Benjamin Herd and George Parker biographies

These two gentlemen, both now deceased, were prominent citizens of Rockford, and, although neither engaged in business here, both spent their last days in the city, living retired until called to their final rest. Benjamin Herd was a native of Herkimer county, New York, was reared upon a farm, early becoming familiar with all the labor necessary for its cultivation, and in the district schools he acquired his education. He was married in Herkimer county to Miss Almira E. Sheldon, a native of that county, who came of Revolutionary ancestry, so that she is now one of the daughters of the Revolution. Following his marriage Mr. Herd engaged in farming on his own account in Herkimer county and through his well directed labors, enterprise and ability won creditable success. He made judicious investment in real estate, and became the owner of several farms, continuing to engage in agricultural pursuits in Herkimer county 1868, when he came to the west and took up his abode in Rockford. The income derived from his property interests was sufficient to enable him from his property interests was sufficient to enable him to live retired, and he has no more actively engaged in business pursuits but enjoyed a well earned rest here until called to his final home in 1893, when he had reached the venerable age of eighty-seven years. His wife survived him, passing away November 18, 1899. He was junior warden of the Episcopal church of this city. His entire life was in harmony with his profession, and his fidelity to duty, his honor in business relations and his devotion to his family were numbered among his salient characteristics.

There were four children born unto Mr. and Mrs. Herd: Eugenia C., is a native of Herkimer county, New York, and married Rufus Mills Parker, a native of Massachusetts, and a son of George and Catherine A. Parker. His father was born near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1805, and resided in the east until 1869, when he took up his abode in Rockford and lived retired until his death in August, 1885. His wife passed away July 19, 1904. He was a republican in his political views, and both he and his wife held membership in the First Congregational church of Rockford.

Venetia R. Herd, the second child of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Herd, is the widow of Major Alexander Walker, of Rockford, and resides at No. 410 South Third street. Ada is the wife of Henry Ellsworth, a commission merchant of Chicago. Eugene H., the youngest member of the family, died at the age of four years.

Rufus Mills Parker was born in Massachusetts, and came to the west at an early day, settling first in Joliet, Illinois, where he was engaged in the dry goods business for a few years. In 1867 he came to Rockford, where he married Miss Herd, and unto them were born three children: Lillian C., the eldest, is the wife of James Colville, a traveling salesman, representing the Arcade Manufacturing Company of Freeport, Illinois. They reside in Rockford with his parents, and they have two children. Violet is the wife of G. W. Anderson. Edith died at the age of four months.

Mr. and Mrs. Parker own and occupy the old Herd township homestead, which is a beautiful residence, at No. 503 Catlin street. Both the Herd and Parker families are prominent in Rockford, their representatives being well known in social circles.

Source: Charles A. Church, Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1905), pp. 290-291.