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Below is a family biography included in History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott, published by Iola Register, 1901.  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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COL. WILLIAM L. PARSONS. The office of probate judge in Woodson county is filled by William L. Parsons, a man whom his fellow-townsmen recognize as worthy of the public trust and confidence, for in all life’s relations he is found true to duty, and his ability also well qualifies him for the position. He came to the county in December, 1871, and therefore through a period of thirty years has been connected with its interests, much of the time being a prominent representative of its industrial concerns.

Mr. Parsons has had a somewhat eventful career but through the vicissitudes of life has persevered in a persistent purpose. He was born on Long Island, New York, April 30, 1833, a son of William Parsons, of East Hampton, a sea captain who died on Long Island, leaving two sons and two daughters. In the place of his nativity our subject grew to manhood, no event of special importance occurring to vary the usual routine of life for boys of that period. He was educated in the public schools and Clinton Academy and remained on Long Island until twenty-five years of age, when he sought the broader business opportunities of the new and growing west, removing to Racine, Wisconsin, in 1858. There he was engaged in merchandising at the time of the outbreak of the Rebellion in the south, and, putting aside all personal considerations, with patriotic spirit he volunteered for service at the front, enlisting in Company F, Second Wisconsin infantry, with which he remained for three years and eight months. He was in the First Division of the First Army Corps and participated in the battle of Bull Run and in many other engagements, his service ending with the Grant campaign. He was wounded at South Mountain, again at Gettysburg and a third time in the battle of the Wilderness, where he was left on the field for dead, but was afterward picked up by the Rebels and sent to Macon, Georgia. Later he was transferred to Charleston and subsequently to Columbia, South Carolina. His brigade was known as the Iron Brigade — a name which indicates the character of the soldiers, who stood with almost unbending strength before the rain of shot and shell that came against them in many a battle. Mr. Parsons was a brave and loyal soldier, always found at his post of duty, and from the ranks he was continually promoted, in recognition of his meritorious service, until he won the title of colonel but fought only as major.

After returning from the army Colonel Parsons conducted an elevator for a railroad company at Savannah, Illinois, and was later connected with the internal revenue service as inspector. He went to Chicago, where he was later engaged in handling vessel supplies and dealing in groceries on South Water street. There he continued operation until the big fire of October, 1891, when he lost all that he had saved, his store being in the burned district. He then resolved to retrieve his lost possessions in the west and accordingly, in December, of that year, he arrived in Woodson county, where he has since made his home. Locating in Neosho Falls in the spring of 1872 he purchased an interest in the milling business of the firm of Covert & Cozine and finally became sole owner of the plant. He later erected a new plant on the old site and successfully carried on the enterprise under the name of the Neosho Falls Flouring Mills until 1898, when he retired from active business life.

In Neosho Falls, in 1877, Colonel Parsons was united in marriage to Miss Jennie E. Holloway, a sister of the late I. N. Holloway, of Yates Center. Two children were born to them, William Sherrill, whose bright young life on earth ended in April 1900. The daughter Anna Esther, is now the wife of Dr. O. B. Trusler, of Yates Center.

Since casting his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont the colonel has been a stalwart advocate of the Republican party and, like every true American citizen should do, keeps well informed on the issues of the day and is thus able to support his position by intelligent argument. In 1898 he was elected probate judge and filled the position so acceptably for two years that he was re-elected in 1900 for a second term. Ere leaving Long Island he was made a Mason and is now a member of the chapter of Yates Center. Various business interests have claimed his attention and at all times he has been found enterprising, energetic and notably reliable; his patriotism has been tested on the battlefields of the greatest war which the world has known; his friendship is ever found tried and true; and now in public office he is giving evidence of conscientious and faithful service and thereby winning the commendation of all concerned.

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This family biography is one of 204 biographies included in History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott, published by Iola Register, 1901, Iola, Kansas.  For the complete description, click here: Woodson County, Kansas History and Genealogy

View additional Woodson County, Kansas family biographies here: Woodson County, Kansas

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