James M. Parker was born October 1, 1801 in Shelby County, Kentucky. He came to Pleasant Valley (now part of Sachse, TX) in the early 1850’s and settled on a farm that consisted of wild prairie grass so thick that it would take a double yoke of oxen just to break it open.
James had married Anna Carnell while in Humphrey County, Tennessee. Anna was born July 27, 1798. James and Anna traveled first to Memphis, Tennessee where they crossed the mighty Mississippi. They then traveled over to Little Rock, Arkansas and finally to Pleasant Valley. James and Anna had ten children total. At least eight of those children accompanied their parents to Pleasant Valley.
James had been raised in the Methodist Episcopal church and was by this time a Methodist Preacher. His son Oliver, following in the footsteps of his dad, was also a Methodist preacher. Oliver Parker performed many area weddings including the one held on November 18, 1874 for Gus and Mary Ann Newman Poovey. Many early day members of the Pleasant Valley Methodist Episcopal church were descendants of Gus and Mary Ann Poovey.
Several of their guest were Peter Wallace, Violet Ann McCallum, Thomas Jackson and wife Sarah Compton McClain (grandparents of Jack McClain), as well as Langdon McCallum and his new bride Mollie Foote. Gus and Mary Ann Poovey were grandparents of Joe Poovey, Bea Pelton Merritt, and other P V members.
Since James M. Parker was the first known Methodist preacher at Pleasant Valley, he then is most likely responsible for giving the community its name. That story, according to Mae McCallum, goes like this, “In a little log schoolhouse, a crowd had gathered for Sunday service. After the service the preacher stepped outside and said, we must find a name for this place. As he viewed the beautiful surrounding scenery he remarked, this is a very pleasant valley.”
Oliver Parker also conducted the wedding ceremonies of W. W. Williams and Sarah E. Kirby; Taylor Wallace and Elizabeth Davis; James Morrison and Sarah Drake; Samuel Myers and Mary Ray; Wylie Wolford and Martha Coulson; J. C. Anderson and N. P. Myers; J. G. Todd and Laura Rives; Thomas Drake and Mollie Townsend; Joseph Erwin and Ruth Davis, as well as Bishop Compton and Lenora Hargrove.
James M. Parker made out his will on December 12, 1858, and died on June 12, 1859 at the age of 57. He was buried at the Old Decatur Cemetery which is now known as Murphy.
Photo: Gus & Mary Ann Newman Poovey, married by Oliver Parker.
Courtesy The Bois D’arc At Nacogdoces by Jim Foster.