The Chanute Daily Tribune, Tuesday, September 5, 1916, Pg. 1 & 3

Vol. XXV, No. 129











He Had Lived in Kansas Sixty-One

Years and Knew Kit Carson and

John Brown Well, Having

Been a Plainsman.



  Jesse E. Parsons, a resident of Kansas for sixty-one years, an Indian fighter, and a follower of the famous Santa Fe trail, died at his home, 811 South Central avenue, at 6 o’clock Sunday morning, September 3, after a long illness.  Death was caused by old age.

  The funeral services were held from his late home at 4:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon.  They were very largely attended by those who took this opportunity of paying a final tribute of respect to one who had done so much for the upbuilding of the state and the community.

  The services in the home were conducted by Rev. Charles A. Wilson, pastor of the Presbyterian church.  The Elks had charge of the interment.  Besides being an Elk Mr. Parsons belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Sons and Daughters of Justice.

In Kansas 61 Years.

  Mr. Parsons was 76 years old having been born in Jackson county, Missouri, October 29, 1839.  His father moved to Kansas fifteen years later settling in Allen county, near Iola.  After a thrilling frontier life, Mr. Parsons began life as a farmer two and one-half miles northwest of Iola, coming from there to Neosho county in March of 1870.  He took a claim southeast of Chanute, which he improved and cultivated until 1899, when he moved to the city.

  He enlisted in the summer of 1861 in Company C of the First Kansas Cavalry, which was mustered into the service the following January for three years in the Ninth Cavalry.  The regiment belonged to the frontier guards at first, but was afterwards sent to the Seventh Corps, operating on Red river and in Lower Arkansas.

A Second Lieutenant.

  The first rebels were encountered before the regiment got fairly away from home and before it was uniformed, but the first real fight occurred at Timbered Hills.  The chief engagements of the next year were Locust Grove and Newtonia, Mo., and in 1863 the battle of Prairie Grove was fought and a sort of  “rough-tumble” with the enemy was continued until Mr. Parson’s term of enlistment expired.  He entered the army as a private and was mustered out as second lieutenant of Company C in the Ninth Kansas Cavalry, organized in October, 1868 (sic), for service on the frontier, his regiment covering the territory from Fort Hays to Fort Sill during the fall and winter of that year.

Sheriff and School Board Member.

  Mr. Parsons was elected sheriff of the county in November 1885 and served two years.  He was director on the school board in District No. 44 for twenty-two years.

  Mr. Parsons married Julia A Tye in April of 1866.  She was a daughter of Drury Tye, who settled in Allen county in 1857.  They were the parents of four children—two sons and two daughters, of whom only the daughters survive.  They are Miss Lou Parsons and Mrs. R. M. Green, both of the home address.

Knew Kit Carson and John Brown.

  The story of Mr. Parsons’s early life is one of continuous adventure, Fighting Indians, driving cattle over the trackless plains, serving his country during the Civil war and driving mule teams over the famous Santa Fe trail formed his every day occupation until he had reached middle life.  He knew Kit Carson and John Brown well, having spent weeks with them in pioneer days.

  Fifty-eight years ago he was a member of a government party of 130 pioneers in charge of 100 wagons that made the trip overland from Independence, Mo., over the Santa Fe trail to Fort Union, Taos and old Santa Fe, N. M.  Mr. Parsons joined the train early in the spring of 1858.  It came from Independence to Westport Landing, now Kansas City, then followed the Kaw river to Council Grove.

Indians Fought Them.

  After leaving the Kaw Agency at that place they found no more settlements until they reached Bent’s Ford on the Arkansas river, and the only white persons they saw were drivers of the overland mail stages who passed their train from time to time.

  “From the time we left Bent’s Ford until we got to Fort Union,” Mr. Parsons said in describing this trip, “the Utes were giving us trouble.  Not a day passed but some of the redskins were peppering away from behind the rocks.  Three of our party were wounded and we lost a number of mules.  It seemed as though the rocks were alive with Indians.”

Chased Quantrell.

   Mr. Parsons had charge of a force that pursued Quantrell, after the guerrilla’s raid upon Lawrence, through Douglas, Franklin and Miami counties and over on the Missouri borderland.

  Mr. Parsons had been ordered into camp near the place where Quantrell first stopped to rest after getting back to Missouri.  From there he was engaged in riding down squads of guerrillas until he was ordered to go to Paola and bring up more men and some supplies.

Routed Guerrillas.

  He set out through the woods to go on the Missouri side of the line and look for guerrilla bands on the way.  He came to a steep hill covered with timber, through which the road ran.  At the top of the hill stood a fine large house.  The road by which Mr. Parsons ascended the hill came into the main road almost in front of the house.

  When he came in sight of the main road he was fifteen guerrillas ride south on it and form in line, facing the house.  Mr. Parsons motioned caution to his men and formed in the edge of the timber 100 feet from the guerrillas without attracting attention.

Victor in Duel.

  He ordered a charge and fired his revolver.  His men were at the guerrillas in a moment and they broke and ran for the timber, every man for himself.  Mr. Parsons wounded some of them, but killed none.  He singled out a guerrilla finely mounted on a splendid roan gelding and pressed him to the timber, firing three shots at him at a range of about ten feet.  The last shot knocked the man from his horse.  He ran on his hands and knees into the timber, but Mr. Parsons always thought he must have been mortally wounded.

  Where he fell Mr. Parsons found his pistols and a short gun, also six new hats crowded one on top of the other, in which condition he had been wearing them all the way from Lawrence.

A Surprise Attack.

  Mr. Parsons saw that the horse was going to escape and to prevent it shot and wounded him.  He took it back to camp, where it was recognized as General Deitzler’s fine cavalry horse which had been taken by the guerrillas from Lawrence.  Soon after getting to camp the horse died.

  Mr. Parsons was engaged for some time in pursuing the guerrilla bands.  Three or four days after crossing the line he was on the Sni Hills in Jackson county.  One of his scouts discovered a band in brushy hill, in numbers about equal to his own force.  Mr. Parsons, with his men, crept to within 100 feet of the camp before they were discovered.  They guerrillas were just ready to eat dinner when fired on.  They scattered and three of them were killed.