Geoffrey Parsons

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Jeffrey Parsons, of Gloucester

Also Known As: "Geoffey Parsons", "Jeffrey Parsons"
Birthplace: Kemerton Parish, Ashprington, Devonshire, England
Death: Died in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Place of Burial: Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Parsons; Jeffery Parsons; Alice Crossing and Bridget Knight
Husband of Sarah Parsons
Father of Rev. James Parsons; Jeffrey Parsons, Jr.; Sara Lee; John Parsons; Elizabeth Durkee and 6 others
Brother of John Parsons

Occupation: From England
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Geoffrey Parsons

Jeffrey or Geoffrey Parsons was born in Kemerton Parish, England, in 1627; baptized in the Kemerton Church, Nov. 1627. He went to Barbados about 1645/6; arrived in Gloucester, Mass. in 1654; and died 16 August 1689 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts.

Parents: John Parsons and Alice Parsons OR James Parsons and Bridgett Varney OR James Parsons and Alice Crossing (see Notes).

He married Sarah Vinson November 1657 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts, daughter of William Vinson and Sarah ---. She was born Bef. 1644 in Salem, Essex County Massachusetts, and died 12 January 1707/08 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts.

Children of Jeffrey Parsons and Sarah Vinson are:

i. James Parsons, born 18 December 1658 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts; died 01 October 1733 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts. m. Hannah Youngglove.

ii. Jeffrey Parsons, born 25 January 1660/61 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts; died Abt. 1750 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts. m. Abigail Youngglove.

iii. Sara Parsons, born 19 April 1663 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts. She married John Lee.

iv. Srgt. John Parsons, born 24 May 1666 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts; died 01 December 1714 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts. m. Isabella Haynes.

v. Elizabeth Parsons, born 22 March 1668/69 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts; died 23 September 1711 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts12. She married John Durkee.

vi. Jeremiah Parsons, born 28 May 1672 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts.

vii. Dea. Nathaniell Parsons, born 16 March 1674/75 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts; died 21 May 1722 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts. m. Abigail Haskell.

viii. Abigail Parsons, born 25 March 1678 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts; died 23 September 1711 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts16. She married Abraham Foster 02 July 1699 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts

ix. Ebenezer Parsons l, born 05 January 1680/81 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts17; died 06 January 1680/81 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts

x. Ebenezer Parsons ll, born 28 December 1681 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts; died 19 December 1763 in Gloucester, Essex County Massachusetts. m. Lydia Haskell.


Notes for Jeremiah Parsons:

Jeremiah was impressed aboard a British Man-of-War when young; and, having escaped from her, is said to have settled in Virginia.

Notes for Jeffrey Parsons:

Jeffrey is supposed to be the son of James Parsons and Alice Crossing, based on research done by Willis S. Parsons.

There has been much confusion and controversy among genealogists concerning the lineage of Jeffrey Parsons, first of the name to settle in Gloucester. Babson writes that Jeffrey was born in England in 1631, and went with his uncle to Barbados before coming to New England, leaving a brother in England who died in 1708. Walter Goodwin Davis, in his "Ancestry of Nicholas Davis 1753-1832 of Limington Maine" asserts that Jeffrey was the son of Bridget Varney, by her first husband, and points to a reference to Jeffrey in the will of Bridget Varney, wherein she calls him her son.

Willis Parsons, in his "Jeffrey Parsons of Loddiswell, Devonshire and Gloucester Massachusetts" (NEHGS V142, pp245-249) offers a highly plausible account of Jeffrey's family, based on readings of surviving Parish records of Devonshire, and of a manuscript file on deposit at the New England Historical and Genealogical Society "A Genealogical Account of the Family of the Parsons of Gloucester in New England: Derived from Jeffrey Parsons" started by Rev. Moses Parsons in 1743 and continued by his brother Isaac. Parsons suggests that Jeffrey is the son of James Parsons, born 1599 in Loddiswell, Devonshire England, and Alice Crossing, of unknown origins. Parsons explains the reference to Jeffrey in the will of Bridget Varney by pointing out that, because Bridget's daughter Rachel married as his second wife and her third husband, Jeffrey's wife's father, William Vinson. This made Jeffery a step grand son-in-law, but in the interest of simplicity, it would have been easier for Bridget to refer to him simply as her "son".

