William Lewis Parker was a known philanthropist, Christian, businessman, and well-natured person. He was born to a farming family in Fayette County, Kentucky on May 2, 1827. He had attended both Transylvania University in Kentucky and the University of the State of Missouri.
Parker then made his way to California to follow the gold rush, where he made a considerable amount of money from it. In 1852, he returned to Boone County and farmed until 1857 where he began to make frequent trips to Texas in order to farm and sell sheep. On one of those trips, he encountered and joined General Price's confederate army. He would be involved in the battles of Dry Wood, Lexington, and Pea Ridge.
After the war, he fell ill and stayed a few months in a hospital. Later, he had a few more business ventures and traveled around the country. He eventually bought a farm outside of Columbia, Missouri, and settled down.
Then, after the death of his sister, Mary Coulter, he was inspired to donate $15,000 to the University of Missouri to build a state hospital. He died on November 2nd, 1904, just a few years after the completion of the Parker Memorial Hospital, in one of its very own beds.
[Sources: C:11/00/3; Parker Hall Vertical File; Columbia Tribune, November 2, 1904; North Todd Gentry (1837-1947), Papers, Box 8, FF186 (C0049), The State Historical Society of Misouri, Manuscript Collection.]