MAJOR RICHARD H PARHAM
Father of education law in fifth constitution.
Majpr Parham is the party who wrote the law in 1874, while a professor
at St Johns' College, before becoming its last president, the law which
still governs common public schools in Arkansas.
Donated by: Bill
MAJOR RICHARD H PARHAM was apparently born ca 1834 in
Sussex county, Virginia to Henriette and Richard H PARHAM where raised
in his early years. United States sixth census (1840) for Sussex has listed
"free white persons", 26 females and 8 males, 20 years
or younger and
for over 20 years, 5 females plus one male. His parents
were operating a school.
Between 1840 and 1850 the Parham family migrated westerly
seven-hundred miles to northern Marshall county, Mississippi,
were among the 29,089, listed in the 1850 northern Marshall county census,
with father, "planter and $25,000 of real estate". Richard Jr, had an older
sister, Mary and brother, William C, plus a
younger sister and three brothers.
Marshall County, Mississippi, with its very fertile ground
from Memphis, Tennessee, created from Chickasaw Indian
February 1836, shipping most Indians up the Arkansas
river to what now
is Oklahoma and where school year 1859/60, O C &
Virginia GRAY, taught northwest from Holy Springs, boarding on plantation
WILLS/WELLS/WALLS(?), with three daughters, one a red-head
and sixteen slaves, near, if not at site of the famous Martin Mission of
Presbyterian Church established on old "Pidgeon Roost
about 1824 or 1825:
"Marshall County received its full share of settlers during
rush of emigration into the newly opened Chickasaw cession.
By the year
1840 it had a population of about 17,500, and by 1850
the population was
29,089. Among these were many prominent families
and wealthy planters."
1860 census, the only Richard found born around 1834 in
Virginia, is in
Alabama shown born 1824. His family still in Mississippi's
county, with post office at Lagrange.
The 1870 census finds a Richard H PARHAM born "abt 1834",
Virginia in District 2, Carroll, Tennessee with post office, Trezevant,
after October 1869 Major Richard H PARHAM is noted, many
Little Rock, Arkansas, as is his wife Ora, and older
Colonel William Cuningham PARHAM, both college professors.
found within Virginia GRAY's 1867-1872 diary kept on
her son Carl
Raymond GRAY (1937, vice-chairman Union Pacific Railroad).
Her hubby was Colonel Oliver Crosby GRAY, since 1867 professor at St Johns'
College of Arkansas, president 1871 to 1874, before he and wife Virginia
L were offered "first chairs", she Drawing & Painting, he Civil Engineering,
(plus "existing chair" of mathematics and head of R O T C) at Arkansas
Industrial University in Fayetteville, Arkansas, its first classes were
January 1872 with seven male and Anna PUTMAN.
Masonic's St Johns' College of Arkansas' staff published
"President [Colonel Oliver Crosby] GRAY, Professor of
Pure and Mixed
Mathematics: Colonel Luke E BARBER, LLD, Professor, Belles
Colonel William Cuningham PARHAM, 1850 graduate of The
William & Mary with his A M, Professor of Greek and
Latin Languages: and since 1869, Major Richard H PARHAM, Professor of Physical
Science and Applied Mathematics."
It was year of "The Brooks-Baxter War" that Major Richard
H PARHAM, as one of Arkansas', General Assembly Democratic elected legislators
introducing his legislation which became law within Arkansas' fifth constitution.
This, October 13, 1874, was approved three-to-one majority by the people
in a special election. His law still governed the state with over 300 public
school districts and a student enrollment of about 445,000, November 2002.
Major Richard H PARHAM became fifth and final distinguished
president of St Johns' College of Arkansas (1850-1882) the first chartered
institution of higher learning in Arkansas, conducting
her last classes in1 879.
After St Johns', Major Richard H PARHAM, joined what now
is Little Rock School District, continuing to distinguish himself as an
educator and leader.
He with wife Ora, are found living with their only daughter,
Ora and her
husband, attorney Powell CLAYTON on 1900 census, in their
home, 1301 Welch. A street named after Rev Thomas Rice WELCH (1834SC-1891AR),
who organized two of towns Presbyterian churches, and is located within
Masonic Addition of Little Rock. Same street of which St Johns' backed
upon since 1857, till lost to fire.
1909, the Little Rock school district honored him by building
School at 15th & Vance streets, enlarged in 1929
and 1954, which served
the public seventy years before being removed in
1979 for I-630 construction.
Major PARHAM is now, --- all but forgotten, --- as are
so many of
Arkansas' truly notable pioneer school educators, replaced
day politician names. Pris Weathers of <www.Arkansasties.com>
on 2 July 2007 wrote:
"...it just so happens that I went to Parham Elementary
in I believe 76.
It was a very interesting school on the inside.
It was replaced with
"Major Richard H. Parham, for whom the school was named,
Little Rock schools in the 1880s. He was principal of
the Scott Street
School in 1887 and the Kramer School in the early 1900s.
returned to the classroom at Little Rock High School,
different subjects, and finally retired as the school's
time around World War I. During this time he also was
an examiner for
the County School Board. Parham died in 1924."
"After his death, the Alumni Association of Little Rock
established the R.H. Parham Memorial Loan Fund in his
honor "for the
benefit of deserving students."
Little Rock School District archives.
Quapaw Quarter Chronicle. August 1978, p. 9.Newspaper
article pasted in Parham School scrapbook [article origin unknown]; scrapbook
at Museum of Discovery, Parham School collection. Copy of article in LRSD
1910 census finds Major PARHAM without wife at son-in-law's
reportedly, later retiring from school district following
nearly fifty years eductional & leadership service
to Arkansas' youth,
its future leaders, then dying 1924.
Richard's apparent older brother, William Cuningham, is
noted ca 1985 by
daughter of a resident in Fordyce, Arkansas as follows:
"He received an AM degree from Wm & Mary, taught mostly
languages, in private schools in VA [Virginia] and MS
1857-1860. Vice principal at [Princeton Female?] academy
1861-64. ? (can't make that out[St Johns'?]) Masonic
Prof. of Latin and Greek at McKenzie College, TX, 1864-65;
College, LR [Little Rock], 1869-75; AR Female College,
Central Collegiate Institute, Altus, AR; 1884-1885; Millersburg
College, KY, 1887-91; Galloway Female College, Searcy,
president of Masonic Female College, Marshall, TX, 1899-1909."
"Prof. Parham was 2nd [in command] at St. John's College
Brooke-Baxter [war] affair occurred. Now conducting a
school at Benton(1906) and hopes to retire with 60 years
of pro. work.
Now entering 52 years as teacher--done about 40 years
the senior teacher in the state."