Biography of Terry A. Parkinson

The name of Terry A. Parkinson has been prominently connected with the agricultural and stock raising interests of Oklahoma for many years. Kansas claims him as a native son, for he was born in Coffey County, that state, in May, 1866, a son of James and Emma Jane (Randall) Parkinson. The father was born near St. Augustine, Illinois, on the 18th of May, 1840, and removed to Iowa with his parents at an early day. When fifteen years of age he ran away from home, and going to Kansas became identified with the cattle business as night herder of four hundred and fifty head of oxen on freight outfit work, oxen which were being driven across the plains to the train at Leavenworth, Kansas. He made a trip and a half the first year.

Subsequently he went to Leadville, Colorado, where he spent the winter of 1855-56. He then returned to Kansas and was in the employ of Governor Tom Carney. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war he was still active in government work and was sent to Indian Territory to look after governmental interests there. He was conscripted into the service but the governor of Kansas secured his release, feeling that he could be of more importance in buying cattle for the Union army. He was active in that connection throughout the conflict.

Soon afterward he became associated with the M. K. & T. Railroad which was being built through Oklahoma, receiving a contract for twenty miles of grading in Kansas. He remained in the employ of the road for some time and in 1871 made his initial step into the mercantile business. For one year he conducted a store at Honey Springs and subsequently disposed of his interests there, removing to the old Creek agency, at the foot of Fern Mountain, where he opened a store which he conducted with a great amount of success until 1874. In that year he went to Muskogee and engaged in business with a Mr. Kincaid, that association being maintained for some years. After severing his relations with Mr. Kincaid, Mr. Parkinson entered into business with J. E. Turner, the business being conducted under the name of J. E. Turner & Company, and he achieved substantial success in that connection. Finally he sold out his interests in that concern and went to Okmulgee, where he purchased the Clarence Turner store, in the conduct of which he was active the remainder of his life. In 1894 he established his home at Wagoner, next door to Terry A., whose name initiates this review, and he resided there until his demise on the 16th of October, 1916, at the age of seventy-six years. Mrs. Parkinson, who was born in Independence, Missouri, on the 26th of August, 1844, died on the 26th of August, 1908, when but sixty-four years of age. Mr. Parkinson was one of the representative and progressive citizens of Oklahoma and his friends were legion.

In the acquirement of an education Terry A. Parkinson attended a private school at Muskogee, having been but eight years of age when he came to this state with his parents. After completing his preliminary education he took a business course in a college in St. Louis and then entered the employ of his father in the store at Red Fork, his father operating the store for eight years. On the 1st of January, 1890, Mr. Parkinson came to Wagoner and bought a half interest in the first mercantile business established here. W. W. Teague was the founder of this enterprise and he sold to Miller & McQuarrie. Mr. Parkinson bought Mr. W. W. Miller’s interest in the business, and the firm name became J. H. McQuarrie & Company. They later sold out to Mr. Parkinson’s father, who conducted it for many years in addition to his Okmulgee store.

After disposing of his mercantile interests Terry A. Parkinson engaged in the cattle business and he has become one of the most prosperous and prominent cattlemen in the state. He has a ranch of over one thousand acres, twelve miles northeast of Wagoner, and three of his children still have allotments in that section. He makes a specialty of registered shorthorn cattle and he also devotes a part of his land to general farming. As the result of intelligently directed efforts and unfaltering enterprise Mr. Parkinson has become a man of wealth and affluence. He has extensive oil and gas interests and owns a great deal of both business and residence property in Wagoner. He built a fine residence on his ranch which contains all the modern improvements to be found in any home in the city.

On the 4th of June, 1891, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Parkinson and Miss Addie Malinda Cobb, a daughter of Joseph B. and Eveline Cobb, both natives of Tennessee. The father went to Indian Territory in April, 1870, and located southeast of Wagoner. He became one of the representative farmers and stockmen of the community and was active along agricultural lines until his demise in March, 1896, at the age of sixty-eight years. Mrs. Cobb died on the 16th of November, 1918, at the age of eighty-three years. Further mention of Mr. and Mrs. Cobb may be found in the sketch of S. S. Cobb, appearing on another page of this work. Mrs. Parkinson was born in Wagoner County and she has many friends who appreciate her abilities as a housewife, mother, and hostess. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson eight children have been born: Rachael M., who was born on. the 1st of May, 1892, is the wife of J. M. Willison, a prominent and successful oil man of Wichita Falls, Texas, and she is the mother of three daughters; Ruth, born on the 28th of August, 1893, is now the wife of Roy Cunningham, a business man of Wagoner, and the mother of two children; Joseph T., who was born on the 9th of February, 1895, is married and resides in Tulsa ; Isabelle, born on the 20th of October, 1896, died December 13, 1918, and is survived by her husband, J. D. Garrison, and one child; Addie Florence, who was born on the 16th of January, 1900, married Alex Cowan of Phoenix, Arizona, and is the mother of one child, Alex, Jr.; Bruce C., who was born on the 30th of April, 1901, is now a student at the University of Illinois; Evie who was born July 19, 1902, is now attending Stephens College at Columbia, Missouri; and James, who was born on the 27th of July, 1904, is attending the military academy at Mexico, Missouri.

Since age conferred upon Mr. Parkinson the right of franchise he has given his allegiance to the Democratic Party and is interested in its success and welfare. For some time he was mayor of Wagoner, his administration being marked by prosperity and improvement, and he has also held the office of County clerk and at one time represented his County, in the state legislature. In whatever relation we find him, whether in his official capacity, in business, or in social life, he is always the same honorable and honored gentleman, whose worth well merits the high regard which is given him. He is a Scottish Rite Mason, having attained the thirty-second degree and he is likewise a member of the Mystic Shrine. For twenty-five years he was an officer in Masonic bodies and he is conceded to be an exemplary member of the craft. Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson are consistent members of the Presbyterian Church and generous contributors to its support.



Benedict, John Downing. Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma: including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.

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