Parsons – Surname Saturday

Brown-Sanford-Parsons Line
By Don Taylor

Origin of the Parsons Surname

Ancestry indicates Parsons is an occupational name for the servant of a parish priest or parson, or possibly, the parson’s son. I ignored other meanings for Parsons, from Irish and Scottish origins, because my Parsons immigrant ancestor came from Dorset in the 1600s. According to Forebears, the surname is most common in Wiltshire, while it is also numerous in counties around Wiltshire, including Dorset.

Geographical

In World: Today, Parsons has the greatest incident in the United States, with over 86,000 people having the surname.

In Dorset, England, where my earliest ancestors lived, there are 881 people with the surname.

In the US, there is a greater incidence of Parsons living in California and Texas. In the 1880 Census, the most incidences of Parsons were in New York and Massachusetts. My Parson ancestors left New York in the 1820s and were in Michigan during the 1880 Census.

Direct Parsons Ancestors

51 – Mary Electa Parsons(1828-1888) – 3rd Great Grandmother
102 – Chester Parsons(1799-1887) – 4th Great-Grandfather
204 – John Parsons(1764-1813) – 5th Great-Grandfather
408 – John Parsons Sr. (1737/38-1821) – 6th Great-Grandfather
816 – Timothy Parsons (1695-1772) – 7th Great-Grandfather*
1632 – Samuel Parsons (1653-1734) – 8th Great-Grandfather*
3264 – Joseph Parsons (1620-1683) – 9th Great-Grandfather*
6528 – William Parsons (___-___) – 10th Great-Grandfather*

* Note: I have not fully reviewed or recearched ancestors #816 or higher.

Historical

In 1840, Chester Parsons was living in Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan. His household included himself, his wife Deborah, and six children. There were eight Parsons families in Washtenaw County during the census. Chester and his brother lived in Saline.

In 1880, Chester’s father, John Parsons Jr,  was the head of the household in Sandisfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. His household included a wife and one child.  Chester’s Grandfather, John Parsons Sr., was also the head of a household. John’s household consisted of himself, five females and three males. They were two of the nine Parsons households in the county.

My earliest known Parsons immigrant ancestor is Joseph Parsons. He came to the colonies between 1629 and 1646. It isn’t clear whether he first came to Massachusetts (where he died) or Connecticut (where he married Mary Bliss in 1646).

Photographic History

Chester Parsons

A drawing of Chester Parsons was printed in the History of Washtenaw County, Michigan. His is one of the earliest ancestor images I have.

There is a copyrighted drawing of his home in: York, Saline, Ypsilanti, Lyndon, Sharon (Mich.) Township residences, ca. 1874; 1874. Page 105. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed: April 02, 2018.

There are photos of the Parsons family marker and Chester’s individual marker via Find-a-Grave.

Likewise, there is a photo of the marker of John Parsons, Jr., on Find-a-Grave.

Direct Parsons Descendants

My earliest known ancestor, William Parsons, married Margaret Hoskins sometime before 1620, probably in Beaminster, Dorset, England.  My records have identified 868 direct-line descendants of William and Margaret.

My most recent, known Parsons cousins are children of Alfred David Parsons (1830-1908) and Percia Tallmage (___-___). They had five children between 1861 and 1873, all were born in Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan. They are 1st cousins, 4x removed.

Sources:

  • Ancestry Surname Page: http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts
  • Forebears Surnames Page: https://forebears.io/surnames
  • Ancestry – Don Taylor’s Roberts-Brown 2021 tree (Private) accessed 23 July 2021.

Orson Barber of Calhoun County and the Early Censuses

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

My 2nd great-grandfather, Franklin E. Barber, was born in Sheridan (Township) Calhoun County, Michigan His marriage record said he was 28 years old and when he married in Calhoun County in November 1869. Likewise, he lived in Calhoun County during the 1870 and 1880 Censuses.

  • 1841 – Born in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County.
  • 1869 – Married in Calhoun County.
  • 1870 – Census lived in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County.
  • 1880 – Census Lived in Albion, Calhoun County.

