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Below is a family biography included in History of Union County, Iowa published by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., in 1908.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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James A. Parsons is successfully conducting a real-estate business in Thayer and is one of the prominent and valued residents of the city which he has three times represented as mayor. He was born in Marion county, Iowa, August 20, 1862. His parents were James S. and Catherine S. Parsons. The former came to Iowa with his father when the state was yet under territorial rule, the family home being established on the Des Moines river in Marion county. In early life he dealt in Texas cattle and spent several years in Kansas and the Lone Star state. He became a large land holder of Iowa and Kansas, making judicious investments in property and as the years passed he prospered. He was born in Maryland in 1829, became a resident of Ohio in 1842 and of Iowa in 1844, and thus became a factor in its pioneer development, watching with interest its growth and progress and taking a helpful part in many matters pertaining to its upbuilding. His father, Peter Parsons, was one of the parties who were interested in what was called the Major war, a memorable event in the history of Marion and Mahaska counties.

Reared under the parental roof, James A. Parsons acquired his education in the public schools of Marion county, Iowa, and his early home influences were such as aided him in developing an upright, honorable character. He early realized the fact that the forming of bad habits was one of the worst things that a boy could do and he never allowed himself to take up a course of action which would result in that way. The principles which he adopted as governing forces in his life have borne good fruit in later years and made him a man whom to know is to respect and honor. After leaving school he learned the blacksmith’s trade, which he followed for several years, meeting with success in his undertaking, so that at the time of his marriage he had saved up twelve hundred and sixty dollars. In 1886 he engaged in farming in Marion county and in 1889 removed to Union county, where he erected the house that is now occupied by H. T. Goodrich. In 1891 Mr. Parsons removed to Afton, Iowa, where he followed his trade for a year but on the expiration of that period resumed agricultural pursuits, purchasing a farm a mile and a half north of Thayer whereon he lived for five years. In 1897 he took up his abode in the town of Thayer, where he again worked at his trade for a year, after which he opened a real-estate and loan office, conducting a good business in that line until 1903, when, with his wife, he made a trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado While there Mr. Parsons purchased a stock of goods but sold it soon afterward and returned to Thayer, where he embarked in the hardware and lumber business, conducting his store until 1906, after which he lived retired for a year. In 1908, however, he resumed operations in real-estate lines in which he is now engaged, conducting one of the progressive real-estate offices of the county. As a valuator of property his judgment is sound and reliable and he has thoroughly informed himself concerning property interests and the possibilities of purchase and sale here.

In 1886, at Thayer, occurred the marriage of Mr. Parsons and Miss C. M. Lazenby. The family lineage is traced back to the Mayflower, two of her ancestors coming over as passengers on that vessel, their names, James and Mary Chilton, being recorded on the passenger list, the latter being the first one to step foot on shore when the little ship dropped anchor at Plymouth. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Parsons have been born two sons and three daughters: Fred, Edith, Fannie, Barnham and Lottie.

In politics Mr. Parsons is a progressive republican, identified with that movement toward higher politics, which is one of the hopeful signs of the times. He is opposed to anything like misrule in municipal affairs and that he exemplified his belief in a clean, business-like, progressive administration is indicated by the fact that he was three times elected mayor of Thayer and once received a practically unanimous vote, only two ballots being cast against him. His record as the chief executive of the city was indeed commendable and forms an important epoch in the history of municipal progress here. Since 1891 Mr. Parsons has been a valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and since 1898 has been a welcome factor in the lodge meetings of the Masonic fraternity here. While representing one of the old pioneer families and therefore entitled to representation in this volume, his own personal worth has gained for him classification with the leading and respected residents of Thayer.

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This family biography is one of 247 biographies included in The History of Union County, Iowa published in 1908.  For the complete description, click here: Union County, Iowa History and Genealogy

View additional Union County, Iowa family biographies: Union County, Iowa Biographies

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