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dren died in 1892 at the age of seventy-one years and the mother on
Aug. 10, 1900, in her seventy-eighth year. John C. Ellspermann was
educated at St. Mary's school at Evansville and upon leaving school
started in to learn the trade of florist with J. D. Carmody. After
thirteen years with Mr. Carmody he went into business for himself,
not far from his present location. He has been successful and his
success is due to his thorough knowledge of his business, his fair deal-
ing and his untiring industry. Mr. Ellspermann was married to Miss
Katie, daughter of Rupert Buchenberger, who was for many years
connected with the brewing interests of Evansville. He was a native
of Germany, came with his parents to America in his boyhood, mar-
ried Man- Eva \Yintz in Evansville. who came from Germany three
years after he did. He died in 1875. aged forty-five years, and his
wife died in 1900 in her seventy-first year. They had four children,
Mrs. Ellspermann being the youngest of the family. Mr. and Mrs.
Ellspermann have the following children: Joseph, born June 20,
1883; Mary, born March 27, 1885; Carl, born Jan. 25, 1889; and
Theobald, born Sept. 3, 1891. Mr. Ellspermann is a Republican in
his political affiliations, a member of the Catholic church, St. Boniface
and St. Michael's societies, and the Sunrise Benevolent Society.

THEODORE KEVEKORDES, of Evansville, Ind., recorder of
Vanderburg county, was born in that city in the year 1875 an( ^ * s
the son of Leo Kevekordes, one of Evansville's substantial business
men. Theodore was educated in the public schools of his native city


and after graduating from the high school there attended DePauw
university during the years 1893-4, and later attended Butler college
at Indianapolis, now the classical department of the University of
Indianapolis. Upon leaving school he established himself in the
music business in Evansville, in which he continued for about four
years, after which he became associated with his father in the furni-
ture business. Upon retiring from the furniture store he was em-
ployed in the office of the city water-works for eighteen months and
during this time became somewhat active in political work with the
result that in 1902 he was elected recorder of the county for a term
of four years, taking the office on the first of January. 1903. Mr.
Kevekordes is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks and is one of the official board of St. John's Evangelical church,
in which he is one of the active members. He is a fine example of the
German-American citizen. Educated to love the traditions of the
Fatherland, he is at the same time a loyal American citizen, fully im-
bued with the spirit of this country's free institutions and always
ready to do his part to insure their perpetuation. He is what is gen-
erally called a "good mixer" and owes his political preferment to
his genial disposition, his persevering spirit and the high order of his
executive ability.

MARK GRANT, a prominent contractor
and builder of Evansville, Ind., and one of
the commissioners of Yanderburg county,
was born in London, England. July 24.
1827. "When he was five years of age he
came with his parents to this country.
After six months in Xew York the family
removed to Cleveland, where they lived for
three and a half years and then came to
Evansville. Here Mark was educated in the
common schools, learned the trade of car-
penter and has assisted in the erection of
some of the largest buildings in the county.
For over thirtv vears he has been in the business of contracting and


building for himself. He framed the structure at the salt-wells, near
the Maryland street bridge, and has built many of the finest resi-
dences in Evansville. "When the One Hundred and Forty-sixth Indi-
ana infantry was organized during the Civil war he enlisted as a
private in Companv C and served until the close of the war. being



most of the time with Hancock in the Shenandoah Valley. Mr.
Grant has always taken a commendable interest in public affairs,
served two years as a member of the Evansville city council, was
elected county commissioner in 1898, and is now serving his second
tx-rm in that position. He is a member of Farragut Post, Grand
Army of the Republic, and of the Old Soldiers' Republican club.
In 1855 he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Pritchett, of
Evansville, who died about two years after their union. In 1858 he
was married to Miss Xancy A. Bell, of Evansville, and they have
four children living. Jeannette is the wife of William A. Gillett, a
carpenter of Evansville; Samuel X. is in the plumbing business in
that city ; U. S. is assistant chief of the Evansville fire department,
and Dora is the wife of Frank Britton, the custodian of the Vander-
burg county court house.

