Marion SIMPSON, one of the leading merchants of Vienna, Johnson County,
wns born at this place January 23, 1838. His father, John
born in Lexington, Ky., and his father, Maj. William Simpson, was long
a resident of that city, whence he removed to Johnson County,
Ill., in 1805.
He was one of the first settlers of the county,
settling here when it was a part of the Northwest Territory, and
practically uninhabited except
by Indians. Upon removing to Johnson
County, he located ten miles northeast of the present site of Vienna,
and secured a tract of timber land, upon
which he erected a double log
house such as were common in those days. This he opened to the public
as an hotel, and it was one of the first hotels in
Illinois. While a
resident of Kentucky he dealt in live stock, and in the line of his
business made several trips to Detroit, and after coming to Johnson
County he also made several trips with cattle to that city. He improved
his farm and resided upon it until his death. The maiden name of his
John Simpson was reared
in Johnson County, until he was eight years old, when his parents moved
into Vienna. After he grew to manhood he engaged in mercantile
pursuits at Simpson Springs. Later he removed to Vienna, and engaged in
business there until his death, in 1864. There were then no railroads
in this part of the State, and it was his custom to buy his goods in
Louisville, Ky., take them down the Ohio River to Golconda, and thence
by teams to
Vienna. His wife in maidenhood was Elizabeth Sheerer, and
was, it is believed, born in Johnson County. She was a daughter of
David Sheerer, who was
a native of Frankfort-on-the-Main, and a pioneer
of Johnson County. She died in 1846, leaving nine children.
Francis Marion Simpson
is the only one of the nine now living. He was eight years old when his
parents died, after which he lived with a married sister until
eighteen years old, when he started out to care for himself. He was
first employed in driving an ox-team at $6 per month. Afterward he was
employed on a farm for a time, and at twenty years of age he began
clerking in a general store at Reynoldsburgh. In April, 1861, he
removed to Vienna
with a capital of $400, and forming a partnership
with W. W. Peterson, started a general store, and he has been engaged
in the same business the greater portion of the time ever since. For a
period of twenty years he was engaged in the drug business, and for the
past four years he has been engaged in the dry-goods business. In
addition to these several lines he has also been interested in farming.
Mr. Simpson was married
first in 1861, to Miss Julia Jinnett, a native of Johnson County, and a
daughter of N. B. and Mary (McCorkle) Jinnett. She
died November 7,
1869. His second marriage occurred October 24, 1871, and united him
with Mrs. Maggie A. (Heal) Copeland. She was a daughter
Heal, and the widow of Samuel L. Copeland. By his first marriage Mr.
Simpson had one son, William C., who is engaged in the drug business.
By his second marriage he also had one son, Francis M. Before the war
our subject was a Douglas Democrat, but he has been a Republican since
breaking out of the war. He has served as a member of the village
board, and was appointed Postmaster by President Grant, serving
Socially, he is a member of Vienna Lodge No. 150, A. F.
& A. M.; Vienna Chapter No. 67,
R. A. M.; Cairo Commandery No. 13, K. T.; and of
Egyptian Lodge, K.
& L. of H. Mr. Simpson is one of the most distinguished citizens of Vienna, and one of
its foremost business men. Starting with but
little education and no
capital, he is in the best sense of the word a self-made man.