Henrietta Elliot Peirce, sometimes called “Etta,” was born November 21, 1848, in Dayton, Ohio, the eldest daughter of Jeremiah H. Peirce (1818-1889) and Elizabeth H. Forrer (1827-1874). Henrietta was named after her paternal grandmother, whose maiden name was Henrietta Elliot.
Henrietta received most of her education at home or through teachers of particular subjects. Like her sisters, Henrietta was artistic, winning an award at the Ohio State fair in 1866 for best pencil drawing. She also had a lifelong interest in gardening. As a young lady, she attended the commercial college to learn bookkeeping.
On June 9, 1871, Henrietta Peirce married Henry Eugene Parrott at Five Oaks, her parents’ home in Dayton, Ohio.
Henry Eugene Parrott, usually called “Eugene,” was born March 1, 1839, in Dayton, Ohio, the youngest surviving son of Thomas Parrott (1797-1864) and Sarah Sullivan (1880-1883). Eugene attended the Dayton Academy, Delaware College (later Ohio Wesleyan University), where he graduated in 1860 and later held the distinction of being its oldest living alumni.
At the time the Civil War broke out, Eugene’s father and older brother Edwin operated a linseed oil manufacturing business in Dayton. After Edwin took a commission in the First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Eugene began to take a more active part in the business. Thomas Parrott wanted did not want his youngest son to go off to the war, Eugene wrote in his diary, in May 1862:
Father said to me this eve’g: “I wish you wouldn’t attend the war meeting ‘Gene, for I don’t want you to get into the notion of going to war. I am an old man and this suit (about the oil presses) troubles me a great deal & my private business, & I don’t want to have any more business to attend to. If the call is urgent Joseph [the middle son] will go & I think I ought to have one son at home to help me.
Nevertheless, Eugene did participate in the war effort. On June 11, 1862, Eugene went on a steamboat from Cincinnati to retrieve sick and wounded soldiers from the Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee (Battle of Shiloh), remaining with the relief workers about two weeks. In September 1862, he was among the “Squirrel Hunters” who defended Cincinnati against the threat of attack from the Kirby Smith’s advancing forces. [For more on H. Eugene Parrott’s Civil War service in 1862, see “A Tale of Two Howards,” especially Part 7, here on my blog.] In July 1863, Eugene enlisted as an adjutant and lieutenant in the 86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was commanded by his college comrade Col. William Lemert, and served six months, being mustered out in February 1864.
After the Civil War ended, the Parrott brothers Eugene and Edwin both returned to the linseed oil business. In 1869, the brothers incorporated the Malleable Iron Company, a foundry which had been established a few years earlier by others. Eugene served as secretary and treasurer of the company; his older brother Edwin as president. In 1882, new officers took over the company, and Eugene became involved in marble dust manufacturing. In later years, he held positions at the Dayton Board of Trade, the Dayton Automatic Gas Savings Company, and the National Cash Register Company.
Despite his various forays into the Dayton business world, Eugene’s first love was farming. He owned a large farm in present-day Oakwood known as Briar Hill, with a herd of dairy cattle, as well as horses.
Initially, Briar Hill farm had a little frame house on the property, and this was the home to which he brought his bride, Henrietta. His young wife was said to be “even fonder of the country than her husband.”
In the winter of 1879, Eugene and Henrietta moved their growing family into a new stone and frame house that had been designed by an architect from Springfield, Massachusetts. Demonstrating their artistic abilities, Henrietta and her aunt and sisters personally did some of the decorative carving and painting inside the house.
Eugene Parrott was one of the original signers of the petition to create the village of Oakwood, which was incorporated in 1908, and served as the village’s second mayor from 1910-1913.
During the 1913 Flood, Henrietta invited refugees to stay at Briar Hill. The house was eventually sold in 1918. Henrietta’s will divided up the Briar Hill property among the family, resulting in the private road, Briar Hill Road, which still exists, although the Parrotts’ 1879 home burned down in 1969.
Further evidence of the family’s stamp on Oakwood is Forrer Boulevard, named for Henrietta’s grandfather Samuel Forrer; it formerly included what is now Oakwood Avenue and extended all the way from Far Hills to Park Avenue. Another example is Elizabeth Gardens Park, which was named for Henrietta’s mother Elizabeth (Forrer) Peirce.
In addition to farming and business activities, Eugene taught Sunday school at Grace Methodist Episcopal Church for many years. He was a member of the “Saturday Club,” a men’s literary club in Dayton that met to hear papers and hold discussions, and he was also a Scottish Rite Freemason. And even in his old age, he never abandoned his love for horses and the outdoors, engaging in daily two-hour rides even after he reached 90.
Henrietta E. (Peirce) Parrott died April 21, 1919, at the home of her daughter Mary Edward (Parrott) Clunet, Briar Hill, Oakwood, Ohio, after several months of illness; she was 70 years old. She was buried on April 23, 1919, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.
Henry Eugene Parrott died December 31, 1933, at Five Oaks in Dayton, Ohio (which was by then the home of his daughter Frances I. Parrott); he was 94 years old. He was buried on January 2, 1934, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.
