John Parker Sr

John PARKER Sr. (1568 – 1651) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line

John Parker Sr. was born 25 Sep 1568 in Georgeham, Devon, England.  His father was James PARKER.  His brother William was a privateer and John  accompanied him on Drake’s raid on Cadiz smashing the Spanish Armanda and several privateering adventures in the Caribbean.  He married Katherine Dennis on 25 Aug 1600 in Georgeham, England.  John was a mate on the 1607 voyage to found thePopham Colony, a short-lived English colonial settlement in North America loccated in the present-day town of Phippsburg, Maine, making him our first ancestor to arrive in North America.   John died Oct 1651 in Maine.

Georgeham Village and Parish Church

For a long time historians believed John Parker came over to New England as mate on the Mayflower. But here one of our earliest historians was guilty of a false assumption that has been so often repeated by later writers that it has assumed the quality of being factual. He based this on a deposition found in the Mass. Superior Court files. It was sworn to by John Phillips 3rd of Charlestown on Nov. 20, 1750 stating that John Parker, his father’s uncle “was mate of the first ship that came from England with Plymouth people. “That historian concluded that “Plymouth People” were the Pilgrims and the first ship was the Mayflower. But it actually was referring to the town of Plymouth in England and the Plymouth Company ships in 1607.

Katherine Dennis was born in England.  Her parents were John DENNIS and Katherine RAYLE. Katherine died shortly after the birth of John Jr. in 1601 in Bideford, Devon, England,

Children of John and Mary:
Name Born Married Departed
1. John PARKER Jr. 20 Apr 1601 in Bideford, Devon, England Mary CROCOMBE
16 Nov 1622 in Georgeham Devon, England
1648 or 1661 Sagadahoc, Maine.

In May 1587 John joined his brother William in Sir Francis Drake’s  military expedition against the Spanish naval forces assembling at Cádiz. Much of the Spanish fleet was destroyed. There followed a series of raiding parties against several forts along the Portuguese coast. A Spanish treasure ship, returning from the Indies, was also captured. The damage caused by the English delayed Spanish plans to invade England by more than a year. This incident, known to the Spanish as Drake’s raid on Cádiz 1587, is known to the English by Drake’s phrase “Singeing the beard of the King of Spain”.

John and William Parker particiated in Sir Francis Drake's Raid on the Inner Harbor of Cadiz, April 20, 1587

Queen Elizabeth put at Drake’s disposal four Royal Naval galleons: the Elizabeth Bonaventure, which was under Drake’s own command; the Golden Lion, captained by William Burroughs; the Rainbow, under captain Bellingham; and the Dreadnought under Captain Thomas Fenner. A further twenty merchantmen and armed pinnaces joined forces with the expedition.  William Parker probably commanded one of the pinnaces.

I’m not sure if John accompanied his brother William on this 1596 adventure, but had to include this swashbuckling fun, fun for Parker but not for Henn of course.  In Nov 1596 William sailed from Plymouth, in command of the ship Prudence of 120 tons, in company with the Adventure of 25 tons, commanded by Richard Heun, and, coming to Jamaica in March 1597, joined Sir Anthony Shirley in an attempt to surprise Truxillo, and, finding that impossible, took and sacked Puerto de Cavallos, but ‘made no booty there which answered their expectations.’ After other unsuccessful attempts they separated, and Parker, going towards Campeche, Mexico landed thirty-six men in a canoe, and surprised the town on the morning of Easter day. At first the Spaniards fled; but, recovering from their panic, they returned in overwhelming numbers and drove out the English, killing six and wounding others, Parker himself among them. The English, however, carried off their dead, and with colours flying marched down to their canoe, placing the prisoners, among whom were the alcade and others of the chief men of the place, in their rear, as a barrier, to receive the Spaniards’ shot, if they had thought fit to continue firing.  In the harbor they captured a ship with 5,000/. in silver on board and “other good commodities,” which they carried off. Afterwards the Spaniards, having fitted out two frigates, captured the Adventure, and hanged Henn and the thirteen men who formed his crew; but Parker, in the Prudence, got off safely, and arrived in Plymouth in the beginning of July

