Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Ralzemond A. Parker Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Papers,
Creator: Parker, Ralzemond A., 1843-
Inclusive dates: 1835,1917, and undated
Extent: 1 cubic feet (in 1 box, 1 Oversized folder)
The collection consists of correspondence between Parker and his friends during the Civil War, mostly Michigan men in Michigan units, and Parker's post-war business and Grand Army of the Republic correspondence.

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:

No Acc#, MS#Pp-78

Access Restrictions:

Ralzemond A. Parker papers are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Ralzemond A. Parker Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.



Ralzemond A. Parker was born in 1843, the son of Asher Bull Parker and Harriet Castle. He enlisted in the Michigan Infantry, 17th Regiment, Co. E in Ypsilanti, in August 1862. In February 1863, Parker was discharged for disability in Baltimore, Maryland.

After the war, he attended Michigan State Normal College, now Eastern Michigan University, and taught school in Royal Oak School District No. 6. Parker also apparently sold saws or worked with saw patents.

In 1872, Parker graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. He worked as a lawyer at the office of Parker and Beardlee in Birmingham, Michigan. Later, he worked as Henry Ford’s patent lawyer and led the fight for automobile patent rights. In 1913 with eight other Detroit patent attorneys, Parker founded the Michigan Patent Law Association, now known as the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association.

He was active in the Boys in Blue, a political, patriotic organization that eventually became the founding core of the Michigan Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Parker was involved with the GAR, Oakland County Temperance Association, the Michigan State Chess Association, and the Union Veterans’ Patriotic League.

Parker married Sarah Electa Drake, the daughter of Flemon Drake, M.D. Ralzemond Parker died in 1925 and is buried in the Royal Oak Cemetery. Some of his furniture was given to the Royal Oak Historical Society.

Ralzemond is a family name which continues to be actively used among his descendants.

The Clarke Historical Library also has a Michigan Circuit Court case of Hugh Irving, Orrin Poppleton, et al. vs. Frank Ford, Frank Hagerman, et al.; ca. 1887?; in Oakland County, which contains handwritten notes by R.A. Parker, the defendants’ solicitor.

(This information is from the collection and a discussion with Ralzemond Parker’s great-grandson’s wife, Dr. Dorothy E. Finnegan, in 2006.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

About half of the papers consist of letters to Parker’s friends during the Civil War. In 1861, Charles C. Hopkins wrote of camping in Washington, Virginia, homesickness, and the climate and Chester Farrand wrote of crushing the Rebellion quickly.

In 1862, C.C. Hopkins wrote of fighting, the death of Chester Farrand, measles in camp, and mud; R.E. Trowbridge hoped the war would end soon; and George Hopkins wrote from a field hospital while Trowbridge wrote to Parker offering to help get Parker’s pay.

In 1863, George Hopkins wrote from the 17th Regiment, Michigan Infantry Camp located opposite Fredericksburg, about promotions and Henry P. Seymour wrote of his promotions in 27th Regiment, Michigan Infantry and Southern deserters. On April 5, 1863, Seymour reported the fall of Richmond. Oscar N. Castle described the 24th Regiment, Michigan Infantry’s actions at Fredericksburg. Henry Seymour, near Fairfax, Virginia, wrote of five months without pay, losing a commission, and measles.

In 1864, Frank Drake wrote from the U.S. gunboat, Undine, of the destruction of Paducah, skirmishes, and the Tennessee River. At the end of 1864, Henry Seymour wrote from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, of hard fights, prisoners, and losses.

In May 1865, Charles D. Smith wrote for help to be released from prison for desertion.

Also, there is an 1863 U.S. Army General Hospital Roll (Baltimore) which lists Parker.

The rest of the collection includes post-war business correspondence, 1866-1917; G.A.R. correspondence, 1888-1896; state laws concerning disabled veterans, 1883-1887; and the papers and photograph of Flemon Drake, 1835-1860, Parker’s father-in-law.

A letter press scrapbook, 1842, of Chester Stringham, a Detroit businessman, was used as a scrapbook by Parker. He used it for political science lecture clippings, 1868-1870. Lastly, there is an oversized folder with a list of men who served in Co. C of the 1st Regiment, Michigan, 5th District, another veterans group, in 1866.

Subject Terms

    • Parker, Ralzemond A., 1843-
    • Drake, Flemon, d. 1866.
    • Hopkins, Charles C., 1839-
    • Farrand, Chester, 1839-1863.
    • Trowbridge, R. E.
    • Hopkins, George H., 1843-
    • Castle, Oscar N.
    • Smith, Charles D., 1826-
    • United States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 17th (1862-1865) Company E.
    • United States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 29th (1861-1865)
    • United States. Army. Michigan Infantry Regiment, 24th (1862-1865)
    • Parker and Beardlee.
    • Union Veterans' Patriotic League.
    • Grand Army of the Republic.
    • Lawyers--Michigan--Birmingham.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Detroit (Mich.)--History.
    • Birmingham (Mich.)--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Ralzemond A. Parker Papers. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials on Parker and His Civil War Correspondents, undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Civil War Correspondence, 1861
    Box   1 F   3
    Civil War Correspondence, 1862
    Box   1 F   4
    Civil War Correspondence, U.S. Army Hospital Roll, 1863
    Box   1 F   5
    Civil War Correspondence, 1864-1865
    Box   1 F   6
    Civil War Correspondence, January-October 1866
    Box   1 F   7
    Business Correspondence, re: Saws, 36th Congress Member Mileage List, and Michigan Boys in Blue, October-December 1866
    Box   1 F   8
    Business Correspondence, re: Saws; Proceedings of Temperance Meeting in Birmingham (Michigan), 1867
    Box   1 F   9
    Business Correspondence, re: Selling Saws, 1868
    Box   1 F   10
    Business Correspondence, re: Saws, and the Michigan State Chess Association, 1869-1878
    Box   1 F   11
    Business Correspondence, 1902-1917
    Box   1 F   12
    Laws Concerning Disabled Veterans from New Hampshire, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Aliens, 1883-1887
    Box   1 F   13
    Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Correspondence, 1888-1889
    Box   1 F   14
    GAR Correspondence, 1890-1895
    Box   1 F   15
    GAR Correspondence and Rosters of Michigan GAR Posts, October 20-21, 1896
    Box   1 F   16
    GAR Correspondence and Rosters of Organization of Union Veterans Patriotic League in Detroit, January-October 19, 1896
    Box   1 F   17
    GAR Correspondence and Rosters of American Honest, Money League, October 22- December 31, 1896
    Box   1 F   18
    Drake, Flemon, M.D. (Died by January 1, 1860), Papers and Photographs, 1835-1860
    Box   1 F   19
    Stringham, Chester, Business Letter Press Book with Political Science Newspaper Clippings, 1868-1870
    F   1  
    Oversized Folder, Michigan Boys in Blue List, Co. C, 1st Regiment, 5th District, 1866