BACK OF BEYOND - Ted Parsons Clocked Thousands Of Miles On Bicycle

(01/26/2022)

Crummies Creek backwoods mountain man Ted Parsons at 92

By Bob Weaver 2020

92-year-old Ted Parsons of the Right Fork of Crummies Creek grew up on the edge of the Bear Fork Wilderness, near place names Burnt Cabin and Tantrough.

"I'm a whistle pig," born on Groundhog Day.

Perhaps the most amazing feat of his life as a teen boy in the 1940s was traveling from the remote hollow on a rocky and mud road on his precious bicycle, pedaling to Spencer, Wirt and Gilmer County.

He put an odometer on his bike, at one time reaching 3,399 miles. "It kept me in good health. I had no idea I'd live this long," he said.

Many years ago Parsons erected a sign along the rutted highway, saying "Back of Beyond." He built his house in 1947, marrying Thelma Pearl Carpenter. "The old house has just about been taken down by termites," he said.

Parsons has lived at the edge of Bear Fork wilderness

"At one time on Right Fork and into the deeper woods there was about 30 families, some of them planted on the Bennett Land (Bear Fork), few of them having a deed."

In his early days he was fascinated walking along the rusty train tracks of the long abandoned Bear Fork Railroad. (See Tales of Bear Fork)

He is the son of deep woods folks Robert and Alice Nicholas Parsons, one of four children, a brother, Marlow Parsons was killed in World War II.

"I have raised a garden until last year, and always fished and hunted, but my vision is really bad now."

During much of his life he worked on sawmills, Burke, Parsons and Bowlby, and was the caretaker of the old Spencer Cemetery for 20 years.

He recalled a time in the 1940s "running around" with well-known Grantsville resident Jim Bell, sneaking into a shindig at the Log Cabin Park, Mount Zion.

He had been a contemporary of the late backwoods recluse Emma Metz, who lived right up the creek, written about on the Hur Herald.

"I've seen a few miracles by the good Lord, and some of them helped me out."