YUBA COUNTY OBITS
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WILLIAM HENRY PARKS
Daily Appeal - 7/26/1887, p2 - Death of William H. Parks - In the death of William H. Parks California has lost one of her most prominent citizens. The State has never known an abler politician. It happened that the field of his activities was comparatively limited, but had he been afforded an opportunity to engage in political life at Washington, his capacity would doubtless have gained for him a commanding position in the councils of his party and a reputation of national extent. Few men are endowed with such ability as he possessed for practical political management. No one could be more adroit than he in a trying situation, and none knew better how to form or break political combinations or alliances. Men of abilities far less than his have achieved wide renown in the field of politics. Mr. Parks had not only the ability to plan but the power to execute. With him to decide was to act. He had energy and will-power to carry out whatever plans his brain conceived. Such a combination of superior capacity to plan, with executive ability of the highest order, is not often met with. - Unfortunately for Mr. Parks, he was long hampered by financial difficulties. Had he been free to devote himself entirely to public affairs, he would doubtless have entered upon the high career for which he was so admirably qualified. But yet he accomplished much. He had reason to be proud of the distinction he had attained, seeing that every advancement he had gained was won solely by his own will and in recognition of his superior powers. Mr. Parks was a notable example of a self-made man, and well illustrated the opportunities this country affords to those who have the ambition and the capacity to rise. - Marysville had reason to be proud of Mr. Parks. Next to Justice Stephen J. Field, he was the ablest man she had ever sent into public life. And while he had excited, by his positive, aggressive character, strong personal and political antagonisms, there exists a universal sentiment of regret that his career has reached an untimely close in the full maturity of his mental powers, and when many years of usefulness might have remained to him but for the relentless grasp of a malignant disease. - It is due the reputation of the deceased to say that his character was by many misunderstood, and often by enemies wilfully maligned. More than a usual share of abuse fell to his [smudge] public man. Yet those who knew him best declare that his integrity was above suspicion or reproach. As a political manager he might mold base clay to his uses, but no one could say that he was ever purchased or purchaseable. - In another column the Appeal presents a biographical sketch of the deceased, with portrait.
same issue, p3 - Ex-Speaker Parks - Death of One of California's Ablest and Best-Known Citizens - A Sketch of His Life, Public Services and Personal Characteristics - A Man Whose Word Was Reckoned as Good as His Bond - W. H. Parks died at his home in this city shortly before twelve o'clock on Saturday night. He had been confined to his house for many months by the progress of his malady, and a fatal termination, which was inevitable, had been long expected. The operations several times performed were undertaken with the object of prolonging his existence, and with little or no hope of permanently arresting the progress of the disease. Towards the end the patient became very weak, and death ensued from exhaustion and lack of nutrition. He retained full possession of his mental faculties throughout his long illness, and some time ago settled up his affairs in anticipation of fatal results. - The funeral takes place this afternoon at two o'clock from the residence, where the Episcopal service will be read and also at the receiving vault in the cemetery, where the remains will ultimately be buried in the family lot. There will be no services at the church. To accommodate those who may desire to go to the cemetery, and who may not have vehicles at disposal, the management of the Oroville road will run out a train from the E street depot after the services at the house have ended. The train will be free to all, going and returning. - Telegraphic messages of condolence were received yesterday by Mrs. Parks from Senator Stanford and wife, W. H. Mills and wife and numerous others.- Business To Be Suspended - The following is a list of merchants who will close their places of business from 2 till 3 p.m. to-day, in respect to the memory of the deceased: Garrett & Elder, W. T. Ellis, W. Pierson, Engle Bros, G. Hornung, Golden Rule Bazaar, L. Kuhn, Joe Lask, White, Cooley & Cutts, A. Peri, Hochstadter Bros., J. G. Cohn, A. Weinlander, A. J. Cumberson, N. Schneider, D. Cull, W. Klein, A. P. Meyer, Holland & Lombard, Eastman & Wright, A. Woodward, M. Marcuse & Co., P. Engle, E. C. Ross & Co., Hampton Hardware Co., A. J. Batchelder & Co., T. Dougall, F. Terstegge, F. S. Grey, E. Weinlander, J. U. Hoffstetter, W. H. Crook, Joe Brass, B. F. Gilman, Flint & Crane, P. J. Flannery, G. S. Cooley, Swain & Hudson. The banks will also close. - An Able Leader Gone - San Francisco, July 25th.