Josiah Parker Papers

About Josiah Parker

About Josiah Parker

Josiah Parker was born in Northampton County, North Carolina, Oct. 1, 1769, the son of Joseph and Sarah (Katron) Parker, Quakers of the Richsquare community of Friends. Josiah was married at Richsquare, March 21, 1792, to Martha Peele, daughter of John and Mary (Norsworthy) Peele of Richsquare. She was born there March 17, 1769. Josiah and Martha spent all of their married life in the Richsquare Quaker community. They were the parents of nine children.

Josiah Parker was active in the affairs of North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, serving as an elder of Richsquare Monthly Meeting. He also served as a member of the yearly meeting standard committee that was charged with the oversight and protection of certain slaves who had been deeded to the yearly meeting as a way of evading North Carolina's strict anti-manumission laws. He farmed and also operated a grist mill and saw mill.

Josiah Parker died at Richsquare in 1833. In 1837, Martha Parker and two unmarried daughters followed her sons to Rush County, Indiana. Martha died at Spiceland, Indiana, in April 1850.

The history of the Josiah Parker Papers after Josiah's death is curious. Apparently, when Martha Parker moved to Indiana in 1837, she turned them over to James Peele, a Richsquare Friend who was the executor of her husband's will so that he could collect debts owed to the estate. The papers were preserved by Peele's descendants. Earlham purchased the papers in December 1991 from Clarence A. Parker of Ahoskie, North Carolina, a great-great-grandson of James Peele.