Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Parker family Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Papers,
Creator: Parker family.
Inclusive dates: 1814-1958, and undated
Extent: 6 cubic feet (in 7 boxes, 1 Oversized folder, 1 v.)
The collection documents several generations of the Parker family of Frankfort, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, focusing on N. A. and Dora B. Parker.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:


Access Restrictions:

Parker family Papers are open for research.


Publications in the collection are copyrighted, otherwise copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Parker family Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.



N.A. (Nelson Augustus) Parker was the fifth son and child of Francis B. and Adilia (Norlois) Parker. He was born July 18, 1840 in Hamburg Township, Erie County, New York. On August 23, 1863 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, N.A. married Mary Elizabeth Parker, who was born May 12, 1845 in Pittsfield, Washtenaw County, Michigan, the second child of Moses and Amanda (Holmes) Wilsey.

During the Civil War, N. A. served in the Michigan 20th Infantry Regiment, Company D, 1862-1865. He was mustered in as a sergeant on July 29, 1862 in Ann Arbor. In the Battle of the Wilderness, on May 12, 1864, he was wounded at Spottsylvania, Virginia. Afterwards, he recovered in the Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C. During the war, N.A. was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant (December 26, 1862), and was commissioned as First Lieutenant (September 10, 1864) and as Captain (October 20, 1864). On May 30, 1865, N.A. was mustered out and honorably discharged from Washington, D.C. After the war, he was involved with regimental reunions and the GAR.

A prominent lawyer, N.A. was able to educate his children well. Most of them work at least part of their young adult lives for him. By the time he died on April 28, 1909 in Frankfort, N.A. had served as master of Frankfort Masonic Lodge, president of the village, and was recognized as a pioneer of Benzie County.

N.A.’s wife, Mary E. Parker, died in March of 1928 in Los Angeles, California, where she lived with her daughter, Dora. During her lifetime she was one of the first women in Michigan to campaign for equal franchise and was a co-worker with Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Cady Stanton, and Carrie Chapman Catt.

Together N.A. and Mary had six children: 1) Mary Josephine Parker (January 12, 1865-April 30, 1885). Mary J. died from shock following a kidney surgery in Ann Arbor.

2) Edwin Joseph (March 9, 1866- October 31, 1943) graduated from the University of Michigan in 1894 and taught school. He married Rose Conway in 1899 and was engaged in the forwarding and commission business with his brother, Byron.

3) Byron Reynolds Parker (August 27, 1869 in Frankfort-January 3, 1936). He attended Ann Arbor High School and read law in his father’s office. He was engaged in the forwarding and commission business with his brother, Edwin, and in disposing of fruit and farm products in the east. He married Wassie Walker in 1899 in Duluth. They lived in Frankfort until her death on March 22, 1901 due to child birth complications. Their new born son died two days later. They were buried together in the family lot in Crystal Lake County. Byron later married Aretta Deehn in 1909. They had three children together, all of whom died as children. One boy lived to be seven years of age, and his parents never recovered from his death. Byron was a Mason of Crystal Lodge, No. 270.

4) Eunice Amanda Parker (November 26, 1871 in Frankfort-) was educated at Frankfort High School and then at Ferris Industrial Institute, later Ferris State University, and graduated from the program of stenography, typewriting and bookkeeping. She worked in Chicago beginning in 1896 at least through 1902. By 1936 she had married a Mr. Spears.

5) Dora Bell Parker (July 8, 1874 in Frankfort-October 12, 1961 in Los Angeles, California) graduated from Frankfort High School and was then employed for two years in her father’s office as a stenographer and typewriter and bookkeeper. In 1891 she moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and worked there as a stenographer and typewriter in the law office of Fletcher Wanty, and other law offices through at least March 1902. She lived with her Aunt Alice A. Parker, a public school teacher, in Grand Rapids. Dora visited California in 1900 and 1907. Sometime between 1901 and 1928, she moved to Los Angeles, California, where she was employed as the secretary at the school for salesmen. Dora collected the family papers and photographs which compose this collection. According to her mother’s obituary, Mary E. Parker died in Los Angeles. According to Byron’s obituary all of his sisters were living in Los Angeles by 1936. She never married.

6) Charlotte Parker (March 6, 1879 in Frankfort-) graduated from Frankfort High School and assisted her father in his law office as a typewriter. Charlotte married William Morr on November 29, 1899. They lived first in Frankfort and in 1902 moved to Munising, Michigan. William worked as a railroad engineer. They later moved to Marquette, Michigan. By 1936 she had married a Mr. Weidenhamar. (This information is from the collection and accessed October 13, 2010.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the Parker family of Frankfort and Grand Rapids, Michigan, particularly captain and lawyer N.A. Parker, and his daughter, Dora B. Parker, later of Los Angeles, California. Most of the collection consists of various types of family photographs in a variety of media, correspondence, legal documents, genealogical materials, publications, verse and poetry, and other materials. Dora’s life and that of women of her period and education are documented by photographs of activities, such as biking and trips, travel journals, and by the Woman’s Lakeside Literary Club (Frankfort, Michigan), Annual Programs, 1896/1897, 1919/1920-1925/1926, of which she was a member. N.A. Parker’s life is documented mostly in photographs, notably in a fine photograph album of the Civil War, mostly of the 20th Michigan Infantry, with carte de visites of officers of the unit, and one composite image of President Lincoln. Many of the photographs are autographed or have annotations on them concerning the officer’s death. N.A. Parker is also documented in post-war GAR reunion materials and in family genealogical materials. Two published books were retained in the collection because of the additional materials and personal dedications in them to Dora. Copies are separately cataloged in the Clarke. Although Mary E. Parker’s obituary notes her early activities as a suffragette, there is no documentation of these activities or interests within the collection.

