Philip George Parsons

June 2, 1894 - January 31, 1987

Story written by Philip George Parsons, March 11, 1968



Photo of Phil, Sept. 1924

I, Philip George Parsons, was born June 2, 1894, at 57 Grant Ave., Denver, Colorado the son of Robert and Maud Lillian (Frost) Parsons. My parents built the first home they owned at 21 Ogden Street and we lived there from 1899 until the spring of 1906. In the fall of 1899, I started to kindergarten and Miss Lort came in a little one-horse buggy and gathered the children, then brought them home again about noon. My constant companion in those early days was Jimmy Kilton, who lived in the corner house just across the alley from us. In 1900, I started public school, attending the first six grades at Sherman school. There I met Malcolm Roberts and he was my pal and ideal through the grades and into high school. We spent many a happy hour together and some wonderful Sundays on Broadway when picture shows were a nickel, an sometimes we had a nickel left to buy ice cream.

Photo of Parsons family, 1898. Standing: Robert, Maud, Tallie, Richard, Mamie (Garlick) Parsons
Seated: Ann Margaret Frost, Ella (Garlick) Gould, Mary, Charles Parsons
Children: Philip Parsons, Charles Gould.

My mother became interested in Divine Science and all of us attended the Divine Science Church and Sunday School at 17th and Clarkson Streets, where Nona L. Brooks established the Colorado College of Divine Science. My sister, Marion, was born at 21 Ogden Street January 18, 1901. My brother, Robert William (Wilbert) was born here March 18, 1905. Wilbert was drowned in Boulder Creek above Boulder, Colorado, July 11, 1920. In the Spring of 1907 we moved to 310 Lowell Blvd. and I attended seventh grade at Edison School. Here I met Harry Parker and Sidney Draper. We had great times together. Mr. Parker, signal engineer for the Moffat Road, would sometimes take Harry and me with him up through the 32 tunnels and spectacular tunnel-snow sheds at Corona, to Fraser, where we would change to the Denver bound train.
Photo of Donald, Marion and Robert William (Wilbur), 1916
In 1908, we returned to south Denver purchasing the house at 982 South Pennsylvania. My brother, Donald Brooks Parsons, was born here, August 4, 1908. I attended eighth grade at Lincoln School, ninth grade at Longfellow (now Opportunity School) then graduated from Manual Training High School in June of 1914. During this period I was a carrier for the Denver Express newspaper, and experimented with electricity building a "wireless" sending and receiving set of bits of junk.
Photo of Marion and Phil, 1903
About the time I finished high school, Dad went to New Mexico and later to Sweet Grass, Montana, to work for higher wages, but the added expense more than offset the better wage, and we were unable to meet the payments and lost our home. Later we moved to 134 So. Pennsylvania Avenue, where I attended Grant Avenue Methodist Church and made many good friends including John Price, John Oberg, Dwight Stall and many others.

