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Notes of R. Parker - upon the lectures delivered by Professor Davis to the junior class of law - the session of 1832-3


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

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Richard Parker was born on December 22, 1810, in Richmond, Virginia, to Richard Elliot Parker and Elizabeth Foushee Parker. He studied law at the University of Virginia under John A. G. Davis. Parker then began practicing in Berryville, Virginia. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1849 to 1851 as a Democrat. He then served as a judge in the thirteenth judicial circuit of Virginia until 1869, during which time he sentenced John Brown to death.

Judge Richard Parker is best known for presiding over the 1859 trial of John Brown. Brown raided the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry to protest slavery, an event which contributed to the rising tensions between North and South that eventually culminated in the Civil War.

Judge Parker was married to Evelina Moss Parker, who died in November 1887. Richard Parker died on November 10, 1893, in Winchester, Virginia.

"Parker, Richard, (1810-1893)," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, (accessed November 5, 2007).Alison White, "Virginia Teaching: The Early Years," UVA Lawyer, Fall 2006, (accessed November 5, 2007)."Richard Parker," Find a Grave, (accessed November 5, 2007).

This college notebook belonged to Virginia congressman and jurist Richard Parker, judge in the trial of abolitionist John Brown. The book contains lecture notes taken from 1832 to 1833 during a University of Virginia class on law.

Richard Parker’s cloth-covered notebook contains notes on a series of law lectures given by John A. G. Davis from 1832 to 1833 at the University of Virginia. The notes reference several textbooks including "Nattel," "Blackstone," and "Tate."

The first three lectures, dated September 1832, were on the subject of international law. Following these lecture notes, the pages were left blank until the page numbered 51. The next lectures, dated June 1833, describe various offenses and their corresponding punishments. Other subjects covered by the lectures include "Accomplices," "Means of Prosecuting Offences," "Summery Convictions [sic]," "Arrests," "Of Commitment and Bail," "Of the Several Modes of Prosecution," "Process upon an Indictment," "Of Plea and Issue," "on Judgment and Its Consequences," "Reprieve and Pardon," and "Execution."

A manuscript dealer’s description is tipped in at the front of the volume. It notes, "In the sentence read to the court after the trial of John Brown – November 1859 – Judge Parker followed, to the letter, his early note on ‘Execution:- One that directs that Judge at time of pronouncing sentence of death, shall appoint day of execution – which shall not be less than 30 days from delivery of judgment’."

The accession folder also contains related materials donated by the Moyerman family: a pamphlet entitled "John Brown: Saint or Madman" by Dr. William W. Hassler; a letter to Samuel Moyerman from Charles K. Pulse, a John Brown scholar, expressing his interest in the notebook; a photocopy of a letter by Richard Parker sent by Pulse to be used as a handwriting sample; a letter to Samuel Moyerman from Boyd B. Stutler regarding the location of other of Parker’s papers.

  1. Item 0134: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Gift of the Moyerman family, 1970.

Processed and encoded by Kate Hand, November 2007. Updated by E. Evan Echols, August 2014.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2014 August 7
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

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Collection Inventory

Notes of R. Parker - upon the lectures delivered by Professor Davis to the junior class of law - the session of 1832-3, 1832-1833. 1 volume.
Item 0134
Physical Description

1 volume

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