Was a national day of mourning declared in Mexico on Thursday, December 11, 1958, the day its former "king", William Archer Parker, died in Waco, Texas, at the ripe old age of 88?
Well no, actually. When one goes looking for Mexican royalty, there isn't a lot to be found. Just a couple of 19th century emperors, and that's about it. Oh, and I rate Miguel Ángel Chávez Silva pretty highly, too. A while back Mr Bojangles did ask about Mexican royalty and "high" society on Yahoo!, and got the answer, "Cheech and Chong".
So what about Smokin' Bill Parker?
It turns out the "long, lank Kentucky youth" was no mere figment of the fertile imagination of the advertising department of the Oliver Typewriter Company in Chicago, Illinois. He really did exist. And to prove it, here's his passport photograph from 1919, with his wife Bertie Ellen Blanchard Parker:
In 1911, Oliver's ad men would have had us believe that Bill Parker became a king in Mexico. Well, a Typewriter King, anyway. Same thing, no?
"You, too, can be a king ... just promote Oliver typewriters" - which surely must make Marty Rice the King of Jonnstown, Pennsylvania.
William Archer Parker was born on October 25, 1870, in Parkersville, Kentucky, and grew up on a farm at Bishops Mill. For a monarch, he came from fairly humble stock - his father, Joe, was a commoner who worked the land.
He may not have exactly become a real king in Mexico, but Bill did well enough there. In 1926, the United States Government took its Mexican counterpart to the General Claims Commission chasing $39,000 and five cents it reckoned Bill's company, Compaňia Parker SA, was owed. See here for details:
Bill took up residence in Mexico City in 1897 - he was hardly a "youth" at age 27. After taking on the Oliver typewriter agency, he formed his own office supplies company on December 8, 1911, and returned to Waco three years later.
Thereafter he ran the Mexican concern from Texas:
It was still trading under its original name in 1922. But in 1919 Bill had set up another Oliver distribution company, in San Antonio:
One of the Olivers which presumably was sold in Mexico by Bill Parker is this truly magnificent 1912 beast in Richard Polt's collection:
Richard also has one of the Mexican L-12s from 1923. The name William A.Parker can be seen on the front plate: