Albert's Top Matches
About Albert Richard Parsons
Albert Richard Parsons June 20, 1884 in Montgomery, Alabama- November 11, 1887 Chicago, Illinois
Parents: Samuel S. Parsons and Elizabeth Tompkins
Wife: Lucy E. Gonzalez c.1853- March 7, 1942
Albert Parsons was a pioneer American socialist and later anarchist newspaper editor, orator, and labor activist. Parsons is best remembered as one of four Chicago radical leaders convicted of conspiracy and hanged following a bomb attack on police remembered as the 1886 Haymarket Riot.
Albert's parents both died when he was a small child, leaving the boy to be raised by his eldest brother, William Henry Parsons (1826–1907), who was married and the proprietor of a small newspaper in Tyler, Texas, the Tyler Telegraph. In the middle of the 1850s, the family moved from Tyler to Johnson County, living on the frontier for three years. Thereafter, they moved again to the Texas Hill Country, establishing a farm in the valley of the Brazos River.
In 1859, at the age of 11, Albert left his brother's household to go live with a sister in Waco, Texas. Parsons attended school for about a year before leaving to become an apprentice at the Galveston Daily News, a relationship that Parsons characterized as being "indentured" for seven years in order to learn the printers' trade.
The coming of the American Civil War in 1861 — or "the slave-holders' Rebellion," as he later called it — gave Albert Parsons the chance to escape the mundane world of the "printer's devil" and newsboy to which he had been consigned. Although just 13 years old and slight of build, Parsons volunteered to fight for the forces of the rebellious Confederate States of America in an irregular unit known as the "Lone Star Greys." Parsons' first military exploit was aboard the passenger steamer Morgan which ventured into the Gulf of Mexico to intercept and capture the forces of General David E. Twiggs, who had evacuated Texas en route to Washington, D.C..
Upon his return, Parsons sought to enlist in the regular Confederate States Army, an idea ridiculed by his employer and guardian at the time, publisher Willard Richardson of the Galveston Daily News. Parsons ran away from his "home" at the paper, joining an artillery company at a hastily-constructed fort at Sabine Pass, Texas, where an elder brother was the captain of an infantry company. For a year Parsons participated in military drill and served as a "powder monkey" for the cannoneers. Upon the expiration of his first enlistment, Parsons left Fort Sabine to join the cavalry unit of the brother who had previously brought him to Texas, the 12th Regiment of the Texas Cavalry, also known as "Parsons' Mounted Volunteers." Albert Parsons was a member of the "McInoly Scouts" and saw battle during three separate campaigns.
After the war, Parsons returned to Waco, Texas and traded his mule for 40 acres of standing corn. He hired ex-slaves to help with the harvest and netted a sufficient sum from the sale of the crop to pay for six months' tuition at Waco University, today known as Baylor, a private Baptist college.
After his time in college, Parsons left to take up the printing trade, first working in a printing office before launching his own newspaper, the Waco Spectator, in 1868. In his paper Parsons took the unpopular position of accepting the terms of surrender and Reconstruction measures aimed at securing the political rights of former slaves. This proved to be a pivotal moment in the 20-year old's life.
In this supercharged political atmosphere, Parsons' paper could not long survive and publication was soon terminated.
In 1869, Parsons got a job as a traveling correspondent and business agent for the Houston Daily Telegraph, during which time he met Lucy Ella Gonzales (or Waller), a woman of multi-ethnic heritage. The pair would marry in 1872 and Lucy Parsons would later become famous in her own right as a radical political activist.
In 1870, Parsons was the beneficiary of political patronage when he was appointed Assistant Assessor of United States Internal Revenue under the administration of Ulysses S. Grant. He also worked as a secretary of the Texas State Senate before being appointed Chief Deputy Collector of United States Internal Revenue at Austin, Texas, a position which he held until 1873.
To learn more about Albert Parson's political activities, and his involvement in the Haymarket Riot, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Parsons