yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

From Lillye Younger, The History of Decatur County Past and Present (Southhaven, MS: Carter Printing Company, 1978).
Special thanks to Constance Collett for permission to make these web pages.

In Memory of Lillye Washburn Younger 1912-1998.


Chapter XIV

Clarence Parsons

James Franklin Parsons 1863 - 1961.
Great Nephew of Dr. John Parsons

The Parsons' are of English ancestry. Two of the first to immigrate to America was Joseph and Benjamin Parsons. They came to this country about 1636. In 1634, their father, Sir Thomas Parsons, was knighted by King Charles I. Both Joseph and Benjamin settled in or around Springfield, Mass. and their descendents migrated to Virginia and North Carolina. About 1840 these Parsons' descendents came to Tennessee and settled in Middle Tennessee (Bedford County) and west Tennessee (Decatur and Henderson Counties). The three brothers who came from Randolph County, North Carolina were: George Parsons, II, William "Billy" Parsons, and Dr. John Parsons.

George Parsons settled in or near Shelbyville, Tenn. and many of his descendents still live there.

William Parsons lived in Henderson and Decatur Counties and was a farmer.

Dr. John Parsons also settled in these two counties, living in what is now known as Parsons, Tenn., and practiced medicine here in this area for about 50 years. Dr. Parsons owned several pieces of land at one time or another, and according to the records in the State Archives in Nashville, owned 300 acres north of railroad track in Parsons. This railroad, built in the 1880's, ran from Memphis to Perryville. The officials of this, the Tennessee Midland Railroad, honored Dr. Parsons by naming the town of Parsons, Tennessee for him.

The Parsons' have been farmers, educators and professional men. One of these is Joe Parsons, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Parsons of Scotts Hill. Joe is Dean of Men and Chairman of the Math Dept. of The University of North Carolina at Asheville and is married to the former Martha Elizabeth (Betty) Davis, a direct descendent of Jefferson Davis.

Most Parsons' descendents were not very prolific and as is often the case, many re-located in other counties and states after they were grown. These facts make it somewhat difficult to trace parts of the family history.

The only direct descendent of Dr. John Parsons who still resides in Parsons, Tennessee is James Ralph Parsons.

[Note: The remainder of this sketch has an outline/column style. It has been scanned as images for convenience.]

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