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Sam Y. Parker Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0830

This collection houses materials documenting the murder of University of Tennessee graduate Sam Y. Parker by Judge James E. Fulton of Helenwood, Tennessee in 1906. Newspaper clippings and correspondence between the trial lawyers document the entire saga in detail. Other material includes research into the history of the Newman and Parker families, a Civil War diary, photographs, a family Bible, mementos, and personal items.

Dates

  • circa 1700-1970
  • Majority of material found within 1864-1906

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection houses materials documenting the murder of University of Tennessee graduate Sam Y. Parker by Judge James E. Fulton of Helenwood, Tennessee in 1906. Newspaper clippings and correspondence between the trial lawyers document the entire saga in detail. Other material includes research into the history of the Newman and Parker families, a Civil War diary, photographs, a family Bible, mementos, and personal items.

Biographical/Historical Note

Samuel Epps Young Parker was born to James Crawford and Mary Ann (Burk) Parker on May 12, 1880. He was one of nine children, including Ella (Parker) Ryan, Albert J., Alice (Parker) Price, Belle (Parker) Newman (1872-1954), Ida (Parker) Brooks, Luther Marshall (1879-1936), Burdett M. (1881-1900), and John B. (1884-1938). Sam Parker attended the University of Tennessee from 1903 to 1905, during which time he played on both football and baseball teams and was apparently quite well known. On July 5, 1906, lawyer James E. Fulton shot Parker as he was stepping off a train in Helenwood, Tennessee. Parker died the following morning, and Fulton was charged with his murder. At his trial, Fulton insisted that his wife, Laura Neil Fulton, had been conducting an extramarital affair with Parker. As a result, when Fulton saw Parker at the train station, he was so enraged that he shot Parker without being conscious of his actions. Fulton's first trial ended with a hung jury, but he was found guilty at his second trial and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Governor Malcolm R. Patterson pardoned him after only 10 months, and Fulton returned to his legal work.

In June of 1917, the editor of the Scott County Times, J. E. Bell, printed an editorial that Fulton felt reflected poorly on him. Fulton apparently stalked Bell for several weeks thereafter, which prompted Bell to procure a firearm to defend himself. Somewhat predictably, when Fulton appeared in Bell's office on July 1, 1917, Bell shot and killed him. Bell was convicted of involuntary manslaughter but subsequently pardoned by Governor Thomas Rye.

Arrangement

This collection consists of two boxes divided into seven series:

  1. Series I: Correspondence, 1900 February 2-1906 August 2
  2. Series II: Civil War Diary, 1864 February 5-1865 May 2
  3. Series III: Newman and Parker Genealogy, circa 1700-1970
  4. Series IV: Newspaper Clippings, 1900 August 7-1906 October 30
  5. Series V: Photographs, 1870-1941, undated
  6. Series VI: Books, 1796, 1865
  7. Series VII: Other Materials, 1873-1929, undated

Acquisition Note

These materials were donated to Special Collections in 1974.

Related Archival Materials

Interested researchers may also wish to consult: MS.2732, Donald Paine Collection of State of Tennessee v. Fulton, 1850-2003 (bulk 1903-2003)

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480