George Downes Parnell was born 15 March 1894 in Manchester NH, son of Fred Oakley & Georgia W. (Downes) Parnell. He would have attended local Manchester schools.
In the 1900 United States Census, the Parnell family was living on Linden St. George’s father Fred was a new widower, his wife, “Georgie” (George’s mother) having died on 17 April, leaving 5 young children. Fred was a well-known grocer in the city, with a provision store at 250 Bridge Street.
Fred’s sister Cora Parnell (who I had written about in 2013 when I bought her photograph) was living with him, and caring for the children. Son, George D., was only 6 years old at that time. George’s sibings were Carroll Abbott (1893-1959), Arabelle (1895-1975), Nelson W. (1897-1948), Frederick O. (1898-1899), and Thomas D. (1900-?)
By 1910 the Parnell family lived at 327 Orange Street. George’s father had remarried, moved to a nicer and larger house, and running his grocery business with his brother Nelson. A 1917 Boston newspaper article mentions George D. Parnell commissioned a Lieutenant in the Regular Army from New Hampshire College (now called University of New Hampshire). He apparently (from his obituary material) attended that school for 3 years, before he was commissioned.
George D. Parnell served in the U.S. Regular Army, possibly the Corps of Engineers (as his death certificate refers to electrical engineering as his occupation). He was killed in action in France on 28 September 1918. After the war ended, his body was returned home to lie in his family’s burial plot on 18 September 1921.
His tombstone in Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester NH shows:
Lieut George D.
His obituary states: “LIEUT. GEORGE D. PARNELL, Died in 1918. Word has been received of the death in action, September 27 of First Lieutenant George D. Parnell.Lieutenant Parnell was twenty-four years old. His death comes as a great shock to his many friends here at New Hampshire for he was ever an admired and esteemed leader. He was a student in his junior year, when he received an appointment to the Plattsburg Training Camp of 1916. Although he left college to enter the service, he received his diploma with his class, that of 1917. Following the receipt of his commission, Lieutenant Parnell was stationed for some time at a camp near New York. From there he was transferred to Camp Green where he was in charge of the company stores until he went to France in May with a company of regulars. Lieutenant Parnell has seen much active service, he had gone “over the top” three times and had made a fine record. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He is survived by his father, State Senator Fred Parnell of Manchester, N.H. and one sister.” [obituary from the Charlotte Thompson Collection, Manuscripts and Institution Archives, Milne Special Collections and Archives Department, UNH. Used with written permission of University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH.]
For additional stories of Manchester NH military in World War I, see: New Hampshire WWI Military: Heroes of Manchester.
[Editor’s Note: this story is part of an on-going series about heroic New Hampshire men and women of World War I. Look here for the entire listing].
—-PARTIAL GENEALOGY & NOTES regarding GEORGE D. PARNELL–
Thomas Parnell, b. about 1824 Canada, married 30 Aug 1860 in Hatley Quebec m. Mary Elizabeth Miller (Baptist Church ceremony).
1881 Canadian Census > Quebec > Stanstead > Hatley
Thomas Parnell M 57y Quebec Widowed [b 1824]
Eliza Parnell F 24 Y Quebec
Sarah Parnell F 9y Quebec
Nelson Parnell M 18y Quebec*
Freddie Parnell M 15y Quebec*
Cora Parnell F 12y Quebec*
Children of Thomas & Mary Elizabeth “Eliza” (Miller) Parnell:
1. Nelson Parnell – partner with his brother in grocery business
2. +Freddie “Fred” Parnell – father of 2d Lieut. George D. Parnell
3. Cora Parnell – took care of Fred’s children, see story about her.
Fred Oakley Parnell, son of Thomas & Mary E. “Lizzie” (Miller) Parnell, b abt 1865 Hatley/Stanstead PQ Canada, died 22 Feb 1939 Manchester NH. He m1) 26 Nov 1891 in Manchester NH to Georgia W. Downes, dau of George & Arabella “Bella” (Page) Downes. She was b 1862 VT and d. 17 April 1900. He m2d) 22 July 1903 in Manchester NH to Mary C. Condon, dau of Frank C. & Minnie (Chace) Condon. She was b abt 1871 in Frederick, Indiana. All three are buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester. NH. Co-owner of PARNELL BROS. GROCERS at 250 Bridge Street (1924, Fred O & Nelson M) grocers and provisions. Nelson had a house at 295 Myrtle Street. Fred was Manchester NH Alderman Ward 3 in 1904, 1906, 1908; NH State Senator of 17th District, elected on 7 Nov 1917 Fred O. Parnell (Rep), elected; William P. Fahey (Dem), defeated.
Georgia (Downes) Parnell’s mother, Arabella (Page) Downes, had, after her husband died (1907) “been the manager of a large boarding house on Market Street in Manchester, rented from the Amoskeag Corporation. “This establishment, which is noted for its cleanliness and home cooking, is conducted in the best manner, and has entertained many prominent people as guests. The large dining room accommodates about two hundred guests at each meal. Transients as well as regular boarders are received.”
1900 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > Linden Street
Parnell Fred W Head M W Oct 1865 34 Widow Can-Eng C-E C-E imm 1887 (13y) Grocer
Parnell Carol A son W M Jan 1893 7 S NH C-E NH at school
Parnell George D son W M March 1894 6 single NH C-E NH at school
Parnell Arabelle daughter W 3 July 1895 4 single NH C-E NH
Parnell Nelson W son W M March 1897 3 S NH C-E NH
Parnell Thomas D son W M Apr 1900 1/2 single NH C-E NH
Parnell Cora A sister W F Apr 1868 32 single C-E C-E C-E imm 1880 20y*******
Hartford, Ida D, servant W F Feb 1877 23 single NH NH NH servant
Page Genealogy [George D. Parnell’s mother’s family]
John & Phoebe Page of Durham, England & Watertown MA
John & Faith (Dunster) Page
Gov Samuel & Martha (?) Page
Lieut Nathaniel & Mercy (Gould) Page
Col. & Betsy (Stevens) Page
Col. Reuben Page & Viola Tillotson
Arabella Page b 24 Aug 1839 Corinth VT m. 21 June 1859 Dr.George Wentworth Downes
1910 US Census > 327 Orange Street Grocer
George D 16 no occupation