D. B. PARKINSON, A. M., who since 1874 has occupied the chair of physics and chemistry in the Southern Illinois State Normal University of Carbondale, has the honor of being a native of this state. He was born in Madison County, September 6, 1845, and comes of a family of English origin. His grandfather, Washington Parkinson, removed from North Carolina to Tennessee, where Alfred J. Parkinson, father of our subject, was born in 1816. In St. Clair County, Ill., he wedded Mary E. Baldwin, who was born in Delaware County, N. Y., in 1818, and was a daughter of Ezra Baldwin, a native of Connecticut, who in early life emigrated to the Empire State. Upon their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson located near Highland, Madison County, Ill., and the family lived in the same home for forty years before the family circle was invaded by death. The mother passed away in January, 1891, but the father is still living on the old homestead. They had nine children, of whom the following yet survive: George W., who lives upon the old home; D. B.; Rev. Edward H., a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church; Charles W., of Vandalia, Ill.; Oscar L., of Ottawa. Kan.; Arthur E., an attorney of Kansas City, Mo.; and Mary Emma, wife of Dr. J. W. McKee, of Kansas City, Mo. The parents were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The father and one other gentleman cast the only two votes for John C. Fremont in 1856 in their precinct. Thus early he joined the Republican party, but he is now a Prohibitionist. He served as State Senator from 1878 until 1882, and takes an active interest in everything that pertains to the welfare of the community.
Upon the old home farm, Professor Parkinson spent the days of his boyhood and youth, and completed his education by his graduation from McKendree College, in the Class of '68. He was then for one year Principal of the Carmi (Ill.) schools, and for three years was a teacher of natural sciences in Jennings Seminary of Aurora, Ill. Later he spent one year as a special student in the Northwestern University of Evanston, and in the spring of 1874 was elected to the chair of physics and chemistry, which position he has since filled with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of all. For nineteen years, he has been Secretary of the faculty. He not only cultivates the brains of his students, but also provides for their social entertainment by frequent receptions at his own home. In 1892, he was elected Registrar. He is a member of the National Education Association, and at its session in 1888, in San Francisco, he read a paper on “The Use of Classic Literature in Teaching Reading."
Professor Parkinson was married December 28, 1876, to Miss Julia F. Mason, an associate teacher. She was a native of Ogle County, Ill., and a daughter of Allen Mason, deceased. She died August 6, 1879, leaving one son, Daniel M. On July 30, 1884, Mr. Parkinson was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary Alice Raymond, also an associate teacher, born in San Francisco, Cal. She was born July 26, 1856, and is a daughter Charles Fisk and Jennie F. Raymond. They have two children. Raymond and Mary Alice. Both Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson are prominent members of and active workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he is now serving; on the Official Board. They are prominent in Sunday school work, and Professor Parkinson is actively interested in the Young Men's Christian Association. He is a member of its State Committee, and was a delegate of the convention of United States and Canada held by that organization in Toronto in 1876. He was also a delegate to the World's Sunday-school Convention which convened in St. Louis, Mo., in 1893. As an educator, he is extremely successful, and pupils and associate teachers ever hold him in the highest regard.
Extracted 22 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, pages 472-473.
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