Person:Jeffrey Parsons (3)

Jeffrey Parsons
m. 3 Nov 1621
  1. James Parsons1622 - 1622/3
  2. Elizabeth Parsons1624 - 1624
  3. John Parsons1627 -
  4. Jeffrey Parsons1630 - 1689
  5. James ParsonsABT 1633 - ABT 1708
  6. Margaret Parsons1635 - 1636
  • HJeffrey Parsons1630 - 1689
  • WSarah Vinson1637 - 1707/08
m. 11 Nov 1657
  1. James Parsons1658 - 1733
  2. Jeffrey Parsons1661 - abt 1750
  3. Sarah Parsons1663 - 1708
  4. Elizabeth ParsonsAbt 1665 - 1711
  5. John Parsons1666 - 1714
  6. Jeremiah Parsons1672 -
  7. Nathaniel Parsons1675 - 1722
  8. Abigail Parsons1678 - Aft 1754
  9. Ebenezer Parsons1680 - 1680
  10. Ebenezer Parsons1681 - 1763
Facts and Events
Name Jeffrey Parsons
Gender Male
Christening[3] 1 Aug 1630 Loddiswell, Devon, England
Emigration[1] est 1645 Barbados
Emigration[1] abt 1654 Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Marriage 11 Nov 1657 Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United Statesto Sarah Vinson
Property[1] Apr 1665 Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Other[1] 25 Oct 1672 Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Other[1] 1688 Essex, Massachusetts, United Statesfined for refusal to pay taxes (part of a protest against Governor Sir Edmund Andros.) He was a Selectman of Gloucester, an office in which he served for several years
Death[1][5] 16/19 Aug 1689 Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United Statesleft an estate of £317


Birth and Parents

There has been considerable discussion about Jeffrey’s parentage and his place of birth. The confusion arises from two early documents: a letter written 14 May 1714 by Elizabeth (Parsons) Morgan of Ashsprington, Devonshire England to a cousin James Parsons in New England,[3][7] and the will of Bridget Varney.[1][6]

Elizabeth Morgan's Letter

In her letter, Elizabeth Morgan refers to her "Unkle Jeffery", and to her father, James Parsons, as the "Unkle" of her cousin James (son of Jeffrey), and provides other information that indicates her uncle is Jeffery Parsons of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Perhaps because Elizabeth was writing from Ashpington, Jeffrey's place of birth has often been reported as being in Ashprington.

In an attempt to clarify the confusion, Willis Parsons conducted extensive research in English records, including Parish Records for Ashprington and near-by parishes.[9] He found no evidence of James Parsons' birth, nor any evidence of Jeffery. Since James remained in England, he would have appeared in the Protestation Returns of 1641. As Willis Parsons notes, Parsons is and was a common family name in Devon. However, the Protestation Returns of 1641 showed only one James Parson,and he was living in Loddiswell. Parish Records for Loddiswell show baptisms for James, and for his brother Jeffrey, consistent with the information in the letter of Elizabeth Morgan. James and Jeffrey were the sons of James Parsons (son of Jeffrey) and his wife Alice (most likely Crossings). Jeffrey was baptized 1 Aug 1630.[3]

Bridget Varney's Will

In her will, Bridget Varney refers to Jeffry Parsons as "son", with instructions that he is to pay her son Humphrey 20 pounds. This has lead to considerable speculation that Bridget was a widow of Jeffrey's father (often reported as another Jeffrey Parsons) when she married William Varney.[8][10] Unfortunately, there are no records or sources, other than Bridget's will, to support a claim that Bridget was Jeffrey's mother. Furthermore, Bridget was not married to Jeffrey's father when Jeffrey was baptized nor when Jeffrey's younger brother James was baptized, and was married to William Varney long before Jeffrey's father died. The question, then is why Bridget named him "son". As Willis Parsons points out, Jeffrey was Bridget Varney's stepson-in-law, a cumbersome title today, and one that would not have used at the time. "Son" may have been used as a convenience.[3][11]


Jeffrey is said to have gone to Barbados at a young age with an uncle. The assumption has been that the uncle would have been related to his father and named Parsons. There are mene named Parsons in Barbados at the time, although what, if any, there relation to Jeffrey is unknown. The alternative, that his uncle was related to his mother, has not been considered. Again, there is at least one Crossings family in Barbados, relationship if any unknown.[2][4]

Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts

Jeffrey arrived in Gloucester probably in 1654 or 1655. He purchased land in April 1655, and it was there, on 11 November 1657, that he married Sarah Vinson. He took an active role in civil affairs, serving as Selectman for several years. He died in August 1689, leaving a reasonable estate.[1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Babson, John J. History of the town of Gloucester, Cape Ann: including the town of Rockport. (Gloucester Mass.: Procter Bros., 1860), p. 120, 173, 210, 120.

