Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
No picture available. John D. (Davis) Parker

1799 - 1846

  • Born 1799 Saratoga, New York
  • Baptized in or before 1834
  • Zions Camp 1834
  • Named to First Quorum of the Seventy 1835
  • Married Almed Sophia Roundy 1846; ten children
  • Trekked west with Saints as Captain of the eleventh company
  • Died 1891 Kanara, Utah

    John D. Parker was born November 22, 1799 at Saratoga, New York to  Abe L. Parker (AFN: 4QJP-WT) and Mary Davis (AFN: 4QJP-X1)

    Although we find no record of his baptism, Parker must have been an early convert to the Church for by 1834 he was a member of the Zion's Camp mission to relieve the suffering saints in Missouri. The History of the Church records: "Among the most active of those who were engaged in taking care of the sick at the [Zion's] Camp, burying the dead, etc., were John D. Parker, John Tanner, Nathan Tanner, Joseph B. Noble, Brigham Young, Joseph Young, Heber C. Kimball, Luke S. Johnson and Eleazar Miller."

    Possibly because of the faithfulness demonstrated by Elder Parker during Zion's Camp he was named a year later in 1835 as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy placing him among the ranks of the General Authorities.

    In 1841, he was named in a special conference as a missionary to serve in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    By 1842 he was back in Nauvoo, Illinois where the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote: These are not the only ones who have administered to my necessity and whom the Lord will bless. There is Brother John D. Parker ... My heart feels to reciprocate the unwearied kindnesses that have been bestowed upon me by these men. They are men of noble stature, of noble hands, and of noble deeds; possessing noble, and daring, and giant hearts and souls.

    Elder Parker seems to have been close to the prophet. He served as one of the Prophet's bodyguards and often accompanied him on trips seeking refuge. He was also a lawman, serving as a Deputy Sheriff in Hancock County, Illinois during the Nauvoo era and as Sheriff in Pottawattamie County, Iowa during the exodus west. In September 1842, the Prophet wrote: " I accompanied the brethren and Emma to my house, remaining there a few minutes to offer a blessing upon the heads of my sleeping children; then called a few minutes at the house of my cousin George A. Smith, on my way to my retreat at Edward Hunter's. John D. Parker accompanied me as guard.

    He also served as an officer in the Nauvoo Legion, at the time the largest single military unit in the United Stated and at its peak numbering a force almost half as large as the entire regular United States Army. He was, in fact, one of the organizers. From the History of the Church Vol.4, Ch.15, page 295: "Minutes of the Meeting which Organized the Nauvoo Legion. "Pursuant to an ordinance of the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, entitled, "An ordinance organizing the Nauvoo Legion," passed February 3, 1841, a court-martial, composed of the commissioned officers of the militia of the state of Illinois, within the city of Nauvoo, assembled at the office of Joseph Smith, on Thursday at 10 o'clock a.m., the 4th day of February, 1841: present--John C. Bennett, quarter-master general of the state of Illinois; Lieutenant-Colonel Don Carlos Smith; Captains Charles C. Rich, Wilson Law, Albert P. Rockwood, William Law, Titus Billings, Stephen Markham; first lieutenants, Francis M. Higbee, John T. Barnett, John D. Parker." Also read the following: "Saturday, 24.SEP 1842--The legion was called out for general parade, and reviewed by General Law. In the evening, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Markham was elected Colonel of the 1st Regiment, 1st Cohort, to fill the place of Colonel George Miller, promoted; and Captain John D. Parker elected to fill his place; and Captain Thomas Rich to fill the place of Major Wightman, deceased.

    In researching Elder Parker, Grampa Bill finds a difficulty. The International Genealogical Index (IGI) states that he was married on February 3, 1846 to Almeda Sophia Roundy, by whom he fathered ten children, yet the Prophet recorded on January 8, 1844, "At eleven went to my office to investigate a difficulty between John D. Parker and his wife. After laboring with them about two hours, brought about a reconciliation." Whether Parker remarried after death or divorce, or the IGI misreports the date of his marriage, Grampa Bill does not know. It is also possible that the IGI is reporting a plural marriage.

    As a lawman, Elder Parker on at least one occasion had to arrest the Prophet himself. Whether this was a ploy to keep mobocrat lawmen from arresting the Prophet or merely enforcing a legally issued but ultimately bogus writ of arrest is not certain. The verbiage makes the second seem more likely. On. Monday, May 6, 1844, the Prophet wrote: "I had a warrant served on me by John D. Parker, issued by the clerk of the circuit court of Carthage, on the complaint of Francis M. Higbee, who had laid his damages at $5,000. but for what the writ does not state. I petitioned the municipal court for a writ of habeas corpus which I obtained."

    After the prophet's martyrdom, Elder Parker was on October 11, 1845 appointed captain of the eleventh company for the trek west.

    Elder Parker maintained a closeness with the presiding brethren of the Church after the saints west west. As the saints faced increasing difficulties over the practice of plural marriage. Brigham Young determined to meet the legal challenges. He started a winter trip to face a Federal Magistrate. It is recorded: "December 1872, The second day's journey brought them to Kanarra, in Iron county. Here they met the veteran life guard of the Prophet Joseph Smith, John D. Parker, "who wept like a child because President Young was going back to face his enemies in the court room, which he considered an act of madness."

    A final record of Elder Parker occurs in the year 1891: John D. Parker, another member of Zion's Camp, died at Kanarra, Iron Co.


Bibliography
    Smith, History of the Church, multiple citations, see index
    B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.5, Ch.141, p.402
    Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, February 26, 1891 (Thursday)

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