Josiah Parker – Continental Army Officer – Virginia


Josiah Parker (11 May 1751 – 11 March 1810) was an American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia in the First through Sixth United States Congresses.


Parker was born at the Macclesfield Estate in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. In 1773, he married the widow Mary Pierce Bridger. They had one child, Anne Pierce Parker (ca 1775, Isle of Wight Co., VA – 21 March 1849).

In 1775, Parker became a member of the state Committee of Safety. He attended the Virginia Convention that met in March, July, and December of that year.

==Revolutionary War==

When the American Revolutionary War began in April 1775, Parker enlisted in the Continental Army. He was promptly commissioned a major in the 5th Virginia Regiment on 13 February 1776, promoted to lieutenant colonel on 28 July 1777, and became its colonel on 1 April 1778. His regiment served in Virginia under General Charles Lee until the autumn of 1776, when the 5th Virginia Regiment was transferred to George Washington’s army. The regiment thereafter saw action at the Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Siege of Charleston.

Parker resigned from the army on 12 July 1778 and became a member of the Virginia House of Delegates for 1778, 1779, 1782 and 1783. During Cornwallis’s Virginia campaign in 1781, the notorious Colonel Tarleton ransacked his home.

In August 1781, Lafayette sent him to Portsmouth, Virginia on a reconnaissance. He found the British had embarked for Yorktown. Parker recovered 25 cannons the British had thrown into the sea to prevent their capture.


In 1786, Parker was commisioned a naval officer at Portsmouth, Virginia. He ran to become a delegate to the 1788 Virginia Convention, since he opposed surrendering Virginia’s hard won independence by ratifying the United States Constitution. However, he was elected to the First United States Congress, was reelected to the Second and Third Congresses. He was elected as a Federalist to the Fourth through Sixth United States Congress.

Parker then returned home and engaged in agriculture. He died in 1810, and was buried in the family cemetery on his plantation, “Macclesfield”, in Isle of Wight County, Virginia.

The Col. Josiah Parker Family Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

A World War II Liberty Ship, SS Josiah Parker, was named in his honor.