Parsons Family

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Parsons Crest
Parsons Family Crest Commission by Gov. Joseph Dudley for  Cornet Joseph Parsons - 11/9/1711

Descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons, Springfield, 1636--Northampton

For complete genealogy of the Parsons Family:


        CORNET JOSEPH PARSONS  b.  Beaminster about 1620. He was known in many subsequent records by his military title, Cornet Joseph Parsons, came to America as a boy but earned prominence as a public servant and founder of towns, which grew into cities. Joseph was the child of Margaret Hoskins (c. 1584-?) and William Parsons (?-?). His maternal grandparents were Robert and Margret Hoskins, one of two couples of that name in Beaminster, England, both of whom had a daughter named Margaret.
He came to Massachusetts in 1635 (perhaps with a brother, Benjamin) aboard the Transport (Edward Walker, Master) out of Gravesend, County Kent. Joseph Parsons received many notations in colonial town records. Young Joseph is mentioned as a witness to a deed on July 15, 1636 in Springfield, MA. The deed was between Joseph Pyncheon and local Indians. The wealthy Pincheon may have sponsored his young friend (or relative?) in establishing himself in Springfield as well as in Northampton.
In 1646, Joseph was appointed highway surveyor of Springfield, holding this position in 1653. In 1652, Joseph was elected a Springfield Selectman but was living in Northampton, MA by 1655. In December of 1656 in Northampton, Joseph Parsons was elected to the Board of Selectmen. He served as Selectman in 1659, 1664, 1667, and 1670. Joseph served frequently as a juror.
In 1834, an examination of Northampton records by Dr. Usher Parsons revealed that Joseph Parsons' house lot covered four acres. He bought an adjoining lot and in 1661, was licensed to keep "an ordinary," or house of entertainment in Northampton. Also in 1661, Joseph Parsons was made a member of a committee to lay out the plans of the Meeting House and residence for the Rev. Eleazer Mather, first minister of Northampton. In this same year, Joseph was on a committee to meet with counterparts of Newtown, MA to see to the establishment of a road between Newtown and Northampton; in 1670, Joseph Parsons was made a member of the committee to construct a "Cart bridge" over the Munhan River.

Joseph Parsons was one of two persons of Northampton licensed to trade with Native Americans. It is supposed that this trade was primarily in furs. A common practice was for a trader to offer money or articles of value in exchange for the promised delivery of furs, which would then be sold at a great mark-up. If the fur delivery was defaulted, land would be exchanged for the debt. Joseph Parsons seems to have obtained much land by this means, including land upon which was established the town of Hadley, MA. The 1834 Usher Parsons study reported that Joseph Parsons owned 100 acres at the foot of Mount Tom, at a place called Pascommuck. Joseph Parsons "for half a century remained the richest man in the Connecticut Valley" (manuscript of Dr Holton, family genealogist, quoted in Burt's CORNET JOSEPH PARSONS, 1898, page 93). On Nov 26, 1646, Joseph Parsons married Mary Bliss (?-?) in Hartford, CT. They became the parents of 13 children, 5 girls and 8 boys. It seems probable their first three children (Joseph Jr, Benjamin, John) were born in Hartford, as their births were not recorded in Springfield.


In Dorchester, in 1656, almost 40 years before the witchcraft travesty in Salem, MA, Joseph Parsons filed a lawsuit for slander, seeking damages against Sarah Bridgman, wife of James Bridgman. The suit accused Sarah Bridgeman of calling Mary Bliss Parsons a witch. Sarah Bridgman's child had died and she accused Mary Parsons of causing the child's death. Other neighbors came forward with similar accusations. The quality of the evidence produced against Mary Bliss Parsons is indicated by testimony of Mrs Bridgeman on behalf of an older son, whose knee, being fractured and it being set, the child screamed in great pain that Mary Parsons was pulling his leg off and that he saw her on the shelf; when she went away, a black mouse followed her. Trial resulted in a verdict for Mary Parsons, which prompted the suit for slander, which was won by Joseph and Mary Bliss Parsons. The defendants were order to make a public apology and to pay the plaintiffs' costs: "seaven pounds, one shilling and eight pence."

But the matter did not end there.

Nineteen years later, in 1675, Mary Parsons was again accused of witchcraft when Sarah Bridgman herself died. These accusations, made by the father and the husband of the deceased, prompted the prosecution of Mary Bliss Parsons. Mary was indicted by a grand jury and imprisoned in Boston for several months and then put on trial. Her ordeal included the examination of her person by "Soberdized, Chast women to make Diligent Search upon ye body of Mary Parsons, whether any marks of witch craft might appear." She was acquitted.

