NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
In 1639 about forty heads of families came to Guilford, Connecticut, with the Rev. Henry Whitfield, former rector of Ockley, Surrey, England. Their ship first cast anchor at New Haven, Conn., being the first to anchor in that port on June 1, 1639, after signing a plantation covenant on board the vessel. Among the signers was John Parmelee, and there is some evidence that he came from the Isle of Guernsey. This island lies in the channel, nearer to the coast of France than that of England, and it is possible that he might have been of French origin and came to England by way of Guernsey. It is probable that he dwelt for a time in England, as he would not have been accepted as a member of this colony without having established a character and standing among the English people composing it. The origin of the name seems difficult to determine. It appears in Switzerland in recent times in the same form as that signed to the Guilford covenant. Among the Dutch people is found the name Van Parmelie, and it is possible that this emgrant was of Dutch origin. The members composing this colony were recruited from Surrey, Kent and Essex. It seems most likely that John Parmelin was of continental birth. The name appears in the early records as Parmely and Parmile.
(I) John Parmelee brought with him a wife, Hannah, who was the mother of his children. His home lot consisted of one and one-half acres in Guilford embraced the land now (1910) occupied by the First Congregational church, and he was made freeman in 1649. He died in 1659, one authority placing the date Nov. 8, while another gives that date as the time of proving his will.
He married (second) Widow Elizabeth Bradley, of New Haven, who married (third) May 22, 1663, John Evarts, of Guilford.
John Parmelee's children were:
John, Hannah, Mary and Elizabeth, probably all born in England, as the father was one of the oldest men in the colony.
(II) John (2), son of John (1) and Hannah Parmelee, was born in 1618, in England, and was made a freeman of Guilford, Feb.14, 1650. He had a home lot on the east side of what is now (1910) State street, and was the town drummer, serving in that capacity on training days and also beating the drum, from a very early period, to call the people to church, and to summon them to town meetings.
He died in January, 1689.
His wife, Rebecca, died Sept. 29, 1651, leaving a son, Nathaniel, born in 1645, who died in the Indian wars. He married (second) in 1651, Ann, widow of William Plane. She died March 30, 1658, and he married (third) the next year, Hannah ____, who was the mother of all his children except the one above-mentioned. namely:
John, Joshua, Isaac, Hannah, Stephen, Joab, Caleb, Priscilla and Joel.
(III) Joel, youngest child of John (2) and Hannah Parmelee, was born in 1679, and died in July, 1748. He and his brother, John, were among the pioneers in plotting the town of Durham in 1699, and among the first settlers of that town.
He married, June 30, 1706, Abigail Andrews, probably a daughter of Nathan Andrews, Esquire, of New Haven, born 1667.
Mary, John, Hezekiah, Joel, Abigail, Hannah, Sarah, Jeusha, Aaron and Phineas.
(IV) Hezekiah, second son of Joel and Abigail (Andrews) Parmelee, was born Jan. 20, 1711, in Durham, where he passed his life, and died in 1796.
He married (first) in 1737, Mehitabel Hall, of Wallingford, born April 25, 1716, daughter of Samuel and Susan (Ross) Hall, of that town. He married (second) Mercy (or Mary) Smith, of Wallingford, who was a Widow Hubbard at the time of the marriage. Among his children were sons:
Simeon, Daniel, Hezekiah, Moses and Charles.
Hannah and Mehitabel.
The elder daughter married a Robinson, of Granville, Mass., and the junior, a Baldwin of Durham.
(V) Simeon, eldest son of Hezekiah and Mehitabel (Hall) Parmelee, was born in 1740, in Durham, and enlisted in 1757 in the Indian war. He was a sergeant in Montgomery's army which made an expedition into Canada, and was among those who had smallpox at Crown Point during the retreat of that army. He was at Fort Stanwix (now Rome, N.Y.), at Oswego, and at the capture of Fort Niagara in 1759. He enlisted in 1775 as a private and ws made orderly sergeant and participated in the capture of St. Johns, Canada, Nov. 13, 1775.
After residing a short time in Massachusetts, he settled at Pittsford, Vermont, and in 1820 went to Westford, where he died.
He married Jemima, daughter of Nehemiah Hopkins.
Hezekiah, Hannah, Anna, Simeon, Ashbel, Tryphena, Moses and Mehitabel.
Three of the sons became clergymen.
