In 1988, responding to requests from the Chisholm Trail Festival Planners and the Yukon Centennial Committee, J. W. Parker set out to publish his first book “All Along the Chisholm Trail”. Editor and Collaborator, Margaret Chisholm Tulp, also a renowned historian, wrote: “…J. W.’s contribution to the subsequent success of the first celebration was much more than that of valued informant…Like the cattle drivers themselves, he is tireless in his efforts to deliver, not Longhorns, but an appreciation for a part of Yukon’s heritage.”
When the Chisholm Trail Historical Society was incorporated in 1990, J. W. was a founding member. He went on to publish two more books; Riders of the Chisholm Trail and Twilight of the Chisholm Trail. Until 2010, J. W. and wife Mary Jo made hundreds of visits to schools, symposiums, lectures both locally and across the states. He made a trip to Australia and has been filmed numerous times with reinditions of the old west. When we asked for permission to use excerpts from his writings, his response was: “I’d be honored”.
At the 2010 Festival, they expanded their history research to include information on this area and the various other trails that crossed Oklahoma beginning with the Spanish and French Explorers, including maps and notes about the Louisiana Purchase. Consequently, 14 flags welcome visitors to the Festival annually and “PARKER STATION” stands as a reminder of the Chisholm Trail treasure in Yukon, Oklahoma – J. W. and Mary Jo Parker.
On September 8, 2014, J. W. made his last trail ride. He left a lifetime of memories and research to all of us interested in the history of the Old West. Mary Jo continues the legacy.