clerk of Evansville, Ind., is a native of that
city and is a son of the late Joseph Stahl-
hefer, who was born in Germany, but came
to America in early manhood and who was
one of the builders of Evansville. Harry
has lived all his life in Evansville, was
there educated in the public schools, after
which he entered his father's store. Ever
since reaching his majority he has been in-
terested in political work. In 1896 he was
appointed deputy sheriff and continued in
this position for about five years. In the

city election in the spring of 1901 he was chosen vice chairman of the
Republican city central committee and had charge of some important
work dur'ng the campaign. After having helped conduct a successful
campaign he was elected by the city council to the office he now
"holds. Mr. Stahlhefer is also, by virtue of his office, the clerk of the
police court and of the board of public safety. In the several official
positions that he has occupied his work has been distinguished by
promptness, correctness and simplicity. His records are always kept
up to date and in such a way that any one who can read can under-
stand them. Personally Mr. Stahlhefer is a gentleman of pleasant
demeanor, one of the sort that people like to meet a second time, and
the longer one knows him the better he is liked. He is a member of
the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, is alwavs a welcome


figure at the club house of that society because of his genial disposi-
tion, and is a ready and cheerful participant in the order's numerous
and worthy charities.

EBEX C. POOLE, justice of the peace,
Evansville, Ind., is a native of Bangor,
Me., and comes of that old Xew England
stock that played so important a part in
the early history of this country. When
sixteen years of age his parents removed
to Boston, Mass. When he was about
twenty-five years of age he went to Jersey
City, X. J., and engaged in business with
his brother. He left this position to be-
come a Pullman conductor, and for the
next twelve years he traveled in that capac-
ity nearly all over the United States. His

first visit to Evansville was on the occasion of a reunion of the Blue
and the Gray. Liking the city and its people, he made up his mind
to become a resident of the place, and a few months later found him
installed there as the local agent of the Monarch Palace Car company.
Since that time he has continued to live in Evansville, where he has
made friends by his genial way?, his correct habits, and his many
sterling qualities of both head and heart. Some time after taking
up his residence in that city he began to take an interest in political
affairs, and the result has been his election for three successive terms
of four years each to the office of justice of the peace. He conducts
the affairs of his court with a dignity and decorum that would reflect
credit on some of the higher judicial officers. His decisions have been
distinguished for their simple justice and close adherence to well
established precedents. Mr. Poole is a Knight of Pythias, a Buffalo,
and a charter member of Pioneer Court of Honor, and charter mem-
ber of X'o. 122. Tribe of Ben Hur, as well as several other social

WILLIAM T. HARRIS, senior member of the firm of Harris &
Shopbell, architects. Evansville, Ind., was born in the city of Louis-
ville. Ky. His father, Edwin Harris, a retired business man of Louis-
ville, was born in California. William J. received his education in the
Louisville public schools, graduating from the high school in 1887.
L'pon completing his education he entered the office of one of the


leading architects, where he was employed for six years. During that
period he had ample opportunity to become thoroughly acquainted
with all lines of architectural work. He improved his chances, and
at the end of his apprenticeship, if such it might be called, he pos-
sessed a technical knowledge of architecture that few men excel. For
several years he traveled over the country, working in the offices of
prominent architects in different cities, going across the continent in
his travels, and in 1895 located in Evansville, where he opened an
office of his own. Two years later he formed the partnership with
Clifford Shopbell, which is still in existence. (See sketch of Mr.
Shopbell.) Many of the finest churches in the state have been built
according to designs furnished by this firm. Xine Carnegie library
buildings have been erected under their supervision, that at Shelby-
ville, Ind., being regarded by many as being the finest in the state, if
not in the United States. Both members of this firm are practical
men, both are thoroughly in love with their profession, and conse-
quently keep themselves fully informed as to new methods of con-
struction, etc., which marks them as being progressive and competent
architects. Mr. Harris is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the
Knights of Pythias, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
He was married in 1894 to Miss Bell Hawley, of Louisville.

