Julia Parker was born in the homestead in 1899. She was the youngest of six children and the last Parker to live in the homestead. She gifted it to the town of Little Silver. Julia was proud of her family's role in the development of this area and wrote The Parker Family History to share the family heritage. She traveled widely, including to the area of Kent, England learning about ancestors which she writes about. There are many charming stories about life on the farm and events in town; stories of family members and other local people who can be recognized as area street names today. All families treasure their stories and they become part of family tradition and some are probably more factual than others, but always fun to share.
Following is part of the Parker story as told by Julia...
After the fall of New Amsterdam land became open for British settlers based on grants from the king of England. Acting Governor Richard Nicolls, wanting to attract settlers to the New Jersey colony, drew up rules for apportioning land to settlers in this area, which stretched all the way to Barnegat, and requiring that the settlers had to reach agreement and purchase land from the native Americans. Five men from the Rhode Island colony named Slocum, Wardell, Hulett and Joseph and Peter Parker came. Family legend has it that the Indians were not anxious to give up land and the white men suggested a wrestling match. John Slocum, a Parker brother-in-law, was chosen to represent the English men and Vow-a-vapon the Native Americans. The match was scheduled for the beach in Long Branch and on the appointed day Vow-a-vapon arrived covered in grease. Slocum eventually won the match by covering the Indian in sand so that he could get a grip when wrestling. The men were then allowed to purchase the land that they could walk in one day from the Lenni Lenape. Slocum claimed land in current Long Branch and the Parkers claimed land on Rumson Neck.
Peter built his home about a mile from that of his brother using bricks and lumber brought from Rhode Island as well as local stone and timber. The home was 16' by 20' and was a story and a half with a lean-to shed on the east end. The first floor consisted of a living room with a large wall chimney and huge fireplace for heat and meal preparation. A narrow stairway led to two bedrooms on the second floor. The house faced south to take advantage of the winter sun. There was a small porch at the front.
Rumson Neck, the area homesteaded by Joseph and Peter, was a wilderness when they arrived. The land had to be cleared, fences built, crops planted and tended because everything the families needed had to be provided by the settlers themselves.
Between 1665 and 1668 over 100 families migrated to the Middletown and Shrewsbury area, the two local towns founded under the Monmouth Patent. Governments were being formed and both Joseph and Peter were active. Peter became Constable of Shrewsbury. Paying taxes to the English king became a major issue as well as establishing the laws for building the communities. Along with northern towns a Rebellion took place in May of 1672. The tax issue was not completely settled until the American Revolution, but Shrewsbury and Middletown became tax exempt.
Although raised in the Church of England, Peter and Joseph had become Quakers and it is assumed that they were buried at the original Friends Burial Ground. (Roughly where Builders General is now.) Peter had three children: Penelope, Peter, and Sarah.