The Parragin Story
In 1900 at our re-union, we were delighted to learn that we had a relative in the state of Kentucky, who at that time had reached the ripe old age of 104 years. A person who had lived in the time of George Washington, and was more than two years old at the time the Father Of His Country went to his final reward.
At that meeting I was designated to go at the earliest opportunity and visit this person, it being understood that I was the only one present who had ever known her or with one exception, had ever seen her. Her name was Elizabeth Parrigin, the youngest child of John Booher, and a sister to my father, the eldest child of John Booher. She was therefore my Aunt, whom I saw for the last time about August 25, 1833 in Sullivan County, Tennessee. A few days before my father left for Indiana. I had not heard from her directly or indirectly for about 15 yrs. And thought she was dead.
On Thursday morning October 1, 1901 in company with cousin, Johnathan A. Booher of Darlington, IN. and my son-in-law, Strange N. Cragun of Lebanon. We started for Kentucky, going by way of Cincinnati where we took the Cincinnati Southern R.R. to Burnside in the south central part of Kentucky. We took a stage-coach to Monticello, Kentucky, via Millspring, a distance of 25 miles. Remaining overnight in Monticello, we next employed a man to take us over the mountain to Albany, Kentucky also a distance of 25 miles. The road was one of the roughest it had ever been my experience to travel and in many places found it much more agreeable to walk than ride. I would call much of the country Godforsaken except for the consideration I have for the dear folks I found at the end of the journey and who must pass this way for 50 miles to get to the railroad which will take them to God’s country in Indiana.
We reached our destination in the afternoon and soon found we were in the midst of friends, and figuratively speaking the woods were full of kinfolk, nearly all of whom were well fixed in good houses and well respected in the community. We stopped with Cyrus B. Parrigin, Judge of the county, with whom his grandmother, Elizabeth Parrigin lived. He lives on his farm about one mile from Albany, which is the county seat, and drives back and forth as he goes to and comes from his official duties.
His brother, Abel lives nearby on a farm of 1,000 acres most of which is good land, at least the best seen in that section.
We were in Judge Parrigin’s house but a few minutes until we were shown into Grand-mammy’s room where we found the object of our visit, laying in bed. She sat up and greeted us one by one, saying as she did so ” Thank God you have come.” She was entirely blind but the light of a beautiful face beamed from every feature. She was pale and frail and emaciated but her conversation displayed a mind remarkable for it’s strength and memory that would have been creditable to her junior by half a century.
Her voice was clear and her hearing was not seriously impaired. As I sat by her bedside and looked into her kindly face and thought of the varied experiences she must have passed in more than a century I could scarcely understand it. Certainly nature had been good in preserving her mental and physical powers to such a remarkable extent and it was plain that time was slowly doing its work and we were aware that our visit could not have been postponed.
Before we left for home she sat for her picture and seemed pleased that we had come prepared to take her picture to her Indiana people. She had a faithful nurse who kindly prepared her, and the judge lifted her like a babe into a chair and carried her to the front yard where beside the rosebush and flower beds, with the house in background for the last time she permitted the reflection of her wrinkled face to impress themselves upon the plate of the camera. She asked that one be sent to her, and it has been done. The evening before we left we interviewed her on family history. In this she excelled all expectations giving names and dates with little hesitation and with remarkable accuracy. She first told of her ancestors.
My name is Elizabeth Parrigin and I am the youngest daughter of John Booher. I was born in Sullivan County, Tennessee January 11,1797, and if I live till my next birthday I will be 105 years old. We moved within 4 miles of Bristol, Tennessee when I was 19 years old from Washington County, Virginia, Abingdon being the county seat. We moved to Clinton County, Kentucky one mile from where we now lived, October 17,1858. I was married to Henry Parrigin August 18,1821 at the age of 24 in Washington County, Virginia. We had seven children, 3 daughters and 4 sons.: Amelia Ann, John Franklin, Martha Jane, Sabrina, Emery, Cyrus, and William Henry.
My daughter, Amelia Ann, married her cousin, Joseph Parrigan, at age 24. She had 8 sons and no daughters. The names of the sons were: Cyrus, Jacob, Abel J., James Campbell, George, Sylvanus, Frank ( Colonel) , and William Henry. All are living. Four in this country and four in Texas, and all have families except George who had but one child, when he separated from his wife. Cyrus, the Judge, Abel, George, and Frank live in Clinton County. Cyrus, with whom I live has but one child, Edward, who was married 11 months ago and lives on the farm adjacent to us. Abel has 8 children, 4 sons and 4 daughters, all living at home. The 2 eldest are teachers, Laura and Tyman. The first teaching here and the last was a school at Cumberland. The youngest child is 4 yrs. old.
