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Your Silent Neighors: William H. Parmelee, First Selectman, Soldier

November 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff, Canton Town Historian

A highly skilled and respected Collins Company pattern maker, William H. Parmelee (1826-1907) grew up in Agawam, Massachusetts, one of nine children, and came to Collinsville as a young man. In August 1862 he enlisted in the Twenty-fifth Regiment, Company A, Connecticut Volunteers.  His time in the service during the Civil War was active and he was promoted many times. By the end of the war, he had achieved the rank of major.

Engaged in civic affairs, he served several terms as Canton’s first selectman. He was also involved in fraternal organizations. Parmelee was a thirty-second degree Mason and member of the Village Lodge where he held a variety of offices. He was a member of Washington Commandery, No. 1, Knights Templar; the Robert O. Tyler Post, Grand Army of the Republic; the Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias; and Order of United American Mechanics.

After 54 years with the Collins Company, declining health forced him to retire just several months before his death at the home of his daughter Mary, wife of L. D. Dowd. Parmelee’s funeral was held at Trinity Episcopal Church. The Masonic burial service was read at graveside, and the Village Lodge quartet sang.

William H. Parrmelee is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville. Unfortunately, the column that is supposed to sit atop the engraved pedestal bearing his name has toppled over.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net


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