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Richard Parker to speak at Jackson Purchase Historical Society meeting

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Richard Parker to speak at Jackson Purchase Historical Society meeting

Richard Parker, a local historian, will speak on the steamboat’s role as a means of escape in the Underground Railroad.

The Jackson Purchase Historical Society will meet on Nov. 14 via Zoom at 10:30 a.m. To register for the meeting, please send an email to bruce.dobyns@gmail.com.

The speaker will be Richard Parker, a local historian, who will speak on the steamboat’s role as a means of escape in the Underground Railroad. The program is entitled “Escape to Freedom: The Role of the Steamboat in the Underground Railroad.” Parker stated, “The Jackson Purchase is surrounded by the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers which acted as an interstate for slaves moving North seeking their freedom. Thousands of slaves worked on steamboats on waterways throughout the South, and these rivers provided slaves a quicker and easier escape than venturing overland.”

Parker is the author of “The Wild World of the Jackson Purchase” and several articles that have been published in the Jackson Purchase Historical Journal. His most recent contribution to the Society’s Journal won the 2019 Dr. Lonnie E. Maness Award for the most outstanding article. Parker is a graduate of Murray State University and is finishing his master’s degree from Western Kentucky University this fall.

In 1958, a group of people from western Kentucky and west Tennessee who were interested in local and regional history met in Murray and formed the Jackson Purchase Historical Society to promote interest, study and preservation of the regional history of the territory included in the Chickasaw Purchase of 1818-19.

Andrew Jackson (before he was president) and Isaac Shelby negotiated the treaty with the Chickasaw Nation represented by Levi Colbert and family. Jackson played the leading role in the negotiations. The Treaty was ratified in 1819 and opened the region to full settlement. The area of primary interest to the Jackson Purchase Historical Society includes the Kentucky counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, and McCracken in Kentucky; Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley counties in Tennessee.

The society has an interest in, and welcomes members from all of West Tennessee, as well as all those who trace their roots to the Jackson Purchase and want to stay in touch with home. The society’s interest in the general heritage of this region extends to bordering counties and larger national issues that have affected the region and the lives of its people. In 2018, they celebrated their sixtieth anniversary of service to the region.

The Journal of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society has made an important contribution for more than forty years and received awards from the Historical Society of Kentucky in 2013, 2017, and 2020. The meetings share current research by scholars at all levels with the community of those interested. All are welcome to attend and all meetings are free.

Membership is open to all who are interested at $15 per year (August to July) and includes a copy of their annual journal.