History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, 1879.

Joseph Clark Parsons

Joseph Clark Parsons.

In the year 1636 there was executed by a number of Indian chiefs a deed to the land on which Springfield, Mass., now stands, and as a witness to this instrument we find the name of Joseph Parsons, Esq., and from this gentleman Mr. Joseph Clark Parsons traces his descent, the line being Joseph (known as the "Cornet"), Joseph Jr., Noah, Noah, Jr., (who was collector of taxes in 1777 for the "State of Massachusetts Bay"), Mr. J.C. Parsons now having in his possession his original warrant signed by Henry Gardner, Esq., treasurer and receiver-general, authorizing him to collect taxes to the amount of £579 7s. 0¼d. Next we find, after Noah, Jr., Justice, the father of Mr. Joseph C. Mr. Parsons was born at Northampton, Mass., Feb. 6, 1814. His mother was Lydia Clark. He was educated at the Northampton Academy, and at the age of fourteen began to learn the drug business. In 1834 he entered into business relations with Mr. Henry Stearns in drugs, medicines, and groceries. They continued in this business until 1839, when Mr. Parsons sold his interest and purchased a farm in the town of Agawam, Mass., where he has made his home more or less since. In the year 1840 he took charge of Ames Brothers' Mill at Northampton, the original paper-makers in the Connecticut Valley. In 1843 he took charge of their mill and business at South Hadley Falls, Mass., but, this mill being destroyed by fire in the same year, he purchased a paper-mill at Suffield, Conn., and formed the "Eagle Mills Company," with a capital of $30,000, changing the mill from a hand- to a machine-mill. In 1853 he disposed of his interest, and removed to Holyoke, Mass., where, in connection with Colonel Aaron Bagg, of West Springfield, and others, he organized the parsons Paper Company. With this corporation he is now connected as treasurer and agent, and has managed its business since its organization. During its existence it has divided more that $1,000,000 in profits, besides increasing the original investment of $60,000 many fold from its earnings.

In 1872, Mr. Parsons became president of the Third National Bank of Springfield, Mass., of which he had previously been one of the incorporators. The surplus of the bank under Mr. Parsons' management has steadily increased, and is now worth more than three hundred thousand dollars, while it has paid regular dividends of from ten to twelve per cent. Per annum. In the connection with the bank and Col. Bagg he has built the finest business block in the city of Springfield. He has been interested as a stockholder and director in the Holyoke Manilla Company, The Holyoke Warp Company, Farr Alpaca Company, of Holyoke; is interested in the Valley Paper Company, of Holyoke, and is president of the Holyoke and Westfield Railroad, besides having been an incorporator in both of the Holyoke savings-banks, and a director of the Hadley Falls National Bank, of Holyoke. He has also been interested in many other enterprises of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts. To him, as the business manager of the Parson Paper Company, the city of Holyoke is indebted for a fine public hall, and (he has rebuilt and refurbished it at great expense the past season) for the Holyoke House, one of the finest hotels in Western Massachusetts. In 1878 his name (without his consent) was presented to the Republican convention as a candidate for Congress from the Tenth Massachusetts District, and later he was unanimously nominated by the Independent convention, which nomination was promptly declined. Mr. Parsons was married Sept. 29, 1836, to Lucretia, daughter of Col. George Colton, of Springfield, Mass. They have had five children, one son (deceased in infancy) and four daughters,--Elizabeth Hoyt, who was the wife of C.P. Prescott, Esq., postmaster of Holyoke, died 19, 1876; Fanny Colton, an invalid at home; Sarah Leonard, wife of Emery Meekins, Esq. Of Springfield, Mass., and Catherine Turner, wife of E.C. Taft, of Holyoke.

As to the marriages of Mr. Parsons' ancestors, it may be observed that, —1. Joseph Parsons married Mary Bliss, of Springfield; 2. Joseph Parsons married Elizabeth Strong, of Northampton, a relative of Gov. Strong; 3. Noah Parsons married Mindwell Edwards, sister of Rev. Jonathan Edwards; 4. Noah Parsons married Phebe Bartlett, of Northampton; Justice Parsons married Lydia Clark, of Peru.

© Laurel O'Donnell 1997 - 2012, all rights reserved
This is an adaptation of the original publication
This document may be downloaded for personal non-commercial use only
and cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission.