Parkhurst, Silas B.
Posted By: Linda Linn (email)
Date: 9/24/2010 at 19:47:38
CHEROKEE COUNTY BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY 1889
p. 392 SILAS B. PARKHURST, who forms the subject of this biographical notice, is one of the remaining pioneers of the original Milford Colony who settled in Cherokee County in 1856. It is truly befitting that some record here be given of the members of that brave band of people, so few of whom survive as residents of the county which they first settled, explored and organized, and finally helped to bring to its present standing among Iowa's best counties. Mr. Parkhurst is a native of Massachusetts, born at Milford, April 24, 1815, and is the youngest of a family of five children. HIs parents were Silas and Lydia (Robins) Parkhurst, natives of New England. The father of our subject was a carpenter and contractor by trade; both he and his wife died in Milford. Silas B. lived in his native town until he
reached man's estate. He attended the common schools of that day, whose term did not exceed nine weeks during the entire year; he began at an early age to work in a boot and shoe factory, which was not furnished with the machinery now found in those establishments, but all was done by hand, and at the greatest disadvantage. It is no wonder that so many of the New England shoemakers desired to make a change by seeking prairie homes in the West! Our subject toiled on at pegging the soles of boots and shoes for fourteen years, and then for a short period of time engaged in farming. In 1842 he was married to Miss Izanna Fisk, daughter of Martin Fisk, of Milford, Massachusetts. Mrs. Parkhurst was born in 1818. In 1856 they removed to Cherokee County, coming with a part of the Emigration Society by rail to Dubuque, and thence by wagons across the wild and unsettled prairie State. The first winter, that of 1856-'57, they spent in Sac City. In the summer of 1857 Mr. Parkhurst pre-empted a quarter section of land and then deeded the same to the agent of the Emigration Society; when the division was made it left him sixty-two acres of prairie and twenty acres of timber land adjoining the town site. He served as a soldier in the Civil War, being a member of Company I, which was largely from Sioux City. He was sent up the Missouri River to guard he frontier from the attacks of Indians. His company was under General Sully's command, and they took part in the battle of White Stone Hill, near Devil's Lake, Dakota. Mr. Parkhurst served three years, and was mustered out of the service of the United States in 1864. He then located at Sioux City, Iowa, remaining there two years, and thence removed to Woodbury, Woodbury County, Iowa, where he lived a year, at the end of that time coming back to Cherokee County. He settled on a small tract of land near Albert Phipp's place, and had a shoe-shop in town; he also took up a homestead north of Hayword's mill, on Mill Creek. Upon this eighty-five acre farm he lived until the autumn of 1888, when he sold his homestead and moved into Cherokee, spending the winter with G. W. Lebourveau. In the spring of 1889 he built a house on a two-acre tract in the extreme northern portion of the "Addition," where he now leads a somewhat retired life. In political belief Mr. Parkhurst is a stanch Democrat. He belongs to Custer Post, No. 25, Grand Army of the Republic. He and his wife are among the most aged of the original colony, he being seventy-four years old, and she seventy-one; she is still hale in body, clear in mind, and does all her own housework. To form any correct idea of the labors, and the privations endured by the pioneers in Northwestern Iowa a third of a century ago, one must converse with an aged couple who have battled through all obstacles and have overcome all difficulties. The bowed form, the whitened locks, the furrowed brow, all tell their story, and it is to these heroic people that the present generation is indebted for the high state of culture and development attained by the county and State. This worthy couple had two children, born to them, both of whom are deceased; one was Charles, and the other was an infant unnamed.
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