Because his known life events prior to 1897 all take place in Calhoun County, I am hypnotizing that he probably lived in Calhoun County during the 1860 and 1850 Censuses. Searches for him during these censuses have been unsuccessful, so I thought I’d take a closer look at Barber families in Calhoun County of the 1840s, 50s, and 60s. In the 1840 Census, there were two Barber households in Calhoun County, Orson and Thomas. First, I’ll look at Orson Barber and learn about him.

Orson Barber of Calhoun County, MI

1840 Census

Orson Barber’s household in Pinckney, Calhoun County consisted of:

  • 1 Male, under 5          [Asa J] v. (b. 1835-1840)
  • 1 Male, 20 thru 29      Orson b. (b. 1810-1820)
  • 1 Female, Under 5      [Clarissa A.] (b. 1835-1840)
  • 1 Female, 20 to 29      [Mary A.] (b. 1810-1820)

I was really confused by this entry. Pinckney is located in Putnam Township, Livingston County, Michigan, however, the 1840 Census apparently places Pinckney in Calhoun county, two counties away. Regardless of where Orson Barber and family were in 1840, they definitely moved to Calhoun county in 1843.

1843 – Land Purchase

On 1 February 1843, Orson Barber and Henry L. White of Calhoun County acquired 38.11 acres, the SE¼ of the NW¼ of Section 24 in township One (Clarence Township) South of Range 4 West.

Current map/view of Calhoun County showing where Orson Barber’s farm was in 1843.

1850 Census

The 1850 Census found Orson Barber and family living in Tekonsha Township:

  • Name              Age      Born                Occupation     Real Estate Value
  • Orson              37        New York        Farmer            (Blank)
  • Mary A.           35        Connecticut
  • Clarissa A.       14        New York
  • Asa J.               12        New York        Attended School ¼
  • Harriet L.         5          Michigan         Attended School

1860 Censuses

Orson Barber – The 1860 Census found Orson living in Clarence Township.

  • Name              Age      Born                Occupation     Real Estate Value
  • Orson              49        New York        Farmer            $900
  • Mary A.           46        Connecticut    Housekeeper
  • Asa J.               22        New York        Farmer Labour
  • Harriet L.         15        Michigan         Domestic
  • Martha            20        Michigan         Domestic
  • Frances A.       5          Michigan

It appears that Clarissa is no longer in the household (married, moved, or died).

It appears that Asa married Martha and had a daughter, Frances.

Orson’s farm value in 1860 was the second lowest of the five farms on the census page, which ranged from $800 to $4,000. Still, his farm had 120 acres, 80 of which was improved.

1870 Census

None of the Orson Barber family appear in the 1870 Census in Calhoun County, Michigan. Other researchers suggest he located to Ingham County, Michigan, and he died and was buried there in 1893.

Facts of Orson Barber’s Life

  • 1813 – Orson Barber was born between 1810 and 1813 in New York.
  • 1835 – He married Mary A. [LNU] about 1835.
  • 1836 – His daughter Clarissa was born in New York.
  • 1838 – His son Asa was born in New York.
  • 1840 – He was enumerated in Calhoun County.
  • 1843 – He purchased 38 acres in Clarence Township, Calhoun County, Michigan.
  • 1845 – His daughter Harriet L. was born in Michigan.
  • 1850 – He was farming in Tekonsha Township, Calhoun County, Michigan.
  • 1860 – He was farming in Clarence Township, Calhoun County, Michigan.
  • 1893 – He died in Ingham County, Michigan.

Orson Barber appears in the Agriculture Schedules for 1850 and 1860.

  • Items                             1850    1860
  • Acres Improved            35        80
  • Acres Unimproved      20        40
  • Cash Value of Farm    400      900
  • Value Imp. & Mach.    40        60
  • Horses                            –           2
  • Asses & Mules            –
  • Milch Cows                 2          3
  • Working Oxen            –
  • Other Cattle                –           6
  • Sheep                            –           40
  • Swine                            –           6
  • Value of Live tock       25        252
  • Wheat                             50        150
  • Rye                                 –
  • Indian Corn                 40        250
  • Oats                                              140
  • Rice                               –
  • Tobacco                      –
  • Cotton
  • Wool                                             130

Although it appears that Orson moved around, he seems to have improved with each move. Certainly, his original 38 acres in Clarence Township was unimproved in 1843. By 1850, he had 55 acres, 35 acres had been improved in Tekonsha Township. And by 1860 he had 80 improved acres out of 120 total back in Clarence Township.  Without a doubt, Orson had a prosperous life.

