The man who hated Lincoln enough to erect a monument to Booth

Pink Parker's monument to John Wilkes Booth (from Civil War Times Illustrated)

 

James O. Hall told in the July 1979 issue of Civil War Times Illustrated of a man named Joseph Pinkney Parker who had a monument in his front yard to John Wilkes Booth. He went by the name of “Pink.” He had served in the Confederate military in Company A of the 2d Independent Battalion of Georgia Infantry.  He was at Appomattox when Lee surrendered April 9, 1865.  Parker was a Corporal.  According to Hall, Parker had a “growing bitterness for all things Yankee.” Apparently, he particularly saw Lincoln as the reason for the problems that the South had experienced. Soon afterward, he met with severe economic loss. He managed to survive. The years were not kind. Eventually, his wife died. His children had become adults and left home to forge their own lives. Parker couldn’t stop “looking back.” He thought about the war, his fallen comrades, the “poverty of the South,” and his personal looses.

Pink Parker resolved to deal with his pain. He paid stonecutter E. W. Allen to create a granite monument to John Wilkes Booth. When completed it stood almost four feet tall.  It contained the inscription:

Erected by PINK PARKER In honor of JOHN WILKS BOOTH for killing old ABE LINCOLN

 

After the city fathers rejected Parker’s offer to have the monument placed in the town square, he set it in his front yard at home. Because the monument stood on private property, nothing could be legally done to have it removed.  It didn’t catch the attention of anyone in the North until 1921.  The media had a field day. Finally, Pelham A. Barrows-the National Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans wrote to President Harding to have the thing destroyed. Instead, it was removed from it’s place and stored behind a shed. Mr. Parker died in December of 1921. The monument to Booth was recarved to serve as Parker’s tombstone.

Pink Parker never changed his thinking. Not only had he erected a monument to celebrate Booth as the killer of Abraham Lincoln, but he also wore on his lapel every April 15th a hand-lettered sign. The sign kept track of how many years has passed since the death of Lincoln. For instance, on April 15, 1906, the sign read:

April 15, 1906, 41st Anniversary DEATH OLD ABE LINCOLN

 

And so the story ended. Lincoln knew there were people who hated him. He had many death threats as president. Ironic, that John Wilkes Booth wanted the kind of acclaim that Mr. Parker gave him-but didn’t get it as he thought he would. He died feeling betrayed by the South- by and large. 

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