The William Milton & Amelia Barker
Submitted by Jon Goodman
Click on Photos for larger view
My great-grandparents, William Milton PARSONS and wife Amelia Barker were among the early pioneers of Cowley Co. They were known as "Uncle Milt and Aunt Millie" by nieces and nephews. Deed records show by 1879 the PARSONS paid $125 for their first farm land purchase of 40-acres in Rock Creek Township. The population in 1870 was 160.
They came from Boxley, Hamilton Co. Indiana with five of their first six children; Mary Landra, Anise Isadora, John Everett, (my grandfather), Eliza Alice and Peter Fields. Jesse died the day he was born. Born in Rock were; Peter Elfonzo, Zora Francis and twins Milton and Milford. William was born 6 October 1837 at PARSONS Mill on Deep River, SE of Greensboro, Guilford Co, North Carolina. The Mill was built, owned and operated by William's grandparents, James William PARSONS.and Mary FIELDS. Their Wesleyan Methodist Church was the first in the state to preach that slavery was morally wrong. William later told niece, Theodosia Parsons, he had seen preachers dragged from their pulpits by pro-slavery mobs and beaten, one being killed. PARSONS Mill was used as a "station" on the Undeground Railroad.
When he was fourteen in 1852, William's mother, Jane Mariah STANFORD died, Because of their anti-slavery beliefs, in 1856, William's father, Peter Fields PARSONS decided to join the great pre-civil war migration of abolitionists to northern states. By horse drawn wagon Peter and his eight motherless children, age 22 to 5, migrated to Putnam Co. Indiana.
On 7 August 1861, William, became the first of the five of the six sons of Peter and Jane to lay aside his plow and answer President Lincoln's call for 600,000 volunteers. He enlisted for three years and served in Company "A" of the 27th. Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He fought at Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and in the Atlanta Campaign, being wounded at Kolbs Farm on 22 June 1864. William was discharged at the Chattahoochee River on 1 September 1864, the day Confederates abandoned Atlanta. William made his way home riding atop railroad cars and empty flatcars.
He married Amelia 29 October 1868 in Boxley, Indiana. After moving to Rock, the PARSONS built their home on what became Williams Street, between the Railroad tracks and Highway 77. It was to become the "PARSONS Place", a center for family reunions for the next half century. It was here family members gathered each Memorial Day, making the three-mile trip out the Rock-Atlanta Road to Widener Cemetery to place flags and flowers at family headstones.
AMELIA PARSONS - picture to the left
By 1940 the PARSONS home was one of the few places in Rock that had a water pump in the kitchen, most being in the backyard. The widowed PARSONS daughter, Nora SMITH, lived there until her death in 1959. The house burned down in 1990. William died 16 August 1915. Amelia died 20 May 1924. Both are buried in Widener Cemetery along with thirty other PARSONS family members including my grandparents, John Everett PARSONS and Daisy BROWN, (aka Delphine Bolduc Bouvier). John, born in Boxley 19 June 1875, died 14 January 1970. Daisy, born in Plattsburgh, Clinton Co. NY 6 August 1873, died 21 October 1924. Their daughter, Aliene, born Rock 11 August 1913, died In Canoga Park, Los Angeles Co, California 24 January 1989.
From about 1915 to early 1920 when they moved to Wichita with my 6-year-old mother, Aliene LaBuvia PARSONS, my grand parents operated the Palace Hotel. It stood on the Southside of the Rock-Atlanta road east of Highway 77. It consisted of two stories, with the front door facing north. The main floor had a large dining room and kitchen. Also a place for a day bed. The second floor had five sleeping rooms. Some of the patrons were oil field and road construction workers.
John Everett Parson and sisters Mary Nora (Smith) and Alice Parsons at the graves of their parents William & Amelia Parsons. Widener Cemetery, Rock.
Amelia's death date was etched in the stone in December 1991.
From about 1915 to early 1920s, operated by John Everett & Daisy Parsons
Rock Santa Fe Depot
1886 - 1958
Rock Grade School attended by the Parsons children from 1877 - 1922
Rock Methodist Ladies' Aid Society outside of the home of William & Amelia Parsons - 1913
Front row from left:
1. Laura Smith - daughter of Nora Parsons Smith
3. Viva Stage - daughter of Anna Parsons Stage
5. Meryl Parsons - daughter of Orlando Parson
Second row from right:
1. Sarah Sims - neighbor from accross the street
2. Anna Parsons Stage - daughter of William & Amelia
3. Cordelia Parsons' son Eugene in Anna's arms
4. Amelia Parsons - holding onto wire fence
Back row from right:
1. William Parsons
These are the only known identities. If anyone knows of additional names, please let us know
1882 Map showing Parsons property
Submitted by Jon Goodman
Tom & Carolyn Ward, Columbus, KS
|Assistant State Coordinator|
Nancy Trice, Madisonville, KY