Sidney Alfred Parsons and his Ancestors

Louis Henry Parsons (1864 to 1905)

Louis Henry Parsons was a cousin of Sidney Alfred Parsons, the person at the root of the family tree described in these web pages. Louis’s father Isaac Parsons was a brother of Sidney’s father, the Southampton publican John Parsons.

Louis is notable for the detailed journal which he kept during his years with the Royal Navy. It gives a vivid description of the lives of ordinary sailors at the end of the 19th century.

He was born in Hereford on the 2nd of December 1864 at the home of his mother’s brother Joseph Cupper. His parents, Isaac and Jane Parsons had been born and brought up in Marston Magna in South Somerset but they had separated; Isaac became a publican in Southampton (where he claimed to be a single man), and Jane found work in Weymouth, on the Dorset coast, as a lady’s maid for Mrs. Cox, an elderly widow who had previously lived in Marston Magna. Louis had an older brother called Isaac William Parsons.

The chart below shows Louis’s immediate family.

Louis and his brother William (as he preferred to be known) were both baptised at St. John’s church in Weymouth on the 14th of May 1865. William had previously been baptised privately in Marston Magna.

Weymouth, where Louis and William’s mother settled after her marriage broke down, is about 33 miles south of Marston Magna.

Louis was brought up partly at the home of his grandparents, John and Ellen Cupper, in Marston Magna, but also in an area in neighbouring North Dorset which (perhaps coincidently, perhaps not) was close to the home village of William Trim, the man who later became his mother’s second husband. Louis wrote of paper-chases in Duncliffe Wood which is in Dorset, to the west of Shaftesbury. In the journal which he later wrote he described himself as a Dorset lad. His grandfather with whom he sometimes stayed, John Cupper, had been a soldier and had served under Wellington in the Peninsula War.

In 1880, on the 6th of March, at the age of 15 years, Louis joined the Royal Navy. Two years earlier, in March 1878, his cousin Charles Dunn, whom he must have known well, had died when the ship upon which he was serving, HMS Eurydice, had sunk in a sudden squall off the Isle of Wight with the loss of all but two of those on board.

A few months after Louis joined the Navy his mother married her friend William Trim, her estranged first husband Isaac Parsons having died a few years previously.

Louis did his training at Devonport and then on HMS Boscawen in Portland. He specialised as a painter.

The ships that Louis served on included: Admiral Lord Nelson’s old flagship HMS Victory which was moored in Portsmouth Harbour; HMS Linnet, in which he spent three years in the far east; HMS Pylades, in which he spent three years in the West Indies and Eastern Canada; HMS Camperdown, in the channel fleet, upon which he spent an unhappy year; and HMS Imperieuse, the flagship on the China Station, were he remained for more than three years. Louis then spent just over three and a half years ashore on the training ship Boscawen in Portland. While he was there he was able to live at home with his mother and step-father in their boarding-house in Weymouth. In April 1899 he received his final posting, to HMS Crescent, which was bound for North America and the West Indies.


Louis’s last ship, the first class cruiser HMS Crescent, is shown to the left.

Whilst in the Navy Louis became interested in Freemasonry. His journal mentions visits to lodges in Nagasaki and Jamaica, and the records of the United Service Lodge in Hong Kong note that Petty Office Louis Henry Parsons was initiated there in June 1892.

Sometimes, when in Canada, Louis would visit or be visited by cousins who lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He did not name then and they have not yet been identified.

In October 1901, whilst serving on HMS Crescent, Louis became unwell and was sent back to England. After treatment at the Royal Navy’s Haslar Hospital in Gosport he was declared unfit for duty and discharged from the Royal Navy. Louis was just 37 years old and had completed 21 years and 9 months service. He received a pension.

Louis went home to Weymouth where he lived at the guest-house in Melcombe Regis which his mother and step-father owned. The address was number 11, Royal Terrace.

Also living in the guest-house was a girl called Julia Marion Horder who was Louis’s mother Jane’s great niece. (Julia’s grandmother, Mary Ann, was Louis’s mother’s eldest sister.) Julia’s mother Ann Guppy had, like Louis’s mother, originated in Marston Magna and had also come to Weymouth to work for Mrs. Cox, the lady for whom Louis’s mother was a lady’s maid.

Julia’s ancestry is shown in this chart.

Julia Horder had lived with the Trims for more than ten years when Louis returned, and she worked as a domestic servant.

A little over a year after Louis returned, on the 14th of May 1902, he and Julia married. She was about nine years younger than him.

The following year their only child was born, Cecil William John Cooper Parsons. He was baptised on the 28th of September 1903.

Two years later, at the age of only 40 years, Louis Parsons died. He was buried in Melcombe Regis on the 20th June 1905.

For some time Louis’s wife Julia and their son continued to live in Melcombe Regis with her parents-in-law but eventually she went to live in a guest-house in Yeovil, in Somerset, owned by Margaret and Sidney White. Margaret was the daughter of Julia’s brother-in-law William.

Julia passed away in Yeovil in 1959, 54 years after her husband.

Julia and Louis’s son Cecil worked as a clerk. He lived with his mother until 1947 when, at the age of 44, he married Violet Mabel Ostler. He died in 1963 in his wife’s home village, East Coker, which is about two miles south of Yeovil.




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You are free to make use of the information in these web pages in any way that you wish but please be aware that the author, Mike Parsons, is unable to accept respsonsibility for any errors or omissions.

Mike can be contacted at parsonspublic@gmail.com

The information in these web pages comes from a number of sources including: Hampshire County Records Office, Somerset Heritage Centre; Dorset County Records Office; Southampton City Archives; the General Register Office; several on-line newspaper archives; several on-line transcriptions of Parish Register Entries; and several on-line indexes of births, marriages and deaths. The research has also been guided at times by the published work of others, both on-line and in the form of printed books, and by information from personal correspondence with other researchers, for all of which thanks are given. However, all of the information in these web pages has been independently verified by the author from original sources, facimile copies, or, in the case of a few parish register entries, transcriptions published by on-line genealogy sites. The author is aware that some other researchers have in some cases drawn different conclusions and have published information which is at variance from that shown in these web pages.