This area was named for the Parker farm whose residence was located just south of here. John M. Parker, both a practicing physician and a Baptist preacher, was known as both Doctor and Reverend Parker. His farm straddled the intersection of two important stage roads, the north-south Lexington-Huntingdon Road and the McLemoresville Road. The junction of these two roads became known, naturally enough, as Parker's Cross Roads.John Parker 1784-1867
About 1825 John Parker, his wife, Sarah, and their children emigrated from North Carolina to Tennessee, settling in Carroll County. The Parkers had nine known children, the youngest born in 1831. After Sarah's death in about 1835, John Parker married Sarah's sister, Rebecca. By 1840 the family had moved to Henderson County and what became known as Parker's Cross Roads.
The Parker farm was one of several large farms in this vicinity, where cotton was the principle cash crop. In 1850 the Parker farm totaled 600 acres, 200 of which were under cultivation. That year the farm reported a production of 18 ginned bales of cotton of 400 pounds each. By 1860 John Parker owned 1,400 acres, 500 of which were under cultivation, and the farm produced 61 bales of ginned cotton, over 24,000 pounds.
The Parker farm, like most 19th century farms, was a diversified operation. Corn, wheat, and rye were grown in addition to cotton. In 1860 the livestock included 43 sheep, 200 swine, five horses, five mules, eight milch (milk) cows, four working oxen, and 20 head of cattle. Thirty-six pounds of honey and 200 pounds of butter were produced, probably for home use. Slaves supplied at least part of the labor needed on the Parker farm. In 1860 John Parker owned 28 slaves. Sixteen, ten men and boys and six women and girls, were between the ages of 12 and 55. The twelve children ranged in age from one month to ten years of age.
Much of the Battle of Parker's Crossroads took place on and near the Parker farm. At different times both Confederate and Union artillery was placed near the Parker house and the Confederate horseholders were in the Parker orchard north of the house when Colonel John W. Fuller's Ohio brigade attacked the Confederate rear.
Rebecca Parker 1791-1871
John and Rebecca Parker are buried in Jones Cemetery, one-half mile east of here on Wildersville Road. An entry in the Henderson County Settlement Book for December 10, 1867 records that J.C. Parker's son and the administrator of his estate, spent $200 on a tombstone for his father's grave. Parker's gravestone, on the right, is quite ornate and features a "fancy" footstone. Rebecca's gravestone, while smaller, is also quite ornate.
A Change of Sympathies
As the photo clearly shows, most of the graves in Jones cemetery are oriented east-west, as is traditional. The Parker graves are oriented north-south. Until December 1862, John Parker was a Republican and Union supporter. His sympathies changed when Union gunners paced their cannon in his front yard during the battle. The artillerymen refused to move the guns, placing his home directly in the line of fire.
Before he died, Parker requested that he be buried with his feet to the north and his head to the south. His wish was honored.