William Jackson Parris was born in Tazewell, Tennessee. He volunteered in Company D, 117th Infantry, at Knoxville in July 1917, and went with his organization to Camp Sevier, SC, training there until its departure overseas on May 11, 1918. Participated in all fighting of his regiment in Belgium and in the attack on the Hindenburg Line defenses until October 7, 1918, when he was killed near Ribeauvillé. He died at the age of 21.
PFC Parris was initially buried at the American Cemetery, Bony, Aisne, Cemetery #636, France. Buried at Knoxville National Cemetery.