Early Evansville Portraits And Biographies
From History of Vanderburgh County, Indiana
by Brant & Fuller

James D. Parvin

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CAPT. JAMES D. PARVIN, Auditor of Vanderburgh County, though in the prime of his career, has already achieved an honorable record as soldier and citizen. It is not sought to attribute to him the attainment of greatness, as measured by ordinary standards, but in the purity and excellence of his character he exhibits, in a marked degree, the qualities which adorn genuine manhood and insure the largest measure of usefulness to society.

He descends from an honorable ancestry. His paternal grandfather, Mark Parvin, a sturdy pioneer, was a native of Pennsylvania, born at Reading, October 20, 1770, who early settled in Gibson County, Ind. There, in 1810 at the homestead of Gen. Robert Evans, he was married to Miss Martha Evans, a sister of the distinguished general. His name was identified with the early annals of Gibson County, where his death occurred December 29, 1830.

The father of Captain Parvin, James McMillan Parvin, was born at Winchester, Clark county, Ky., May 22, 1818. When twelve years of age he settled in Gibson County, Ind., and there learned the trade of a blacksmith, in the shop of Willis Howe. Coming to Evansville, in 1840, he was engaged as a merchant for about fifteen years, at the end of this time removing to Carlisle, Ind., where he resided until his death, May 7, 1877. He was a man of prominence in social and business circles, and in politics was known as a staunch republican. On September 17, 1839, he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Birdsall, an estimable lady, native of New Jersey, born January 13, 1818 who, at the age of seventeen years, came to Indiana with her parents.

Six children were born of this union, five of whom are living. The second of these, James D. Parvin, was born in this city, April 8, 1844. He received a common school education in the public schools of this city and Carlisle, Ind.

At the age of eighteen he enlisted in the Union Army to serve three years. September 1, 1862, he was mustered as Commissary Sergeant in the Sixty-Fifth Regiment, Indiana Infantry, and continued as such until September, 1863, when he was honorably discharged, because of physical disability. Returning home he recuperated his strength and, May 25, 1864, again enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Indiana Volunteers, in which he served faithfully until October, 1864. On the 22d of February following, he was commissioned Captain, Company G, One Hundred and Forty-Ninth Indiana Infantry, and remained with his command until mustered out, at Nashville, Tenn., in October, 1865.

Returning from the service he located in this city and immediately embarked in the pork and grain business, and later was engaged successfully as a dealer in coal and coke. Dealing fairly with all men, and pursuing his interests with energy, good sense and honor, financial success and personal popularity were both attained.

Having been an active member of the republican party during his entire manhood, he was elected in 1886 as the nominee of that party, to the important office which he now holds. His popularity was amply demonstrated by the fact that his majority of 957 votes was more than twice as great as that of any other candidate whose name was on the ticket. The duties of his office have been discharged with great fidelity and unsurpassed efficiency. He is a prominent member of the K. of P., I.O.O.F., K. of H., A.O.U.W. and G.A.R. fraternities.

On October 20, 1868, he was married to Miss Jeannette Ehrman, a native of York, Pa., and daughter of Dr. E. J. Ehrman, who was born at Jaxthausen, Wurtemburg, Germany, October 29, 1819, and died in this city in 1881. He was one of the first physicians to adopt and advocate the homeopathic school of medical practice in Pennsylvania, where, in the county of York, he practiced his profession for many years. Coming to Evansville in early days, he introduced homeopathy in this place, and after a severe struggle against ignorance and prejudice built up a large practice. He was known in his day as one of the leading physicians in the city. In 1840, he was married to Elizabeth Churchill, an estimable lady, a native of Prussia, who still resides in this city.