RECORD:McManus, Jane Parker, Pioneers West of Appalachia, 1976, 1984; Page 69 (1984); page 102
Samuel G. Parker, fifth child of Miles Gibson Parker and Sarah Ellen Williamson, was born in Aug 1875 in Louisiana and died in 1940 at the age of 65. He married Martha (Mattie) Harville on 12 Feb 1896, and four children were born.
Sam Parker was a warm, genuine person, very reserved in all his actions. When he finally joined the Church of God in Simpson, several of the Parker children ran home to tell Sarah Ellen that her son had "been saved." Ellen very calmly replied that Sam had always been saved, he just did not know it.
Their four children were:
1. Valie Parker, born 30 Mar. 1897, married Matthew Lewis, one son.
2. Luna Parker, born 21 Sept., 1902, died 29 Nov. 1985, married Charles W. Kenny, no children.
3. Theron E. Parker, born 4 May, 1909, never married.
4. Ottis J. Parker, born 26 Dec. 1925, married Pauline H. Young, 3 girls.
Notes by me (Joyce Parker Hervey)
Sam Parker died before I was born so I have no personal knowledge of him. I was told by my aunt Luna that he was a quiet man. He and his family lived and farmed at Simpson, Vernon Parish, Louisiana, some distance removed from the center of the village. Their young son, Theron, contracted polio as a lad and it left one leg shorter than the other, making it difficult for him to walk the two or so miles to school. So the family moved to the village near the school. Sam and his family then operated a small commissary for a while.
The Parker family had been in Simpson for several generations, and they were a large extended family. In the little community, almost everyone was related to almost everyone. The chief occupation was farming, but in the early 1900's logging became an important industry. The vast pine and hardwood forests were attractive assets of the area.
Martha "Mattie" Harville Parker was one of five children, the only daughter, of Mary Jane (Jackson) and Nathan Harville. She was born 8 March, 1877 at Simpson, Louisiana and lived almost her entire life in the Simpson community of Vernon Parish, Louisiana.
Mattie and Sam Parker farmed. Mattie was a hard worker, and worked in the fields alongside her husband. She scarely took time off from her work to have her four children.
When Mattie's husband died in 1940, she and her unmarried son, Theron, and my father, Ottis (unmarried as yet), moved from Simpson, La. to Shreveport, La. to stay with my Aunt Luna and Uncle Charlie Kenny. (Later on, we built a house backed up to theirs in the Cedar Grove section of Shreveport, so they were like our second family. We spend about as much time at the Kenny residence as we did at home during our early years.)
I knew my grandmother Mattie almost from the day I was born. "Mammo" Parker was my first baby sitter. When I was an infant, my father was sent to India to serve in WWII, so my mother went to work in Shreveport and I stayed with Mattie. At first we lived in a small apartment a couple of miles away from Mattie, so she walked to the house every day to take care of me. Later, after my two sisters were born, she babysat all of us during the times my mother worked.
I remember what a good cook Mattie was. She cooked many of the traditional southern country foods in such a way that even a small child can love them: turnip greens, black-eyed peas, cornbread, fried chicken, and most especially hot biscuits. She taught my mother how to make those hot biscuits, and we still enjoy them from time to time.
Mattie belonged to the Church of God at Simpson, so when she moved to Shreveport, she began going to the Southern Avenue Church of God, just a couple of blocks from her (and my) home. She took me to church with her, and soon got my parents to go.
Mattie died when I was about 10 years old, so my recollections of her are faint and from an immature point of view, and are not of her better qualities. I remember thinking that she treated us three girls unequally. I received the best treatment, because, I suppose, I was the first granchild (other than my only first cousin, who was an adult and married with a child of his own), and the one that she doted on. I remember that she was somewhat unpleasant and critical at times. She was in her late seventies when I knew her and was not in the best of health, so that may explain some of the characteristics that I remember that she possessed.
