Was born in Wilmington, Vermont, March 31, 1874. He was the oldest son of John Parmely, of English descent. He married Miss Louis Gould, in Somerset, Vermont, where he resided several years. In 1816 he came to the Western Reserve to select a home. He traveled the entire distance on horseback. At that time the lands of the Reserve townships were being surveyed into lots and sections. Mr. Parmely assisted in surveying Sullivan Township during that season. The surveying party camped in the forest, and procured food from Harrisville during the period of the survey, by means of pack horses. In the fall he returned to Connecticut, and in the spring of 1817 removed his family, accompanied by six other families, to Sullivan center. These families were his father, John Parmely, his brother, Asahel Parmely, his brother-in-law, Thomas Rice, James Palmer and their families. A few months later this little colony was joined by Henry, Benjamin and Khesa Close and their families. The first mentioned families came in ox teams, with the exception of Mr. Rice, who drove a span of horses. From Harrisvile to Sullivan center, a distance of ten miles, they cut a road through the forest, to enable their teams to pass. They arrived August 28, 1817. The log hut, enclosed on two sides and one end, which had been erected and occupied by the surveyors the year before, was given to Mr. and Mrs. James Palmer to occupy, while the rest of the families slept in their wagons about three weeks, until cabins could be erected for their accommodation. Two hewed log houses were built near the center of the town. Mr. Palmer went to the village of Wooster, on foot, by paths through the forest, to obtain glass for his windows. The nearest mill was also that of Stibbs, near Wooster, to which the new settlers in Sullivan resorted for their grists. Mr. Parmely and others soon conceived the idea of erecting a horse mill in the center. The people, far and near, came there to have their grinding done, after staying all night. Mr. George Mann was the next pioneer. When it became necessary to establish a post office in the Center, about the year 1820, Mr. Parmely was made the first postmaster. In 1822 he removed to Elyria, and Mr. John Gould was appointed postmaster. In 1833 Mr. Parmely returned to Sullivan and reoccupied his old farm. In company with Alexander Porter, he erected a large steam grist and saw mill, and established a dry goods store at the Center.
In 1843 he was elected representative from Lorain County to the legislature. After the expiration of his term he attended at Columbus as lobby member several years, to procure the erection of a new county, of which Sullivan was proposed to be the seat of justice. It was believed by him that ample territory could be procured from the surrounding counties to erect such a county. A counter project was set on foot by rival interests, culminating in the erection of Ashland County in the winter of 1846. This unexpected result terminated the legislative efforts of Mrs. Parmely. He returned to the routine of business, and conducted his store until advancing age required his retirement. He was noted as a thorough going, energetic and upright business man. He was exceedingly industrious, and during his pioneer life labored early and late. His axe was heard ringing amid the wilds. He felled the lofty forest trees, and soon made "the wilderness blossom as the rose." He was strictly honorable in business, mild in disposition, genial and kind to all. He was a friend to the struggling pioneer, and always ready to lend a helping hand to worthy enterprises. He was an earnest member of the Christian church, and a diligent student of the scriptures. He was, for many years, a member of the Baptist church, which was established at an early day in Sullivan. Upon hearing the doctrines advocated by Alexander Campbell, he became warmly attached to that reform, and helped organize the first Disciple church in Sullivan. For a period of nearly seventy years his name was enrolled as a member of the Baptist and Disciple churches. He died January 23, 1874, aged nearly ninety years. Mrs. Louis Gould Parmely, his wife, was born January 31, 1789, and died April 12, 1873, about nine months prior to the decease of her husband. Her ancestors were also English, and settled at Newburyport, as early as 1644. She was a Christian lady, and much beloved by her children and acquaintances. Her house was the minister's home, and many pilgrams were sent on their way rejoicing by the ministrations of this excellent woman. Eight of her nine surviving children were at her funeral. "The memory of the just is blessed."The children of Sylvanus Parmely were, Manning, Louis, Louisa, Rosetta M., Sylvia P., Ellesworth, Jane L., Celia D., Melvin B., and Sarah A. Louisa married Robert B. Campbell, of New Orleans; Rosetta M., John P. Mann, of Sullivan; Sylvia P., John L. Campbell, of Cincinnati; Jane I., John M. Gorham, of Ashland; Celia D., James Pritchard; Sarah A., Stephen Doughton. Ellesworth resides in Wisconsin, and M.B. in Dayton, Ohio.
The whole number of families arriving in 1817 was nine. There were but twenty-seven families there in 1824, and in 1825, about twenty-nine. Jesse Chamberlain and Betsy, his wife, are the only heads of families now (1876) living, of the original pioneers, Aretas Marsh having deceased May 2, 1876, aged seventy-seven years. Whitney Chamberlain is eighty-two years old, and his wife, Maritta, is eighty years old.
Many of the children of the first settlers reside in Sullivan Township. Ashley Parmely, son of Asahel Parmely, born February 21, 1818, was the first birth in the township. He is now (1876) living on the farm first purchased by his father in Sullivan. Mrs. Sylvia Parmely Campbell was the second birth in the town, June 3, 1818. She was the daughter of Sylvanus and Louis Parmely. John Parmely was the first death in the township, in the spring of 1818.The Baptist church reorganized in 1834. A new house of worship was erected in 1839. The Methodists had a small church in 1833. The church of Christ was organized in 1837. The Methodist Episcopal church has gone down. The others possess a good membership.
contributed and transcibed by Russ Shopbell firstname.lastname@example.org