Parks, F. Ernest 1883-1955


F.E. and Pearl Parks at 601 E. Thorn home

F.E. and Pearl Parks at 601 E. Thorn home

Frank Ernest Parks was born on October 24, 1883 in Williamson County, Illinois. In 1914 Ernest married a lady by the name of Pearl. (Her maiden name and exact date of marriage is yet to be located.) Around 1915, Ernest established Parks pharmacy at 200 N. Market St. in the Duty building. It is likely that he purchased the business from Delos Duty who had started out in pharmacy but switched his occupation to that of law and occupied a residence and office in the second floor of this building. Parks is reported to also have had a feed business toward the rear of the store.

When Ernest filed with the draft board in 1918 at age 34, he was described as short with a slender build, blue eyes, and dark hair. He was a druggist working at 200 N. Market St. His wife Pearl was his contact person and they lived at 416 E. Thorn St.

In the 1920 census, Ernest is 36 and Pearl is 28 and they are living at 416 E. Thorn St. They have two children at home Frank Ernest Jr. age 3 and Bill is one month old.

On April 5, 1922, the Parks family bought the old Marion hospital at 601 E. Thorn St. that had been run by Dr. D.D. Hartwell.

The 1930 census reveals that Ernest values his home at 601 E. Thorn St. which he now owns at $12,000. Frank Ernest Jr. is now 14 and William R. is 12.

In the 1930’s Ernest moved his drug store to the Goodall Hotel in the 1100 block of the public square.

By 1940, Ernest is 56 and Pearl is 48. Ernest Jr. is now married and living in Michigan, Bill is 22. Ernest now values his home, after the depression, at $4,000.

In 1941, son William is called into the active reserves and sent to the Philippine Islands.

In March of 1941 the Goodall Hotel where Ernest’s pharmacy was located burned to the ground and his store was a complete loss, so Parks moved to a temporary location at 207 W. Main Street. In December of this year, they received a postcard from their son William indicating that he had reached the Philippines and would soon be going to Manila. This is the last they would hear from him for two years.

In the mid 1940’s, Campbell Drug Store moved out of their location at 605 Public Square next to the Orpheum Theater to Parks’ old location at 200 N. Market Street.  By 1947 Parks had moved into that building and there the business remained.

On April 27, 1942, when Ernest filled out a WWII draft card at the selective service office on the square, he was described as 5’ 5” tall, 165 lbs., blue eyes and grey hair. He is currently operating his business at 207 W. Main Street.

In September of 1943, they get word from their son William. He was a Japanese prisoner of war being held in the Philippines and is soon to be moved to a new camp.

In 1945, their son William returns home alive, against all odds, after being held POW for nearly 4 years.  William, with an aging parent, eventually began working with his father at the pharmacy on the square.

Ernest Parks died in 1955 and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

On July 30, 1957, Pearl Parks sold the family home at 601 E. Thorne to Harold and Geneva Chase.

Pearl passed away August 30, 1980 and is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Sam’s Notes:

Frank Ernest Parks Jr. was born March 22, 1916 and graduated Marion High School. In the 1930’s, he attended college for pharmacy. In the 1940 census he is 24 and was found to be living in Ann Arbor, Michigan and working at a pharmacy as a paid worker. His wife’s name was Sarah, aged 23, and they had a son named Gregg W. Parks, aged 2 months, so it’s likely the couple married in 1939. The 1940 census is the last census available. F.E. Parks Jr. appears to have died on April 17, 1999 in Santa Barbara, California.

William R. Parks was born in December 1919 and graduated Marion High School. He attended college as well and after graduation was in the Army Reserve while working as an auditor for C.I.P.S. He was called up to active duty as a Second Lt. in 1941 and sent to the Philippine Islands to train Filipino troops. While there Bill was captured by the Japanese and spent nearly four years in POW camps located in the Philippines, Japan and Manchuria. He was released in 1945, promoted to First Lieutenant and awarded the Silver Star for heroism for his military actions. For details see “The WWII Experience of William R. Parks“.

Bill returned home and began working the pharmacy with his father. When Bill’s father passed away in 1955, he took over ownership of the family pharmacy. Parks sold the pharmacy to fellow pharmacist Irvin Trevathon in 1966 who operated it until it was sold to Hook’s Drugs in 1990, the same year that Parks retired.

Bill’s wife’s name was Mary Pat Parks and they had four boys that I am aware of. The children were Harold Parks, William “Billy” Park, Stephen Parks and John Parks.

Back to the top

(Marion City Directories; Federal Census Records; Marion City Cemetery Records; Williamson County’s Greatest Generation by Harry Boyd; compiled by Sam Lattuca on 04/21/2013, Revised on 05/8/2017)

Leave a Reply