Subject Terms

    • Parker family.
    • Parker, N. A.--(Nelson Augustus)
    • Parker, Dora B.
    • United States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 20th (1862-1865) Company D.
    • Woman's Lakeside Literary Club (Frankfort, Mich.)
    • Michigan--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories.
    • Michigan--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Biography.
    • Michigan--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
    • Lawyers--Michigan--Grand Rapids--Biography.
    • Frankfort (Mich.)--History.
    • Grand Rapids (Mich.)--History.
    • Ann Arbor (Mich.)--History.
    • California--Description and travel--1868-1950.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Parker family Papers. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Capt. N.A. Parker, 20th Michigan Infantry Materials, 1908
    Box   1 F   2
    Col. Thomas J. Parker, 64th New York Volunteers, Material, 1901-1902
    Box   1 F   3
    Family Correspondence, 1875-1919 (Scattered)
    Box   1 F   4
    Family Record Book, 1880
    Box   1 F   5
    Genealogical Materials, 1895-1955 (Scattered)
    Box   1 F   6
    Lace, Examples, Crocheted and Tatted by Mary Wilsey Parker, 1900, Notes of Explanation, 1960, 1900, 1960
    Box   1 F   7
    Leather Wallet, Document Case, 1913
    Box   2 F   1
    Manuscript of America’s Greatest Opportunity by Edwin J. Parker (2 folders), undated
    Box   2 F   2
    Memorial Book for George P. Wanty, Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan (1856-1906), 1906
    Box   2 F   3
    My American Trip (Travel Journal), April-October 1929
    Box   2 F   4
    Photograph Album, 1890s?, Loose photographs, 1911-1941, 1890s?, 1911-1941
    Box   2 F   5
    Photograph Album/Christmas Gift, 1910
    Box   3 F   1
    Photograph Album, mostly California, also Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, 1921-1924
    Box   3 F   2
    Photograph Album, Pine Crest, San Bernadino, California, 1900?
    Box   3 F   3
    Photographs, Babies, Children, 1895-1926, undated
    Box   3 F   4
    Photographs, Dora B. Parker, 1895-1958, undated
    Box   4 F   1
    Photographs, Houses, Piano, Gardens, Cat, Horse and Buggy, Memorial Flowers, 1902, 1912, 1915, undated
    Box   4 F   2
    Photographs, Men, 1862, 1897-1922, undated
    Box   4 F   3
    Photographs, Men and Women, Families, 1880s-1950, undated
    Box   4 F   4
    Photographs, N. A. Parker, 1863-1905, undated
    Box   4 F   5
    Photographs, re: San Francisco Trip, 1907
    Box   4 F   6
    Photographs, Women, 1860s-1958, undated
    Box   5 F   1
    Photographs, Ambrotypes, Girls (4), Boy (1), undated
    Box   5 F   2
    Photographs, Ambrotypes, Mary E. Wilsey (1), 1863
    Box   5 F   3
    Photographs, Ambrotypes, Men (6), undated
    Box   5 F   4
    Photographs, Daguerreotye, woman and boy, undated [1860s?]; Explanatory Note, 1943, undated [1860s?}, 1943
    Box   5 F   5
    Photographs, Framed Photographs (3), 1880s-1900?
    Box   5 F   6
    Photographs, Tintypes (12), 1860s-1890s?
    Box   6 F   1
    Poetry, Verse, 1896 1939, undated
    Box   6 F   2
    Postcards, Greeting Cards, 1905-1908, 1911, 1913, 1924, 1930, 1955, undated
    Box   6 F   3
    Postcards, Greeting Cards, 1905-1908, 1911, 1913, 1924, 1930, 1955, undated
    Box   6 F   4
    Published Book: History of the Twentieth Michigan Infantry… by Byron M. Cutcheon, 1904, dedication to “Daughter Dora Gr. Rapids, Mich. From N.A. Parker, Attorney at Law, Frankfort, Mich., Dec. 25th, 1904.”, 1904
    Box   6 F   5
    Published Book: Light in Dark Places, by Rev. Thomas Holmes, D.D., 1898, dedication: “from Uncle Tomas Holmes, Nov. 29, 1899.”, 1898-1899
    Box   6 F   6
    Scrapbook, Frankfort (Mich.) clippings, 1901, 1936, 1951, 1959
    Box   6 F   7
    Woman's Lakeside Literary Club (Frankfort, Mich.), Annual Programs, 1896/1897, 1919/1920-1925/1926
    Box   7 F   1
    Capt. Henry Parker’s Company, Detached Militia from the 102nd Regiment, Muster Roll, 1814
    Box   7 F   2
    Genealogical Materials, 1893-1905, undated
    Box   7 F   3
    Legal Documents, 1893-1905, undated
    F   1  
    Oversized Folder, Oversized Photographs (7) Groups, Girl, Winter Scene, House, Woman, before 1885, 1893, 1900, undated
    F   2  
    Framed Oversized Folder, Oversized Photograph (1) Mother, Son, Baby in oval frame with glass, 1900?
    F   3  
    Framed Oversized Folder, Oversized Photograph (1) Dora B. Parker as senior lady, in pedestal frame with glass, 1950s?
    F   4  
    Photograph Album (1 thick v.), gilded, decorative pages, decorative cover, Civil War carte de visites, mostly Michigan 20th Infantry officers, includes Lincoln composite, [1865]