Buena Vista County, IA
IAGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 390-92.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Maroni Parsons

Maroni Parsons, now living retired in Newell, has passed the seventy-sixth milestone on life's journey.  His has been an active, useful and honorable career and the rest which he is now enjoying has come to him as the merited reward of earnest, honorable labor.  He started on life's journey at Brownhelm, Lorain county, Ohio, November 11, 1812.  He was a grandson of Benjamin Parsons, a native of the state of New York and a farmer by occupation, who served his country as a soldier in the war of 1812.  He married Miss Phillips and both lived to a ripe old age.  They had six sons and six daughters, all of whom are married and reared families of their own.  This number included Thorit Parsons, who was born in the Empire state and was a farmer by occupation.  At an early day he removed westward to Ohio and settled in Lorain county, where he resided until 1833, when he began business in Missouri, taking up his abode in Caldwell county, that state.  Two years later he removed to Clay county, where he lived for two years, and on the expiration of that period went to Hancock county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming for eight years.  His next home was in Iowa county, Wisconsin.  After two years there passed, the county was divided, the south half being called Lafayette.  He removed to that district, where he spent his remaining days, his death occurring in l863 when he was sixty-one years of age.  His early religious faith was that of the Methodist church, but he afterward joined the Mormons and his wife was connected with the same society.  Mrs. Parsons bore the maiden name of Mary Page and she, too, was a native of New York.  Her father died in middle life, while her mother, Rachel Page, reached an advanced age.  They reared a large family, including Mrs. Parsons, who, surviving her husband, died in Iowa county, Iowa.  By her marriage she became the mother of two sons and three daughters:  Caroline, the widow of Horace Weaver, of Boise City, Idaho; Maroni; Amy, the deceased wife of George W. Pilgrim, of Independence, Missouri; .John K., who is living in Darlington, Wisconsin; and Izency, the wife of Elmas Baker, of Freeport, Illinois.


In taking up the personal history of Mr. Parsons we present to our readers the life record of one who is widely and favorably known in this portion of the state.  He was reared in manhood in Wisconsin to the age of thirteen years, spending his youthful days on the farm and early becoming familiar with all the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist.  When fifteen years of age he began earning his own livelihood by working as a farm hand by the month and was thus employed up to the time of his marriage.  He afterward rented land and thus engaged in farming on his own account for a few years, when he invested the capital he had saved from his earnings in forty acres of timber land.  Clearing away the trees he converted the tract into a good farm, which he continued to cultivate until 1864, when his patriotic spirit was aroused by the continued attempts of the south to overthrow the Union and he joined Company E, of the Forty-third Wisconsin Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war.  He participated in the battle of Johnsonville and was on duty as a private.


When hostilities had ended and the country no longer needed his aid Mr. Parsons returned home and resumed farming.  He bought out the interests of the other brothers in his father's old homestead, comprising one hundred and twenty acres, to which he added a tract of eighty acres, having previously sold his first forty acres.  Upon the old home place he lived until 1885 and then came to Buena Vista county, Iowa, where he bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Coon township.  Upon this he lived for seven years, at the end of which time he took up his abode in Newell in 1892.  Here he has since lived retired and now owns a nice home in the town, but sold his farming property in 1899.  His life has been one of unceasing industry and his perseverance and diligence constitute the salient features of his success.


On the 22d of May', 1853, Mr. Parsons was united in marriage to Miss Catharine Jane Sawdey, who was born about two miles from Penn Yan, New York, May 16, 1834, a daughter of Elijah and Catharine (Briggs) Sawdey, who were natives of that state.  They removed from New York to Pennsylvania and thence to Lafayette county, Wisconsin, where the mother died three years later.  In 1864 the father fell from a hickorynut [sic] tree and was killed.  They had ten children, of whom Francis M., Orrin, James, Jerry, Catharine Jane and Cynthia reared children.  Five brothers of the family, Francis, Orrin, Elijah, James and Jeremiah served as soldiers in the Civil war, being loyal defenders of the Union.  The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Parsons was Benjamin Sawdey.  He was of Welsh descent and lived near Penn Yan, New York.  He served his country as a soldier in the war of 1812.  The maternal grandfather, also a native of the Empire state, married Catharine Briggs and they had four children.


Unto Mr. and Mrs. Parsons were born nine children:  Arietta V., the eldest, is the deceased wife of William McKnight and they had five children, of whom four are now living; Ira, Louise, Delia and David; Izeney is the wife of Harrison Ellis, of Storm Lake, and they have three children:  Arietta, Archie and Genoa; Charles H., a farmer near Carthage, Missouri, married Etta Hill, who died leaving two children, Earl and Orin, and after the death of his first wife he wedded Lizzie Peterson, by whom he had four children, Vernie, Charles, Esther and Catharine; Ollie A. is the wife of Henry Warren, of Webster county, Iowa, and has three children, Bernice, Elgin and Lettie; Hattie B. is the wife of Andrew Giffin, of Rockford, Illinois, and they have three children:  Hazel, Mildred and Catharine; Louise M. is a school teacher and is not married; Mary C. is the wife of Dr. Harvey Marvin, of Sioux City, Iowa; Corina is the wife of William G. Davie, of Newell; Louella died in infancy.


Mr. and Mrs. Parsons are Baptists in religious faith and are people of the highest respectability, their many good qualities having won for them the confidence and esteem of all who know them.  Mr. Parsons belongs to Newell Lodge, No. 232, I. O. O. F., and to Newell Post, No. 410. G. A. R.  His political views are in accord with the republican party and he has held various township offices, including that of marshal of Newell, in which capacity he served for three years.  Whatever tends to advance the interests of the community receives his endorsement, and at all times he has been known as a public-spirited citizen.  He belongs to that class of men who have been the architects of their own fortunes.  Whatever success he has attained and enjoyed has come to him as a reward of his earnest persistent labor.