Arthur Brown in the Censuses

Census Sunday
Brown Line
By Don Taylor

Introduction

I have long believed that Arthur Durwood Brown, my great-grandfather was the son of William Henry Brown and not the son of Henry Mack Brown. I think that the 1870 and 1880 Census records contribute greatly to that belief.

1870 Census

Other records have long identified that Arthur Durwood Brown was born in December 1869 and the Census Record for Arthur confirms that. It shows the Henry Brown family as consisting of any apparent husband and wife with two children.[i] Henry is a farm laborer and Marian is keeping house. Children Nittie and Arthur are 3 years and 7/12 years old respectively. Because Arthur was born during the previous year, his month of birth, “Dec,” was also enumerated. Twenty-five-year-old Henry is a farm laborer and 23-year-old Marian is keeping house.  There is no entry for Henry owning property.

Immediately following Henry and family are William Sanford, his wife Mary and four apparent children. William’s farm is the most valuable farm on the page, valued at $10,000. So, it appears to me that Henry, who is married to William’s daughter, is most likely a farm hand on William’s farm.

1870 Census – Henry Brown & William Sanford – Detail

1880 Census.

The 1880 Census is the first census which shows the relationship between individuals. Henry Brown is the head of the family, Marian is his wife, and 10-year-old Arthur is enumerated with his younger siblings, Charles, Mary, Almond, Clifford, William, Clyde, and Addison. Nittie, who should be 13 during the 1880 Census, isn’t enumerated.

1880 Census – Henry Brown – Detail
1880 Census – Marion Brown & Children – Detail

William Sanford’s family is enumerated on the same page as Marian as in the 1870 Census.

1890 Census

Not available.  Please see: Census.Gov > History > Genealogy > Decennial Census Records > Availability of 1890 Census.

1900 Census

The 1900 Census finds Arthur D. Brown married with children living in Township 136, Ranges 25-29, Crow Wing County Minnesota. The census reports that he was born in December, 1870, and was 29-years-old—A minor error. He had been married for seven years and had three children. His 21-year-old wife, Mary, had had four children, one who had died.[ii] The three children enumerated were.

      • Clyde             Born Feb 1894
      • Victoria        Born June 1896
      • Clarence      Born Dec 1897

1910 Census

The 1910 Census finds the Arthur Brown household had moved west to North Dakota and lived near Merkle, Kidder County. With him are his wife, daughter Victoria and his three youngest (at the time) children, Cora, Clifford (my grandfather), and Edward. There is an eight year gap between Clifford and Edward, suggesting a lost child.[iii]

1920 Census

The 1920 Census finds the Arthur Brown household had moved back to Minnesota and were renting a home in Sylvan Township, Cass County. With him are his wife, Mary, and five children, Clifford (my grandfather), Edward, Arthur, Charles, and Delores.

Death

Arthur Durwood Brown died on 27 August 1928 in Walker, Cass County, Minnesota. He is buried in Gull River Cemetery, Pillager, Cass County, Minnesota.