In Nov 1600, a month after getting married, John sailed under his brother William Parker (Privateer), captain of the Prudence,  having on board, besides several gentlemen volunteers, a crew of 130 men, and with him the Pearl of 60 tons and 60 men. Sacking and burning the town of St. Vincent, in the Cape Verd Islands, on the way, they proceeded to the West Indies, and after capturing and ransoming a Portuguese ship, with a cargo of nearly 400 slaves.  He also captured and held for ransom the Cubagua pearl-boats.  He then went to the island of Cabezas, near the mainland. Leaving the ships, they went in boats with 150 men to the Bastimentos, and thence, by night, on 7 Feb. 1601, into the harbor of Porto Bello; there they landed, and after a stubborn fight, in which they lost many men, they made themselves masters of the town. Unfortunately the treasury was nearly empty, 120,000 ducats having been sent to Cartagena only a week before.  Ten thousand ducats was all that remained; but “the spoil of the town, in money, plate, and merchandise, was not inconsiderable.”

Portobello Runis Today. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, it was a very rich port being the departure point from which Peruvian treasure left for Spain

With this and two frigates, which they found in the harbour and carried off, they retired to their ships, ‘releasing the prisoners, among whom were Governor Pedro Melendez and several persons of quality, without any ransom, satisfied with the honour of having taken, with a handful of men, one of the finest towns the king of Spain had in the West Indies.’ They arrived at Plymouth in May 1601.  John found that he had a newborn son, John Jr, but his wife Katherine died shortly thereafter.  Though he lived fifty more years, he never remarried.

The date of this expedition is given by Purchas, whom all later writers have followed, as 1601-2; but it is quite certain that in the latter part of 1601 and through 1602 Parker was at Plymouth, and the correct date, it may be safely assumed, was a year earlier.  William’s successes secured for him a prominent position in Plymouth, where he was looked upon as a hero of sorts and he became a founding member of the Virginia Company in 1606.  Captain William Parker was made Vice-Admiral and left on an expedition to the East Indies, but died at Java in 1617.

On 7 Jun 1607, John Parker was mate on one of the two ships sent to the colonies by the Plymouth Company representing his brother Williams financial interests in the expedition to found a Colony.    Only one person died during the Popham Colony’s first year making it much more successful in terms of human life than Jamestown or Plymouth, but after the first year was over, the colonists decided to return home.

The Popham Colony (also known as the Sagadahoc Colony) was a short-lived English colonial settlement in North America that was founded in 1607 and located in the present-day town of Phippsburg, Maine near the mouth of the Kennebec River by the proprietary Virginia Company of Plymouth. It was founded a few months later in the same year as its longer lasting rival, the colony at Jamestown, which was established on June 14, 1607 by the Virginia Company of London.

Five years after the settlement attempt at Cuttyhunk in what is now Massachusetts, the Popham Colony was the second English colony in the region that would eventually become known as New England. The colony was abandoned after only one year, apparently more due to family changes in the leadership ranks than lack of success in the New World. The loss of life of the colonists in 1607 and 1608 at Popham was far lower than that experienced at Jamestown.

The first ship built by the English in the New World was completed during the year of the Popham Colony and was sailed back across the Atlantic Ocean to England. The pinnace, named Virginia of Sagadahoc, was apparently quite seaworthy, and crossed the Atlantic again successfully in 1609 as part of Sir Christopher Newport’s nine vessel Third Supply mission to Jamestown. The tiny Virginia survived a massive three day storm en route which was thought to have been a hurricane and which wrecked the mission’s large new flagship Sea Venture on Bermuda.

The exact site of the Popham Colony was lost until its rediscovery in 1994. Much of this historical location is now part of Maine’s Popham Beach State Park.

