The farming interests of Montague county find a worthy representative in John D. Parr, who was born in Grayson county, Texas, July 22, 1860. His parents were Jesse C. and Rachel R. (Fisher) Parr. The father was a native of Tennessee and the mother of Harrison county, Texas, in which locality they were married, Mr. Parr having come to this state in 1850. His father, Berry T. Parr, was likewise a native of Tennessee and devoted his attention to farming there until after the birth of his eight children. In 1831 he removed to Washington county, Arkansas, which was then a new country sparsely settled, and in the work of improvement and progress there he took an active and helpful part. The locality in which he made his home became known as Parr Prairie, and there he opened up a farm, which he successfully cultivated. He belonged to the Cumberland Presbyterian church, in which he was a minister and regular circuit rider, devoting the great part of his attention to his religious duties, which employing others to care for his farm. He remained in Washington county until 1837, when he removed to Missouri, settling in Barry county, where he bought land and improved a second farm. Again he became a pioneer minister and farmer and soon had regular charges to fill. His labors were valuable in the material and moral development of the community and he left behind him the priceless heritage of an untarnished name and a memory which is enshrined in the hearts of all with whom he had come in contact. He was a stanch Democrat and served as justice of the peace, but cared little for office. His death occurred in April, 1849, and his wife passed away in 1852. She was also a worthy member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. Their children were: John O., who came to Texas in pioneer times and died in this state after devoting many years to religious work as a regular minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian church; Eliza, the wife of L. C. Botton, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister; James H., of Erath county, Texas; A. J., who died in Arkansas; Z. H., who died in Denton county, Texas; Pressley O., who died in Montague county; Mrs. Martha M. Jarrett; Berry T., ex-county treasurer of Montague county; and Alvina T., the wife of M. A. Sappington.
Jesse C. Parr, the father of our subject, was born and reared in Tennessee and after his marriage became a resident of Harrison county, Texas but with a short period removed to Grayson county, where he bought land and developed a farm, becoming a prosperous agriculturist. At the time of the Civil war, however, he put aside all business and personal considerations and entered the army, serving in the frontier department as a patrol and guard against the approaches of the red men. In this way he had some lively skirmishes with the Indians and he continued in that service until the close of the war. In the fall of 1865 he sold his property in Grayson county and purchased a farm in Denton county, which he conducted for a number of years. There his wife died and later he married again. He spent three years on the farm, after which he returned to the old homestead, passing away in Denton county, Texas, in 1879. He was a devoted member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, taking a very active part in its work and in the extension of its influence. He filled various offices in the church, was a good talker and exhorter and a most devoted Christian gentlemen. He also belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His first wife died in 1870. She was a representative of an honored pioneer family of Harrison county, and was the youngest of a family of four children, the others being: William, of Dallas, Texas; Lewis, who died in 1845 went to California, where he lost his life; and Taint, who went to California in 1849.
Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Parr had a family of eleven children: Lou, the wife of J. Armstrong; David T., a farmer; Julia, who died in infancy; Mattie B., the wife of J. N. Burden; John D.; Maggie C., the wife of I. C. Holder; Dixie L., the wife of F. Chenoweth; Minnie, the wife of G. Holder; William E., deceased; Zula, the wife of Lee Young; and Julia, who became Mrs. Bowman. After losing his first wife the father married again, his second union being with Mary Wade, and they had two children: Sally, the wife of H. Robinson; and Nancy, who lives in Childress county, Texas.
John D. Parr is a native son of Texas, thoroughly identified with the people and interests of the state and imbued with the progressive spirit which is bringing a rapid development here. He remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority and in 1881 was married to Miss Nellie H. Lynch, who was born in St. Louis county, Missouri, June 15, 1865, and who has proven to him a faithful companion and helpmate and an excellent adviser. She is a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Murphy) Lynch, the former a native of Ireland and the latter of Missouri, their marriage having occurred here at St. Louis. The father was a railroad man and died in St. Louis, Missouri. His only child was Mrs. Parr. The mother still survives and is now the wife of Pressley O. Parr of Tennessee, an uncle to our subject, who in an early day came to Texas. After the Civil war, however, he went to Missouri, where he married. Later he returned to Texas, w here he successfully carried on farming in Montague county up to the time of his death in April, 1900. His children were: George L.; Mrs. Ella Crump; Joe C., Adda, the wife of R. Hanley; Eva M., the wife of Richard Hanley; and Edgar Z. The mother is still living at the age of sixty-six years and is a faithful member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church.
In the year of his marriage John D. Parr came to Montague county, where he purchased land and improved a farm. He yet resides on his first tract of one hundred and sixty-six acres, to which he has added, however, until he now has four hundred and eighty-six acres. This he has transformed into a valuable property, bringing two hundred and fifteen acres of land up to a high state of cultivation. He carries on general agricultural pursuits and also feeds hogs for the market. In all of his work he is practical and enterprising and his labors have been attended with a gratifying measure of success. His first dwelling was destroyed by fire together with all its contents, but he has since erected a more modern and commodious residence two stories high in height and tastefully furnished. He has also built the necessary outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock, has planted an orchard and has otherwise improved his property.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Parr has been blessed with six children: Grace, the wife of C. E. Bell; Jesse M., who follows farming; Rachel, Alice, Ruth E. and Mattie A., all at home. The parents are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, in the work of which they take an active and helpful part and Mr. Parr is now serving as one of its elders. He is also connected with the Woodmen of the World and he has a very wide and favorable acquaintance in Montague county, where he has now lived for almost a quarter of a century.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 355-356.