George Ballard W. Parks

#1222, b. 19 March 1817, d. 28 March 1898
Father*Robert Parks1 b. c 1775, d. bt 1840 - 1850
Mother*Polly Hardwick1 b. bt 1775 - 1780, d. b 1840
     George Ballard W. Parks was born on 19 March 1817 Greenup County, Kentucky.1 He was the son of Robert Parks and Polly Hardwick.1 George married Cynthia Ann Richardson, daughter of Caleb Richardson and Celia Humphries, 26 July 1845 Tipton County, Indiana.2,3 George died 28 March 1898 , in Silverton, Marion County, Oregon at age 81 and was buried Miller Cemetery, Marion County, Oregon.

His estate was probated on 8 April 1898, Marion County, Oregon
The probate listed:
George B W - note his will was dated 15 July 1896 and he died 28 March 1898, testate;
Mary A Palmer - Daughter, Executor, Marion County;
Nixon E Palmer - grandson, Executor, age 22, Marion County;
Mary A Palmer - daughter, heir [husband, G W Palmer] age 52;
William W Parkes - son "last heard from at Cheyenne, WY" heir, age 51;
Robert H Parkes - son, Lewiston, ID, heir, age 48;
Caleb A Parkes - son, Colton, WA, heir, age 44;
James R Parkes - son, Concord, WA, heir;
George B Parkes - son, Colton, WA, heir;
Flora A McAlpin - daughter, Kiona, WA, heir;
Mary Palmer - granddaughter (Lottie), Lebanon, OR, heir, age (--?--);
Emma Reed - granddaughter (Lottie), Portland, heir, age 24;
Nettie Palmer - granddaughter (Lottie), Marion Co., OR, Heir;
Nellie Palmer - granddaughter (Lottie), Marion Co., OR, heir.

Weekly Oregonian Statesman (Salem) 15 Apr 1898
Testaments files with the County Court yesterday: Estates of Geo W B Parkes and Joseph Hassing Divided among the Respective heirs.
The last will and testament of Geo B W Parks, whose death occurred on March 28, 1895, was filed for probate yesterday. The will, which bears the date of July 15, 1896, disposes of real and personal property of the value of $5000. The will directs that all the just debts and funeral expenses be paid out of the estate; the reminder of the estate do be divided to the children of the decedent.
Mary A Palmer, aged 52 years, and Nixon E Palmer, aged 22 years are named executors of the will. Thomas Palmer and John English were the witnesses to the testament, and certify to the genuineness of the document. The heirs named are:
Mary A Palmer, daughter aged 52 years, of Marion County, Oregon. William W Parkes, son, aged 51 years of Cheyenne, Wy; Robert H Parkes, son, aged 48 years, of Lewiston, Idaho. The heirs of Lottie E Palmer, daughter: Mary Palmer, aged 26 years, of Lebanon; Emma Reed, aged 24 years, Portland; Nettie Palmer, aged 9 years of Marion county, and Nellie Palmer, aged 9 years, of Marion county; Caleb A Parkes, son, aged 44 years of Colton, Washington. James R Parkes, son, of Concord, Washington; George B Parkes, son, of Concord, Washington; Flora McAlpin, daughter, of Kiona, Washington.
Decedent was 80 years old when the will was made and signed.4,5

     ( "GBW," "George," "Bal"

On son Robert H's death certificate, he is listed as "William" apparently. No one has seen the image of the original.

I see a note for Robert H Parks that his father is listed as "William" (not George Ballard William) Parks. And, his age is two years off. What I don't know, because I'm finding only an abstract, is which of his six children, or Polly, his wife. In fact, I guess I don't know why I think this is "our guy" except that he lived in the right neighborhood.
According to GBW's probate, Robert H Parkes, 48, was living in Lewiston, Idaho, in 1898.
In 1920, he was 70, divorced, living with his brother, Jim R Parks (James Roy), 60, and his daughter, Edna McKenzie, in Kiona, Benton County, Washington.
In 1920, his son Jacob H, 36, wife Carrie H, 30, son Roy O, 5, son Ralph H, 2 7/12, dau Luella B, 1 3/12, and Jacob's brother, Ora W (Ora Wade), 21, b Idaho, are living in Pleasant Valley, Okanogan County, WA. It's not that far between the two.
So, I suspect it is him.
GBW had been dead for over twenty years, by this time.
In 1930, GBW's grandson Ora Wade and his family are still in Pleasant Valley. I don't see anyone else off hand. Ora was born in 1899, so he neve knew his grandfather.
Well, all for now. I'm speculating that one child or grandchild, got this wrong. No other record has "William" and actually, "Wade" is more likely, but I'm not going to the bank with that either.)

