Was born in Claremont county, Ohio, October 11th, 1823. He is a twin child of John and Susan Parke, said twins being their first born. His father was a native of Tennessee, but removed to Ohio at an early age. The Colonel's opportunities for obtaining an education were very meager, and he may, therefore, be called a self-made man. After he was grown he learned the blacksmith trade, and in 1841 he came to Pike county, Illinois, locating in Perry. He worked at his trade in various places until the breaking out of the war with Mexico, when he enlisted, in the spring of 1847, in company "K," 6th Illinois regiment, commanded by Col. Newby. They marched across the plains to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they had quite a skirmish with the Navajois Indians. He remained in the service eighteen months, when he received an honorable discharge and returned to Illinois, and soon after married Miss Mary, daughter of Israel Fred, Esq., formerly of Ohio. Mrs. Parke was also born in Claremont county, Ohio, in 1825. They have had a family of five children. One daughter, Elizabeth, is married to John Lutz; the remainder of the family are single.
Mr. Parke, after his marriage, carried on his business at Griggsville, and was so engaged until the breaking out of the rebellion, when, in August, 1861, at the call of President Lincoln for 75,000 volunteers, he laid aside the pursuits of peace and the endearments of a happy family and raised a company. He was elected captain of company "C," 27th regiment Illinois volunteers, commanded by Col. N. D. C. Buford. They were mustered in at Camp Butler, Springfield, and from there proceeded to the seat of war, where they participated in the battle of Belmont and in the siege of Island No. 10. In May, 1862, he resigned, on account of physical disabilities. After recruiting his health, in August following, he raised another company, and was elected lieutenant colonel of the 99th regiment Illinois volunteers. They were immediately sent to the front, where they were engaged in the battle of Hartsville, Missouri, and Magnolia Hills, Mississippi, which was on the morning following the crossing of Grant's army into Mississippi. He was also in the battles of the siege of Vicksburg. His last battle was at the capture of Fort Esparango, Texas, in the fall of 1863. In June, 1864, he resigned and returned home to his family. On the 20th of March, 1865, he enlisted in Hancock's veteran corps, remaining in the service until March, 1866, when he was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky. During all that long period of service he never received a wound, though his bravery on the battle-field is never questioned.
Politically, Col. Parke was a democrat previous to the rebellion, since which time he has been a republican. To use the valiant Colonel's language, he thought he could not vote one way and fight another. The Colonel is a benevolent, kind-hearted gentleman, and is highly respected by his fellow citizens. He is now residing at his residence, four miles west of the village of Perry Springs, enjoying excellent health.