Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Monday, February 27, 2006

Black History Month: John P. Parker

Photograph of the John P. Parker House, dated May 1910

John Parker (1827-1900) was a free African-American inventor who served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Most of what is known about him comes from his autobiography entitled His Promised Land.

According to the autobiography, Parker's father was a wealthy white man and his mother was a slave like him. In 1845, at the age of eighteen, he purchased his freedom. In 1848, he married his wife and the next year they moved to nearby Ripley, Ohio.

The Duke University web site writes:

It was in Ripley, a hotbed of abolitionist activity, that his work on the Underground Railroad began and flourished. By his own count, he helped over 400 slaves to freedom. By day, however, Parker was a successful businessman; in 1865 he purchased an iron foundry, and he patented several popular inventions.

To find out more about John P. Parker, read the excerpts from His Promised Land and visit the John P. Parker Historical Society


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