Judge William R. Parker biography

JUDGE WILLIAM R. PARKER, head of the legal firm of Parker, Dunn and Parker, has for more than fifteen years been a leader at the bar of Tarrant county and through his wide professional activity and distinction in political and private life has become one of the foremost citizens of Fort Worth.

Born in Logan county, Kentucky, in 1851, Judge Parker is a son of Richard C. and Martha Morton (Sanford) Parker, who in 1854 returned to their former home in Sumner county, Tennessee, to the farm on which the father was born and where he died, and on which Judge Parker spent his youthful days. The mother, who was born in Rutherford county, Tennessee, now lives with her daughter at Scottsville, Kentucky.

Greenwood Institute is a well known educational seat in Tennessee, noted especially for the large number of students sent from its halls into prominent places of worldly activity. It was here that Judge Parker obtained the major part of his literary training. He studied his law at Scottsville, Kentucky, was admitted to the bar in 1882 and continued to practice there for several years in partnership with Judge Bradburn, a man of eminent position in that part of the state. About 1889 Mr. Parker identified himself with Fort Worth, and has been continuously active here ever since. He served one term as county judge, and on different occasions has been called to act as special district judge. In practice he makes a specialty of criminal law, and out of a large number of cases extending over a number of years he has lost only two or three, and this unusual record places him in the front rank of criminal lawyers in North Texas. He also has a good clientage as general counselor and attorney.

The firm of Parker, Dunn and Parker consists, beside himself, of Thomas W. Dunn and Richard C. Parker, Judge Parker’s son. It has been Judge Parker’s gratifying experience to have nearly all his partners become prominent in politics or public life. Hon. O. W. Gillespie, who was his first law partner after he came to Fort Worth, has since been elected to Congress from this district. His second partner was William A. Hanger, who is now state senator, and among all others were Mike E. Smith and M. B. Harris, who both subsequently went to the district’s bench.

Judge Parker’s political activity has extended to his serving as chairman of the Democratic campaign committee of Tarrant county, a position he has held for several years, and he has frequently gone to state and other conventions as a delegate and is a well known speaker on such occasions. At the present time he is a member of the city council of Fort Worth, from the Third ward. Fraternally he has affiliations with the Masons and Knights of Pythias.

Judge Parker’s first wife was Miss Sarah C. Robertson, whom he married February 18, 1874, and by their marriage there were six children, Richard C., Virgil R., who is assistant city attorney, Mrs. Mary B. Hunter, William R., Jr., Mrs. Kate Louise Wandry and Miss Alma. His second marriage took place June 28, 1904, to Mrs. R. E. Bowman.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 136.