Unknown - portrait of Captain John Parker
The painter of this miniature portrait is unknown. The sitter was originally thought to be Captain John Henry Parker of Richmond, Va., but he was born in 1822, whereas the portrait and case date to about 1825-1830. Thus it seems it is more likely his father, Mr H Parker Esq, as referred to in the newspaper clipping below, who perhaps kept it for his son to see on his return home. Or perhaps even the father of Indiana B Parker herself.
Inside the red leather outer case there is a newspaper clipping which reads in part "Died - Suddenly, while visiting her father-in-law Mr H Parker Esq, of this city, on Monday morning the 7th inst, Indiana B., wife of Lieut. John H Parker of the US Navy. A true woman, wife, and daughter. While her husband treads tonight the quarter deck of the "St Lawrence" off the coast of Brazil, and gazes upon the starry heavens above him, little does he think that he is looking towards the haven into which the spirit of his dear wife has just entered .....".
For a lot of information about the "St Lawrence", including a picture, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_St._Lawrence_(1848) The St Lawrence had a peculiar life as the keel was laid in 1826, but the ship was not launched until 1848, 22 years later, due to a shortage of funds. This delay may represent a world record for the length of time from keel laying to launching. The ship was eventually sold by the Navy on 31 December 1875 to E Stannard. Coincidentally, the great-grandfather of Don the Collector was first mate on a British troopship also called "St Lawrence" which was wrecked off the coast of Africa in November 1876. However, it is thought to be a different ship".
John Henry Parker (1822-1905) was with the Navy in Hong Kong on board the "Dacotah" in 1861 when he heard of the outbreak of the American Civil War. After the "Dacotah" reached New York, he jumped ship and made his way to Richmond, to join the Confederate Navy.
For a record of his grave, see Parker, Capt John Henry 754
Addition. John Henry Parker was the great-great-grandfather of a kind visitor who has supplied the following extra information about him. "When he got home from overseas, he discovered his home state, Virginia, was at war, so when he was granted leave, he tried to get across the Potomac. He was captured, but he jumped overboard when he was being taken back across the river. He hid out and made another attempt, this time successfully crossing the Potomac to Virginia.
His gravestone says that he had been a captain in the confederate army, but my book says that was an error. He had been a lieutenant in both the U.S. and confederate armies. He later became a commercial boat captain, thus the source of the error. Everyone apparently called him Captain Parker. I have some information about his duties during the civil war, but I can't recall them accurately. I'll have to go look them up. I have a copy of a letter he wrote to the President asking to restore his full rights as a citizen.
Family legend has it that he owned a large plantation, but none of the documents I have show any evidence of that. His wife who must have died while he was at sea was Indiana Birkhead McRea. His second wife was Mildred Ellen Lacy. He had four children by the first wife and five children by the second.
His great-grandfather was a sergeant in the revolutionary war and was given land in Virginia."
Posted by Don Shelton at 8:53 PM