Heman Parish was born on July 29, 1840, in Morristown, St. Lawrence County, New York, the son of Luther (b. 1786) and Fannie (Carpenter, b. 1802).
Luther left his home in Vermont and moved to St. Lawrence County, where he was living in 1820 (Hague) and in 1830 (Gouvernour). He eventually married New Yorker Fanny sometime before 1827, probably in New York where they resided for many years. By 1850 Heman was attending school with his older siblings and living with his family in Morristown, St. Lawrence County where his father was unemployed. Luther eventually moved his family to western Michigan and by 1860 had settled on a farm in Thornapple, Barry County, Michigan.
Heman stood 6’1” with black eyes and hair and a dark complexion, and was 21 years old and probably a farmer living in Middleville, Barry County when he enlisted in Company K on December 17, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Walker, Kent County, and was mustered the same day. (He may have been related to William Parish of Company F, who was also from Barry County.) Heman was reported as a Corporal on December 24, 1863, when he reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, probably at his family home in Michigan, in January of 1864, and rejoined the Regiment on or about the first of February.
Heman was taken prisoner on May 6, 1864, during the Wilderness campaign, and transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was reported absent sick from July of 1864 through March of 1865, and was confined for some 8 months at Andersonville, Georgia. He reportedly escaped from the rebels during an exchange of prisoners, although he was mustered out while a prisoner-of-war on April 26, 1865.
After the war Heman eventually returned to Michigan, probably to Barry County.
He married Michigan native Martha (b. 1845) and they had at least five children: Lena (b. 1867, Mrs. Kirkpatrick) and an unnamed son (b. 1870), Mrs. Florence Braser and Mrs. Jeanette Edwards. Heman and Martha were eventually divorced.
By 1870 he was working as a livery keeper and living with his wife and two children with the family of a wealthy harness-maker named John Russell in Middleville, Barry County. (His father lived not far away.) By 1876 Heman or Herman had settled in Grand Rapids.
He married his second wife, New York native Esther (b. 1852), and they had at least two children: Pearl (b. 1876, Mrs. Henry Hydorn) and Alida (b. 1880); also living with them was his daughter “Lennie.”
By 1880 Heman was “running a hack and express” wagon and living with his wife and daughters in Grand Rapids’ First Ward. where for some 20 years he engaged in the retail grocery business. In 1890 he was living at 221 Seventh Street, and he resided in the city until 1910 when he moved to Lansing where he worked for some twelve years as a guard at the State Capitol; in 1911 he was living at 123 Walnut in Lansing. He moved back to Grand Rapids about 1922, and in 1923 was residing at his daughter’s home at 150 Cherry Street in Grand Rapids. By 1930 Heman and Esther were both living with their daughter Pearl (she was listed as head of the household and worth some $25,000 in property).
Heman was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and the Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids, until he was suspended from the latter on June 27, 1895.
He applied for and received a pension (no. 862559).
Heman died of apoplexy at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Henry Hydorn, on Sunday November 30 (?), 1930, and the funeral service was held at 1:30 p.m. on December 2 in the Birdsall chapel. He was buried in Oak Hill cemetery: section 9 lot 64. (There are no makers remaining for any of his family.)