ber of the firm of Harris & Shopbell, ar-
chitects, Evansville, Ind., was born at
Princeton, in that state, Dec. 8, 1871. His
father, George W. Shopbell, was born in
the city of Fort Wayne, and followed the
business of contractor and builder, so that
the son from his childhood has been sur-
rounded by an atmosphere of architecture.
After graduating from the Princeton high
school, in the class of 1889, Clifford went
to Indianapolis, where he was for five
years in the office of W. Scott Moore, one

of the leading architects of that city, and one year with the Big Four
railroad company. In 1894 he returned to Evansville and became
associated with C. A. Brehmer in architectural work. This associa-
tion continued until 1897, when the firm of Harris & Shopbell was
formed. From the start they have given their attention to the design-
ing and erection of public buildings, and numerous churches, school


and court houses have been built according to their plans and under
their supervision. Their business extends over a large scope of terri-
tory, and, considering the length of time that the partnership has been
in existence, few firms in the Middle West are better or more favor-
ably known. In recent years Harris & Shopbell have made a specialty
of the Carnegie library buildings, nine of which have been designed
by them, viz. : Shelbyville, Greensburg, Franklin, Seymour, Salem,
Princeton, Alt. Vernon and Poseyville, Ind., and Henderson, Ky. Mr.
Shopbell is a thirty-second degree Mason and a Xoble of the Mystic
Shrine, and is a prominent member of the Knights of Pythias. He
belongs to the Crescent and Country clubs, and to the Evansville
Business Men's association. He was married in 1897 to Miss Wini-
fred Dunlap, of Indianapolis.

BYROX PARSONS, the subject of this
sketch, was born in Rodman, Jefferson
county, N. Y., Dec. 15, 1835, and is of
Scotch-English descent. Just when the
traditional three Parsons brothers came to
New England is not known, but a deed
now in his possession, bearing date of Oct.
30, 1718, clearly proves that his ancestors
were early settlers there. This deed is
signed by Samuel Parsons, and conveys
land located upon the east bank of the
Connecticut river, in Hampshire county,
to his son Samuel Parsons, Jr. This an-
cient document had been handed down to him through the oldest sons
of succeeding generations. His father Elam Parsons, was born in
Connecticut in 1809, and moved with his father. Samuel Parsons,
to Jefferson county, N. Y., about the end of the first quarter of the
nineteenth century. His mother was the daughter of Capt. Samuel
McNitt, who served this country in the war of 1812, and distinguished
himself in the battle of Sackett's Harbor in May. 1813. Byron Par-
sons was the only son born to Elam Parsons by the first wife. Soon
after his birth his father moved to Ellisburg, Jefferson count}-. N. Y..
where he grew to manhood. His early life was spent on a farm, and
his education was obtained in the country schools and Belleville Un.on
academy. In the spring of 1856, and prior to his twenty-first birth-
day, he caught the Kansas fever, and left the paternal roof to seek
his fortune in the Far West. At this time the Kansas-Nebraska act,


which had become a law in 1854, began to bear fruit, and Kansas
became the battle ground for the settlement of the great slave ques-
tion. Settlers in great numbers were pouring into the territory from
both north and south ; those from the north for the purpose of organ-
izing a free state, and those from the south for the purpose of organ-
izing a slave state. About this time Rev. Henry \Yard Beecher, from
his pulpit in Brooklyn. X. Y.. declared that settlers to Kansas should
go armed with a Bible and a Colt's revolver. Mr. Parsons took his
advice. He journeyed by rail to St. Louis, and from thence to \Yy-
andotte by river, on a steamboat loaded to the guards with emigrants
and supplies destined for the "New Eldorado." The staterooms did
not hold half of the passengers, and Mr. Parsons was obliged to sleep
on a cot in the cabin with many others, who were no more fortunate
than himself. On landing at \Yyandotte he put up at the Free State
hotel. He soon learned that the feeling between the pro-slavery and
anti-slaven' factions was already at fever heat. Late in the day he
was advised that he had better seek lodgings elsewhere, as the pro-
slavery mob from the other side of the river, that two days before
had gone to Lawrence to pillage and burn that town, were expected
back that night, and the hotel would probably be destroyed, as it was
owned by a free state man. The mob returned as .expected, armed
with all sorts of firearms and bearing banners with various pro-
slavery mottoes, but they did not molest anything. They went on
board a ferry-boat, and with three cheers for Lawrence, pulled out
into the stream and left for their homes in Missouri, on the other
side of the river. On the following day. he joined a party of ten in
the purchase of, two ox teams and a "prairie schooner" with which to
transport baggage and supplies. With these they set out for the
.habited prairies of Southeast Kansas, which were fast being set-
tled. At Ossawatomie a halt was made and a quarter section of land
pre-empted. He at once went to work, cutt'ng down trees with which
to build a house, in order to hold his claim, but had scarcely more
than got the logs up. before rumors were current that a Missouri
mob might be expected at any time. A vigilance committee was
organized and Mr. Parsons was called upon to do his first duty in
defense of right and free institutions, under the direction of Capt.
John Brown, later of Harper's Fern- notoriety. The mob' came as
expected, and Capt. Brown, with his unorganized force, did what he
could in defense of the town and postoffice. just established, but was
overwhelmed by superior numbers, the town taken and pillaged and
the postoffice robbed. Captain Brown lost one son, killed in the fight.


