March 28, 2012

First Sierra County Assessor makes New York Times

If you own property in Sierra County, you recently received your Notice of Value stating what the county assessor reasons that your property is worth. From that, the county determines what you own in property tax.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.  One of the men responsible for shaping a civilized society from the wilderness at the head of Percha Creek in the early 1880s was James Porter Parker, a Confederate veteran of the Civil War.

The portly Parker, who lies at rest in the Kingston cemetery was covered in a finely wrought New York Times column recently.  The Ronald Coddington story is part of the Disunion series covering the 150th anniversary of the war between the states. For our readers this is a story twice told -- Matti Nunn Harrison told it here a year ago. Parker, a civil engineer, surveyed the Kingston townsite in the autumn of 1882, and was elected as the first Sierra County Assessor in the spring of 1884.

It's great to see the NY Times write about Kingston and Hillsboro and use a historic photo, probably taken by George T. Miller. The original photo exists in the George T. Miller collection in the Black Range Museum. The photo of Parker is crisp and clear, as you would expect from a professional photographer.  The buffalo gourd flower in Parker's vest pocket looks freshly picked. Miller apparently took several photos of Parker that same day.

You can read the New York Times story, by clicking here.

You can see other Parker images and read what Matti Nunn Harrison published last year by clicking here.

Matti Nunn Harrison and twin sister Patti Nunn co-authored a local history that features Parker and others notable men and women in the book Around Hillsboro.  Book royalties go to the Hillsboro Historical Society.  --Craig Springer

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James Porter Parker lies in an unmarked grave, perhaps this one, in the Kingston cemetery. Few prettier places can be found for earthly remains to spend eternity. Photo Patti Nunn.

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