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James Henry Parks
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Birth: May 13, 1841
Death: May 2, 1929

Son of Josiah Parks and Caroline Westfall Parks.

James was raised in Frankfort, Herkimer Co., NY. He enlisted as a Sergeant in Company K to serve 3 years. He later lived in Hartwick, Oneida Co., NY and then Johnstown, Fulton Co., NY where he died in 1929.

Obituary of James Henry Parks
Leader Herald, Tues, May 21, 1929

CIVIL WAR VETERAN STRICKEN WITH FATAL ATTACK WHILE COMRADES DINE. James H. Parks, 88, old Indian fighter and commander of McMartin Post 257, GAR for 16 years, taken suddenly last evening while "vets" were having annual banquet at Baptist Church - was scout with Gen. Miles expedition which pursued "Sitting Bull".

He was stricken with fatal heart attack while his comrades of 1861-1865 were enjoying the 15th annual banquet as guests of Baracas of 1st Baptist Church.

He was a well-known Civil War Vet, scout with Gen. Nelson A. Miles expedition which followed Sitting Bull's tribe into Montana after Custer Massacre. He died suddenly at his home.

He had had heart attacks for the past 3 or 4 years. He went to the 1st Baptist church, just a few doors from his home last evening, greeted veterans and guests, asked Judge Jeremiah Keck to read message that he had prepared, excused himself, went back home, but planned to return before banquet was over. Just after he reached home, he died. Word of his death was whispered to those attending. Rev. Wm. Robinson was called to the Parks home. The last message he had prepared that was delivered by Keck expressed his thanks to the church for the annual banquet honoring the Civil War Vets. Eulogies of War records were given at the close of the banquet.

He was born in Deerfield, May 13, 1841, the son of Josiah and Caroline Westfall Parks, and spent most of his childhood in Frankfort, NY. When the Civil War broke out, he was in the office of Dr. P. A. Skiff, Frankfort, where he had been studying medicine for 1-1/2 years. He promptly enlisted, served with distinction, and was promoted September 1864 from the 2nd New Hampshire Cavalry to hospital steward, which he held until the winter of 1871.

During the first 2 years after close of war, served at Fort Ontario, Oswego Co. He made application to be sent West and was transferred to Fort Dakota, now Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Two years later, the fort was abandoned and he was ordered to Fort Ellis, Montana, now Bozeman, MT, at the headwaters of the Missouri river. Still at the fort, he received his final discharge 1871, 30 years old.

He went to California for several years, then returned to Montana. He joined Gen. Miles expedition, and the following account appeared in the NY Sun and Herald a few years ago.

"I served under Gen. Custer for a while in Virginia during the Civil War, and under Gen. Terry after the Civil War, when he commanded Dept. of Dakota. I was also a member of Gen. Nelson A. Miles expedition which followed Sitting Bull's gang as far as the British line up in northwest corner of Montana after the Custer Massacre. In first place, Sitting Bull never pretended to be chieftain. He was a medicine man and nothing more. He was a squatty, fat Indian and never took active part in any battle of importance. But through incantations in making medicine, he was looked upon with awe --- an erroneous idea that Gen. Custer commanded against the Sioux, he did not. Gen. Terry outranked him. Gen. Custer and Major Reno were not sent out from the main compound to find Indians. They were sent out by Gen. Terry, in separate commands and in different directions to reconnoiter, --- and if either found Indians, they were to send runners back to the main compound. The Sioux numbered over 2000. But Gen. Custer, a braver man never drew sword or led men, with his gallant boys of the Seventh Cavalry, who had never turned their backs to the red men, attacked without sending back to the main command and the whole country knows the fatal result.

The Miles expedition that went afterward in pursuit of the Indians up to the British possession, started from Fort Keogh, MT, 5th US Cavalry, 100 Crow Indians and several citizen scouts, of which I was one. It was commanded by Gen. Nelson A. Miles, Major Eugene M. Baker of Second Cavalry, being 2nd in command. It had 70 Gov. wagons and 100 mules.

From the Missouri river, we took a north by west direction and saw nothing of Indians until we struck Milk river country, where we came in contact with a large band of Sioux and had running fight nearly all day, when they scattered and took refuge across line, not far away, with the Main band at Woody Mtn, British Columbia. Gen. Miles halted command at Rocky Creek, having no authority to cross the line with an armed force. Woody Mt. was visible in the distance and at base were encamped Sitting Bull and about 2000 Sioux with Chief Gall in command.

In the summer of 1881, Sitting Bull and all Sioux warriors came to Fort Buford on the Missouri, and gave themselves up. Afterwards, military authorities turned them over to Indian Agent McLaughlin, in charge of reservation at Standing Rock Agency. There later Sitting Bull met a tragic death, not at the hands of the white man, but at the hands of an Indian police force that belonged to Standing Rock Agency."

After his return to this expedition to Miles City, MT, Mr. Parks returned to NY. In January 1897 he married Miss M. Della Johnson, formerly of Johnstown, at Toddsville, Otsego county. They moved to Johnstown in February 1912. The following year he was elected Commander of the GAR, McMartin Post. He was a member of the United Presbyterian Church. His only surviving relative, is his widow.

He was possessed of a kindly nature, courteous manner, friendly word for all, both old and young. He enjoyed esteem of a wide circle of acquaintance in the community he adopted as his home. He was in charge of Affairs of Post 257, and carefully looked after the welfare of Civil War Veterans. He was a lifelong Republican, member of Committee on Soldiers and Sailors Relief of Board of Supervisors. Each year he was Grand Marshall of Memorial Day parade and presided at the exercises held in the Johnstown Cemetery.

While still in the west, he was at one time a candidate for Congress, but was defeated. At another time, he acted as editor of a weekly newspaper for more than a year.
Family links: 
  Josiah Parks (1808 - 1867)
  Caroline Westfall Parks (1808 - 1846)
  M Delia Johnson Parks (1868 - 1936)*
  Mary Ann Parks Mower (1830 - 1888)*
  Martha Jane Parks Mower (1832 - 1890)*
  John J Parks (1835 - 1869)*
  Sarah Elizabeth Parks Reese (1837 - 1919)*
  James Henry Parks (1841 - 1929)
*Calculated relationship
Johnstown Cemetery
Fulton County
New York, USA
Created by: Elsie Scharpf Saar
Record added: Mar 13, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 66875185
James Henry Parks
Added by: Fred Saar
James Henry Parks
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Mary Lou Cook
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