PARSONS BOROUGH

Was formed of territory taken from Plains township January 17, 1876, and John D. Calvin was elected first burgess, with Councilmen William Smurl, president; O. A. Parsons, G. W. Mitchell, A. A. Fenner, H. McDonald and Philip Harris. The clerk was Richard Buchanan. The succeeding burgesses were William Sword, John Trethaway, A. W. Bailey and Patrick Cox. Present officers: David McDonald, burgess; council;: Thomas J. Jordan, president; Fredrick Pyatt, secretary; George M. Lewis, treasurer; W. W. Reese, Wallace Ross, John Mills, Daniel W. Kimble and Edward O. Boyle; collector, John J. Reese.

Parsons is one of the young, but one of the most vigorous and growing boroughs in the county. It has made itself of sufficient importance that a street car line (electric) was built there in 1890, and already it may be considered practically an adjoining suburb of the city, possessing as it does all the advantages of country and city. But a few years ago what is now such a flourishing town, was dense forests, and here and there an opening in the dark old woods where a farmer had cleared away his "patch" and was tilling the soil. It is supposed the first settler was Daniel Downing, in 1785, on what became the Thomas Green place. Hence the first house in Parsons was Mr. Downing's. In 1800 he put up his sawmill across the run opposite Capt. Calvin Parsons. This mill was worn out, and rebuilt in 1842 by Calvin Parsons, who had some time before purchased the property. This second mill was in active operations until 1876, when it was dismantled and torn down.

In the spring of 1813 Hezekiah Parsons built the main part of the house now occupied by his son, Calvin Parsons. The house was then but one story high, and was the first framed house in Parsons. Hezekiah Parsons was a clothier by trade, and built a cloth-dressing mill on the north side of Laurel Run, a short distance from his house. In 1814 he associated with him in business Jehoida P. Johnson, and they built a carding-mill, and carried on both branches of business until 1820, when Mr Parsons became sole proprietor. He continued the business till 1850, when he sold all the machinery to J. P. Rice, who removed it to Truxville. In 1810 Jehoida P. Johnson built gristmill near Laurel Run, below where the carding-mill was built. In 1812 John Holgate built a turning-mill below Johnson's gristmill. They were both on what is now known as the Johnson property; they went to decay many years ago.

In 1832 Hiram McAlpine built a turning-mill on Laurel Run, near Mr. Parson's house, for the manufacture of scythe snaths; in 1839 the machinery was moved to Wilkes-Barre. The first resident blacksmith in Parsons borough was Rufus Davidson. He worked in McAlpine's shop. In 1838 Capt. Alexander built a powder mill on the site of Laurel Run coal breaker. It was blown up several times, last in 1864 or 1865, when owned by Capt. Parrish. In 1844 the Johnson heirs built a powder-mill just above the side of the gristmill on Laurel Run. This mill was blown up in 1848, and was never rebuilt. J. P. Johnson and C. Parsons manufactured power kegs on Laurel Run from 1838 until 1858.

The first store in the borough was kept by Golden & Walsh, on the corner of Main Street and Watson Avenue; and the first tavern was the Eagle hotel, kept by Lewis R. Lewis, on the corner of Main Street and Hollenback Avenue. The next hotel was kept by Morgan Morgan, on Main Street, between Hollenback and Welles Avenues.

The pioneer postmaster was Samuel Davis. He kept the postoffice at the corner of Main Street and George Avenue. The next postmaster was John W. Watkins, who was succeeded by G. A. Freeman, and he by Hezekiah Parsons, who keeps the office on his store, on George Avenue.

The first successful coal mining in Parsons was done in 1866, when the Mineral Spring mine was opened, and the coal breaker built by the Mineral Spring Coal company. The spring from which this company takes its name was on the lands of Calvin Parsons. It had gained some notoriety by the curative quality of its waters, and an effort was made but a year or two before the opening of the coal mines to buy the property, in order to establish a water cure. When the mining commenced in 1866 the source of the spring was tapped, and it was destroyed.

The next coal mine in this borough was opened in 1867 or 1868 by the Delaware & Hudson Canal company, at the Laurel Run breaker.

In addition to the great coal interests and industry of Parsons, there are 7 general stores, 3 grocers, 3 hotels, 1 blacksmith, 3 boot and shoe makers, 3 carpet weavers, 4 confectioners, 1 harness-maker, 1 livery stable, 4 meat markets, 1 merchant tailor, 2 milliners, 1 undertaker.

Back to Town Histories

This Town History was donated by Marge Gray .

1997-2011 by Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors

 Back To Luzerne Genweb