After high school graduation at Trinity Methodist Church, I enrolled in Modern School of Business, got a job seven months later with B. L. James & Co., paint, glass and paper dealers, and became teacher of bookkeeping at Modern in late fall of 1915. There I taught both day and night until drafted, and entered The National Army September 21st, 1917, starting in the 89th Division at Camp Funstun, Kansas.
Photo of Phil and brother, Donald, 1917
Soon I transferred to 334th Artillery at Camp Pike, Arkansas where as Signal Corporal, I learned Army signal systems, horsemanship, the works of our seventy fives, with telegraph school and was also appointed Battery tutor for our under privileged members. These fellows took great pride in learning to write their own names and would come to the 'Non- Com' tent at night, to show me their name hand-written.
Our outfit moved finally to Camp Dix, New Jersey and on July 3rd, 1918 Becker and I got passes to Philadelphia. On July 4th we walked around Chinatown, and went to Independence Hall just in time to hear Liberty Bell tolled in honor of the day. We walked to the square where the Declaration of Independence was read to the people. We visited Betsy Ross House and Benjamin Franklin's tomb, in one of the oldest graveyards in the country.
Photo of outfit, Aug 1918 REAR: Cpls. Ehlin, Allen, Simertz, Pvt. Ferris
FRONT: Cpls. Dabrovich, Jack Mullen, Jack Ritter, Edgar Becker.
Next we went to City Hall where we viewed the monstrous parade in which over 110,000 foreign born citizens took part. These scenes where American Independence was born were most impressive on Independence Day, 1918 to soldiers about to go overseas to do their bit for their country.
Finally, on August 27, 1918 we loaded on the Mauretania for Liverpool, England on the way to France. After crossing the English Channel from Southhampton to LaHarve, France we traveled by tiny French cattle cars to Castleman, a small French town where we rested a few days before going on to Bordeaux. Here we roamed about the vineyards, eating some of the most luscious blackberries I had ever tasted.
Photo of Sgt. Phil and Cprl. Allen, packed and ready.
Now we moved on foot under full pack about 21 kilometers to Camp Ancona on the Gironde River, a few miles below Bordeaux. On this march, I soon discovered I was sick, but determined not to fall out, I doggedly marched the distance and landed in base hospital next day. In the Army ambulance I aroused enough to find a tag on my blouse reading 'Flu -Temp 105', then later awoke in bed between white sheets, the first I had seen in the Army. After four days they literally pushed me out to make room for more flu cases, and I was transported to my own Battery. During the weeks of recovery I had only very light, special duty guarding the flood gate on the Gironde and posting our official map on the front lines as soon as 'Stars and Stripes' was brought daily. By mid October I was ready for active duty and took my place with the others unloading everything an army uses from sea going vessels at our docks and re-loading into train after train headed for the front lines. Soon war casualties were pouring through in the opposite direction and we assisted in loading many dozens of Americans. How wonderful to be going home, yet how sad to be without an arm, a leg, an eye, or a face.
One day we heard the great fog horn of a vessel. Soon all the other vessels and a dozen or more American locomotives working on the docks had added to the din! We soon learned the Armistice had been signed on the Eleventh of November, 1918 and happiness was everywhere!
Photo of Sgt. Philip Parsons, 1918
Before the Armistice we worked ever day, no exceptions for Sundays and holidays - straight every day and every day. A few weeks later we were granted one day in seven and what a pleasure to see our own camp and surroundings by daylight. At Christmas time I was appointed an armed guard to take a carload of mail so far as Nancy, where I was relieved on January 3rd, returning by way of Paris to Bordeaux and my own outfit. After many delays, our outfit boarded the Orizaba at Bassans dock Feb 12th and landed at New York on February 22nd. Then through Camp Merritt, New Jersey and Camp Funston, Kansas where I was mustered out March 8, 1919, returning to civilian life at Denver.
After taking a railroad telegraph course, I was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad beginning as helper at Hill City, Kansas in September, 1920. While in Hill City, Forest Logan and I became pals. We made friends and later I married Hazel Kathryn Quint on September 21, 1924 at Hill City.
Photo of Phil and Forest Logan
After a wedding trip to Salt Lake City via the famous Royal Gorge, we came home to Hazeltine, Colorado where I was agent. After many years filled with ever changing situations at many stations, which I enjoyed thoroughly, I retired from Fort Collins on July 31, 1963.
Hazel and I enjoyed the work on the railroad. At Wallace we made many friends among the fine farming community. John Stokes was the section foreman and he and his wife, Bessie, were fine friends indeed. Some of the young people of Wallace go together and organized a Sunday School, meeting Sundays in a schoolhouse. They often gathered around Hazel and her piano in our depot quarters to practice songs.

