Madison County Families
Kentucky Pioneers and Their Descendants
Charles Parke Sr., Madison County Pioneer, 1741-1819
Charles Parks Sr. is the patriarch of the Parks families who lived near Brookstown and Union City in the 20th Century. Born in New Jersey in 1741, Charles moved with his family to Virginia (now West Virginia) and then to Rowan County, North Carolina. About 1795, Charles, along with some cousins, neighbors and his own children migrated to Kentucky through Cumberland Gap and up the Wilderness Trail.
This was in the days when Kentucky was "the West," the first state settled west of the Appalachian Mountains. It was only 20 years after Daniel Boone built at fort for the Transylvania Company, headed by Richard Henderson of Granville County, North Carolina. Kentucky had been a state only three years and the threat of Indian attacks had just been removed with the defeat of the Shawnee Indians in southern Ohio. Families from Virginia and North Carolina were flooding into Kentucky looking for good cheap land. Before long, good cheap land became available in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, and the sons and daughters of the original Kentucky pioneers were taking advantage of those opportunities too.
In Kentucky, Charles bought land in Madison County about a mile west of the present day Red House. But most of his children soon settled elsewhere. Ann Nancy, who married Barefoot Runyon, and Samuel, who married Charity Runyon, settled first in Barren County, Kentucky, and then moved to Preble County in southern Ohio in the early 1800s. Jonah and Mary (Polly) married Sappington siblings and became some of the first settlers in what became St. Louis, Missouri. Charles Jr. bought 63.5 acres on Otter Creek in 1811, then sold it in 1816 and moved to Millers Creek in Estill County near his wife's family, the Quicks, before moving to Indiana in 1828. Nathan bought land in Estill County, Kentucky, in 1813, just a year before his death. Only James, who bought his father's place near Red House, stayed in Madison County.
When Charles Parks Jr. left Miller's Creek for Indiana, two of his six children were already married, but they too relocated, either at the same time or within a few years. James Q. Parks, who married Mary Benton in Madison County in 1818, was living in Indiana in 1830. Martha Parks, who married Thomas Orchard in Estill County, joined the Parks and Quick families in Indiana by 1834. Two sons, Jonah and Morgan Q., were single when their parents moved to Indiana and appear to have been living with their father in Indiana in 1830.
That leaves two sons of Charles Jr. and Mary Quick unaccounted for: Greenberry and Merrill. We don't know whether they went to Indiana with their parents in 1830, but we do know they later had significant interests in Madison County. Merrill married Susannah Gentry in Madison County in 1831, and Greenberry married Susannah's sister, Sythia Jane, in 1835. Greenberry eventually moved to Indiana, but Merrill put down roots on Otter Creek. Nearly all of us Madison Countians who spell our last name Parks are descended from him.