The farm and gin interests of Montague county, Texas, have an enterprising representative in the subject of this sketch, William H. Parmley. He is a Kentuckian by birth and was born in Wayne county, September 13, 1858, son of Robert and Serilda (Strunk) Parmley, both natives of Kentucky.
Robert Parmley, Sr., grandfather of William H., was a Virginian and a great hunter who at an early day settled in the wilds of Kentucky, where he improved a farm and carried on agricultural pursuits extensively, having slaves to do his work. He was twice married. By his first wife the children were: James, Garner, John, Washington, Lewis, Robert, Jr., Henderson, Giles, Mrs. Sidney Gan and Mrs. Rebecca Rice. Following are the names of the children by the second wife: Mrs. Betty McBath, William, Lad, Mrs. Abigail Winchester, Mrs. Ersley Stokes, Mrs. Vie Young, Mrs. Ellen Powers and H. Clay.
Robert Parmley, Jr., in his early manhood taught school for some years. Although a southerner, he was a Union man, and two of his brothers, William and Lad, were Union soldiers. He, however, took no part in the war. He is politically a Democrat and was honored with official position in his native State, and also since his removal to Kansas. He moved west in 1877 and settled in Cowley county, Kansas, where he improved a good farm and was for many years successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits. Now at the age of eighty-two years, and still vigorous, he is living retired in Burden, that county. Here he has served as justice of the Cumberland Presbyterian church and of the Masonic fraternity, and has long been known as a generous, big-hearted, broad-minded man with a character in every way above reproach. His first wife died in 1879. She belonged to one of the early families of Kentucky; was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, and was a woman of lovely Christian character. Little is known of her family history. Following are the names of her children: Mrs. Milda Rice, James (deceased); William H.; John (deceased); Ned (deceased); Bell, wife of George R. McClelland, and Ellen, wife of M. Mackey. The father subsequently married a Mrs. Burris, his present companion.
William H. Parmley was seventeen when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Kansas. His education was received chiefly at home under his father’s instructions and in the practical school of experience. He assisted his father in the development of their farm in the new State of Kansas. Then in 1880 he returned to Kentucky, married the sweetheart of his youth and took her back to Kansas with him. The next two years he was employed in breaking prairie with two yoke of oxen. He rented land in Chautauqua county one year; moved to Llano county, Texas, where he raised two crops; returned to Kansas, but soon came back to Texas, this time settling in Montague county, where he bought eighty acres of land, to which he afterward added another eighty acres, and where he remained eight years. His next move was to Indian Territory, but he did not remain there long. Coming again to Montague county, he purchased land where he now resides. To his original purchase here, on e hundred and sixty acres, he has since added until he is now the owner of one thousand acres, 600 acres of which are under cultivation, most of which he rents, his chief products being corn and cotton. His farm with its commodious, modern residence and other buildings, wind mill and fine water, large orchard of choice fruits, etc., is certainly an ideal country place. In 1900 Mr. Parmley became interested in ginning. He erected a gin with a daily capacity of twenty-five bales, to the operation of which he has since given his attention in ginning season. It has given his attention in ginning season. It has been by his own energy and good management that Mr. Parmley has accumulated his estate since coming to Montague county, and he has well earned the title of self-made man.
Politically, Mr. Parmley is a Republican, posted and up-to-date in the country’s progress, and hopeful of Republican success in Texas. He is one of the active members of the Farmer’s Union, and both he and his wife are identified with the Missionary Baptist church.
Of Mr. Parmley’s domestic life, we record that he married Miss Serilda Coffee, who was born in Kentucky, December 28, 1858, daughter of Jackson and Martha J. (Spann) Coffee, the former a native of Kentucky, the latter of Tennessee. Her grandfather, Nathaniel Coffee, was a prominent farmer of Kentucky. His children were: Jackson; Cleve, one of the early settlers of Texas, and William. Jackson, a farmer in Kentucky until 1882, that year moved to Texas and settled in Hopkins county, where he spent two years; then came to Llano county, and two years later to Montague county, where he lived with his daughter for fifteen years. He died here October 20, 1899. He was a plain, honest farmer, a member of the primitive Baptist church, and was highly respected by all who knew him. His children in order of birth are: Shelby, Lewis, Jack, Henry and Willis, all deceased; Samuel and Robert, of Indian Territory; Cleve, who resides in early life; Eliza, wife of J. Kennett; Mrs. Serilda Parmley; and Mollie, deceased. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Parmley are: Robert, Leenora, Charles L., Thaddeus, William F., Maud, Dosha and Lula S., all living at this writing except Leenora, who died at the age of three months.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 539-540.