Ralph Robinson Parrish

R. R. Parrish and Family

Ralph Robinson Parrish, the owner of a well improved tract of land comprising eighty acres on section 8, Lima township, has in recent years devoted his attention to the pursuits of farming and dairying and also raises high-grade and pure-bred Chester White hogs. He is numbered among the worthy native sons of Sheboygan county, his birth having occurred in Lima township on the 18th of July, 1853.

His father, John Decraso Parrish, was born in the village of Aldyears, Pollit township, Rutland county, Vermont, on the 17th of February, 1816. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Isaac Parrish. Unto Mr. and Mrs. John D. Parrish were born ten children. Harriet A., whose birth occurred on the 20th of February, 1842, gave her hand in marriage to John Harnden on the 14th of January, 1863, and passed away in April, 1869. May A., who was born on the 13th of May, 1843, died on the 14th of August, 1844. Mary T., whose natal day was April 2, 1845, gave her hand in marriage to G. W. Poland on the 4th of February, 1864, and now resides at Lake Nebraska. Adorah B., whose birth occurred on the 10th of September, 1847, passed away on the 1st of January, 1861. Sheldon A., who was born September 11, 1849, died December 31, 1860. Julia I., who was born July 10, 1851, wedded Albertus Dye on the 10th of September, 1883, and died on the 1st of February, 1912. Ralph R., of this review, is the next in order of birth. Letitia B., whose birth occurred on the 25th of November, 1857, gave her hand in marriage to Cyrus B. Knight on the 18th of April, 1878, and now resides at Rockford, Illinois. A sketch of John 0., who is the next in order of birth, appears on another page of this work. Nellie J., who was born on the 4th of June, 1862, became the wife of La Gee Gilman on the 21st of March, 1883, and resides at Plymouth.

Ralph Robinson Parrish obtained his education in the district schools of Lima township and remained. on the home farm until twenty-eight years of age, receiving a yearly salary after he had attained his majority. During this time he purchased an interest in a threshing machine outfit and operated the same for three years at a liberal profit. After his first season with the machine he took a trip, visiting a number of relatives on both sides of the family. Making his way first to Kentucky, he there spent three weeks and then went to Pulaski, Oswego county, New York, remaining in that neighborhood for about three months while visiting in the surrounding country. Subsequently he went to Michigan, stopping at Grand Ledge and Lansing. He then returned to Wisconsin and remained home until the 15th of January, 1878, when he removed to Kansas, settling in Pioneer township, Rush county, that state, where he took a half section of land and later homesteaded the property. He preempted a quarter section and took a tree claim on the remaining quarter.

There he kept "bachelor's hall" for two years and then returned home on a visit, bringing with him his cousin, Otis Tupper, who had been living with him in the hope of regaining his health in the Sunflower state. On the 12th of January, 1880, he left for Syracuse, New York, and three days later was married in that city. He visited in New York state with his bride for several weeks and returned to Kansas in the latter part of February.

The inside dimensions of the house to which he brought his young wife were fourteen by twenty-four feet and its walls were made of sod. These walls were nearly two feet thick and were plastered and whitewashed on the inside. The roof was constructed of a framework of small timbers, over which was placed a layer of sugar cane. The cane was covered with sod and over the sod was a layer of a soil called magnesia, which is noted for its water-shedding qualities. The floor was of matched lumber-like that of an ordinary house. This home was at that time considered a most modern and comfortable one, being far superior in finish to the other houses of the community and also much larger. It was remarkably warm in winter and cool in summer.

Mr. Parrish resided therein with his wife until March 8, 1883, and then returned to Wisconsin, retaining his Kansas homestead, however, until three years later. In association with his brother John he rented the home farm, then the J. D. Parrish estate, thus operating the same for one year. Then the two brothers each rented half of the same farm, operating it separately, on a cash basis, for three years. On the expiration of that period the estate was divided, Ralph R. Parrish receiving the tract of eighty acres on which he now resides.

There was not a building on the property. Mr. Parrish first erected a large barn, forty by sixty-six feet, with a lean-to eighteen feet wide running the entire length of the barn. The following spring, in the month of March, excavation was begun for the new house. In April Mr. Parrish and his family took up their abode in a wing of the house which had already been erected, the dimensions of which were sixteen by eighteen feet and the front of which was largely open, as it had been sheeted up only on one end and the two sides. The front part of the framework of the house, twenty-four by twenty-six feet, was raised and the work was all completed while the family occupied the small room or wing. Mr. Parrish did most of the work himself, and the residence was completed by December 1st of the same year.

In 1889 he began taking his butter to Sheboygan and butchering his surplus stock, selling these products direct to regular customers in the city and thus obtaining the highest possible price for his goods. The second year, owing to the large demand for his products and his rapidly increasing business interests, he took a partner, H. H. Koppelman, a sketch of whom appears on another page of this volume. In the spring of 1895, after having held many of his customers for six years, Mr. Parrish abandoned this business and discontinued his partnership. He usually made two trips to town each week. For the past seventeen years, however, he has devoted his attention to dairying and farming, disposing of his milk through the cheese factory. He raises pure-bred Chester White hogs and his farm is stocked with high-grade Holstein cattle.

On the 15th of January, 1880, at Syracuse, New York, Mr. Parrish was united in marriage to Mrs. Bernice Maltby, a widow. Her maiden name was Ella C. Plaistead and she was born in Brewerton, New York, her parents being Ford and Rosina (Campbell) Plaistead, both natives of New York state. Mrs. Plaistead died on March 13, 1871, and Mr. Plaistead long survived her, passing away at Syracuse, New York, on May 15, 1912. He was buried at Brewerton, New York.

Our subject and his wife have nine children. John Dee, whose birth occurred on the 4th of December, 1880, is an agriculturist of Barron county, Wisconsin. Arthur S., who was born October 29, 1882, follows farming in Lyndon township, Sheboygan county. Timothy M., whose natal day was March 26, 1884, is now second foreman in the steel manufacturing department of the Hart-Parr Gas Engine Company at Charles City, Iowa. He passed the required examination and attained his present position in less than a year. Ralph I., who was born November 24, 1886, is attending business college in Milwaukee. Joy I., whose birth occurred April 8, 1889, is a graduate of the Badger State Business College of Milwaukee and is now in the employ of the Public Service Company of that city. Rosina, born December 13, 1891, graduated from the high school at Waldo in 1912. Clyde and Helen Parrish are at home and are students in the same school. They were born on November 16, 1893, and June 26, 1895, respectively. Ross A., who was born September 27, 1987, is also under the parental roof. Mrs. Parrish has one son by her first marriage to Bemis Maltby. Fred, who was born April 10, 1876, who is employed in the Richardson Chair Factory at Sheboygan Falls.

In politics Mr. Parrish is a stanch republican, having supported the men and measures of that party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. He has taken an active part in township politics and for several terms has served as road supervisor, holding that office at the present time. He is a valued member of the Methodist church of Lyndon township, with which he has always been officially connected, frequently holding a number of positions at a time. For thirteen years he acted as Sunday school superintendent, resigning that position about eight years ago. At the present time he is serving as trustee and steward and often teaches a class. He is secretary of the Firmah cemetery and has served as such for many years. His entire life has been guided by the most honorable principles and his self-reliance and unfaltering industry, combined with his integrity, constitute the salient features in his success.


Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL