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New England Telephone & Telegraph Company signed by Theodore Vail (First President of AT&T) and Moses Greeley Parker  - New York 1883  

New England Telephone & Telegraph Company signed by Theodore Vail (First President of AT&T) and Moses Greeley Parker - New York 1883

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Beautiful RARE certificate from the New England Telephone & Telegraph Company issued in 1883. This early Bell Operating Company Stock Certificate was has an ornate border around it with the company's name on top center. This item has the signatures of the Company’s President, Theodore Vail and Treasurer, William R. Driver. This is the first Telephone Company certificate we have seen handsigned by Theodore Vail. The certificate was issued to Moses Greeley Parker and is signed twice by him. One signature is on the left side on the front and the other signature is on the back.

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Moses Greeley Parker's signature on the back


Dr. Moses Greeley Parker occupies a niche among the most highly regarded citizens Dracut, Massachusetts ever produced. This is not said lightly. The man was unique. His distinguished ancestry, his widely recognized skills as physician and surgeon, his financial acumen, his outstanding contributions to the Civil War effort, his accumulated wealth - all this did not deter him from living thriftily, from pursuing intensive research in varied fields, from donating his skills and his time to the young, the helpless and the needy, from becoming a very active member in many organizations, and from donating.-his fortune to both Dracut and Lowell. Researcher, inventor, soldier, builder of the largest hospital in the world, surgeon, ophthalmologist, philanthropist, he was, over and above all these, a very human person who triumphed over personal tragedy (near blindness) to become a willing servant of the common people who needed his attention. His vision focused on the future, but his feet were planted squarely in the midst of the humanity he lived to serve.

A mere rundown on the salient events in his career does not read like a fairy tale. Far from it. It reads like the life of an intense, well-rounded, dedicated, enthusiastic, motivated and resourceful human being whose goal in life was to master as many things as possible so as to serve as many as possible.

*25 Parkers settled in Massachusetts before 1650.

*Great-grandfather Kendall settled in Dracut in 1745, fought in the War of the Revolution, and died in Dracut.

*His father, Theodore, married Hannah Greeley who was related to Horace Greeley, eminent editor and statesman from Amherst, N.H.

*Moses Greeley was born in Dracut on October 12, 1842, at the Parker homestead just north of the Varnum Cemetery in Kenwood.

*Early in life a powder horn explosion robbed him of his eyesight which only time and careful treatment restored.

*He attended elementary school in Dracut.

*He attended Billerica's Howe School.

*He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.

*He studied with Dr. Jonathan Brown of Tewksbury.

He taught 3 years in the Pelham School while pursuing his medical studies.

*He attended Long Island College Hospital School in Brooklyn, New York.

*In 1863 he entered Harvard Medical School.

*In 1864 Harvard conferred on him an M.D. degree.

One week after graduation, he enlisted for the remainder of the Civil War in the Fifty-Seventh Infantry Regiment camped near Worcester, Mass. Because physicians were desperately needed,

*General Benjamin Butler (of Lowell) asked him to transfer to the Second U.S. Cavalry Regiment where he was commissioned Assistant Surgeon.

*He was in the thick of some of the heaviest fighting of the war at the Battle of Cold Harbor.

*He was cited for bravery because he amputated a man's leg on a small barge while under intense Confederate fire.

*He planned and oversaw the construction of the largest hospital in the world near Petersberg, Virginia. He had it up in three months. It consisted of 20 wards each 250 feet long, 30 feet wide and 15 feet high. Its capacity was 3,500. It was a veritable miniature city called Point of Rocks Hospital and visited by President and Mrs. Lincoln, Generals Grant and Butler (Lowell) and other dignitaries.

*After the war he set up his medical practice at 11 First Street in Lowell from where he served the town of Dracut from the Navy Yard to Methuen line, including Dracut Center, Marsh Hill, and Black North Road (East Dracut). He also opened up a free dispensary in Lowell and managed to take time for research.

