NORMAN PARSONS, now retired and living quietly at his home at the corner of Fifth and Washington streets, is one of the old settlers, having come here in 1854. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, November 6, 1811, and was a child only a few years old when his parents, Moses and Elsiby (Pease) Parsons, with a colony of twenty families, during the war of 1812, came overland with teams to Geauga county, Ohio. They arrived in June, 1814, and made a settlement in the heavy timber of that new, unbroken country, surrounded by Indians and plenty of game. He there lived until the country was well improved, when he died some years ago at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. His wife had died some five years before. They were Methodists, and the father and seven sons were all Republicans.
Norman Parsons served with his State militia, went through all the promotions from First Lieutenant to Colonel of his regiment. He was one of the organizers of the G. A. R. at Beardstown.
After his arrival in Beardstown he became a member of the firm of Fischer & Parsons, wagon manufacturers, who did business for two years. A company was then established known as Putnam & Parsons, doing a general tombstone business. This continued for two years, and at this time Mr. Parsons bought a stock of goods at Falls City, Nebraska, where he lived for one year, and then returned to this county, where he secured and began to improve 175 acres of land near Beardstown. Here he continued until 1861, when he enlisted in the Third Illinois Cavalry and was soon after made Sergeant of Company C. He served three years in the army of the West. At Germantown, Tennessee, he veteranized and was made First Sergeant of Company F. of Third Illinois Cavalry, re-organized, and served until the fall of Richmond. He returned to St. Louis, Missouri, with his regiment in 1865, and later was sent to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, to protect the whites against the Indians. He was honorably discharged at St. Paul, Minnesota, June 20, 1865. He was in all the great battles of his division of the army, and had many narrow escapes, and at one time was surrounded by General Forrest's men and made his escape only by his military tactics. He was a man of daring and bravery. He returned to Beardstown in 1865, made a trip to Nebraska on horseback, and spent some time there looking after his real-estate interests.
He was appointed Postmaster of this place by President Grant in his first term, and held it for eighteen years consecutively, and had in the meantime served as Justice of the Peace. He was one of the organizers of the Republican party in Geauga county, Ohio, and was vice-president of the first anti-slavery society organized in that section.
He was first married in Ohio, to Amanda F. King, who died in 1852, aged thirty-four. She left two sons: Melbourne, living in Beardstown, and William; both of these gentlemen made very fine records indeed in the war of the rebellion. Mr. Parsons was married a second time to Mrs. Catherine Saunders. She has three children by a former marriage, namely: John, a mercantile bookkeeper; George, who was a member of Battery B, Second Illinois Light Artillery, in the late war; and Elva J., a lady of superior talent, and a teacher in the high school, and is now the wife of Mr. Saunders.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 223-224.
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