James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)


Person Record Title
James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)
Given Name
Family Name
Birth Date
Death Date
Biographical Description
James Parker Jr. (1776-1868) was a wealthy politician and enslaver and from Perth Amboy, NJ. His parents were James Parker Sr. (1725-1797) and Gertrude Parker née Skinner (1739-1811). His family was from Perth Amboy, where his father had served as Mayor, but James Jr. was born in Bethlehem, Hunterdon County, because his parents moved to a farm called "Shipley" there during the Revolution. The Parkers moved to New Brunswick in 1783 and then returned to Perth Amboy two years later when James Jr. was about nine years old. He attended Columbia College in New York City and began his career as a merchant in the city, but returned to Perth Amboy when he was about 21 years old to manage the family's substantial estate after his father died.

Settling in Perth Amboy, he pursued a career as a magistrate and a politician at the local, state, and national level. Among the offices he held in Perth Amboy were Recorder of the City and Mayor. He served several non-nonconsecutive terms in the New Jersey General Assembly between 1806 and 1827. As a state legislator, he grew concerned about the dealings of the Van Wickle slave-trading ring — a nefarious operation that was transporting enslaved people to Louisiana from the port of Perth Amboy, Parker’s hometown. He formed an Association "for the purpose of opposing the practice of Kidnapping and unlawful trade in persons of color" with fellow concerned citizens in July 1818 and served as the Secretary of this group. In 1819, he originated a law that put a stop to the slave-trading ring and made it much more difficult for enslavers to take Black New Jerseyans away from the state. He went on to serve as a Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1833 to 1837.

Middlesex County records indicate that James Parker Jr. and other members of his family were enslavers and held several people in bondage in Perth Amboy in the early decades of the 19th century, during the same period when Parker was working to stop the illegal kidnapping and human trafficking in New Jersey.

Parker’s family is crucial to Rutgers history due to their land holdings in New Brunswick. James Jr. and his mother Gertrude donated land to the college from the Parker estate. The nucleus of Rutgers–New Brunswick’s historical campus (with Old Queens, Winants Hall, and Kirkpatrick Chapel) is located on the land donated by the Parker family.
Place of Significance
Perth Amboy
New Brunswick
Rutgers University
Relationship to Rutgers
Benefactor (c. 1808)
Trustee (1812-1868)
Family (Son John Cortlandt Parker RC1836)
Parent of
John Cortlandt Parker (1818-1907)
Sibling of
Cortlandt Lewis Parker (1781-1826)
John Parker (1763-1801)
Spouse of
Penelope Butler Parker (1785-1823)
Catharine Morris Ogden Parker (1781-1863)
Related Person
Ann Lawrence Parker
Record Contributor
Jesse Bayker

Linked resources

Items with "Creator: James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)"
Title Class
Notice (Association for the purpose of opposing the practice of Kidnapping), by James Parker Jr. Bibliographic Resource
Items with "Enslaver: James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)"
Title Class
1807 Sale: John Annin Event
1808-01-16 Birth: Joseph Event
1810-11-04 Birth: James Event
1822-08-08 Manumission: John Annin Event
Items with "Additional Participant: James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)"
Title Class
1806-03-01 Manumission: William Event
Items with "Parent of: James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)"
Title Class
Gertrude Skinner Parker (1739-1811) Agent
James Parker Sr. (1725-1797) Agent
Items with "Sibling of: James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)"
Title Class
Cortlandt Lewis Parker (1781-1826) Agent
Items with "Enslaved by: James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)"
Title Class
James (b. 1810) Agent
John Annin (b. 1797) [Jack] Agent
Joseph (b. 1808) Agent
Nancy [or Nanny] Agent
Items with "Related Person: James Parker Jr. (1776-1868)"
Title Class
Ann Lawrence Parker Agent