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Chapter VI - Parr III

By dhowell - Posted on 30 November 2013

Leslie Parr, Howard Parr, Floyd Parr

Parr III was the name chosen for the Limited Partnership organization we picked to run the property. Ownership was split into three equal parts. It was a simple, flexible way for us to operate because each year's activity could be summarized, divided, and added to our individual tax returns. Parr III carried on, replacing Dad as we now paid taxes, filed government papers, used the house, which became a family club house, and took charge of what farming we undertook with the auction leftovers and what we bought or borrowed. Dad even left Bobby on the farm to be our watch dog, taking table scraps to him each day as he went to the farm to check things out. He couldn't see him as a "town" dog after so many years by his side on the farm.

Bobby, our watch dog

To those driving by, things looked much the same as they had in recent years. No new names went on the mailbox or the barn, and a lot of Dad's stuff was still in evidence. The sheep, cows and horses were gone, but the garden was planted as usual and the house looked the same with the same curtains in the windows, wood smoke rising from the chimneys, and no new additions or alterations.

But underneath many changes took place. The place was empty most of the time during the week, but filled with activity on weekends. Les and his boys came almost every Friday and settled in. Floyd and his boys stopped in more often during the week to work some fields or check on things. We came less often partly because of our family style and the fact that I wasn't as interested in farming. Also, there wasn't as much for our girls to do on the farm and Clayton was much younger than his male cousins.

Dad and Mom only took from the old house what they wanted for their town house so it too looked almost the same inside. Stoves and refrigerator stayed along with a smattering of furniture in almost every room. Even the canning jars and crocks were left. We gradually added what I call "eclectic recycle, auction, yard-sale items", whatever we could or thought we might need that cost very little or nothing. Later after the shack was built by the lake, there was another relocation of some of this collection for use there.

The same kind of thing happened in the out buildings. Dad didn't strip them at the auction, but sold only major items, leaving many others behind. Slings and harpoon forks stayed in the barns along with harness surpluses and many others. There, too, we began collecting "bargains" we could use. It was a motley collection of farm tools and equipment, but served our needs most of the time.

I turn now to a list of events taking place on Parr III, rather than a detailed account of direct experiences I took part in.

Parr III Undated Chronology

Cut native granite fireplace replaces Round Oak stove in the living room.

Put oil burner in furnace for standby heat when no one is there.

John Deere H tractor purchased—used.

Bud Knorpp pastures race horses and stables them in the barn.

We build an earthen dam and fill "Lake Someday" ("Some day we're going to make a lake").

The dam and lake

Purchase surplus Army pickup.

We buy old railroad rights of way to consolidate our holdings.

Buy chainsaws for wood cutting.

1969 Vandals set fire and burn the barns. They are gone in 30 minutes on a morning when there was a strong west wind. Granary with scorched north wall and other buildings saved.

Move granary back on old railroad to service Knorpp's horses.

The shack

We build a shack on Lake Someday out of recycled railroad ties, poles from the woods, and some sheet metal roofing. Complete with lofts, well, wood range and furnace, 12 volt lights run from car batteries, and outhouse. Concrete floor made by rototilling cement and water into the gravel floor.

We buy 20 acres on the SW corner along Austin Rd. (See p. 13 plat map for property listed there as owned by M & L Partlow). The west boundary of the farm now runs l mile north from Austin Rd., ending at the Sharon Twp. Line.

Les purchases 10 acres of the farm to build his retirement home.

Corn Roast (Bud and Marie Knorpp, Paul Eisele)

Hunting Club formed. Members supplied with Put-and-Take pheasants (3,000/yr) from the cages we built, German Short Hair hunting dogs from our kennel supplied. Fields planted with cover for the birds. Membership corn roasts by the lake to start the season; afterglows in the house after hunts. Game dressed for a fee during afterglows.

Start planting low cost pine seedlings on open ground near wooded areas. Eventually there were 10,000 of them
Hunt deer and small game in season, frog giggin' around the new lake, stock it with fish and start fishing, trapping in season, sucker catches in the spring in the creek.

Rebuild the dam when the first one washes out. Record catch in first lake—a 42" Northern Pike.

Skating parties on the lake, tobogganing on the hills, doodle bug rides, demolition derbies, euchre parties and liver fries in the shack.

Family Bonds Are Built

Les, Floyd, Dave Knorpp, Tom, Bud Knorpp

The list has been compiled as items came to memory. There are no recorded dates for most of them, but I have tried to place them in a semblance of order. All in all the Parr III years served to pull the Clayton and Willo Parr family together as few are, during these longer periods of time spent together at the farm. It was an excellent place for boys to grow up and let them experience nature directly as participation and opportunities came to them. The direct work experienced on the farm wasn't available in town. Mistakes of adolescence there weren't as likely to be police matters as they might have been in the city.

Doug, Florence, Tom, Lenora, Miriam, Kenny, Alice, Linda Crichton

Girls could plant trees, experience the natural settings as they wished, or just pick an oak tree to climb as they read a book or "get away from it all for a while". One of our girls just enjoyed being alone back on the farm where she could yell her head off and know no one was bothered by it. Shared experience by the older set pulled them together, too, and probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. Hazel's farm was close by enabling her and her family to mingle and become a part of the group.

Bud, Floyd, Howard

Andy, Kenny, Alice, Chris, Clayton, Miriam, Steve, Bobby

Liz, Mame, Tom, Willo, Miriam, Susan, Alice, Chris, Stan, Steve, Clayton, Clayton, Kenny, Doug, Richard, Marcia (picture taken by Nancy)

The Passing Years

1975  Mom dies
1979  Dad dies
1980  Jesse dies
1981  Uncle Walter dies
1994  Pauline dies
1995  Hazel dies
1997  Leslie dies

Parr III Dissolves

In 1995 it became clear that Les's cancer was so serious that the future of Parr III was in doubt. Once more Parr reasonableness came forward to preserve what we had grown to love on our native farmland.

We were again faced with the impact of inflation and taxes on what had happened since Mom and Dad left. Floyd found a promising developer who could be negotiated with directly, again avoiding real estate fees. Developer Beck worked out a plan to build roads to serve the 24 plots he laid out on the 287 acres. These lots had deed restrictions preventing subdividing, clear cutting and hunting. Eight of them were lake front lots and they ranged in size from 6 to 34 acres, many in the deep woods. Les's house was included. The farm house and dooryard were sold off. The new roads were blacktopped and all utilities were buried. As a result when one drives through the area today, it still looks very much the way it did before development. Most of the houses are hidden in the woods and can't be seen as you drive along. Before the deal was closed, we harvested 1800 native trees from the woods. Skillful cutters were able to remove that many trees and not produce an atmosphere of devastation so usual with careless loggers.

We couldn't escape the tax man this time, but our "farm" should remain indefinitely, still to be enjoyed in memory by those remaining to take sentimental journeys along its new roads.

Thus ends what started as my farm story and grew to cover 1915-1995, eighty Parr years on one farm.

A Note to Family Members

As family members read this material, many recollections should come to their minds based on experiences at the farm. If these can be added to what has been set down from one person's viewpoint, the story will be broadened and improved. In this enlarged form it can become truly the story of a family for eighty years. I think here of Lenora's credo about the written record: "The material things given our children can be lost or perish, but what you give them in writing can last forever." Finis.


In due time, an unusual family collection will be complete. Four generations of Parrs and their spouses (17 in all) will rest on that Oakgrove Cemetery hillside overlooking the small, insignificant Clayton Parr farm and farmhouse which became birthplace to all of us, and such a large and lasting part of the lives we lived out " our little corner of the world..."

Howard E. Parr
December, 2011