Contra Costa County












MANUEL C. PARKISON, M.D..  In point of years of active professional practice since receiving a diploma, Dr. Parkison bears the distinction of being the oldest physician in Contra Costa county, where he established an office in March of 1873.  While of recent years, on account of advancing age, he has relinquished professional work in order to enjoy the retirement so richly merited, a number of families who have received the benefit of his services as physician for a long period, still depend upon his assistance in times of sickness, and for the sake of old friendships he never declines such calls.  Though unable to endure the demands made upon a busy physician, he is by no means an idle man, but finds in horticulture a source of great pleasure as well as some profit.  Some years ago he purchased forty acres adjoining Antioch.  Thirty-six acres of the tract he planted in an orchard and vineyard, being a pioneer orchardist of the vicinity.  His experience has been beneficial to himself and others.  By practical experiments he has learned that the soil and climate are not adapted to apples, pears, grapes and English walnuts, but on the other hand almonds, peaches and apricots bear abundantly.


The great-grandfather of Dr. Parkison, Peter Parkison, an Englishman by birth, became one of the early settlers of Virginia and for four years served in the Revolutionary war under Washington.  The grandfather, Manuel Parkison, was born in Virginia, moving from there to Tennessee, where he reared his family, and where his death occurred.


In McMinn county, Tenn., Dr. Parkison was born May 18, 1827, and in 1833 accompanied the family to Illinois, but his father, John Parkison, not finding a suitable location, returned to Tennessee in 1836.  The next removal was in 1842, when the family settled in the then frontier region of Wisconsin, and there improved a tract of land and remained fifteen years.  In 1861 the father came to California and made his home with his son near Ione, Amador county, where he died at seventy-five years of age.  After having received such advantages as local schools in Wisconsin afforded Manuel C. Parkison began to teach school and with the money thus earned began a course of study in Beloit College, but the failure of his health necessitated the abandonment of college work.  As soon as able he returned to school teaching.  Vacations and evenings were devoted to the study of medicine, in which he had the advantage of the preceptorship of Drs. Thomas and Vandusen, of Mineral Point, Wis.  For the further pursuit of medical study he entered Starling College in Columbus, Ohio, from which he was graduated with the class of 1857.


During the first six months of his active practice Dr. Parkison was a resident of Blandinsville, Ill., from which place he moved to the neighboring town of Abingdon, and there in addition to practicing medicine he conducted a drug store for two years.  A subsequent location at Deerpark, Ill., proved not wholly satisfactory and in 1864, seeking a more genial climate, he came to California, arriving at San Francisco on the 19th of April.  As old settlers still remember, 1864 was a year of long protracted drought, entailing the greatest suffering upon stock and heavy losses upon farmers and stockmen.  Many would have become discouraged in the midst of such an environment, but Dr. Parkison had come to stay and did not allow the conditions to daunt him.  He traveled in different parts of the state in search of a location and was induced by a brother-in-law to settle at Jackson, Amador county, where he was given charge of the county hospital.  After filling the position for sixteen months he resigned and removed to Ione, Amador county, where he carried on a general practice for seven years.  In March of 1873 he came to Antioch, and here, in addition to medical practice, he conducted a drug business up to 1901, when he disposed of the same to Dr. J. W. DeWitt.


The first wife of Dr. Parkison was Sarah A. Frasier, a native of Ohio.  The failure of her health in Amador county led Dr. Parkison to remove to Contra Costa county, but the trouble being of a spinal nature, a change of climate did not give permanent relief, and she died in September, 1873, at the age of forty-two years.  They were the parents of eight children, viz.:  Horace E., Allie, wife of W. W. Atkinson; Richard H., Charles, who died at two years of age; Eloise; Bertie G. wife of F. L. Taylor; Mrs. Maude Weeks and Mrs. Blanche Rogers.  The doctor’s present wife was formerly Mrs. Sarah L. (Smith) Page.  In 1854 he was made a Mason in Mineral Point Lodge, No. 1, of Wisconsin.  He served as master of the lodge at Abingdon, Ill., one year, two years at Ione, and on coming to Antioch entered into fraternal relations with the blue lodge at this point, of which he was twice chosen master.  In 1872 he became identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows while living at Ione, and at the same place took an active part in the work of the Amador County Medical Society, also there and in Antioch was connected with the State Medical Society.  In 1848 he united with the Congregational Church in Wisconsin and has been actively identified with the church in his various places of residence since that date.





Transcribed by Donna Toole.

­­­­Source: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 662-665. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

© 2015  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library