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Collection Number: 04896

Collection Title: Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1949

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 16 items)
Abstract Francis Marion Parker was born in Tarboro, N.C., in 1827. He was educated in schools in Greensboro and Raleigh, N.C., and then farmed in eastern North Carolina. In 1861, Parker was elected colonel of the 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. He served in this position until wounded in May 1864. Parker saw action in several battles, including the Battles of Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania. After the war, Parker continued to manage his plantation until his death in 1905. The collection consists of papers of Francis M. Parker and his family, emphasizing Parker’s service in the 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. The collection includes a handwritten copy of a 1861 letter from Parker to his wife about taking care of the couple’s farm and several biographical essays discussing Parker’s war service, especially in the battles of Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, and Spotsylvania. Also included are a few items relating to Parker’s children and grandchildren, including several items about the family’s survival during Reconstruction; an essay about the Parkers’ 1851 wedding; two photographs of Parker in uniform; and other items.
Creator Parker, Francis M. (Francis Marion), 1827-1905.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Francis M. Parker Papers #4896, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed 2007) available.
  • Reel 1: Entire collection
Alternate Form of Material
A typescript copy of the autobiographical essay by Francis Marion Parker is available.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Francis King of New Bern, N.C., in November 1997 (Acc. 97139).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Francis Marion Parker was born in Tarboro, N.C., in 1827. He was educated in schools in Greensboro and Raleigh, N.C. At 19, he returned to Tarboro and took charge of the family farm. In 1853, Parker moved to Halifax County, N.C., and continued to farm.

Parker was one of the founding members of a volunteer military company named the "Enfield Blues," formed in 1859. In 1861, this group became the 1st North Carolina Volunteers, Company I. By October 1861, Parker was elected colonel of the 30th Regiment, North Carolina Troops. He served in this position until a wound in May 1864 left him ineligible for active duty. During the war, Parker saw action in several battles including the Battles of Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania.

After the war, Parker continued to manage his plantation and his family until his death in 1905.

See also the entry for Francis Marion Parker in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of papers of Francis M. Parker and his family, emphasizing Parker’s service in the 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. The collection includes a handwritten copy of a 1861 letter from Parker to his wife about taking care of the couple’s farm in Tarboro, N.C., and several biographical essays discussing Parker’s war service, especially in the battles of Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, and Spotsylvania. Also included are a few items relating to Parker’s children and grandchildren, including several items about the family’s survival during Reconstruction; an essay about the Parkers’ 1851 wedding; two photographs of Parker in uniform; and other items.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903.

10 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Materials by and about Francis Marion Parker and one letter addressed to Parker. There are two items by Parker: a handwritten transcription of a 15-page letter to his wife written during the Civil War and an undated six-page typescript autobiographical essay. Also included are three essays about the life and military service of Parker, a short essay describing the wedding of Francis Marion Parker and Sallie Phillips, and a 1903 letter from J. F. Means to Parker.

The Civil War letter was written from Camp Fayetteville, Va., and dated 12 September 1861. In the letter, Parker chastised his wife for not writing more often and gave her instructions about managing their farm in his absence. Parker wrote a great deal about his children, especially his daughter Mary who had just begun school. He briefly described the food and living conditions at camp and lamented the fact that his regiment was not intended to return to North Carolina anytime soon. He also noted that his company had lost eight members, all to disease, in the four months they had been together. "There was a great error committed in recruiting so extensively and promiscuously," he wrote. "We have men in our company who have never been of any benefit whatever to us, or to the Confederate States."

The autobiographical essay by Parker appears in both typescript and in a handwritten copy. The autograph version, however, is not contemporary with Parker and was probably copied by one of his children. The essay includes an account of Parker’s early life and schooling and a short catalogue of his Civil War activities. The only battles described in detail are the Battles of Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, and Spotsylvania. Of Sharpsburg, Parker wrote, "I cautioned my men to hold their fire until I should give the command, and then to take deliberate cool aim; that I would not give command to fire until I could see the belt of the cartridge boxes of the enemy, and to aim at these. They obeyed my orders, gave a fine volley, which brought down the enemy, as grain falls before a reaper." No details are given of Parker’s life after the war. Parker’s military experience is also described in an article he wrote for the Wilmington Messenger published 15 September 1895. The article is a sketch of the 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. In it, Parker listed members of the regiment and described their movements during the war, especially in battles of Sharpsburg and Chancellorsville.

There are three undated essays about Francis M. Parker, written by members of the Bethel, N.C., chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the early part of the 20th century. The essays are very similar and all rely heavily on the other materials in this collection. Another essay, entitled "An Old Time Wedding," written by Blake Nicholson and dated 17 December 1902, tells of the wedding of Francis Parker and Sallie T. Phillips in 1851. The author, who was a guest at the wedding, described the other guests, the ceremony, and the reception. Also included is a short letter from J. F. Means to Parker, dated 30 December 1903. Means asked for information about "the spot where Gen Pender fell" on 2 July 1863. There is a hand-drawn map on back of the letter.

There are also two photographs of Francis Marion Parker in his military uniform and a piece of a blanket that is framed and labelled: "This is a piece of a home woven blanket that was used during the war 1861-1865 by Col. F.M. Parker, 30th Regt. N.C."

Folder 1

Francis Marion Parker to Sallie Parker, 12 September 1861 #04896, Series: "1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903." Folder 1

Folder 2

Autobiographical essay by Francis Marion Parker #04896, Series: "1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903." Folder 2

Folder 3

Sketch of 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiment from Wilmington Messenger, 15 September 1895 #04896, Series: "1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903." Folder 3

Folder 4

Essays about Francis M. Parker #04896, Series: "1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903." Folder 4

Folder 5

"An Old Time Wedding," by Blake Nicholson #04896, Series: "1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903." Folder 5

Folder 6

J. F. Means to Francis M. Parker, 30 December 1903 #04896, Series: "1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903." Folder 6

Folder 7

Piece of blanket used by Francis M. Parker #04896, Series: "1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903." Folder 7

Image P-4896/1-2

P-4896/1

P-4896/2

Pictures of Francis M. Parker in uniform #04896, Series: "1. Francis M. Parker Papers, 1861-1903." P-4896/1-2

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Other Papers, 1924-1949.

6 items.

Papers of Francis Marion Parker’s children and grandchildren. Among them are three items of Haywood Parker, Francis Parker’s son: a long letter to Ella Battle in which he reminisced about his father and about the difficult times his family faced during Reconstruction; a pamphlet by Haywood Parker entitled "Recollections and Observations of the Reconstruction Era," 19 June 1930; and a short 1934 letter to his nephew, Francis King.

Also included is a biographical essay about Mary Parker Battle, Francis M. Parker’s daughter, which was presented by the Bethel Heroes Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy on 10 December 1935; a certificate from the U.D.C., presented to Francis Parker King in honor of his military service in World War II; and a handwritten copy of a speech, unsigned and undated, in honor of Robert E. Lee.

Folder 8

Haywood Parker materials #04896, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1924-1949." Folder 8

Folder 9

"A Tribute to Mrs. Mary Parker Battle," 10 December 1935 #04896, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1924-1949." Folder 9

Folder 10

Francis Parker King certificate, 19 January 1949 #04896, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1924-1949." Folder 10

Folder 11

Speech in honor of Robert E. Lee, undated #04896, Series: "2. Other Papers, 1924-1949." Folder 11

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Processing Information

Processed by: Nick Graham, February 1998

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, April 2005

Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the encoding of this finding aid and microfilming of this collection.

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