From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and
Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing
Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 223-224, a reprinted by Stevens
Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County
Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
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
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.
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