An extract from “Past and present of De Kalb County, page 533, believed to date from the early 1900s:
John Alfred Parris is one of the active and successful businessmen, farmers and stockraisers of Sandwich township, whose time and energies are now devoted to the cultivation and improvement of a tract of land of 120 acres situated about a mile from Sandwich. The neat and thrifty appearance of the place indicates his careful supervision and practical methods. He is numbered among the old settlers of the county, dating his residence in Illinois from 1858 …
[He] was reared to manhood in La Salle and De Kalb counties and a common school education was afforded him. He started out to make his own way in life when only thirteen years of age, working by the month as a farm hand for a salary of $10 per month. He was ambitious to engage in farming on his account or to carry on business that would more directly benefit himself and after he had attained his majority he began cultivating land and also operating a threshing machine. He continued in the latter business for twenty-one seasons doing threshing for three counties and also operating a clover huller. Prior to his marriage he bought a small tract of land on which he erected a dwelling and cultivated and fenced the place, opening up a farm so that he had a home to which he brought his bride. Mr Parris exercises his right of franchise in support of the republican party but the honors and emoluments of office have had no attraction for him as he has always preferred to give his undivided time and attention to his business affairs. His life has been quietly passed in the honorable pursuits of the farm but in his business interests he has became widely known and is generally esteemed by all with whom he comes in contact. He deserves much credit for what he has accomplished for he started out in life on his account at the age of thirteen years and has since been dependent in own labors - a self-made man whose example in many respects is worthy of emulation.