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Parsons, Sylvester Gould (1799–1863)

Aragorn Storm Miller Biography Entry

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 ( ), accessed April 18, 2014. “Sylvester Gould Parsons (b. October 09, 1799, d. January 21, 1863)” (, accessed April 18, 2014.


  • Fifth Legislature (1853-1854)
  • House

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

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Parsons, Sylvester Gould,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 21, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.