H. Eugene Parrott and Henrietta (Peirce) Parrott had nine children:
- Edward Peirce Parrott (1872-1873);
- John Ennals Parrott (1874-1929);
- Samuel Forrer Parrott (1875-1875);
- Elizabeth Forrer Parrott (1876-1979);
- Frances Isabel Parrott (1878-1934);
- Marianna Parrott (1879-1879);
- Mary Edward Parrott (1880-1945);
- Roger Sheffield Parrott (1883-1950); and
- [infant] Parrott (1887-1887).
Edward Peirce Parrott was born November 16, 1872, in Dayton, Ohio. He was named for Henrietta’s brother Edward Davies Peirce, who had died a few years earlier. He died March 1, 1873.
John Ennals Parrott was born January 25, 1874, in Dayton, Ohio. He was named for his father’s cousin John Parrott and for his father’s great-grandmother whose maiden name was Ennals. John was a lumber broker in Dayton. On June 21, 1905, in Dayton, he married Sophie Adéle Reynolds (1882-1944). They had one child: John E. Parrott, Jr. (1906-1966). John E. Parrott, Sr., died June 26, 1929, in Dayton, Ohio.
Samuel Forrer Parrott was born April 5, 1875, in Dayton, Ohio. He was named after his great-grandfather Samuel Forrer, who died the previous year. He died August 21, 1875.
Elizabeth Forrer Parrott, usually called “Beth,” was born May 27, 1876, in Dayton, Ohio. She was named for her grandmother Elizabeth (Forrer) Peirce, who died a few years earlier. On October 10, 1901, at Briar Hill, Beth married Samuel Ellis (1866-1929). They had six children. Elizabeth F. (Parrott) Ellis died in November 1979, probably in Buffalo, New York, where she had resided for many years.
Frances Isabel Parrott was born January 21, 1878, in Dayton, Ohio. She was named after her father’s older sister Frances, who suggested Isabel as the middle name. She never married and lived with her father until his death. For several years, she was a reporter for the Dayton Daily News and an active member of the Montgomery County Historical Society. She died on July 13, 1934, at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Dayton, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident the previous day.
Marianna Parrott was born June 15, 1879, in Dayton, Ohio. She died October 29, 1879.
Mary Edward Parrott was born October 28, 1880, in Dayton, Ohio. She was named after her mother’s aunt Mary (Peirce) Davies, who was often called “Mary Edward” (Mrs. Edward Davies) to distinguish her from Mary (Loury) Davies (Mrs. Samuel Hiley Davies). On February 27, 1902, in Montgomery County, Ohio, Mary Edward Parrott married Nathaniel Shannon Clunet (1866-1965), a contractor and consulting engineer from Baltimore. They had four children: Henrietta Parrott Clunet (1902-1998), who married Robert A. Ferguson Light (1897-1992); Mary Edward Clunet (1907-2001), who married Edmund Rossiter Sawtelle (1905-1964); Aimee Lannay Clunet (1909-1995), who married L. Keith Wilson; and Natalie Shannon Clunet (1911-1986), who married Roy Gerald Fitzgerald, Jr. (1910-1990), and later Charles J. Thornquest (1910-1986). Mary E. (Parrott) Clunet died June 15, 1945, at her home, Briar Hill, Oakwood, Ohio.
Roger Sheffield Parrott (1883-1950). He was named Roger because his parents liked the name and Sheffield after his mother’s great-grandmother whose maiden name was Sheffield. Roger graduated from West Point in 1908 and attended the officers’ school of artillery at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was a career soldier and served on the staff of General John Pershing during WWI. In 1924, he was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in the Philippines in 1909. In his later years, he was in charge of student military instruction at Princeton University. He was a U.S. Army colonel when he retired. On February 11, 1909, in Dayton, Ohio, Roger married Mary Barlow Ohmer (1883-1950), daughter of Edward G. and Clara (Legler) Ohmer, of Dayton. They had two children: Virginia Sheffield Parrott (1912-1986), who married T. Hughlett Henry, Jr., and Thomas Alexander Parrott (1914-2007). Roger S. Parrott died November 11, 1950, in Washington, DC.
The last child of Eugene and Henrietta Parrott was a son born on June 2, 1887. He died the same day and so was never named.
This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.
Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.
Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.
 Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 106; Frances I. Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce (Dayton, OH: s.n., 1919?), n.p.
 Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 107; Mary Sayre Haverstock, Jeannette Mahoney Vance, & Brian L. Meggitt, eds., Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2000), 670.
 Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106.
 Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106-112; Forrer Genealogical Data, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 7:12, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio).
 H. Eugene Parrott’s diary, 26 May 1862, FPW, 31:1.
 H. Eugene Parrott’s diary, 11-22 June 1862, FPW, 31:1.
 H. Eugene Parrott’s diary, 2-13 Sept. 1862, FPW, 31:1; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 110.
 Bruen, Christian Forrer, 110; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition.
 Harvey W. Crew, History of Dayton, Ohio (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1889), 430-431; Dayton City Directories.
 Bruen, Christian Forrer, 111.
 Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.
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 Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.
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 Parrott, Henrietta Elliot Peirce, n.p.; Ebeling, “Parrott Family Key to North Oakwood Development”; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 107-108.
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 Bruen, Christian Forrer, 111; Henry Eugene PARROTT: Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Membership Cards and Certificates, FPW, 31:5.
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