Papers : 1760 - 1795.

Call Number: HIL-MICL FC LFR .P3F3P4
Category: Family
Creator: Parker Family.
Description: 4 microfilm textual records (18 bundles) ; 35 mm
            James Parker (1729-1815) was born in Scotland, but emigrated to Norfolk, Virginia c. 1747, where he became a merchant. In 1760, he married Margaret Ellegood (d. 1785), the sister of Jacob Ellegood, a well to do Virginia planter and Loyalist during the American Revolution. James Parker's partner in a merchanting business, William Aitcheson, married Rebecca Ellegood, and Alexander Elmsley married Anne Ellegood, both sisters of Jacob Ellegood. Mary Saunders, the sister of John Saunders, a staunch Loyalist and Captain in the Loyalist regiment, Queen's Rangers, was the wife of Jacob Ellegood. The numerous intermarriages between the families are important to understand because they explain the close family relationships and resulting business partnerships which form a significant portion of the Parker Family Papers.

With the coming of the American Revolution, James Parker accepted a British Commission as Master of Works and Engineers Extraordinary, with the rank of Captain. His commission from Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, is dated 16/11/1775. During his military exploits he was captured in 1776, treated as a traitor and imprisoned for nine months until he was able to escape. His property was confiscated in both Virginia and in North Carolina, his home was burned and his wife and children turned out with only the clothes on their backs. Margaret Parker, her sister Rebecca Aitcheson and their children made their way to the Eastern Shore of Virginia where they managed to exist until the end of the war in a cottage on a small plantation owned by William Aitcheson.

After his escape from the first imprisonment, James Parker went to New York where he joined the Royal Army commanded by Sir William Howe and later saw action at Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. In 1779, he accompanied General Mathew in his expedition to Virginia, and in 1780 went with General Clinton and the Army to Charleston, South Carolina. In the same year he accompanied General Leslie to Virginia, returned with him to Charleston, and was on his way back to Virginia when his ship was captured on 19 February 1781 by a French fleet. He was taken to France and imprisoned in several locations, the last being Caen, until the end of the war. Upon his release, he went to London and carried on business there for a time.

James and Margaret Parker's elder son, Patrick (1763-1795), was in school in Edinburgh during the war, and in 1784 he traveled to Virginia to bring his mother and sister Susan (d.1792) to London. However, he soon returned to Norfolk, where he established a business and married his cousin Molly Aitcheson.

Charles Steuart Parker (1771-1823), the second son of James and Margaret Parker, was named for his father's great friend and business partner Charles Steuart of Edinburgh. He was also sent to school in Scotland and worked in the Custom's House in Port Glasgow before being sent to Spain to learn the language. In 1789, he went to Grenada as a clerk in the employ of the merchant George Robertson, and became a partner in the firm of Robertson, Gordon, and Parker in 1790. Two years later when Gordon left the firm he was replaced by Samuel Sandbach, and the company became the family firm of Robertson, Parker, and Sandbach, in which the partners were all connected through marriage.

            The Parker Family Papers contain, approximately, six hundred items that are concerned with the Revolutionary War career of James Parker and other Loyalists, as well as the personal and business affairs of the Parker family and their many connections. The Papers are organized in eighteen bundles, and each bundle contains correspondence and other documents that relate to particular individuals or to a subject. Subject matter includes family and social history, business affairs, land and property, American Revolution - military, loyalists, prisoners of war, and maritime matters - prizes, British vessel "Roebuck"; places include Virginia, Grenada and London.

Organisation - Organised into 18 numbered sections.

Reel 1 - Par. 1 - Par. 10.4b
Reel 2 - Par. 10.12 - Par. 11.135
Reel 3 - Par. 11.136 - Par. 15.104
Reel 4 - Par. 16.1 - Par. 18.8

PAR 1 - Virginia Almanack for 1771 with notes written by James Parker circa 1809-1814.

PAR 2 - Accounts of Payments related to prize money to those involved in the Virginia Expedition

PAR 3 - Prize money correspondence and accounts resulting from Major Leslie's Virginia Expedition

PAR 4 - Letters from Mr. and Mrs. Elmsley (nee Elligood/Ellegood) to Capt. Parker, 1760-1789 [James Parker was married to Anne Elligood's sister, Margaret.], concerning mostly family and personal matters

PAR 5 - Sundry Virginia letters, 1765-1803; authors include William Aitchison, William Ronald, Elizabeth Ronald, James Parker, Jacob Elligood/Ellegood of Saint John, Daniel M'Cormick, Alexander McCaul, Alexander Diack, George Nicolson, Charles S. Parker, Charles Steuart and Henry Burnet

PAR 6 - Various letters to and from Captain Parker, 1773-1805; also declaration concerning the firm of James Campbell and Co. of Norfolk, Virginia [James Parker is the sole surviving partner.]

