Career of Mr. John Parris, Who Has Recently Been Chosen to Represent the Town of Danby at the Coming Important Legislative Deliberations at Montpelier.
It gives us much pleasure to this week show the portrait of Danby’s recently chosen representative in the state legislature of 1902-3, Mr. John Parris, a most highly esteemed and respected resident of the west side of the town.
Mr. Parris was born September 5, 1851, on the old homestead, now owned and occupied by his brother, Elkanah. His parents were Leonard G. and Matilda Edmunds Parris, both estimable people, who have long since gone to their reward. Mr. Parris spent his boyhood and early manhood at the home of his parents, and proved a most capable assistant to his father in carrying on the large farm. In 1878, his mother having died the year previous, Mr. Parris decided to go out into the world and fight life’s battles single handed.
Upon leaving the farm he went to Crown Point, N. Y., and engaged his services to a traveling photographer as his assistant. That season he traveled with his employer through the Adirondacks, using a tent in which to make pictures as well as to eat and sleep. In this way Mr. Parris learned the art of photography and became so proficient in it that he decided to embark in the business for himself the next summer.
Purchasing a tent and equipping himself with a suitable outfit, he started out on a business tour, choosing for his field of operations the territory over the range of mountains to the east of the valley in which lies the town of his birth. He traveled through, this territory till June, 1883, when he returned to his ancestral home in consequence of the serious illness of his father, whose death followed in September of the same year.
The year following his father’s death, he and his older brother, Elkanah, purchased the homestead farm, where he remained till 1890, at which time he sold his interest to his brother, and in June of that year took unto himself a life partner in the person of Miss Emma Streeter, daughter of Mr. Charles Streeter, who had not long before come to Danby from North Dorset and located with his family on a farm at the “Little Village.”
For nearly four years following his marriage, Mr. Parris made his home with his wife’s parents, working out for various people by the day and assisting in carrying on the small farm owned by his father-in-law. He then carried on the William Vail place for four years, and then purchased the farm upon which he now resides, known as the Perry Johnson place, and consisting of something over a hundred acres of excellent land and capable of keeping a dozen cows besides a span of horses and some small stock.
While Mr. Parris has been very successful as a farmer, both for himself and others, he is inclined to believe that he should have remained at the photograph business, although that business was undoubtedly more profitable during the time he was engaged in it than it is today, with the myriads of “camera fiends” in the field in all sections of the country, who are often willing to make pictures of persons and scenery almost “without money and without price” and counting the time spent in doing so as mere pastime.
Like his father before him, Mr. Parris has always been a steadfast republican in politics and a firm believer in the prohibition law of the state. While perhaps half a dozen saloons in Danby would make little, if any, difference to him, he is broad-minded enough to take a stand against licensing the liquor traffic, and thereby working a great injury to others, morally, physically and financially. He is not one of those people who say, “Well, a few saloons will not affect me in any way —I have no sons to be tempted by the open saloon to drink liquor and no property interests that would be affected by a license law–so I will vote for such a law, and let the other fellows look out for themselves as best they may when they get the law.”
Mr. Parris goes to Montpelier next month standing squarely on the platform adopted by the last republican state convention. He considers it perfectly fair that the people of the state should be permitted to say whether they wish to prohibit or license the sale of intoxicating liquors–and he still has faith enough in the usually sensible Vermonters to believe that they will speak more overwhelmingly in favor of prohibition when the referendum is taken than they did at the recent gubernatorial election.
Mr. Parris was elected one of the Selectmen of the town of Danby in 1890, and has annually been re-elected by his fellow-townsmen with the regularity of clockwork. His father also served as one of the Selectmen in the stirring times of the war of the rebellion, and in company with another colleague, Judge Baker, spent many days and nights in searching for men to fill the town’s quota required for enlistment in the service of the United States Government, and enduring hardships of travel by night and by day, and in all kinds of weather, exceeded only by those of some of the men they enlisted after reaching the field of strife.
Mr. Parris did not have a “walk over” in the race with his competitor for representative, by any means, but this was not due to his lack of popularity or confidence in his ability. The vote was governed solely by the questions of license or no license, without respect to the personality of the candidates themselves, and in ordinary years Mr. Parris’ candidacy would very likely have met with no opposition of any account.