Major Lewis F. Parker
1881 Biography

Almaden Township

Bio- Alley Bowen
Was born in Highland county, Ohio, March 20l, 1824.  When young he was taken by his parents to Indiana, whence, after a short residence, they moved to Fulton county, Illinois, where he lived until he attained the age of sixteen years.  He then proceeded to Hendricks county, Indiana, and there received his education.  Major Parker next moved to LaPorte county, and there resided until he started for California, September 1, 1850, he arrived in the Golden State, after having crossed the plains with pack-mules, and went to Georgetown, El Dorado county, where he remained but a short time; thence he removed to Horse-shoe Bend, on the middle fork of the American river, and commenced mining.  These operations he continued for  a year , when he transferred his location to Spanish Flat, in the same county, where he mined and kept  a boarding-house until 1856. In this year he arrived in Santa Clara county, came direct to Almaden township, and settled on the ranch of three hundred and twenty acres which he now occupies, where he has a picturesquely situated comodious residence, nestling at the mouth of a miniature canon in the western foothills. 

Mr. Lewis has served for eight years as Deputy Assesor, under D. M. Harwood and W. O. Barker.  January 28, 1856 , was appointed Captain of Company K., First Cavalry, Second Brigade, Californa Militia, and served as such until November 1, 1867; when he was promoted to be junior Major of his Regiment, with rank from that date.  He married in LaPorte county, Indiana, December 23, 1847, Julia Keith, who came to California in 1852, and has an only child, Elizabeth Nancy, born October 19, 1853.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben
History of Santa Clara County, California
San Francisco: Alley, Bowen & Co., 1881, 838 pgs.

Spring Ranch, Union District
1888 Biography

 Bio-Pen Pictures

the proprietor of the "Spring Ranch," and one of the early settlers of Union District, located there August 26, 1856. The eastern line of his ranch, one mile in length, faces the Mt. Diablo and Meridian line, while the Los Gatos and Almaden road passes half a mile north of the north boundary of the property. Mr. Parker owns 320 acres, to one-half of which he bought a "squatter's claim" in 1856, and which he afterward pre-empted and bought of the United States Government.

The subject of our sketch was born in Highland County, Ohio, March 20, 1824. When a babe, his parents removed to Illinois, where his father, Wm. Parker, died, in Fulton County. Later his mother, Elizabeth (Davis) Parker, made her home in La Porte County, Indiana. The boyhood of our subject was spent principally at Danville, Hendricks County, of the same State, and there he received his education. In La Porte County, Indiana, on the twenty-third of December, 1847, Mr. Parker married Miss Julia A. Keith, daughter of Lewis and Nancy (O'Hara) Keith, and a native of Morgan County, Ohio, where she was born March 27, 1830. Leaving his wife in La Porte County, Mr. Parker, in company with his brother-in-law, Mr. P. G. Keith (whose history appears in this volume), crossed the plains in 1850. They left Indiana on the eleventh of March, and their long, wearisome journey was not ended by their reaching Georgetown, El Dorado County, of this State, until August. During the following two years Mr. Parker worked on Horseshoe Bar, on American River. His wife joining him in November, 1852, they settled at Spanish Flat, and engaged in hotel and mercantile business. The hotel, the "Parker House," is yet running under the same name. Mr. and Mrs. Parker successfully conducted the business until they removed to Santa Clara County. Their large ranch, excepting a portion which is reserved for a family orchard, is devoted to general farming and stock-raising. The grounds occupied by the residence and surrounding buildings was the site of an old Spanish town called "Capitancillos." A portion of the walls of the old adobe buildings was to be seen when Mr. and Mrs. Parker came to the place. Tradition says that the ground where the home now is was the scene of a fierce battle fought in prehistoric times between two tribes of Indians.

Although not in the field in the war for the Union, the unsettled condition of the State at one time made it necessary for loyal men to organize, that they might be prepared to meet possible emergencies, and Mr. Parker was made captain of a company of home guards, which was called the " New Almaden Cavalry," and which belonged to the First Regiment of "Home Guards," State Militia.

Mr. Parker is a member of the Republican party, active and ardent in the support of its principles. He has held offices of local trusts, having been Deputy Assessor for a term of eight years.

Mrs. Parker is connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church. They have one daughter, Elizabeth N., who makes her home with her parents.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 416-417

1922 Biography


MAJOR LEWIS FOSTER PARKER. A worthy pioneer settler whose name is linked with the earliest days of California and Santa Clara County is the late Major Lewis Foster Parker, who contributed much toward the development of Almaden township, for so many years his home. Major Parker was born on March 24, 1824, in Highland county, Ohio, his parents being William and Elizabeth (Davis) Parker, both natives of Pennsylvania. On his paternal side Major Parker was of English descent, while his mother's people were of Welsh origin. His parents removed to Highland county, Ohio, and later to Indianapolis, Ind., where William Parker built the first flouring mill. He afterwards returned to Ohio, where he passed his remaining days. Lewis F. Parker had a brother, J. D. Parker, living at Terre Haute, Ind., who held the office of county clerk of Vigo County, so made his way thither as a young man and attended Terre Haute Academy, after which, for a time, he assisted his brother in the county clerk's office. He then proceeded to Laporte, Ind., where he was employed as a clerk in a store and it was in that city he formed the acquaintance of Miss Julia A. Keith, whom he afterwards married. Mr. Parker then engaged in farming until the discovery of gold in California was heralded in the East and with others he outfitted with horses and pack ponies and came across the plains, being enroute about six months, arriving in California September 1, 1850.

Going first to Georgetown, El Dorado County, he next located at Horseshoe Bend, where he engaged in mining, going from there to Spanish Flat. Here his wife joined him, coming via Panama in 1852; he remained there until 1856, then came to Santa Clara County, and settled on a ranch of 320 acres in Almaden township, the place now owned by his daughter , Miss N. Elizabeth Parker. Here he engaged in farming and stock raising, the country being then only sparsely settled and quite in it primitive state, so that his labors paved the way for the succeeding generations. Prominent in the military affairs in the early days, Mr. Parker was a commissioned captain of the New Almaden Cavalry, Company K, California Militia, on January 28, 1865, and served until November 1, 1867, being promoted to the rank of major. He was also active in the public affairs of the county and was a prominent Republican; he also served as deputy county assessor under D. M. Harwood and W. O. Barker. The school district was organized at the Parker home about 1858. The question came up for a name of the district; some suggested Parker, but the Major was too modest to permit it. After other names had been suggested Mrs. Parker said, "Why not call it Union district." as the people in the district were strong pro-union. Thus it was decided and Major Parker was school trustee from its organization until he resigned.

Major Parker was married at Laporte, Ind., on December 23, 1847, to Miss Julia Keith, and they became the parents of one daughter, N. Elizabeth, who owns and makes her home on the Parker Ranch, managing 320 acres with splendid ability. She is proud of being a native daughter and is a Republican in her political affiliations, taking a progressive interest in community affairs though her membership in the Neighbors Club. Major Parker passed away on October 20, 1892, the mother surviving him until January 31, 1911, both worthy pioneers whose memory will always be held in grateful remembrance.

From Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 592