In 1853, Bal, Cynthia and the family made the long journey from Indiana to Oregon. According to their Donation Land Claim application, they arrived "in Oregon" 20 October 1853. They would have left Missouri in the early spring, just as soon as the grass was up for the animals’ forage. We do not know exactly when they left, but by August they were in Fort Boise, facing the last long and arduous journey over the Cascade Mountains. Most trail pioneers went northwest to the Snake and Columbia rivers but there was budding an alternative, called the “Free Immigrant Road” and the Meek route. The new combination route had been scouted, but not finished, when Elijah Elliott went to Boise to meet his family in Ft Boise. To make it worse, Elliott did not go east on the road he was planning to bring the wagon west on. The Elliott route ran from the Idaho border, the "Elliott Cut-off," across the desert, crossed the Cascades, down the Middle Fork of the Willamette River to "Skinners" which later became known as Eugene. His bragging about the new route, which would cut 300 mile off the trip, caused a vast number of immigrants to choose to follow him. A good route, plenty of forage, mild climate, easy mountains. . . how could they lose? Leaving the first of September, the more than 1000 people, with thousands of stock animals, set out to the west. Although at first the going was ok, they soon came to the great desert, which had to be crossed. Because it was so late in the year, the streams were mostly dried up. It was very rough going. Some cattle walked away, people had to off-load furniture, food became scarce. The road they expected to find up the eastern slopes of the Cascades never appeared. It hadn't been built. So, they hacked their way up the mountain. Eventually they were exhausted, so Elliott sent ahead a scouting party to bring help on 16 October. Luckily, one of the scouts, Martin Blandling, was found by a farmer in the small village of Lowell. The villagers took food and water to the travelers who eventually made it to Lowell, and on to Eugene. Whether the 20 October date of “arrival” was entirely accurate, it served its purpose. The group had actually been in “Oregon” for close to two months by the time they landed.
Although records haven't been kept of the names of the 615 men and 412 women, by the process of elimination, some have been identified, as they were known to be in the area by the end of that year, and had not checked in at the Indian Agency on the northern route. They also were not known to have come up from the south. For this reason, the Parks family is included in the group.

Shortly after arriving in the area, the family went south to Roseburg, where GBW and Cynthia took out a Donation Land Claim for 135 acres in Township 27S Range 6W. This property is just west of Roseburg proper, on the side of a hill. Probably it wasn't the best place for a farm. The Abstract of Donation Land Claim reads: 818 Parks, George B. W., Douglas Co; b 1817, Greenup Co, Ky; Arr Ore 20 Oct 1853; SC 8 Nov 1855; m Syntha 25 July 1845, Tipton Co, Ind. Pat del 10 Jan 1874.

Sometime between 1865 and 1869, the family moved to Union County, where GBW again took out a claim, this time for 160 acres in Twp 3 south, range 38 east. Before 1880 the family moved again, this time to Whitman County, Washington, where several of the sons took out claims.
George, or Bal, as he was called then, had an orchard at the base of Steptoe Creek, now under water, and property extending up into the canyon. One of his brothers, Charles Rice Parks, and his family came and stayed with them sometime around 1887. I'm sure Bal's brother Robert Harrison Parks and family also visited, having moved to the Grande Ronde area around that time as well. Cynthia's youngest brother, Caleb Richardson, moved to Whitman County as well, having trekked from Indiana, through Kansas, to Washington.

