Welcome to Parrott

‘‘The American South is a geographical entity, a historical fact, a place in the imagination, and the homeland for an array of Americans who consider themselves Southerners. The region is often shrouded in romance and myth, but its realities are as intriguing, as intricate, as its legends."

– William R. Ferris, Director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Scholars who marched with the Hernando De Soto expedition northward from Florida in 1540 perhaps described the land in and around Parrott best:

"It lies in the same latitude as Palestine herself, that Promised Cana which was pointed out by God's own choice to bless the labors of a favored people.  Its woods and meadows, plants and climate, forests and game, flowers and agricultural possibilities make it a land of great promise."   
-History of Terrell County, Georgia.  W. H. Wolfe Associates, 1980.

They obviously were not marching in July or August; there is no mention of gnats.

Parrott's Early Years

 John Lawson Parrott

Parrott's founder John Lawson Parrott was the son of James and Harriet (Dennard) Parrott.  His paternal grandfather came from France and settled in Washington County, Georgia in the late 1700s.  James and Harriet were both born in Washington County - James Parrott in 1795 and Harriet Dennard in 1800.  The Parrotts and the Dennards moved to Twiggs County while their children were still young and James and Harriet married there in 1828. 

James and Harriet had eight children: Lucinda (married Samuel Stokes of Terrell County); Mary Ann of Parrott; John Lawson of Parrott; Louisa Virginia (married L. M. Jumper of Parrott); Benjamin (died at the age of eighteen); Augustus (served in the Thirty-first Georgia regiment and was last seen in Point Lookout prison in Maryland); Martha Alice (married John Dudley Whaley of Parrott); and Harriet of Parrott.

In 1834 James purchased 815 acres of land in what was then Randolph County and was called by the Indian village name Chenube.  John Lawson was born in 1838 and raised in what is now Parrott and attended school in the county.  He began farming at the age of nineteen and when the War Between the States began in 1861 he enlisted in Company K, Seventeenth Georgia regiment.  He participated in many battles, including second Manassas, seven days' fight around Richmond, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, and received two flesh wounds.  At the end of the war he returned to his farm in Parrott and became financially vested in other enterprises.

When James died in 1865 and Harriet passed away in 1888, John Lawson Parrott inherited the land.

The John Parrott House

In 1889, about a year before the Columbus Southern railroad was build from Columbus to Albany, John Lawson laid out the town of Parrott.  The post office, which had been called "Chenuba" was changed to Parrott.   The city limits of the town encompassed an area of one mile in diameter and contained a high school, Methodist and Missionary Baptist church, seven stores, two ginneries, a planing mill, grist mill, hotel and livery stable.  Mr. Parrott became the town's first mayor and was in office until 1904. 

In December of 1889 the first scheduled passenger train ran through Parrott.  The first bank was organized by Mr. Parrott and C. F. Oxford in 1906.  The Planters Bank was founded in 1912, with J. W. Tilley as president and Marvin D. Pierce as cashier.  When J. W. Tilley died the bank was liquidated.  Two years later Marvin D. Pierce opened the Pierce Exchange Bank which operated until the Great Depression.

A Parrott native recounted the following about J. W. Tilley:

I have been told that he was the smartest man who ever lived in Parrott.  I was also told that he was the first millionaire in Georgia south of Macon.  Daddy said that he could tell by Mr. Tilley's action (as he walked to work each morning) if the stock market was going up or down that day.  If Mr. Tilley was swinging his walking stick and talking to everybody then the market was going up that day, but if he had the crook of his cane hooked around his head, looking down and speaking to no one, then the market was going down that day.

The town grew and other businesses opened.  Curt Wright and Jim Foreman had a general merchandising store; A. J. Lee and his sons ran a large general store; A. J. Anthony opened a hardware store; Howard L. Arnold operated a drug store; and Dr. J. T. Arnold practiced medicine.  

Parrott prospered in its first fifty years; it was said that there were more millionaires per capita in Parrott than anywhere else in the state. 

The Long Riders

In September of 1979 the movie "The Long Riders" was filmed in Parrott.  The film tells the story of Jesse James and his outlaw gang and features four sets of actor brothers who played brothers in the movie: Randy and Dennis Quaid (the Millers); David, Keith, and Robert Carradine (the Youngers); James and Stacy Keach (the Jameses); and Nicholas and Christopher Guest (the Fords).  The streets were covered in dirt and the downtown area was transformed to resemble the western Missouri plains.  The movie was released at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980, where it was nominated for the most prestigious Cannes award, the Golden Palm.  It lost to "All that Jazz," but won a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Music.