Children of Samuel M. Parmer and Hetty Eckman: Siblings, below, clockwise from top left: John Jacob Parmer, Luther James Parmer, Samuel Elwood Parmer, Aldus Arthur Parmer, Margaret Alice Parmer Rote, William Eckman Parmer. Siblings not pictured: Martha Parmer (died in childhood 1877), Annie E. Parmer, Harry Allen Parmer.
I figured calling Robert would not be a good option based on my previous phone calls. So we just drove to his home. He welcomed us in and shared lots of family pictures, some of which I have used in previous posts, including those about Samuel E. Parmer, who is Robert’s grandfather. Robert’s father is Robert E. Parmer, Sr.
Robert Jr. was interested in preserving family photos. He decided at some point that it was important to pass on family knowledge to future generations. So he made copies of family photos, identified the individuals in the photos, and laminated them. He produced many copies and would give them out at family reunions. Imagine my joy at seeing all those photos!
Here is a collection of some of his photos, along with an introduction in Robert’s own hand.
The 1920 Census shows Rebecca works as a cigar maker and daughter Mildred (Myrtle) works as an assistant for a dentist. The census also shows that the family rented a home at 542 Dauphin. By February 1921, they became homeowners at 37 Washington. According to Zillow.com, the home currently at 37 Washington was built in 1885. Here’s a picture of the home from zillow.com.
On January 1, 1945, Samuel’s wife Rebecca died at 64 years old. This was undoubtedly a difficult time for him as well as his family. He and Rebecca had been living at their home at 37 Washington. By the time the 1946 city directory was published, Samuel had moved to 462 S Ann to live with his daughter, Pearl, and her family. He continued to work as a janitor at Franklin and Mary College. He also continued to live with his daughter, including later moving to a new home at 604 W Lemon, until he died on May 17, 1949.
He and Rebecca are buried at Mellingers Mennonite Cemetery.
Over the years, Samuel and Rebecca lived in various houses as they raised their children, living for a time near Samuel E.’s brother, Luther, and his father, Samuel M. Samuel E., like his brother Luther, worked in a cork factory as a cork cutter. Here’s a photo of some cork cutters at work at Armstrong Cork Company.
Samuel appears to have worked as a cork cutter for some time. In both the 1900 and the 1910 censuses he is listed as a cork cutter. For some reason he changed jobs. Maybe he got tired of cutting cork. Or maybe he was just looking for something that could provide a better living for his family. At some point between 1913 and 1916, Samuel E. became a night watchman at Donovan Co., a department store. Here’s a 1918 newspaper ad for Donovan’s:
There’s also a photo of Donovan’s and other department stores at the time here.
Between 1929 and 1930, Samuel changed jobs again. Maybe being a night watchman was catching up to him. It’s not easy to stay up at night. Teenagers seem to be able to do it, but it’s not so easy as you get older! Samuel would have been about 55 years old. He became a janitor for Franklin and Mary College.
Tragedy hit in 1921 when son Jack Samuel died of whooping cough at age 1 yr 7 months 22 days. Whooping cough has been around at least since the middle ages. Vaccines were not developed until the 1930-1940s, so in 1921, vaccines were not available. Whooping Cough outbreaks were not uncommon and the vaccine, understandably, was welcomed. What sorrow must have ensued for the whole family. He is buried in Mellinger Mennonite Cemetery.
On October 10, 1897, Samuel E. and Rebecca Ruth were married.
Samuel had a sixth grade education and Rebecca had a fifth grade education. We know this thanks to the 1940 Census. I just love the census records! Although their questions were determined for other purposes, they sure do help us get to know a little about the lives of our forefathers.
Samuel and Rebecca had four children–Robert Elwood, Mildred (Myrtle) R., Pearl I., and Jack. There’s a 19 year gap between Robert and Jack. Jack was born 11 years after Pearl.
Samuel E. Parmer was born August 22, 1874. That’s what his death certificate says, as well as his headstone. Some records indicate he may have been born in 1875. It’s so hard to pinpoint birthdays for that time period! I’m going with 1874. His marriage certificate says he was born in Mount Sidney, East Lampeter.
