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Parsonsville Methodist Church

"The Fairfield Ledger"
February 3, 1897
Page 3, Column 6


Editors Ledger:--Mrs. E. J. (Emily J.) HENDRICKS died the 28th ult., after a lingering illness, at the age of seventy-nine years. Rev. G. L. Minear conducted funeral services at the Parsonsville church, and a large concourse of people testified to the esteem in which the good woman was held. Mrs. HENDRICKS' maiden name was FRAZEY. She was born in Pennsylvania, where she married Wilson GREEN, and immediately the young couple moved, in a one-horse wagon, to Portage county, Ohio, where they lived until 1844, when they came to Iowa and bought Col. William COOP's large farm, on which remained the few cabins which had been the old town of Lockridge. She lived on this farm more than fifty-two years. In 1854 Mr. GREEN died, leaving his widow with five sons and two daughters to rear, all but one of whom remains to mourn their mother. After fourteen years of widowhood Mrs. GREEN married Rev. J. H. HENDRICKS, with whom she lived a beautiful and happy life of twenty-three years, Mr. H. dying in 1891. Mrs. HENDRICKS was connected with many families throughout the county, Dr. W. J. GREEN and Alfred GREEN of Fairfield being brothers of her first husband and Mrs. C. A. HERRING a granddaughter of her second husband. She was a noble woman and a sincere christian. She and her family were much the largest contributors toward building the Parsonsville church, and, since building, its chief support.   H.H.


"The Fairfield (Iowa) Daily Ledger"
Thursday, February 25, 1960
Page 10, Columns 1 and 2

Settled In 1837
Parsonsville Passes Into County History

When fire destroyed the Nova HARPER home about seven miles east of Fairfield last week, it wiped out the last remaining structure that was once the thriving community of Parsonsville.

During the peak of its existence the little village included one or two stores, a tavern, a blacksmith shop, a Methodist church and several homes.

The village was settled by John Rush PARSONS, who was born Nov. 22, 1806, in Tucker county, West Virginia. After his marriage he and his wife and family started west toward Iowa in 1836. They traveled in a wagon drawn by six or eight yoke of oxen.

When cold weather set in, they remained during the winter months at Cairo, Ill. They continued their journey the following year, arriving in this area in 1837.

  $1.25 Per Acre

Just why they chose Parsonsville for their home has not been recorded. The territory at that time was all government land, and free for settling at $1.25 per acre.

After staking claim which included several hundred acres, PARSONS built a log cabin. Much of the area was timber at that time. He cleared the land and a few years later built another log house.

That log house is now part of the house on what is known as the BUSH farm. In later years, when the house was enlarged, the cabin became the kitchen and it was covered with weather boarding on the outside, and plastered inside. The place is now owned by the Will BUSH estate and is located about a quasrter of a mile north of the Parsonsville corner on highway 34.

That is actually the last remaining part of the original Parsonsville, but is so disguised now that one would never know that the kitchen part of the house is made of logs.


The home that burned recently was originally the old Soloman NELSON home, and one of the several homes erected in the village.

As more and more people settled in and near the little community, there was need for a place of worship. Until 1874 all religious gatherings were held in the school house.

During the year 1874 PARSONS took the lead in erecting a church. Others who played an important part in the establishment of the church included George and Martha WHITE, James H. HENDRICKS, F. S. TOOTHACRE, Diana PARSONS, Elizabeth SHOEMAKER, R. TOOTHACRE, Baldwin PARSONS, Benjamin ARCHIBALD, N. GREEN, J. W. TOOTHACRE, Peter KNIGHT, John KNIGHT, James HICKENBOTTOM, C. C. LINDSTROM, Loren CLARK, Hiram HEATON and John STEWARD.

PARSONS furnished all the dimension lumber and most of the labor was donated. As a result the church was built at a minimum cost.

  $100 Short

Shortly after the church was completed, it was announced at a meeting that it lacked only one hundred dollars of being paid for. Mrs. PARSONS reached down in the large pocket of her dress, brought forth the $100, and commented, "There, now that will clear our church of all debt."

For 75 years the church played an important part in the community. It not only served as a place of worship, but it was also widely known for its oyster suppers during the winter months and ice cream socials during summer.

Finally the little community dwindled, its members vanished, and the church was no longer active. It remained idle for several years and the church building was sold at auction in November, 1952. It was then torn down.

The church was located a short distance east of the house that burned last week. The lane going back to the house was once the main road now known as Highway 34.

  Blazed Trail

PARSONS is also credited with locating highway 34 from Parsonsville to Fairfield. He didn't locate the route with surveyor's instruments, but marked the route with a plow and a yoke of oxen.

That was in the early 1840's when Fairfield was yet a tiny village. Information states that PARSONS took four yoke of oxen, attached them to a huge breaking plow and thus "blazed the trail to Fairfield" by one continuous furrow.

It is said that oftentimes the driver couldn't see the front yoke of oxen on account of the large amount of prairie grass which grew from six to eight feet tall. It is estimated it took two days for the slow oxen to make the trip.

That trail is now the newly paved highway 34, and its route has been changed very little since it was originally marked by the plow.

While the highway still remains, the little community of Parsonsville has now disappeared. It has passed from existence as several other early communities have done.

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