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Carlisle Area Historical Society

Saving History for Tomorrow

Frena Parsons

Frena Margaret Laverty Parsons (1886-1974) was one of ten children born to John W. Laverty and Janet “Jennie” Pilmer Laverty.


In 1905 Frena married Preston Parsons. From the time of their marriage, camping at the Iowa State Fair became a yearly tradition. For three years they traveled by covered wagon, a three hour trip, leaving home at three in the morning. The wagon was packed with provisions for the duration of the Fair, including feed for the horses. As the children arrived, they too, began enjoying the State Fair.


Frena carried on the tradition even after Preston died when she was 46 years old. In time the old camp grounds were dismantled to make more parking space for cars.


According to ANCESTRY OF THE WARREN COUNTY, IOWA PARSONS by Thelma Parsons, “It may have been the Fair that stimulated her interest in 4-H activities. Frena’s children and grandchildren were active 4-H members and she continued her interest until very late in her life as a leader and advisor.”


Frena was honored as a Red Cross 50-year service volunteer. She was a charter member of the Warren County Historical Society, and belonged to the Iowa State Historical Society, Federated Women’s Club of America, and Farm Bureau. Additionally, her oldest son, John, served in the Red Cross on Guam During World War II.

 Frena and Preston are buried in the Hartford Cemetery.

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