Pages 389-390, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


James Simpson


JAMES SIMPSON, who was prominent as a citizen and contractor in Iola a decade and a half ago and who died there September 6, 1889, was a native born Englishman. He was born near York October 18, 1827, and was one of fifteen children. His father, Robert Simpson, was a farmer


and young "Jimmy" passed his youth at such work as would aid in maintaining the household. He was apprenticed at an early age and spent six years at the carpenter and joiner trade. He was some twenty-five years old when he came to the United States. He landed at New York but went direct to Canada. He was in company with his brother, Thomas, but Charles and Mark, brothers also, reared families and died, in America. Thomas died in Canada, Charles died in Philadelphia and Mark died in Decatur, Illinois.

James Simpson returned to the United States and found his first employment at his trade in St. Louis, Missouri. He worked in Jacksonville and Decatur, Illinois, going to the latter point about 1867 from the former. He came to Iola in 1879 and was a thorough-going and properous[sic] citizen to the end. He adhered to the Democratic faith and was an Episcopalian in spiritual matters. He was well informed, ready and alert and was a genial and companionable gentleman. He was married at Jacksonville, Illinois, September 12, 1852, to Sarah Sprowell, whose father, Robert Sprowell, was also an Englishman. The Sprowells were from Lincolnshire as was Betty Wilson whom Robert Sprowell married. William G. Sprowell and Mrs. Simpson are their surviving heirs.

"Uncle Jimmy" Simpson and Mrs. Simpson manifested a warm personal interest in orphan children. They were childless, themselves, and many of these unfortunates found comfortable homes with them. Those who have enjoyed their hospitality and profited by their friendship are: Charles Dunavan, the late Mrs. Ada Bartlett, Mrs. Jennie Nelson, of Springfield, Illinois, George Simpson, of Decatur, Illinois, Mrs. Eva Robinson, of St. Louis, Missouri, and Sarah Metcalf.

For twenty years Mrs. Simpson was engaged in the millinery business in Iola, retiring July 4, 1889. The old Simpson corner she has adorned with a splendid two story brick business house, and the new Episcopal church edifice owes much to her for its early erection. She and her husband seem to have lived for the good they might do and all worthy enterprises and proper charities participated in their benefactions.

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