Parsons, Thomas (1833-1897)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1885

Early years

Thomas was born on 16 November 1833 at Marylebone, London, the fourth son of Robert and Isabella. The family moved to South Shields in 1841. Robert was a grocer.

Thomas was persuaded by his mother to join the Primitive Methodist Sunday School, and later he joined the choir. Thomas worked as a tinman prior to entering the ministry.


Early in his ministry, Thomas acquired a knowledge of the original languages of the bible. He was well read in works dealing with mental and moral science, ancient and modern history. Political Economy was a science he took great delight in.

His obituary records that his articles were distinguished for the beauty, power and order of thought and language. He was an excellent administrator, being firm impartial and kind. It was however as a preacher that he excelled. Every moment was employed that could be useful for the pleasing work of sermonising. For the joy of preaching the many inconveniences of the itineracy were cheerfully endured.

Following his superannuation, he regained his strength and was able to recommence active work at Pollockshaw and Glasgow. He moved to Arkansas in July 1896 to be with his son, John, a PM Minister who had moved to Arkansas circa 1893.


Thomas married Ann Nowles Matfin (1836-1906) in the summer of 1860 at Tynemouth. Ann was the daughter of John Matfin. Census returns identify five children.

  • John Matfin (1861-1931) – a schoolteacher (art & music), later a PM Minister
  • Mary Nowles (1864-1931)
  • Jane Elizabeth (1864-1944)
  • Ann Nowles (1866-1950)
  • Maria Robson (1874-1883)

Thomas died on 10 January 1897 at Rogers, Benton County, Arkansas.


  • 1856 Durham
  • 1858 Berwick
  • 1859 Shotley Bridge
  • 1861 Newcastle
  • 1863 Wolsingham
  • 1864 Whitehaven
  • 1866 Westgate
  • 1868 Hetton
  • 1870 Chester le Street
  • 1873 Carlisle
  • 1874 Staithes
  • 1877 Sunderland ll
  • 1880 Newton & Hyde
  • 1881 New Mills
  • 1885 Dartford
  • 1886 St Austell
  • 1887 Grassington
  • 1888 Heckmondwike
  • 1890 Maryport
  • 1891 Durham
  • 1893 Durham (S)
  • 1894 Paisley
  • 1895 Maryport


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1885 (portrait)

PM Minutes 1897/27

W Leary , Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits , 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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