-The Post this evening says: "The death of W. H. Parks removes one of the most skillful and best known politicians in the State from the councils of the Republican party. His service of several terms in the Legislature established his reputation as a parliamentary authority. He served two terms as Speaker of the Assembly, and his tact and energy in that position enabled that body to accomplish an extraordinary amount of work in regular sessions. To the people of Yuba and Sutter counties he proved a strong friend. His advice will be missed by his party in future campaigns in the northern part of the State." - A Self-Made Man - The Remarkable Career of One Who Spent But Six Months at School - William Henry Parks was born in Lake county, Ohio, in 1821. Soon after his parents removed to Seneca county, in the same State, where the son grew to manhood. When he was but a few years old his mother was left a widow, in straightened circumstances. The boy was thus deprived of opportunities for a liberal education. His entire schooling did not cover a longer period than six months. - In 1849 Mr. Parks, then 25 years old, came across the plains to California, arriving at Rose's Bar, on the Yuba river, August 29th. He engaged in mining for a time, but soon turned his attention to stock-raising, between 1849 and '52 making two trips across the plains to obtain stock from the East. In the spring of '50 he settled at West Butte, Sutter county, making that point his headquarters for his stock-raising operations. To this business he devoted his close personal attention for a long period. He was, as he often afterwards expressed it, his own vaguero, keeping a careful watch of his stock. After a time he sold off all his cattle, and devoted his ranges exclusively to sheep, which continued his principal source of income up to the time of his death. He also engaged to a considerable extent in farming. The reclamation of an extensive tract of land bordering on the tule basin of Sutter county, west of the Buttes, was a project which he conceived and to which he devoted a large share of his energy and capital. His sanguine disposition made him confident of success, but the undertaking proved disastrous to his fortune. He persisted in the enterprise with characteristic determination, despite a local opposition which finally culminated in acts of hostile violence, such as the cutting of a levee which he had constructed and which was known as "the Parks dam." But for the reverses experienced in this enterprise, he would have died a wealthy man. He leaves but a small estate. - Mr. Parks early embarked in public life. He was one of the first Supervisors of Sutter county. In 1859 he was elected State Senator for Sutter and Yuba counties, and was twice re-elected, filling the position for six consecutive years. At the outbreak of hostilities he united with the Republicans in the organization of what was known as the Union party. He was a member of the first legislative caucus which assembled for that purpose in this State. In 1863 he was appointed Provost Marshal for the Northern District of California, a position which he held until the close of the war. In 1867 he received the nomination for Secretary of State on the Republican ticket, which was headed by George C. Gorham, and was defeated with the other nominees of the party. In 1880 he was elected to the Assembly from Yuba, and became Speaker of that body. During that session he successfully carried through, in the face of a powerful opposition, his bill which became known as the Drainage Act, providing for the construction of debris dams in the rivers. After the passage of the Act he was appointed a member of the Board of Drainage Commissioners, which carried out its provisions. Before and after the passage of the Act Mr. Parks wrote a number of very able letters to various newspapers explaining and defending its objects, and calling attention to the magnitude of the debris evil. His powerful speeches on the floor of the House at this time also attracted general attention. - In 1884, Mr. Parks was a delegate to the Republican National Convention at Chicago, and was one of the most active of the supporters of Mr. Blaine in that body. The nomination of the Maine statesman is believed to have been largely due to the efforts of Mr. Parks, and the opinion has since been expressed that had the latter been manager of the campaign which followed, the Republicans would have carried the day. In 1884 Mr. Parks was re-elected to the Assembly, and again became Speaker. At this session he secured the passage of the relief bill for the payment of outstanding claims arising under the Drainage Act. After the death of United States Senator Miller, Mr. Parks was a candidate for the Republican nomination to fill the unexpired term, but the prize was carried off by A. P. Williams. The disease which eventually closed the career of the subject of this sketch had already manifested itself, and this was his last appearance in public life. He had served on various occasions as Chairman of State Conventions, enjoying the reputation of being the ablest parliamentarian on the coast. - In person, Mr. Parks was tall and erect, and in bearing affable yet commanding. His will was imperious, but his manner always genial. He had remarkable self-control, which was one of the secrets of his power to influence and control others. When in good health he seemed always overflowing with animal spirits. It was his nature to be hopeful and cheerful. Those who know him best say that he was ever sympathetic and kindly, ready to assist the unfortunate to the best of his ability. He was entirely a self-made man. But his intellect was of such a high order that he was enabled to far outstrip a host of men who enjoyed much greater advantages in early