Popham_Beach_State_Park site of the lost Popham Colony

The first Plymouth Company ship, Richard, sailed in August 1606 but the Spanish intercepted and captured it near Florida in November.

The next attempt was more successful. About 120 colonists left Plymouth on May 31, 1607 in two ships. They intended to trade precious metals, spices, furs, and show that the local forests could be used to build English ships. Colony leader George Popham sailed aboard the Gift of God with Raleigh Gilbert as second-in-command. The captain of the Mary and John, Robert Davies, kept a diary that is one of the main contemporary sources of the information about the Popham Colony.  John Parker was Davies’ first mate.

George Popham was the nephew of one of the financial backers of the colony, Sir John Popham, the Lord Chief Justice of England, while Gilbert was son of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and half nephew of Sir Walter Raleigh. Other financiers included Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the military governor of Plymouth; much of the information about the events in the colony comes from his letters and memoirs. Settlers included nine council members and 6 other gentlemen, while the rest were soldiers, artisans, farmers and traders.

The Gift of God arrived at the mouth of the Kennebec River (then called the Sagadahoc River) on August 13, 1607. The Mary and John arrived three days later. The Popham Colony was settled on the headland of an area named Sabino. The colonists quickly began construction of large star-shaped Fort St. George. Fort St. George included ditches and ramparts and contained nine cannons that ranged in size from demi-culverin to falcon.

Fort St George Popham Colony drawn by John Hunt

On October 8, 1607, colonist John Hunt drew a map of the colony showing 18 buildings including the admiral’s house, a chapel, a storehouse, a cooperage, and a guardhouse. Hunt was listed in the colony register as “draughtsman”. It is not known if all the buildings were completed at the time. Hunt’s map was discovered in 1888 in the Spanish national archives. A spy had sold it to a Spanish ambassador who had sent it to Spain. It might be a copy of the now-lost original map, and is the only known plan of the original layout of any early English colony.

Popham and Gilbert sent survey expeditions up the river and contacted the Abenaki, a tribe of Native Americans/First Nations belonging to the Algonquian peoples of northeastern North America. In a letter to the King, Popham wrote that the natives had told them that the area was full of easily exploitable resources. However, the colony failed to establish cooperation with the tribe; who were suspicious because earlier expeditions had kidnapped natives to show at home.

Late summer arrival meant that there was no time to farm for food. Half of the colonists returned to Great Britain in December 1607 aboard the Gift of God. Others faced a cold winter during which the Kennebec River froze. Fire destroyed at least the storehouse and its provisions. Later excavation has hinted that there might have been other fires.  I don’t know if John Parker returned on the Gift of God or stayed over the winter.

Colonists divided into two factions, one supporting George Popham and the other Raleigh Gilbert. George Popham died on 5 Feb  1608, possibly the only colonist to die – a contrast to Jamestown which lost half its population that year. Raleigh Gilbert became “colony president” on 5 Feb 1608 at age 25.

The colonists completed one major project: the building of a 30-ton ship, a pinnace they named Virginia. It was the first ship built in America by Europeans, and was meant to show that the colony could be used for shipbuilding. They also finally managed to trade with the Abenaki for furs and gather a cargo of wild sarsaparilla.

When a supply ship came in 1608, it brought a message that Sir John Popham had died. Gilbert sent the Mary and John to England with cargo. When the ship returned later in the summer, it brought news that Gilbert’s elder brother John had died. Gilbert was therefore an heir to a title and the estate of Compton Castle in Devon. He decided to return to England. The 45 remaining colonists also left, sailing home in the Mary and John and Virginia. (The Virginia would make at least one more Atlantic crossing, going to Jamestown the next year with the Third Supply, piloted by Captain James Davis).

The colony had lasted almost exactly one year. Later colonists in the area, building on the experience of the original colonists, settled further up the Kennebec River, at the site of present day Bath, Maine, where the winter storms and tides were not as severe.

