Origin of the Parker Name

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Origin of the Parker Name

Arthur C Parker (1881-1955) offered an explanation of how his family adopted the surname Parker. The story may be found in his biography of his great-uncle, Ely S. Parker (1919).

During the American Revolution, a Seneca family cared for a captured British officer, who was eventually adopted into the Hawk Clan. While living with them, he was treated kindly and as one of the family. When it came time for him to return to Canada, the officer honored his Seneca family by giving them his surname, Parker. He also gave the two boys in the family English first names: one Samuel, the other Henry. William was born later. William later became the father of Ely S. Parker. According to Parker family members today, the name of the soldier was Gaylord Earl Parker.
The elder man never used the name Parker; he retained his Seneca name, Joi-e-sey (Little Smoke). But the two young men held onto the English names and used them when they became adults. Samuel and William Parker became influential men at Tonawanda after they moved there with their parents in 1809. Little is known of Henry, except that family tradition states that he died in an accident.

Photo of Arthur C Parker [see photo file]

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