Recollections and Sketches of Notable Lawyers...Iowa - 1915 - P

1915 Index

Recollections and Sketches of Notable Lawyers and Public Men of Early Iowa
by Edward H. Stiles. Des Moines: Homestead Publishing Co., 1915.


Unless noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

Galusha Parsons was a native of East Aurora, New York, where he was born in 1828.  He  came to Iowa and located at Fort Dodge in 1865, where he rapidly rose to  be regarded as one of the first lawyers in that part of the State.  He  represented Webster County in the House of the Thirteenth General  Assembly.  He removed to Des Moines in 1873, and formed a partnership  with John S. Runnells.  He was notable for his legal learning and great  proficiency.  He removed to Tacoma, Washington, in 1890, and became  distinguished there, and continued in the practice until his death in  1906.  His body was brought to Des Moines and buried in Greenwood  Cemetery.  He was one of the most agreeable men in the world. I knew him  well.  When Archie Brown, who had been for years, the colored porter at  the Savery House in Des Moines, was indicted for the murder of Ella  Barrett, a milliner of Des Moines, who was found brutally murdered in  her room, I was employed to assist in his prosecution after the case on  change of venue had been removed to Ottumwa.  The case, on account of  the mystery connected with it, and the fact that it involved other  persons than Brown, who was thought to be merely the hired instrument,  created a good deal of public interest.  Parsons was employed to defend  Brown.  Judge Edward L. Burton presided at the trial.  It was a  protracted one, and at its close, Mr. Parsons and myself had become  pretty thoroughly known to each other.  To show the custom of the times,  I will state that during the progress of the trial, Mr. Parsons and  myself were invited by the Judge to dine with him at his fine residence  in the suburbs.  We were the only guests.  Judge Burton was not only a  great lawyer, but a generous liver, and the table was bountifully  supplied.  He had some of the traits of his English ancestry, and his  capacity for making good punch was equaled only by that of his guests in  drinking it.  A delightful conversation ensued, in which Mr. Parsons,  who was a voluble and entertaining talker, displayed a wide range of  knowledge.  After a lapse of nearly forty years the recollection of that  pleasant occasion is as fresh as ever.  Some sixteen years ago I was in  Seattle, and I thought of Mr. Parsons being at Tacoma, and resolved to  stay over a day and visit him.  I found him actively in the professional  harness with one of his sons, I think, as partner.  He was the same  talkative, agreeable personage as of old.  He was a learned and charming  gentleman of the old school.