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Posted By: Jean Kramer (email)
Date: 11/17/2003 at 14:41:35

Biography reproduced from page 298 of Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913:

Gillespie M. Parsons is now living retired and his rest is well merited, for it has followed years of close application to business, in which industry, diligence and perseverance have played an important part. He was born in western Michigan, July 2, 1843, his parents being Alanson C. and Harriet (Woodruff) Parsons. The parents came to Kossuth county in 1866. The father had been a practicing physician in Michigan but on account of ill health did not follow his profession in this county.

Gillespie M. Parsons pursued his education in the schools of his native state and at the outbreak of the Civil war, although only nineteen years of age, enlisted in response to the countryís call for aid, joining the Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry. He served throughout the entire period of the war in spite of the fact that he was wounded in an engagement with Morganís band of guerrillas in Taylor county, Kentucky, while the company of about two hundred and forty men to which he belonged was successfully defending a bridge against Morganís men, numbering more than two thousand. He still has in his possession the bullet that caused his wound. It is mounted as a watch charm and he carries it proudly with himóthe silent witness of the injury which he sustained while he was loyally defending the Union cause.

At the close of the war Mr. Parsons returned to his home in Michigan and in the spring of 1866 came to Kossuth county, working on his fatherís farm for three years thereafter. In 1869 he began farming on his own account, having purchased land which he cultivated and improved until 1900, winning recognition during that period as one of the leading and representative agriculturists of the district. He then rented his farm and went to Des Moines, where he resided for a year, but in October, 1901, returned to Algona and in connection with his son purchase the drug business of Durant Brothers, the pioneer druggists of the city. They conducted the store successfully under the firm name of W. A. Parsons & Company until 1908, when they sold out and the father retired from active business. This step was made possible by the success which he had achieved as the direct outcome of earnest, persistent labor and straightforward dealing throughout the entire period of his business career.

On the 23d of February, 1868, Mr. Parsons was united in marriage to Miss Mary A. Baker, a daughter of Mrs. Rachel Baker, of Cresco township, this county. Her father died in the state of New York, after which the mother came with her family to the west, traveling by teams across the country and establishing her home in pioneer days in Cresco township. Mrs. Parsons died June 6, 1911, as the result of a runaway accident, leaving a family of eight children. Rachel H., the eldest, born November 24, 1868, is the wife of F. H. Shackelford, of Algona, and they have a son Hugh. William A., born March 6, 1870, married Jessie Hunter and has three children. He is a pharmacist in Isabel, South Dakota, and also owns a homestead claim in that state. Joseph N., born November 23, 1871, is living with his father. Laura A., born March 19, 1873, is the wife of M. W. Burtis, a farmer of Irvington township, and they have five children. Morris G., born January 8, 1877, married Pearl Patterson, by whom he has three children, and they reside on a farm in Irvington township. John J., who was born October 9, 1878, is a railway postal clerk living in St. Paul, Minnesota. He married Clara Anderegg and they have three children. David A., born January 11, 1883, who is a pharmacist of Tulsa, Oklahoma, married Blanche Buckland and they have one son. A. W., born February 6, 1885, is also a druggist and makes his home in Algona.

Mr. Parsons has been prominent in local affairs and while a resident of Sherman township filled a number of offices including that of town clerk and justice of the peace. He was also a school director. His neighbors were ever appreciative of his good judgment, his ability and his fidelity to the duties devolving upon him. He is a charter member of Prudence Lodge, No. 205, F. & A. M., and has filled the office of junior deacon at different times. He is also a member of the Eastern Star lodge of Algona. Like all loyal veterans of the Civil war he has taken a deep interest in the Grand Army of the Republic and is a member of James C. Taylor Post, No. 165, of which he was formerly commander and is now quartermaster. He has also represented his local post in the state encampments. In all relations of citizenship he is as true and loyal to his country as when he followed the old flag on southern battlefields, risking danger and death to protect the interest of an undivided nation.


Kossuth Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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