Thomas Parker (deacon)

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Thomas Parker (1605–1683) was one of the founders of Reading, Massachusetts, and a deacon and one of the founders of the 12th Congregational Church in Massachusetts (now the First Parish Congregational Church).[1][2]

Life[edit]

Dea. Parker sailed from London on March 11, 1635, for Massachusetts.[3] He settled first in Lynn, but in 1638 became either the first, or one of the first, settlers of what became the town of Reading. It was first known as Lynn Village, but was incorporated in 1644 as Reading, with a total of seven families living in seven houses.[4] There is evidence that Parker was "conspicuous in naming the town" and that he was related to the Parker family of Little Norton, England, who owned land by the name of Ryddinge.[5][6]

Wakefield Common

Parker was a selectman of Reading and was appointed a judicial commissioner.[7] He owned 200 acres of land on the north side of the Ipswich River, but his homestead bordered the east side of the Wakefield (then part of Reading) Common, just northeast of today's Wakefield Town Hall. Reading split into three towns in the late 18th century, Wakefield (First Parish), North Reading (Second Parish) and Reading (Third Parish).[8]

Parker's tombstone is in the cemetery just west of the First Parish Congregational Church in Wakefield, MA. His actual grave is on the east side of the Common (which was larger at that time) on the east side of the church. By 1834, the old burial ground had gone uncared for, and virtually disappeared. In building a town house there in that year, some of the graves were broken into accidentally. The tombstones that were recoverable were relocated to their present positions west of the church, but the graves themselves were not.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ First Parish Congregational Church Web site, History page (http://fpccwakefield.com/FirstParishHistory.html)
  2. ^ Parker, Theodore, John Parker of Lexington and his Descendants, Showing his Earlier Ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass. from 1635 to 1893, pp. 15-16, 468-470, Press of Charles Hamilton, Worcester, MA, 1893.
  3. ^ Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Historical Memoranda with Lists of Members and their Revolutionary Ancestors, pp. 290-292, Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Boston, MA, 1899.
  4. ^ Wakefield, Town of, Web site (http://www.wakefield.ma.us/Public_Documents/WakefieldMA_AboutUs/aboutus)
  5. ^ Parker, Theodore, John Parker of Lexington and his Descendants, Showing his Earlier Ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass. from 1635 to 1893, pp. 21-30, Press of Charles Hamilton, Worcester, MA, 1893.
  6. ^ Parker, Augustus G., Parker in America, 1630-1910, pp. 5, 27, 49, 53-54, 154, Niagara Frontier Publishing Co., Buffalo, NY, 1911.
  7. ^ Cutter, William Richard, Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, p. 1860, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York, NY, 1908.
  8. ^ Wakefield Historical Commission Web site (http://www.wakefieldhistory.org/wakefield_history.html).
  9. ^ Parker, Theodore, John Parker of Lexington and his Descendants, Showing his Earlier Ancestry in America from Dea. Thomas Parker of Reading, Mass. from 1635 to 1893, p. 28, 34-36, Press of Charles Hamilton, Worcester, MA, 1893.

External links[edit]