In 1616, Sir Ferdinando Gorges (1565–1647) sent out Richard Vines, with orders to stay in the country near the failed Popham Colony all winter with his companions, and thus practically test the rigor of the climate.  It is possible that John Parker was a member of that company.   John had been on Gorges vessels in 1607, and possibly in 1608, but there are no clues to what he did following that aborted expedition.

Vines spent the winter of 1616-1617 in the sheltered basin now called Biddeford Pool, from which circumstance it received the name of Winter Harbor.

Biddeford Pool Inlet near Saco Bay Maine was called Winter Harbor when Richard Vines and maybe John Parker wintered there in 11616-1617

Mr. Vines made some sort of settlement here prior to 1623, as is proved by a statement of Gorges. In speaking of the settlement undertaken at Agamenticus that year, he says, “And we found more hope of a happy success of these affairs by reason that not far from that place there had been settled some years before Mr. Richard Vines, a servant, of whose care and diligence he (Gorges) had formerly made much trial in his affairs.”

It is well known that Mr. Vines in repeated voyages subsequent to 1616 made Winter Harbor his chief place of resort. That he erected buildings here, and occupied the place by tenants, more or less permanently, till he obtained a grant of land in the vicinity, is highly probable.

John Parker Sr.  had inherited the 250 acre Gorges fort site in Phippsburg following his brother William’s death in 1618. but he chose to reside on a small island on the eastern side of the river in what is now known as Sagadahoc Bay. Rascohegan Island

In 1622, Gorges received a land patent, along with John Mason, from the Plymouth Council for New England for the Province of Maine, the original boundaries of which were between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers. In 1629, he and Mason divided the colony, with Mason’s portion south of the Piscataqua River becoming the Province of New Hampshire. Gorges and his nephew established Maine’s first court system

The grant now commonly called the Biddeford patent, coinciding nearly with the present limits of the town, was made by the Council of Plymouth to John Oldham and Richard Vines, February 1, 1630. It extended along the sea coast four miles west from the mouth of the Saco River, and up into the country eight miles. Mr. Vines took legal possession of this grant June 23, 1630, in the presence of (our ancestor)  Isaac ALLERTON, Captain Thomas Wiggin, Thomas Purchase, Captain Nathaniel Waters, Captain John Wright, and Stephen Reekes. The attorneys of the Council for the delivery of possession were Reverend William Blackstone, of Shawmut, now Boston, William Jeffries and Edward Hilton, of Piscataqua.

The names and number of colonists at this time have not been recorded, but it was one of the conditions of the grant that the patentees should transport 50 persons to the colony, “to plant and inhabit there” within seven years. John Parker was probably among these colonists.  We find within that period quite a list of names and something of the occupation and financial standing of the people. There is an agreement bearing the date January 27, 1635, between Peyton Cooke and Richard Williams for the furtherance of clapboard making—an article of export in which the settlers in the neighborhood of the pine forests early engaged. They were then riven out of bolts or logs, instead of sawn, as at a later day.

Now in 1636 John would be 68yrs and living at Sagadahoc, having moved there by 1628, after Gorges agents had become discouraged and returned to England.

Sagadahoc County, Maine

The principal settlers at this early period, and their pecuniary standing, may be learned from a rate-list for the support of the minister, bearing the date September 7, 1636, which gives the names and amounts as follows: Richard Vines, £3; Henry Boade, £2; Thomas Williams, £2; Samuel Adams, £1; William Scadlock, £1, John Wadlow, £2; Robert Sankey, £1 10s.; Theophilus Davis, £1 10s.; George Frost, £1 10s.; John Parker, £1; John Smith, £1, Robert Morgan, 15s.; Richard Hitchcock, 10s.; Thomas Page, £1; Ambrose Berry, £1. These subscriptions were probably for support of a minister a part of the time who was engaged to hold religious services in different settlements, as we find no regularly scheduled minister as early as this at Winter Harbor


Preface II
The only mark the first John Parker made on the World, other than a multitude of offspring, was to have two places in Maine named after him, a neck of land in the mouth of the Saco River and an island in the mouth of the Kennevec River. Both names have since been changed! Much later a fifth generation Parker did have land named after him in Phippsburg that is today’s Parkers Head section.

