Edward West Parker Sr.

The State Convention of Colored Citizens of California, October 25-28, 1865, Sacramento, California

Letter Concerning 1870 Voter Registration of Edward West Parker Sr.

Annie Galt Moody





Edward West Parker Sr.

On The Porch Of Annie Galt Moody's West Oakland Home, 1916
(l-r, Annie Galt Moody; unknown girl; Alberta Reid; the woman at right is unidentified)

Edward West Parker Sr. and Annie Galt Moody, the parents of Virginia Parker Reid (matriarch of the Berkeley Reid clan), were both born in slavery in Virginia in the early part of the nineteenth century. Both later migrated to California.

Our current information of how Annie Moody came to California (as of the summer of 2010) comes from two documentary sources.

The first is William Patterson's history of the Galt-Turner migration from Virginia to California. In that history, William Patterson wrote that Annie Moody's parents did not escape from slavery, but were both freed by their respective slavemasters, who were also their respective fathers.

Patterson wrote that Annie Moody's father, William Henry Galt, came to California by traveling by boat down the eastern coast, overland across Panama at the Isthmus, and then up the western coast by boat again. Patterson also wrote that William Henry Galt's wife, Elizabeth Mary Turner Galt, left Virginia for Connecticut about the same time that William Galt left Virginia for California, and that Elizabeth Galt later joined her husband in California. We have always assumed that William and Elizabeth Galt's three children—Annie, Mary, and Richard—traveled with their mother to Connecticut and then to California. Some family members believed that Elizabeth Galt and the three children settled for a while in Massachussetts before making the travel to California. But Patterson's account is silent on the details of Elizabeth Galt's trip to California, and until recently, the family has not had any details of that trip.

A recently-obtained copy of the 1880 census record of the household of Edward Parker gives us some of those details.

The census record shows that Edward Parker and Annie Moody (listed as Annie Parker in the census record) had two of their own children in 1880: three year old Virginia and two year old Edward. (Edward and Annie had at least one other child: Theodore).

The 1880 census record also shows that there were three children in the household from Annie (Parker) Moody's previous marriage to William Ford: William, Belle, and Joseph.

The birthplaces of the three Ford children in the 1880 census give more details of Annie Moody's life. 16 year old William was born in Massachussetts, confirming the belief of some family members that Elizabeth Galt and her children spent some time in Massachussetts before coming to California. It also shows that Annie, who was 32 years old in 1880, was 16 when her son William was born.

The last two Ford children, 11 year old Belle (born in 1869) and Joseph, were both born in California. Putting those facts together, it shows that Annie Moody (and almost certainly her mother and her brother and sister) probably remained on the east coast until after the end of the Civil War in 1865. It also means that Annie Moody's husband, William, came with them from the east coast to California.

The 1880 census record shows that Annie Moody was 32 years younger than her new husband, Edward (Edward Parker was 64 in 1880 while Annie (Parker) Moody was 32).

Annie Moody left no written record of her views of slavery, the Civil War, or of conditions for African-Americans in California following Emancipation, and there is no oral family history of those views. We only know that her father, William Galt, was one of the African-American leaders of the anti-slavery movement in California, serving as an officer in the Sacramento Zouaves, an African-American militia organized to fight, if necessary, to keep California from joining the Confederacy and instituting slavery in the Golden State.

The circumstances of Edward Parker's migration to California are not presently known by his descendants. He came to California sometime before the end of the Civil War, but whether he came as a "legally" free man or an escapee is unknown. Edward Parker established a bootmaking business on Third Street in San Francisco, advertising for years in the San Francisco African-American newspaper, The Elevator.

Advertisement For Edward Parker's Bootmaking Business
414 Third Street, San Francisco, California
The Elevator Newspaper
San Francisco, California
June 9, 1865

We do know that Edward Parker himself was active in Black Freedom causes, serving as a delegate to the State Convention of Colored Citizens of California in October of 1865, only months after the end of the Civil War, and registering to vote in 1870 on the first day possible for African-Americans in California.

Annie Galt Moody had three other marriages besides her marriage to Edward Parker, all of them producing children. She had nine children in all.

She had three children to Edward Parker: Edward Jr., Virginia, and Theodore.

Edward Parker Jr.

Virginia Parker later married Thomas Reid Sr., who had migrated from Griffin, Georgia to San Francisco in the 1890's. Thomas and Virginia Reid moved first to Angels Camp, California, in the Sierra foothills gold country, where they had three children. They later moved to Berkeley, California, where they had ten more children.

Virginia Parker Reid

Theodore Parker was an important figure in the Prince Hall Masons, reaching the 32nd degree. In addition, he was a union leader in San Francisco, running the hiring hall that employed African-American workers on the docks.

Theodore Parker

To Will Ford, Annie Moody had two children, Belle, Will, and Joseph.

To the husband known by current descendants only as Johnson, she had one child, Alberta.

To Alec Moody she had two children, Nathaniel and Herbert.

Herbert Moody

The exact order in which the marriages took place is not known, except that since the younger children of Virginia Parker Reid called her Grandma Moody, her marriage to Alec Moody almost certainly came last. It is probable that her marriage to the man named Johnson (first name currently unknown) came immediately following her marriage to Edward Parker, because the child of that marriage, Alberta Johnson Postles, was very close to Virginia Parker Reid (Virginia's second daughter was named for "Cousin Bertie"), and the two of them were probably very close in age, as well. One of the most memorable Reid family stories is that Cousin Bertie, Alberta Johnson Postles, was supposed to come to California from the east coast to visit Virginia in the summer of 1944, but the visit was put off because Virginia became ill. When Virginia passed away in mid-June, her children dreaded the call to Alberta Postles, because "Mama and Cousin Bertie were so close." When they made the call, they learned that Alberta Postles had passed away that same day. Later, taking into account the time difference, the children determined that the two half-sisters, spiritually inseparable in life, had died at virtually the same time.

Alberta Johnson Postles