John S. Parker

JOHN S. PARKER, a prominent and influential merchant, head of the J. S. Parker Company, of Scottdale, whose successful career is ample evidence of what a man can accomplish by energy, perseverance, concentration and good business sagacity, was born in West Newton, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, January 28, 1842, son of John S. and Jane (Graham) Parker, natives of Ohio and Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, respectively.

John S. Parker (father) came to Westmoreland county when a young man from his native state, Ohio, which was then the western frontier of civilization, and at once engaged in mercantile business at West Newton. Later he removed to Reagantown and there conducted the same line of business until his death in 1857, at the age of sixty-five years. He was a substantial citizen, and always took a deep interest in every enterprise that tended toward the public good. He was stanch Democrat in politics, a consistent member of the Presbyterian church, in which body he was active officially, and a soldier of the War of 1812. His wife, whose maiden name was Jane Graham, was a native of Westmoreland county, a member of the Presbyterian church, and a woman of remarkable business ability. After the death of her husband she conducted the business successfully for many years, aided by her sons. She died in 1882, aged eighty years. Their family consisted of nine children: Sarah Ann, deceased, who was the wife of James Weddle; Eliza Jane, deceased, who was the wife of James P. Ward; Rebecca, deceased, who was the wife of James McCune; Harriet, wife of Abraham Ruff, of Mount Pleasant; Nancy Ellen, widow of James B. Smith, of Scottdale; Euphemia, wife of John Hurst, of Scottdale; John S., mentioned hereafter; Richard G., a resident of Huntingdon township; George C., who is associated with his brother John S. in business. George C. was born in the vicinity of West Newton, October, 1847. He was educated in the public schools, and his training in the mercantile line was obtained in his father's store. About 1873 he and his brother Richard G. established a business at Reagantown, conducting a general merchandise store until 1880, and the following year he came to Scottdale and engaged in business with his brother John S., with whom he has been associated continuously, being at the present time (1905) a member of the firm. He is one of the organized stockholders of the Savings & Trust Company of Scottdale. He was married August, 1896, to Ida E. Fry, daughter of David and Susan. They are members of the Presbyterian church of Scottdale.

John S. Parker obtained his education in the schools of Reagantown and West Newton. After the death of the father he assisted his mother in the conduct of the store, rendering valuable service. In February 1873, he formed a. partnership with his brother-in-law, James B. Smith, and engaged in the mercantile business at Scottdale under the firm name of Parker & Smith, which connection continued until 1881, when Mr. Smith withdrew and S. B. McMillan and George C. Parker became members of the firm. The name was then changed to J. S. Parker & Co., and so continued until 1884, when Mr. McMillan retired and the firm name became J. S. Parker & Bro., and continued as such until 1896, when the firm name was changed to J. S. Parker Co., as it stands today. They began business in a very small way, their stock consisting of groceries and a limited amount of dry goods. In 1890 the grocery department was eliminated. He now carries a full line of dry goods, notions, jewelry, men's and boy's clothing, ladies ready-to-wear suits, millinery, carpets, window shades, curtains, linoleum and numerous other articles to be found in a first-class general mercantile establishment. He has occupied the same corner, Pittsburg and Spring streets, and the old building was enlarged from time to time to meet the growing demands of the business. In 1903 it was torn down and on the site was erected a fine three-story brick pressed gray building, 66x100, two floors of which they occupy, there being only one establishment in the county which occupies more floor space, and this establishment now stands in the front ranks of mercantile enterprises. Mr. Parker is one of the energetic, active business men of the borough, and has taken a deep interest in all enterprises that have been inaugurated, among which might be mentioned. The Scottdale Iron and Steel Company, limited, the pipe mill, the machine shop, and in 1901 he became one of the promoters of the Scottdale Savings & Trust Company, of which he is a director, and January, 1905, was elected president of the same. He also built one of the first houses erected in Scottdale. He is a member and trustee of the First Presbyterian church, to the support and maintenance of which he contributes liberally.

November 11, 1869, Mr. Parker was united in marriage to Pauline Ruff, daughter of Jonas and Ruth Ruff, of Mount Pleasant township. Mrs. Parker died in 1890, leaving five children: Richard H., an associate of his father in business; Frank R., an associate of his father in business, he married Olive Anderson, and their children are: Clyde, Gertrude and Pauline; Jane G., Effie May, Clyde, who died at the age of six years. In 1894 Mr. Parker married for his second wife, Mrs. Charlotte Johnson, nee Trader, of Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

Source: Page(s) 159-160, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed May 2007 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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