History of
William Brigham Parkinson, Sr. M. D.

By Lorna England Bingham
Logan, Utah, 24 June 1962

William Brigham Parkinson was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England on the 4th of April 1852. He was the son of John Parkinson Jr. and Mary Woffindin and their home was at 2 Thornton Road. The father's occupation was a cordwainer.

The missionaries of the Latter-day Saint Church converted this couple to their Gospel and in May of 1857, they left England, sailing from Liverpool with their five year old son, on the ship "Tuscarora" in company with 547 souls under the leadership of Richard Harper. They landed in Philadelphia and from there traveled to St. Louis, Missouri. We are not sure whether a baby daughter was born on the ocean or in St. Louis but in December of the year 1857, Mary Woffindin and small daughter passed away and were buried there. Young William was baptized there in 1860 by John Cameron who was the husband of Alice Parkinson, a sister of his father's.

John Parkinson met and married Mary Ann Nutman, a widow with three sons, about 1859. They left St. Louis and traveled to Omaha, Nebraska where Mary Ann gave birth to a baby daughter named Lyda. They made their home there and another child, a son, named John Thomas Parkinson was born to them on the 14th of February 1862. They traveled from Omaha to Sumpter, Oregon where the father helped build the first bridge over the Columbia River. His health failed him and he passed away that September of 1862. He was buried where Vale, Oregon now is. The baby girl lived to be four years old and was buried in Eugene, Oregon.

William lived with his step-mother until he was twelve years old. He said she was very stern and harsh with him so he decided to find his Aunt, a Mrs. Graham, that he had heard lived in Utah. He made his way down to Helena, Montana, the home of John Chapman, a friend of his father's, who adopted him and sent him to school. He helped William in every way he could and he lived there until he was fifteen years of age. When John Chapman died, he left a large estate and William was entitled to his share but he would not fight for it so he did not receive any of the estate. He worked hard for all the money he ever had.

He traveled down into Wyoming and worked on a ranch belonging to a Mr. Brossard. From there he went to Idaho and lived with another friend, a Mrs. Schultz. At the age of sixteen years, he arrived in Utah. He stayed in Morgan, Morgan County, with Daniel Bull who gave him work on his farm. He lived there for some time. William was very energetic and when the farm work was finished each day, he would study telegraphy, shorthand and photography. He enjoyed talking to the Indians and learned their language well enough that he could converse with them. The next year he entered the employ of the Union Pacific railway, just being completed, in the company's office at Morgan where he served as night operator and train dispatcher. When he was 21 years of age he married Elizabeth Bull, daughter of Daniel Berry Bull, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. Their first child, Lillian was born in Morgan on the 19th of May 1874. When she was six weeks old, they moved to Granger, Wyoming where William worked as a telegraph operator and they lived at the railroad station. They moved back to Morgan and he worked at the co-op store. On Dec. 31st 1875 a daughter Ada was born to them.

William met and married his second wife, Clarissa on Dec. 6th 1875. She was the daughter of George Washington Taggart of Richfield, Utah. A son, Albert Woffindin, was born to them on the 8th of Jan. 1877 and later a daughter, Clarissa was born on the 2nd of March 1879.

His wife Elizabeth, had two more children during these years. A son, William Brigham Jr. was born the 24th of Dec. 1877 and a daughter, Elizabeth was born the 11th of August 1879. In May of 1879 he went on a mission to England for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He brought back a record of the families of his people. We do not know whether he converted any of them but later on in his life, he did the Temple work for them. He stayed on his mission for about a year and a half till 1880. He was released on account of suffering so much with rheumatism. He arrived home the day after Clarissa had buried her two children who had died from scarlet fever. He was ordained a High Priest by Francis M. Lyman in May of 1881 and was made Bishop of the North Morgan Ward where he served from 1881 to 1883. While he was on his mission his wives and families lived and were supported by their fathers. His daughter, Leona, was born to he and Clarissa on the 9th of August, 1881 and George Taggart was born on the 27th of Dec. 1883, in Coalville, Utah.

After William returned from his mission, he became interested in medicine and commenced to study with a Dr. Kohler of Morgan. His habits of industry and thrift enabled him to take a regular course at Rush Medical College in Chicago from which he graduated. While he was there, Elizabeth and Clarissa lived together with their families and they would weave rugs to help out. When he returned, he practiced medicine for a short time in Coalville and Farmington, Utah later moving both his families to Logan in 1885. A daughter, Afton, was born in Logan on Jan. 8th 1886, to Elizabeth and a son, Marcus Taggart, to Clarissa on the 17th of April 1886 at Lewiston, Utah.

