Friday, June 18, 2021
Home News 100 Years Ago/History Historic Women of Killingworth: Jerusha Benton Parmelee

Historic Women of Killingworth: Jerusha Benton Parmelee

Submitted by Claudette Lagasse, Killingworth Historical Society.

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a series about the Historic Women of Killingworth. In 2001 Sandy Smith proposed making small replicas of Historical Killingworth Women. Each doll was sold for $15 as a fundraiser for the Historical Society. Five dolls were made, one for each year 2001-2005. The first article can be found HERE. Below is the information that was included with the Jerusha Benton Parmelee doll.

JERUSHA BENTON PARMELEE
FARMER’S WIFE…SKILLED SEAMSTRESS…AND—

Our Second “Historic Women of Killingworth”
Christmas Doll Ornament – 2002

Meet Jerusha Benton Parmelee…maker of the Killingworth Historical Society’s 1861 34-star Union flag.

Jerusha married Lewis Parmelee whose ancestors were the earliest settlers in Killingworth.  Jerusha, Lewis, and their children resided in a home located on 441 Route 81.  In the 1930’s it became known as the Josiah Parmelee Homestead.  Today’s Killingworth residents will remember this home as being owned by John Hines.  It now houses a chair-caning business.

Jerusha and Lewis are buried in the Lovers Lane Cemetery on Lovers Lane.

Flag still in KHS’s possession

By 1861, at the start of the Civil War, the nation had 34 states.  Even after the South seceded from the Union and created their own flag (called Stars and Bars), President Abraham Lincoln would not allow any stars to be removed from the flag.

As a patriotic statement of her loyalty to the Union, 61-year old Jerusha hand-stitched a 68” x 41” unusual 34-star flag.  Most 1861 Union Flags were in the familiar format of our present day 50-star flag; however, Jerusha elected to make a star design out of the 34 stars.  This flag is in the permanent collection of the Killingworth Historical Society.

Jerusha is clothed in typical 1861 rural fashion, holding her flag.  She is signed and dated on her left leg.

Photos courtesy of Killingworth Historical Society.

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