Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Cobbler's Wife

Thanks to David Parmer who provided much of the following information and text and the photo.

Ingebo Church was 18 in 1861 when she married 49 year old widower David Parmer in eastern Virginia. She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth (Johns) Church. Family tradition tells us that Ingabo was part Cherokee2. So far, we have been unable to confirm this, but we'll keep looking, and keep our fingers crossed!

Ingebo's husband David, originally from eastern Virginia, had a lot of life behind him when they married. He and his first wife had several children and they had migrated to Kansas in the late 1850s. After that wife died he returned to eastern Virginia. David was a cobbler, making saddles, boots and shoes. Ingebo also did leather work. David and Ingebo Parmer were in Orlando for the 1870 census with three children, David, 6 years, George 3 years and and Mary E., 1 year old. Also living with them was Eliza Moss, who was age 50, black and listed as a servant, the only person of color in the area.

In the late 1870s David had a debilitating stroke leaving him permanently disabled. He spent his last years in a poor house.

The 1880 census lists Ingabo Parmer in Orlando as head of household with five children3. Ingebo continued to do leatherwork. In the photo of Ingebo (to the right) she appears to have very large hands, perhaps the result of leatherworking with her hands as well as the hard work both men and women did to survive in those days.

1. Per her greatgrandson David Parmer, "There seems to be some confusion in census records about David's age but I believe he was born in 1812. Ingebo was born in 1843."

2. Per her great grandson David Parmer, "My aunt, Ruth Bodkin, told me many years ago that Ingebo was part Indian. Although I have never been able to substantiate it, my aunt Ruth knew Ingebo so I presume that she may have been informed by Ingebo that she was part Indian."

3. Comparing the 1870 and 1880 censuses demonstrates the mysteries of working with census data. In the 1880 census the first challenge is to find David Parmer. His greatgrandson David Parmer found him listed as David Parmor, in the household of Daniel Beachler. Then the 1880 census shows Ingebo with the following 5 children Joseph, 13 years, Elizabeth, 11 years, Nathan, 9 years and Matilda E., 21 years old with an unnamed infant of her own.
We can guess that "George" in the 1770 census is "Joseph" in the 1880 and that "Mary E." was called "Elizabeth" by 1880. Matilda, at 21 in 1880, would have been born about 1859. Perhaps her natural mother was David Parmer's first wife.

1 comment:

  1. David Parmer and Ingabo Church were married 2 June 1861 in Highland County, Virginia. His parents were listed as Coleman Palmer and Analiza Parmer and her parents were listed as William and Elizabeth Church. The record also states that David was born in Amelia County.