Giving Credit to Elmer Oris Parker for Helping to Restore Robert E. Lee's Citizenship

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#1
I have read several accounts on the web of how Robert E. Lee's citizenship was restored in 1975. Elmer Oris Parker's contribution is not mentioned. One account mentions an "archivist" found his application for citizenship in a box at the National Archives. That archivist was Assistant Director of the National Archives Elmer Oris Parker.
This is taken from Elmer Oris Parker's biography at Find A Grave.

In 1975, his name appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, in Newsweek magazine and in hundreds of newspapers across the land because Congress, on the basis of a discovery he made in the National Archives, voted to restore the U.S. citizenship of Gen. Robert E. Lee which had been lost when Lee led Confederate Armies in defense of his native state during the War of Southern Independence. He was a well-known historian and genealogist.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=54944783
It was my good fortune to come in contact with Elmer Oris Parker when I was searching for my Stephenson ancestors in South Carolina. One of Mr.Parker's relatives married into my Stephenson family. Mr. Parker had a Samuel Stephenson born 1796 in York County,South Carolina on his family chart who he knew went to Giles County,Tennessee.
1850 US Census for District 9, Giles, TN
Samuel Stephenson, 53, 1797, SC
Mary Stephenson, 53, 1797, SC
Mary Stephenson, daughter, 18, AL
John Stephenson, son, 16, AL
Silvester B Stephenson, son, 13, AL
My George Alexander Stephenson,age 26,born Alabama was living in the home of Carson P. Reed.
Mr. Parker finally convinced me that my Stephensons were from York County,South Carolina. We exchanged letters for over ten years and I learned about my early ancestors in York and he learned about what happened to Samuel Stephenson and his family after 1820 when Samuel" Stevenson" appeared on that census.
 

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Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
325
Location
Texas
#2
Elmer Oris Parker.jpeg
I have read several accounts on the web of how Robert E. Lee's citizenship was restored in 1975. Elmer Oris Parker's contribution is not mentioned. One account mentions an "archivist" found his application for citizenship in a box at the National Archives. That archivist was Assistant Director of the National Archives Elmer Oris Parker.
This is taken from Elmer Oris Parker's biography at Find A Grave.

In 1975, his name appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, in Newsweek magazine and in hundreds of newspapers across the land because Congress, on the basis of a discovery he made in the National Archives, voted to restore the U.S. citizenship of Gen. Robert E. Lee which had been lost when Lee led Confederate Armies in defense of his native state during the War of Southern Independence. He was a well-known historian and genealogist.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=54944783
It was my good fortune to come in contact with Elmer Oris Parker when I was searching for my Stephenson ancestors in South Carolina. One of Mr.Parker's relatives married into my Stephenson family. Mr. Parker had a Samuel Stephenson born 1796 in York County,South Carolina on his family chart who he knew went to Giles County,Tennessee.
1850 US Census for District 9, Giles, TN
Samuel Stephenson, 53, 1797, SC
Mary Stephenson, 53, 1797, SC
Mary Stephenson, daughter, 18, AL
John Stephenson, son, 16, AL
Silvester B Stephenson, son, 13, AL
My George Alexander Stephenson,age 26,born Alabama was living in the home of Carson P. Reed.
Mr. Parker finally convinced me that my Stephensons were from York County,South Carolina. We exchanged letters for over ten years and I learned about my early ancestors in York and he learned about what happened to Samuel Stephenson and his family after 1820 when Samuel" Stevenson" appeared on that census.
 
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I have read several accounts on the web of how Robert E. Lee's citizenship was restored in 1975. Elmer Oris Parker's contribution is not mentioned. One account mentions an "archivist" found his application for citizenship in a box at the National Archives. That archivist was Assistant Director of the National Archives Elmer Oris Parker. In 1975, his name appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, in Newsweek magazine and in hundreds of newspapers across the land because Congress, on the basis of a discovery he made in the National Archives, voted to restore the U.S. citizenship of Gen. Robert E. Lee which had been lost when Lee led Confederate Armies in defense of his native state during the War of Southern Independence.
In the winter of 1970, in the Prologue Magazine, a N.A. in-house publication, Mr. Parker wrote this: "Secretary of State Seward gave Lee's application to a friend as a souvenir and his oath was evidently pigeon-holed." Mr. Parker did not identify the "friend." In response to a FIOA request recently made, the Government refuses to divulge the identity of the "friend" Parker referred to. Seward gave away, through his son, several valuable documents he received in the course of the official business of his office. It is a disgrace and a shame that the National Archives refuses to admit its employees know who it was that received Lee's "application." The "application" was, in fact, a terse letter Lee addressed to President Johnson, dated May 20 1863, shortly after Johnson published an "amnesty" proclamation. This original letter is worth a great deal of money today and it should be recovered by the Government wherever it now is.

On October 9, 1863, a notary public named Davison, sent Lee's executed "amnesty oath" directly to Seward, who was in charge of Johnson's amnesty program. It is surprising that Seward didn't sell that document also. In 1868, Johnson published another amnesty proclamation which, by its broad terms, included the status of R.E. Lee.
 
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
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Location
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#5
In the winter of 1970, in the Prologue Magazine, a N.A. in-house publication, Mr. Parker wrote this: "Secretary of State Seward gave Lee's application to a friend as a souvenir and his oath was evidently pigeon-holed." Mr. Parker did not identify the "friend." In response to a FIOA request recently made, the Government refuses to divulge the identity of the "friend" Parker referred to. Seward gave away, through his son, several valuable documents he received in the course of the official business of his office. It is a disgrace and a shame that the National Archives refuses to admit its employees know who it was that received Lee's "application." The "application" was, in fact, a terse letter Lee addressed to President Johnson, dated May 20 1863, shortly after Johnson published an "amnesty" proclamation. This original letter is worth a great deal of money today and it should be recovered by the Government wherever it now is.

On October 9, 1863, a notary public named Davison, sent Lee's executed "amnesty oath" directly to Seward, who was in charge of Johnson's amnesty program. It is surprising that Seward didn't sell that document also. In 1868, Johnson published another amnesty proclamation which, by its broad terms, included the status of R.E. Lee.
Joe, Thanks for the additional information on R.E. Lees application. I wish I had know about the "Friend" when I was corresponding with Mr. Parker. I would have asked him about the "Friend." One would think the letter would be in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
 



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