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.
Samuel M. Parmer
Gray-Eyed Aldus Parmer
Aldus made his entry into this world on November 28, 1880. That was a Sunday and just 3 days after Thanksgiving day. He arrived into Samuel and Hetty’s home with 6 living siblings. One sister, Martha, had previously died in 1877 at 3 years of age. The oldest sibling, John Jacob was 13 years old. His mother, Hetty, must have been very busy because her two youngest children at the time were not very old–Annie was not quite three years old and Harry had recently turned one year old. Samuel was five, Margaret was nine, and William was eleven.
A new baby brings lots of joy, and, as every new mother knows, a lot of exhaustion and sleepless nights. I’m sure the children had chores and helped out. Still, cooking and cleaning were a whole lot different then. There were no refrigerators for home use yet–that wouldn’t be for about another 25 years–but the home may have had an icebox. The stove would likely have been a cast iron or steel stove that burned wood or coal (Source). And doing laundry? That was a lot of work. A pail of water, a plunger, and a washboard were the common implements, along with homemade lye soap, which was quite a process to make too (Source).
In 1918, according to the draft registration card, Aldus had black hair and gray eyes. The gray eyes is interesting. I was born with dark brown eyes and had dark brown eyes for many years. Somewhere along the line, my eyes have changed color and are now more hazel. I wonder when Aldus’ eyes became “grey.” He’s also shown as medium height and slender build at registration.
The WWII draft registration card is more specific. Aldus is included in the April 1942 “Old Man’s Registration.” This draft was the Fourth Registration and was for men ages 45-64 who were not already serving in the military. At that time, he was 61 years old, standing 5’5″ tall, weighing in at 190 pounds, and had gray hair and, still, gray eyes. He also has a scar on the end of the index finger on his left hand.
So it appears that Aldus grew up with black hair and gray eyes. Tragically, when he was 16 1/2 years old, his mother died. We don’t have any information regarding her death in 1897. If mothers were as central to their children’s lives then as they are now, I imagine that had a profound affect upon Aldus.
What was life like for Aldus after his mother died? We’ll take a looks at his life in the next few posts.
A Little More of Robert Tibbles
Some time ago, I promised a post with more information about Robert Tibbles was coming soon. Here’s the post. I know it wasn’t really soon after the first post on Robert, but I guess “soon” can be a matter of perspective. Anyway, if you didn’t read my earlier post about Robert and the great Alaskan earthquake that caused a giant tidal wave, as well as a landslide that took Robert’s life, be sure to read it. I’ll post the link at the ned of this post.
Robert Tibbles was born in Lakeview, Montana on March 3, 1913 to Walter Stillman Tibbles and Esther E. Rote. Esther is the daughter of Margie Parmer, who is Samuel and Hettie Parmer’s daughter. Lakeview, MT, which today is near the entrance of both Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, is about 90 miles from Dillon, MT. In 1913, there was no wildlife refuge or national forest, but there was a community of ranchers, railroad workers, and ordinary folks. The Dillon Tribune reported news from the surrounding areas, including Lakeview. I always like browsing through old newspapers. The ads are especially fun to read. I found copies of The Dillon Tribune at montananewspapers.org, which is a website of the Montana Historical Society. The Lakeview section of the March 7, 1913 paper has a short announcement of Robert’s birth, shown below. Small town newspapers are full of gossip. You want to know who went to the big city to go shopping? Just read the paper!
I have not researched if Joe Buck is a relative of the family, or why they were at the Joe Buck home. However, that name will come up again in Robert’s history. We do know from some other records that Robert’s parents were “squatters” on a home in the area.
Robert is found in the 1920 census, at the age of seven, living with his family in Grayling District, Gallatin County, Montana. He lived next to his great aunt and uncle, John and Lizzie Parmer. It is possible they had lived there for some time because Robert’s younger brother, Howard, was born in the area in 1915. Howard’s birth was not registered until 1941. In the birth registration, he is listed as being born in the rural part of Gallatin County, MT, with Lizzie D. Parmer as the attendant for the birth.
Walter and Esther divorced in 1923 after Walter became abusive and abandoned the family. From the court papers, we know that Walter and Esther had 160 acres they were homesteading five miles West of West Yellowstone. Life in the West was difficult, required hard work, and was subject to the harsh elements of the Montana winters. There were no modern conveniences. I’m sure even at 7 years old, Robert was put to work helping the family with chores and such. At some point, his mother remarried and moved to Wyoming.
In 1930, Robert is 17 years old and living with an aunt and uncle in Lima, MT. He was working as a farm laborer. In 1932, he had moved to Monida, a short distance from Lima, and was worked as a ranch hand for Joe Buck. Remember Joe Buck? Robert was born at Joe Buck’s home! He worked for Joe Buck for six weeks, then he got into trouble. He burglarized a pool hall and stole $24. As a result, he spent two years in the state prison.
We next find Robert in Alaska. I wonder–what took him to Alaska? He must have liked it because it seems that’s where he spent the rest of his life. In 1939, he married Dorothy Pauloff, a Native Alaskan Indian. They were both living in Kodiak, Alaska at the time, and that is where they are found in the 1940 census. He had had appendicitis at some point because his WWII draft registration on January 22, 1941 tells us that he had a scar from an appendicitis operation.
Robert and Dorothy had at least two children, but eventually Robert and Dorothy divorced. In 1947, Robert married Eveline V. Sly. And the rest of the story is told in my previous post at A Tragedy in Alaska
Life can be rough, and have ups and downs, good days and bad days. Robert likely had plenty of bad days–witnessing abuse (and possibly being a victim of it himself), abandonment, burglary, prison time, surgery, divorce, etc. At the same time, I’m sure Robert had his share of good days–friends, fatherhood, wedding days, and eating fresh picked berries. Learning from the bad days, and savory the good, even amidst the bad, is what life is all about. Savor the good, and all that is before you. Today can be anything you make it. What will today be like for you?
