Parker, Eliza

Life Span
    Full name
    Eliza Parker
    Birth Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    William Parker (husband)
    Relation to Slavery
    Slave or Former Slave
    Other Affiliations
    Abolitionists (Anti-Slavery Society)

    Eliza Parker (Bordewich, 2006)

    At least two of [Edward] Gorsuch’s slaves plus [William] Parker, his equally warlike wife Eliza, and several other armed men were holed up on the second floor of the house when the Marylanders and Marshall Kline appeared in the narrow lane outside before dawn on the morning of September 11 [1851]…The tension mounted on both sides as dawn began to break.  Although Gorsuch didn’t know it, several of the men in the garret were panicking and urging surrender.  Eliza, who, William wrote, had endured a slavery “far more bitter” this his own, grabbed a corn cutter and declared that she would cut off the head of anyone who attempted to give up.

    The Parkers kept a horn that was to be used in times of emergency.  Eliza now asked William if it was time to call for help.  He told her to go ahead.  Standing at one of the garret windows, she raised the horn and blew a squalling note that friends everywhere within hearing would instantly understand.  One or more of the whites began firing at her, and she fell to her knees, unhurt, and, crouching beneath the sill, she continued to blow blast after blast into the brightening air.

    Men and women dropped what they were doing and began to run toward the sound.  They came from every direction, some on horseback, others on foots, armed with guns, clubs, barrel staves, and razor-edged corn cutters, until there were several dozen blacks gathered at the house.
    Fergus M. Bordewich, Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America’s First Civil Rights Movement (New York: Amistad, 2006), 329.
    How to Cite This Page: "Parker, Eliza," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,