Thomas X. Parsonsí single year as an associate professor of law at Washington and Lee University was an interlude between his studies and military service, and a career as one the leading attorneys in southwest Virginia. Like others in the succession of one year associate professors at W&L during this period, Parsons taught a number of classes including Torts, Carriers, Insurance, Municipal Corporations, Conflict of Laws, Equity Pleadings, and Bankruptcy.
T. X. Parsons, as he signed his name (the "X" didnít stand for anything), was born September 3, 1896 at Independence, Virginia, the son of Mary Belle Bryant Parsons and state senator John M. Parsons. "X," as he was known to his friends, graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (where he was called "Xenophon" by fellow cadets) in 1915 with a degree in civil engineering. After teaching high school for two years, he volunteered for World War I military service emerging from Officersí Training Corps as the youngest captain in the U.S. Army. He served in the United States for the duration of the war primarily as a military instructor.
Upon his discharge, Parsons enrolled as a student at the Washington and Lee School of Law. When he graduated in 1921, he was both president of his class and holder of the highest grade point average in the law school.
Parsons practiced law in his native Grayson County for a year before joining the W&L law faculty. From 1923 until his death in 1943, Parsons remained in private practice in Roanoke. For a time, he was a partner with Clifton A. Woodrum, against whom he later ran for Congress. He was with a firm headed by John W. McCauley until 1930. In 1932 Parsons became a named member of the law firm of Showalter, Parsons, Kuyk, and Coleman.
Active in the Republican party, Parsons held the appointed office of U.S. District Attorney for the Western District of Virginia from 1927-1933. He was unsuccessful in all of his electoral office bids which included Virginia attorney general (1925), Virginia governor (1933), and U.S. Congress (1936). A lifelong bachelor, T. X. Parsons died July 3, 1943 in Roanoke following surgery.