On Jan. 27th 1886 William married his third wife, Edith Benson, a daughter of the Apostle Ezra Taft Benson Sr. Because of the trouble about polygamy, having married them before the issuance of the manifesto, he took his wife, Edith, and moved to Pilot Rock, Oregon where he practiced medicine. His son, Fred, was born there on Jan. 8th 1887 and later a daughter, Veda, on 20 Sept. 1888. Later, he moved to Franklin, Idaho, where he operated the first drug store in the state of Idaho.

He moved to Logan, Utah and began to practice medicine there in June of 1885. He was a partner of Dr. Ormsby for a few months then had his own office on the corner of main and center street. It was located upstairs and had a big bay window overlooking main street. Clarissa's daughter, Hazel was born July 1st 1889 in Hyde Park and on the 25th of Sept. 1891 Mary Alice was born in Franklin, Idaho. Elizabeth had another daughter, Winifred who was born on the 5th of April 1891.

In September of 1890, William married Margaret Wallace Sloan. To them were born three children, Willa in 1893, Louise in 1894 and Venoletta in 1896. Willa and Venoletta passed away in infancy.

To William and Edith were born six more children in Logan. John Benson in 1890, Ezra Benson in 1893, Karma in 1896, Wallace in 1901, Don in 1903 and Edith in 1909. Dr. Parkinson maintained four homes in Logan and provided well for all of them. He contributed liberally to the Church and sent all his boys who desired on missions. He sent William Jr. and George to medical schools, where they became very good physicians. John Benson studied and became a pharmacist, Fred became a specialist and an eye doctor, Wallace, a physician. Ezra Benson was studying medicine at the University of Utah at the time of his death in 1919 from Influenza.

In 1905 Dr. William bought a farm at Cornish, Utah, to give his children work to do. They did not turn out to be very good farmers, as they had no training for it, but from their reports, the children enjoyed it. Later the farm was rented and it ended up that it was sold to the sugar factory company. He studied German, Spanish and Swedish languages at home. He was eminently successful in typhoid and obstetrical cases and of late years specialized in diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat which took him to Berlin, Germany in June of 1914. He was the first Logan doctor to specialize and maintained and operated a small hospital of his own for many years. He owned the first X-Ray machine in Logan. He did much charity work never refusing to take a case because the fee was not forthcoming. One daughter went with him to deliver a baby, being the ninth child to be delivered and he told her he had never been paid for any of them. He always took a great interest in politics, he never held an office but did a lot of stump speaking around the valley for the democratic party. He also gave many lectures against the use of alcohol.

When Clarissa died in 1903, her son, Mark who was then seventeen, went to live with Edith and her large family. His practice took him all over the valley and his buggy and horse was a common sight on the streets of Logan. He was always studying and trying to improve his mind, he was always absorbed in a newspaper or book. At the age of 52 he mastered the German language at home. In 1914, accompanied by his daughter, Elizabeth, who was then 35 and unmarried, he went to Europe to study. He attended a Medical Convention in London then went to Vienna and took a post-graduate course in the diseases of Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat. While he was there, Elizabeth and a friend, Mrs. Bertie Hayball, toured Italy and Switzerland and they were in England when the 1st World War broke out. Along with Dr. Parkinson they all left in a hurry on the British ship, "Marritania." When they had been on the ocean two days, England declared war on Germany. As this was a British ship they were chased home by German submarines and they came over the ocean in four days and ten hours, which was a record at that time. The ship had to land in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

After going to Europe, Dr. William moved his medical office further north on Main Street. Most of his daughters took a turn at being his office girl and helping clean up after his operations there. He owned one of the first cars in Logan. When the U.S. went to war, he was the doctor that examined all the men for the army. He served as the City Physician. By this time, he had white curly hair and was a very good looking man, as he still had dark bushy eye-brows. When asked how old he was, he would always answer "sweet sixteen." His children laughingly remark how he was always trying to engineer good marriages for them. He always said that people are as old as they feel. He could whistle and run up his office stairs when he was 66. He was kept busy day and night when the flu epidemic hit Logan and he and his son, William Jr. were the best fever doctors in the valley. When his son Benson died in March of 1919, he took it very hard and again when Alice and her new born baby died with this dreadful disease. He worked so hard at this time, not taking care of himself, that he became an easy target for the flu and complications set in, causing his death on the 9th of Nov. 1920. His funeral services were held in the Logan Tabernacle and the building was filled to overflowing. He was buried in the Logan Cemetery. People from all over the valley attended the services. He had been their physician for 35 years. He would have left a fortune to his families if all the accounts in his books had been paid to him. He left a big posterity of 24 children. As of 1962, he has a posterity of 268. There were 24 children, of whom 6 never married, 70 grand-children, 131 great grand-children, and 43 Great Great Grand-children. Four children preceded him in death, two wives--Clarissa in 1903, and Margaret in 1913. Elizabeth died in 1922 and Edith in 1925.

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