Reminiscences of the Bench and Bar of Missouri
by W.V.N. Bay
Note that the following was published a little over a decade after Parsons death.
"...Parsons was one of the finest-looking men we ever saw. He was over six feet high, straight as an Indian, had a large frame and dark and piercing eyes. His head was large, his forehead wide and expansive, and his manner dignified and graceful. Few men, indeed, presented a finer appearance. He was gradually rising in the profession
when the Rebellion broke out. He joined the Confederate
army, and was appointed by Governor C. F. Jackson briga-
dier-general of the Missouri volunteers, participated in most of the battles of Missouri and Arkansas, and, after the
engagement at Helena, was promoted to the position of
"Upon the termination of the war he started, with others, for Mexico, with the intention, as supposed, of settling a colony in some part of the Mexican territory. He, with two or three others, got separated from the main body, and were massacred by Mexican banditti.
"The facts connected with the massacre of General Parsons and his companions are about these: After the Confederate surrender at Shreveport, Louisiana, in May, 1865, Parsons was permitted to keep his transportation, and with his personal effects to cross the Rio Grande into Mexico. He entered the Mexican territory in July, crossing the border at Eagle Pass, and in company with the Hon. Aaron H. Conrow, a member of the Confederate Congress, Colonel A.M. Standwitch, his brother-in-law and adjutant-general, and his faithful servant known as "Dutch Bill," who had been his orderly from the commencement of the war, proceeded in the direction of Monterey. After reaching Monterey they fell in company with General John B. Clark, ex-member of the Confederate Senate, and General Sidney Jackman and others of the Confederate army, and the entire party started for Camargo, intending to leave Mexico and return to the United States. On August 14, 1865, while between Camargo and Monterey, they stopped at a watertank near a small town called China, just beyond the San Juan River, and on the neutral ground between the French and Liberal forces. Here the party divided up, and encamped within reach of the tank--Clark and Jackman in one place and Parsons and his party in another. It was their intention to have encamped together, but one of Parsons' party, Colonel Williams, of Tennessee, was delayed by a lame horse, and Parsons waited for him, and went into camp before reaching Clark. Shortly after midnight Parsons and his party were attacked by Mexicans, and, after a severe fight, overpowered and butchered, and their bodies thrown into the chaparral or San Juan River. Their money and property were divided among their captors, and while the division was going on, Colonel Don Platon Sanchos, adjutant-general of the Liberal forces, rode up and claimed his share of the booty. Among other things he obtained General Parsons' watch, and afterwards boasted of having taken it from a Confederate general.
"Under the treaty of July 4, 1868, the Mexican government was compelled to pay $50,000 in gold for this outrage, and $100,000 additional to the families of those of his companions who were killed. Mrs. Standwitch, the widow of Colonel Standwitch, a most estimable lady and a sister of General Parsons, is now a resident of St. Louis, and has charge of the Blind Asylum."