Sources

  • 1870 Census (NARA), 1870 – Henry Brown – Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan. “United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHC NMT : 19 March 2020), Arthur Brown in entry for Henry Brown, 1870.
  • 1880 Census, 1880 – Henry Brown – Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW3 CST : 26 August 2017), Arthur Brown in household of Henry Brown, Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district ED 237, sheet 276B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,609.
  • 1900 Census, 1900 Census – Arthur D Brown – Twnp 136, Crow Wing, Minnesota. Family Search.
  • 1910 Census, 1910 – Arthur D Brown – Merkel, Kidder, North Dakota. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MLGT-WDB : accessed 10 March 2019), Arthur D Brown, Merkel, Kidder, North Dakota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 225, sheet 4A, family 67, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1142; FHL microfilm 1,375,155.
  • 1920 Census, 1920 Census – Arthur Brown – Sylvan Township 133, Range 30, Cass County, Minnesota. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M4MW-7MK : accessed 24 September 2020), Arthur Brown, Sylvan, Cass, Minnesota, United States; citing ED 109, sheet 4B, line 67, family 71, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 824; FHL microfilm 1,820,824.
  • Find a Grave, Internet, Arthur Durwood Brown (1868-1928) – Memorial 87334615. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 24 September 2020), memorial page for Arthur Durwood Brown (1868–27 Aug 1928), Find a Grave Memorial no. 87334615, citing Gull River Cemetery, Cass County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Don Taylor (contributor 47627546).

 Endnotes:

[i] The 1870 Census did not provide relationship information.

[ii] Subsequent Research had indicated that the child was Martin. Born in 1900 and died before June 1, 1900.

[iii] There was one—Dorothy was born sometime between 1905 and 1907 and died in 1908.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 69

Palace Theatres

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at four clippings about the Palace Theater. from the Donna Darling Collection

Palace Theatre – Port Richmond

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace Theatre – Port Richmond.
  • The show is the “Donna Darling & Boys” in “As You Like It.”
  • Also, on the bill:
    • Bert Lahr & Mercedes in “What’s the Idea?”
    • Malloy & Cowell – Comedy Sketch “Hogan the Mummy”
    • Rose Garden – Comedy song & Piano
  • Coming attractions include:
    • May 8, 9, 10—Richard Talmadge, Douglas Fairbanks’ only rival, in “The Unknown.”

Analysis

The first of these clippings relates to the Palace Theatre of Port Richmond. Although it is undated, it mentions the show following, the movie “The Unknown,” will come May 8, 9, and 10. Donna Darling & Boys “As You Like It” appears to have opened in June 1921 and ran until June 1924. “Pay Day” with Charlie Chaplin was released in April 1922. So, I’m confident this ad was from May 4, 5, & 6, 1922. Port Richmond is a section of Philadelphia and there was a Lehigh Palace Theatre it is in Glenwood about three miles from Port Richmond but it doesn’t seem to fit the ad.

Port Richmond is also a neighborhood in Staten Island. Also, it had a Palace Theatre which operated from before 1916 into the 1950s. Additionally, Donna Darling & Boys played at the Crescent Theatre in Perth Amboy, only 17 miles away, immediately following the Palace Theatre gig. As such, I am confident this is evidence that Donna and the Boys, played at the Palace Theatre in Port Richmond, Staten Island, New York May 4-6, 1922.

Conclusion

May 6-8, ?, 1922 – Port Richmond (Staten Island) – Palace Theatre – Donna Darling & Boys in “As you Like It” – DDC-69.

Palace Theatre – Detroit, Michigan

The next two are the cover and inside of a program showing what is coming next week.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace Theatre – Detroit, Michigan.
  • The show is the “Donna Darling and her Bathing Girl Revue” and includes the “Comedy Life Guards”
  • Also on the Program:
    • Tom Brown Presents “Seven Gifted Chinese Musicians” With their Oriental Stringed Octette.
    • Meredith and Miller in “Bring ‘em In”
    • Harry Oliver and Ada Lee in “At the Stage Door” by Jimmy Barry
    • Fayette and Co. “Spectacular and Comedy Illusions”
    • Three Runseys in “An Athletic Surprise”
    • Movie: Emil Jannings in “The Last Laugh”
  • Date: Unknown (Next Week)

Analysis

Thanks to Genealogy Bank, I learned previously that Donna Darling’s Bathing Beauties played at the Palace Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 7th & 8tt, 1925. Clearly, this program is from that showing.

I find it interesting that, presumably, Tom Brown and his Saxophone Clowns (from the Chin Chin Days) morphed into a “Chinese Octette.”

The Bathing Beauty on the inside, “One of the Ten Hollywood Bathing Beauties” does not appear to be Donna. It is rare that Donna ever allowed any of the other women in the show to be displayed in advertising.

