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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PARSONS, RICHARD C. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

PARSONS, RICHARD C. (10 Oct. 1826-8 Jan. 1899), prominent lawyer and politician, was born in New London, Conn., to Thomas and Frances Catherine (Chappel) Parsons. He moved with his family to New York City, and came to Cleveland in 1849 to study law with Chas. Stetson. Parson was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1851. His political career spanned the years 1852-77; after which time he was editor-in-chief of the CLEVELAND HERALD, a paper he co-owned, for 3 years. Not until 1880 did he establish a full-time law practice. In 1852, Parsons was elected to CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL, the next year becoming council president. He was elected to the Ohio legislature in 1857, was reelected in 1859, and the following year became speaker of the House of Representatives, perhaps the youngest person to ever hold that position. Pres. Lincoln appointed him consul at Rio de Janeiro. Parsons returned to Cleveland in 1862 as collector of internal revenue, being removed from office 4 years later for refusing to support Pres. Johnson. In 1866 he procured federal appointment as marshal of the Supreme Court, and in 1872 was elected to Congress as a Republican. As a congressman, he brought major improvements to Cleveland's harbor, securing the first appropriation for a breakwater to aid the commercial value of the city, and securing a lifesaving service and lighthouse. Later in life, Parsons was president of the EARLY SETTLERS ASSN. OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, and in 1896 was active in the city's centennial celebration.

Parsons married Sarah Starkweather in 1851; they had two children, Julia and Richard. He died in Cleveland and was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 02:24:11 PM

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