Ellen Parker, a clue

Some of my third great aunts and uncles from the Parker family have been really easy to trace. Some have not. One of the latter is Thomas Parker, and one of the mysteries has been his second wife, Ellen Clinton. According to his marriage record, he married Ellen on 10 Sep 1868 in New London, Wisconsin. The record does not indicate who Ellen’s parents are, her age, or anything that is a direct clue as to who she is. The best clue from that are the witnesses on the record: Thomas Broove and E.P. Perry.

Marriage record for Thomas Parker / Ellen Clinton
Marriage record for Thomas Parker / Ellen Clinton

Some time ago I happened across a message board transcription of an obituary for a Mrs. Kate Hutchinson. The transcription, posted in 2002, mentions an Ellen Parker of Belmond, Iowa. A couple of weeks ago, I got around to requesting a copy of that obituary from the Waupaca Area Library and I received it today.

Death of Mrs. Hutchinson - Waupaca County Post
Death of Mrs. Hutchinson – Waupaca County Post

And while the main part of the transcription is pretty close to what was published, it appears the transcriber took liberties with the headline as well as a poem that doesn’t appear in the original. What’s even more interesting is that the original says “Ellen Parke” rather than the transcribed “Ellen Parker”. I’d be willing to bet it’s the right person nevertheless, but what luck in that it is a mistranscribed name that led me to the clue.

Why do I think it’s the right person still? In the 1900 U.S. census and 1905 Iowa census, there is no one by the name Ellen Park or Parke in or around Belmond. There are two Ellen Parkers, however. One is married to my great uncle Frank Parker and one is married to my great uncle Thomas Parker. The Ellen Clinton who shows up in Kate Clinton’s family in the 1860 U.S. census is about the same age, and New London is just a skip away from Waupaca. Worth pursuing.

What I still haven’t found is Ellen Clinton Parker’s death. She’s in the 1910 U.S. census in Belmond, but not the 1915 Iowa census. She’s got no marker in the Saint Francis Cemetery where many other Parkers, ostensibly including her husband, are buried. Did she die? Did she divorce Thomas Parker? Did she abscond? Currently a mystery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.