Charles Parsons


June 5, 1822 - July 18, 1912


Story by Philip George Parsons, his grandson, written November 5, 1970


Photo of Charles, 1880


Charles Parsons was born June 5, 1822 at Tullamore, Kings County, Ireland. He was the youngest son of Robert and Hannah Parsons and grew up in a large family. He had four brothers and two sisters who lived to be adults.

When Charles was about 21 years of age, the family came to America. There was his brother Richard with his wife Margaret and three small daughters, his brother William, sister Hannah, and his mother, besides himself who came to Zanesville, Ohio.

These three brothers learned the cobbler trade in the old country, and set up shop on Main Street in Zanesville, where they made shoes and harness for horses. Brother William was a master shoe maker and did very well. Brother Richard worked hard, had eleven children, but died prior to the census of 1860, leaving his widow, Margaret to raise his large brood.
December 8, 1851, Charles Parsons married Maria Bagnell, a fine young lady from near Athlone, Ireland and they had two daughters, Mary and Tallie, and four sons, William, Charles, Robert and Richard.

Photo of Maria Bagnell, 1880

Grandpa Charles Parsons worked hard as a shoe repairman, however he was content to operate a one man shop. Part of the time his shop was a room in the home. About 1876 or 1877, sons William and Charles arranged to buy a farm near Edorado, Kansas and the family moved onto this land. Charles Parsons continued with his shoe shop while his wife and sons ran the farm. The elder son, William had become a salesman for the Queensware House in Zanesville, and the younger boys tried, but the farming venture was not too successful. They finally decided to sell and held a big farm sale in early March 1886. His wife, Maria, always a very able worker, prepared a great feast for all who came to the sale. About a week or so later she passed away.

As a grade school kid, I remember my grandfather Charles and his little shoe shop on South Broadway and Alameda, in Denver. Whenever my shoes needed repairs, mother would send me to see grandpa. I liked to visit him, he was always busy, but would chat with me while he fixed shoes. I remember the iron last which he placed the shoe over, his special hammers, and sharp knives for cutting leather. Mother always sent money to pay for the shoes Grandpa repaired, but he would seldom take pay and often gave me a nickel to take home. A nickel was a big teat for a school boy in those days!

One time I went to see Grandpa and his shop was closed. There was a note on the door, "Gone to Meeting, back soon." Grandpa was very religious and loved to attend meetings. He would often lock his shop to go to a meeting. After aunt Mary was lost at sea, Grandpa went to live with his youngest son, uncle Dick and aunt Mamie.
Photo of Parsons family, 1898. Standing" Robert, Maud (Frost), Tallie, Richard, Mamie (Garlick) Parsons
Seated: Ann Margaret (Nichol) Frost, Ella (Garlick) Gould, Mary Parsons, Charles Parsons
Children: Philip Parsons, Charles Gould. ( at 655 So. Penn, Denver)

Early July of 1912, Grandpa had the misfortune to be knocked down by a tramway car. He boarded the electric tram cars where they went around a corner at Pennsylvania and First Streets.

One day he stepped a little too close to the tracks, and the fender which protrudes as the car rounds curves, hit his foot and knocked him over. No bones broken, however he was badly bruised and shaken, too much for his ninety years, and he passed away two weeks later on July 18, 1912. He was always very gracious, very kindly, friendly and kind-hearted to all his family and friends.
Photo (1910) of son, Richard Parsons and
wife, Mamie and Mary Ann Parsons, Charles' dau.

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