The Parkers

of Cumberland, North Carolina



James Parker

1826 - 1880+



ames was born the year John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died.  I first found him as keeper of the Cumberland County Poor House in 1860 with his family already complete.  He must not have cared for the Poor House business because by 1870 he had moved on to farming in the Rockfish Township of Cumberland County, South Carolina. By 1880 he had moved on to the Lumber Bridge Township and was still farming with the help of his son Jerry, then 22, and one hired hand.  


Sobriety “Brighter” Wright Parker

1827 - 1880+



t is difficult to know exactly which spelling to use for Brietty's first name.  Each census had its own version of this unusual name.  I’m beginning to suspect that her name was Sobriety and Briety was her nickname.  She must have been a hard worker, however, since she only got around to having two children in a time where ten was not unusual at all.  She survived into the 1880s but I have never found her in any records past that date.  I did find her in 1850 with her widowed father prior to her marriage to James though.  She was born the same year New Orleans held its first Mardi Gras celebration.



Malcom McInnis

1832 - 1882



alcom was born in North Carolina the same year the Creeks signed the treaty ceding their lands east of the Mississippi River.  He married a widow, Sarah Rebecca Gillis McPhail, on 17 Oct 1855.  He had two children with her one of which, Annie E. McInnis, is our great-grandmother.  After Annie's mother's death about 1858, Malcom married another Sarah, Sarah E. Bates, on 12 Dec 1859 and had four more children by her.  Sarah Bates, in fact, was the only mother Annie ever knew.


Malcom tried his hand at farming until getting in the turpentine trade in the 1850s where he did quite well.  It was an occupation that would follow through the next generation and lead to the migration southward that allowed Lorin Brigman to meet Sallie Parker.  Malcom himself, however, did not stick with turpentine and moved on to carpentry.  Having taught his sons the business he may have figured carpentry was an easier occupation as he kept at it for more than twenty years.



Sarah Rebecca Gillis McPhail McInnis

1831 - 1858



arah was born in the southern part of North Carolina, the daughter of a well-to-do farmer.  On 8 Oct 1851 she married Hugh McPhail and had one daughter, Mary, by him.  On 17 Oct 1855 she married Malcom McInnis.  Her brother Duncan acted as bondsman for the wedding.  She and Malcom had two children.  Strangely she named her first child with Malcom after her first husband.  The other child was Annie.  Sarah died about 1858.  Malcom and his next wife, Sarah Bates, raised, Mary McPhail, Sarah’s first child by Hugh, and her other two children by Malcom.

Next Generation


Jeremiah “Jerry” Robert Parker

Nov 1857 - 12 or 13 Nov 1910



 carry Jerry's first name as my own first name.  When Jeremiah was a young lad his parents ran the County Poor House in Cumberland County North Carolina.  Perhaps this made an impression on him because he seems to have worked hard all of his life and to have saved and invested well.  As a boy of five he was known as Jeremiah then later as Jerry and finally in adulthood went by J. R. Parker or J. Robert Parker.  He was born the same year New York was linked by rail to St. Louis in a national celebration.  He grew up in the southern part of North Carolina and met and married his wife, Annie, there. 


By 1900 Jerry had moved his wife and six kids to Genevatown, Alabama where he managed the naval store for the turpentine industry in the area.  In 1900 he traveled to Florala, Alabama to make arrangements to buy a brace of 15 mules from the Alabama Construction Company for $675.  While he was there he noted the beauty of the property on the north shore of Lake Jackson along Avenue 5.  By 1904 he had managed to get free of the naval store and he and Annie bought four adjoining lots in block 14 along Avenue 5 from John Payne for $1650.  The property was 200 feet wide and as deep.  They built a beautiful two story frame house with sweeping porches upstairs and down.  From the back, Lake Jackson provided a beautiful view as well as a cooling afternoon breeze.  This house is still there on 919 5th Avenue, Florala, Alabama.


That year was a big year for the whole family.  One of Jerry’s sons, James, met an ambitious young man from Westville, Florida named Edward Lorin Brigman.  The two young men went into a business venture together with Jerry.  Lorin and James’ sister, Sallie, courted during the summer of ‘04 and were married at the big white house on 5th Avenue in November of that year.  Jerry got to live in the house for only a brief time.  He died shortly after the 1910 census was taken and is buried in Florala.  Lorin Brigman attended his funeral.  His granddaughter, Margaret Brigman, was born in his beautiful white house less than a month after his death.



Annie E. McInnis Parker

9 Nov 1858 - 4 Jan 1938



nnie was born in Cumberland County, North Carolina the same year Denver was founded in Kansas Territory (later to become Colorado).  She was the third child in a family that was put together of orphans and half siblings.  Annie’s mother, Sarah Gillis, died shortly after her birth and like many other of our ancestors she was raised almost from birth by a step-mother.  Her step-mother was also named Sarah but was Sarah Bates who married her father 12 Dec 1859 when Anne was 13 months old.  Her only full brother was named after the first husband of her mother who was a widow when she married Annie’s father in Oct of 1855. Actually, from the records I can’t tell whether perhaps Annie’s father married Sarah when she was pregnant with Hugh.  The Scots have a strong tradition of naming their children in a particular order and Hugh would be properly named only if he were named Angus.  Naming him Hugh after his father would have broken the tradition, too, so I don’t know what the real story is.


