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.He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2011 for his work.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
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.
An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book or play, and is also considered a writer. More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created.
Parker was born in 1924.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. 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. The Parker family continued to run the ranch until 1962. He received a doctorate in history in 1965 from the University of Oklahoma.
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 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.
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.
Parker authored four books, as well as numerous papers and notes on the history of the Black Hills throughout his career.Among his best known works are Deadwood: The Golden Years and Gold in the Black Hills. 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.'"
Parker devoted considerable research to the history of the Black Hills' ghost towns.He co-authored a survey of the region's ghost towns, Black Hills Ghost Towns, with historian Hugh Lambert.
He taught history at University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh for twenty-one years before retiring to the Black Hills.He continued to write, research and lecture after retirement. He was also a supporter and consultant for the Adams Museum & House in Deadwood.
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.Milch and his staff later bought many of Parker's books and papers for the show.
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 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 Sanford Milch is an American writer and producer of television series. He has created several television shows, including NYPD Blue and Deadwood.
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.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.
Watson Parker died in Rapid City, South Dakota, on January 9, 2013, at the age of 88.
Merritt is a ghost town in Lawrence County and Pennington County, South Dakota, United States of America.
Seth Bullock was a Canadian-American Western sheriff, hardware store owner, and U.S. Marshal.
Ellis Alfred Swearengen was an American pimp and entertainment entrepreneur who ran the Gem Theater, a notorious brothel, in Deadwood, South Dakota, for 22 years during the late 19th century.
Minnesela is a ghost town and was the first settlement in and county seat of Butte County, South Dakota, United States. Minnesela was founded in 1882 and was located three miles southeast of present-day Belle Fourche. The railroad's decision to bypass Minnesela and to continue on to Belle Fourche in 1890 caused the town to be abandoned by 1901.
The South Dakota Hall of Fame is an American award for excellence among South Dakotans. Established in 1974, the South Dakota State Legislature named the organization the state's official hall of fame in 1996. The Hall is a museum detailing "acts of excellence", the host of an annual honors ceremony, a statewide K-12 South Dakota History Program, and a Visitor and Education Center in Chamberlain that opened in June 2000. More than 700 South Dakotans have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and their stories of excellence with supporting media are available online.
Mule Creek Junction is an unpopulated locale in Niobrara County, Wyoming at the junction of US 18 and US 85.
Blacktail is a ghost town in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. The name was collected by the United States Geological Survey between 1976 and 1980, and entered into the Geographic Names Information System on February 13, 1980.
Brownsville, also known as Avalon, Esther's Place, and Anderson's Place, is an unincorporated community in Lawrence County, South Dakota. The town was originally a lumber camp, and it was named for contractor David Brown. It is the nearest community to John Hill Ranch-Keltomaki, which is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Ragged Top is a ghost town in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. While the town was once a prosperous mining town, it declined due to miners' inability to transport their ore to smelters.
Carbonate, also known as Carbonate Camp, West Virginia, Virginia, and Carbonate City (1881-1939), is a ghost town located in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States.
Tigerville or Tiger City (1878–1885) is a ghost town in the Black Hills of Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. The old mining town represents the boom and bust fate of many Western towns.
Flatiron, formerly known as Yellow Creek or Flat Iron City, is a ghost town in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. It was known for its highly successful gold mining.
Greenwood, also known as Laflin,, is a ghost town in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. According to the book “Deadwood Saints and Sinners” by Jerry L. Bryant and Barbara Fifer, Robert Flormann died of pneumonia in Nome, Alaska, on July 4, 1900 and is buried in Seattle, page 168.
Pactola, also known as Camp Crook, (1875–1950s) is a ghost town in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. It was an early placer mining town and existed into the early 1950s, when it was submerged under Pactola Lake.
Myers City, today called Myersville, is a ghost town in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States.
Rochford is an unincorporated community in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. It is not tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Nahant or West Nahant is a ghost town in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. It flourished as a logging and, to a lesser extent, mining town in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Sheridan, originally called Golden City, was an early mining camp in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. It was the first county seat of Pennington County from 1877 to 1878. It is now submerged under Sheridan Lake.
Terraville is a ghost town in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. It was founded in 1877 as a mining camp and later evolved into a town. It was purchased by the Homestake Mining Company and was destroyed in 1982 to make way for a new mine.