Written by John A. Parsons of Troy, Pa. and privately
published by him in 1924
Submitted to Tri-Counties by Sylvia Wilson
Eli Parsons was born January 24, 1756, in Enfield, Connecticut. He and his son Eli Parsons Jr., came into Columbia Township, Bradford County in the year 1799. Eli Sr. had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War and following his honorable discharge from that service, he had purchased 400 acres under Connecticut title and with his son began to improve their land in Columbia Township, building a log cabin near Columbia Cross Roads. In the fall, Mr. Parsons returned East and Eli, the son remained clearing the land until the next year when his father and mother, Rebecca, arrived with the family. Owing to the defective Connecticut title, Eli Sr. was obliged to purchase the land a second time, paying at the rate of one dollar or a bushel of corn per acre. He practiced the occupation of a tanner and currier and also was active in establishing the first Baptist Church in Troy whose original building stood in the old part of Glenwood Cemetery. Eli Jr., the son, married Hannah Rockwell who died May 3, 1839 and Eli Jr. died Dec. 5, 1829. They are buried near the grave of Rev. Elisha Rich, the Baptist minister who married them.
Lydia Sophia Parsons, daughter of Eli and Rebecca, born March 22 at Columbia Cross Roads, married Dummer, a son of John and Nancy Smith Lilley on August 13, 1836. Lydia Sophia died Feb. 5, 1842 and is buried in the Alba Cemetery. Dummer Lilley was engaged in the printing business in Towanda and Troy and in 1838 was appointed Register and Recorder of Bradford County and was twice elected to be the representative to the State Legislature in 1862 and 1864. He was a man of ability and did much to develop the resources of a man of ability and did much to develop the resources of Bradford County. He owned a farm located on Basket Street in Columbia Township which has been retained by the family for many years.
A daughter of Lydia and Dummer Lilley, Amelia Sophia, married William Jesse Young, a farmer on Porter Road, Troy Township. Following the death of his wife Amelia Sophia, William moved to Towanda and served as Deputy under Sheriff J. Monroe Smith and J.P. Van Fleet. He was elected Justice of the Peace in 1875 and again in 1880. He studied law and was admitted to the Bar of Bradford County on May 16, 1877 then took up its practice with I. McPherson under the firm name of McPherson and Young. Mr. Young was elected Prothonotary in 1884 and re-elected in 1887, serving six years with fidelity. He possessed good business ability and was a highly respected citizen. He died April 8, 1907 and is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery, Towanda.
Harriet Brunette Lilly was a daughter of Amelia Sophia and William Jesse Young. She was born in Columbia Township on Feb. 20, 1830, and died May 11, 1906. She married Daniel F. Pomeroy, son of Isaac Newton and Anna (Kingsbury) Pomeroy on April 12, 1867. Harriet Brunette's life was given to teaching in which she was most successful. Starting at age sixteen, she taught for several years in Columbia Township and later in the school at Troy where she met and married Mr. Pomeroy. She was an active member of the Troy Presbyterian Church and was interested in all kinds of literacy work being a charter member of the Progress Club and for a number of years served as its president.
Harriet and Daniel had a son, Daniel Frederick Pomeroy, born in Troy on Jan. 11, 1871. He received his education in the Troy School and Military Academy at Pottstown, Pa. He gave much of his time to working among boys and girls both in Sunday School and other organizations among which was the Boy Scouts. He became the first registered Scout Master in the United States receiving the coveted Silver Beaver Award, an honorary award begun in 1926 by the Boy Scouts of America and given to adults in recognition of their noteworthy service to the nation's youth.
The son of Harriet Brunette (Lilley) Pomeroy and Daniel F. Pomeroy, Daniel Frederick Pomeroy, Jr. born March 17, 1898, followed in his father's footsteps becoming active in Scouting and church work. His two sons, Daniel Frederick III and Allan both attained the rank of Eagle Scouts and took pride in the accomplishments of their grandfather and father.
Elijah Adams Parsons was born near Columbia Cross Roads, Pa. on July 12, 1820. He married Ethlin Arundel, daughter of Jesse and Maria (Fish) Brown of Sheshequin, Pa. on Feb. 12, 1845. Mr. Parsons spent thirteen years on his father's place coming to Towanda in 1833 where he began work in the Northern Banner printing office. In 1839 he became identified with the Bradford Argus which continued until 1889. He was editor and proprietor of this paper for a larger part of this period. He served as postmaster in Towanda under President Lincoln and also under President Cleveland from 1885 - 1889. He died on Aug. 10, 1897 and was buried in the Riverside Cemetery, Towanda.
