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Aunt Jennie's Letters


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These letters were written to Perry Louis Parr, author of "The Descendants of Richard Parr, Pioneers of Licking Co., Ohio" by Jennie Frost Lilley, daughter of Viola Amanda Parr Frost Whiton (1866-1943). They were later sent to Joanne Todd by Betty Rose of Newark, Ohio.

Seymour, Missouri
Oct. 21, 1965

Col. Perry Parr
1419 North Alamo Ave.
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Dear Sir:

I received today a reply to an inquiry of the postmaster of Hackettstown for your address, I hope you receive this and prove to be THE Perry Parr and are of a mind to answer this.

I am a daughter of Viola Parr Frost Whiton who was a daughter of Hiram Edward Parr and Rebecca Jane Horner Parr, She was born in or near Argenta, or perhaps on a farm near Decatur in Macon County Illinois. In 1866.

I was born in Piatt County in 1886. I believe that you are the grandson of Richard Parr and Rachel Horner Parr, brother of Hiram and sister of Rebecca. I believe that your father's name was Louis and that you would be my mother's double cousin.

If I am correct you could tell me some things I would like to know. I know that the Hiram Parr family lived near Newark, Ohio where grandpa was born in 1833. I think that grandma was born near Wapakoneta, Ohio in 1842.

I would very much like to know when the Parrs moved to Illinois and when and where Hiram and Rebecca were married. There are many other questions I might ask but will wait until I hear from you.

I retired several years ago and now live in a hamlet in Missouri, alone for the past eight years. I was twice widowed, Mr. Lilley died in 1957. I am practically a shut-in due to arthritis.

I have lots of time to read and write and watch TV.

I am Jennie Frost Lilley, Seymour, Mo. Rt. 3 - 65746.

Jennie Frost Lilley (her signature)

Seymour, Missouri
Rt. 3 - 65746
Nov. 5, 1965

Perry Parr
I419 Alamo Avenue
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I was delighted to hear from you and know that you are a real person and not the near legend you had been.

I am much interested in you and would like to know all about you, your family, all. I would like to know when you took up this interesting business of family history, what prompted it and so forth.

I have you pictured as being near my generation but younger, a retired army man? So many Parrs are short, a little chunky and white thatched. Me, too.

I have been told stories about them by my mother and have listened to my grandma Becky. I think my real knowledge is pretty sketchy though. I will write what I know anyway, believing that your knowledge is more complete and that you can fill in a lot of it.

Who among my folks had you corresponded with in 1928 and 1942? In 1928 I was in Chicago, I worked there 6 years, 1923 to 1929. During those years I visited uncle Jesse Parr in Bloomington. I went with him to visit an old cemetery where Hiram and Rebecca and his father, Hiram, as well as many others of the family are buried. Are your grandparents buried there, too?

This cemetery appeared to be a private one, it was in the middle of a field, was grown up with weeds and sadly neglected. I believe it was called Blue Mound.

I went to Des Moines in 1904, a green, scared-to-death kid. In 1948 we sold out up there and went to Arkansas, I had worked 44 years, I went down south wrapped in a big comforter on the back seat of the car. At the time of the Winget trial, I was unable to go to Bloomington. My sister, Mable McMullin, went instead. Grace Reddick Bell was there, too. I wonder did you meet them? Grace told me that she could pick out our cousins by their white heads.

I exchanged a few letters with Frank Parr and another cousin of mother's who was a banker in Argenta, Ill. I understood that Frank went to live in Edmonds, Okla. A year or so ago there was in our Springfield paper an account of a family of Parrs (I think they were from Michigan) having an auto accident near there. It said that the family had been on its way to attend the funeral of a relative at Edmonds, Okla. I knew that Frank was very old.

The last I knew of Grace Reddick Bell her address was 6734 Morrell, Lincoln, Nebraska. Burnham Edward Parr, son of mother's brother Ed, lives at 316 No. 19th St., Van Buren, Arkansas. They were here to visit me July 4th.

