Edward Kent of the Whig Party, lived in the same city (Bangor) and both were Harvard graduates. In one of the closest gubanatorial races in Maine history, Parks lost by less than a thousand votes (with about 70,000 cast).
Parks was subsequently appointed United States Marshal for the District of Maine (1838–1841), and then United States Attorney for Maine (1843–1845). He ended his political career as United States Consul at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (1845–1849), a post later occupied by his former opponent Edward Kent
Parks died in Bay Ridge, New York, November 23, 1877, and was interred in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. His son, also Gorham Parks, became Clerk of the New York Court of Appeals, and died in Albany in 1897.
- John Christopher Arndt, "The Solid Men of Bangor" (PhD dissertation, U. of Maine, 1987), pp. 190-192
- Lewiston Evening Journal, Sept. 5, 1873, p. 2
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 8th congressional district
March 4, 1833 – March 3, 1837