Biography of Hon. George W. Parks

Hon. G. W. Parks, deceased, supreme judge of the Cherokee Nation, was born in Monroe County, Tennessee, March 20, 1820, and emigrated with his father and family to the present nation in 1838. George received a common school education, and at eighteen years of age was appointed wagon master by Gen. Winfield Scott, who conducted the Cherokees to their homes in the Indian Territory. George remained in the new country two years, after which he returned home, and at his father’s death embarked in the dry goods business in 1840, in Cleveland, Tennessee, on a capital of $4,000. Remaining there until October, 1867, he sold out and came West, but the war had shattered his fortune and he arrived in the nation with only two good wagons and teams and $9 in money, his family consisting of a wife and eight children. During the war he had served in Wheeler’s Cavalry, Joseph E. Johnson’s army, and participated in a number of battles. In 1852 he joined the Masonic fraternity at Cleveland, Tennessee, and there took the Royal Arch Degrees, filling almost all the stations of the Blue Lodge and Chapter, but since coming west he has never affiliated with the order. Judge Parks married Miss Louisa Spriggs, August 9, 1844. She was the daughter of Ezekiel Spriggs, her mother being a McCoy, of Scotch descent. Mrs. Parks is a most charitable and hospitable lady and a loving wife. Their family consists of six children, two having died some years ago. The survivors are named Susan Caroline, Samuel C., Lucy Cordelia, Dondina, George W. and Ruth. In 1880 Mr. Parks was elected associate supreme judge of the Cherokee Nation, and held the position until his death, which occurred November 1883. Judge Parks, on his mother’s side, was descended from Lord Fox, an English nobleman, who married a Cherokee at the time that the British troops garrisoned Charleston, North Carolina. Her maiden name was Taylor. The judge’s father was Samuel Parks, of Irish descent, who died in Bradley County, Tennessee, in 1841. Judge Parks, during his active and not unromantic life, enjoyed several prominent positions in the old State, among them the office of mayor of Cleveland, Tennessee, which he held for six years. In appearance he was rather tall, possessing sharp angular features and gray eyes. He was a temperate man, and of a sociable disposition, while in his capacity of judge he is reputed to have acquitted himself honorably, wisely and conscientiously.


Indian Territory,

O'Beirne, Harry F. and Edward S. The Indian Territory: Its Chiefs, Legislators, and Leading Men. St. Louis. 1898.

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