The argument for Jeffrey being the son of Bridget Varney is also strong. When Bridget's husband William died intestate in 1654, the Court record notes there were three sons and one daughter. Bridget's will, proved 27 November 1672 mentions sons Humphrey and Thomas, daughter Rachel, and son Jeffrey Parsons. She instructs her son Jeffrey to pay out to son Humphrey the sum of 20 pounds over four years, a task not usually entrusted to a distant relative. Moreover, she refers to her daughter Rachel's husband William Vinson as her "son-in-law" which suggests that Jeffrey would also have been so referenced if he were not her real son.

John J Babson and Willis Parsons make reference to a collection of papers currently housed at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society Manuscript Collection in Boston. Contained within the papers is a letter written on 14 May 1714 by Elizabeth (Parsons) Morgan of Ashsperington, Devonshire England to a cousin James Parsons in New England. In it, Elizabeth details the family of her uncle, Jeffrey Parsons of New England. The letter is transcribed below in its entirety:

"Dear Cousin

  "I sometime since received a Letter from my Son, in which he sent me the welcome News, that he had seen his Relations in New England, & that my Unkle Jeffery had Five Sons & two Daughters living near together, in good Fashion, & in good Health, and y you had sent me a book for a Token, which I take very kindly, & give you many Thanks for, tho' I have not yet recieved it, my son being not yet return'd for England, but I had a Letter from him last Week, that he hopes to be Home in a short time, being now in Port Mahon in the Island of Minorca. My Father your Unkle James Parsons died about Six Years since, & my Mother about Twelve, they left behind them Seven Children: Whereof John, Robert and Isabell are since also de[ad] but James, Jeffrey, and Sarah, who together with my Self, are (God be praised) alive & in good health, Join with me in their kind Love & Service to you & to the whole Family of our Unkle. I am married to One Francis Morgan, so that if you please at any time to send me a Letter, you must direct for Elizabeth Morgan at Ashprington near Dartmouth in Devon in England. I have had no Opportunity of making you any Requital for your Present, & therefore must desire you to accept of my Prayers, & good Wishes for your Self & Family, & all my Relations to whom I desire once more to be kindly remembred, & so rest theirs & your most affectionate Kinswoman & hearty Servant -- May 14, 1714

                    [signed] Elizabeth Morgan

That the Parsons family possessed this letter is in itself compelling evidence that Jeffrey of Gloucester was indeed related to the family at Ashsperington, Devonshire in the manner outlined in Elizabeth's letter. Wallis Parsons, investigating Parish Registers of Devonshire, identified a Parsons Family in Loddiswell whose baptisms and marriages fit these facts. Even though, as he points out, the Loddiswell Parish Registers were one of the very few Devonshire Church records to survive the bombings of World War 2, these records do reinforce a circumstantial case for Jeffrey Parsons of Gloucester being originally one of the Parsons family of Loddiswell.

Could Jeffrey Parsons have been both of Loddiswell and the son of Bridget Varney? Since Jeffrey's supposed father James Parsons of Loddiswell, died there in 1670 it is unlikely that he could have been a husband of Bridget, as she was at this time already a widow of William Varney who died in 1654. However, it is possible that Jeffrey Parsons of Gloucester was a member of another Devonshire Parsons family, one whose records we will probably never find.


Lowell, Mary C. Chandler-parsons: Edmund Chaundeler, Geoffrey Parsons and Allied Families. Boston: T.R. Marvin & Son [Printers, 1911].

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Geoffrey Parsons's Timeline

Kemerton Parish, Ashprington, Devonshire, England
August 1, 1630
Age 3
Loddiswell, Devonshire, England, United Kingdom
December 18, 1658
Age 31
Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States
January 25, 1661
Age 34
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, USA
April 19, 1663
Age 36
Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts
May 24, 1666
Age 39
March 22, 1669
Age 42
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
May 28, 1672
Age 45
March 16, 1675
Age 48
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, USA