Project Description

Sword and Kepi

Richard Cooper Parker
Pvt., 1st Delaware Cavalry

Richard Cooper Parker was born to William Parker and Elizabeth Ann Cooper of Murderkill Hundred, Kent County, Delaware on May 21, 1845. William and Elizabeth recorded a marriage bond in 1835. They had nine children, Richard being the fifth child, fourth son.

Richard Parker was a huge man with long arms and tremendous strength. He left home at an early age, because he did not like being subservient to his older brothers.

He married first, Sarah E. Townsend, and had one daughter, Mary Elizabeth Cooper, also called Mayme. His second wife was Mary Jane Neal of Aston (Rockdale), Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of John Neal and Zeruah Baldwin. Richard and Mary Jane had one son, Albert Linderman Cooper Parker. Richard, Mary Jane and the two children resided in Philadelphia with Elizabeth Parker (Richard’s mother). The family had a little shoe-manufacturing business in Philadelphia at one time as well as a bakery. Richard was not interested in all of these and left their running to his wife while he spent his time with mathematics. He received a small government stipend as a mathematician for a mapping department.

The family was living in Mattapany, St. Mary’s County, Maryland in March 1889 according to an entry in his son’s geography text book. The Maryland residence was on the tip of the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay on a plantation named Susquehanna. There Richard built a house which was later moved to Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan. It was once thought to be a prime example of Queen Anne architecture. Richard was trained as a shipwright and was an excellent carpenter.

Richard C. Parker enlisted in Company A, 1st Delaware Cavalry for a period of 3 years on August 20, 1863 at Dover, Kent County, Delaware. He joined his company at Camp Smithers, Wilmington, Delaware on August 26, 1862. He was paid a bounty of $25 and a premium of $2. He deserted on January 5, 1863 from Camp Sniithers, but returned to duty on December 3, 1863 at the Maryland location of the company. His superior officer wrote the following letter on his behalf:

“Head Quarters, Co. A 1st Del. Cav. Salisbury, Md. Dec. 8th 1863


Allow me the honor to report that Richard Parker, private of Co. A., lst Del Cavalry deserted from Camp Smithers near Wilmington, Del., January 5th 1863 and reported Dec. 3rd 1863.

Previous to his desertion he was a good soldier and always conducted himself in a praiseworthy manner, I therefore ask that he be returned to duty without trial.

I am very respectfully

Your Obn. Servn.

Lieut E. C. Demming,

Command. Co. A., 1st Del Cav”

The General acquiesced in this recommendation with the proviso that all pay and allowances be forfeited during the period of absence. This period of active duty was short, however, as on December 19, 1863 he was admitted to Tilton U. S. A. General Hospital, Wilmington, Delaware as being sick. After recovery, Richard was on detached service at Washington, D.C. from May 16, 1865. He mustered out on June 30, 1865 at Baltimore, Maryland from Company B to which he had been transferred.

On April 18, 1912, at the age of 67, Richard was admitted to the New York State Soldier’s and Sailor’s Home in Bath, New York. He and his wife, Mary Jane, had separated as she died in 1917 in Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

He died at the home on February 20, 1919. He is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Aston, Pennsylvania.