Francis M. Simpson


Francis Marion SIMPSON, one of the leading merchants of Vienna, Johnson County, wns born at this place January 23, 1838. His father, John 
Simpson, was 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 wife was 
Polly Jones.

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 
he was 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 
of Stephen 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 the 
breaking out of the war. He has served as a member of the village board, and was appointed Postmaster by President Grant, serving fourteen years. 
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.



transcribed by Nan Starjak

Source:
The Biographical Review of  Johnson, Massac, Pope and Hardin Counties
Chicago
Biographical Publishing Co., 1893
pp 489 - 490

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