*He was one of the first to volunteer his time as physician at St. John's Hospital during its first year of operation. Three years later he became a member of the general staff as ophthalmologist.

It was at St. John's that he became fast friends with Dr. Gilman Kimball. Both were interested in progressive methods in medicine. Together they went to Europe to study medical techniques of foreign countries. The two acquired a deep interest in electro-therapy while in England. Upon their return to Lowell both men experimented in electrotherapeutics, something quite new in the annals of medicine.

*As he resumed his practice of medicine, the charitable work that he began at St. John's Hospital led to his involvement with the state Almshouse in Tewksbury, the Ministry-atLarge in Lowell which ministered to the sick and the poor, and in the Ayer Home for the unfortunate boys and girls of Lowell. He performed eye and ear surgery free of charge on people recommended by these institutions.

*He was fascinated with Alexander Graham Bell's experiments with the telephone and at once foresaw its immense possibilities. In fact, after attending Dr. Bell's lecture in Lowell's Huntington Hall, Dr. Parker built a telephone line from his home to his office Vi mile away; he found it most practical and efficient. He quickly bought into the emerging company and soon became one of the largest share-holders in both the Lowell District Telephone Co. and then in the New England Telephone and Telegraph Co.

* He is credited with inventing the telephone directory system whereby each subscriber was assigned a different NUMBER. This revolutionized the whole industry and gives Dr. Parker a place in the history of applied science.

* He was the FIRST to photograph electric currents and to show that they take the form of SPIRALS. This breakthrough streamlined the telephone service: if telephone wires were twisted, a far easier flow of electricity would send messages over far greater distances.

* The discovery just spoken of above led directly to the development of the transcontinental cable which succeeded because of Dr. Parker's expertise.

* He was the FIRST to photograph the tubercular bacillus.

* He invented thermo-cautery, among other medical techniques.

In the last 25-30 years of his life Dr. Parker grew increasingly involved in charitable organizations. He kept up his affiliation with St. John's Hospital till his death and was the oldest member (in terms of seniority) on its staff. He refined the services offered at the Ayer Home, "his home", and became its managing trustee. He increased its capacity to 100 beds.

His sense of loyalty and patriotism intensified with age. He supported civic causes with abandon. Although the societies he joined are countless, he chose to belong only to organizations where he could be of active service. Let me list some.

*In 1892 he joined the Old Middlesex Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He became First Vice-President of the Massachusetts State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

*In 1908 he was chosen President General of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

*He became an active member of the Bostonian Society and into old age went to Boston biweekly for meetings.

*In 1904 he presided over the ceremony which presented the stone tablet to Dracut containing the names of the 439 sons of Dracut who served in the Revolutionary War.

*Interested in his own genealogy all his life, he founded the Parker Historical and Genealogical Association and was its first President.

*Taken up most of his life with the history of his country, especially the original 13 states, he became one of the earliest members of the Lowell Historical Society.

"Philanthropy" can have insidious connotations. But Dr. Parker was a true philanthropist: he gave generously, but he gave to causes that truly helped his fellow man.... and with no strings attached. His brand of philanthropy was practical, human, and thoroughly unselfish.

* He set up the Moses Greeley Parker Foundation which provided for a health institute.

* In his will he left enough money for the establishment of the now-famous Parker Lecture Series that have benefited an incredible number of people in its sixty years of existence.... and the Parker Lecture Series go on and on dispensing culture and the love of the beautiful that Dr. Parker had for his goal. By the way, these Lecture Series are, according to the provisions of his will, absolutely free to the public.

* In the summer before his death he made plans with his sister, Mrs. Mary Morrison, to have a public library built in Dracut. He gave her $10,000.00 for her to see the project through. The Moses Greeley Parker Library was built in 1922 and has been the pride of his home town ever since.

His later days were still filled with activity. He attended medical and cultural lectures and conventions, many of them in Boston. He visited Thomas Edison at Menlo Park. He enjoyed till the end the mountains of artifacts of all kinds that had been his hobby throughout his life.

