November 5, 2015

James Robert Parks

This blog is ostensibly about James Robert Parks, born Sep. 17, 1874 in Larissa, Cherokee Co., TX to Doctor "Doc" Taylor Parks and his wife, Rebecca Ellen Brock.  However, as will be seen a little further down, I concentrate more on one of his descendants.

James Robert Parks was a conductor on the Texas & Pacific (T&P) Railroad.  His home was at Big Spring in Howard Co., TX.  He moved there in 1892 and the following year was hired as a switchman with the T&P.  Five years later he became a brakeman and promoted to conductor in 1900.  James was an employee of the T&P for 56 years, 49 years as a conductor when he retired on Jul. 1, 1949 at the age of 75. On Dec. 1 of that year he suffered a debilitating stroke and died in Big Spring on Mar 28, 1950.

With him all those years was his wife, Rosa Ann Cardwell, a daughter of Sam Cardwell.  Rosa was born in Frankfort, Franklin Co., KY in 1878.  She arrived in Big Spring in 1895 and married James on Sep. 29 of that year.  She died in 1954 at Big Spring, also of a stroke.  Both buried at Big Spring in the Mount Olive Cemetery.

I am fairly confident that they had only five children, all born at Big Springs.  They were Gladys Allene, born c1899; Robert M., born 1901; Mildred, born 1904, James Harold, born c1906 and Wendell, born 1920.

Daughter Gladys Allene was married c1918 in Big Spring to Roger Hammond White of Anson, Jones Co., TX.  He was also born c1899.  Together they had at least two children, Roger, Jr. and Shirley Jean.  Roger was born in 1919 and Shirley not until 1931. There were perhaps others born in between those years who didn't live to become adults, but I have not been able to identify any.

Roger, Jr. married Frances Genevieve Wallace in 1946.  Before that, however, he was a member of the 2d Battalion, 131st Field Artillery, 36th Division of the Texas National Guard.  His unit was activated at the beginning of WW2 hostilities and sent to the Pacific and the Indonesian island of Java.  In 1942 they were the only US forces on the ground.  On Mar. 12 that year, the British, American and Dutch military on the island surrendered to the invading Japanese.  All of the American forces were sent to Nagasaki where they remained prisoners for 42 months*.  According to some reports, there were about 400 POWs just to the north of Nagasaki when Maj. Sweeney, flying the B-29 bomber, Bockscar dropped the second atomic bomb on that city.

Although there were reports of some prisoners in the city being killed, I have found no evidence that any of the 2d Battalion prisoners being affected by the bomb.

After his marriage to Frances, he worked for the Pet, Inc., the evaporated milk company and was later employed by Cadena Jackson Food Services until he retired in 1981.

Roger, Jr. died at San Antonio, Bexar Co., TX on Jan. 22, 2010 and was buried there at Sunset Memorial Park. Frances preceded him in death on Sep. 5, 2000 and she too is buried at Sunset Memorial Park. They were parents of two daughters, Andrea and Wendy.

Neither James Robert Parks nor any of his ancestors are related to me.  His son, Robert M. Parks did marry Zou Margaret Hardy, the daughter of Abram Tyree and Lula Edna Coffee.  Lula was my first cousin, 2x removed, the daughter of Lilburn Warren and Margaret Goode Coffee. Lilburn Warren was brother to my great-grandfather, James M. Coffee.

*Name Roger H White Jr Event Type Military Service Event Date 1941-1945 Event Place Asia Military Rank Staff Sergeant Service Number 20813494 Military Service Branch Field Artillery Parent Military Unit     36th Infantry Division Assigned Military Unit 131st Field Artillery Regiment Subordinate Military Unit E Btry World War II Prisoners of the Japanese Data Files, 04/2005 - 10/2007, NAID 731002. Collection ADBC: Records of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, 04-2005 - 2006; NARA NAID 731002, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

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