They say that life is about the journey, not the destination. 1 I hope so, because I spent a lot of time looking for the family of John Parent and when I got there I found someone else had already figured it out.
I started with George E Parent, husband of Mary Dial and father of Frank Parent of Abilene, Kansas. George is on the 1860 census of Rockford, Illinois, with his apparently widowed mother, and on the 1850 census of Onondaga, New York, with his father John, his mother and his older brother Ephraim. So far, so good, but that is all I knew about George's father John. When did he die, and whose son was he?
Thanks to some hints on ancestry.com, I found the Baldwin Genealogy 2 which says that Sally Eliza Baldwin was born January 29, 1810, and married John Parent of Syracuse on October 13, 1841. The book said that John died January 16, 1852, while John's headstone on findagrave.com says he died June 12, 1853.
As for his parents, there was really only one Parent couple in the area, namely Thomas and Elizabeth Parent, of Otisco. Were they John's mother and father? I still don't know for sure, since I never found a record that connected him to them.
Thomas' brother David Parent's probate information in 1862 was the key document that put the family together. His widow Polly provided a list of David's heirs and next of kin naming Thomas and four other brothers, along with four of Thomas' daughters and numerous grandchildren. But no mention of John. Was it because he had died 10 years earlier and his widow had gone west? 3
For the time being, I'll have to just assume that John Parent was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Parent of Otisco, New York. As for the end of the journey, you can find the complete family of Thomas and Elizabeth Parent, his brothers, parents, grandparents, and maybe more at Thomas Parent, on ancestry.com, though for some reason the tree's owner thinks that Thomas was married 3 times. I doubt it. You could probably piece the family together in the tree at familysearch.org as well.
^1. To be honest, it isn't just "they" who say it, it was Ralph Waldo Emerson, and that isn't exactly what he said. I found a neat site called Quote Investigator which provided the real quote: "To finish the moment, to find the journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom."
A footnote on that site points to Google Books which has the original: Essays: Second Series by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Second Edition, published in 1845 by James Munroe and Company, Boston. Essay: II Experience. The quote is on page 65.
It sounds a lot like 'today is the first day of the rest of your life' or however that hippie saying went, but then I've been spoiled by reading the Bible for a while where the Proverbs actually have something to say.
^2. The Baldwin Genealogy, from 1500 to 1881, by Charles Candee Baldwin, (The Leader Printing Company, Cleveland, Ohio, 1881). You don't need ancestry.com to read it. It is long out of copyright and is on the Internet Archive at The Baldwin genealogy from 1500 to 1881.