Your letter mentioned the three Elliotts, who were they? I think grandpa had a brother Elliott.

I remember my mother's family were Alonzo, Mary Parr Reddick, my mother Viola Parr Frost Whiton, Edd Parr, Mae and Jesse. And, of course, her half sister, Lavona (I forgot Charlie)

My mother was born April 13, 1866. She died in a fire when their home burned on Feb. 15, 1943, in Forest City, Iowa. She is buried there.

My recollections of uncle Lonny are very vague. I don't know when he was born. I think he was killed in a wreck in Kansas.

I understood that his son, Earnest, was not found to receive his share of the Winget Estate.

Aunt Mae's son, Charlie Plattenburger, moved to South Dakota, I think. Grace Bell is in touch with him.

Mother's brother, Charlie Parr, raised a large family. I think 15 children in north Iowa. The one I know the best and love the most is Neva Parr Kehl, who lives at Garner, Iowa. I think her mother, Maud Boyer Parr, still lives at Austin, Minn.

At the time I was born, the state of Illinois was already recording births. My certificate says I was born Eva Jane Frost, May 23, 1886 in Goose Creek Township, Piatt County, which is near Montecello, Ill. My parents were divorced.

My mother married Charles Leamon Whiton in La Junta, Colorado on Feb. 2nd, 1891. Dad had gone out to San Luis Valley to farm, I don't remember the trip out there by train, but that fall, after the farming venture failed, we returned to Illinois in a covered wagon. I remember several incidents of that trip.

Their first child, Edward Rufus Whiton, was born in Illinois, Nov. 14, 1891. He died near Forest City, Ia. April 18, 1915. Is buried there.

Their second, Julie May Whiton Stokely, was born in Illinois Jan. 25, 1893. She died in Des Moines Aug. 7, 1951. She had three sons. First, Montford S. Stokely Jr. Last address 2036 Highland Dr., Concord, Calif. He married a lawyer.

Julia's second son, David A. Stokely, is married and manages his father's lumber yard at Woodward, Iowa.

Third son is married and last lived at Fond a Lac, Wis. I think he had five sons last I heard, last Christmas to be exact. He is Richard Whiton Stokely.

The third child of Charles and Viola was Ethel Grace Whiton, born Aug. 13, 1894 in Illinois. She disappeared around the time of the 1st World War and was not found to claim her part of the estate. We were never able to locate her.

Next was Leamon Charles Whiton, born in Wayne County, Iowa on Mar. 21st, 1897. He never married and now lives in Seymour, Mo. five miles from the hamlet of Diggins, where I live on Seymour, Route 3. He is a great help to me, lugs my supplies from the store across the highway.

Mable Whiton was born in Boone County, Iowa May 6, 1900. She is the widow of Roy McMullin and lives in Mason City, Iowa and has three children.

Winnie Whiton Lackore was born in Boone Co., Ia. June 20, 1903. She lives in San Luis Obispo, Calif. (441 Kentucky Ave.) She and her husband have 6 children. She is Mrs. Clifford Lackore, I must be getting tired.

The youngest and last of my mother's children to live to maturity is Altha Whiton Buland (Mrs. Lester Buland) of Forest City, Iowa. They have three children and several grandchildren, all living in Mason City, Iowa.

Altha was born near Stotesbury, Missouri (Bates County, I think) on April 3, 1907. Lester has reached retirement age but is still working. Altha hopes to work to age 62, it is understood that they are then to come live with me and look after me and to have what I leave, as I have no children. To hold out that long seems like a big assignment to me sometimes.

On the tombstone of our great grandfather Hiram Parr, I saw the following verse:

    "Remember friend as you pass by
    As you are now so once was I
    As I am now so you will be
    Prepare you then to follow me."

