Gardner Parker of Westborough, Massachusetts.

Gardner Parker was born in Hubbardston, Massachusetts on March 14th, 1772. He died in Westborough by his own hand on February 16th, 1816. He was the son of Isaac and Marjory Parker. They were originally from Shrewsbury and moved to Hubbardston and then to Westborough in 1777. Gardner married Assenath Sherman of Grafton. They had one child. A son name Perley Parker was born in Grafton and married Betsey Mellen. Gardner is said to have been trained in the art of clockmaking by the Willards. Paul Foley in his book, Willard’s Patent Time Pieces, speculates that he was trained by Benjamin the oldest of the Willard clockmaking brothers. He lists numerous entries where they had an on going business relationship manufacturing clock components. Most of these were charged to Benjamin. In October of 1800, Parker purchases some land in Westborough. He set up a mill at the location that is now called “Parker’s Folly.” It was named this because the dam he constructed in order to hold water back failed. This may have been an attempt to apply water power to clockmaking. Later he advertises the ability of make all types of clocks including tower clocks. One such tower clock was installed in Westborough in 1801, one was installed in Arlington in 1808 and one in Shrewsbury in before 1816. There are also records of his building church organs. Parkers reputation was a man of nervous temperament. He would go days without sleep in order to finish a project. In February of 1816, his mind could longer handle the strain. He shot himself in a fit of despondency.