Meet Robert Jr.

Meet Robert.  Here’s a picture of him and me on July 3, 2015.

Robert E Parmer Jr with Heidi

Meeting Robert E. Parmer Jr., July 3, 2015


Robert was 95 years old and going strong.  He lived by himself in an upstairs condo and still drove himself around.  Do you see the sandwiches on the counter in the background?  He was preparing his lunches for the week.

Robert E. Parmer Jr. was born on September 13, 1919 to Robert E. Parmer and Esther Suter.  He is the grandson of Samuel E. Parmer and the great-grandson of Samuel M. Parmer.

On my initial visit to Lancaster, PA, Robert was on my list of people to hopefully visit.  I had cold-called him on the telephone before visiting Lancaster, but he had a hard time hearing and understanding what I was saying over the telephone.  So on my last day  in Lancaster, I told Ronald that I’d like to visit Robert.  I’m so glad we did!

Samuel M. Gets Memorial Marker


samuel m parmer headstone1

Greenwood Cemetery, Lancaster, PA.   Photo compliments of Ronald P. Scott


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!

Samuel and Hettie Parmer headstones

Headstone cleaning and photo compliments of Ronald P. Scott.  It looks fantastic!  Thank you!

samuel m parmer headstone

Samuel’s marker in front of Hettie Ann’s,  his wife’s, headstone.  Samuel is buried beside Hettie, who died in 1897.  Photo compliments of Ronald P. Scott.

Homes With Loved Ones

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, the home currently at 37 Washington was built in 1885.  Here’s a picture of the home from

37 washington lancaster pa

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.

samuel and rebecca headstone

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.


Pittsburgh 1909. Photo in public domain.

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 Janitor

Photo from and originally shared by srohrer63





Whooping Cough Claims A Child

Rebecca and Jack

Jack Samuel Parmer with his mother Rebecca Ruth. Photo courtesy of Robert E. Parmer Jr.


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.


Jack S Parmer headstone

Memorial for Jack– Born 30 June 1919,   Died 22 Feb 1921





Marriage And Family

On October 10, 1897, Samuel E. and Rebecca Ruth were married.

Rebecca Ruth
Rebecca Ruth, date unknown.

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 and Robert Elwood

Samuel E. Parmer and son Robert Elwood Parmer

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!

A Week About Annie–Home And Children

So what did we learn about Annie?  She lived in a few locations during her lifetime, but they were all in the same general area.  Remember from the previous posts,  Annie got married in 1895.  Her groom was Amos B. Brackbill.  Later that same year, Annie’s daughter Mabel was born in Whitehorse, according to Martin.  Luckily, we can find her in several census records that tell where she lived over the years.

  • 1900 Census in West Donegal township
  • 1910 Census in East Hempfield township
  • 1920 Census in Salisbury township

In the 1920 census, it’s interesting to note that Mabel, Annie’s daughter, was not working at age 23.  Neither were Annie’s 16 year old and 7 year old sons.  In the early 20th century, many people and organizations were lobbying against child labor.  However, in 1920, according to an NPR article, about 1 in 12 children were employed.  Annie’s family must have been well off enough that the children did not have to work.  That’s quite a difference from Annie’s father, who was likely hired out as a farm worker at age 10. Remember from some earlier posts that some Parmer children worked as young as 9 years old.

Annie and Amos had four children–Mabel, Amos, Elias, and Howard.  Here’s a photo of Mabel and son Amos with, I believe, their grandfather, Amos Brackbill.  The photo is labeled on the back as Amos, Mabel and Amos.  Mabel appears to be no more than five years old, considering that she was about 2 years and 4 months older than her brother Amos.  Their father Amos would have been about 28 years old and their grandfather about 60 years old.  Since the Amos in the photo appears more like a 60 year old than a 28 year old, I believe this is grandfather Amos with his two grandchildren, Mabel and Amos, about the year 1900.


Mabel was Annie’s only daughter.  She married Martin Wanner, and they farmed, as noted in previous posts.  Here’s a picture of Mabel, Martin, and their son Martin.

Mabel, Martin, and Martin Wanner on their farm. Photo compliments of Martin Wanner.

Father Amos had a blacksmith and mechanics shop in Intercourse, PA.  When he died, his sons continued on the business.  Son Amos continued the mechanic shop in Intercourse, and his sons continued the shop after him.  Son Elias took over the welding portion of the business.  Son Howard took over the mechanic business in Gordonville.

Here’s a couple pictures of advertisers for Brackbill’s Garage.

A Week About Annie–A Widow

In November, of 1928, Annie’s husband, Amos, died of pneumonia at the age of 56.  That must have been a difficult year.  Her youngest son would have been about 15 years old. In the 1930 census, Annie and her son were living in Leacock township with Annie’s daughter, Mabel, who had been married two years. Mabel’s husband, Martin, was a farmer.

A fun note about the 1930 census–it records whether or not there is a radio set in the home.


Amos and Annie headstone

Pequea Presbyterian Church Cemetery.  Photo compliments of Ronald P. Scott.



Pequea Presbyterian Church

Pequea Presbyterian Church.    Photo compliments of Ronald P. Scott.



A Week About Annie–A Trip To The Movies

Once a week Annie would go to Lancaster.  Sometimes Howard would pick up Annie (or Nancy, if you prefer) and take her to Lancaster.  He’d drop her off and then go pick her up and take her home.  Sometimes she would ride the bus, catching it at Lemon place.  On occasion, she would take her grandson, Martin, with her.  Martin says they would go shopping and get a soda fountain drink.  One time, she took Martin to his first movie–Gone With the Wind.  They walked out of the movie when people in the movie started getting their legs cut off!



Martin, Annie’s grandson, and I in July 2015