Such allegations as were made against Mary Bliss Parsons, by neighbors of long standing, living within minutes of one another's homes, treating with one another virtually every day, parents of families, whose children would have know one another in every aspect of small town life – such life-threatening denunciations must surely have sundered many friendships and provoked the deepest of bitter feelings. Dorchester, after 1656, like Salem after 1691, could not have been a happy place. In this the first American generation, the Puritan experiment had turned toxic within itself.

1664, Joseph Parsons was charged with resisting a constable in his lawful duties. Court records indicate that the constable had meant to appropriate oxen belonging to Joseph Parsons for use on a public project, as decreed by county authorities. There followed "Scuffling in the busyness whereby blood was drawn between them." The charge was not denied and Joseph sold an acre and a half to the town in payment of the fine, part of which was abated owing to Joseph's apology.

Joseph was the plaintiff or defendant in several suits over money owed. Some of these were settled out of court; in some cases, payment was made through the court or a parcel of land would be sold to satisfy the debt.

On the 7th of October 1678, the General Court appointed Joseph Parsons, Sr. to be "Cornet of the Troop of Hoarse," Hampshire Co. (Maj. John Pynchon, commander). With this appointment, Joseph was third in command and the color-bearer of the Hampshire Cavalry.

Joseph Parsons died on October 9, 1683. He was probably buried in the Elm Street cemetery, in Springfield, and in 1848, reburied in a mass grave near the Pine Street entrance to the present Springfield Cemetery, when land within the cemetery was needed for the Hartford-Springfield railroad.

Children of Cornet Joseph Parsons

2.    Joseph,

3.    Benjamin, b. Springfield, Mass., Jan. 22, 1649; d. June 22, 1649.

4.   John, b. Springfield, Mass., Aug. 14, 1650; d. at Northampton, Apr. 15, 1728; m. Dec. 3, 1675, Sarah Clarke, dau. of Lieut. William and Sarah (Holton) Clarke. (Record con tinued in Vol. 1.)

5.    Samuel, b. Springfield, Mass., Jan. 23, 1652; m. (1) Elizabeth Cook; (2) Rhoda Taylor; (3) Mary Wheeler.

6.   Ebenezer, b. Northampton, Mass., 1655 ; first white child born in Northamp ton. He was killed in a battle with Indians at North- field, Mass., Sept. 8, 1675.

7.   Jonathan, b. Northampton, Mass., June 6, 1657; d. Dec. 1694; m. Mary Clark, Apr. 5, 1682 (Record continued in Vol. 1.)

8.   David, b. Northampton, Mass., Apr. 30, 1659; d. young.

9.   Mary, b. Northampton, Mass., June 27, 1661 ; d. Aug. 23, 171 1 ; m. ( 1 ) Joseph Ashley, Oct. 16, 1685, who d. May 19, 1698; m. (2) Joseph Williston.

10.  Hannah, b. Northampton, Mass., Aug. 1, 1663; d. Apr. 1, 1739; m. Pelatiah Glover, Jan. 7, 1687, who d. Aug. 22, 1737. They had eight children.

11.  Abigail, b. Northampton, Mass.,  Sept. 3, 1666; d. June 27, 1689; m. John Colton, Feb. 19, 1685. Had two children.

12 & 13.  Esther and Benjamin, b. Northampton, Mass.,  and d. Sept. 11, 1668.

14.  Hester, b. Northampton, Mass., Dec. 24, 1672; d. 1760; m. Sept. 15, 1689. Joseph Smith of Springfield. Had one child.


No. 2

        JOSEPH PARSONS (Cornet Joseph1), b. Springfield, Mass., Nov. 1, 1647; d. at Northampton, Nov., 1729; m. Mar. 17, 1669, Elizabeth Strong.

Children of Joseph Parsons

15.  Rev. Joseph, b. Jan. 11, 1672; d. Mar. 13, 1740, at Salisbury, Mass. ; m. Elizabeth, dau. of Dr. William Thompson of Braintree, Mass.

16.  Lieut. John, b. Jan. 11, 1673; d. Sept. 4, 1746; m. (1) Dec. 23, 1696, Sarah Atherton; m. (2) Mrs. Hannah (Clapp) Miller, June 12, 1729.

17.  Capt. Ebenezer, b. Dec. 31, 1675; d. July 1, 1744; m. Dec. 16, 1703, Mary (or Mercy), dau. of Samuel and Mary (French) Stebbins of Springfield.

18.  Elizabeth, b. Feb. 3, 1678; d. Apr. 17, 1763; m. Eben ezer Strong, Jr. (his 2d wife). Had six children.

19.  Rev. David, b. Feb. 3, 1680; d. 1743; m. Sarah Stebbins.

20.  Josiah, b. Jan. 2, 1682; d. Apr. 12, 1768; m. (1) Sarah Sheldon, June 22, 1710; m. (2) Mrs. Elizabeth (Edwards) Bartlett.