After the death of Caleb Richardson, Sr., (1799-1870), Celia (Humphries) Richardson also moved to Whitman County. Both Cynthia (1826-1887) and her mother Celia (1802-1893) died in Whitman County and are buried in the Colton Cemetery. Bal was "getting on" and apparently became incapacitated, causing daughter Mary Ann (Parks) Palmer to go to court to obtain guardianship. She then moved Bal to the Mount Angel area of Marion County, Oregon, where she and husband Wash (George Washington Palmer) were growing hops. He died there in 1898, and was buried with members of the Palmer family in the Miller Cemetery. His daughter Lottie, who had married Henry Laramie Palmer, was buried there as well, although she died in Elk City, Oregon.

In the 1860s, GBW ran pack trains from Douglas County, Oregon, to the silver mines in Idaho, a distance of over 500 miles, using a combination of the rivers and mule trains. By land, it would be farther.

According to family legend, BGW used the rivers (Willamette, Columbia and Snake) to Lewiston, Idaho, where they changed to pack mules for the remainder of the trip. It is possible that they took a land route to the Dalles, and picked up the Columbia there, above the falls.

We do not know what they were packing, but an article in the Oregon State Journal dated 12 March 1864, describes that years trip.

Pack trains are now passing through, or leaving here, almost every day for the mines. Mr. George Parks, of Douglas county, left here on Monday, with several animals, for the upper country, where he has a train that he used between Lewiston and Bannock last summer. Others have passed through during the week. From present appearances it will be but a very short time till the McKenzie route will be open to the travel. Persons passing through will then fit out here, instead of at the Dalles, and save two hundred miles travel, and much unnecessary expense.6

George and Cynthia appeared on the census of 1860 Douglas County, Oregon; George Parks, 43, KY; Cyntha, 34, IN; Mary, 14, IN; William, 12, IN; Robert, 10, IN; Charlott, 8, IN; Kalope, 5, OR; Elizabeth, 2, OR; James, 6/12, OR.7

In 1876 George and Cynthia relocated to Whitman County, Washington.8

From Nellie Palmer Dunford notes.
About 1970 Nellie (Palmer) Dunford, granddaughter to GBW and Cynthia, wrote her understanding of the family history.

"G.B.W Parks was born in 1819 in Greenup County, Kentucky. Died at Silverton in 1898.
Celia Richardson Parks born 1802 - Died 1893
Mary Parks Palmer (Uncle Wash - George Washington Palmer)
Flora Parks McAlpin
Lottie Parks Reed Palmer (may be Ried)
The Parks family came west in 1853 and settled in southeastern Wash. at Colton and what is now Pullman. Most of that family has always lived in Washington. . . "

Notice the "Kale" and "Kalope" name on some records. This was Caleb Andrew Parks.9

George and Cynthia appeared on the census of 1870, La Grande Precinct, Union County, Oregon,
GBW Parks, 56, Teamster, 1000/10000, KY
S, 46, keeping house, Indiana; Wm, 22, Teamster, IN
R R, 21, IN; Caleb, 15, at home, Oregon; Jas, 10, OR; George, 6, at home, Oregon; Flora, 1, OR.10,11

Around 1890 GBW relocated to Oregon, where daughter Mary Ann, her husband George Washington Palmer, and their family were living in Marion County, growing hops.
Due to his fading memory, she obtained guardianship, in order to manage his affairs.12

Children of George and Cynthia

Last Edited=2 Sep 2020


  1. [S112] Marion County, Oregon Probate Record , Pg 191.
  2. [S114] Jordan Dodd, Marriages, Indiana to 1850 (Provo, UT: Operations, 1997), Parks, George B. W. married Richardson, Cynthia on 26 Jul 1845 in Tipton County, Indiana BK 1 P 31.
  3. [S163] Timothy M Parks, "Timothy M Parks Family Discussion," e-mail message from e-mail address (California) to Pat Dunford, 6/23/1999, George married Cinthia Mary Richardson, daughter of Caleb Richardson and Celia Umphries on 26 July 1845 in Beech Grove, Indiana.
  4. [S112] Marion County, Oregon Probate Record , Marion County Oregon Probate Records (Extract/Index) Vol 2 H-Q8 Apr 1898 Probate of Will of GBW Parkes/Parks (File 1787).
  5. [S580] Weekly Oregon Statesman, Salem, Oregon.
  6. [S544] Oregon State Journal, Eugene, Oregon, Date: Saturday, March 12, 1864
    Paper: Oregon State Journal (Eugene, OR)
    Volume: 1
    Issue: 1
    Page: 2.
  7. [S472] 1860 US Census Population Schedule, Washington, District of Columbia, US National Archives, Census Place: Cawley Valley, Douglas, Oregon; Roll: M653_1055; Page: 121; Image: 248; Family History Library Film: 805055.

