Born in 1839 in southeast Alabama, Joseph Pinkney Parker grew up to have an obsession. By most accounts, he was a well-respected man in Troy, Alabama — he’d been a corporal in the CSA (was at Appomattox for the surrender), teacher, police officer. But when John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln, that hit a nerve which even cost ‘Pink’ his place in his Baptist church and eventually garnered him much resentment from around the country. Pink had blamed the failing, and failings, of his homeland to Lincoln and considered Booth a hero. For years after the event, Pink would wear a badge on the anniversary of the death that would have the anniversary year and the words, ‘anniversary death of Old Abe Lincoln’. His pastor asked him to stop going on about it and eventually he was even removed from the membership.
In 1906, Pink couldn’t stop talking about it, and commissioned a ~3′ tall monument to honor Booth, which he asked to have placed in the Troy town square. It read:
It was never placed there as the town wouldn’t approve it. The monument found a home in Pink’s front yard on Madison Street, as it was private property.
In 1921, things blew up in the press, letters were written, and the monument finally found its place behind a shed. Pink was by that time in poor health and had been living with a son in Georgia since 1918.
Mrs. C. D. Brooks, president of the Woman’s League of
Republican Voters in Alabama, has issued a call to good citizens,
whatever their party affiliations, to join with the League in
plans to remove the monument to John Wilkes Booth, the as-
sassin of Abraham Lincoln, which is still standing in Troy,
Alabama, where there is also a State Normal School. This was
erected by popular subscription in 1866. The sentiment that
condoned the political murder of the most lovable man in his-
tory is a curious thing to study after the lapse of more than
half a century. The whole South of today honors Lincoln’s
memory. There are no pilgrims to the grave of John Wilkes
Booth or to his monument.
The editor of the Troy paper wrote to the Brooklyn Eagle:
Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
An article appearing in your paper of recent date, and
which was reproduced in many papers of this section, headed
“An Assassin’s Monument,” has come to the notice of the
writer. We regret very much that this article appeared in your
paper because of the fact that the true facts in the case were
not given. However, this is not the first time our city has been
given undue publicity regarding this monument. Several years
ago the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave a full page writeup of it.
I will state the facts in the case for your information and
trust you will see fit to clear up the matter as the people of
our city do not appreciate the publicity we are getting out of
The monument, a very small one, something similar to a
small head-stone we have all seen in small cemeteries, bears
the inscription “erected by Pink Parker in memory of John
Wilkes Booth for the killing of old Abe Lincoln.” The little
stone was set up in the front yard of this old man, and we want
it thoroughly understood that it was erected by Mr. Parker
himself and paid for with his own money. He says himself
that not one penny was contributed or solicited.
Some few months ago, this old man almost lost his eye-
sight and moved to another State to make his home with his
son. Upon leaving, he disposed of his property here. Before
he sold his property, however, a wind storm visited our city
and blew the stone down. The new owner of the property has
never re-erected the stone and will not. And now the stone lies
flat with the inscription buried in the ground and is not notice-
able from the street.
The people of this town did not approve of the erection of
such a monument when it was set up some 15 years ago. It
was seen by very few people, as the old man’s home was not
on a principal street, and the people of this city now really are
glad that the monument no longer stands.
We are making the facts known to you simply because we
do not care for the publicity we are getting about this matter
and now that we have stated the facts to you we believe you
will be fair enough to the people of this section to so state the
facts in your excellent paper.
We have reproduced your article in our paper with our
comment and also given notice that in case we could have the
facts published in your paper we would also reproduce it in our
If you care to do your Southern friends this favor, kindly
mail a copy of your paper to this office that we may pass on
to our readers the correction of a mistake that does a gross in-
justice to the citizenship of our little city.
B. G. McCalman
Editor Troy, Ala., Herald.
When Pink Parker passed away, his sons had the John Wilkes Booth monument re-engraved, erasing the original inscription, and it served as Pink’s cemetery monument.
Last year, I found it in Oakwood Cemetery there in Troy:
Aug. 16, 1839
Dec. 12, 1921
On the reverse:
Served through the
War of 1861-65
In Company A
2nd Ga. Bat Inf
A.P. Hill’s Corps
Army Northern Va.
In the March ’15 Smithsonian Magazine:
The Closest Source we have to Really Knowing John Wilkes Booth is his Sister