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Rice Park, 1858-1887

His widow and their descendants

Innocent lives of struggle, tragedy, misfortune amid some success

Tragedy, misfortune and disappointment seem to haunt the lives of some families.  Take Rice Park  (1) and his family.  The second oldest child of William Parks and Mary Crews, Rice died at age 29 in the fall of 1887, of causes unknown, leaving a pregnant widow and three girls, the oldest just six.  

In 1900, his widow, Bettie Ford Park, 40, lived in the Lost Fork area north of Richmond with three of the girls, Mary Collins, 18, the oldest, Bessie, 15, and Sallie B., 14.  (2)  The fourth and youngest girl, Willie Rice, 12, the one who never knew her father, lived nearby with her aunt Amanda Parks Turpin. (3)  Bettie is identified as a farmer and landowner.  

Ten years later, Betty operated a boarding house in Richmond in building she rented at 230 North Second Street, just a block from the Courthouse.  She had six boarders, 3 couples and 3 singles.  Their occupations included real estate, railway inspector, bookkeeper, stenographer and clothing sales.  Her neighbors:  James Cosby, a livestock trader, lived to her south; Richard Cobb, a merchant, to her north; Samuel Rice, Richmond's mayor, two doors north.  

 By this time, her oldest daughter has married her cousin (1st, once removed), Thomas Parks Jr. and moved to Woodford County. (4)  The other three daughters were living with her.  Bessie, 24, was a sales lady in a confectionery.  Sallie, 22, kept books for a lumber company, and Willie, 21, clerked in a racket (five and dime) store.  Also in the family is Elmer McLaughlin, 6, an adopted son.  

After 1910, Bettie moved at least three more times.  In 1920 she lived on West Water Street, in 1930 on East Main Street and in 1940 in a rural area north of town.  Willie always lived with her.  

Bessie, who never married, died in 1915 at age 32.  

About 1912 Sallie married Chester Green who was 14 years older, and bore him a son, Chester Green II on September 22, 1913.  The child died the next day.  In 1920, Chester and Sallie lived alone on East Main Street where they operated a music store.  After Chester died in 1928, Sallie married widower James S. Miller, a successful businessman in Knox County who moved to Richmond about 1930.  After Miller died in 1939, Sallie lived at 222 Lancaster Avenue with Miller’s son, Warfield Z. Miller, an attorney.  

Elmer, the adopted son, went to high school, worked as a paper boy and joined the US Army.  He died in 1936 while serving his country.  

After working many years at a racket store, Willie, who never married, later sold notions and then clerked in a hardware store.  She must have been well known after working in stores downtown for more than 30 years.  

Willie who died in 1973, and Sallie, in 1947 were buried together in the Richmond Cemetery (Section R, Lot 60).  Across the cemetery (Section J, Lot 171) are the graves of Bettie, who died in 1943, Bessie, Chester Green, Chester Green II, Elmer, and Bettie’s brother Benjamin Rodes Ford Jr.  James Miller was buried in Barbourville.  We don’t know where Rice Park is buried.  Most likely it was in the Gentry/Parks Cemetery in an unmarked grave.  

Mary Collins Parks and her cousin Thomas Jr. had three children:  Robert, Bessie and Mary Thomas, Bettie’s only grandchildren.  Neither Robert nor Bessie married; Mary Thomas married Bernard T. Moynihan, a war hero, attorney and US District Judge.  They lived in Jessamine County.  


(1) Park is the most common spelling in records and grave stones for Rice’s family.  Oral family history credits William Parks with adopting Parks as the surname.  Perhaps, he did it after Rice died.  

(2) 1900 Census of the United States for Madison County, Kentucky.

(3) Rice and Bettie also had a daughter, Maude, who died at age 3.  

(4) Thomas and Mary Collins Parks had three children, Robert, Bessie and Mary Thomas, Bettie’s only grandchildren.  Neither Robert nor Bessie married; Mary Thomas married Bernard T. Moynihan, a lawyer who was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to a seat on the United States Distict Court for Eastern Kentucky in 1963, becoming chief judge in 1969.  He assumed senior status in 1984 and served in that capacirty until his death in 1999.   

This site created by and maintained by Robert J. Parks, 11 Regents Park Lane, Frankfort, KY  40601-3845

© Robert J. Parks 2009-2015

Madison County Families

Kentucky Pioneers and Their Descendants

Come on in –

    meet the families

Parks, Parke, Fowler, Scudder, Gentry, Jones, Johnson, Denny, Shearer, Massie

Million, Newby, Heathman, Perkins, Jennings, Dozier, Christopher, Munday, Broaddus


All of my Kentucky ancestors migrated to Madison County, Kentucky, between 1780 and 1810.  My mother’s family settled primarily along Tates Creek west of Richmond while my Parks ancestors settled along Otter Creek between Richmond and Boonesborough or along Muddy Creek to the east.  

While I focus on genealogy, I’m also interested in my ancestor’s communities, their neighbors and their experiences.  I have posted – and regularly update – two extensive family trees on  One chronicles my father’s side (Parks, Jones, Fowler, Scudder, Shearer), the other on my mother’s (Million, Newby, Christopher, Dozier, Perkins).  Both include all of the members of these families who lived in Madison up to about 1930 (and many afterwards).  

If you do not subscribe to, email me at and I will  grant guest status.  

Thus, for this website I have shifted my work toward context – toward the times my ancestors lived in and the challenges they faced.  Recently I added the Madison County portion of the US Census of Agriculture for 1850.  It contains an alphabetical list of all farmers in Madison County, along with the size of their farms and the value of livestock and improvements.  

About  me:  I am Robert James (Jim) Parks, son of James Edwin Parks and Evelyn Million.  I live in Frankfort, Ky., but I grew up in Madison County near the village of Newby.  

Now  retired, I reported for newspapers in Kentucky, North Carolina and Wisconsin during the 1960s and 1970s, then worked for Kentucky State Government (Revenue and Education) until 2005. 

I have degrees in social sicience from Eastern Kentucky Universtiy (1964) and in history from Vanderbilt University (1971).  

Recent Additions

Runyon Grove School 1893:  My Grandfather Parks left a photograph of the students and teachers at this one room school on Union City Road.  The teacher was his great uncle, Richard Scudder, several of the students are named Parke or Parks, and the rest are cousins and neighbors.  

Madison County Agriculture  in 1850 describes different types of farms and their principal crops and livestock.  Plus a list of all the farmers and their assets.

Driving Hogs to Virginia is a tale from The Climax about a dozen young men driving hogs to Virgina in 1842.  Family names include Dozier, Million, Parke.

Morgan’s Madison Men recounts the experience of dozens of young men from Madison County who formed a cavalry regiment that wreaked havoc for a few months before capture and imprisonment.  Names include Fowler, Newby, Perkins, Scudder, Chenault, McCreary.  

Anthony Perkins, Soldier of the Revolution, was one of several bothers who settled in Baldwin in the 1790s.  


Madison County, Kentucky