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from Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa

Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago, 1887, Pp. 371-72


James M. SIMPSON, section 17, Jefferson Township, was born in Green County, Tennessee, December 26, 1832, his father, John SIMPSON, being a native of Montgomery County, Virginia, and was a miller by trade. The father was a Lieutenant in the war of 1812. The grandfather of our subject, Allen SIMPSON, was a Captain during the war of the Revolution and was wounded at the battle of Monmouth. Our subject passed his boyhood days on a farm in Fountain County, Indiana, to which county his parents removed in 1836, his other dying there the same year. His father died in 1844, after which he [James] lived with a farmer, named John STARNS. His education was received in the schools of Fountain County, he attending the log-cabin subscription schools, and in 1842 began ttending the free schools which were organized there about that time.

He began teaching school at the age of sixteen years and taught till he had bought his time for which he paid $150, receiving $12 a month. He then attended school at Bloomingdale, Indiana, where he was a fellow student with Hon. Joe CANNON, Congressman for Illinois, after which he taught a select school in Montomery, Indiana.

He went to Rock Island, Illinois, in 1853, and taught a subscription school on Buffalo Prairie until March, 1854, and while there he saw the first train that reached the Mississippi River. He then went to Oberlin college, Ohio, and while there was taken sick. On recovering his health he taught in his former school for a time.

In August, 1855, he went over part of Iowa on foot, and while on this tramp, was overtaken by General CROCKER who took him into his buggy. He returned to Indiana in September, 1855, where he taught until the spring of 1858.

He was married on June 10, 1856 [Montgomery County, Indiana], to Jane E[dith]. GILKEY, a native of Montgomery County, Indiana, and a daughter of William GILKEY. They had nine children born them them, of whom six are living - Maggie, Allen, Myra, Martha, Ella and Nancy E.

He went to Ford County, Illinois, in the spring of 1858, and there engaged in farming and stock-raising. While living in Ford County he had his barn blown down, and his horses killed by a tornado.

He returned to Indiana the same year, and in the spring of 1861 returned to Ford County, Illinois, where he worked on his farm, and at nights wrote for the Crawfordsville Journal, of which he was editor. He helped organized the Republican party, and was the Republican candidate for Montomery County, Indiana, in 1874, and although he township was largely Democratic, he carried it by eighty majority.

He became a resident of Ringgold County, Iowa, in September, 1875, when he settled on his present farm. Since coming to this county he has been very successful in his agricultural pursuits, and has in his home farm 480 acres of well-improved land. He is still engaged in general farming and stock-raising, paying special attention to graded stock.

He still devotes a little time to literay pursuits, and is at present correspondent for the Creston Gazette.

NOTE: Allen SIMPSON (1757-1820) was a New Jersey native and early settler in Floyd County, Virginia, giving his family name to the Simpsons community. Allen's wife Susannah (BOYLES) SIMPSON was born March 19, 1763, and died at the age of 63 in August of 1826. Their son William SIMPSON once owned nearly all of the land in the Simpsons vicinity of north-central Virginia.

Allen and William SIMPSON were awarded Revolutionary War Bounty Land for clearing the road over the Cumberland Mountain into Kentucky County, Virginia in 1779. The grants were awarded on December 29, 1780. - Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, May 2007

John W. SIMPSON was born on February 20, 1789. After the War of 1812 he resided in White County, Tennesee for a while, then in Greene County where James M. SIMPSON was born. John married Nancy BLAIR, who died in Fountain County, Indiana, in November of 1836. John W. died on July 2, 1844, Fountain County, Indiana.

John STARNS who took in James when he was orphaned, was born in 1815, and died on March 8, 1879, with interment at Zackmire Cemetery near Wallace, Fountain County, Indiana.

On March 10, 1827, William GILKEY purchased a land grant in Montgomery County, Indiana, for eighty acres of land. The grant was signed by the then President of the United States, John Quincy ADAMS. William GILKEY was born circa 1803 in Ohio, and Margaret (ROUNDTREE), William's wife and Jane Edith's mother, was born circa 1804 in North Carolina. William and Margaret were married June 3, 1828 in Montgomery County, Indiana. William was a proprietor of a saw-mill located two miles west of Waynetown, and was a farmer.

James M. SIMPSON died on May 10, 1888 at the Mount Pleasant Hospital, Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Jane Edith (GILKEY) SIMPSON was born on June 25, 1832, and died April 22, 1911, Union County, Iowa at the age of 78 years. They were interred at Harmony (a.k.a. Mound) Cemetery near Shannon City, Union County, Iowa. James and Jane were the parents of nine children:

1) Margaret B. "Maggie" SIMPSON was born April 10, 1857, Montgomery County, Indiana; and died in Ringgold County, Iowa, on June 1, 1910. Maggie married and was the mother of Annie Laurie.

2) Mary Rebecca SIMPSON was born in Montgomery County, Indiana December 9, 1858, Montgomery County, Indiana; and died of whooping cough and diptheria at age 5 on October 28, 1864, Montgomery County, Indiana.

3) Son SIMPSON, born stillborn, December 17, 1861, Ford County, Illinois.

4) Allen SIMPSON was born January 29, 1865, Montgomery County, Indiana, and died February 21, 1898 at the age of 33 years of consumption at Colorado Springs, Colorado, with interment at Harmony Cemetery near Shannon City, Iowa.

5) Myra SIMPSON was born February 15, 1867, Montgomery County, Indiana, and died of consumption at the age of 21 years on June 14, 1889, Jefferson Township of Ringgold County, Iowa, with interment at Harmony Cemetery near Shannon City, Iowa.

6) Miriam SIMPSON was born circa 1867, Montgomery County, Indiana; died after 1870.

7) Martha SIMPSON was born November 10, 1868, Montgomery County, Indiana; and died at the age of 23 years of consumption on December 8, 1891, Jefferson Township of Ringgold County, Iowa, with interment at Harmony Cemetery near Shannon City, Union County, Iowa.

8) Ellen "Pink" SIMPSON was born in Montgomery County, Indiana on November 26, 1870/72; and died August 13, 1925, Caldwell Kansas. Sh married Edgar Melvin HUNTER, born in Iowa on December 19, 1864/65; died December 11, 1925. They were the parents of four children: Bert, Frances, John, and Olive Glee. Olive Glee HUNTER was born in Iowa on December 27, 1894/95; and died May 31, 1969, Wellington, Iowa; the wife of Malcolm McEACHERN (1888, KS - 1962, KS). Olive and Malcolm were married on November 4, 1914.

9) Nancy E. SIMPSON was born in Montgomery County, Indiana on March 16, 1873; and died at Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa, at the age of 85 on January 16, 1961. Nancy married Sydney Elmer BUTT, born in 1869, and died in 1951. Nancy and Sydney were interred at Centenary Cemetery near Knowlton, Ringgold County, Iowa.

The Crawfordsville Journal is the present-day Crawfordsville Journal-Review. The Creston Gazette was published from 1884 to 1920.

Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa, Pp. 371-72, 1887.

TENNIS, Joe. Southwest Virginia Crossroads: An Almanac of Place Names and Places to See. p. 121. Overlandmountain Press. 2004.

Montgomery County [Indiana] Marriages

Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol. 45, No. 2. p. 130. May, 2007

1870 Federal Census, Montgomery County, Indiana

WPA Graves Survey

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2009

Biographical Sketches Pages Index: A - F,   G - L,   M - R,  S - Z

To submit your Ringgold County biographies, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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