Museum the New Llano Colony

Frederick "Fred" A. Parsons

Birth: He was born in 1861 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  

Family Information: On the 1930 census he was still listed as married though no wife was present at that time. Perhaps his wife didn't want to join the colony, as there is no mention in the newspapers of her arrival.

In December 1932 his youngest son, LeRoy Parsons, came to live in the colony and he introduced him with fatherly pride.

At some point after 1930 and before 1940 he married Violet Dix and became the step-father of Jimmy Dix.  

Description: He was reported to be one of the most competent of Llano's corps of highly skilled artisans.

But he, a son of seamen, also was a seaman who had, in his youth, worked on cruises "to Carthagena, or Vladivostok, the Aleutian Islands, the Alaskan fisheries or the Grand Banks of Newfoundland..., "finding independence and happiness" far from the stench and slime of the putrid cities."

He had always been a radical, an adherent of communistic anarchism, though by 1933 he denied commitment to any creed, cult or "ism," though he admired the teachings of Krishnamurti.

Pre-Colony History: In 1870 he was living in Massachusetts with his parents and sister; in 1880 he was living in old Plymouth, Massachusetts, now with only his mother and sister, while he was apprenticed to a carpenter.

After the Haymarket Affair in 1886 he joined the struggle to save the eight "anarchists" who had been convicted of the crime despite the fact that not one had even been present at the event. Four were quickly hanged, one committed suicide, but, thanks in large part to the Knights of Labor and other labor organizations, the remaining three survivors were granted clemency in 1894 by Governor John Peter Altgeld.

In 1894 he and his family were part of the Altrurian Colony, near Santa Rosa, California led by Edward B. Paine, a Unitarian minister sprung from an old Massachusetts family. The membership at no time exceeded fifty persons and might have succeeded if not for "the severe business depression then weighing upon the country."

In 1900 he was living in California with his first wife, Carrie, and four sons while working as a carpenter. In 1910 he was still in California with Carrie and their two youngest sons. In 1914 Carrie died.

In 1920 he was living in Lake Helen, Florida with his second wife, Dr. Edith Neel Parsons. He arrived at the colony alone in February 1930. He was described as an "all-around wood worker from Florida" and at that time it was mentioned that his wife would join him in the spring.

Home in Colony: The 1930 US Census listed him as a lodger in the Edward Hardy home.

In 1935 he was using a hoe to chop down weeds in his back yard.  

Job in Colony: The 1930 US Census listed him as a carpenter in the colony. In October 1930 he was part of the crew at the planing mill that included Cleve Campbell, Kittle, Szpila, Rand, Rickey, Thomas and Parsons.

In January 1931 he was doing cabinet work along with Briggs, Kittle and Thomas.

In January 1932 he made a cabinet chiffonier for a lady in Leesville that was expected to be a beauty. Later that year he and C.S. Thomas were busy on cabinet work at the planing mill. In December, he "and his boy (35 years old) [were] making window sash. Parsons [had] had years of experience along this line and he was hard to beat."  He was always glad to help pick the wood which "went best with a customer's complexion," be it for a cradle or a coffin.

In 1933 the personnel of the Woodworking Department was as follows: Cleve Campbell, millwright; Bert Moore, commercial dealer; Fred Parsons, shop foreman; Charles Butts, talleyman and grader; Charles Brown, lumber woods and yard foreman.

In 1934 he was making a medicine chest for George Campbell and had just completed a fine clothes chest for the Frank and John Klahr.

In 1935 he was manager of the cabinet shop. As such, he traveled to the Rice Ranch, along with Eugene Carl and Orville Mastin so that he could check up on the materials needed to finish the large Rice Ranch house.

In late 1937 he was still operating part-time in the cabinet shop.  

Other Info:  

Post-Colony History: In 1940 he was living in Vernon Parish, Louisiana with his wife, Violet, his 49 year old son, Robert, and his step-son, Jimmy Dix. He was listed as a carpenter doing construction work. 

Death: He died in 1962 at California.  

Sources: US Census: 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": February 15, 1930, June 14, 1930, October 25, 1930, February 14, 1931, January 3, 1931, July 11, 1931, December 5, 1931, December 26, 1931, January 16, 1932, January 23, 1932, December 3, 1932, December 17, 1932, September 9, 1933, November 4, 1933, November 18, 1933, December 9, 1933, January 27, 1934, March 23, 1935, March 30, 1935, July 13, 1935, August 28, 1937, September 18, 1937; California Death Index;; Photo Archives  


Clipping from the "Llano Colonist" dated September 9, 1933.

1936 -- LeRoy Parsons, Mr. and Mrs. Fred A. Parsons, and Jimmy.

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