William & brother John certainly participated in the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. It is difficult to determine the station to which William & John were born; that is, their fathers social rank. Much earlier under fuedalism, this ranking system was quite rigid, and was to become so again in the future. Yet during this transition period there was more flexibility. The common man with ambition and a bit of luck could move up through the class structure and achieve the rank of gentry, or better, of knighthood, the highest rank before nobility. william & John Parker would grow up and enter the merchant fleet. Wiliam was soon master of the ship “Prudence” of 120 tons, and John remained in his employ.

In 1587 the Parkers had joined Sir Francis Drake in the raid on Cadiz.

In Nov. 1600, a month after getting married, John again sailed from Plymouth with his brother William on the ship “Prudence” with a crew of 130, as well as several “gentlemen volunteers”. On their way to Panama they sacked the town of St. Vincent in the Cape Verde Islands, and then captured a Portugese slave ship. Arriving in PortoBello they landed in a surprise attack and captured the town. Hollowing the loading of spoil they returned to Plymouth, arriving in May of 1060. On his return John learned that his wife had apparently died following the christening of their son John Parker II on the 20th of April, less than a month earlier.

John Parker was mate on one of the 2 ships sent to the colonies by the Plymouth Company on June 7, 1607 representing his brother Williams financial interests in the expedition. John’s son JohnII would have been 6 years old when those ships sailed out of Plymouth harbor. the two ships, “Mary & John, and “Gift of God” cleared the lizard on the first of June, 1607. John Parker was a mate on one of those vessels and would represent his brothers financial interest in the expedition. Not long after their departure their endeavor became doomed. Sir John Popham, the key figure in the project had died back home.

Communications being what they were, the colonists didn’t learn of this until the supply ships arrived the following year. For a long time historians believed John Parker came over to New England as mate on the Mayflower. But here one of our earliest historians was guilty of a false assumption that has been so often repeated by later writers that it has assumed the quality of being factual. He based this on a deposition found in the Mass. Superior Court files. It was worn to by John Phillips 3rd of Charlestown on Nov. 20, 1750 stating that John Parker, his father’s uncle “was mate of the first ship that came from England with Plymouth people. “That historian concluded that “Plymouth People” were the Pilgrims and the first ship was the Mayflower. But it actually was referring to the town of Plymouth in England and the Plymouth Company ships in 1607.

John Parker was probably not a Puritan, nor was he necessarily a devout Anglican, but merely a loyal and unquestioning subject of the crown, regardless of who wore it. Whether or not he even thought much about the New World is doubtful, even though he would soon find himself involved in the colonizing of America and would eventually spend the rest of his life there. His one ambition was probably to be an officer in Englands merchant fleet.

In Spring of 1616 [Sir Ferdinando Gorges (1565–1647)]  employed Richard Vines, a Plymouth physician and friend, to take charge and he and his staff accompanied the fishing vessel on it’s annual summer fishing voyage to Maine. it is possible that John Parker was a member of that company. he had been on Gorges vessels in 1607, and possibly in 1608, but there are no clues to what he did following that aborted expedition. But his and his sons, long future involvement would suggest that he had signed onto Gorges ship and was probably beginning a lifelong association with Vines in Maine.

If John Parker was employed as a seaman by Gorges then he would have been making these voyages on Gorges vessel. And since he and his son would be spending the rest of their lives managing fishing stations he would be in good position to learn the business on these fishing voyages to Monhegan. In fact it is quite possible that he was at this time, in 1619, in charge of gorges fishing station on that island. No records have been found of Parker’s activities from 1608 when the Popham Colony failed to the appearance of John PARKER Jr. and his family at Winter harbor (Biddeford) in 1636 and John Parker 1st purchasing Sagosett island in 1648. but it is obvious they were present and involved during this period even though there is no documentation to verify it.

