Orange Groves and a Ghost Town


William E. and Emma J. Parmer moved from Lancaster, PA to Florida.  I don’t know when or why, but I do know they moved.  They are listed in the 1910 census with all their kids in Lancaster.  William is in the 1911 city directory.  But he’s not listed in the directory in 1913.  So, it’s likely they moved to Florida between 1911 and 1913.

Cousin Millie says William and Emma and some of their children “at some point moved south and lived in Florida and had orange groves in the Orlando area.”

Tragically, Emma died April 10, 1917 at 45 years old.  She had mitral stenosis, which is when the heart’s mitral valve narrows.  The narrowing results in the valve not opening properly, which in turn causes abnormal blood flow into the pumping chamber of the heart.  The most common cause of mitral stenosis is rheumatic fever, which usually  occurs after a person has a step infection like strep throat.  Rheumatic fever was once very common and was the leading cause of death in children.


Emma J. Howe Parmer’s headstone.   Photo from

In the 1920 census, William is listed as a  farmer in Narcoossee, FL with a post office address.  You might have a hard time finding Narcoossee today.   It’s a ghost town!  A search for Narcoossee, FL led to a a ghost town website with a description of Narcoossee, including photos from the general time period.  You can access the website by clicking  here.

According to the website, Narcoossee was a citrus farming area.  So that goes right a long with cousin Millie’s story.

Now we leave William, a widower and a farmer.


William Eckman Parmer at unknown date.  Photo courtesy of Millie Crawford. 


One thought on “Orange Groves and a Ghost Town

  1. Pingback: William and Bessie |

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