I have been searching the early town records of Cambridge Vermont with the hope of find a connection to my ancestor, Silas Parker (1796-1838), who resided in nearby Westford in 1830. The census does not show any Parkers there in 1790 or 1800, so I have been looking in adjacent towns.
I have scanned a microfilmed copy of Cambridge's town records, available on FHL film # 28025. These records consist of a marriage index, a birth and death index, and three books of town records; book A (1785-1821), book B (1822-1844), and book C (1845-1882). There are no land records included in this film. I have searched for every mention of the surname "Parker" in the years before about 1835. I found that:
- Urania Parker married Thomas Russell Hawley on 8-Feb-1796 (book A, page 47)
- Lewis Parker m. Asenath Peabody on 2-May-1802 (p. A-126)
- Almira Parker m. Hiram Read on 10-Apr-1818 (p. A-306)
- Lydia Parker m. Chester Walker on 7-Dec-1820 (p. A-297)
- Louisa Parker m. Oel Safford on 11-Sep-1822 (p. B-208)
- Cynthia Parker m. Benjamin Barrett on 8-Jul-1824 (p. B-210)
- Mary Parker m. Sallis Reynolds on 18-Sep-1825 (p. B-210)
- Mary Parker m. Erastus Townsend on 11-Jun-1835 (p. B-229)
- Caroline Parker m. Elanger? Hubbell on 9-May-1837 (p. B-233)
The earliest recorded Parker family was that of Frederick Parker and his wife Polly. Their marriage record was not found, but Frederick took the Freemen's Oath on 2-Sep-1800 (p. A-30). A town history says he operated a sawmill. Their daughter Lydia was born on 25-Aug-1797 (p. A-51) and married Chester Walker in 1820. Daughter Salla was born 3-May-1799 (p. A-51), and Ester was born 10-Aug-1800 (p. A-66). Cynthia was born on 14-Sep-1802 (p. A-135) and married Benjamin Barrett in 1824. Polly died on 12-Jun-1804 (p. A-53), after which Frederick is not seen in the records.
Another family was that of Thomas Parker and his wife Orilla (other records indicate she was likely the daughter of Zebediah Allis and Martha Brooks of Hampshire Co. MA). Thomas also took his Freemen's Oath on 2-Sep-1800 (p. A-30), but his marriage is not recorded here. He listed his family on page B-189, probably while serving as Town Clerk around 1836:
- Lorenzo (b. 27-Dec-1809)
- Harrison (1st) (b. 18-Jan-1812)
- Harrison (2nd) (b. 22-Dec-1812)
- Lucy (b. 6-Apr-1814)
- Cordelia A. (b. 29-Feb-1816)
- Horatio (b. 19-Mar-1818)
- Charles Hubbard (b. 12-Jul-1821)
Thomas was very active in the Cambridge government, being mentioned in the town meeting records from 1805 to 1837. Between 1820 and 1835 most of the town and Freemen's meetings took place at his house/inn (although this may have referred to an older Thomas Parker - see below). He served as Town Clerk briefly in 1826 and then for the years 1834, 1836, and 1837. He was last mentioned as a trustee of School District # 6 in 1837 (p. B-143).
A third family was that of Lewis Parker and his wife Asenath Peabody. Lewis also took his Freemen's Oath on 2-Sep-1800 (p. A-30) and was married on 2-May-1802 (p. A-126). Other records indicate his wife was the daughter of Stephen Peabody and Hannah Chandler of Amherst, Hillsborough Co. NH. No records of children being born to his family were found in this film, although a daughter Asenath (who died in 1810 at the age of 2 months) is buried nearby. A son and two daughters are tallied in the 1820 Census. Lewis is mentioned in the minutes of the town meetings from 1804 (p. A-85) until 1849 (p. C-33). He was often mentioned as the head of School District # 5. He is buried at Jeffersonville Cemetery, having died on 21-Jun-1858 at the age of 79 (Asenath died on 29-Mar-1846 at the age of 66).
The last family I found was that of William Parker, who took his Freemen's Oath in Sep-1804 (p. A-115). His marriage to Sally (surname unknown) was not found in this film. A daughter Mary, who may have been born 27-Apr-1807 (p. A-140), died during an outbreak of dysentery in August of that year (p. A-153). William was not found in any of the census rolls for Cambridge.
A brief mention was also seen of an Otis Parker. He took his Freemen's Oath in Sep-1818 (p. A-256) and was mentioned once in the minutes of the town meeting in Mar-1821. He is also seen in the 1840 Census, aged 40-50 years. Also, the household of an Isaiah Parker is listed in the 1820 Census, but was not seen in the town records.
The 1850 Census for Cambridge provides further information on these individuals. On page 95b of film roll 925, Lewis Parker is seen living in the household of George Carleton and his wife Elizabeth Parker (perhaps one of Lewis' daughters). Lewis was then 71 years old, a clerk, and was born in MA. Nearby was listed Orilla Parker (Thomas' wife), age 70 - born in MA, who was living with her daughter and son-in-law Philip and Lucy J. Baker. However, Thomas Parker was seperately listed on page 96b of that census. He was living on the farm of Gardner & Mary Watkins (relation unknown), was also 71 years old, a farmer, and had been born in MA. Listed on page 109a was a Sarah Parker, age 78, born in MA, and living in the household of Oel & Louisa (Parker) Safford.
Between 1820 and 1835 the town's meetings were held at either the "Dwelling House" or the "Inn" of Thomas Parker, who in several instances is listed as "Major". This might refer to the husband of Orilla Allis, but it may instead refer to an older man. Other records indicate there was a Thomas Parker (b. 29-Mar-1754 in Salem, Rockingham Co. NH) who served in the Revolutionary War, and who married Lucretia Johnson (b. 1762) on 20-Aug-1780 in Walpole, Cheshire Co. NH (where he was listed in the 1790 Census). He applied for a military pension in 1818 in Chelsea, Orange Co. VT, where he was listed in the 1800, 1810, and 1820 census rolls. He died on 29-June-1829 in Cambridge VT, and his widow applied for his pension benefits there in 1837 before dying in 1841. Although their deaths are not recorded in the town records, listings for Mt. View Cemetery in Cambridge support these dates (although Thomas is listed as "Capt." there). Their children are documented elsewhere (some daughters ended up in Cambridge), so it is unlikely they were the parents of the other Parkers in Cambridge.
It's my impression that Urania, Frederick, Lewis, Thomas, and William were siblings, but no mention of their parents was found. The Parkers seen in the Cambridge records were too young to have been the parents of my ancestor Silas Parker. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has further information on any of these individuals.