Mark Hill in the early 1800’s wrote “John Parker, a fisherman from Boston or it’s vicinity frequent fishing from Kennevec to Monhegan from 1625 to 1628, and in the winter of the latter year lived on the southerly point of Erascohegan Island now Parkers Island.

John Parker Sr.  had inherited the 250 acre Gorges fort site in Phippsburg following his brother William’s death in 1618. but he chose to reside on a small island on the eastern side of the river in what is now known as Sagadahoc Bay. Rascohegan Island?

In 1636 it had now been 28yrs. since John Parker Sr. was involved with the Popham colonists, and about 12yrs since John Sr. was located at Mass Bay, by the historian H.O. Thayer in establishing Boston.   Now in 1636 he would be 68yrs and living at Sagadahoc, having moved there by 1628, after Gorges agents had become discouraged and returned to England.

In 1648 John Parker acquired a deed for “Sagosett alias Chegoney’ from Robin Hood (Mowhotiwormit). It is safe to say that the elder Parkers involvement with Chegoney had begun long before acquiring that deed to it in 1648.

According to the confirmation secured by Mary Parker in 1661 this was a portion of what is now Georgetown Island; “I Robert W. Hood, Sagamore of Sacatyhock and Kennebeck have formerly sold unto John Parker Sen of Sacatyhock and his heirs a Tract of land on the Easter Side of Sacatyhock being an island commonly called by the mane of Sagosett alias Chegoney by the Indians I say having sold the island with all the Islets Appurtenences and Privleges whatsoever do to thesd Tract of Land belong or anyways appertain and having fiven him a Deed of Sale for the assurance of his right thereto bearing Date One thousand Six hundred Fourty and eight and that the now the said John Parker being decesed I the above said Rober Whood do of my own voluntary will and consent confirm the said Deed.

John Parker Jr. moved his family from Winter Harbor (Biddeford) to Sagadahoc after 1645 and probably before 1651. He purchased a 100 acre tract at Squirrel Point on Arrowsic Island from John Richards. He mad out a will in October 1651, and it appears that both he and his father died between then and 1654.   John Parker york, his land referred to in the bounds of a adjoining tract in 1651. Took oath of allegiance to Mass. govt. Nov. 22, 1652.

Memorial Bolume Papham Celebration Aug. 20, 1862 368pgs. Edited by Rev. Edward Ballard

John Parker’s Ownership
Mohotiwormet, or “RobinHood” (Mss. Indenture, Robin-Hood to parker), the great Sachem June 14th, of Nequasset, in consideration of “one Beaver skin and a yearly rent of one bushel of corn and quart of liquor: to be unto him paid, or to his heirs forever, by John Parker, at or before the 25th day of December, being Christmas day, at the swelling house of the said Parker, “let, set and sold” out to the said John Parker the a foresaid peninsula, including the site of SmallPoint Harbor: but which was then known only as “parker’s Plantation, within the jurisdiction of “Sebenoa”, the ancieny Lord of Sagadahoc. (Strachey quoted in Ancient Dominions of Maine Pg 90).

John Parker of “Kennebecke, aged about fifty years”, testified to the signing of an Indian deed of lands which he had occupied “upwards of 26yrs” and received confirmatory deed July 21, 1684. (York De.IV.) Sold land to Capt. Sylvanus Davis June 1, 1661, his wife Margery joining; confirmed the deed Nov 13, 1684. Sold an adjoining tract in “Kennevecke river” June 3, 1661, to his sister Mary Webber. With wife margery gave land in Kennebeck to William Baker, house carpenter, and his wife Sarah, their daughter.

Varney’s Gazetteer of Maine

John Parker, Jr. bought land of the Indians in 1650, what is now Phipsburg, Me.

