Marcus J. Parrott, 1828-1879
Born at Hamburg, Aiken County, South Carolina, on October 27, 1828, but raised in Dayton, Ohio, Marcus Junius Parrott, whose views on the issue of chattel slavery were undoubtedly influenced by this Quaker father, was educated at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1849. He subsequently studied law at Cambridge University, Massachusetts, completed his degree, and returned to Dayton, Ohio, where he was admitted to the bar and commenced a legal practice. The future free-state delegate to the U.S. Congress from Kansas Territory soon became interested in a political as well as a legal career, and in 1853 and 1854 he served as a representative in the Ohio state legislature.
Soon thereafter Parrott’s interest in the newly organized territory of Kansas was peaked and in 1855 he moved west. Parrott chose Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, as his place of settlement and there resumed the practice of law and became active in territorial politics. During that first year he was appointed court reporter for the first session of the territorial Supreme Court, and the following September Parrott served as defense attorney for Charles Robinson and several other free-state partisans who were under indictment for treason and in the custody of the proslavery territorial government at Lecompton.
A Democrat when he first arrived in the territory, Parrott soon became active in the Free-State Party (later Republican Party) and was elected as a delegate from Leavenworth to the Topeka Constitutional Convention that convened on October 23, 1855. The free-sate convention, meeting in Topeka in July 1857, nominated Parrott for the position of delegate to Congress under the Topeka Constitution. He was subsequently elected with over 7,000 votes and served Kansas in that capacity for nearly four years. Parrott was in Washington, D.C., when the Kansas bill finally passed in January 1861, and he transmitted the news to Leavenworth. Subsequently, he ran a very close third to James H. Lane and Samuel C. Pomeroy in the balloting for U.S. Senate, and unsuccessfully sought election to Congress in 1862 and 1874.
Parrott then left political life altogether and turned is attention to agriculture pursuits on his farmer near Leavenworth. A few years later, after experiencing failing health for several months, Parrott moved back to Dayton, Ohio, to be close to his brother, and he died there on October 4, 1879.
Blackmar, Frank W. Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History. Vol. II. Chicago, IL: Standard Publishing Co., 1912.
Connelly, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Co., 1918.
United States Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1989.