Biography - William Parsons

WILLIAM B. PARSONS, who for the past twenty-six years has resided at his present home in township 11, Pope County, was born in Albemarle County, Va., in 1828. His father, William Parsons, was born in Virginia about 1800, and followed farming for a livelihood. He was one of four children, three sons and one daughter. William B. Parsons knows but little of his grandparents, but there is little doubt that his grandfather Parsons was born in England, and was brought to the United States by his parents, who settled in Virginia. The grandparents died in that State, the grandmother surviving her husband many years, dying at the great age of one hundred and four years. William Parsons was married three times. His first wife, the mother of the subject of this sketch, was Mary Moran, of Virginia, where they were married. They removed to Lincoln County, Ky., near Crab Orchard, in 1838, when William B. was a lad of ten years, taking with them their family of two sons and four daughters. This removal was made in October with teams of horses and wagons, and required about four weeks' time. The father took charge of a toll-gate on the turnpike from Louisville to Crab Orchard. The family settled on new land, where the mother died in March, 1839. Mr. Parsons lived thirty years after her death, and was afterward twice married, by his third wife becoming the father of two sons. In 1855 he removed to Sangamon County, Ill., and four years later returned to Kentucky and located in Breckenridge County, where he died in 1871, over seventy years of age.
William B. Parsons was reared to farm life, as had been all his forefathers, so far as he knows, none of whom ever took any part in the war, except his father, who served as a substitute in the War of 1812. Mr. Parsons had fourteen days' schooling when a boy, and was married to Miss Nancy Jane Reagan, daughter of Preston and Melinda (Waters) Reagan. They were married August 18, 1850, and removed to Sangamon County, Ill., in the fall of 1856 with their three children. They made this removal with their own teams and wagon in regular emigrant style, camping out by the roadside at night. Besides their outfit they brought with them but little means. In the fall of 1859, they removed to Johnson County, near to Old Reynoldsburgh. Up to this time Mr. Parsons had farmed on rented land, and in Johnson County he raised a crop of tobacco on leased land, making enough money to buy his first forty acres of land in the woods. He erected a good hewed-log house, which now forms a part of his present residence. He owns ninety-two acres, of which seventy-two acres are in a high state of cultivation, and on them he carries on farming on a small scale, and is taking a merited and well-earned rest in his old age. Mrs. Parsons has borne her husband three daughters and six sons, all of whom are living but one, Mary Elizabeth, who was an invalid for twelve years and died in 1870 at the age of nineteen years. The living members of the family are as follows: James P., a farmer living near our subject; Hiram S., a farmer of Johnson County; Melinda M., wife of James Bundren, a farmer of Union Township; Eliza Jane, wife of R. F. Throgmorton; Robert M., Joseph T., William F., ail married and living not far from the old home except Robert M., a young man who has been blind for the past year, and Joseph T. Mr. Parsons is a Democrat in politics, and he and his wife are members of the General Free-will Baptist Church. They have four granddaughters and ten grandsons.

Extracted 07 May 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 333-334.

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