Our first son, Robert Malcom Parsons, was born at Denver, July 3, 1929. Robert was almost a year old when we bought our first home at 915 W. Second, Colby, Kansas. Raymond Edward Parsons was born in Colby June 30, 1931, and Neta Marie Parsons was also born in Colby on November 14, 1937. Later my assignments were mostly in Colorado se we purchased our home at 608 South Meldrum, Ft. Collins, Colorado on June 15, 1943. This house is close to Colorado State University (then Colorado A&M College). Bob graduated from Colorado State Teacher's College (now Northern Colorado University) at Greeley in 1952. Ray go his B.S. from Colorado A&M (now CSU) in 1953 and earned his Master's in Chemistry in 1955 from Oregon State University at Corvallis, Oregon. Neta graduated from CSU in 1959 with a BS degree in Occupational Therapy and Home Economics.
On my ordinary salary, it seemed almost impossible to get three youngsters through college, but all of us pitched in and worked hard, the boys carried paper routes, delivered ice, drove milk routes, Neta worked baby sitting and in the CSU library, Hazel went to work as railroad clerk at St. Vrain, then worked for 13 years in the Light and Power Department of the City of Ft. Collins.
Parsons family, 1964 - Back: Bob, Don, Marion, Mary, Erdeena, Polly, Neta, Hazel, Phil
Front: David, Tom, Patty, Linda, Larry, Mark, Barbara (squatting)

Bob married Erdeena Stolz of Loveland on August 2, 1953 while he was still in the Air Force, and they have two children, Patty, born April 3, 1956 in Washington D.C. and Larry born July 17, 1954 at Loveland, Colorado. June 25, 1954 at Laramie, Wyoming. Ray and Mary have four children, David Wayne born May 1, 1955 at Corvallis, Oregon; Linda Jane born September 25, 1956 at Wilmington, Delaware; Thomas Edward born December 4, 1958 at Wilmington; and Barbara Ann born May 6, 1961 at Wilmington. On December 27, 1960, Neta married Stanley Edward Sharp and they have three children: Mark Douglas born June 6, 1962 at Long Beach, California; Kelly Lynn born October 12, 1965 at Seattle, Washington; and Becky Renee born September 7, 1967 in Portland, Oregon. We have three children, however, Erdeena, Mary and Stanley are such wonderful folks, I like to claim six children and nine grandchildren.
Photo of family, 1969 (Left to Right) BACK: David, Larry, Erdeena, Phil,
Neta (holding Becky), Linda, Hazel (Peeking thru),Mary, Patty, Bob.
FRONT: Stan, Tom, Mark, Barbara, Kelly, Ray.(photo at Colter Bay, Wyoming)

One of the 'extras' of railroading is the pass privilege. The first time we use our pass together was when Hazel and I went to Salt Lake on our wedding trip. We went to Chicago to the World's Fair in the summer of 1934. I won a trip and a merit badge as Ford Parts Salesman in 1937, and went to Detroit as a quest of the Ford Motor Company. We have been to California numerous times since Bob and family live in Ventura, California. Mom went to Corvallis when David was born, and to Seattle at the birth of Kelly, to Long Beach when Mark was born and to Portland when Becky was born. We have made other trips to Seattle and Portland just for a visit with Neta and family. While Bob was in the Air Force we visited him in Biloxi, Mississippi and later in Washington D.C. We visited Ray and family on different occasions in Wilmington, Delaware and while there took in sight-seeing trips to Washington,D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, and New York. Ray showed us the site along the Brandywine where DuPont powder works was first started in 1802.
Photo at Valley Forge Park, Mary (Ray's wife), David, Linda, Phil, Hazel, 1958

After retirement, I took up bird watching, stamp collecting, ham radio, and genealogy. Yes, I must also mention the New York Stock Exchange as the stock market is also very much a lively hobby with me. It has a way of paying for all the other pleasures. I switch from one hobby to another, following each with great interest for a time, then take great interest and pleasure in another. Being a native of Gemini with Leo rising, I change nature instantly and enjoy every phase of living.One of my interests is in genealogy.

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