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Parrish family collection

Parrish family collection

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Open Finding Aid

Finding aid for the Parrish family collection


Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
100 Rock Street
Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201
(501) 320-5700

April 14, 2016

Repository: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies
Creator:Central Arkansas Library System. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. (Little Rock, Ark.)
Title: Parrish family collection
Dates: 1890-1995
Quantity: 2.5 Linear feet
Abstract:This collection contains over 700 photographs from the families of Jesse Parrish and Fannie Brown Parrish of Boone County, Arkansas, and of their children, Clyde Parrish, Claude Parrish, and Cona Parrish Thomas, as well as a small number of documents.
Identification: BC.MSS.07.21
Language: English


This collection is arranged chronologically and by type of artifact.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains over 700 photographs from the families of Jesse Parrish and Fannie Brown Parrish of Boone County, Arkansas, and of their children, Clyde Parrish, Claude Parrish, and Cona Parrish Thomas, along with a small number of documents.

Many of the individual photographs were at some time in a photograph album, perhaps belonging to Fannie Brown Parrish. Many of them were trimmed to fit a decorative design in the album. At some point, the photographs were removed from the album, and some were damaged in the process. This prior damage has been noted in the finding aid.

The photographs are arranged chronologically, with some dates calculated based on context and research. The collection also contains a photograph album believed to have belonged to Cona Parrish Thomas, and an album giving statistical and promotional information about the Claude Parrish Hereford Ranch in Boone County.

Biographical Information

Jesse Walter Parrish was born October 28, 1884, in Boone County, Arkansas, the son of Leroy and Joanne Brown Parrish. His family farmed in the area of Lowry, Arkansas, very near the Missouri border. On September 18, 1904, he married Fannie Brown. Fannie was born January 22, 1887, to John and Alice Sheppard Brown. It is uncertain what happened to Fannie's father, but in 1894, her mother married Adam Johnson. The collection contains photographs from both the Sheppard and the Johnson families, as well as several from the families of Leroy and Joanne Parrish.

Jesse Parrish and Fannie Parrish had four children. Clyde was born on July 28, 1906, and Claude was born April 19, 1908. Their sister Cona was born August 25, 1912. Another sister, Cora, was born and died on February 21, 1921. In 1928, Fannie Parrish moved from the farm in the Lowry area to the town of Omaha, so that the children could attend high school there. She never returned to the farm, and she and Jesse were eventually divorced. The collection contains copies of the briefs, dated in 1937 and 1938, from legal proceedings relating to the final dissolution of their marriage.

Within a few years of graduating from high school in 1931, Claude Parrish was the owner of a Chevrolet dealership in Liberty, Missouri, near Kansas City. He also owned several other businesses in the area, including a bus line that served nearby defense manufacturing plants during World War II. Claude lived in a home on the shores of nearby Lake Lotawana. His obituary describes him as a bachelor, but he was married at least once. Photographs from throughout the late 1930s and the 1940s show him with Ruth [Thompson?], although it is uncertain if they were married. In February 1958, he married Mary Lou Nichols, who is pictured with him in several photographs. The collection contains numerous photographs from his businesses and his life in Missouri. He later operated a cattle ranch in Boone County, near where the family had lived. Upon his death in 1988, he endowed a cancer treatment center and a community health care center in Boone County.

Cona Parrish married Carnell S. (Bud) Thomas in March 1932, shortly before her high school graduation. Their daughter Irene was born May 30, 1933. Bud was a carpenter with a construction crew working for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Other family members and friends also worked for the railroad. The construction crews moved around as needed to towns in Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. They lived in housing provided by the railroad and often located in the rail yards themselves. The lives of these crews and their families are illustrated through many of the photographs in this collection. Their daughter Irene and her family are also shown in many photographs. Cona and Bud eventually settled in North Little Rock, where she died on November 28, 2001.

In 1927 Clyde Parrish married Roxie Chaney, a neighbor in Boone County. They later divorced, and in 1939 he married Virginia Rupard of Laclede County, Missouri. They moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and Clyde drove a truck for Russell Stover Candies. He died on October 9, 1995.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Boone County (Ark.)
Education -- Arkansas
Lowry (Ark.)
Missouri Pacific Railroad Company.
Omaha (Ark.)
Parrish, Claude Hulman, 1908-1988
Parrish, Clyde Neal, 1906-1995
Parrish, Fannie Brown, 1887-1977
Parrish, Jesse Walton, 1884-1963
Parrish, Joanne Brown, 1856-1952
Parrish, Leroy Walter, 1855-1935
Thomas, Carnell S. (Bud), 1909-1997
Thomas, Cona Alice Parrish, 1912-2001
Townsend, Irene Belle Thomas, 1933-1993


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Restrictions on Use

Non-circulating, in-house use only.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Parrish family collection, MSS.07.21, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Studies Institute

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 2007

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