Isaac Parshall, Founder of Parshallville  


    On 12 April 1961, Christy Borth of Parshallville presented to the Fenton Historical Society a paper entitled "The Founding of Parshallville."  "And because we (Christy and Evangline Borth) showed interest, I suppose, we were privileged to handle and read some precious old family records.  The most interesting of all of these was the diary of Isaac Parshall, the founder of the place.  This precious document was then in the possession of Nellie Farnham, a dear and good soul, to whom the founder and his wife, Seraphina, were lively memories as 'Uncle Isaac' and 'Aunt Sarah-Finey'.  Nellie Farnham was a grand-neice of the founder and his wife.  She was the daughter of Yates T. Cole, a neighbor of the Parshall's, who was remembered in Isaac's will.  Her mother seems to have spent much of a happy childhood with 'Uncle Isaac' and 'Aunt Sarah-Finey' perhaps because they were without children of their own; and much of this affection seems to have rubbed off on Nellie, her daughter." 

     After Nellie's death, the diary reached the hands of Mrs. Beulah Parshall Gillette in Howell, Michigan.  Mrs. Gillette, a great granddaughter of Thomas Keeney Parshall, transcribed Isaac's diary keeping all the variations of spellings that were common in that day. Incidentally, Thomas was a brother of Isaac.  What has happened to the diary manuscript has not been discovered.  The people of Parshallville have read and reread Mrs. Gillette's transcription for many years.  It gives us an insight into the lives and activities of the people who came before us in Parshallville.

     Isaac Parshall was born 5 Feb 1798, in Chemung, New York, the eldest of 17 children.  He was the son of Asa Parshall (b. 26 March 1770; d. 23 March 1848) and Susannah Keeney (b. 5 March 1783; d. 19 October 1865).  On 13 April 1825 he married Seraphina Luther.  There are no known children from this union.  Isaac died 21 Feb 1858 in Parshallville.  Seraphina was born 8 Mar 1800 and died 15 Oct 1871.  Both are buried in the Parshallville Cemetery.

     According to Isaac's diary entry, he and Henry Roberts set out for Michigan on September 1, 1835.  They arrived in Detroit on Sunday night, the 6th of September.  On Saturday the 12th Isaac made his first visit to Oar Creek and "found some very good mill cites".  On September 18th, Isaac headed for home (Chemung, New York), arriving on Oct 2, 1835.

     On April 25, 1836 Isaac started out again for Michigan.  It was on this trip that he bought 59 1/2 acres of land on Oar Creek from William Chapman of Ann Arbor.  Isaac returned to New York, sold his grist mill, packed up their things and headed back to Michigan on Thursday the 22nd of September.  Isaac says, "We got on our own place on Oar Creek 10th of October.  As soon as we got our things we put up a small frame house and got in the 31st of October."

     Read about Isaac, Seraphina, and the people of Parshallville in The Isaac Parshall Diary.