James H. Parrish, Banker and Insurance Agent of Owensboro, son of Isaac Newton and Elizabeth (Givens) Parrish, was born in Bullitt County, Kentucky, February 28, 1855. His father was born in Goochland County, Virginia, April 4, 1818. His education was obtained by his own efforts, as the sum total of his schooling was one month in the common school. He came to Kentucky with his father in 1822, who settled in Jefferson County, afterward a part of Nelson, and still later a part of Bullitt County, and was a resident of three different counties without changing his location. He went to Louisville when sixteen years of age and learned the tailor’s trade; returned to Bullitt County, and followed that occupation until 1865. He was drafted during the war, but was exempted on account of having artificial teeth. After the close of the war he removed to Owensboro and was engaged in tailoring there until 1878, when he became interested with his son in the wholesale and retail book business, the firm name being W. E. & I, N, Parrish. He was a prominent member of the Methodist Church, and a trustee of Settle Chapel. He was twice married, first to Martha Amos, a native of Jefferson County, Kentucky. Two children of this union died in infancy. The second wife, to whom he was married in October, 1846, was Elizabeth Givens. Their children were: Jane Givens, wife of William A. Brotherton, of Owensboro; George W. and John Otis, wholesale book dealers in Owensboro; James Howard, the subject of this sketch; Arthur Lee, assistant cashier of the Owensboro Savings Bank; Lizzie Sue, now living with her mother in Owensboro; William E., wholesale book dealer. Isaac N., who began business as a newspaper carrier, graduated from the Owensboro High School at the age of sixteen, and in 1890 was elected cashier in a bank. He was married February 10, 1895, to Mattie B. Haney; Walter Benjamin, died March 1883, and Mary Martha.
Nelson Parrish (grandfather) was a native of Goochland County, Virginia; came to Jefferson County in 1803; was a farmer and cooper, and married a Miss Cosby of Virginia, who died in Bullitt County. He was the father of eight children: Milton W., Marion, Lester, Edwin, Elizabeth, Isaac N., Rebecca and Lucien.
George Givens (maternal grandfather) was born in Lincoln County in 1792. He was a farmer, a Democrat in politics and member of the Baptist Church. He married Mary Simpson and was the father of seven children: Elizabeth (mother), William, Joseph, Agnes, Samuel, Jane and Sallie: They removed from Lincoln to Daviess County in 1860 and he died there in 1864, aged seventy-two years.
The great-grandfather Givens was a native of Virginia, who emigrated to Kentucky and lived on a farm at Fort McKinney, in Lincoln County, and the widow of one of his sons is still living on that farm at a greatly advanced age.
James H. Parrish was educated in the schools of Owensboro; learned the printing trade in the office of the Owensboro Monitor, when Thomas H. Pettit was proprietor; remained in that office five years; was employed in the office of the Examiner, of which Lee Lumpkin was editor; became clerk in the Owensboro Savings Bank in 1877, and within one year was made cashier. T. S. Anderson, president of the bank, withdrew in 1884, and Mr. Parrish and others bought his interest, since which time he purchased the other stockholders’ shares and is now the owner and cashier of the bank in which he began as a clerk. He is a member of the insurance firm of Stirman & Parrish, and is one of the most progressive business men of the city.
In past years he was a Democrat, but is not associated with any political party, preferring to vote according to his judgment and to support the best man regardless of his political affiliations. He has been a member of the Baptist Church since he was twelve years of age and a deacon for many years; has been superintendent of and is teacher of a primary class in the Sunday school, and is greatly interested in the work of the school and the church.
Mr. Parrish was married June 14, 1881, to Jessie Moorman, daughter of Silas Mercer Moorman, who was for many years a merchant in Breckinridge County; was in the Confederate army as quartermaster under General Buckner, and was promoted to the rank of major; was in the service three years and died of camp fever at La Grange, Georgia, in 1863, and is buried there. His wife was Sarah Talbott, who was born in New Market, Tenn. Their children were: George, Edward, Sallie, Henry, Hetty, Belle, Guy, Tennessee and Jessie (wife).
Mrs. Parrish was educated in Owensboro, and at a private school in New Orleans. Of the four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Parrish, Moorman, who was born March 12, 1886, is the only one living. Nora, born July 24, 1882, died June 21, 1890; Sarah Moorman, born June 25, 1884, died August 31, 1884; Maria Louise, born March 8, 1890, died March 31, 1890.
Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. John M. Gresham Company, Chicago, Philadelphia, 1896.