Rienzi Belcher Parker
1838 - 1912

Rienzi B. Parker
Picture courtesy of Rienzi B. Parker Jr.

I was recently contacted by a descendant of Rienzi B. Parker with information. My source, Rienzi B. Parker Jr., is a great-grandson of Rienzi B. Parker, owner of the mill in discussion. He was gracious enough to provide me with information about his great-grandfather, and the Parker and Dobson families.

Rienzi B. Parker, was born in 1838, and was the son of Lucius and Bathsheba (Belcher) Parker. His grandfather, Ephraim Parker II, was born November 10, 1770, and in 1818, was living in Dobsonville (Vernon) Connecticut and was the proprietor of a hotel there. Ephraim Parker II married Lucy Prior. They had a son, Lucius Parker.

Lucius Parker was born on November 27, 1807. At an early age, he entered the employ of Peter Dobson, a pioneer in the cotton mill business in Vernon. Subsequently, he was in business on his own account, located at Hop River (Columbia) Connecticut and later Manchester, Connecticut, where he founded the Mutual Manufacturing Company, and also built the Pacific Knitting Mills at Manchester Green. His business flourished for many years until his death in 1888. Mr. Parker had married Bathsheba Belcher, a descendant from an old East Windsor family. They had two sons, Rienzi Belcher, whom is discussed here, and Adelbert C.

Rienzi Belcher Parker graduated from Ellington High School, and subsequently entered the mills of his father, Lucius Parker, in Manchester. On March 27 1866, he engaged in his own business in Vernon, Connecticut. He married, in September 1865, Emma Strong Dobson, daughter of John Strong Dobson and granddaughter of Peter Dobson. Peter and John Dobson had built and previously operated one of the Vernon mills in which Rienzi Parker operated. The other was the Phoenix mill, which was upstream near the present day Tankerhoosen Pond, which he operated with James Cambell. He operated his business until 1890. In that year, he moved to Hartford and three years later was elected to the presidency of the Hartford Life Insurance Company. Mr. Parker conducted duties incumbent to this office until 1900, when he retired. He was a director in several of Hartford’s financial institutions, a public-spirited citizen, and respected member of the community. Mr. Parker died in 1912. His wife Emma, who was said to have been quite and investor, died in the spring of 1929.

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