Samuel E. is the fifth child of Samuel M. and Hetty Ann. His brother John Jacob was 7 years old while his sister Martha was just 10 months old. William would have been almost 5 and Margie almost 3 years old. Hetty was a busy mother!
Undoubtedly named after his father, Samuel M., Samuel E’s middle name is Elwood, as shown on his World War I draft registration card, which interestingly lists his birthday as 1873. In 1918 when the card was completed, he was medium height, medium build, with blue eyes and black hair.
More posts on Samuel E. are coming. Do you know anything about Samuel E. Parmer? If so, please share in the comments or the Contact page. We would really like to get to know him!
Old newspapers are very interesting. They can draw interest in people never heard of before. Reading them is like taking a step back in time, but it seems as though it’s the present. You can learn all kinds of things in a newspaper–theft, the price of crops, and who was arrested for drunkenness, among other things.
Annie Parmer was the third daughter and the sixth child of Samuel and Hetty. She was born one year after her older sister died at age 3 years and 3 months. I cannot help but think that her mother must have been grateful for another daughter. Since Samuel had a sister named Ann, it’s possible his new daughter was named after his sister.
Annie’s exact birth year is a little hard to pin down. We first find Annie in the 1880 Census at age 2, shown below in the census excerpt taken from ancestry.com.
The family lived in East Lampeter Township, but the census taker did not record the street.
The 1888 Williams’ Lancaster City Directory lists Samuel Parmer living at “Rockland n Old Factory”, which translates to “Rockland Street north(of) Old Factory.” It’s possible they lived at that location for the 1880 census. But we have a second record that confirms they lived there in 1888.
On October 4, 1888, the Lancaster City School Board met. The meeting, and various reports given at the meeting, were reported in detail the next day in the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer. The City Superintendent’s Report began with statistical information about how many students attended school. Several options existed for school then, just like today. The report included students attending high school, grammar school, secondary school, ungraded school, intermediate school, and primary school. A little research is needed to learn the difference between them, but that’s part of the fun of learning history! My favorite–ungraded school. Students are not grouped by grade, but by what they need to learn. Once they learn a topic, they move on to the next group. So if they are grouped in the subtraction group, and they master subtraction, then they might move to the multiplication group. Just a fun fact!
After reporting the number of students, the newspaper listed the non-resident students by name. Here’s an excerpt taken from the October 5, 1888 Lancaster Daily Intelligencer digitally located on the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website:
Do you see the Parmers listed as non-residents attending the Rockland Street Primary School? There’s Annie, along with her brothers Harry and Aldus. Also, did you notice that none of Annie’s siblings were attending the Rockland Street Intermediate or Secondary schools? Annie would have been about ten years old at the time. Her brother Samuel E. would have been about 14 and her sister Margie would have been about 17 years old. They possibly were not attending school anymore. Or they could have been attending school at night. Night school?! Yup. The report indicated that 203 students, including 45 under the age of 14, attended night school. But then the older Parmer children would probably still be listed as non-residents. So it’s likely they did not attend school at all and that Annie was then the oldest of her siblings still in school.
The fact that Annie, Harry, and Aldus attended Rockland Street Primary School is consistent with their home’s location. The Rockland Street School was created for students in that area, as noted in the quote below from One Hundred and Fifty Years of School History in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by William Riddle:
The first move for the erection of what is hereafter to be known as the " Rockland Street " school house, came at the February meeting of 1869, as a motion from Robert A. Evans, requesting the Superintending Committee " to inquire into the matter of more convenient school accommodations for the children who reside on the ' Old Factory Road ' and its vicinity and make report to the board when convenient."
The school was completed in 1876, just 12 years before Annie (and her brothers) were listed in the newspaper. Why were they listed as non-residents? I don’t know. Maybe they lived outside of the city limits. After all, the city directory listed them as “north of” Old Factory Road.
And that’s all we know about Annie until we find her marriage license in 1895. If she was two years old in 1880, then in 1895 she would have been about seventeen years old. At seventeen, she would likely have needed consent to marry. But did she get it?
