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MASON D. PARKER
WAS born in Clermont County, 0., March 17, 1828.
His father, Rev. Daniel Parker, was a pioneer in that county, and a
preacher of note. His parents were well-educated people from New
England; hence, his advantages were .good, and Mr. Parker permitted none
of them to pass unimproved. His first experience in teaching was with
his elder brother in Clermont Academy, which was founded by his parents
on their own farm, for the education of their own children and those of
In 1849 he came to Cincinnati, and was employed
for a time as book-keeper in a wholesale house, when he was prevailed
upon to take charge of the school in the House of Refuge. He entered the
public schools in 1853, and remained in them until his death, at which
time he was principal of the Second Intermediate School on Ninth Street,
between Vine and Race Streets.
He possessed great executive ability, and was
twice appointed by the school board to organize the schools for
newly-made districts in new school buildings—first, on the corner of
Elm and Adams Streets, and afterward in the building at Freeman and
Poplar Streets. In each of these he remained a year, and, after reducing
the schools to systematic working order, was returned to his position in
the intermediate school. Mr. Parker was in the schools at a time when
they were in a transition state, and contributed not a little, by his
energy and wisdom, toward establishing the broad basis and high standard
of excellence for which the schools of our city are now known throughout
the land. He was one of the most successful of teachers, and beloved by
all who ever enjoyed the privilege of being his pupils. He was eminently
social in his nature and gentle in spirit. His wit and humor were
inexhaustible, yet without bitterness or sarcasm, and made him the life
of a circle of admiring and devoted friends.
When the war of the rebellion broke out he was
eager to have a hand in maintaining the Union, but was deterred from
enlisting until the call was made for "hundred-days men," when
he insisted that his turn had come. In May, 1864, he went with a
company, composed chiefly of teachers and students, under Col. S. S.
Fisher, who was president of the city school board. They formed Company
E of the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth Regiment, Ohio National Guard. He
was taken sick at the mouth of the Appomattox River, where his company
was engaged in the transfer of ammunition from vessels in the James
River to the front, for the siege of Petersburg. He refused to go into
hospital and receive treatment, saying that time was too short and
precious to be spent in being sick. He rallied somewhat, after reaching
home in September, and resumed his school duties, but failed during the
Winter, and died March 29, 1865.
Thus, at the early age of thirty-seven, departed
one who, in these few years, had accomplished more of usefulness than
many do in a long life—the genial Christian gentleman, whom none knew
but to love, and none named but to praise.
Source: In Memoriam
Cincinnati 1881, Cincinnati, A. E. Jones, Publisher, 1881.
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