James Parm was born around 1827 in England.
James immigrated to North America, possibly settling in Canada where his first child was born.
He married Elizabeth Sampson (1828-1869), and they probably had at least five children: James (b. 1851 in Canada), Margaret (b. 1857 in Illinois), Joseph (b. 1858 in Illinois), William (b. 1864 in Michigan) and John (b. 1866 in Michigan).
James eventually left Canada and by 1857 had settled his family in Illinois where they were living in 1858.
By 1860 James had moved to Michigan and was working as a mill hand who could not read or write and living at the Paddock boarding house in Georgetown, Ottawa County, along with: John Finch (Company I), Albert Hayes (Company I), Joseph Ledbeter (Company B), Benjamin Parker (Company I), Thomas Rowling (Company I), Alfred (Company F) and William Tate (Company I), John M. Taylor (Company I).
James stood 5’6’” with gray eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 34 years old and residing in Blendon, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He was absent sick in the hospital from August of 1862 through November, and discharged for lumbago on December 3, 1862, at Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC.
James listed Grand Rapids as his mailing address on his discharge paper, and indeed he returned to Michigan where he reentered the service in Battery B, First Michigan Light Artillery on December 16, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Georgetown, and was mustered the same day probably at Grand Rapids where the battery was originally organized between September 10 and December 14, 1861. (The battery left Michigan on December 17 for St. Louis, Missouri, and during the battle of Shiloh in early April was overwhelmed and captured except for Lang’s section which was attached to Mann’s Battery “C,” First Missouri Artillery. It was subsequently reorganized at Detroit in December of 1862.)
The battery left for Columbus, Kentucky on Christmas day, and remained in Columbus until it was moved to Corinth, Mississippi January 4-9, 1863. It remained in Corinth until early March when it was moved to Bethel, Tennessee and remained on duty there until early June. It subsequently moved back to Corinth on June 7 and remained there until October 29 when it was moved to Pulaski, Tennessee, remaining on duty there until late April of 1864. It participated in the Atlanta campaign from May until September and was on duty at Rome, Georgia until mid-October. It then moved to Alabama where it participated in numerous operations and was also involved in the March to the Sea November 15 to December 10, in the siege of Savannah in late December and the campaign of the Carolinas from January until April of 1865. It occupied Raleigh, North Carolina on April 14, participated in Johnston’s surrender and the march to Washington via Richmond April 29 to May 19 and the Grand Review on May 24. It was then moved to Detroit June 1-6, 1865. James was mustered out with the battery on June 14, 1865, at Detroit.
Following his discharge from the First Michigan Light Artillery James returned to western Michigan. (Apparently his family eventually settled in Michigan as well, as least and were living there in 1864 and again in 1869.)
James was either widowed or divorced when he married his second wife, New York native Lucy (b. 1835).
By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his second wife and several children in Blendon, Ottawa County. James may have settled for a time in Pierson, Montcalm County where for some years he worked as a farmer.
By 1880 he was working as a laborer and living with his son Joseph and his wife in Sparta, Kent County; nearby lived George Powers and his family. George too had served in the Third Michigan during the war.
James was living in Greenville, Montcalm County in 1883 when he was drawing $6.00 per month in 1883 for an injured back (pension no. 207,195, dated April of 1882), and in 1890 and 1894.
He listed himself as a single man when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 2538) for the first time on November 6, 1895. He was first discharged at his own request on April 16, 1896, readmitted on July 17, 1896, discharged April 27, 1897, admitted a third time on November 4, 1897 and discharged on November 28, 1898, admitted on March 25, 1899, and discharged on May 10, 1899. He admitted for the last time on August 28, 1899.
James was possibly married a third time to one Anna S. According to Montcalm County marriage records one James Parm married one Elizabeth Rowely in Montcalm on July 20, 1892. (either of these marriages might have been to his son James.) In any case, he married his fourth (perhaps third) wife, New York native Ursula A. LaBeau Mott (b. 1831) on July 16, 1901, in Grand Rapids.
While on furlough from the Home James died a widower of cystitis in Pierson, Montcalm County on November 17, 1905, and was buried in Blendon cemetery, Ottawa County; see photo G-19. (Also buried at Blendon are Elizabeth, his first wife, Reuben, 1881-1897; and William, 1893-1893. Near by are interred another James Parm, who died in 1930, age 81 (b. 1849) and his wife Ella, d. 1932, age 75.)