He attended the common schools, Hebron Academy, and Colby College and was graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 1827. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1830, and began his practice in Buckfield.
Assistant Secretary of the Maine Senate in 1831, he became a member of the Maine House of Representatives(1832-1837) and was elected as a State Rights Democrat to the Twenty-fifth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Timothy J. Carter. Parris was reelected to the Twenty-sixth Congress and served from May 29, 1838, to March 3,1841, when he was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1840.
As a member of the State Senate in 1842 and 1843, he served part of the time as President Pro Tempore and as Acting Governor of the State. United States marshal for the district of Maine 1844-1848, and special mail agent for New England in 1853, he was appointed naval storekeeper at Kittery Navy Yard in 1856.
Parris was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1852 and 1872. He died in Paris June 13, 1874 with interment in the Rawson family knoll in the Old Cemetery.