(VI) Ashbel, third son of Simeon and Jemima (Hopkins) Parmelee, was born Oct. 18, 1784, in Stockbridge, Mass., and died May 24, 1862, in Malone, New York, and was three years of age when his parents settled at Pittsford. Here he grew up on a farm and attended the district school. When ten years of age he was very severely injured in a coasting accident and remained insensible for a long time and his life was despaired of. Though small in frame he was very active and quick in motion; was genial, fond of jokes, and quick at repartee, but was firm in adherence to principle, and was popular among his companions.
In 1802, at the age of eighteen years, he joined the Congregational church and decided to prepare for the ministry. His health, however, was failing, and in the spring of 1803 he started to join the Newfoundland fisheries fleets in the hope of improving his condition. The vessel on which he had arranged to sail did not go, and he went to the home of his uncle, Daniel Parmelee, in Durham, Conn., where he spent the summer in teaching by day and studying Latin by night. Returning to Vermont in the fall, he entered a school at Benson, taught by Caleb Burge, but because of a weekness of the eyes was much discouraged in his preparatory studies. He, however, perservered by listening to the reading of his fellow students, and in the meantime taught two terms in rural schools. He then became a clerk in a store at Pittsford, and had nearly abandoned the idea of entering the ministry when friends, who were interested in his progress, offered their aid and persuaded him to continue. He spent a year with Rev. Lemuel Haynes at West Rutland, where he studied theology and the classics, and was one year with Rev. H. Weeks, of Pittsford, in the meantime being aided as before by the reading of his fellow students.
He was licensed to preach, Sept. 29, 1808, by the Rutland Congregational Association, sitting at Granville, N.Y. About this time his health began to improve and he preached six months at Cambridge, N.Y., during which time twenty persons were added to the church, but he declined to accept a permanent settlement there. He preached six months at Hinesburgh, Vermont, during which time twenty-five members were added to the church, but here again declined a permanent settlement.
In October, 1809, at the solicitation of friends in Malone, he visited that frontier village and in December accepted a call to become pastor of the Congregational church at a salary of four hundred dollars a year, one-third to be paid in cash and the balance in grain. He was ordained Feb. 8, 1810, by an ecclesiastical council at Malone, and continued for thirty-six years as pastor of the church there. His highest salary during this time was six hundred and fifty dollars a year. Although this was a Congregational church, it soon after united with the Presbyerian synod, and Mr. Parmelee remained a Presbyterian to the end of his life. Soon after beginning his work at Malone his eyesight was permanently restored and he pursued a very active pastoral career. Beside preaching twice on Sundays he often lectured in outside communities, rarely delivering less than two lectures per week. In 1811, on a three months' leave from the church, he engaged in missionary work over the territory between Malone and Watertown, N.Y., and the next year again spent three months in missionary work in Clinton and Franklin counties.
In 1812, with his own hands, he felled the trees which were used in the construction of his house at Malone, and this continued to be his home with subsequent additions. During the war of 1812 the region was very much troubled, and at one time officers of the army were boarded at his house. After the evacuation by the Americans the town was occupied by British troops, but Mr. Parmelee and his family treated with courtesy by the British officers.
During his pastorate the corner stone church building, 60 by 80, was laid May 30, 1826. This was torn down in 1851 to be replaced by a brick edifice. The church, from a very small beginning, grew to be a very strong one under Mr. Parmelee's pastorate, and included over three hundred and fifty members. He resigned in April, 1848, was appointed chaplain of Dannemora prison, where he continued until July, 1851.
Mr. Parmelee was always a student and was actively interested in every branch of human progres. Middlebury College gave him the degree of A.M., and in 1853 that of D.D. He was an earnest Whig and later a Republican, but gave no attention to politics in his pulpit, though active as a citizen in furthering his political principles. With many members of his church he was a member of the Masonic order, but withdrew in 1829 from the order on account of the great antipathy toward it manifested by a portion of his church, together with churches generally. Later, when this antipathy died out, most of the members again affiliated with the order.
Mr. Parmelee married (first) at Malone, N.Y., Feb. 10, 1809, Lucy Winchester, to whom he became engaged in Vermont, her native state. She died Feb. 14, 1814, while on a visit to Westford, Vermont, leaving two daughers.
Mr. Parmelee married (second) June 12, 1814, at Hopkintown, N.Y., Fannie Brush, born May 7, 1790, at Malone. He married (third) Sept. 3, 1827, at Plattsburgh, N.Y., Betsey Wood, a widow, who survived him two years.
(VII) Julia Isabella, daughter of Rev. Ashbel and Fannie (Brush) Parmelee, was born Feb. 12, 1827, in Malone, and became the wife of Northrup Morse, of that town. (See Morse VIII).
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