A Once Hidden Photo in the Spotlight
Guess whose photo came out of hiding? Although I love finding names and dates of family members, what is the most enjoyable about family history is learning about people’s lives. What did they look like? How tall were they? What did they like to eat? Where did they work? What did they wear? I’ve found answers to those kinds of question in various records, like military records and old newspapers. Of course memories provided by family members are the best. But memories come and go. And then they disappear if they are not recorded. But a picture, well, you know the saying….a picture is worth a thousand words. Every picture tells a story. This is the story of Samuel M. Parmer…
I had resigned to the idea of not being able to find a picture of Samuel M. Parmer, my great, great grandfather. I’ve researched about him, written about him, and even placed a memorial marker at the cemetery for him. But I had never met him or seen him. So when I received a packet of photocopies last week, I was overwhelmed when I opened it. As I realized who is in this photo, tears came to my eyes. Nice to meet you grandfather Samuel M.!
And thank you cousin Ronald for thinking of me when you came across the photocopies! Our family history journeys together have been successful in many ways, and mostly because of your contributions.
A Tragedy in Alaska
Earthquakes can be frightening. Having lived in Southern California, I have experienced a few myself. Some are quick, loud, and jerky. Others are long, quiet, and swayish. In every case, they invoked fear and panic inside me–fear of the unknown.
The recent earthquakes in Alaska reminded me of a relative who lived in Alaska in 1958 during a record breaking earthquake that is still talked about today. I was reminded of the relative because, after the recent earthquakes, the news was reporting the possibility of ground shifting, like quicksand. Something similar happened in the 1958 earthquake when the side of a mountain fell into the bay and disappeared.
Robert W. Tibbles was born March 3, 1913 in Montana. He is the son of Esther Rote and Walter Stillman Tibbles. Esther’s mother is Margie Parmer, who is the daughter of Samuel M. and Hettie Ann Eckman Parmer. Robert moved to Alaska between 1934 and 1939. Eventually he got a job working as a mechanical engineer for the Civil Aeronautics Authority, where he worked for 11 years.
July 9, 1958 must have started off as a fine day. Roberts wife, Eveline, went berry picking on Khantaak Island with a friend, Jeanice Welsh Walton, who was the respected owner of a salmon cannery during a male-dominated industry. I enjoy berry picking and the anticipation of enjoying the berries, as does my family. Perhaps Robert was looking forward to enjoying some berries in the late afternoon when he took a boat out to the island to pick up Eveline and Jeanice.
The 8.3 earthquake, centered 45 miles from Lituya Bay, struck at 10:16pm, a time of day that was still light outside. It caused the hillside at Khantaak Island to melt and plunge into the bay. In Lituya Bay, 100 miles south of Khantaak Island, falling rocks created the largest wave–a mega-tsunami–ever recorded on earth–1720 feet high.
Robert, Eveline, and Jeanice were on Khantaak Island’s shore that rose and then plunged into the bay. They perished and were never found. Here is a summary of the incident as found on the Presumptive Death Certificate for Robert:
And here is photo and some information about the incident found on Bob’s Blog.
When an earthquake hits, I think the biggest fear is of the unknown. Is it going to be the big one? Or is it just a short period of jerking? You don’t know until it’s over.
An article about Jeanice Welsh Walton can be found at the Alaska Historical Society website. You can read more about the big wave at the University of Alaska Fairbanks website. Another post about Robert Tibbles will be coming soon.
Samuel M. Gets Memorial Marker
Doesn’t that look nice? Samuel’s memorial marker was installed on August 31, 2018, just 87 years, one month and one day after he died.
On my visit to Lancaster in 2015, I discovered that a marker was never installed where Samuel was buried. Some of his descendants contributed towards the purchase of a marker and now he has one.
It’s never too late to remember those who made our lives possible!
Cork Cutter, Night Watchman, & Janitor
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.
Samuel, Son of Samuel
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!
Samuel Needs a Memorial Marker
Samuel M. Parmer needs a headstone! He died June 20, 1931 in Lancaster, PA. He was buried next to his wife, Hettie Ann, who died July 25, 1897, 35 years before Samuel. However, for unknown reasons, perhaps the Great Depression, a headstone has never been placed for Samuel. We would like to change that and place a memorial marker for Samuel.
Although there is a marker for Hettie, we are not able to use that current marker to add Samuel’s information. A new granite memorial marker, 24 x 12 in size, is allowed to be placed for Samuel. We can add Hettie Ann Parmer’s name and applicable dates, at no additional cost, on the new marker in smaller lettering than Samuel’s information.
We can make a difference, even if it has been 86 years!
William’s Beginnings in Lancaster
William was born October 27, 1869, the second child, and second son, of Samuel and Hetty. He is shown with his family in the 1870 and 1880 census. On September 3, 1891, William Eckman Parmer and Emma J. Howe were married by Rev. D.W. Gerhard. Here’s a photo of William and Emma:
Over the next several years, William worked at various jobs until he began working as a clerk at a store. Here’s what we learn from looking at the city directories:
1892 — laborer at 612 S. Duke
1896 — driver, 31 E King; home at 429 Church — a 6 minute walk from home to work
1897 & 1898 — driver; resides at 339 W Marion
1899 — clerk for W D Sprecher Son & Co; resides at 29 Dorwart
1903, 1905, 1907, 1911 — clerk for Sprecher & Ganss (seed and implement establishment); resides at 507 Green
Over this time, William and Emma had their children–Roy, Guy J., Herbert H., Clarence (Nick), Viola, and Franklin William.
Then, sometime betweeen 1911 and 1913, they moved…..to Florida!