My mother knew Mattie somewhat better. My mother was only 17 years old and quite inexperienced when I was born and we moved to Shreveport. Mattie was a great help to my mother in learning to cope with a baby, a new job, and a husband half a world away in the army. My mother tells me this story about Mattie's thoughtfulness. Once, when my mother had done the washing and hung the clothes out on the line to dry, the clothes line somehow fell over and all the clean clothes fell to the ground and became soiled. My mother was too upset to tend to them right away. Mattie saw what had happened and came over to the yard, picked up the clothes, re-washed them and re-hung them. I think that experience endeared my grandmother to my mother.
I remember the day she died. My sisters and I were at our house watching television. Someone, I think it may have been my Uncle Theron, walked across the alleyway from the Kenny house to ours to tell us that "Mama" had died. In my child's mind, it didn't really register what this meant, since I had no experience at that time with death. I didn't want to go; I wanted to stay and watch the TV program. When I finally did go over to my aunt's house, I was scolded severely and told what an insensitive child I was to not be terribly grieved. Mattie died on June 10, 1954, in the North Louisiana Sanitarium of cerebral hemorrhage and hypertensive cardio vascular disease.
I remember my grandfather, whom my grandmother called "Audris", as an outgoing, friendly man who never met a stranger. He knew everyone around the Gibsland - Arcadia - Taylor area of Bienville Parish, because he lived there all his adult life. He grew up in rural parts of Claiborne Parish, moving from place to place as tenant farmers tended to do. Audris could usually find some sort of kinship with whoever he met from those areas. It is from my grandfather that I got my early interest in genealogy. He loved to take whoever would go with him to family homesites or cemeteries. I can remember my grandmother complaining that when he took her on a trip, he wanted to spend all his time visiting cemeteries.
Audris was also a big teaser. In fact, all the men in the Young family were guilty of that trait. This particular trait did not please me very much, as I despise being teased.
Thanksgiving and Christmas Day was always spent at the Young's at Taylor when we were growing up. There was usually a group of about 25 to share in the big meals. The children played imagination games in the big yard and down along the railroad tracks. We were cowboys or Tarzan or whatever caught our attention at the time. By just before 12:00 noon, however, we were usually in the kitchen pestering the cooks to hurry and serve dinner. Dinner always seemed to be ready right at noon, so we didn't have long to wait. After dinner and after unwrapping of the presents, the adults, usually the men, but sometimes the women also, played Rook, a card game, where you bid and named trumps, or "shot the moon" and often went set -- similar to the Forty-Two game played with dominoes.
At Thanksgiving we drew names for the Christmas party. Of course we tried to keep secret who we drew, but we weren't always successful.
Audris was a tenant farmer during his early career, then later went to work for the Woodard-Walker sawmill at Taylor, in Bienville Parish. He rented a house from the Walker's, right along Highway 80 near the sawmill. There were two houses close together that shared the same driveway from the highway. They lived in each of them at various times. The older house that they rented had no indoor plumbing or water. There was an outhouse in back which was okay to use during the daytime, but at night -- eerie -- so they kept a sirup bucker for nighttime use. The water source was a well just outside the kitchen door. Water was removed from the well with a bucket tied to a rope strung over a wheel mounted on a high wooden frame. By pulling down on the rope, the bucket of water was drawn up from the well. Then the water was poured down a wooden trough through a cheesecloth strainer and caught in another bucket or pan.
Eventually the newer house next door became available and my grandparents moved into it. It was quite more modern, with running water in the kitchen and, I think, a bathroom. I was already grown by then, so I don't have as many memories of that house -- it wasn't nearly so interesting -- as it was practically right on the busy highway.
Audris suffered a serious injury at the sawmill and I think it may have caused him to retire earlier than he might. When he did retire, they moved to Shreveport and lived on the same street that my parent's lived. They rented a small house for a while, then they were able to buy their own home, with government subsidy. There, Audris supplemented his meager retirement income by working as a school crossing guard at a nearby junior high school. The job fitted him nicely -- he loved people, and he particularly enjoyed getting to know the children, who called him by name.
In his later years, Audris suffered from hardening of the arteries, which made it difficult for him to get his breath sometimes. He died in Shreveport and was buried there.
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