The fleet arrived at Boston late in 1634. Parker and his contigent from the Mary & John offloaded at Agawam (Ipswich), where they were given land to spend the winter. Quascacunquen Plantation had been surveyed in 1633 along with the Ipswich grants; the land at the mouth of the river was ready for their arrival. They only needed final approval from the Massachusetts General Assembly. By common vote, the name of the plantation was changed to Newbury Plantation while they were still at Agawam (named for Newbury, Berkshire where Parker had once taught school). They also changed Quascacunquen to Parker River, to honor their leader.

Tradidtion says that Parker took his group in open boats, navigating Plum Island Sound to the Parker River. There, on the north bank, Nicholas Noyes was first to step ashore at Parker Landing. In June came the James with two of the cattle ships. Right behind them came the Planter, which family tradition says carried John Poore. 31 ships in all would arrive by the end of July, over 100 by the end of the year. The Dummer stock-raising colony was finally a reality.

More About John Parker:
Baptism: Sep 25, 1568, Shobrook, Devon, Eng..
Burial: 1654
Residence: 1636, Managing fishing station at Winter Harbor.

Georgetown on the Arrowsic:

“John Parker, 1st, lived on Arrowsic near Squirrel Point Light by 1630, the date that Boston was founded by the Puritans.  Parker attached the name of Parker’s Island to Rasthegon. There he lived and was buried after death. In the York Deeds, Book 15, Folio 137 is a map of the division of Parker’s Island to his descendants.”

“The Pilgrims had close associations with the region at the mouth of the Kennebec.  Parker arrived about 1629, taking up about 100 acres of wilderness land near Squirrel Point on Arrowsic Island.  There he remained until he purchased the present island of Georgetown (Maine). John Parker 1st also purchased from Robert Hood, the Sagamore Indian Chief, Stage Island and Salter’s Island which today are still a part of Georgetown, Maine.  Stage Island, then called Sagasset, is at the mouth of the Kennebec across from Popham Beach.  In early pioneer days the water around the island teamed with codfish which was dried in the sun on long tables known as ‘fish stages’ from which the island got its name.”

Parker was soon joined by other settlers from England and the north of Ireland who were attracted by the love of adventure, the promising trade of fish and furs and the lure of new lands for future homes. Roscohegan, the land of the Sagamore Indian Chief Robinhood had truly become Parker’s Island.”

In the History of Bath, Maine John Parker 1st is named as the first permanent settler on the shores of the Sagadahock (later known as the Kennebec River), and had already been making annual visits to the region to fish before becoming a permanent settler.


Dictionary of national biography, Volume 43 edited by Sir Leslie Stephen, Sir Sidney Lee

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20 Responses to John Parker Sr

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  6. Sue Coomber says:

    My father’s family originated in Cornwall, the most famous (or infamous) of which was Richard Parker, b1767. I was wondering whether there was a link between the men. I came across your site when helping my younger son with a project on the Tutors and found it quite fascinting.

    • John Parker says:

      Their was an archbishop of Cornwall named Parker (1540s), next to Devonshire. Matthew Parker was archbishop of Canterbury, chaplain for Queen Elizabeth.


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  10. Suz St. John says:

    Do you know if John and William Parker had a sister Millicent Parker who married John Worsley, Samuel Ramsden and then Oliver St. John? Millicent Ramsden granted shares of the Virginia Company to Oliver St. John July 4, 1619. I was able to track her backwards to being Millicent Parker by her marriage record to John Worsley. Thomas St. John (my ancestor) was aboard the Richard when it was captured by the Spanish. His brother William St. John was also an owner of the Virginia company with William Parker. Not sure who this Oliver St. John was (as is a very common name) but Thomas and William had a brother named Oliver.

    • Misha Ewen says:

      Hi Suz, I research the Virginia Company’s women investors and would be very interested in learning how you have traced Millicent Ramsden to Samuel Ramsden, John Worsley and Oliver St John. Have you found records of her marriage to these individuals?

      There is a will for a Millicent St John in the National Archives (Kew), but I have been unable to verify if this is the same Millicent Ramsden. It seems a coincidence that a Millicent Ramsden sold shares to Oliver St John, and then we have a will of Millicent St John – making me think, as well, that they might have married.

