DR. CHARLES R. PARKE, a leading physician and surgeon of Bloomington, is prominently connected with the State
Medical and Central Illinois Medical Societies, and holds the position of Special Pension Examiner for the eye
and ear. His office is located at No. 13 West Jefferson street, and his residence at No. 306 East Walnut. Socially
he is surrounded by hosts of friends, and professionally is a favorite member of the fraternity in this section.
Dr. Parke was born in Chester County, Pa., June 26, 1823, and is the son of George W. and Mary (Ross) Parke, both parents having been born and reared in Chester County. The grandfather of our subject was Joseph Parke, whose ancestors were Scotch-Irish from the North of Ireland, and who emigrated to the United States at an early day, locating in Chester County, Pa., where they were pioneers and became prominently identified with the history of that section as among its most worthy and prosperous citizens.
George W. Parke, the father of our subject, was an extensive owner of farm property, and built a sawmill and plaster-mill, while at the same time he was engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was prospered in his undertakings and accumulated a fine property. He was a Justice of the Peace and served as Register of Wills in Chester County for three years. Both he and his wife were prominently connected with the Presbyterian Church, and they passed their declining years upon the farm which had remained so long in their possession, the father dying there in 1860, and the mother in 1866.
The subject of this history was the seventh child of his parents’ family and remained upon the homestead until eighteen years of age. He had been fairly educated, and at this time went into the city of Westchester, where he entered upon a course of study in Hoops’ Academy, and during his leisure hours assisted his father in his office there. He soon afterward entered upon the study of medicine, and after taking a course at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, graduated in the spring of 1847, and commenced practice in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
In 1848 Dr. Parke turned his face toward the Prairie State, and coming into Whiteside County located in Como. The following spring he crossed the plains to California as surgeon for a Como company, where he remained two years, and returned by the way of Nicaragua. He then located near Peoria whence, in 1852, he came to Bloomington where, until 1855, he engaged continuously in practice and became well and favorably known to the people of this section. That same year he crossed the Atlantic, and going to Russia became a surgeon of the Russian army during the Crimean War, remaining in the service until its close. He then made a tour of Europe, visiting a large number of hospitals and gaining valuable information. In the fall of 1857 he returned to the United States and to Bloomington, where he practiced until 1869, and then, on account of the failing health of his wife, went South to Arkansas, and locating on a plantation, engaged in the culture of cotton until 1873. He then returned to Bloomington, and has pursued his practice continuously since that time.
Dr. Parke is chief of the medical staff of St. Joseph’s Hospital [ed., now OSF St. Joseph Medical Center], Bloomington, which is owned and conducted by the 3d Order of the Sisters of St. Francis. The Doctor was instrumental in the establishment of this institution.
The wife of our subject was formerly Mrs. Lucy Keith, of Winchester, Ky., to whom he was married on the 3d of October, 1805. They occupy a pleasant home on Walnut street, and enjoy the confidence and esteem of a circle of acquaintances which include the most cultured people of the city. Dr. Parke is a close student, and has conducted his practice with unqualified skill and success.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 459. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.