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The Parsons

English Roots

Parsons is an old English name that has been traced back to the time of the crusades.  Some have suggested that it is probably Norman in
origin, having been derived from "Pierreson," or "the son of Pierre."
Parsons Coat of Arms
The earliest written record of the name was made in 1286, when Sir John Parsons of Cuddingham was awarded armorial bearings consisting of a leopard's head between three crosses, the crosses indicating that he, personally, had been a Crusader.  The traditional Parsons arms have since bore three leopards heads.

Possibly with some effort, a connection from this John Parsons could be made to the chain of John Parson's that are linked to this tree.  But then again, maybe not.  Some
have suggested that the family is derived through a Prussian who allegedly landed on Maryland's Eastern Shore in 1625, other researchers believe that the family descended from a line of "Parsonage"s who can be traced to a Roger (or George) Parsonage of Middlezoy, Somersetshire, who was born around 1530.  Roger (or George) Parsonage apparently sired a son, John (1), born around 1555, who in turn sired a son, born around 1590, whom he also named John (2). At this time the surname appears to have been shortened to Parsons.  John (2) also had a son around 1630 whom he named John (3).

Map Showing Somersetshire

Sometime in the mid-1600s, John (3) Parsons and his wife,
Quaker Meeting in LondonFlorence, became early followers of George Fox and his particular brand of religious dissention.  Although Fox never intended to establish a formal denomination, his follower's became known as Friends, and his denomination became known as the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers.  The Friends were persecuted by both Oliver Cromwell and, upon the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II.  To thwart possible attempts by the Catholic supporters of the Stuarts to overthrow the thrown, Parliament passed the Conventicle Act, which classified religious dissent as sedition.  Interestingly, while only occasionally applied against Catholics in England, the law was used to wreak havoc upon the Quakers, and thousandsIn Doomsdale Prison were imprisoned for their religious beliefs.  John (3) was no exception.  He was fined for refusing to tithe to the Church of England in 1670 and jailed for the same offense in 1675.  In 1684, he was imprisoned once more.  During this imprisonment, he joined six other Quakers in a famous petition to the Judges of Assizes that pointed out the injustice of punishing people for holding religious meetings. 

John's sons, another John (4) and Thomas (1), born around 1663, were Quakers as well.  Like his father, Thomas (1) was imprisoned in 1685 for attending a meeting of Friends in Ilchester County.  Immediately upon his release, Thomas (1) and his wife, Jane (or Jeane) Culling sailed for America and were in style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">
Philadelphia by April 1686.  While family lore, has them--along with his brother and his wife--making the trip with WilliamWilliam Penn's Philadelphia Plan Penn on the "Welcome," that is impossible as the Welcome sailed in 1682. 

Thomas (1) had, as had many Quakers, purchased a "liberty lot" from William Penn.  In addition to a small Philadelphia "town lot," the liberty lot also included a much larger tract of rural land.  A carpenter by trade, Thomas (1) sold his town lot and moved to his rural land in Bucks County where he built a homestead. Upon his death in 1721, his son, Thomas (2) sold his inheritance and moved west to Virginia.