Heritage Weekend Tile 1989
Capt James Parsons House
The Parsons House is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, extant structures in Moorefield. The house is a survivor of more than three centuries of wear and tear, including artillery exchanges between the North and South in the Civil War. It was completely untouched by six major floods that ravaged Moorefield.
On August 10, 1785 Capt. James Parsons, a veteran of the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars, paid 40 shillings for Lot 30 to the trustees of Moorefield, who were eager to encourage residency in the community founded in 1777. One of the conditions of the deed required Parsons to build a dwelling at least “18-foot square with a stone or brick chimney.”
Built of heartwood pine, the Parsons House appears to have been constructed in two stages, the north part is three stories high, the exact dimensions required by the deed.
The Parsons family lived in this log house until 1809 when it was sold to John H. Smith. It has changed hands many times since then.
Over the years, plaster walls and whitewash disguised the original log construction, and by 1985 the house was in such disrepair that tearing it down and replacing it with a parking lot was considered. Cooler heads prevailed, and the house was saved.
When a hole was drilled into one of the walls, the original log structure was discovered. Richard and Mary Lou Bass, who purchased the home, spent two years restoring the logs, floor, fireplaces, and beamed ceilings. The German siding on the exterior was restored in 1977.
In the restoration of a first floor fireplace, a letter was found from Katie P. to her friend Rebecca Sangster of Harrisonburg describing the occupation of the town by the “Yankees” during the Civil War.
The Parsons House is on the National Register of Historical Places.
Location: 114 S. Elm St.