In 1917 he made his last public appearance when he took an active part in Dracut's Memorial Day proceedings: he was the guest speaker as well.

And on October 1, 1917, this giant in the community, this positive force for good, this down-to-earth man with his genius and inquiring mind and enthusiastic approach to people and ideas, left a world which he had uplifted with his noble presence.

History from the Moses Greeley Parker Library




1879 - - (February 17th) National Bell Telephone Company formed. The purpose of this organization was to combine the first New England Telephone Company and the Bell Telephone Company into a nationwide licensing company in order to speed the establishment of telephone service to cities throughout the country. (Dissolved by decree of court, December 8, 1903).-- Telephone Numbers. The latter part of 1879 and the early part of 1880 saw the first use of telephone numbers at Lowell, Massachusetts. This story is that during an epidemic of measles, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker feared that Lowell's four operators might succumb and bring about a paralysis of telephone service. He recommended the use of numbers for calling Lowell's more than 200 subscribers so that substitute operators might be more easily trained in the event of such an emergency. The telephone management at Lowell feared that the public would take the assignment of numbers as an indignity but the telephone users saw the practical value of the change immediately and it went into effect with no stir whatsoever. (Although attempts had been made, the implementation of dial telephone systems had yet to occur.)

In 1879 in Lowell, Massachusetts a measles epidemic broke out and physician Moses Parker suggested that each of Lowell's 200 subscribers were assigned a number just in case all four of the operators became sick and they had to quickly train new operators.

As a result the first telephone numbers were issued and used in Lowell, Massachusetts in late 1879 and early 1880.


American Biography By William Richard Cutter, American Historical Company

Published under the direction of THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc. New York 1918

Dr. Moses Greeley Parker

Moses Greeley Parker, M. D.—In an extended search it would be very difficult indeed to find one who, better than the late Moses Greeley Parker, gave substantial proof of the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln, when he said, "There is something better than making a living, and that is making a life." With a realization of this truth, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker persistently and energetically labored, not only to win success, but to make his life a continual source of benefit to his fellow-men. While many men owe their success to intense concentration upon one line of effort, and while this quality is of decided value, there are a few exceptions in American enterprise, where leaders of business matters have been so variously endowed by nature that they have been able to organize and manage successfully a number and variety of exceedingly important undertakings. Of these exceptional men. Dr. Moses Greeley Parker is an example par excel-

lence. A man of great sagacity, quick perceptions, sound judgment, noble impulses, and remarkable force and determination of character, he commanded the respect and confidence of all who knew him. It is unnecessary to add that as a physician he was held in the highest estimation, the record of his daily life being filled with evidence of this fact. In all professions, but more especially the medical, there are exalted heights to which genius itself dares scarcely soar, and which can only be gained after long years of patient, arduous, and unremitting toil, and inflexible and unfaltering courage. To this proud eminence we may safely state that Dr. Parker rose. The influence of a human life can never be properly and fully estimated, but such men as Dr. Parker create and maintain the honor of the medical profession.

Dr. Moses Greeley Parker was born in Dracut, Massachusetts, October 12th, 1842, son of Theodore and Hannah (Greeley) Parker, and united in his person the blood of two of the oldest and most renowned of New England families. On his father's side he was descended from Deacon Thomas Parker, and was related to the great abolitionist, Theodore Parker. On his mother's side he was descended from Andrew Greeley, who settled in this country in 1640. On his maternal side he was also related to the celebrated statesman and editor, Horace Greeley. Dr. Parker's great-grandfathers, Kendall Parker and Joseph Greeley, were among the minute-men who rallied to Lexington, on April 19th, 1775, and his grandfather, Peter Parker, served valiantly in the Continental army during the Revolutionary War.