I write from memory so this may not be accurate. I have seen this verse on many other very old stones so it must have been popular. Some irreverent wag once added two extra lines.

    "To follow you I am not content
    Until I know which way you went."

I have long wanted to know more about your efforts in behalf of the history of the Parr family. Of those concerned I think you are most interesting. I wish to know more about YOU. Do you have children to go on with the work? It must be by now getting somewhat unwieldy. It must have cost a lot of effort, time and money.

So I would be happy to hear further from you. I hope the little knowledge I passed on is reasonably clear and fits in with what you already have.

With what generation did you begin and what generations are included?

Your cousin
Jennie Frost Lilley (signature)

Mar. 24, 1966

Dear Cousin:

I wonder if you wonder what happened to me. Winters, of late, just get the best of me. In fact, I'm a little surprised to be here at all.

I was very glad to get your letter after such a long time and this time I'll try to be more brief. There are still many questions I'd like to ask you about our families, but I realize it would be a huge task to answer all. You should send me a bill for services rendered.

At this late date, I'm sorry I had not asked my mother more that I'm sure she could have told me. I'm sorry that my memory is so vague about stories that grandma Becky told me. But it was all such a long time ago and I went through much hardship in those days, just staying alive was a full time job.

Do you have much information about the Horner family? I'd like their names and, if you have them, their birth and death dates. I think grandma Becky's consisted of three sisters and one brother, they were: John Horner, Kate, Sarah, Rebecca and your gradmother, Rachel, who took quite a long hike carrying a baby, who I think was about my mother's age and was called Isola. Later was adopted and called Ida. In 1949, I had several letters from Ida Avery who at that time lived in Michigan, each succeeding letter was the same as the last one so I didn't learn much from them. She was quite old and must have passed on by now.

I wish I knew the birth and death of my mother's brothers and sisters. I know that Jesse was born May 2nd 1974. I THINK I know. He must have died in Sept. 1942. I know nothing at all about the others, except that Lavona must have died in June that same year, four of them, she, Jessie, my mother and uncle Charles, died within a short time of each other.

Do you have any information about the children of Lavona and Mike Carr?

Oh, yes, I'd like to know how many children did Richard and Rachel have, it runs in my mind that they were younger than Hiram and Rebecca, that was why I had said you would be younger than I. Was Tommy Parr your brother? I met him once at grandma's in Bloomington, but briefly when I was 21, I think he was about 12 years older. I don't remember much about him.

Now that I have time on my hands, I am very much interested in my family history. I think I always was really, but as I said life for me was a struggle. I got practically no schooling, had to teach myself the little I knew. It is for that reason that I hesitate to show my literary efforts to a college graduate, but I'm daring to do just that, since your interests are the same you may be kind. If you like you may put my poems in my family file. I have hundreds of others, have never had the courage to show them. They do keep me busy and interested.

I hope that I'm not too much of a nuisance. And that I will hear from you again before too long.

Best wishes to all. Your cousin, Jennie Lilley

NOTE: 2 John Horner was bound out and grandma who found and destroyed his papers - freeing him. Do you know anything about that?

Postmarked Seymour, MO Jan. 3, 1967

Dear Perry:

You may put this in my family file.

My brother, Leamon Chas. Whiton, son of Viola Parr Whiton, died Dec. 6th, 1966.

He is buried in our National Cemetery here in Springfield (Missouri).

He was born near Allerton, Iowa on March 21, 1897.

He never married and is survived by four sisters, Mrs. Mabel McMullin and Altha Buland of north Iowa and Mrs. Winnie Lackore of California, and myself.

I have been planning to write you for some time, I'm holding a few scribblings to send you when I write.

I write to many that I do not know, it helps to have a snapshot or two of them, I wish I had some of you and your family.

May the best of everything be yours this New Year.

Jennie F. Lilley

(handwritten note from Perry Parr: "I answered 3/27/67 and sent her a picture of Nancy & I")

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