Above picture: Parker Family Homestead. Flathead Valley, Montana.
The Samuel Parker family, descendants of John Knox, the Presbyterian minister of Wales, immigrated to America in the early 1800’s. Initially, they found occupation in Iowa. By the mid 1800’s, his son Henry Parker wished for more of the American dream of owning property, and the opportunity to carve a life out of the land. Henry packed up his wife and children, Neil, Henry Samuel, Ida, Vera, and Frances, in a covered wagon. This family established one of the early homesteads in the Flathead Valley. They began in a one room cabin, Indian raided their out door ice chest, yet the family maintained complete self sufficiency. The children became quite progressive, and were of the first in the Valley to own a model T, generate electricity, and have a telephone. How does this relate to raspberry jam? The Parkers brought with them raspberry bush starts. Aunt Ida and Aunt Vera ( Frances, who Francie was named after, died of illness in harsh conditions), kept the raspberry patch alive all those years until they were turned over to the grand children, Francie’s mom and dad and great grandchildren. From them we learned all about gardening, canning, cooking and preserving. Today as their descendants, we can do no less than to serve homemade raspberry jam, made in house from real berries. Thank-you Aunt Ida and Vera and Grandpa Sam, and Uncle Neil for your hard work and the respect you passed on for God, family, and country.