Nashville, Michigan and the Man Who Helped Capture John Wilkes Booth
It was on April 26, 1865 – 12 days after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln – that two cousins from Lansing, Luther & Lafayette Baker, and their posse of 27 men (some sites say 28, others 26) caught up with Lincoln’s murderer, John Wilkes Booth.
One of the men in the posse was Emory Parady. For his part in the Booth capture, he was awarded $1,365.84. In 1880, Parady and his family moved to Nashville, Michigan. Some years later, the family moved again, this time way out west to Oregon, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Evidently, Parady spent a good amount of time in Nashville and became well-known enough to have a park named after him, “Parady Park”. This park sits smack dab in downtown Nashville.
Emory died and was buried in Portland, Oregon, where he is memorialized there as well.
Parady Park is just part of the Nashville story.
On February 15, 1836, John R. Pettibone bought the parcel of land which would grow into the town. More settlers came and with them, mills popped up: saw, grist, and feed. One of the sawmills was sold to Phillip Holler in 1865 (remember that name).
In 1866, a railroad was planned to come through the town, surveyed by Garaudus Nash. Amazingly the town didn’t even have a name yet – so Nash suggested his own name. No one cared or objected, so “Nashville” it was, and in 1869 the town was finally incorporated as “Nashville”.
Now, back to Phillip Holler. He used his new saw mill as a feed mill and it was here in 1874 where he invented a new process for making flour, naming his flour company the Nashville Roller Mills. Louis & Otto Lass bought the mill in 1916 and changed the name of the flour to Red-Eye Flour.
In the 2000s, Nashville still has many old buildings standing. It’s an interesting little town to drive thru or pay a visit…and when you do, stop by Parady Park for an extra dose of history.
Vintage Nashville, Michigan
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