In the early days of America, few had access to higher education. Often in many of the small colonial towns, the only one who possessed formal education was the local minister. Besides religious matters, people would frequently consult him for information about law, science, and other secular matters. Because of his education, the local minister would often be viewed as a complete person and would be referred to as the town "person." Over the years, the evolving accent of the New Englanders distorted the pronunciation to "parson." Thus, ministers became referred to as Parsons.