Monday, March 31, 2008

John Davis PARKER Mormon Pioneer

Big and Little Grandma
Almeda Sophia Roundy Parker and Samantha Roundy Parker

A Few Tales about John Davis Parker

By Vilate R. McAllister
East Mill Creek Camp, DUP

(Biographical Note: John D. Parker was born Nov. 22, 1799, in Saratoga, New York. [His first wife was Harriet SHERWOOD, she was deaf, their children died in Nauvoo, they divorced.] He married two sisters, Samantha Roundy, and Almeda Sophia Roundy, on the same date, Feb. 3, 1846, at Nauvoo, He died Feb. 27, 1891 at Kanarra, Utah.)

Old John D. Parker lived long long ago,
In the days when this fair state was new --
And he was resourceful, as pioneers were,
If these tales about him are true.

He said to his wife, “Someone’s swiping the wood
That I’ve sawed and ricked up in the shed.
Have you seen any prowlers? D’yu know who it is?”
“I haven’t an idea,” she said.
He enquired around of his neighbors and friends,
But they all shook their heads in negation.
“Well, I’ll fix ‘em up,” he said to himself,
“So they won’t swipe no more wood, tarnation!”

So with auger and bit he bored several holes,
And some gun powder poured into each,
Then carefully plugged them, and smoothed off the place,
As he smiled at the lesson he’d teach.
The vary next day a commotion broke loose
At the neighbor’s who lived over south--
The woman, soot-covered, fled out of the house,
While a wild shriek escaped from her mouth.
“My stove’s blowing up! Git in here, quick, Cy!”
John D. smiled, at work in his shop.
“Although I’m a blacksmith,” he said to himself,
As detective I’m not such a flop.”

As he worked in his shop on some intricate job,
Along came some mischievous boys
And refused to move on. John D. nearly went mad,
Annoyed with their meddling and noise.
At last desperation drove him to a trick
That got him in plenty of trouble.
He pulled out his knife, sharpened one long, thin stick,
Then solemnly sharpened it’s double.
“If you boys want some fun, go stick these in the holes
In those boxes back under them trees.”
You guessed it! Of course, the boxes were hives,
And the boys got well stung by the bees.
Their folks got the sheriff and had him arrested,
And for once in his life, it seemed John D. was bested!

Again we find John D. in desperate straits,
And getting results with long switches
He used on two men, to tingle their hides,
Head and shoulders as well as their britches.
The three were on foot, and were crossing a pass,
And by winter and snow were overtaken,
And when his companions got sleepy, he knew
If he let them sleep, they’d never waken!
But they just sat there, though he cajoled and coaxed,
And they wouldn’t budge out of their tracks;
So he got a long willow, and tingled them good,
And in trying to ward off his whacks
Their blood got warmed up, and their senses returned,
And they realized, then, that the “spanking”
Had saved both their lives. -- So his lashes and cuts
Were repaid with extravagant thanking.

John D. had a horse that was balky as sin,
And he swore that he’d cure him, or die.
One day, hauling wood, old Tucker stopped still
With a stubborn, mean look in his eye.
John D. coaxed and wheedled, but Tucker refused
To budge from his place half an inch.
“By jing,” swore John D. “I’ll move you, I’ll bet!
“I’ve a way that will sure be a cinch.”
So he stacked up some bark and some twigs, and some brush,
And arranged them right under the horse--
Then he lighted a match, and the flames crackled up
And singed Tucker’s belly, of course.
He quickly stepped out, and John D. grabbed the lines
And smiled--but his smile was cut short--
For Tucker just moved himself off from the fire,
Then drew himself up with a snort
Just as the wagon, all loaded with wood,
Stood over the fire just right.
Wringing his hands, John D. Watched it burn
down to ashes--a sickening sight!

But he didn’t give up. He got a new rig,
And he went out to haul wood again.
When Tucker laid down, John D. unhooked old Mack
And tied him up nearby; and then
He proceeded to take all the wood from the load,
And he stacked it, and ricked it, and laid
Every piece on old Tucker, who soon couldn’t move
In the woodpile enclosure John Made.
Then riding old Mack, he went home to the ranch,
And left Tucker there in his prison.
Next day he went back, loaded up, and hooked up,
And Tucker’s ambition had risen!
For he led out so fast Mack could not match his paces--
And he never again laid down in his traces!

John D.’s cow, it seems, were quite ornery, too--
They wouldn’t go feed when they should.
The calves in the “krell” would bawl--back they would rush
From the pasture, as fast as they could.
John would drive them again and again to the field,
And in minutes right back they would come.
“This isn’t funny! I’ll think up a way
To conquer them critters, by gum.”
So the next time, John D. met them out at the bars
With some pailfuls of boiling hot water.
They bellowed and ran to the fields in much pain--
But they stayed there and grazed, as they’d “oughter.”

John D. had two wives; one was tiny, one large--
They were sisters, but no one would know it.
And John D., of course, was the head of his house,
And he lost no occasion to show it.
Sophia would dutifully do as he said,
And was quite as docile as a cow.
But Samantha, though small, had a will of her own,
And he’d do as she said, somehow!
They were crossing the plains, and they found that the load
They had started with had to be lightened.
“We’ll leave that heavy old step stove,” he said.
Samantha her lower lip tightened,
And with small hands on hips, calmly, firmly she spoke.
“Just go chase yourself down the alley!
I’ll not cook for your posse on any camp-fire!”
And the stove came along to the valley,
Much to the Amusement of posterity,
Who relish these tales from John’s life.
He would figure a way to solve most anything--
But could never quite conquer his wife!
Parker, John Davis (1799-1891), farmer, wagonwright; born at Saratoga, Saratoga County, New York. Served in the War of 1812. Converted to Mormonism, 1832. Participant in the march of Zion’s Camp, 1834; Kirtland Camp, 1838. Proselyting in Louisiana, 1841-42. Married Almeda Sophia Roundy, 1846 in Nauvoo, Illinois. Crossed the plains to Utah, 1852. Served in the Utah territorial legislature. Died at Kanarra, Iron County, Utah. [PJSv2]

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