That’s a question for the next post…..
Happy Independence Day!
Having a family connection to an event always makes it more meaningful. Finding a connection to 1776 can be a bit tricky. How patriotic were the Parmers? Tracing back that far is a bit difficult for the Parmer family. But many Parmer descendants have served in the military and defended freedom. Samuel M. Parmer’s son, Robert E. Parmer, had six sons serve in World War I.
The photo above was published in the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal on May 23, 2004 with an article about Lancaster’s World War II memorial. According to the article, “The memorial was erected to honor those from the Cabbage Hill neighborhood of Lancaster who served during the second world war. The names of 160 men are inscribed, including nine who were killed.” Six of Robert Parmer Sr.’s nine sons served in World War II.
In 1863, the Union instituted a draft for men ages 20-45. John Parmer, the probable father of Samuel M. Parmer, was 46 years old at the time.
Samuel M. Parmer was 24. He would have been required to register. Below is what likely is his record of registration, along with his brother, Daniel.
I could not find any record of Samuel serving in the military, nor could I find any record of his children serving in the military. However, I did find records of several of his sons’ draft registrations. All Samuel’s sons who registered for the World War I draft did so in the third draft on September 12, 1918. Those who registered for the World War II draft did so in the fourth registration, also known as the “Old Man’s Draft,” which was not to enlist soldiers but to determine the skills and abilities of men who could support the war effort at home.
Draft registrations are fun to look at because they have valuable family history information that is not usually found elsewhere, like physical characteristics. Here’s what we learn from Samuel’s sons’ draft registration cards:
John Jacob and William E. were born after the Civil War ended and were past the age of the draft for the World War I.
Samuel E., World War I registration on 9/12/18, blue eyes & black hair 45 years old, lived at 542 Dauphin Street, worked as a watchman at Donovan Co., a garment manufacturer.
Harry, World War I registration on 9/12/1918, blue eyes & dark hair, 39 years old, lived at 439 E Mifflin Street, worked as boiler foreman at Lancaster Iron Works.
Aldus, World War I registration on 9/12/1918, grey eyes & black hair, 37 years old, lived at 507 Green Street, worked as an auto machinist at Queen Motor Co.
World War II registration on April 27, 1942, 5’5″ tall and 61 years old, grey eyes and grey hair, physically identifying characteristic was a scar on the end of his index finger on his left hand. He still lived at 507 Green street and was working at Lancaster City Water Works.
Luther, World War I registration on 9/12/1918, blue eyes & dark hair, 33 years old, lived in Coatesville, worked as a boiler maker at Midvale Steel and Ordinance Company.
World War II registration on April 27, 1942, 5’6″ tall and 56 years old, blue eyes and grey hair. Self employed and living on his farm in Londonderry Township.
It’s interesting that many of the brothers had blue eyes and dark hair. And they were not very tall. I love that this information is preserved! What do you remember that can be shared and preserved?
It’s fitting for my first post to be about Samuel and Hetty. As I began my quest to find living Parmer relatives in Lancaster, PA, my starting point was Samuel Parmer and Hetty Eckman. Nine children were born to them in Lancaster. Surely some descendants would still be living there.
The 1870 census excerpt below, from Ancestry.com, is the first census record showing Samuel and Hetty together. Their sons, John and William are also shown.
By 1880, John was living as a boarder down the street from the rest of the family. William still lived at home, along with Margie, Annie, Samuel and Harry, shown in the 1880 Census excerpt below, from Ancestry.com. Missing is Martha S., born in 1873, after the 1870 census. She died in 1877, before the 1880 census.
Samuel and Hetty had two more children, Aldus and Luther. Aldus was born in 1880 after the census was taken. Luther was born in 1885. They would have shown up on the 1890 census, but much of that census record was destroyed in a fire. Aldus married in 1899, before the 1900 census, so he again is not shown living with Samuel. But the 1900 census does show Luther living with Samuel, as seen in the excerpt below, taken from Ancestry.com.
With Samuel and Hetty’s children identified, I began my quest. Little did I know that finding living relatives is a bit more difficult than finding those who have already passed on.