Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois,
Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, Page 544
JOSEPH PARKE was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1818. His father, Jonathan, was born in the same place and died at an advanced age, when his son was so small that he has no recollection of him. There were ten sons and the same number of daughters in this family, all coming to adult years, but all have now died. The mother of this remarkable family was Marjory Woodward of the same county. She lived some fourteen years after her husband's death and they both now rest in the Marshalltown cemetery, a large Quaker cemetery. These parents were well-to-do and gave the family a good education. Joseph was sent to a Quaker school at Western Academy. He was reared to farm life, but at twenty-one he began school teaching, taught two years in Pennsylvania and four years in Ohio. At his mother's death he was put under a guardian, who gave him additional educational advantages. He was married in Logan county, Ohio, in his twenty-sixth year, to Mary Ann Wilson. She was a daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Holt) Wilson. They, Mr. and Mrs. Parke lived for five years in this county and taught school. In October, 1840, they came West, overland, and settled in Brooklyn township, entering 160 acres. This was wild and they made the first improvements, building a log cabin with a sod chimney. Mr. Parke still has the cabin as a part of his present dwelling but the sod chimney is now a brick one and the cabin is weather boarded externally and lathed and plastered inside. He has 300 acres, a part of which he has deeded to his daughter. About 1865 they buried one son, Jonathan, aged twenty. They next buried Elizabeth, Mrs. Taylor Gray, at the age of twenty-six; about eighteen years old, died at Dr. Prince's establishment at Jacksonville. His wife had fits for some twenty years and in March, 1891, fell into the fire and died the same day. He has only one living daughter, Eliza, second wife of Taylor Gray. She has four children: George W., Mary Florence, Estelle and Nellie Jane. She has buried one infant son. She and her husband are operating the farm for her father, who lives with them. Mr. Parke has been a constant toiler since 1840, when he came to this home. He has served in some of the township offices and taught school one year. He has been a general farmer, although he has made the most out of wheat, growing from fifteen to thirty bushels per acre. Hogs have been the best paying stock and horses have paid well in a small way. He has voted the Democratic and Republican ticket, but is now a Farmers' Alliance man. He and his family have been Universalists, although he has been reared a Quaker.
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