Among the most intelligent and progressive fruit growers of Union county is Mr. Walter Davis Family. Having lived in this section all of his life, he has become closely identified with the affairs of the county and is a man whose public spirit may be depended on when any important issue arises. As an agriculturist he has been very successful, owing this success not only to his own thorough knowledge of this great basic industry, but to a natural ability for farming and fruit raising, inherited from his father.

Walter D. Parmly was born on the farm where he now lives, September 18, 1867, his father being John Parmly and his mother, Sarah (Biggs) Parmly. The former was the son of Giles Parmly, and was born in October, 1816. Giles Parmly was a Kentuckian by birth, who migrated to Southern Illinois in 1808, but finding the Indians on the warpath and peaceful farming impossible, he returned to Kentucky, where he resided until 1811. At this date he again came to Union county, settling about one mile west of Alto Pass. Here he reared a large family and died on the farm where he had spent the later years of his life. His son John, with the exception of one year's residence in Stoddard county, Missouri, lived in Union county all of his life. In 1861 his first wife, Susan Hanson, died. By this marriage he had seven children, three of whom are now living. When the Mexican war threatened Mr. Parmly responded to the call for volunteers and enlisted in the army, but he saw no active service. In 1857 he began to experiment with fruit growing, thus becoming one of the first orchardists in his county. He was a good farmer, believing in embracing every opportunity for improving his property and methods of cultivation, and his views have been ably carried out by his sons. After the death of his first wife he married Sarah Biggs, and Walter D., the subject of this sketch, is the third of five children, four of whom are living.

Walter D. Parmly was born and reared in the clean atmosphere and among the strengthening influences of a healthy farm life, having always lived on his present place of one hundred and twenty acres. He has planted his farm largely in fruit trees, as follows: fifteen and a half acres in apples, which are just beginning to bear; twenty acres in peaches, also young, but producing in 1911 a light crop of five hundred cases; five acres in rhubarb, largely young plants, from which he obtained seven hundred packages in 1911; also shipping this year four hundred barrels of sweet potatoes. He owns another large farm of one hundred and five acres, which he has likewise planted mainly in young fruit trees, nine acres being planted in apples, eight in peaches, four in rhubarb and ten in sweet potatoes. In cultivating these various crops Mr. Parmly uses the most modern methods. He has two machine sprayers, operated by gasoline, and believes in their frequent use, all of his trees receiving a spray about five times a year.

Fraternally Mr. Parmly is affiliated with the Cobden Chapter of the Knights of Pythias, and is an ardent supporter of all for which this order stands. In religious matters he is a Baptist, being a member of the Missionary Baptist cKurch of Limestone.

On the 7th of October, 1888, Mr. Parmly was married to Nancy Elizabeth Sumner, a daughter of Winstead and Ellen (Farrell) Sumner. They are the parents of three children, two of whom, Faith and Ulva, are living.

Extracted 13 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 3, pages 1459-1460.

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