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Settlers of the Silver Sage

“I will not part with it,” said Jerry Parmer, a grandfather of 21 and retired paper salesman, as he gently handles a giant book.

“It’s over 1200 pages. It costs $740 new.”

According to Amazon.com, the book is actually worth $902. What kind of a book is worth nearly one thousand dollars?

Although Idaho Falls has been his home for the past 40 years, Parmer was born in Kilgore, Idaho, and worked in the surrounding areas for his entire life.

Parmer began working in a paper warehouse when he was 19 years old. As the paper warehouse flourished, more opportunities opened up. Parmer was able to advance from warehouse worker to traveling paper salesman for Eastern Idaho and Jackson Hole.

“I thought I was gonna be a farmer,” Parmer said. “Well, that never happened. I got married a year after I got out of school, and my wife and I moved to Idaho Falls and I went to work for the paper company in the warehouse, handling all their deliveries and shipping and all that kind of stuff. I did that for several years, and then I got drafted into the army. And as soon as I got out of the army they wouldn’t hardly give me a day off, they wanted me back to work.”

Parmer was eventually promoted to manager of the warehouse.

“They needed a new salesman for one of the areas and they asked me if I’d like to do that,” Parmer said.

One of the biggest clients that Parmer sold paper to was the old Rick’s college.

“Well, I did two different places in Rexburg,” Parmer said. “We had a janitorial account, all towels and toilet paper and all that kind of stuff. And then we had the print shop, which is where I did most of my business with the college there.”

As it turns out, Parmer sold the paper the college used to print Settlers of the Silver Sage.

“I sold them all of printing paper,” Parmer claimed. “I sold them the printing paper for that book.”

Settlers of the Silver Sage was put together by Bonnie Stoddard, the historian for Clark County.

“Bonnie must have started doing that type of thing right out of school, I think she did it until she passed away,” Parmer said.

Stoddard’s close familiarity with the region and its settlers enabled her to write a comprehensive volume of history, which she added to one article at a time.

It was actually Parmer’s daughter, Denice Tuescher, who bought him the book.

“He has spent hours, you know, reminiscing and looking into it and reading about his friends and people they knew,” Tuescher said. “So he’s really enjoyed it.”

Tuescher is next in line to inherit the Settlers of the Silver Sage. She and her father have come to an agreement that when he passes on, she will become the keeper of the book.

“It’s a history that I don’t think I could get any other place,” Parmer continued. “It’s a book that I treasure very much because it tells me about a lot of the people that I grew up with. So yeah, it’s a real, real neat book for me.”

New and used copies of Settlers of the Silver Sage are available on Amazon.com.

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