Interviewee: Marlene Parks
Interviewers: Tiana Johnson, Alexander Katavolos, Thomas Keely
Interview Date: September 29, 2017
Location: 1890 House Museum, Cortland, New York
Length: 1 audio file, 00:49:50:00
Marlene Parks was born May 11, 1954 in Cortland Memorial Hospital. She grew up on a small farm in the town of McGraw, New York. In 1972, Marlene graduated from McGraw High School and married her husband the same year. She has four children and nine grandchildren. Her interest in genealogy began shortly after her first grandchild was born, due to a book someone gave her to fill in with all the child’s great grandparents, who she realized she did not know. Through her genealogy research, she found that her husband’s ancestors worked as maids for the Wickwire family for many years and eventually were given a house behind the 1890 Museum from the Wickwires. Marlene worked at the First National Bank in the 1970s. Later on, she was hired by the postal service in Homer as a clerk and carrier, a couple years later she was appointed the Post Master and was there for fifteen years. Finally she went back to McGraw and worked a part time postal job in order to be closer to her grandchildren. She is now retired. After finding out that the land her and her husband live on was once part of the land used by the New York Central College, she was intrigued. After much research, Marlene wrote a two volume book called New York Central College, 1849-1860, McGrawville, New York. In it, she discusses a college that educated African Americans as well as women, along with its impact and all the successful individuals who came out of the school.