Lester M. Parker, a prominent attorney of Oberlin, and editor of the leading newspaper in Decatur county, was born in Wyandot county, Ohio, April 3, 1870, son of E. L. and Martha (Harvey) Parker, natives of Ohio, where the father of our subject was engaged in farming and stock raising. Here young Parker was reared and began his early education, at the same time assisting in the farm work. When he was sixteen years of age his parents moved to Kansas and took a homestead in Rawlins county, two miles north of the present site of Achilles. The first Kansas home was a one-room sod, with dirt roof and floor, in marked contrast to their nine-room modern home left in the Buckeye State. Lester broke eighty acres of sod with an ox team, along with other work on the claim. The first school he attended in Kansas stood on the present site of Achilles, which, too, was a soddy, with dirt floor and roof. The seats were ash logs with wooden pins set in for legs, under which rested the books and slates.
After completing the common school Mr. Parker came to Oberlin, where he entered the high school, in 1889. While here his parents moved to Cheyenne county, Colorado, and started a stock ranch. Our subject, without funds, relied upon his own merits and succeeded in working his way through high school, graduating with honor in the spring of 1893. The following fall he began his career as a teacher, as principal of schools at Cheyenne Wells, Col. After five years' success in this school and after establishing a high school at this place, he was elected county assessor of the county, and while holding the position he attended Denver University at Denver, Col., as a student in the law department. In the organization of the legal fraternity of the school Lester was selected second choice of the faculty as a charter member of the Phi Delta Phi from a large enrollment of students from many States. While in college he was appointed clerk of the court by Judge Campbell, who, a short time later, was made justice of the Supreme Court of Colorado. This clerkship Mr. Parker held for three years, when he returned to Kansas and began the practice of law, in 1903. In 1904 he was elected county attorney of Decatur county, being reëlected in 1906. This was a period of "law enforcement" in the State of Kansas, and Mr. Parker made an unusual record. Of the many criminal cases brought he never lost one in the district court, and many of them were hard-fought cases for the violation of the prohibitory liquor law. For the first time in the history of the county, jointists and bootleggers were put out of business. The following election he was selected by his party as a candidate for the legislature. He ran far ahead of the ticket, but was defeated owing to the Democratic landslide of that year.
After retiring from office he formed a partnership with Judge Geiger and conducted a successful law business. In 1908 a company was formed that bought the Oberlin "Times" from L. G. Parker, and the Times Publishing Company was formed, with our subject as business manager. A short time later he bought out the other stockholders, and in addition to his law practice, he edits and owns the Oberlin "Times." He is a member of the executive committee of the Sons and Daughters of Justice, which position he has held since 1909. He has always been a loyal Republican, has served his party at various times as secretary and chairman of the county central committee, and has been honored by his party on several occasions as delegate to district and State conventions.
On November 30 Mr. Parker was married to Ella Josephine Colvin, daughter of H. D. and Frances (Pelton) Colvin, natives of Illinois, where Mr. Colvin was engaged in farming and stock raising. The Colvins came to Decatur county in 1878 and took a homestead on Ash draw, nine miles southwest of Oberlin. Their first home was a one-room building, made of native logs. In this building Mr. Colvin successfully defended his family when surrounded by three hundred bloodthirsty warriors during the murderous Indian raid. After several Indians were killed or wounded and driven from the scene Mr. Colvin loaded his family in the lumber wagon and started for Oberlin. Several dead neighbors were picked up by them on the way and taken to town. The next day Mr. Colvin, with a few assistants, went out and gathered up the rest of the dead, thirteen in all, and returned with their bodies to town.
Mrs. Parker was born in Cook county, Illinois, June 16, 1872, and received her education in the common and high schools of Decatur county. She, too, graduated from the high school, in 1893, being a classmate of Mr. Parker. They were married the year following their graduation. Five children have been born to this union: Pearle C., Leslie T., Francis M. (deceased), Martha E. and Mary E. Pearle, while staying with his grandparents, the Colvins, at St. Cloud, Fla., graduated from the public schools at the head of a large class, while Leslie is a sixth grader in Oberlin, Kan. Martha is three years of age and Mary, one.Pages 45-47 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project