submitted by Neal Carter, Sept. 28, 2007

Death of an Old Pioneer

Dec. 13, 1882

The venerable WILLIAM PARVIN, SR., departed this life this morning in his eighty-sixth year.

On the 21st of September last, deceased was run against by a team while crossing Second street and felled to the ground. He was carried to his home but did not appear at first to greatly suffer from his injuries. It was early discovered, however, that his thigh was dislocated and that he was suffering from internal injuries, and from the day of the accident he has been confined to his bed, obtaining rest and sleep only by the use of opiates. He remained conscious to the hour of his death this morning. His last words were whispered to his grandson, George Parvin – four short words, but which sweetly epitomized the whole meaning of the Christian faith – “I am going home.”

This aged pilgrim who has laid down his time worn staff for the welcome home to the peace and rest of Heaven was one of the earliest and best known pioneers associated with the first settlement of Muscatine. Accompanied by wife and children he arrived at this place on the 30th of March, 1839, and what will be considered a remarkable circumstance in American life and particularly for this roving western country, Mr. Parvin erected his log-cabin on the site he has occupied as his home during the forty-three years of his subsequent history, and where he lays at rest to-day! With the exception of a trip to California Mr. Parvin has passed the whole of this nearly half a century in Muscatine. In this citizenship he has always proven himself worthy of the highest respect of his fellow men. He served the county for several years as Coroner and among other public trusts reposed in him were the collectorship, office of treasurer and marshalship of the city. Deceased took an active interest in politics and was a Democrat of the true Jeffersonian type. Few citizens of Muscatine were more constant readers of the daily press or could more intelligently discuss the questions of the day. When not engaged in his vocation, deceased found his favorite recreation in hunting and he was probably more familiar with the haunts of game in Muscatine and Louisa counties and the neighboring grounds of Illinois than any person living. If he had sat for a characteristic picture his trusty rifle must have stood conspicuously by his side.

Mr. Parvin was born in Cumberland county, New Jersey, Sept. 19, 1797. He was married to Hannah Westcott in Hamilton county, Ohio, Dec. 8, 1819, and many will remember the golden wedding of this venerable pair celebrated in our city in 1869. Of this marriage there were issue eight children of whom the following six survive: Mrs. Elizabeth Purcell, Mrs. J. P. Freeman, and Wm. S. Parvin of this city, Josiah Parvin, of Atalissa, and Mrs. E. T. Palmer and Mrs. Wm. Allen, of Grinnell. There are also two brothers who survive, the Hon. John A. Parvin, of Sweetland, in this county, and Daniel Parvin, living near Philadelphia.

Deceased early became a communicant of the Methodist church and died in the consolations of the Christian faith. As he expressed it in his last words he was going home. Those who watched by his bedside in his last illness speak in admiring terms of the Christian patience and fortitude with which he bore his sufferings, rendered doubly acute by the infirmities of ago. On the 10th of March last, Aunt Hannah, as she was affectionately called in society, his beloved companion in a wedded life of sixty three years, was taken from his side by death. Already, if we may trust to the clearest intuitions of the soul, the veil has been taken from the eyes of him who so sorely wept over his desolate home and life and he enjoys the glorious fruition of his hopes and faith in a reunion where God shall wipe away every tear and where death is swallowed up in victory.

The funeral will take place on Friday at 10 a. m. from the Methodist church.


The committee, by its chairman, Wm. Gordon, presented the following report:

    Again has the insatiate archer invaded our ranks and another of our little band has fallen by the way, yielding up the burden of life, which he had borne for a long series of years, in all of which he acquitted himself as a man in every vicissitude of life through which he was called to pass.

    Resolved, That in the death of Brother Wm. Parvin, while we bow in submission to the will of him in “Whose hands are the issues of life,” we cannot suppress our feeling of regret for the loss of one with whom we have so long shared the hopes and fears, the joys and sorrows incident to the battle of life.

    Resolved, That we will accompany the remains of our deceased brother to their last resting place: that these proceedings be spread upon the minutes of our society: that a copy thereof be presented to the surviving relatives of the deceased, and that the same be published in the newspapers of this city.

    HENRY MOLIS, } Com.

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