Aaron Parks, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Aaron Parks


Among the reputable men of Valparaiso, who in their conduct of business matters, and the duties belonging to the various relations of life, have acquired a worthy name, is Aaron Parks, who for many years was the only gunsmith in Valparaiso. He is an honorable business man and the master of his trade, there being not a detail of the same with which he is not thoroughly familiar. Mr. Parks was born in Groton Township, Erie County, Ohio, January 17, 1833, and is a descendent of an old colonial New England family. His great-grandfather, -------- Parks, was in the Revolutionary War, in a Vermont regiment, and the latter's son, Aaron Parks, served in the same war, being under Gen. Washington during the fearful winter at Valley Forge. Aaron died on the old farm where he was born, at the unusual age of 102 years. Ebenezer Walker Parks, father of our subject, was born on the old farm near Dunstable, Vermont, and had six brothers. He was a school teacher and carpenter, and when a young man went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he assisted in building the first frame house in that city. He worked at his trade there for ten years. He was married in Sandusky, Ohio, to a Miss Oles, and four children were born to them: Alonson, Orilla, Mariah and Mary. Mr. Parks settled in Erie County, Ohio, where he was among the pioneers, and cleared up a farm. After the death of his wife he married Mrs. Mary Bear nee Gilbraith, and three children were given them: Aaron, Margaret, and John, who was a soldier in the Rebellion, and who was killed at the battle of Fort Donelson, Gen. Lew Wallace's regiment. Mr. Parks moved to Blissfield, Lenawee County, Michigan, retired from active life, and two years later his death occurred, when fifty-one years of age. In politics he was an Old Line Whig, and in religion he was a Methodist, being prominent in church affairs. His son, Aaron Parks, our subject, received his education in the district schools, and when eighteen years of age began learning the trade of gunsmith, serving an apprenticeship of three years. After this he worked as a journeyman for two years in Michigan City, and one year in LaPorte, Indiana. In 1854 he came to Valparaiso, established a gunsmith shop in this town, and was here married to Miss Jane Cook, daughter of Samuel Cook, an old resident of Valparaiso. In September, 1864, he enlisted in Company -------- Fifty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and was detailed to the armory at Indianapolis, Indiana, where he worked at his trade during his service, being honorably discharged in 1865. Returning to Valparaiso, he has since followed his trade, and is a very skillful machinist. In an early day he made many rifles, and the old-fashioned rifle barrel was made of Swedish iron, in sections, and skillfully put together. Mr. Parks has made the entire rifle - barrel, lock and stock - and understands the business to the smallest detail. When our subject first came to Porter County game was plentiful, and deer would sometimes run through the town. At one time he killed two deer within a mile and a half of Valparaiso. Wild ducks, geese, prairie chickens squirrels and rabbits abounded in vast numbers, and the country was a hunter's paradise. Our subject took a great interest in hunting and fishing, and hundreds of wild ducks and geese have fallen before his shotgun. In politics Mr. Parks is a Republican, and his first presidential vote was cast for Gen. Fremont. For two years Mr. Parks was a member of the city council of Valparaiso, and township trustee for four years, two terms. He is a member of the G. A. R., Chaplain Brown Post, No. 106, and is now quartermaster, a position he has held for seven years. In religion he is a Methodist, and is now one of the stewards of his church. Mr. Parks is well known throughout Porter County, and his establishment is patronized by people from far and wide. He keeps a full line of sporting goods, and knows exactly how to fit out sportsmen. To Mr. and Mrs. Parks have been born two children: Alice E., born September ---, 1857, and died in 1892; and Samuel, born June 20, 1864, and who is a gunsmith by trade. He is in business with his father.

Source: Goodspeed Brothers. 1894. Pictorial and Biographical Record of La Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Brothers. 569 p.
Page(s) in Source: 265-267

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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