Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Harrison G. Park was born in 1896 and graduated from Brown University in 1824. Following his graduation, he studied theology and law. He was ordained as minister of the South Church of Dedham in 1829.
In 1830, he married Julia Bird, daughter of George Bird who began paper manufacturing in East Walpole. The couple lived in a house in South Dedham that was later occupied by Dr. Fogg, and later still, was the first headquarters of the Norwood Cooperative Bank. The couple had 4 children: Abigail, George, Harrison Jr., and Wisner, all born in the house. Julia Bird Park died in 1835. A few months later, in September, 1835, Park left the South Church of Dedham and served in parishes in Danvers, Massachusetts, and Burlington, Bernardstown, and Westminster, Vermont.
In 1837 he married for a second time. His wife was Elizabeth Bird, daughter of George Bird, and sister of his first wife, Julia. The couple had 6 children: Julia, Ebenezer, Henry, Montgomery, Calvin, and Francis.
The eldest child of this second marriage, Julia Bird Park (1838-1921) was born in 1838; she was named after Elizabeth’s sister/Park’s first wife, Elizabeth. Julia Park was married in 1863 to John Henry Hale of Bernardston, Massachusetts, a community in which her father had served as pastor. The couple settled in Westminster, Vermont.
John Henry Hale (1837-1864) enlisted in the Civil War. He was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. He is buried with his wife Julia Bird Park Hale in the Old Parish Cemetery alongside her family. (An additional interesting note. There is a stone engraved to John Henry Hale’s memory in Bernardston. After contacting parties there, it seems that this stone, which also lists the name of John Henry’s brother, was erected as a memorial to the two at a later date.)
The Park family suffered another loss during the Civil War as well. Elizabeth and Harrison’s son, Henry Martin Park (1842-1864), enlisted in the 40th Massachusetts Volunteers at the age of 20. The 40th was organized at Camp Stanton in Lynnfield, Massachusetts in August of 1862 and mustered for a 3-year enlistment. The Regiment was attached to the 2nd Brigade. Stationed primarily near Washington, DC, they marched in pursuit of Lee to Berlin, Maryland in July of 1863 and also sailed to Folly Island, SC in August of that year. They were in Hilton Head, SC during January of 1864. By May of 1864 the Regiment was back in the Richmond, VA area. Henry M. Park was wounded three times in battle. On May 20th, 1864, he was taken to the hospital at Fortress Monroe in Virginia and died there on June 18, 1864. He is buried in Old Parish Cemetery with his father and mother.
Two more of Harrison Park’s sons, Wisner and Ebenezer, enlisted in support of the union during the Civil War as well. Both survived. Wisner became a Captain during the conflict and participated in much of the hard service of the Army of the Potomac. He died in 1919 and is buried in the Canton Corner Cemetery. Ebenezer Burgess Park became dentist and well-respected citizen of Neosho County, Kansas.
After her husband’s death, Julia Bird Park Hale returned to South Dedham, where her father occasionally preached at local services. Rev. Park died in 1876 just shy of his 70th birthday. For many years Julia lived with her widowed mother, Elizabeth Bird Park, and her sister, A. Elizabeth Park, who was a school teacher. Later, she lived on Nahatan Street with her sister-in-law Rachel Park and her niece, Ida Park.
Julia never remarried. She died in 1921 at 83, certainly one of the oldest Civil War widows in Norwood.