Parnell, on State Highway 86 in central Hall County, was settled as early as 1872, when Jacob Fields traveled west to hunt buffalo. Fields built a dugout in the south bank of the Red River near what became known as Fields Crossing, later Bullard Canyon, and lived there with his family for several years. In 1901 a schoolhouse was built on land owned by G. E. Grubbs four miles southeast of Bullard Canyon and was known for a time as Greasy Neck. The town of Parnell, named for another early resident, S. H. Parnell, was platted in 1905 on a site northwest of the school. Jim Vardy and J. H. Whaley built a gin, and James A. Adams opened the first store, at which a post office was established in 1912 with Adams as postmaster. During the 1920s, when the Fort Worth and Denver Railway built its line west from Estelline to Plainview, a boom was anticipated for Parnell. By then the town had three stores, a hotel and cafe, two barber shops, two gins, a lumberyard, a garage, a church, and a brick schoolhouse and was accessible by a graded highway. The population was estimated at twenty-five in 1925 and 500 by 1929. The Great Depression, however, resulted in a general decline. The population was an estimated twenty-five by 1933 and seventy in 1939. By 1940 the school had been consolidated with that of Estelline, and the post office closed in 1971. By 1980 Parnell had only a church and community center and a store to the west on the highway. From 1970 to 1990 the population was estimated at forty-three.
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