Dr. Parker was educated in the district schools of his native town of Dracut, Massachusetts, then later in the Howe School at Billerica, Massachusetts, and prepared for college at Phillips Academy,

Andover. After teaching in the district schools of New Hampshire for three years, Dr. Parker took up the study of medicine at Long Island College Hospital Medical School in Brooklyn, New York. He later studied at the Harvard Medical School, from which he received his degree of M. D. in 1864, and this honor was followed by others from Europe, where he studied at the University of Vienna during 1873 and 1874, and in Paris, France, the following year. One week after his graduation from the Harvard Medical School, Dr. Parker enlisted for the remainder of the Civil War, being commissioned assistant surgeon in the Fifty-seventh Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. Shortly after, at the request of General Benjamin F. Butler, he was transferred to the Second United States Cavalry Regiment, then at Fortress Monroe, and with this unit served at Suffolk, Williamsburg, Drury's Bluff, Point of Rocks, and the siege of Petersburg, at which latter place he was in the trenches at the time of the explosion of the great mine, on July 3Oth, 1864. From this service, Dr. Parker was transferred to the base hospital of the Eighteenth Army Corps, where he had charge of the First Division, and received the wounded from Petersburg, Deep Bottom, Cold Harbor, Dutch Gap, and Fort Harrison. He later superintended the building of an additional winter hospital with four thousand beds. He was serving as officer of the day just before the fall of Richmond, and as such had the honor of receiving personally President Lincoln, General Grant, and the latter's staff. He also was a member of the council of administration on the effects of the twenty-one hundred soldiers who died in the hospitals.

Upon the close of the Civil War, Dr. Parker returned to Lowell, Massachusetts, and took up the practice of his

profession, in which he developed a remarkable skill, and revealed a talent for special research and for progressive methods in medicine. In 1866 he became a specialist in diseases of the eye and ear. Nothing' has contributed so much to the advance of medical and surgical science as the creation of specialists devoted to the study and treatment of diseases of the various organs of the human body. It must be evident to every one that it is utterly impossible for any one mind to cultivate the whole field of medicine thoroughly, and that the tendency to special work has increased. In 1873, desiring to specialize in certain branches of the profession, Dr. Parker closed his office, and spent two years in study abroad. Returning to Lowell, he opened a free dispensary, and gave freely of his expert services to the poor of that city, his private practice meantime assuming very large proportions. In 1876 Dr. Parker became president of the Lowell Medical Journal Society, and was a member of the International Congress of Opthalmology at New York. For thirty years he was physician at St. John's Hospital in Lowell, his home city, and was a trustee of the Lowell General Hospital from 1898 to the time of his death. He was a trustee of the Howe School at Bil- Icrica, Massachusetts. He had been a delegate- to the National Arbitration and Peace Congress in New York in 1907.

Dr. Parker had been greatly interested in the telephone industry from the days of the parent company, the American Telephone Company, and was a personal friend of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor. When Professor Bell first exhibited his crude telephonic apparatus in 1878, Dr. Parker was an interested observer, and was quick to see the marvelous commercial utility of the invention. As a result of one of the lectures given by Professor Bell, Dr. Parker built a telephone line from his house to his office, a distance of about half a mile, and was delighted at the advantage it gave him. In 1879 the Lowell District Telephone Exchange was established, and Dr. Parker was quick to see its vast possibilities, and so great was his confidence in the future of the telephone, that he was the first man to walk into the exchange and ask to be permitted to buy a block of stock. He associated himself with various small licensed telephone concerns, which, largely through his instrumentality, were later merged into the New England Telephone Company. From that day to his death, Dr. Parker served constantly as a director in the company, and as a member of its executive board. His activities in this great and growing business led to his retirement from the practice of medicine, in which, however, he retained a vivid scientific interest. He became one of the largest individual shareholders in the enterprises of both the American Telephone Company and the New England Telephone Company, and was regarded as one of the most far- seeing men connected with those mammoth concerns. Dr. Parker had been a director and member of the executive committee of the New England Company since its organization in 1883. He also was interested in the Bell Telephone Company, and was a director in the Aroo- stook Telephone Company and the Knox Telephone Company. Another evidence of Dr. Parker's foresight as applied to telephoning is the method of calling by number that prevails today. In the early days subscribers were called for by name. and, as the size of the exchanges increased, it became a matter of some difficulty to train operators to remember the switchboard locations of the different persons called for. Dr. Parker saw that, in the event of an epidemic, the telephone system might be rendered useless. He suggested, therefore, that subscribers, instead of being called for by name, be called for by number, which practice was adopted and still prevails. In many other ways Dr. Parker continued to contribute to the development of the telephone.