and several others of his unorganized force were wounded. From
that time on he was known as Ossawatomie Brown. At this time
Mr. Parsons was sick at the home of a Quaker, two miles away,
but distinctly remembers hearing the fusilade, which lasted for about
half an hour. Letters for him were found opened in the streets of
the town after the mob had finished their pillage and left. Owing to
continued illness he returned to his father's home in Jefferson county,
N. Y., in the winter of 1856-57. In the spring of 1857 he accepted
a position as clerk in a general merchandise store in Ellisburg, at a
salary of $75.00 per year, and was so employed until the early fall
of 1859, when he accepted a position as traveling salesman for a
wholesale boot and shoe house in New York City. The firm failed
in the early part of 1860, and he accepted a similar position with
Lewis Brothers of Utica, where he remained until October, 1861,
when he returned to his native town, in Jefferson county, to assist in
raising a company of volunteers for the 94th regiment, then being
organized at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y. He enlisted as a private October
1 6th, and on the organization of Company C, was elected second
lieutenant and mustered into the United States service Feb. 14, 1862.
On March 15, the regiment was ordered to Washington, and was
immediately assigned to duty as provost guard at Alexandria, Va.
It did duty there during the embarkation of McClellan's army for
Fortress Monroe but soon after joined McDowell's army on the
Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg. It was with McDowell's
corps in its fruitless march to the Shenandoah Valley, after Stonewall
Jackson, from May 25th, to June iSth. The regiment was first
under fire at Cedar Mountain, August 9th, and almost daily there-
after until the great battle of Bull Run, in which it participated
August 3Oth. First Lieutenant B. D. Searles, then commanding the
company, was wounded in that engagement and the command de-
volved upon Lieutenant Parsons. He remained in command until
Lieutenant Searles' return about October ist. He participated with
his command in the battles of Chantilly on September ist; South
Mountain September I4th, and Antietam September i/th, where he
was promoted to first lieutenant and was with his command during
the march of the army down through northern Virginia, taking part
in the battle of Fredericksburg, December I3th. He was promoted to
captain Jan. 6, 1863 ; participated in Burnside's "mud march" January
2oth, to 24th ; in Hooker's Chancellorsville campaign April 27th, to
May 6th ; also in the Pennsylvania campaign, and was wounded in
the first day's battle of Gettysburg. He was granted leave of absence


