Jesse H. Parsons, lawyer and state representative, was born in Tennessee, on October 18, 1821. He was married to E.A. Ray, probably by 1844. Parsons immigrated to Texas by the early 1850s and settled in Rusk County. He was a prominent lawyer and was active in both local and state politics. Parsons, a Democrat, was elected representative for Rusk County to the House of the Sixth Texas Legislature and served from November 1855 to November 1857. During this time he was on the Judiciary, Penitentiary, Engrossed Bills, and Codes committees. In 1859 he was elected senator for District 9, Rusk County, to the Eighth Texas Legislature and served from November 1859 to April 1861. The 1860 census listed Parsons, his wife, and five children—three sons and two daughters that ranged in ages from sixteen to nine. The youngest was born in Texas.
Following the adjournment of the legislature and the outbreak of the Civil War, Parsons volunteered for service in the Confederacy. He served in the Senate of the Ninth and Tenth Texas legislatures from November 1861 to August 1866 and served as the chairman of the Internal Improvements Committee. In an effort to secure favorable postwar terms for Texas, he represented Rusk County at the 1866 Constitutional Convention. In the 1870 census Parsons was listed as a lawyer, forty-eight years of age, and living in Henderson in Rusk County with his new wife, Fannie, age twenty-five; they had married in March 1870. He died on February 22, 1871, and was buried at Old City Cemetery in Henderson.