Thanks for your reply.I noticed that I had posted this message in 2004.I must have gotten smarter in the intervening years because I finally found them in Barbour County. Over the past 5 years I learned to be creative in the way I used search.The problem as I discovered was that the family surname was indexed as Barmer instead of Parmer. I use Ancestry.com to locate people in the census and whomever the Ancestry folks used for their census index had a terrible time reading the census.Combined with that was the census recorder on that census using very flowery handwriting so that his P's did look somewhat like B's. However, looking at some of the census images that are available, on the whole, they did a good job.
The Parmers did live in Division 23 and in the 1860 census they were living near Eufaula.I think this location is probably where they were living in 1850 as well.Some of the family moved into Dale County later on where my husband's Grantham people lived and many still do. Your idea about things that prevented census takers from taking the census though is a good one.I've noticed people missing from the 1850/1860 Dale County census too. I cannot find the family of John Edward Marsh in Dale County in the federal census for 1850 but he was counted in the State census for that year.I just looked at that one.Thanks for your tip about the state census because I had overlooked that source.