Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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PARKER, HEDLEY S. VICARS, native son; newspaperman and folk poet; b. Derby, 14 Sep 1856, s/o William Parker and Ellen Spratt; m. 1888, Maude Eliza Williston, d/o Edward Williston and Sarah Jane Mignowitz; d. New York City, 11 Oct 1935.

When he was about eight years old Hedley Parker moved from Derby to Newcastle with his parents, and during the later years of his schooling he studied at Harkins Academy under John Harper. It is amply shown in the writing which he did later in life that Harper's love of the classics made a lasting impression on him.

After he left school Parker went to work for the Union Advocate and learned the newspaper trade. Although he loved the Miramichi he gave up his employment when he was in his early twenties and moved to New York in search of improved opportunities in the field of journalism. His first big city job was in the composing room of the New York Herald, of which his cousin "Jack" Henderson was foreman. Later he was transferred to the editorial staff and promoted to the position of marine editor.

In her biographical sketch of Parker, Louise Manny states that when he became marine editor the Herald was carrying two full pages of ship news every day. "His desk," she writes, "was the meeting place for shipmasters and seamen from all over the world," and he "acquired the title of 'Captain' Parker, by which he was known in the shipping and newspaper world of New York." After the Herald was amalgamated with the Tribune he became the marine editor of the New York Sun.

Throughout the years Parker maintained close ties with the Miramichi. During a leave of absence in the 1880s he returned to the Union Advocate and acted for a few months as its editor. He was later a regular summer visitor during the salmon-fishing season, and prior to Robert R. Call's death was sometimes a guest of his at Call's Pool. In 1899 he had his "Come-all-ye" entitled "The Days of Duffy Gillis" published in the Miramichi Advance under the pseudonym "Exile." This and his other verses were collected and edited by Louise Manny in Six Poems by Hedley Parker (1944), in which she states that in his writing Parker "caught and fixed the rhythm of Miramichi life and speech with vividness and a touch of gentle humor." He and his wife, Maude E. Williston, had no children.


[b/d] Leader 18 Oct 1935 [m] Advocate 5 Sep 1888 / Advance 27 Apr 1899, 17 Jul 1902; Manny (Parker)


See George Colepaugh.