Warren County Historical Society
presents the digital Rewind…
June 1, 2016
THE PARKS FAMILY OF SOUTH GLENS FALLS
Visitors to the Parks-Bentley Place on Ferry Boulevard in South Glens Falls often ask. “What is the significance of the name Parks-Bentley Place?” At that point, a brief history of the Parks family is given.
The story begins with Elijah Parks, patriarch of the family who came to the area from Connecticut. He and his five sons built a sawmill on the Hudson River prior to the Revolution. Local lore reports that he was given 800 acres of land from the King of England to say thank you for fighting in the French and Indian War. However, documentation indicates that he bought the land indicating he must have had considerable wealth.
In 1777 the Tories and a group of Indian Raiders burned his home and Elijah and his son Elisha were both killed. It became known as the “Parks Massacre.” His son Isaac was captured and carried to Canada. Son Daniel escaped capture and later with a band of militia was responsible for receiving the keys to Fort George at its surrender. Daniel and his family of 8 children had a one-room log cabin less than a mile from the burned family home that was not damaged during the raid. His home is currently the oldest part of the Parks-Bentley Place.
The Keeping Room at the Parks-Bentley House in South Glens Falls. Photo courtesy of the Parks-Bentley House.
The Parks’ property ran along the Hudson River from the connection to Glens Falls all the way to Fenimore at Baker’s Mills, present day Hudson Falls. The Parks ran a ferry across the river at this point. The original family cemetery on the property still exists, but is now located on private land with an easement for public viewing.
Again, local lore would have you believe that a tunnel went from the house to the river as part of the Underground Railroad. Older visitors who played in the yard as children confirmed the tunnel, but since it was in the oldest part of the house, it is believed that it was an escape for the family in case their home was attacked, as was the home of Elijah, and not part of the Underground Railroad.
Solomon Parks, a descendant of the Parks family of South Glens Falls. He gave his home on Park Street in Glens Falls to become the first community hospital. Photo courtesy of the Parks-Bentley House.
Following the genealogy of the family is difficult because each generation had several Solomons and Daniels. It is known that a descendant Solomon Parks became rich in the lumbering industry and had a very nice home on Park Street in Glens Falls. He gave his home to become the first community hospital, but he died one month before it was to open. However, that was a good thing, as the public refused to go there, believing that the doctors were conducting experiments on patients. They preferred to go the home of the doctor or surgeon as they had done for years. Pictures of Solomon and his wife Harriet hang in the Keeping Room of the Parks-Bentley Place and may be seen on Saturdays from 1 to 4 P.M. from April until October. For more information, be sure to visit at 53 Ferry Boulevard, South Glens Falls.
This article was prepared by Stan Malecki, a volunteer at Parks-Bentley Place on Ferry Boulevard in South Glens Falls