The children of Elijah Adams Parsons and Ethlin (Brown) Parsons included a son, Edward Ashmun Parsons who was born March 17, 1846 in Towanda. He became associated with his father in the publishing business in Towanda in 1866 as a partner at which time he became the editor and later proprietor of the Bradford Argus. He was Assistant Postmaster at Towanda in 1885 and died March 15, 1911. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Towanda. His son Edward Ashmun Parsons, Jr., was born Dec. 2, 1887 and married Hazel, daughter of Charles and Amelia Burkhart Armbruster of East Mauch Chunk. The third line of Parsons, Edward Ashmun Parsons, became an experienced printer and worked at his vocation in Towanda where he succeeded his grandfather and father, making nearly one hundred years of unbroken service by the family at this trade. The fourth Edward Ashmun Parsons born to Edward Ashmun Parsons III and Hazel Armbruster Parsons on April 16, 1916 in Towanda, also followed in his forefather's footsteps and only recently retired from the Towanda newspaper, the Daily Review.
Eli Burton Parsons born Nov. 3, 1824, was the son of James Parsons a farmer who tilled the land on a state road between Troy and Sylvania. Eli, son of James, married Sibyl Pomeroy on June 2, 1852. She died on Jan. 31, 1882 and a year later, he married Harriet Ann Aspinwall of Elmira, New York. Eli Burton Parsons lived in the village of Troy during his active business life. He died on February 17, 1910 and is buried in the family plot in Glenwood Cemetery. Very soon after his death, a meeting of the Bar of Bradford County was called and Judge A. C. Fanning appointed a committee to draft a proper memorial to his memory. It is as follows:
"To the Honorable A. C. Fanning, President Judge of the Courts of Bradford County, Pennsylvania:"
"The Committee appointed by your Honorable Court at a meeting of the members of the bar, in memory of the late Eli Burton Parsons, held February 21, 1910, respectfully presents the following memorial:"
"The death of Eli Burton Parsons late of the borough of Troy on the 17th of February last, removed from the Bar of Bradford County its oldest member in years and time of service. At the time of his death he was over eighty-five years of age, having been born in Columbia Township, this county, on the 3rd day of November 1824."
"His ancestors were of old Colonial stock and his paternal grandfather, Eli Parsons was a Revolutionary soldier, Burton Strait, his maternal grandfather was a soldier in the war of 1812. Eli Parsons, the grandfather came to Bradford County from Connecticut in the year 1800 and settled on what is now known as the Stephen G. Gernert farm just north of Columbia Cross Roads. His son, James Parsons, the father of Eli Burton Parsons retained the original homestead and it was here that Mr. Parsons was born and spent his boyhood days."
"After obtaining what education he could in the district schools, he attended the Troy academy, walking daily from his home to Troy, a distance of about four miles, for that purpose. He studied law in Troy under Stephen Pierce, a noted lawyer of those days and was admitted to the Bar of Bradford County on the 7th day of February A.D. 1849. His legal education was completed at the law school at Cherry Valley, New York and passed without difficulty. After completing his studies, he commenced the practice of law in Troy and maintained an office there until the time of his death, a period of sixty years."
"At the time of Mr. Parsons admission to our Bar, John N. Conyngham was President Judge and the period of his activities as a lawyer covered the whole of the terms of service of six judges, and a part of the term of two, Judge Conyngham and Judge Fanning; only three judges having been on our bench before Judge Conyngham. At the time of his admission many of the most able and distinguished men who have graced our Bar were active practioners and others of like caliber were admitted at about the same time. Among these were William Elwell, Paul D. Morrow, Ulysses Mercur and David Wilmot. Coming in contact with them as he did in his practice and being naturally adapted to the work of his profession, he early developed a measure of ability that made him recognized as one of the leading lawyers of the county."
"Not only was Mr. Parsons active in his chosen profession, but he frequently made business ventures which were generally successful. He was at one time the owner of the famous Watkins Glen (New York State) which he disposed of at a price which netted him considerable profit. He obtained a charter for supplying water to Troy Borough and constructed a water system there in 1880. In 1893, the borough council, considering the Parsons' system inadequate to furnish the borough with water for fire purposes and relying upon a decision of the Supreme Court which gave them the right to do so, established a competing water system. Mr. Parsons insisted that the Supreme Court was wrong in its decision and filed a bill in equity to restrain the borough from supplying water. A long litigation followed, during the progress of which the Supreme Court reversed itself and upheld his contention. The matter was settled by the borough buying the Parsons' system in 1902."
"For many years Mr. Parsons was identified with almost every case of note arising in the western part of the county was was eminently successful as a trial lawyer. Among the member of the bar his ability was recognized and his advice frequently was sought by them as well as by his clients. When interested on behalf of his clients, he was untiring as a worker and this without regard to the remuneration he might receive. In the trial of cases he was aggressive and resourceful and commanded the respect and fear of his antagonists. He was upright and honorable in his professional dealings and treated his opponents with fairness and consideration bearing no malice toward them for blows delivered in a fair fight."
"In the community in which he resided for so many years he will be greatly missed. He attracted men to him and had a personality that commanded attention wherever he was. The friendships that he made among his business and professional associates were close and lasting and many there are who mourn for him as a friend who cannot be replaced. In paying to him this tribute, we can be assured that we are honoring one who in life was worthy of our confidence, friendship, love and respect."
By the Committee: Rodney A. Mercur, I. N. Evans, Wm. T. Davies, H. K. Mitchell, J. W. Stone