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Birdie Parker – Old Kinsley Cemetery – Edwards Co., Kansas

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

The original headstone for this article, Birdie Parker, ended up being a story about her father, her siblings, and a new burial location.

According to burial records from First Kinsley Cemetery, Birdie Parker died of meningitis July 22, 1879 at the age of 10 mo. 12 days.

Birdie’s father, Milo Parker was born 1838 in New Hampshire. Milo enlisted in the Civil War and served as a member of Co. H., with Minnesota Infantry (Union). He was discharged in 1864 with a disability. The Great Bend Weekly Tribune recounts his story: “In Mr. Parker’s company there was an unruly horse hard to manage and difficult to shoe. One day while Mr. Parker was engaged in shoeing the horse some of his companions were told of it and some one said lets go down and see Parker shoe, naming the horse. A large number of them started on a run and when near the shop yelled just like young men do after a race. Mr. Parker had one hind foot of the horse up. The animal became frightened, kicked Mr. Parker, knocked him down and tramped on him.” After being discharged, Milo settled in Illinois.

Birdie’s mother, Sara Ellen Ford, was born in Vermont. Sara and Milo were married in 1868 at Rock Island, IL. While living in Illinois, Jessie (1870-1882), Blanche (1871-1875), James (1872-1873), Guy (1873-1878), Gracie (1877-1882), and Lillie/Birdie (1878-1879) were born. In the late 1870s, the family was living in Barton County, Kansas, and had also spent a short time in Edwards Co.

Piecing together newspaper articles, it seems that James died while the family was still living in Illinois. Blanche died of diphtheria. Birdie died while the family was living in Edwards Co. Various Barton County newspaper articles describe a smallpox outbreak in Great Bend at this time. Approximately 15 individuals perished including 5-year-old Guy, 6-year-old Gracie, and 14-year-old Jessie.

Mr. Parker passed away Dec 28, 1909 at the Soldiers Home at Leavenworth, Kansas. He is buried with five of his six children in the Great Bend Cemetery in Barton County, KS. Sara Ellen died in 1929 and is buried in IL.

Note: It is quite possible that when graves and headstones were dug up from Kinsley’s First Cemetery, Birdie’s was moved to Great Bend with the rest of her family.

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