PAR 7 - Letters between Captain Parker and his wife; also letters and documents concerning Captain Parker during the war

PAR 8 - Letters between Captain Parker and his wife, 1760-1784; also two letters from Rebecca Aitchison to her sister Margaret Parker and brother-in-law Captain Parker, 1785-1786

PAR 9 - Letters to Captain Parker from friend Charles Steuart, 1763-1773; also Parker's journals - diary of the war in a series of letters to Charles Steuart (1776-1781); and a rough diary during siege of Charleston, 3 Feb. - 1 June 1780 (NOTE: the two diaries appear to missing from the microfilm copy); also two letters between Charles Steuart and Mrs Parker, 1781, 1782

PAR 10 - Patrick Parker's letters to his father Captain James Parker, 1780-1795; also two letters from Patrick's wife and widow, Mary (nee Aitchison), 1788, 1799

PAR 11 - Patrick Parker to his father Captain James Parker, 1778-1794; also few letters from Patrick's wife, Mary, to Captain Parker; letters and bills from Dr. Macknight for Patrick's education, 1775-1780; also includes letters to Captain Parker from Rebecca Aitchison (sister-in-law), William Aitchison (nephew), Alexander Diack, Alexander McCaul, John Hamilton, and James Currie, 1775-1799

PAR 12 - Charles Steuart Parker to his father Captain James Parker, 1789-1808; also letters and accounts relating to Charles Parker's education, 1779-1787; correspondence between Captain Parker and Alexander McCaul, 1789-1790; one letter each from James Cambpell, David Gordon, and J. McInroy, 1789, 1791, 1795

PAR 13 - Captain Parker to his son C.S. Parker, 1791-1810; also tax assessment of Captain Parker, 1806

PAR 14 - Robertson, Parker [son Charles] and Co. (Grenada and Demerara) to Captain James Parker, 1790-1797; also list of goods to be shipped by Captain Parker, articles of partnership between Charles Parker and George Robertson, and balance sheet of company

PAR 15 - Charles S. Parker to his wife, Peggy, and to Captain Parker; Captain Parker to the same and to C.S. Parker, 1800-1811

PAR 16 - Miscellaneous, including material concerning James Parker's claims on account of his lost American property, 1763-1810; includes amongst the documents - J.P.'s diary notes concerning the treatment of slaves on board the vessel "Rolfe" for smallpox, no date, and letter from Alexander Diack to Captain Parker which includes account for the sale of "negroes", 1786

PAR 17 - Charles Parker (Grenada), to Patrick Parker (Virginia), 1789-1790

PAR 18 - Miscellaneous items - marriage contract between Patrick Parker and Isobell Orr, 1717; J.P.'s commission for Lord Dunmore as a captain in the loyalist forces, 1775; letter from J.P. to Charles Parker, 1782; Case of the ship "Belville" and the Brigantine "Betsy", no date; [draft?] will of J.P., no date; extract from a memo by Mrs Parker of Fairlie, daughter-in-law of Captain James Parker, 1835, being notes of J.P.'s family; Robert Morris (Philadelphia) to James Parker, 1774; transcript of letter from Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Henry [?], 1753
Originals: The original records are held by the Liverpool Public Library.
Archival Ref. No.:
Finding Aids:
            Online: A detailed electronic Document List for PAR 2-3, 5-7 is available; see Electronic Finding Aid section below.

An introduction to the Papers is located at the beginning of each reel, and available in print in The Loyalist Collection red binder. The Introduction includes a brief history of the Papers, background information on the Parker family, brief document listing of each document, and a short bibliography. 

The document listing found at the beginning of each reel lists a number (e.g. PA 4.3, meaning the third document in the forth section) and the corresponding  numbers are written on the top right of the first page of each document.            
Electronic Finding Aid Record: Document List, PAR 1-7.pdf

Researchers should note that there appear to be errors in the account of the Parker Family history in the introduction at the beginning of the reels. The first date of James Parker's imprisonment during the American Revolution was not 1777, but began on, or shortly after, 11 July 1776. The second time he was imprisoned was not in 1778. He was captured on 9 February 1781 and afterward taken to France.

According to the Extract from a Memorandum by Mrs. Parker of Fairlie (18.6), Margaret (Ellegood) Parker was Jacob Ellegood's sister, not his daughter. Also, James Parker clearly states his relationship with Jacob Ellegood as a brother-in-law in the supporting documentation he gives on Jacob Ellegood's behalf to the Commissioners for Loyalist Claims.

Related Material

Two collections of family papers which interconnect with the Parker Family Papers are: John Saunders Papers, 1775-1834. MIC-Loyalist FC LFR .S2J6P3 and Jacob Ellegood Papers, 1785-1918; predominant 1785-1829. MIC-Loyalist FC .LFR E4J3P3.
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