JAMES F. PARKS
Nature has been very bountiful in bestowing upon California rich mineral resources and from an early period in the history of the state Mr. Parks has been an active factor in developing its mining interests. He is now the superintendent of the Kennedy and South Eureka mines located at Jackson and Sutter Creek, and his long mining experience makes him particularly efficient as the manager of those interests.
Mr. Parks is a native of Missouri, his birth having occurred in Cooper County, on the 9th of September, 1835. He is descended from one of the old families of the south, his father, Samuel Parks, having been born in 1812 in Kentucky, when he removed to Cooper County, Missouri, when a young man. In the latter state he was married to Miss Christiana Clark, a native of Virginia, both at Hanover Court House. They became the parents of nine children, seven of whom are living. In support of his family Mr. Parks followed the pursuit of farming and stockraising. He was a Universalist in his religious faith, and died in 1875, in the sixty-third year of his age. His wife still survives him and now resides in Windsor, in her eighty-fifth year, being well preserved both mentally and physically.
James Franklin Parks was her second child and now the eldest survivor of the family. He was only seven years of age when taken by his parents in their change of residence to Benton County, Missouri, where he acquired his education. In 1855, having attained the age of twenty years, he crossed the plains to California, driving an ox team. It was a long and tedious journey, but after four and a half months of travel across the long sandy stretches and over the mountains he arrived safely at Volcano, California, where he left the party with which he had traveled and for some time he engaged in prospecting and mining on the Kern River and also followed mining in Mariposa County. His first experience at quartz mining was at Hornitos, where he was paid four dollars per day, mining in the Bear Valley and Princeton gold mines.
Subsequently he went to Virginia City, Nevada, being employed in the Comstock mines for eight years in the capacity of foreman. For a period of two years he was the superintendent of a White Pine mine, and while in Virginia City he there voted in the first territorial election and the first state election held in Nevada, continuing in White Pine County until 1871. He then assumed charge of the Indian Valley mine in Plumas County, California, where he remained for two years, when in 1873, he came to Amador County to take charge of the Keystone mine at Amador City. For fourteen years he operated that property which made good dividends throughout the period. He was highly esteemed by the members of the company for which he worked so long and faithfully until he severed his connection with them, when he took charge of the Kennedy mine at Jackson, in February, 1887, a position which he has since continued to fill. During twenty-seven years he has had charge of mines located within a radius of five miles and his long service well indicates his ability and his faithfulness to the trust reposed in him. During this time he has acquired many mining interests of his own and is now the possessor of considerable valuable property of this character.
Mr. Parks was united in marriage in 1871 to Miss Mary Pheby, a native of England, and their union has been blessed with four children, natives of Plumas and Amador counties, namely: Lillian, now the wife of Judge John F. Davis, of Jackson; Samuel Thomas, who is connected with the mining interests in Amador County; James Franklin, who is a student in the Lick School of Mechanical Arts, in San Francisco; and Mary Elizabeth, who resides with her parents. Mrs. Parks is a valuable member of the Methodist church, and Mr. Parks has membership affiliations with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the American Order of United Workmen. He is also connected with the Chosen Friends and has many times been presiding officer of these organizations. He and his family reside on Kennedy Hill, adjacent to Jackson.
In politics he is a Democrat and by appointment of Governor Budd is serving as trustee of the State Mining Bureau. A man of generous impulses and sterling worth, he enjoys the high esteem of all with whom he is brought in contact and his worth as a man and a citizen is widely acknowledged.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.