21.  Daniel, b. Aug. 18, 1685; d. Jan. 27, 1774; m. June 2, 1709, Abigail Cooley.

22.  Moses, b. Jan. 15, 1687; d. Sept. 25, 1754; m. Jan. 20, 1710, Abigail Ball.

23.  Abigail, b. Jan. 1, 1689; d. Aug. 17, 1763; m. Ebenezer Clark, Dec. 10, 1712. Had eight children.

24.  Noah,

 No. 24

           NOAH PARSONS (Joseph2, Cornet Joseph1), b. Aug. 15, 1692, at Northampton, Mass. ; d. Oct. 27, 1779, at Northampton ; m. Jan. 17, 1712, Mindwell, dau. of Benjamin Edwards. She d- 1775-

Children of Noah Parsons:

25.  Timothy, b. ; d. Aug. 11, 1712, an infant.

26.  Jemima, b. Nov. 17, 17 13; m. Samuel Kingsley.

27.  Elizabeth, b. Nov. 25, 1714; m. Joseph Allen.

28.  Mindwell, b. Sept. 5, 1718; m. Dec. 8, 1737, Simeon King; b. Oct. 3, 1714, son of Joseph and Mindwell (Pomeroy) King. His sister, Mindwell, m. Isaac' Parsons, son of Isaac and Lucina (Strong) Parsons.

29.  Rachel, b. Feb. 3, 1720; d. Jan. 11, 1762; m. Eliphas Clapp, son of Roger and Anna Clapp of Southamp ton, Mass.

30.  Thankful, b. Sept. 12, 1723; m. Ashley Dutton.

31.  Mary, b. Jan. 11, 1725; d. Jan. 25, 1805; m. William Bartlett.

32.  Keziah, b. July 19, 1728; m. Lieut. Noah Cook.

33.  Noah.

34.   Marion, b. Feb. 9, 1733; m. Azariah Moodey.

 35.  Margaret, b. Feb. 9, 1733; d. Dec. 31, 1814; m. (1) May, 1752, Phineas Ashley. He d. Dec. 17, 1752. She m. (2) Joseph Hutchins.

36.  Miriam, b. Feb. 17, 1734; m. Azariah Moseley.

37.  Timothy, b. July 2, 1738; m. Martha Hubbard.


No. 33

        NOAH PARSONS (Noah3, Joseph2, Cornet Joseph1), b. Feb. 6, 1731, at Northampton, Mass.; m. Jan. 9, 1755, Phebe Bartlett; b. Mar. 7, 1731, dau. of William and Abigail (Lyman) Bartlett. She d. Jan. 5, 1805. He d. Jan. 11, 1814. He was a soldier in the Revolution, serving at Boston, Lexington, Ticonderoga and East Hoosac. He built, in 1755, and lived in the Parsons Homestead shown on page 96, Vol. 1, and described by Harriet F. Kneeland in a pamphlet written for the "Betty (Parsons) Allen Chapter of the D. A. R." of Northampton. The house is now (1916) occupied by one of his descendants.

Children of Noah Parsons

38.  Noah, b. Northampton, Mass., Aug. 30, 1755; m. Sarah C. Edwards.

39.  Phebe, b. Northampton, Mass., Jan. 9, 1757; m. (1) Everett; m. (2) Oliver Clark.

40.  Sylvanus.

41.  Mindwell, b. Northampton, Mass., June 3, 1759; m. Eleazer Strong.

42.  Azariah, b. Northampton, Mass.,  Jan. 8, 1761 ; m. Feb. 15, 1785, Elizabeth Park; b. Sept. 11, 1769. They had one child, Aza riah0, b. May 2, 1794, at Worthington, Mass., who m. (1) Dec. 31, 1815, Aurelia Brewster; b. Mar. 23, 1794; m. (2) Sept. 13, 1818, Sally Moore; b. Mar. Il> I793- They had one child: Moses Brewster7; b. Sept. 29, 1816; d. Jan. 26, 1817.

43.  Anne, bapt. Northampton, Mass., Sept. 5, 1762; m. (1) Oliver Parish; m. (2) John Leland.

44.  Amasa, b. Northampton, Mass., Apr. 8, 1764; m. Hannah Bartlett..)

45.  Miriam, b. Northampton, Mass., Oct. 20, 1765 ; m. Samuel Hedges,

46.  Zerusha, b. Northampton, Mass., Sept. 1, 1767. x Keziah8, b. Sept. 17, 1769; m. Ebenezer Phelps.

47.  Gideon, b. Northampton, Mass., Jan. 5, 1771 ; m. Mercey8 Parsons.

48.  Justus, b. Northampton, Mass., Oct. 17, 1773; m. Lydia Clark.


No. 40

        SYVANUS PARSONS (Noah4, Noah3, Joseph2, Cornet Joseph1), b. July 26, 1758, at Northampton, Mass.; d. 1825; m. at Worthington, Mass., 1784, Mary Webster; b. Apr. 9, 1767, dau. of and Lois (Kinney) Webster. He was a Revolutionary soldier from Worthington.

