Nielsen Hayden genealogy

"Cornet" Joseph Parsons

Male Bef 1620 - 1683  (> 63 years)


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  • Name "Cornet" Joseph Parsons 
    Alternate birth 1617-1618  [1
    Alternate birth Abt 1618  England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Born Bef 25 Jun 1620  Beaminster, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5
    Gender Male 
    Baptised 25 Jun 1620  St. Mary's, Beaminster, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Died 9 Oct 1683  Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4, 6
    Person ID I7479  Nielsen Hayden genealogy
    Last Modified 26 Dec 2015 

    Father William Parsons,   b. Abt 1575, Beaminster, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Mar 1654, Beaminster, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 79 years) 
    Mother Margaret Hoskins,   b. 1580, Beaminster, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 15 Nov 1602  Beaminster, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 6, 7
    Family ID F466  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Mary Bliss,   b. Abt 1628, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Jan 1712, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 84 years) 
    Married 26 Nov 1646  Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Children 
     1. Joseph Parsons,   b. Abt 1647, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Nov 1729, Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years)
    Last Modified 19 Jul 2017 04:04:26 
    Family ID F1468  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • The date of his emigration is unknown. Often claimed to have come in 1635 on the Transport of London, but the "Jo: Parson" on its passenger manifest is alphabetized under John rather than Joseph. He first appears in New England records witnessing a deed on 15 Jul 1636.

      One of the founders of both Springfield and Northampton, Massachusetts, according to Cornet Joseph Parsons, One of the Founders of Springfield and Northampton, Massachusetts, Springfield, 1636; Northampton, 1655, An Historical Sketch from Original Sources, Viz., Town, County, Court, and Private Records, by Albert Ross Parsons. Garden City, New York, 1898.

      A memorial plaque to him can be found on Bridge Street in Northampton, between Market Street and Pomeroy Terrace. It reads:

      In Memory of
      Cornet Joseph Parsons
      c. 1618-1683
      A founder of Northampton
      and his wife
      Mary (Bliss) Parsons
      c. 1628-1711/12

      From the Find a Grave entry for "Cornet" Joseph Parsons:

      Joseph Parsons received many notations in colonial town records. Young Joseph is mentioned as a witness to a deed on July 15, 1636 in Springfield, MA. The deed was between Joseph Pyncheon and local Indians. The wealthy Pyncheon may have sponsored his young friend (or relative?) in establishing himself in Springfield as well as in Northampton.

      In 1646, Joseph was appointed highway surveyor of Springfield, holding this position in 1653. In 1652, Joseph was elected a Springfield selectman but was living in Northampton, MA by 1655. In December of 1656 in Northampton, Joseph Parsons was elected to the Board of Selectmen. He served as a selectman in 1659, 1664, 1667, and 1670. Joseph served frequently as a juror.

      In 1834, an examination of Northampton records by Dr. Usher Parsons revealed that Joseph Parsons' house lot covered four acres. He bought an adjoining lot and in 1661, was licensed to keep "an ordinary," or house of entertainment in Northampton. Also in 1661, Joseph Parsons was made a member of a committee to lay out the plans of the Meeting House and residence for the Rev. Eleazer Mather, first minister of Northampton. In this same year, Joseph was on a committee to meet with counterparts of Newtown, MA to see to the establishment of a road between Newtown and Northampton; in 1670, Joseph Parsons was made a member of the committee to construct a "Cart bridge" over the Munhan River.

      Joseph Parsons was one of two persons of Northampton licensed to trade with Native Americans. It is supposed that this trade was primarily in furs. A common practice was for a trader to offer money or articles of value in exchange for the promised delivery of furs, which would then be sold at a great mark-up. If the fur delivery was defaulted, land would be exchanged for the debt. Joseph Parsons seems to have obtained much land by this means, including land upon which was established the town of Hadley, MA.

      The 1834 Usher Parsons study reported that Joseph Parsons owned 100 acres at the foot of Mount Tom, at a place called Pascommuck. Joseph Parsons "for half a century remained the richest man in the Connecticut Valley" (manuscript of Dr Holton, family genealogist, quoted in Burt's CORNET JOSEPH PARSONS, 1898, page 93).

      On Nov 26, 1646, Joseph Parsons married Mary Bliss (?-?) in Hartford, CT. They became the parents of 13 children, 5 girls and 8 boys. It seems probable their first three children (Joseph Jr, Benjamin, John) were born in Hartford, as their births were not recorded in Springfield.

      Joseph Jr. was the father of four sons, Ebenezer, Daniel, Moses and David, through whom Joseph Jr and Sr are ancestors of this contributor.

      [...]

      1664, Joseph Parsons was charged with resisting a constable in his lawful duties. Court records indicate that the constable had meant to appropriate oxen belonging to Joseph Parsons for use on a public project, as decreed by county authorities. There followed "Scuffling in the busyness whereby blood was drawn between them." The charge was not denied and Joseph sold an acre and a half to the town in payment of the fine, part of which was abated owing to Joseph's apology.

      Joseph was the plaintiff or defendant in several suits over money owed. Some of these were settled out of court; in some cases, payment was made through the court or a parcel of land would be sold to satisfy the debt.

      Joseph Parson's business records are deposited in the Springfield, MA, library.

      On the 7th of October 1678, the General Court appointed Joseph Parsons, Sr. to be "Cornet of the Troop of Hoarse," Hampshire Co. (Maj. John Pynchon, commander). With this appointment, Joseph was third in command and the color-bearer of the Hampshire Cavalry.

      Joseph Parsons died on October 9, 1683. He was probably buried in the Elm Street cemetery, in Springfield, and in 1848, reburied in a mass grave near the Pine Street entrance to the present Springfield Cemetery, when land within the cemetery was needed for the Hartford-Springfield railroad.

  • Sources 
    1. [S387] Hale, House and Related Families, Mainly of the Connecticut River Valley, by Donald Lines Jacobus and Edgar Francis Waterman. Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut Historical Society, 1952.

    2. [S256] The Parsons Family: Descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons, by Gerald James Parsons. Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1984.

    3. [S682] Gerald James Parsons, "The Early Parsons Families of the Connecticut River Valley." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 148:215, July 1994.

    4. [S899] The Mary Bliss Parsons Trial, website developed by Historic Northampton and the Center for Computer Based Instructional Technology (now the UMass IT Center for Educational Software Development [CESD]) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

    5. [S255] Gerald James Parsons, "Were Joseph and Benjamin Parsons and David Wilton of Beaminster, Dorset, England, the New England colonists?" The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 143:101, April 1989.

    6. [S217] Findagrave.com page for "Cornet" Joseph Parsons.

    7. [S254] Findagrave.com page for Margaret Hoskins.