    Mary 14 F Ind
    Wm 12 M Ind
    Rbt 10 M Ind
    Charlotte F 8 Ind (spelled Charlott)
    Caleb 5 M Or (spelled Kalope)
    Elizabeth 2 F Or
    James 6/12 M Or; Douglas County #426 13 July 1860 Cawley Valley Precinct - Post Office Roseburg.
  8. [S33] Obituary, 1934, Caleb Parks, Mr Parks came to the Palouse country in 1876 with his father, George B. Parks, and four brothers and three sisters.
  9. [S121] Interview with Nellie Pearl Palmer Dunford (Tucson, Arizona), by Patricia L Dunford, 1978. Patricia L Dunford Files (Patricia L Dunford, 3736 N Tucson Blvd, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, 85716).
  10. [S73] Lineage application of GBW Parks & Cynthia Ann Richardson, Oregon Pioneer Certificate, Although sources are same as other books, some spellings and such have been changed. Check primary sources.
  11. [S9] 1870 US Census Population Schedule, Washington, District of Columbia, US National Archives, Census Place: , Union, Oregon; Roll: M593_1288; Page: 397A; Image: 111; Family History Library Film: 552787.
  12. [S73] Lineage application of GBW Parks & Cynthia Ann Richardson, Oregon Pioneer Certificate, Although sources are same as other books, some spellings and such have been changed. Check primary sources, "History of Yakima Co., Washington.
  13. [S140] _____ Parks Family Bible owned by Caleb Parks or wife Listed as "Family Reckard of Geo. B. W. Parks Family." Was with family items in household of Carl Andrew Parks, Spokane, Washington, 2000.
  14. [S73] Lineage application of GBW Parks & Cynthia Ann Richardson, Oregon Pioneer Certificate, Although sources are same as other books, some spellings and such have been changed. Check primary sources, p 14; 1860 Census.
  15. [S40] Ruth Parks Durham, "George Ballard W. Parks", Celebrating Families of Whitman County: George Ballard W. Parks (ca 1988).
  16. [S110] Mary Stapleton Lavlor, Excerpts from Lincoln County leader, Toledo, Lincoln County, Oregon (Eugene, Oregon: M. S. Lawlor, 1988), Mary S Lavlor
    2250 Tyler Street
    Eugene, Oregon 97405
    503-484-0009, "Died at Elk City, Thursday, June 17, 1897, Mrs. Lottie Palmer, with bilious calucli......"; p 49 (6/24/1897).
  17. [S154] Unknown author, Isearch-cgi 1.20.06 (File: melrose.txt) (n.p.:, unknown publish date), Row 7
    Margaret I. Parks
    Born Sept. 23, 1854
    Died Oct. 23, 1854
    Children of G.B.W. & C.A. Parks.
  18. [S154] Unknown author, Isearch-cgi 1.20.06 (File: melrose.txt) (n.p.:, unknown publish date), Row 7:
    9. Eliza E. Parks
    Born May 27, 1857
    Died May 27, 1863
    Children of G.B.W. & C.A. Parks.
  19. [S73] Lineage application of GBW Parks & Cynthia Ann Richardson, Oregon Pioneer Certificate, Although sources are same as other books, some spellings and such have been changed. Check primary sources, 1870 Union Co., Census, La Grande Precinct., 8 jul 1870: James 10; p 14.
  20. [S73] Lineage application of GBW Parks & Cynthia Ann Richardson, Oregon Pioneer Certificate, Although sources are same as other books, some spellings and such have been changed. Check primary sources, 1860 Census of Douglas Co., Or 13 jul 1860.
    James 6/12 mo; p 14.
  21. [S73] Lineage application of GBW Parks & Cynthia Ann Richardson, Oregon Pioneer Certificate, Although sources are same as other books, some spellings and such have been changed. Check primary sources, 1870 Union County Census, Oregon: Flora 1; p 14.