Children of Sylvanus Parsons:

49.  Mary, b. Aug. 9, 1785; m. John Wentworth.

50.  Jerusha, b. Mar. 15, 1787, at Worthington, Mass.; m. ( 1 ) Mar., 1809, at Sherburne, N. Y., Joseph Herrick

51.  Lois, b. Aug. 17, 1788; m. Joseph Starkweather of Worthington.

52.  Phebe, b. July , 1790; m. Apr. 13, 1826, Andrew Brewster.

53.  Timothy, b. , 1794; m. Desire Curtis.

54.  Sylvanus.

55.  David, b. , 1796, at Worthington, Mass. ; m. Emily Pitkin Janes,

56.  Elizabeth, b. ; m. Jan. 5, 1826, George Sherman.  

57.  Jonathan, b.

58.  Elijah, b. ; m. Apr. 3, 1824, Wealthy Sherman.

59.  Elisha, b. ; d. in infancy.

60.  Sally, b. ; m. Kinney. 127

61.  Benjamin, b. Oct. 18, 1807; m. Huldah Briggs Wilder.


No.  54

       SYLVANUS PARSONS (Sylvanus5, Noah4, Noah3, Esq. Joseph2, Cornet Joseph1), b. at , June 17, 1795; d. Mar. 18, 1860, at Greenbush, N. Y., aged 64 yrs. 9 mos. 1 day; m. at , 181 5, Isabel Wiltse; b. Jan. 26, 1798, dau. of He owned and ran tow and passenger boats on the Hudson River.

Children of Sylvanus Parsons:

62.  Mary Elizabeth, b. May 9, 1820; m. Thomas Sewell.

63.  Harrie, b. , 1822; m. Harleigh Mather.

64.  Rachel Julia, b. Aug. 10, 1824; d. Apr. 26, 1878.

65.  Harvey Emmett.

66.  Isabel Louisa, b. ; d. aged 12.

67.  Angeline Eliza, b. ; d. aged 10.

68.  Fleming, b.

69.  Sylvanus, b.


No. 65

         HARVEY EMMETT PARSONS (Sylvanus6, Sylvanus5, Noah4, Noah3, Esq. Joseph2, Cornet Joseph1), b. Aug. 4, 1834; m. at Greenbush, N. Y., Apr. 17, 1854, Elizabeth Penfield; b. Jan. 15, 1836, at Hudson, N. Y. He was 2d Lieutenant in the 52d Regt., N. Y. Vols., and in 1871 resided at 162 Adelphi Street, Brooklyn.


Children of Harvey Emmett Parsons


70.  Sylvanus Emmett, b. Feb. 19, 1855, at Albany, N. Y. 

71.  Mary Elizabeth.

72.  Edward Penfield, b. June 20, 1859, at Brooklyn, N. Y. ; d. May 22, 1860.


Mary E. Parsons
Mary Elizabeth Parsons

No. 71

      MARY ELIZABETH PARSONS (Harvey Emmett7, Sylvanus6, Sylvanus5, Noah4, Noah3, Esq. Joseph2, Cornet Joseph1). b. at Albany, N. Y., Oct. 4, 1856; m. at Bath-on-Hudson, N.Y. Oct. 9, 1878, William F. Harmon ; b. at Lynn, Mass., May 30. 1851 ; son of Dr. William Lorenzo Harmon. He is entry clerk in a wholesale drygoods house in New York City, and resides T. No. 672 Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn. (His father, Dr. Harmon was b. in Maine, in 1809; was a graduate of Bowdoin College and lived at 215 W. 30th St., New York City, from 1851 until the Civil War, when he entered the service as surgeon and did at Baton Rouge, La., from rheumatic exhaustion in taking any of wounded in the hospital of which he was in charge.)

Children of William F. and Mary Elizabeth Parsons Harmon

73.  Maude Penfield Harmon, b. at Bath-on-Hudson, N. Y, Aug. 8, 1879; m. at Brooklyn, N. Y., Sept. 15, 190c John Almond Worcester; b. at Warren, Vt., Nor. 10, 1879; son of James B. and Ada Marie Garland Worcester. They resided at Franklin, Norfolk County, Mass.

                         Children: (1) John Worcester, b Brooklyn, N. Y., July 22, 1908.

                                      (2) Paul Harmon Worcester, b. at Somerville, Mass., Mar. 15 1912.  

74.   Geraldine Merritt Harmon, b. at Brooklyn, N. Y., Nor 8, 1890; d. July 25, 1895.

75.  Merritt Winkley Harmon, b. at Brooklyn, June 21 1895-

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