John P. Parker was a slave in Alabama prior to 1845; however, he was apprenticed as an iron molder and raised $1,800 to purchase his freedom. He left Alabama and settled in Ripley, Ohio, in 1845, where he lived until his death in 1900. Parker is credited with aiding 400 slaves escaping through Ripley on the Underground Railroad. He made forays at night across the Ohio River into Kentucky to bring slaves to Ohio. Parker was also influential in recruiting African American troops for the 27th Volunteer Infantry Regiment in Ripley.