JESSE E. PARSONS
The Chanute Daily Tribune, Tuesday,
September 5, 1916, Pg. 1 & 3
Vol. XXV, No. 129
FUNERAL SERVICES VERY
THE LAWRENCE RAID HE
Had Lived in Kansas Sixty-One
and Knew Kit Carson and
Brown Well, Having
Jesse E. Parsons, a resident of
Kansas for sixty-one years, an Indian fighter, and a follower of the famous
Santa Fe trail, died at his home, 811 South Central avenue, at 6 o’clock
Sunday morning, September 3, after a long illness. Death was caused by old
The funeral services were held
from his late home at 4:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon. They were very
largely attended by those who took this opportunity of paying a final tribute of
respect to one who had done so much for the upbuilding of the state and the
The services in the home were
conducted by Rev. Charles A. Wilson, pastor of the Presbyterian church.
The Elks had charge of the interment. Besides being an Elk Mr. Parsons
belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of
Pythias and the Sons and Daughters of Justice.
Kansas 61 Years.
Mr. Parsons was 76 years old
having been born in Jackson county, Missouri, October 29, 1839. His father
moved to Kansas fifteen years later settling in Allen county, near Iola.
After a thrilling frontier life, Mr. Parsons began life as a farmer two and
one-half miles northwest of Iola, coming from there to Neosho county in March of
1870. He took a claim southeast of Chanute, which he improved and
cultivated until 1899, when he moved to the city.
He enlisted in the summer of 1861
in Company C of the First Kansas Cavalry, which was mustered into the service
the following January for three years in the Ninth Cavalry. The regiment
belonged to the frontier guards at first, but was afterwards sent to the Seventh
Corps, operating on Red river and in Lower Arkansas.
The first rebels were encountered
before the regiment got fairly away from home and before it was uniformed, but
the first real fight occurred at Timbered Hills. The chief engagements of
the next year were Locust Grove and Newtonia, Mo., and in 1863 the battle of
Prairie Grove was fought and a sort of “rough-tumble” with the enemy
was continued until Mr. Parson’s term of enlistment expired. He entered
the army as a private and was mustered out as second lieutenant of Company C in
the Ninth Kansas Cavalry, organized in October, 1868 (sic), for service on the
frontier, his regiment covering the territory from Fort Hays to Fort Sill during
the fall and winter of that year.
and School Board Member.
Mr. Parsons was elected sheriff of
the county in November 1885 and served two years. He was director on the
school board in District No. 44 for twenty-two years.
Mr. Parsons married Julia A Tye in
April of 1866. She was a daughter of Drury Tye, who settled in Allen
county in 1857. They were the parents of four children—two sons and two
daughters, of whom only the daughters survive. They are Miss Lou Parsons
and Mrs. R. M. Green, both of the home address.
Kit Carson and John Brown.
The story of Mr. Parsons’s early
life is one of continuous adventure, Fighting Indians, driving cattle over the
trackless plains, serving his country during the Civil war and driving mule
teams over the famous Santa Fe trail formed his every day occupation until he
had reached middle life. He knew Kit Carson and John Brown well, having
spent weeks with them in pioneer days.
Fifty-eight years ago he was a
member of a government party of 130 pioneers in charge of 100 wagons that made
the trip overland from Independence, Mo., over the Santa Fe trail to Fort Union,
Taos and old Santa Fe, N. M. Mr. Parsons joined the train early in the
spring of 1858. It came from Independence to Westport Landing, now Kansas
City, then followed the Kaw river to Council Grove.
After leaving the Kaw Agency at
that place they found no more settlements until they reached Bent’s Ford on
the Arkansas river, and the only white persons they saw were drivers of the
overland mail stages who passed their train from time to time.
“From the time we left Bent’s
Ford until we got to Fort Union,” Mr. Parsons said in describing this trip,
“the Utes were giving us trouble. Not a day passed but some of the
redskins were peppering away from behind the rocks. Three of our party
were wounded and we lost a number of mules. It seemed as though the rocks
were alive with Indians.”
Mr. Parsons had charge of a
force that pursued Quantrell, after the guerrilla’s raid upon Lawrence,
through Douglas, Franklin and Miami counties and over on the Missouri
Mr. Parsons had been ordered into
camp near the place where Quantrell first stopped to rest after getting back to
Missouri. From there he was engaged in riding down squads of guerrillas
until he was ordered to go to Paola and bring up more men and some supplies.
He set out through the woods to go
on the Missouri side of the line and look for guerrilla bands on the way.
He came to a steep hill covered with timber, through which the road ran.
At the top of the hill stood a fine large house. The road by which Mr.
Parsons ascended the hill came into the main road almost in front of the house.
When he came in sight of the main
road he was fifteen guerrillas ride south on it and form in line, facing the
house. Mr. Parsons motioned caution to his men and formed in the edge of
the timber 100 feet from the guerrillas without attracting attention.
He ordered a charge and fired his
revolver. His men were at the guerrillas in a moment and they broke and
ran for the timber, every man for himself. Mr. Parsons wounded some of
them, but killed none. He singled out a guerrilla finely mounted on a
splendid roan gelding and pressed him to the timber, firing three shots at him
at a range of about ten feet. The last shot knocked the man from his
horse. He ran on his hands and knees into the timber, but Mr. Parsons
always thought he must have been mortally wounded.
Where he fell Mr. Parsons found
his pistols and a short gun, also six new hats crowded one on top of the other,
in which condition he had been wearing them all the way from Lawrence.
Mr. Parsons saw that the horse was
going to escape and to prevent it shot and wounded him. He took it back to
camp, where it was recognized as General Deitzler’s fine cavalry horse which
had been taken by the guerrillas from Lawrence. Soon after getting to camp
the horse died.
Mr. Parsons was engaged for some
time in pursuing the guerrilla bands. Three or four days after crossing
the line he was on the Sni Hills in Jackson county. One of his scouts
discovered a band in brushy hill, in numbers about equal to his own force.
Mr. Parsons, with his men, crept to within 100 feet of the camp before they were
discovered. They guerrillas were just ready to eat dinner when fired on.
They scattered and three of them were killed.