Dr. Neal O’Donnell Parks was born on the 1st of March 1834 in Dungarven, Waterford County, Ireland, the son of Richard Parks and the former Mary O’Donnell. Dr. Parks was named after his maternal grandfather, Mr. Neal O’Donnell. He had a younger brother named Richard. Dr. Parks was educated in private schools prior to attending university.
Dr. Parks graduated B.A. in 1853 from the University of Dublin (Trinity College) in 1853. He studied law for two years and decided to pursue an education in medicine at the University of Dublin in 1855. Prior to his graduation in 1859, Dr. Parks interned at nine month intervals at Steevens Hospital and Medical College, Meath Hospital and the County Dublin Infirmary. He also studied for a period of 6 months at Coombe Lying-In Hospital. Dr. Parks was admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1959.
After completing his internship in 1860, Dr. Parks was practicing medicine with the Royal Navy as an Assistant Surgeon at the Royal Navy Hospital in Plymouth, England. According to the 1861 census, Dr. Parks was listed “at sea, west of Spain”. Dr. Parks was in Lismore, Ireland between 1861 and 1863 and he pursued advanced studies in midwifery for 6 months at the Coombs Lying-In Maternity Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. He graduated in 1862 and in 1866 he immigrated to New York. Dr. Parks enlisted in the United States Army on the 13th of June, 1866. His enlistment recorded his height as 5’7″ with grey eyes, light brown hair and a fair complexion. His occupation was listed as surgeon. Dr. Parks was discharged on the 13th of June, 1869 by “expiry of service” at Corpus Christy, Texas.
From 1869 to 1881 Dr. Parks was practicing medicine in New York and he resided at 119 Broadway. In 1881 he moved to Rhode Island and settled in the Ashton area.
Dr. Parks married Kate Kent on the 3rd of April, 1888. She was born in Limerick Ireland in August of 1854, the daughter of William Kent and the former Eliza Osborne. Mrs. Parks immigrated to New York, USA on the 10th of July, 1882. Her brother Stephen had immigrated to Rhode Island in 1867.
For a short time between 1891 and 1894, Dr. Parks was practicing medicine in Tilbury, Ontario. He was granted a membership in the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1891. He advertised his medical practice in the 1893 Ontario Directory and Gazetteer under the Tilbury Centre sub-title. By 1895 Dr. and Mrs. Parks had returned to Rhode Island, and they settled in the Cumberland area.
Dr. Parks was a prolific writer. He wrote articles on medical matters that appeared in the New York Medical Journal and the Rhode Island Medical Society. His poems and short stories were published in New York periodicals.
Dr. Parks died on the 17th of September, 1907. He was buried at Saint Johns Episcopal Cemetery in Cumberland, Providence County, Rhode Island. Mrs. Parks died on the 2nd of December, 1910 and she was buried at the State Farm Cemetery in Cranston, Providence County, Rhode Island. They did not have any children.
*Dr. Parks’ brother Dr. Richard Parks also became a physician. He died in Kilmacow, Ireland on the 22 of March, 1875.