John Adasms Parker studied at New York University. He worked as a merchant from 1850 to 1857 before turning to painting. He specialized in views of Long Island, the Adirondacks, the Catskills, and the White Mountains. He first exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1858 and was elected an associate member in 1864. He continued to exhibit at the National Academy until 1886. He was a founder of the Brooklyn Art Association and exhibited there from 1861 to 1886. He was also a member of the Brooklyn Art Club.
He lived in Brooklyn, NY. His last known address (1905) was Adirondacks, NY.