Submitted by Norma Hass.
Biography from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois published in Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. 1896.
John Parker was born in Evansville.
John W. PARKER. There are no rules for building characters and no rule for achieving success. The man who can rise from the ranks to a position of eminence is he who can see and utilize the opportunities that surround his path. The essential conditions of human life are ever the same, the surroundings of individuals differ but slightly; and, when one man passes another on the highway to reach the goal of prosperity before others who perhaps started out before him, it is because he has the power to use advantages which probably encompass the whole human race.
Among the most prominent business men of Marshall county today is Mr. PARKER, teller and stockholder in the First National Bank of Toluca. He was born in Evansville, Indiana, October 25, 1850, and is a son of Edward and Sarah (RUSTON) PARKER, both natives of England. When a child the mother was brought to America by her parents, but the father grew to manhood in his native land. Their marriage was celebrated in Indiana, where the mother died when our subject was but thirteen years of age, and two years later the father broke up housekeeping.
Thus at the early age of fifteen years John W. PARKER was thrown upon his own resources. Coming to Livingston, Illinois, he worked on a farm for a year at ten dollars per month, and in 1867 came to Marshall county and obtained employment upon a farm located where the village of Toluca now stands, but at that time there was not even a railroad through the place. Here he worked for a number of years as a farm hand.
In the public schools of Evansville Mr. PARKER had begun his education, and as the opportunity was afforded attended school in this state, thus acquiring a good common school education, which he supplemented after attaining his majority by a course in a commercial college of Evansville, from which he was graduated in 1872. Returning to Marshall county he continued to work by the month until the spring of 1877, when he began the operation of rented land. At the end of four years he was able to purchase eighty acres in Bennington township, which he cultivated for seven years, and then removed to the little village of Toluca, where he embarked in general merchandising, conducting the first store in the place, and continued operations along that line until 1893. He was very successful in this venture, but in the latter year sold out, and became a stockholder and one of the charter members of the First National bank, of which he has been the first and only teller. He is also the owner of a good farm of one hundred sixty acres in Calhoun county, Iowa.
On the 22d of November, 1877, Mr. PARKER led to the marriage altar Miss Sarah A. LITCHFIELD, a native of Marshall county, and they now have two sons: Lawrence G., who graduated from the Rutland schools in 1895, at the age of fifteen years, and Roy S., who is still a student in the public schools.
Since voting for Tilden in 1876 Mr. PARKER has been a stalwart democrat in politics, and has served his fellow citizens in several official positions, being town clerk of Bennington township eight years, school trustee six years, was the first village clerk, which office he resigned in order to enter the bank. He has also been a delegate to various conventions of his party. He is a charter and prominent member of both the Knights of Pythias and Odd Fellows fraternities, joining the former in Varna and the latter in Rutland, but now belongs to both lodges in Toluca. He has been master of exchequer, vice-chancellor and chancellor commander in the Knights of Pythias; and treasurer, vice-grad and noble grand in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at the present writing holding the highest offices in each. His life has been a success, and his honorable, straight-forward course justly entitles him to the high regard in which he is universally held.