Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Parsons, Stephen

(1778-1862) A model of early 19th century upward mobility and entrepreneurial skill, Parsons  came to Edgecomb in 1801 with his wife, Margaretta Frederick Randall, daughter of Benjamin Randall, founder of the Free Will Baptist denomination.

Stephen Parsons House (1983)

Stephen Parsons House (1983)

His career from that point was marked by continuous success for most of the rest of his life. Beginning as a surveyor, he quickly became a community leader and at the age of 26 was chosen as a selectman and moderator of the town meeting. He built his beautifully sited house in 1806 and on the nearby creek, constructed a tidal grist mill, a shipyard and a brick yard. He also purchased the schooner Diamond which proved a very profitable investment.

In 1809 he set himself up as an engineer and was for many years actively engaged in bridge repair. He became Edgecomb’s first postmaster in 1811 and by that time was also running a general store. In 1815 he completed the first formal general survey of the entire town of Edgecomb, greatly to the relief of the community where land squabbles had been all too common. By this time Parsons had become known statewide and entertained many notables in his handsome home with the help of his beautiful and cultured wife. He was an active worker for Maine statehood and served in 1818 and 1819 as a representative to the General Court of Massachusetts. When statehood was accomplished in 1820 he became the first state senator from his district.

By this time he had achieved position, prosperity and was surrounded by a fine family. Only after the death of his oldest son, lost at sea at the age of 33, and of his wife in 1854, did his good fortune seem to decline. Nevertheless, until his death in 1862, he was cared for by two adoring spinster daughters who caused his stone in the family burial plot to be inscribed with the epitaph: MARK THE PERFECT MAN.

Source: Virtually verbatim from Maine Historic Preservation Commission. “Stephen Parsons House.” National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Prepared by Frank A. Beard and Gregory K. Clancey. 1983.  http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/nrhp/text/83003648.PDF (accessed April 7, 2015)

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