Presented by Audrey Kalivoda, producer of Following the Parker Trail, Mesquite 90 Productions, 2013
The Parker story is also the story of so many of us. Many of our ancestors left Europe, moved west across “the big water” and just kept on going west. We all grew up with stories of the Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail and California Trail; but that first great move west — to Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois — is a story not always told.
The Parkers forged their own trail west, traveling 2,500 miles through 12 states and settling in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Illinois, in present-day Coles County. In June 1833 the Parkers were on the move again, this time to Texas. It’s not hard to imagine that many of Elder John’s children were tired of the travel. By now they were adults with children and grandchildren. The lure of the open road may have been lost on them. In fact, some settled and chose to stay, but most chose to follow their family on what turned out to be the final, heartbreaking leg of their journey west, to Fort Parker, Texas.
What drove the Parkers — Elder John’s family and folks like them — to move, move and move again? This presentation will examine this question and will include a viewing of the documentary, Following the Parker Trail.
Audrey Kalivoda of Nashville, TN, was born in north central Kansas and has always held strong to her Midwest background. Photography, history and travel played an important role in her early years. After attending Marymount College she spent several years with her portrait studio in Nashville. Her first documentary focused on the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas. Later, she completed Kansas....the Center of it All in honor of her home state’s 150th anniversary of statehood. She is owner of Mesquite 90 Productions, which produces travel/history documentaries. Following the Parker Trail is her sixth documentary.
Audrey Kalivoda, documentary filmmaker with Mesquite 90 Productions based in Nashville, TN, examines the westward trek of Elder John Parker, who, like many early settlers, constantly was inspired to pull up roots and journey into new, unsettled lands. They traveled across 2,500 miles and through 12 states, settling in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Illinois before ending their journey in Fort Parker, TX. Kalivoda’s presentation and discussion included a viewing of her 2013 documentary, “Following the Parker Trail” (not included in the recording below).