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PARMER, ALLEN (1848–1927). Allen Parmer, cattleman, farmer, and railroad builder, was born to Isaac and Barbara (Hazard) Parmer in Independence, Missouri, on May 6, 1848. After a common-school education, the fifteen-year-old Parmer joined the Confederate guerrilla force organized and led by William C. Quantrill; he remained with this band through the Civil War and gave himself up to federal authorities on July 26, 1865, at Bardstown, Kentucky. He was wounded five times during the war. After the war, Parmer attended Bryant and Stratton's Business College in St. Louis, Missouri (1867–68). On November 24, 1870, he married Susan James, sister of outlaws Frank and Jesse James. The couple left Missouri for Northeast Texas, with which Parmer had become familiar during the war, as Quantrill often made his winter camp in the area. By 1871 Parmer had settled in Grayson County and established himself as a farmer and stock raiser. His lack of success may have accounted for his almost constant movement over the next several years. In 1873 he moved his family to a farm on Gilbert Creek in Clay County (later Wichita County). Federal authorities located him there, arrested him on a charge of robbing an express train in Missouri, and incarcerated him at Kansas City, Missouri. The charge against him apparently proved baseless, however, as he was released soon after his arrest and the charge was dropped. Parmer returned to his family in Clay County.

In the fall of 1882 he moved to Wichita Falls. There, in addition to operating a farm just south of the community, he hauled dirt and freight used in the construction of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway through Wichita Falls. During the following year he became the manager of two business organizations: the T-Fork Cattle Company and the Wichita Land and Cattle Company, the latter of which operated in both Wichita and Archer counties. By 1889 Parmer had again returned to farming, raising wheat, oats, sorghum, and grasses on some 700 acres south of Wichita Falls. His first wife, with whom he had four children, died in 1888. Parmer married Sarah Katherine Ogden, of Lafayette County, Missouri, on December 27, 1892. He apparently remained in the Wichita Falls area, farming his land there, as well as property that he owned in Archer County, until early in the twentieth century. In 1905 he left Wichita County and entered into the railroad-construction business in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. After his retirement in 1920, he and his wife moved to Alpine, Texas. While on a visit to Wichita Falls, he was stricken by a heart attack and died on October 27, 1927.


William Elsey Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars (New York: Pageant, 1909; rpt. 1956). James Cox, Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry (2 vols., St. Louis: Woodward and Tiernan Printing, 1894, 1895; rpt., with an introduction by J. Frank Dobie, New York: Antiquarian, 1959). Louise Kelly, Wichita County Beginnings (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982).

Brian Hart


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Brian Hart, "PARMER, ALLEN," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 28, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.