While our physical offices are closed until at least April 13 due Austin's COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Aragorn Storm Miller

PARSONS, SYLVESTER GOULD (1799-1863). Sylvester Gould Parsons, sheriff, merchant, farmer, and state representative, was born in Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, on October 9, 1799, the son of Oliver and Phoebe (Lanphear) Parsons. As a young man, Parsons traveled to the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana and settled in St. Helena Parish. Here, he married Mary A. Hill on August 12, 1819. This couple had seven sons and five daughters. From 1835 to 1836, Parsons served as sheriff for Livingston Parish, Louisiana. Afterwards, he lived with his family in Baton Rouge and worked as a merchant.

In 1844 Parsons immigrated with his family to Texas and settled in Warsaw Prairie, near present-day Scurry in Kaufman County, where he received a grant of land and worked as a farmer, merchant, and operator of a ferry at the Trinity River in nearby Henderson County. In the summer of 1852, Parsons was a founding member of Bloomfield Lodge No. 112 of the Associated Free and Ancient Masons. He was also a leader in the local Presbyterian Church. Parsons was politically active as well and won election as a Whig to the office of probate judge for Henderson and Kaufman counties and to the state house of representatives for Kaufman and Henderson counties in the Fifth Texas Legislature from November 1853 to November1855. He served on the Claims and Accounts, Enrolled Bills, Private Land Claims No. 2, and Public Debt committees. Parsons died in Warsaw Prairie, Kaufman County, Texas, on January 21, 1863, and was buried at Kaufman City Cemetery.


Kaufman County Historical Commission, History of Kaufman County (Dallas: Taylor, 1978). Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Sylvester Parsons (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=5268&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=parsons~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee= ), accessed April 18, 2014. “Sylvester Gould Parsons (b. October 09, 1799, d. January 21, 1863)” (http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/d/i/g/Rhonda-Digiammatteo-TX/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0020.html), accessed April 18, 2014.

Aragorn Storm Miller

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "PARSONS, SYLVESTER GOULD," accessed March 28, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpabc.

Uploaded on April 18, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...