Watson Parker

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Watson Parker (June 15, 1924 – January 9, 2013) was an American historian, author and academic. Parker, Professor Emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, specialized in the history of the Black Hills of South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. [1] [2] He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2011 for his work. [3]

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Historian person who studies and writes about the past

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.

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Contents

Background

Parker was born in 1924. [4] He was raised on his family's dude ranch and resort, the Palmer Gulch Lodge, at the base of Black Elk Peak near Hill City, South Dakota. [1] [2] [3] Hill City is called the "Heart of the Hills" because of its location near the center of the Black Hills. Parker operated the Palmer Gulch Lodge until 1960, when he left home to study history. [3] The Parker family continued to run the ranch until 1962. [2] He received a doctorate in history in 1965 from the University of Oklahoma. [3]

Black Elk Peak tallest mountain in the US state of South Dakota, and the tallest mountain in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains

Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota, United States. It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest. The peak lies 3.7 mi (6.0 km) west-southwest of Mount Rushmore. At 7,242 feet (2,207 m), it has been described by the Board on Geographical Names as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, though part of the North American Cordillera.

Hill City, South Dakota City in South Dakota, United States

Hill City is the oldest existing city in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 948 at the 2010 census. Hill City is located 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Rapid City on State Highway 16 and on U.S. Route 385 that connects Deadwood to Hot Springs. Hill City is known as the "Heart of the Hills" which is derived from its close proximity to both the geographical center of the Black Hills, and the local tourist destinations.

Doctorate academic or professional degree

A doctorate or doctor's degree or doctoral degree, is an academic degree awarded by universities, derived from the ancient formalism licentia docendi. In most countries, it is a research degree that qualifies the holder to teach at university level in the degree's field, or to work in a specific profession. There are a variety of names for doctoral degrees; the most common is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which is awarded in many different fields, ranging from the humanities to scientific disciplines.

Career

Parker authored four books, as well as numerous papers and notes on the history of the Black Hills throughout his career. [1] [2] Among his best known works are Deadwood: The Golden Years and Gold in the Black Hills. [1] In a 2011 interview in which he discussed Deadwood: The Golden Years, a history of Deadwood, South Dakota, Parker recalled: "The University (of Nebraska) said they wanted a serious book about Deadwood. I told 'em '...maybe somewhat serious, but not solemn. Deadwood is not that kind of town.'" [3]

Parker devoted considerable research to the history of the Black Hills' ghost towns. [3] He co-authored a survey of the region's ghost towns, Black Hills Ghost Towns, with historian Hugh Lambert. [1] [3]

Teaching

He taught history at University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh for twenty-one years before retiring to the Black Hills. [1] He continued to write, research and lecture after retirement. [1] He was also a supporter and consultant for the Adams Museum & House in Deadwood. [3]

University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh Public university in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is the third-largest university in Wisconsin, United States. As part of the University of Wisconsin System, UW Oshkosh offers bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees in an annual on- and off-campus enrollment of nearly 14,000.

Adams Museum & House, The Historic Adams House was built in 1892 by Deadwood pioneers Harris and Anna Franklin. The elegant Queen Anne-style house heralded a wealthy and socially prominent new age for Deadwood, a former rough and tumble gold mining town. It's the oldest history museum in the Black Hills and ranks #3 among True West magazine's 2009 Top 10 Western Museums. Artifacts and displays from Deadwood's historic past reflect the powerful legends of infamous characters like Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. In 1920 Deadwood businessman and former mayor W.E. Adams brought the house as a tribute to the Black Hills pioneers and in remembrance of his deceased first wife, daughter and granddaughter. The museum was a gift to the city of Deadwood and it remains city property to this day. It is located at 54 Sherman Street.

Parker's works were used as research for the American television series Deadwood , which aired on HBO from 2004 to 2006. According to Mary Kopco, the director of the Deadwood History Foundation, the first book that Deadwood creator and director David Milch purchased as research for the show was Parker's Deadwood: The Golden Years. [1] Milch and his staff later bought many of Parker's books and papers for the show. [1]

<i>Deadwood</i> (TV series) American TV series

Deadwood is an American Western television series that aired on the premium cable network HBO from March 21, 2004, to August 27, 2006, spanning three seasons and 36 episodes. The series is set in the 1870s in Deadwood, South Dakota, before and after the area's annexation by the Dakota Territory, and charts Deadwood's growth from camp to town. The show was created, produced, and largely written by David Milch. Deadwood features a large ensemble cast headed by Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane, playing the real-life Deadwood residents Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen, respectively. Many other historical figures appear as characters, including George Crook, Wyatt Earp, E. B. Farnum, George Hearst, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Jack McCall, and Charlie Utter. The plot lines involving these characters include historical truths as well as substantial fictional elements. Milch used actual diaries and newspapers from 1870s Deadwood residents as reference points for characters, events, and the look and feel of the show.

HBO American pay television network

HBO is an American premium cable and satellite television network owned by AT&T's WarnerMedia. The program which featured on the network consists primarily of theatrically released motion pictures and original television shows, along with made-for-cable movies, documentaries and occasional comedy and concert specials.

David Milch Screenwriter, television producer

David Sanford Milch is an American writer and producer of television series. He has created several television shows, including NYPD Blue and Deadwood.

Induction into South Dakota Hall of Fame

In September 2011, Parker was one of fourteen South Dakotans inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at the Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma, South Dakota. [3] The other thirteen inductees included cave explorers Herb and Jan Conn, businessman Norm McKie, former Rapid City Mayor Don Barnett, Lynn Seppala, Gene Abdallah, Curtis Hage, Dana Dykhouse, Donus Roberts, Amiel Narcelle Redfish, Gary Conradi, William Hinks and Tony Dean. [3]

Watson Parker died in Rapid City, South Dakota, on January 9, 2013, at the age of 88. [1]

Bibliography

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Taylor Rick, Lynn (2013-01-10). "'Dean' of Black Hills history dies". Rapid City Journal . Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Rees, Doug (2006). "Ghost Town Friends". South Dakota Magazine . Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Holland Rick, Deb (2011-09-11). "Fourteen South Dakotans added to state hall of fame". Rapid City Journal . Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  4. Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities  linked authority file (LAF) .