Parrish Florida located about 40 miles south east of Tampa Florida on the states suncoast has a long history.
Parrish is named after one of its first settlers, Crawford Parrish
(1811–1899) who came to Manatee County in 1869. He then purchased land at Oak
Hill from Major William Turner, on which Parrish farmed food crops as
well as tobacco, citrus, cattle and hogs. He also homesteaded many acres
and in 1885 was awarded a 40-acre land grant
signed by President Grover Cleveland. He as his wife, Mary, had eight
children many of whose descendants still call Parrish home.
Mary Parrish are buried at Fortner Cemetery. Crawford and Mary
Parrish’s son John Parrish (1857–1918) was influential in the early
years of Parrish. Like many of his neighbors. Parrish made much of his
income from citrus, which had to be hauled by mule and wagon to waiting boats in Bradenton. Parrish knew that a railroad stop at Oak Hill ( as
Parrish was then known) was crucial to the towns development. He thus
convinced railroad and government officials to build a depot at Oak Hill
and he then donated land for the depot, water tank and for miles of track.
The depot brought packing houses, grocers, doctors, druggists and other
merchants to town. Parrish thrived until the Great Depression destroyed
much of its commerce and farmers and ranchers were forced to leave for
work in big cities. Packing houses and grocers closed down and it would
take decades for many families to recover. But the Parrish name lives
on, as dozens of descendants of Crawford Parrish still call the area
home and are active in local government, churches, rural health and civic
Parrish (from historical marker in front of old school house located
on US301 in middle of village) The first documented settlers in
present-day Parrish in early part of 1850 were William B Hooker and
William H Johnson. Here they found the ideal climate, fertile soil and a
nearby river, all suitable for establishing a plantation for their
ill-fated joint venture of growing sea island cotton. After the
partnership was dissolved, Major William Iredell Turner acquired
Hooker’s plantation in 1867 and named it “Oak Hill”. Among the other
earlier settlers were Crawford and Mary Bratcher (Vanzandt) Parrish.
When the post office opened, the name was changed to “Parrish”. The
railroad provided mail and travel service by 1902 Parrish became a
thriving community depending upon a citrus, cattle and agriculture
There’s a grove here over 100 years old that is still bearing. Area had
three packing houses, three or more churches, two boarding houses,
blacksmith shop and many stores. At turn of century, the Methodist
Church served as a school. The first
schoolhouse was built on land given by Crawford Parrish. It was removed and replaced with the present building in
Judah P Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State, in his 1865
escape from Richmond at the end of the Civil War, was secretly hidden in a swamp behind Major
Turner’s house for several days before he was transported to Gamble
Mansion where he remained for some time.
In today’s world Parrish ahs probably changed little from it’s early history, still a small village, life goes on around it with little influence to the daily lives of it’s citizens, little has changed here and most people lead a realative simplistic lifestyle enjoying the Florida sunshine with little care about the outside world.
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