John married Sarah CARR in January 1786 in Kingsley, a village 8 miles to the east of Hanley. At this time Hanley had a population of about 5,000 people, about the same size as Burslem, but three times the size of Stoke.
According to IGI records the couple's first three children were baptized in Stafford. Frustratingly no later records for these children have been found. It is not certain that these were their children, but they are consistent with their marriage date. It's also possible that the baptisms were non-conformist and the records held in a Stafford register.
The next child was John in 1790, who presumably died in infancy before 1795. John was followed by Joseph, a soldier who was injured in the Napoleonic Wars in Spain, but returned to raise a family in Hanley. Thomas was born in 1793 and become a potter and father of 5 children. A second John followed in 1795: my 4x Great Grandfather. Finally, Elijah arrived six years later in 1801.
No further records have been found relating to Sarah, Josiah, Henrietta or Elijah, so its possible they all died young, married or moved away.
If John was approximately 25 when he married Sarah CARR, then he would have been born c. 1761, but any year between 1741 and 1768 is plausible. It's very likely that labour was drawn to Hanley as the potteries grew, so location is not a good guide to potential baptisms, but the baptisms close to Kingsley appear to fit significantly better than the more distant baptisms.
- 9 Jun 1755 - John son of Sampson PARKS and Ann GOLD of Waterfall (6 miles from Kingsley) married 1740. John's implied age at marriage and birth of Elijah: 31 and 46. He was either 5 or 7 years older than his wife (depending on which Sarah CARR he married.) Siblings: Sampson (1740), Elizabeth (1743), Hannah (1749) and Ellen (1753). Sampson PARKS died Jan 1820, aged 79, (born c.1741). This John died and was buried in Waterfall on 14 Dec 1836, aged 81.
- 21 Jul 1766 -
of Cauldon (5 miles from Kingsley) married 1759. John's implied age at marriage in 1786: 19. He would have been 4 or 6 years younger than his wife, Sarah. Siblings: Joseph (1761), John (1762), [Sarah (1769), Sarah (1770), Sarah 1771) - questionable as all dated 23 and without images. Sarah daughter of John and Dorothy died in Dec 1785.].
On balance the 1755 baptism is the better fit, principally because of his age at marriage makes much more sense than a 19 year old marrying a woman at least 4 years his senior.
In 1841, a John PARKES, aged 75-79 (i.e. born 1761-1766), of independent means is living with George IBBS, a farmer, and his wife Mary in Normicott . George IBBS had married Mary PARKES of Normicott , daughter of John PARKES, a farmer, at St Nicholas, Fulford in October 1840. It is possible that John was a farmer of Hanley, who relocated to Normicott when the potteries rapidly expanded around Hanley. It is likely, given his age, that Mary was the daughter of his son John, however John's daughter Mary was not born until 1830 so, unless John senior fathered Mary in his 50s, this is another family.
Potential baptisms that appear to be too far away:
- 1755 John son of Thomas and Mary PARKS of Church Eaton (28 miles south of Kingsley).
- 1759 John son of Thomas and Sarah PARKES in Church Eaton (28 miles south of Kingsley). Both parents names were used for John's children.
- 1765 John son of Samuel and Ann PARKES in Standon (18 miles south of Kingsley), but neither of these parents' names were used. This John may have been the John PARKES of Standon. maltster, who died intestate in 1831. His widow was called Sarah.