By 1880 Annie’s step-mother had died and Annie was, next to her father, the head of household with five younger half-siblings to take care of.  Two years later she married Jerry Parker and disappeared from the records until 1900 when she and Jerry showed up in Genevatown, Alabama with six children.  Her second child, and eldest daughter, was our Grandma Brigman.  Annie helped deliver both of Sallie Brigman’s children in her big white house on the lake in Florala, Alabama.  Sadly her daughter Sallie remained at the house after Jerry’s death and delivered Margaret less than a month later.  Margaret, therefore, never got to see her Grandfather Parker.


Annie remained in the house until around 1913 when she and her daughter Ethel moved down to Panama City.  They stayed there several years before moving to Pensacola where Annie’s son James lived on Cervantes.  Annie is one of the few people born prior to 1850 to ride in an airplane.  She made a trip from Panama City to Marianna in 1918 with her daughter, Sallie, and her son-in-law, Lorin.


The next time I find her is in 1935.  She is 77 years old, and living with her daughter, Sallie, on Grace Street in Panama City.  Sallie’s two children, now young adults, are living there as well.  In addition, Annie’s son, Fred, a house painter is also living in the house.  Then one day in 1936 Annie noticed an irritated spot on her face.  The spot grew worse over the weeks until she finally saw a doctor about it.  He referred her to another doctor in Pensacola who diagnosed her with cancer.  She was finally forced to move back to Pensacola and live with her son, James, and his wife, Eugenia “Genny”, in Pensacola at 1408 E. Cervantes to be close to her doctor for treatment.  The cancer only grew worse.  All of the time she had spent in the sun helping her husband had created a melanoma.  After two years the cancer finally won.  Her body was shipped back to Panama City where she was buried at 3:30 the following afternoon in Greenwood cemetery.  Two intertwining pines now grow out of her grave.  They are the only marker that she has.

Next Generation


Sarah (Sallie) Margaret Parker Brigman

11 Aug 1884 - 28 Nov 1972



allie grew up in North Carolina and Southern Alabama with her brothers and sisters. As the second eldest child and the oldest daughter she must have shouldered much of the burden of raising her brothers and sisters.  In the early 1900s she met Lorin - most likely through business contacts Lorin had with her brother, James, and her father.  During the years when Lorin was making a name for himself, Sallie remained in the background.  The only mention I ever found of her during this period was when she and her mother made an airplane trip from Panama City to Marianna in Sep 1917 and again when things had come to a head in her marriage to Lorin in 1919.  Everyone in Panama City must have known what was going on.  The paper began to mention Sallie in its roundabout way of letting the community know what was going on in her rapidly deteriorating marriage to Lorin.  In the first week of September Sallie contacted her mother in Pensacola and asked her to come stay with the kids.  Several weeks later the paper mentions her returning to Panama City.  No mention is made of Lorin.  Then in early October an item about her moving from her home over on the beach to a house on First Street.  It must have been humiliating.  It was obvious she had undergone a divorce.  Lorin, always a popular item, was not mentioned again in the paper.  He must have left the area.


After Lorin abandoned Sallie and her children in Panama City, Sallie kept the family together by working as a saleslady in a millinery shop and after hours as a seamstress.  From people I have talked to I gather she was a very good seamstress and much in demand.  The years moved along. In 1935 Sallie lived with her two children; her brother, Fred; and her mother at 601 Grace Street in what is now downtown Panama City.  Her son, Everitt, built the first radio in Bay County and, for years, operated a radio and TV repair shop at 117 1st Street in Panama City.  Her daughter, Margaret, returned to Bay County after graduating from Marysville College in Tennessee.  After obtaining a teaching job, Margaret built the family a house at 908 Magnolia - a house that still stands today.  Sallie lived the rest of her life with her son in that house.  From infrequent visits, I recall mostly the aromas of the house. Sallie cooked wonderful meals and made the best fried cornbread I have ever had.  She taught me the recipe and technique when I was in high school but I have never equaled the product she produced.  Many years later I taught my dad the recipe and technique and he made Sallie’s fried cornbread quite frequently thereafter.  In her later years she fell over a child's bicycle parked carelessly in front of the food store where she shopped and broke her hip.  Margaret and Herman brought her over to stay with them until her hip healed but she was anxious to get back to her house in Panama City and returned shortly after she got off of her walker.


She was a kind person who supported a moderately sized family of more or less stray cats with the trimmings from her dinner preparations.  She made most of her own clothes and painted a little.  One of Sallie's paintings hung in Margaret's room at the time of her death.  She was also rather quiet, or at least spoke very little of herself.  I guess that's why I know so little about her.  Her sister Ethel did much better in her marriage to Chuck Lightner and lived out her last years in Ohio, dying in her nineties in a nursing home.  Sallie remained single for the last half century of her 88 years and when asked her marital status by census takers answered that she was widowed.  She is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Panama City, Florida.  Everitt is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery out on highway 231.