The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 
 James Parks

James Parks

Birth
Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Death 21 Aug 1929 (aged 86)
Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 15E, Grave 2, Map grid G 26
Memorial ID 6532 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Folk Figure. Born a slave at the Custis-Lee plantation, Arlington, he was assigned as a field worker. At the age of 18, after the Lees had departed Arlington, leaving only 63 slaves and overseer at the property, he witnessed the aftermath of Bull Run. He later helped build Fort McPherson and Fort Whipple (present day Joint Base Myer-Henderson). In 1862, under the terms of George Washington Parke Custis' will, Parks was freed. Quartermaster General, Montgomery Meigs in his official capacity as army cemeteries superintendent, recommended Arlington as a military burial ground. In 1864, when the first graves were prepared, Parks was there as a grave digger. He remained in the employ of the U.S. Army until 1925, working as a grave digger and maintenance man for the national cemetery. In 1928, the ongoing restoration of the Custis-Lee Mansion relied heavily upon Park's testimony as to the layout of the plantation. He gave specific locations for the wells, springs, slave quarters, slave cemetery, dance pavilion, old roads, ice house, blacksmith shop, and kitchens. When he died the following year, special permission was granted for him to be buried at Arlington with full military honors. He is the only person ever buried in Arlington National Cemetery who was born on the old plantation. His grave can be found in section 15, near Selfridge Gate.

Bio by: Iola


Inscription

James Parks, an interesting, respectful, kindly old Negro: Born a slave at Arlington House Estate about 1843. Died Arlington County, Virginia, August 21, 1929. He belonged to George Washington Parke Custis, proprietor of Arlington Estate from 1781 to 1857. "Uncle Jim" lived and worked at Arlington practically the whole of his long and useful life. In appreciation of his faithful service the secretary of war granted special permission to bury his mortal remains in this National Cemetery. Requiescat in Pace.


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was James Parks?

Current rating:

106 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Oct 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6532
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Parks (19 Mar 1843–21 Aug 1929), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6532, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .