Allen Parker

(Chowan County)

Featured Character – 1863

The Freedmen as Union Scouts

Source: Colyer, Vincent.  Report of the Services Rendered by the Freed People to the United States Army, in North Carolina, in the Spring of 1862, after the Battle of New Bern (New York, 1864) 23 

Allen Parker was born sometime between 1835 and 1840 to Millie Parker, a slave owned by Peter Parker at Martinique Plantation in Chowan County. As a young boy, Parker was often left to care for his younger sister while his mother worked in the fields. Once he became old enough for labor, he was hired out to nearby families for periods of time. Twice he was taken back to Martinique as a result of poor treatment in these homes. When war broke out, rather than send Parker to the Confederate Army to build fortifications, his mistress kept him safe at home.  In 1863, Parker and three other slaves escaped to a Union gunboat on the Chowan River.  Taken to the black refugee camp in New Bern, Rush Hawkins, commander of Hawkins’ Zouaves, hired Parker as a personal servant.  He eventually joined the navy as a landsman and given the dangerous task of handling ammunition.  After the war Parker traveled north, and eventually settled in Worcester, Massachusetts.  He worked as a peddler of popcorn and homemade candy.  In 1895, he published a booklet, Recollections of Slavery Times, which recounts his life.  Allen Parker died on June 18, 1906.