During his busy life, Dr. Parker found time to devote to the study of electricity, and was the first to photograph the electric current and show that it takes the form of spirals. His scientific bent led him to experiment in photography as well as in electricity, and he was the first to photograph the tubercular bacillus from Cushing's microscopical specimens. He^ also invented a thermo-cautery, and not long after, devised and patented an improvement in the process of producing and maintaining a very high degree of heat by hydrocarbonization. He received a diploma from the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association for an incandescent cautery. He was made president of the Middlesex North District Medical Society in 1898 and 1899. He was a member of the American Medical Association and the Massachusetts Medical Society; and was a contributor to medical and scientific journals.

In politics, Dr. Parker was a stalwart Republican, but never sought political preferment. He was named a special member of the commission on tuberculosis by Governor Douglas, and had acted with similar boards in the State of New Hampshire and elsewhere at various times. In his later years of life, Dr. Parker turned his attention to various patriotic, philanthropic and charitable enterprises. He was long an active worker in the Sons of the American Revolution, serving first as president of the State society and later in 1911 and 1912, as national president-general, a distinction which he regarded as by far the most notable in his career. He was chosen by his intimate friend, Frederick Fanning

Ayer, to work out the details of the Ayer Home in Lowell, Massachussets, and had always served that institution as the head of its governing board as president. He was also the leading spirit of the Lowell Day Nursery Association, and was deeply engrossed at the time of his death in plans for a new building, greatly extending the work.

Dr. Parker was also a member of the Loyal Legion, the Bostonian Society, Bunker Hill Monument Association, the Massachusetts Society of Colonial Wars, of which he had been one of the board of managers; the Order of Colonial Governors, and the Grand Army of the Republic. He was president of the Parker Historical and Genealogical Association, and was affiliated with the Masonic order. Dr. Parker was sent by the United States government as a delegate to the International Medical Congress held at London, England, in 1913.

The city of Lowell, Massachusetts, was profoundly shocked and grieved by the announcement of Dr. Parker's death, which occurred October 1st, 1917, in his seventy-sixth year. He was a man whose death at any time, under any circumstances, would have cast a gloom over the community, and the sorrow of the many who knew and loved him was greatly intensified by the suddenness with which the blow fell upon them. His judgment was excellent, his opinions were honest, and he was always loyal, faithful and patient. He was friendly, amiable and helpful, and his good nature was never known to fail. He was the possessor of fine natural abilities, and such a man is always stronger than he appears to be in any live, growing community. Being a descendant from two of the oldest New England families, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker lived up to the standard set by his illustrious ancestors, and dur

Dr. Parker never married, and is survived by his sister, Mrs. Mary Greeley Morrison, and one nephew, Theodore E. Parker, who is division commercial superintendent of the Eastern Massachusetts Division of the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company.

(The Greeley Line).

Arms—Argent, on a cross sable five escallops or.

The Greeley family is one of the oldest and most illustrious in the New England 4 States, having maintained a high place in the regard of the community from the very earliest Colonial period to the present time.

Andrew Greeley, the emigrant ancestor, was born about the year 1617, and died in Salisbury, Massachusetts, June 30, 1697. His wife, Mary Moyse, died there December 24, 1703. Andrew Greeley was an early settler in Salisbury, Massachusetts. The exact date of his arrival there, or in what vessel, is unknown. He settled on a part which is now included in Seabrook, New Hampshire, and thereupon built a tide mill for the grinding of corn, on Kane's river. In 1650, in addition to this mill, he built a large saw mill. All of the children of the three successive generations of Andrew Greeley were born on the old Greeley homestead.

History from Wikipedia and OldCompany.com (old stock certificate research service).

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