for thirty days and at its expiration was detailed on special duty at
Elmira, N. Y., and subsequently at Riker's Island, New York harbor,
until November 25th, when he was detailed on general court-martial
which convened at Fort Hamilton and adjourned to New York City.
He served on that court until Jan. 16, 1864. On January 22d, he was
detailed as second in command of a cargo of conscripts to
Fortress Monroe and Alexandria, Va., and subsequently went
with another cargo in the same capacity. He rejoined his
command then doing duty at Camp Parole near Annapolis,
Md., February I2th and on the iQth of May left with it to
join the army of the Potomac, then fighting the battles
of the Wilderness under Grant. His command reached the front on
the line of the Tolopotomy May 3Oth, and was assigned to the first
brigade, second division fifth army corps. Thus organized, his com-
mand participated in the general movement towards Petersburg, and
was hotly engaged in the swamps of Chickahominy on the I3th,
holding the enemy in check while the main army was crossing to the
James river. He reached the front before Petersburg on the i/th,
and participated in the advance and final unsuccessful assault upon the
enemy's works on the i3th. He was continually with his command
during the investment of that city; participated in the movement for
the possession of the Petersburg and Weldon railroad that began
August 1 8th, and was taken prisoner in the battle that gave the
Federals permanent possession on the afternoon of the iQth. He
was a prisoner of war at Belle Isle, Libby, Salisbury, N. C, and
Danville, Ya. ; was paroled from Libby prison Feb. 22, 1865, and was
discharged on application by reason of expiration of term of service,
March loth. He was then appointed major, rejoined his command
April 1 3th, and served in the field until mustered out with his regi-
ment July 1 8th. While in Libby prison he formed the acquaintance of
Capt. Jesse Armstrong of Evansville, Ind., who became one of his
messmates in that noted hostelry. Captain Armstrong was enthusi-
astic in his praise of Evansville, and the acquaintance thus begun
resulted at the close of the war in a correspondence with Coolidge
Bros., who were formerly of Watertown, Jefferson county, N. Y.,
but at this time the leading dry goods men of Evansville.
Thus it was that Major Parsons together with Capt. C. E. Scoville
and Col. S. A. Moffett were persuaded to come to Evansville. These
three young men had been comrades in arms and officers in the same
regiment for nearly four years. This close relationship resulted in
a mutual understanding that when the war was over they would


enter into business together. So after being mustered out of service,
they came to Evansville, arriving here in the latter part of August,
1865. October I2th, they bought out William Riley, then doing a
retail grocery and feed business at 124 Main street and commenced
business under the firm name of Parsons, Scoville & Moffett. Since
then Major Parsons' life has been an open book to the people of
Evansville, except for the most part of the time from the summer of
1885 to the spring of 1893, while engaged in, developing a salt indus-
try in Texas. Major Parsons was the pioneer in the salt business in
that state and in company with Mr. Frederick R. Blount succeeded
in building up a large and lucrative salt industry, which was incor-
porated, in 1889, under the name of the Lone Star Salt Company, and
Major Parsons was made its president. This corporation is now
one of the large industrial enterprises of that great state. The firm
of Parsons Scoville & Moffett took front rank in the retail grocery
business of that city from the beginning. In the spring of 1871,
Parsons & Scoville bought Colonel Moffett's interest in the business
and he moved to Chicago. The new firm of Parsons & Scoville
gradually merged the wholesale business into their extensive retail
trade until their warehouse, No. 127 Main street, was inadequate to
their growing business. They, therefore, July 17, 1881, sold a one-
half interest in their retail business to Mr. Ezra Lyon and established
the wholesale grocery house, corner of Second and Sycamore streets.
July I, 1882, they sold their other one-half interest in the Main
street business to David Bros., and since then have conducted an
exclusive wholesale grocery business. In July, 1894, they incorpor-
ated under the name of Parsons & Scoville Company. Captain Sco-
ville died in January, 1902, thus terminating a most harmonious busi-
ness association oi more than thirty-six years. At the time of his
death it was believed that he and Major Parsons were the oldest
associated business co-partners in the city of Evansville. Major Par-
sons has been the president of the Parsons & Scoville Company since
Captain Scoville's death. The concern ranks today among the fore-
most jobbing grocery houses of the Ohio Valley. In politics he has al-
ways been a stanch Republican. He has been frequently asked to accept
office at the hands of his party, but has steadfastly declined all politi-
cal honors. Major Parsons is a man of progressive ideas, a clear
thinker, a thorough business man, well read, active in all worthy
enterprises for the good of the city and the well be'ng of his fellow
citizens. He is a man of high moral principles and for many years
has been a member of Walnut street Presbyterian church. He is a


comrade of Farrauut I'ust No. 27, Grand Annv of the Republic;
also a companion of the Indiana commandery of the Military Order
of the Loyal Legion of the United States. His wife, Oella Howard,

Online LibraryFederal Publishing CompanyMemoirs of the lower Ohio valley, personal and genealogical (Volume 1) → online text (page 33 of 41)