Born in Philadelphia in 1817, Thomas S. Parker came to Texas at the age of twenty. In 1839 he and his parents William W. and Hannah Parker were awarded large land grants in the vicinity of present-day Corpus Christi; they used the land to raise cattle.
About 1845 Parker joined forces with his friend Henry L. Kinney, who had established a trading post in this vicinity and also commanded a Texas Ranger unit. When General Zachary Taylor's U. S. Army set up came near the trading post in August 1845, Kinney was named the army's quartermaster, and Thomas Parker was awarded the contract to supply beef for the soldiers. It was from this army post that the town of Corpus Christi grew.
As an established resident of the area, "Col. Tom" Parker, as he was known, was appointed the first Nueces County Sheriff after Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845. He later served as a Texas Ranger and as a soldier in the Confederate army. After the end of the Civil War, Parker returned to Corpus Christi, where he became City Marshal in 1873 and died in 1886. Thomas Parker's contributions in commercial activity and law enforcement were vital to the early growth of Corpus Christi. He and his wife Rachel are buried at this site.