W. T. PARHAM, proprietor of the Maryville Woolen-Mills, was born in Knoxville, Tenn., in February. 1833. Since September, 1865, he has been in Maryville, first in the mercantile trade; but after his purchase of the grist and woolen-mills, in 1876, he has, since April, 1877, been sole manager of the same. They have three looms, one set of forty-inch cards, and 260 spindles, but he now has forty-four looms and 908 spindles, using both steam and water-power, manufacturing jeans, linseys, cassimeres, flannels, blankets and yarns – the first mentioned being a specialty; and with such a reputation that his sales are now a year in advance. The first year of his management he consumed 7,000 pounds of wool; the second year, 13,000 pounds; in 1886, 120,000 pounds, and in 1877 about 150,000 pounds, the carding and spinning departments being operated day and night. He employs about sixty hands. From 1848 to 1853 he worked at the harness trade in Knoxville, and until 1861 in mercantile life in the same place. He then conducted a store at Danville, Ky., and one at Clarksville, Tennessee for two years. He then sold goods at Knoxville until he came to Maryville.
In 1858 he married M. J. SNODDY, a native of Knox County. Seven of their nine children are living. She died in December, 1882. His father, E. N., resides in Knox County, and is a native of North Carolina. From his youth he has followed merchandising in Knox County, but retired from active business in 1878. The mother, Mary (DUNN), is a native of Sevier County. Our subject is the eldest child of one son and four daughters, two of the latter being deceased. His ancestors are of English descent.
Source: Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.