    Jeffrey Parsons, left England when quite young, and went with an uncle to Barbadoes, where he lived several years
    Jeffrey Parsons came from Barbadoes to New England. In April, 1655, he bought of Giles Barge an acre and a half of land in Fisherman's Field. He also bought, about the same time, a house and land at the same place which at one time had belonged to George Ingersol, and still earlier to George Norton. There he fixed his residence; and descendants still live around the spot first occupied by their ancestor.

    Tradition has preserved the romantic incident that determined his choice of a partner for life. While walking on a hot summer's day, he was overcome with fatigue and thirst, and stopped at Vinson's Spring for rest and refreshment. The house of Vinson was near by, and a benevolent impulse prompted his beautiful daughter Sarah to approach the weary stranger with the tender of a drinking-cup. The charms and kind attentions of the fair one made a deep impression on the heart of Jeffrey; and, as she reciprocated the sentiments she had inspired, she ere long became his wife. They were married Nov. 11, 1657.

    Bridget Varney died Oct. 25, 1672. Her will mentions sons Humphrey and Thomas, son Jeffrey Parsons, daughter Rachel Vincion, and son-in-law William Vincion.

    Jeffrey Parsons and six others from Gloucester fined in Superior Court in Salem for non-compliance in paying taxes in year 1688 (in protest again Govern Sir Edmund Andros). Parsons and four others were Selectmen, and complained that they had to pay the shot at the Tavern for the justices who came to bind them over for Court

    Jeffrey Parsons was selectman several years; and died Aug. 16, 1689, leaving an estate of £317.

  2. "Early Inhabitants of Barbados", in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), p. 138 .

    In 1638 there were both a Thomas Parsons and a “Milchard” Parsons in Barbados who owned 10 or more acres of land.

  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Parsons, Willis, "Jeffrey Parsons of Loddiswell, Devonshire and Glouucester, Massachusetts", in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society), Vol. 142 (July 1988), pp. 245-249.

    James Parson and Alice [Crossing] Children
    Jeffery, bp. 1 Aug 1630, m. Sarah Vinson, Gloucester, MA, USA

  4. Sanders, Joanne McRee. Barbados Records: Wills and Administrations. (Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth Publishing Co., 1979-1981).

    Milchard or Milihard Parsons d. 1652 in St. Peters Parish, signed his will with a mark. Other Parsons who died in Barbados in the right time frame include a Robert in St. James Parish in 1679, an Edward, Gentleman, in St. Michaels Parish in 1688 and a Richard in Christ Church Parish in 1696. (St. Michaels and Christ Church are in the vicinity of Bridgetown.)
    Richard Crossings died 1681 in St. Johns Parish, leaving sons William and Richard, dau Mary (wife of Capt. Thomas Downes), wife Margery.

  5. Deaths, in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States. Vital Records of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849. (Salem, Massachusetts.: Essex Institute, 1917), p. 240.

    PERSONS (Parsons)
    Jephery, sr., Aug. 19, 1689

  6. Massachusetts (Colony). Quarterly Courts (Essex County). Records and files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts. (Salem, Massachusetts: The Essex Institute, 1911-1925, 1975), Vol. 5, p. 119.
  7. "Jeffrey Parsons of Loddiswell, Devonshire England and Some of his Descendants", in The Wainwright Family of Essex County Massachusetts, Updated 04 January, 2011 ; accessed 7 Jan 2016, Secondary quality.
  8. Collacott, Margaret Oliver. The ancestors and descendants of Zephaniah and Silence Alden Hathaway: with notes on allied families. (Mentor, Ohio: unknown, 1961), p. 218.

    William Varney . . . . married a young widow, Bridget Parsons, probably in Barbados about 1631. Bridget had one child by her former husband, a son, Jeffrey Parsons, born about 1630. [no source citations]

  9. Wainwright says that nearly all the Parish Records for Devon were destroyed by bombing in World War II, but that is incorrect and based on a mis-reading of Willis Parsons. Probate Records were destroyed, not Parish Records.
  10. See Ancestral File 2X2V-3QT, for example. Many poorly sourced examples can also be found on Public Family Trees. (Ancestral File and Ancestry Public Trees accessed 7 Jan 2016.)
  11. Bridget's daughter Rachel Varney was the second wife of William Vinson, father of Jeffrey's wife Sarah Vinson.