Dr. Charles C. Parker Remembered
The Governor’s Own Honors
Fayette Historian and Businesswoman
Mrs. Sharon Orr

Sharon & John Orr

On Friday evening, May 15th, four members of Company A, 49th Regiment Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry met with Sharon and John Orr at their place of business in Fayette, Iowa to present Mrs. Orr with the Loyal Legion of Abraham Lincoln Award for 2010 for her monumental work in the restoration of a Civil War related landmark in this Northeast Iowa community.

In 2008 Sharon and John purchased what remained of a ramshackle brick office building on Fayette’s main street that had once served as the office of a local physician named Dr. Charles Coleman Parker, which was under consideration for possible demolition after decades of neglect.

Dr. Parker was on the original faculty of Upper Iowa Seminary (now Upper Iowa University) prior to the beginning of the American Civil War. Answering the call for volunteers, which was issued by his friend and personal acquaintance, President Abraham Lincoln, the Doctor joined the growing forces of volunteers gathering to face the winds of war that were soon to scorch this nation in a crucible of fire for four long, and terrible years. Dr. Parker would first be posted to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis where his arrival put him in the thick of the epidemic of measles that ravaged the growing Western Army there. He would go on to serve as Regimental Surgeon to the 12th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment that suffered enormously at the Battle of Shiloh. When personal illness and incapacity threatened his own health, Dr. Parker would be forced to resign his commission and return to Fayette where he spent the rest of his life working as a physician and teaching “Natural Sciences” at the university.

According to Mrs. Orr, much of the flooring in the single story building was either missing or terrible mutilated by years of exposure to the ravages of the elements. Seeking help with funding the project, but unable to secure it, Sharon and John made the personal financial commitment that the restoration would necessitate and moved on with a vigor that would occupy much of their next couple of years. Today, this magnificently restored building serves as the business office for Sharon’s financial services business, Northwestern Mutual. A small legion of local craftsmen were enlisted to do the work on the restoration project and, to the extent possible, nothing that was salvageable was discarded. Today, even much of the furniture in Sharon’s office is made from planks salvaged from the original flooring, and the beautiful fireplace shown in the accompanying photo was once the front door of the building. The wrought iron hand railing at the front step, a side fence along the South side of the building, and used as part of the sign in front of the building began list as a communion rail in a Catholic church in Dubuque.

1/Sgt.David M. Lamb
The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles

Photographs by Miss Janet Stahr

Posted by Commander on Monday 17 May 2010 - 12:33:45 | LAN_THEME_20

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