Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PARSONS, Lewis Baldwin, benefactor, born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, 30 April, 1798" died in Detroit, Michigan, 21 December, 1855. He accumulated a large fortune in business in Buffalo, New York, and was a generous contributor to benevolent and educational enterprises. By the terms of his will he bequeathed funds to found Parsons college, a co-educational institution in Fairfield, Iowa, under the care of the Presbyterian church.--His son, Lewis Baldwin, soldier, born in Oenesee county, New York, 5 April, 1818, was graduated at Yale in 1840, studied law at Harvard, and settled in Alton, Illinois, where he was city attorney for several years, he removed to St. Louis, Maine, in 1853, and became president and treasurer of the Ohio and Mississippi railroad. At the beginning of the civil war he was one of a commission to examine into the administration of General John C. Fremont in Missouri. He became colonel of volunteers, and was assigned to the staff of General Henry W. Halleck in 1862, with the charge of rail and river transportation in his department, which was subsequently extended to cover the entire country west of the Alleghanies. In 1864 he was placed in charge of all railroad and river army transportation in the United States. In January, 1865, by order of the secretary of war, he personally supervised the transfer of General John M. Schofield's army of 20,000 men from Mississippi to Washington, D. C., a distance of 1,400 miles, in an average time of eleven days. For this service he was promoted brigadier-general of volunteers, 11 May, 1865. In April, 1866, he was brevetted major-general of volunteers.
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