life. His bent was intellectual. He was a deep student as well as a close observer. No one could excel him in knowledge of human nature. He seldom or never made a mistake in his estimate of anybody with whom he had to deal. He had a genius for managing political conventions and for influencing the work of legislative bodies. But he was something more than a politician. He had a keen insight into all questions of political economy and the power to grasp and formulate great fundamental principles. He was a ready and keen debater, and at all times an effective speaker. His style, though not polished, was invariably clear, terse and incisive. He went straight to the point of whatever question he discussed. - In the business community the deceased was known as a man strictly honorable in all his transactions. "I considered his word as good as his bond," says a banker who had had business relations with him for thirty years. - Mr. Parks took no part in temperance agitation, but was a total abstainer. His tastes were domestic and not convivial, though he was one of the pleasantest of companions whenever he engaged in conversation. For more than twenty-five years he was a member of Washington Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, of Marysville, but was not connected with any other secret or fraternal society. Nor was he a member of any church. - In 1866 Mr. Parks married Miss Annie Wilson, a sister of Mrs. Chas. Hapgood and of Mrs. A. A. McAlister, and made his permanent residence in this city. She survives him, with four children, of whom the oldest is seventeen. Their domestic relations were of the happiest, and the deceased was cheered and sustained throughout his long and painful illness by the most devoted attention. His only brother, R. F. Parks, is a prominent wool merchant of San Francisco, and was associated with the deceased in various business enterprises. - The wood-cut accompanying this article was specially prepared for the Appeal, from a photograph taken several years ago. It is a good likeness.
Marysville Daily Appeal - Wed 7/27/1887, p3 - Funeral of Mr. Parks - Business Generally Suspended in Honor of the Distinguished Dead - The funeral of the late William H. Parks, yesterday, was one of the most notable in the annals of Marysville. Nearly every prominent man, whether in mercantile or professional pursuits, in either Yuba or Sutter counties, attended. At about 2 o'clock Commander J. B. Fuller, and a detachment of Corinth Post, G.A.R., moved from their headquarters to the residence of the deceased, where they assumed military position, as a mark of respect to Mr. Parks, who was at one time Provost Marshal of the Northern California district. - In the spacious parlors and hallways were assembled the relatives and friends of the departed, while several hundred persons on foot and in carriages, remained outside. - The Rev. James Hulme, of the Episcopal Church, assisted by the choir, conducted the Episcopal service. At its conclusion the cortege was formed and proceeded to the cemetery. Those who were on foot were conveyed to the cemetery by a special train of the California Northern, through the courtesy of A. J. Binney. - The number of carriages arriving at the cemetery was so great that there was barely space to accommodate all. - The remains were placed in the McDonald vault for the present, by the following pall-bearers: I. S. Belcher, S. J. Stabler, W. G. Murphy, W. W. Holland, A. B. VanArsdale, M. Marcuse, George H. Baird, W. T. Ellis, John H. Jewett, D. E. Knight, P. C. [J.] Slattery and J. R. Garrett. - Reverends James Hulme and A. A. McAllister closed the religious services. - From 2 to 3 o'clock there was not a store on D street or any of the by streets but what was closed as a mark of respect to the dead. The talk everywhere yesterday was concerning the distinguished character and career of the deceased. - Among those present yesterday were Dr. Obed Harvey, of Galt, the colleague of W. H. Parks when he first entered political life as State Senator from Yuba county, and Win. J. Davis, the well-known stenographer, of Sacramento, a representative in the legislative body in which Mr. Parks served. Both have followed the career of Mr. Parks from beginning to end, and their remarks are certainly worthy of reproduction: "That is the last that will ever be seen," said Dr. Harvey, yesterday, "of one of the greatest men that ever California produced. From the time that he became the leader of men in California he never betrayed a trust. He befriended everyone and every measure that was deserving, and to you people here he has been more than many of you have chosen to give him credit for," and as the doctor turned away two large tears stood in his eyes. - "The two greatest leaders ever known to the people of California," said Win J. Davis," were David C. Broderick and the man whose remains are now in that casket. He has stood in the legislative halls of the State and carried measures, and popular ones, too, that most people thought would surely meet with defeat. He has had opportunities to become wealthy, but he never accepted them, his ambition being to lead without fetters of any kind. He died with the respect of every public man with whom he came in contact, and the people of California may rest assured that the presence of another such man is not now known to the residents of this part of the Union." - Since Sunday morning flags have been flying at half-mast throughout the city in honor of the deceased.