Jane Elizabeth (Smiley) Hooker Parker


Bartow Polk County News, May 15, 1891

Mrs. Jane Parker, relict of the late John Parker, and mother of Messrs. T. O., J. N., and L. H. Parker, died at the residence of her son, L. H. Parker, at 3 a.m. Friday, May 1st, of heart disease, in the 82d year of her age. She was apparently in the best of health an hour before her death and had walked two miles the afternoon before. The body was interred in the Mount Moriah Cemetery, on Joshua creek, Saturday morning, Dr. Best conducting the burial services.

This second obituary, from an unidentified newspaper, is from the collection of Kyle S. VanLandingham



Arcadia, Florida, May 25, 1891

Died, May the 1st Inst., at the residence of her son, Hon. Lewis H. Parker, near Arcadia; Mrs. Jane E. Parker, in the 83d year of her age.

The deceased was originally a Smiley, and was born in Liberty County, Georgia, April the 9th 1809. In a few years the family moved to Burke County, where they remained for several years. From there they moved to Columbia County, Fla., and at the age of twenty-one she was happy married to Stephen Hooker. This union was blessed with four children, two little girls who died in their youth, and two noble self-sacrificing sons who fell victims to the fate of the late war between the States.

Early in life she was left a sad and lonely widow; but in 1839 she was again married--this time to the lamented John Parker, late of Fort Meade, Polk County, Florida, and she reared an other family of four children.

Her long and useful life was connected with the history of our early frontier Indian troubles, and on through the war of the States was indeed eventful and singularly successful. Few, under circumstances of extreme poverty, privation and painful disease--trials and sufferings incident to the frequent frights and forting up, would have survived the ordeal--especially when there was no promise of relief, respite, or change. But the faithful Christian mother knew in whom she trusted, and sure enough, bye and bye, God's promises were verified because she endured.

In her youthful days of the old log school house, her literary education was limited to the curriculum of "Webster's Elementary," and "Parley's History." The "Interim" of irregular Quarters and Sessions she filled in with the task of loom and cards and spinning-wheel. She learned to read and write and sing. Her Bible was her guide and text-book, and she turned its pages from Genesis to Revelation time and again--often on her knees. Her Hymn book furnished her doxologies, (and she was a splendid singer), and inspired her song. She prayed, you may say, without ceasing. She loved the preachers, and no one dared to speak lightly in her presence of the weakest one of them except at the expense of her scathing rebuke--Methodist or Baptist, or what not. No wonder then, she was not in sympathy with these modern systems of "advanced thought," "Christian Science," Woman Rights," so called, and arbitrary Church people who assume to do as they please, Bible or no Bible. As for her, she would follow the old landmarks, surveying carefully every inch of the way of way of life.

Though she had long since arrived at the age of privilege and prerogative, yet she was humble and unassuming, "in honor preferring others," and always covered the mistakes of the unfortunate with the mantle of affectionate charity. Simple, childlike, always approachable, ever careful of the pleasure and interest of all, she was ever entering into close companionship with rich and poor. In her latter years, the wheel of fortune turned in her favor, and she delighted to dispense to the needy, who hailed her visits as heavenly messages of providential comfort. The sick or grief-stricken sufferer was the burden of her self-sacrificing heart, and she turned no one away empty. To sum up the life of this holy Christian pilgrim in brief synopsis is:--it is enough to say that she was soundly converted when nine years old, and joined the M[ethodist]. E[piscopal]. Church.

When she was soon to bid good bye to her son about to leave for our Capitol, she said the parting would be final as she would never see him again on earth. The assertion proved prophetic.

In conversation with her on the veranda, alone, a short time previously, she said to the writer:

"Dr., when I come to die, I want you to be right where I can lay my hands on you" (as if to confer a parting blessing). She died in her son's and my arms, her hands resting on us both.

Her death is not our loss, but ours and her eternal gain. We mourn not as those who have no hope, and why should we prolong our grief to consecrate her memory.

She had requested us to sing, "Meet Me There," just before retiring that night. We did that and also sang it over her grave. We most devotedly pray Heaven to sanctify this dispensation to the saving of our needy souls.

--A.S.J. (Dr. A. Smoot Johns[t]on), [her son-in-law]

Jane Elizabeth Parker and John Parker