      Thanks, Misha.

  11. Suz St. John says:

    Also, In the will of John Worsley he mentions his brother William Parker.

  12. Lee Wiegand says:

    Thank you so much for the awesome job you’ve done preparing the information on your site. I’m a descendant of John Parker and his Oliver grandchildren. I endeavor to give citations for all facts I put together for my family tree, and I cannot find anywhere on the web a citation for the birth and marriage dates of the Parkers in England (and the parents) . Do you know where you obtained that information?

  13. Lee Wiegand says:

    Thanks, Mark. Your references were awesome. I was able to use them to verify everything else. The birth dates, etc are fairly consistent across the Web, but no citations, I suspect they’re accurate — just uncited, :-0

  14. Steve Moore says:

    You have done a great job of compiling information about Captain William Parker. Unfortunately, virtually everything about him, his brother John and his son, John, as reported in Ancient Sagadahoc, is inaccurate.

    For a book I am writing I have researched several thousand hours about the Captain. Captain William Parker’s brother, John, was a blacksmith and Burgess in Southampton, England. There is no record that he ever went to sea.

    Captain William Parker married a Wilmot Rogett, not a Katherine Dennis. Their son, John, was baptized in 1607/08, and went to work as an apprentice seaman for the East India Company after his father, Captain William Parker, died in its service en route to Bantam, East Indies, in 1618. There is no evidence whatsoever that the John Parker of Biddeford was any relation to these Parkers. Parish records for St Andrews in Plymouth, Devon, England, substantiate the marriage of Captain William Parker, as well as the baptisms of almost all of his known children.

    Although Captain Parker was a patentee of the Virginia Company of Plymouth, which attempted to settle the Popham Colony at Sagadahoc, none of these Parkers, including the Captain himself, ever sailed to New England or explored the coast of Africa.

    Descendants of John Parker of Southampton (Captain Parker’s brother) did settle on the Eastern Shore, and it is probable that Captain William Parker’s eldest surviving son, Nicholas, did settle in Roxbury, and later Boston, around 1630, early in the Great Migration.

    See, eg,

    See also

    Click to access AFH421Mar2004.pdf

    I only bring this to your attention because so many researchers online have accepted Chandler’s wild and unsupported assertions that it seems to have taken on a life of its own.

    • markeminer says:

      Hi Steve,

      You are probably right. Thanks for adding this warning note.
      I enjoy wild and unsupported stories, but it good to know what is substantiated and what is not.

      Thanks again,

      • Steve Moore says:

        Thanks, Mark, for your good natured reply. Although Captain William Parker’s brother, John Parker of Southampton, England clearly died in 1612 without any sons named John, I do leave open the possibility that Captain William Parker’s own son named John, born 1607/1608 could have been the John Parker who settled near the mouth of the Kennebec around 1629/1630. Captain Parker’s son, John, was undoubtedly very well acquainted with Ferdinando Gorges, Robert Trelawney, Moses Goodyear, Abraham Jennens, Leonard Pomeroy and others who were active Plymouth (England) investors in the settlement of Maine. It is conceivable that, if John survived his apprenticeship with the East India Company, he could have later turned his attention ambitions to settlement in the New World, as did his older brother, Nicholas Parker of Roxbury and Boston.

        In that case, you would be descended from the grand old privateer, Captain William Parker, himself. Also, if you have any roots in the Eastern Shore, you may count yourself among the thousands who did, in fact, descend from Captain Parker’s brother, John Parker of Southampton, England (as I do.)


  15. Lee Wiegand says:

    To Steve, thank you for your details. I’m one who has had the inaccurate information on my site for awhile. You contacted me quite some time ago, and I’m just now getting around to correcting it. I will incorporate your comments about the possibilities into the revised site. I plan to include a link to a .pdf file of the old information with an explanation. Like Mark, I believe it makes for for interesting history, and there is possibility of relationship as you noted.

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