Conclusion

Add images to existing files I have regarding Donna playing at the Palace Theatre.

Palace Theatre – “Dolly Montrose”

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace – The Home of Supreme Vaudeville (Location unknown)
  • The show of interest is “Dolly Montrose – Singing Comedienne”
  • Also on the Program:
    • Beyer & McNulty in their comedy hit “Hunting”
    • Bill Browing—The Talkative Man
    • ??? eley and La Rose—Some Team
    • ??? Lone Star & Co. – Songs and Dances
    • Movie: “Diamonds Adrift” starring Earl Williams
  • Date: Unknown (Probably early 1921)

Analysis

This fragment is intriguing. The Big Vitagraph Feature is “Diamonds Adrift” starring Earl Williams which was released in January 1921. The clipping does not mention Donna but does portray a “Dolly Montrose – Singing Comedienne.” Donna occasionally used the name “Dolly” in her early career, but I’ve not seen “Montrose” ever used before. It may have been a typo, but I suspect something else.

Donna’s known career in early 1921 is lacking many venues. I suspect there was a week in February where Donna didn’t have any shows with her Bathing Beauties and wanted to keep working so she got a gig as a “Singing Comedienne” named Dolly Montrose. A name different enough to not be an embarrassment to her Bathing Beauties show.

Actions

Although my speculation may be right, unless I find corroborating information, I’m just going to just keep this clipping aside and see if something else comes to light.

Chester Parsons in the News – Lawsuit Settled & Real Estate for Sale

In the News
By Don Taylor

 In the News” is my reporting of discovered newspaper articles and advertising regarding ancestors I am researching.  Chester Parsons is a fourth great-grandfather of mine. The information found in newspapers often raises more questions and more research areas, but invariably provide fresh texture to understanding the life of an ancestor.

Chester Parsons’ Lawsuit

This week from The Statemen, (Marshall, Michigan) dated 11 December 1885, Column 4, Paragraph 4.  

Circuit court convened Monday afternoon and up to date the following cases have been disposed of: … Chester Parsons vs. Eva E. Jewett, settled; ….

So, we don’t know what their beef was, that will take further research with the circuit court, but it might be interesting to learn.

 

Chester Parsons’ Real Estate Sale

This week from The Daily Chronicle, (Marshall, Michigan) dated 11 December 1885, Column 4, top item.

REAL ESTATE FOR SALE—State of Michigan, County of Washtenaw—as.

In the matter of the estate of Chester Parsons deceased.

Notice is hereby given, that in pursuance of an order granted to the undersigned administrator of the estate of said Chester Parsons by the Hon. Judge of Probate for the County of Washtenaw, on the twenty eighth day of January A. D. 1888, there will be sold at public vendue to the highest bidder, at the front door of the store building on the premises below described in the city of Marshall, in the county of Calhoun; in said State, on Wednesday the 21st day of March A. D. 1888, at two o’clock in the afternoon of that day (subject to all encumbrances by mortgage or otherwise existing at the time on the death of said deceased the following described Real Estate, towit:

All that certain piece or parcel of land situated in the city of Marshall, in Calhoun county and State of Michigan, known and described as follows towit: Commencing at a point seventy (70) feet and three inches east from the south west corner of block thirteen (13) according to the recorded plot of said city, running thence north one hundred and twenty two (122) feet to an alley thence west along the north line of State Street to the place of beginning.

Dated, Ann Arbor, January 28, 1888
         COMSTOCK F. HILL
            Administrator

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Marshall, Michigan, Block 13, showing the property described above.

Chester Parsons died in 1887, so his property going into probate sale in 1888 makes complete sense. From this article, I learned that besides the farm out on Clinton Road, Chester owned property in nearby Marshall.  Looking at the Sanborn Fire Map from the year indicates that he owned a restaurant.

Today, the (apparent) location is “The Mole Hole” a unique gifts shop.

Follow-up

Who was Eva E. Jewett and what was the lawsuit that Chester and Eva settled?

What was Chester Parsons’ interest in the property in Marshall?