Frank has 10 children, 4 daughters and 6 sons. One daughter is dead and Lena, the eldest lives with us. Jacob, James Campbell, Sylvanus, and William Henry live at Wainright, Texas. The first had 4 sons, and a daughter, she later is dead and 2 sons are married. The second had 6 children, 4 daughters and 2 sons, one of the daughters is dead.
The third has 7 children, 5 of whom are 3 sons and 2 daughters are living in this country while the father continues to reside in Texas. The fourth had 4 children, all sons, three are living.
My eldest son, John Franklin, had 10 children, 5 sons and 5 daughters. All are dead but one son William, who lives at Cementville, Indiana. He was married, but had no children. John Franklin died about 30 years ago.
My daughter, Martha Jane, died when only 10 months old. Sabrina when 4 years old. Cyrus died in Virginia at 4 years of age. Emery has been dead 20 years. He had been married and had 3 sons, two of whom, William and Daniel are farmers and John is a lawyer in Albany near here.
William, my only living child resided in Tennessee about one days ride ( 50 miles) from here. I don’t see him very often. He had 6 children, 5 of whom are living, 4 daughters and one son.
My father, John Booher was of German parentage. My grandfather came from Germany to Pennsylvania but my father and mother were born in this country. My grandparents died when I was a child and my father went back to Pennsylvania when I was about 10 years old to get his legacy. Martin was my father’s brother. My father had 10 children, 8 sons and 2 daughters. Their names were: Jacob, Mary ( Polly), William, Benjamin, John, died in infancy, John, Fredrick, Isaac and Henry twins, and Elizabeth.
Jacob lives in Tennessee until 1833 when he moved to Indiana and located near Darlington. His children were: William M., Mike, Elizabeth, Gurdianus, ( Curtis), Samuel, John M., Ambrose, Johnathan M., Jacob Jr. Mehala, Benjamin, Lucinda, Catherine, and Leander.
Mary ( Polly) lived in Tennessee and had 13 children, her husband was John Booher and her cousin. The names of the children were: Franklin, Daniel, Rebecca, Peter, Samuel, John, Eleas, Jacob and Mary twins, Barbara, Eli, Elizabeth, and Lydia.
William had 9 children, 3 sons and 6 daughters. He lived and died within 4 miles of Kingsport, Tennessee. The names of the children were: Lucinda, Nancy, John, Adelaine, and Mary ( Polly). One boy died in infancy and the names of the younger girls I can not remember. Olivia was her name.
Benjamin had 9 children, 4 sons and 5 daughters. He lived and died in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The names of the children were: John, Martin, Katherine, Sarah, James, Nancy, Esther, Leah, and Abraham. At last count only James and Esther were living.
John had 13 children: Benjamin, Jacob, William, Nathan, Nathaniel, Samuel, died in infancy, Mary, Margaret, Isaac, Elkanah, Catherine, Johnathan A., and Sylvanus. He migrated to Indiana.
Franklin lived and died in Virginia. He was the father of 17 children, 9 sons and 8 daughters .One son died in infancy but the other children grew to manhood and womanhood. Their names were: Fredrick, Samuel, James, John , William, Curtis, Jacob, Benjamin, Eliza Ann, Frankie, Elizabeth, Mary, Rachel, Melinda, Margaret, and Catherine. Joseph died in infancy of whooping cough.
Isaac had 10 children, 6 sons and 4 daughters. He lived and died in Virginia after raising 6 children. Their names were: Macage, Lydia, Loesin, Susan, Catherine, Isaac, died in infancy, three children were born dead.
Henry, when a child just able to walk, fell and bit his tongue in two and never talked plain. He never married but lived to be about 30 years old, and died in Virginia.
John died in infancy.
Elizabeth, that is my name and I have told you about myself.
In conclusion, let me ask how many of us could give array of facts and that without hesitationn? Aunt Elizabeth showed us some interesting relics among which was a pair of pothooks made in Tennessee by William Booher, a son of Jacob, and father of Elizabeth Booher ( Aunt Bet) who is here today and now has the pothooks, the same being sent to her by Aunt Elizabeth. She also showed us a German Bible 127 years old and a bowl 125 years old which she had received from her mother.
But the saddest of my story is yet to be told, for since our visit, grandmammy was summoned to another world and today is no more among the living. She died April 13, 1902 at 4 o’ clock in the afternoon and was buried the next afternoon at 3 o’ clock at the Springs Cemetery near her last home.
Her exact age at time of her death was one hundred five years, three months, and two days.
END OF PARRIGIN STORY,
STRANGE N. CRAGUN