An online project under the direction of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM
Parsons, William 2nd
In 1859 William Parsons II was listed as a winner of "a winter scene, giving a representation of cutting vessels out of the ice" at the lottery held at Procter Brothers.
In her account, Sharon Worley notes that two paintings now at the Cape Ann Museum, (
According to Mary Sibbalds in her book Descendants of Jeffrey Parsons of Gloucester, 2006, “William was a senior member of the firm William Parsons II & Co. which did extensive business in fish and salt in East Gloucester. The company had thirteen vessels engaged in the Banks fisheries. They were also a leading salt importing business … up and down the coast.”
His obituary states that he was a director of the Cape Ann National Bank (for 23 years), of the Gloucester Mutual Fishing Insurance Co., of the Board of Trade and a director and one of the founders of the Seamen’s Widows’ and Orphans’ Aid Society. He was also a trustee of the Cape Ann Savings Bank for 11 years and President of the Gloucester Salt Co.
In the List of Vessels belonging to the District of Gloucester, 1869 - 1909, Procter Bros., three schooners are listed as belonging to Wiliam Parsons II. It appears that he owned them jointly with his brothers and half-brothers.
William Parsons was born 8/20/1815 in Gloucester to Benjamin Parsons and Susan Coas. He was married twice, First on 5/1/1841 to Martha A. H. Friend (1819-1851) and second on 6/15/1852 to Mary Elisa Somes (1814-1898). He died on 10/1/1882 in Gloucester aged 67.
Gloucester Telegraph, p. 2, col. 3
Boston Public Library
Accession # G587
"DRAWING OF PAINTINGS.– The distribution of five oil paintings among the subscribers to Lane’s view of Gloucester, took place on Saturday Evening, at the store of Messrs. Procter Brothers. No. 125 took the first picture, being the original painting from which the view of Gloucester was engraved. It is a valuable picture, and Mr. John H. Whidden was the lucky holder of the number. The second picture, a winter scene, giving a representation of cutting vessels out of the ice, fell to No. 186, the holder of which was Mr. William Parsons, 2d. The third picture, a moonlight scene, was taken by No. 263, which was held by Mr. Joseph Richardson of Boston. The fourth, a landscape view, fell to No. 2, the owner of which was Mr. Solomon Pool. No. 93 took the fifth, a view of a large boulder, and Mr. William D. Winchester held the ticket."
Distribution of Oil Paintings to Subscribers of "Lane's View of Gloucester."
#125- 1st Prize of the original painting to J.H. Whidden
#186- 2nd Prize, Winter Scene, cutting vessels out of the ice. Wm. Parsons, 2nd
#263- 3rd Prize, Moonlight Scene, Joseph Richardson
#2- 4th Prize, a beautiful landscape view, Solomon Pool
#93- 5th Prize, view of a Large Bowlder. Wm. D. Winchester
sight 2 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (7.0 x 5.7 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund (1957.11.3)
Link to Smithsonian site.