LEWIS ELIPHALET PARSONS, Alabama’s 19th governor, was born in Boone County, New York, on April 28, 1817. He was educated in public schools, and studied law at the Frederick Tallmadge office in New York and the G. F. Woodward offices in Philadelphia. Parsons moved to Talladega, Alabama, in 1840, and practiced law with Alexander White. He was a presidential elector in 1856 and 1860, and a member of the Alabama House of Representatives in 1859 and 1865. In April 1865, Alabama’s civil government underwent a drastic change because of the surrender of the Confederate states. General George H. Thomas was ordered to manage state affairs until a provisional government was appointed. President Andrew Johnson appointed Parsons provisional governor of Alabama on June 21, 1865. His first deed was to reinstate the laws of 1861, except those pertaining to slavery. He ordered the election of delegates to a constitutional convention that met September 12, 1865. The convention repealed the ordinance of secession, renounced the state’s war debts, abolished slavery, and scheduled elections to choose state officials and representatives to Congress. Parsons’s term ended on December 13, 1865, with the inauguration of Robert M. Patton. Parsons was elected to the U.S. Senate, but was refused his seat by the Republican party. In addition, he served as U.S. District Attorney for northern Alabama. Parsons died on June 8, 1895, and is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery, Talladega, Alabama.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol.1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Alabama Department of Archives and History