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Anna E. Edwards was born in Bethel Township, McDonough County, Illinois, March 8, 1859, the daughter of Daniel and Mary Dorcas Edwards.  Her family moved to Vernon County, Missouri in 1866.  She joined the Avola Christian Church October 11, 1885.  In 1876 she married James M. Simpson; and three children were born to this union:  Mary Ellen, Charles Floyd, and Samuel Baker Simpson.  In 1906 she was married to John W. Smith. 


Click here to see a copy of a brief biography in Annie Smith's own handwriting.




Anna E. Edwards-Simpson-Smith photograph and information was provided by Justin Simpson who can be contacted at

He provides the family story that Annie was afraid of Osage Indians and would blow a horn (made from a cow or buffalo's horn) to alert her husband, James, who was out in the field to let him know the Indians were passing through their land.


James Simpson and Annie Edwards married on March 8, 1876 as recorded in Vernon County Missouri Marriage Record Book A, page 369.  They were farmers in Drywood Township in Vernon County.  James Simpson moved to Brown County, Texas, following their divorce in 1901.






Mary Ellen Simpson, daughter of Anna and James Simpson, married J. L. 'Log' Maxwell March 2, 1898; recorded in Vernon County Missouri Marriage Record Book H, page 116.  She died March 24, 1902 in Indian Territory and was buried in Bicket Cemetery, Vernon County, Missouri.


Justin Simpson's Great Aunt Anna Simpson-Collins wrote the following letter to him, describing "Grandma Annie."

    "A very short, fat, little lady. I use to stay the night with her a lot. She had a feather bed that we would sink down in. She would tell ghost stories. Loved to play Chinese checkers (cheated) sneak a move in when it wasn't her turn. Loved to have us kids read to her (The Great Blue Ox of Paul Bunyan). She was baby sitting us kids one time. It was thundering and lightning. We were sitting in her bay window. Old Tom, her cat was on the clothes line pole. Got hit by lightning--dropped dead. Us kids laughed and howled. Annie was mad--told Dad [C.F. Simpson] when he came to get us--he gave us a dressing down-- We told Annie how sorry we were -- On the way home he [C.F.] said it was the funniest thing he had heard. What a family!"



My Great Aunt Anna told me another funny story about staying the night at "Grandma Annie's" -- According to Aunt Anna, Annie Edwards loved having her grandchildren stay the night with her. When everyone had laid down for bed, and if the weather was just right, where the wind was howling and whistling--Annie would say loud enough for the children to hear, "Oh Lord, listen to that wind, someone's dying tonight." --and chuckle to herself.  Aunt Anna said this would scare her and the others and sure enough, in the next morning's paper someone had died...Funny story


Here is another description from my Great Aunt Wilma Simpson Hendrix:
"Every night my parents would read the paper then it was my job to take it up to my grandma's house for her. She would always give me a homemade sugar cookie.  If you ate a meal at her house she would warm your plate before you put your food on it so it wouldn't get cold while you were eating.  She would set in her rocking chair and read her Bible everyday and would just laugh.  We didn't know what she was laughing about until she passed away and she had cut out jokes from the paper and had them in her Bible.  When she had a stroke she was bed fast so she lived with us for about a year.  She would sleep all day then at night she would yell  'Oh Lord I'm dyin'  and keep us awake. One night I yelled back, 'Go ahead so we can sleep,' then I had to answer to my Dad.  She would brush her teeth everyday by taking a little white cloth and putting soda on it and rubbing her teeth. When she passed away she had most of her teeth. She would give my Dad a list to go to the store for her and two or three dollars to get it with. The same old thing every week was on her list and Dad would go get it but always brought back three or four bags and nothing was said. She slept with a night hat on her head every night, she said it was so her hair wouldn't fall out."

Above stories provided by Justin Simpson



County's Oldest Resident

Mrs. Annie Edwards Smith Holds Honored Position Among Oldsters

by Sharon McCaffree

    Mrs. Annie Edwards Smith is the oldest living resident of Vernon County, according to the recent contest sponsored by The Herald.  Mrs. Smith is 96 years, three months and 25 days old.

    She was born March 8, 1859 in McDonough County, Ill., the daughter of Daniel and Mary Dorcas Edwards.  Mrs. Smith has been a resident of Vernon County since she was seven years old moving first to a farm on the Vernon and Barton County line.  Her father traded his farm in Illinois for 100 acres in the new county.  The farm consisted of 80 acres of prairie land and 20 acres of timber.

    He got enough lumber from the 20 acres to build a log house for the 11 children.  It was a one and one-half story dwelling, with the boys sleeping upstairs and the rest of the family down.

    Mr. Edwards operated a stage stopping place in the early days of the county.  His station was located half-way between Nevada and Lamar, and the stages from those two cities met there at noon each day with passengers and mail.  Mrs. Edwards would cook meals for the occupants of the stages, charging 50 cents apiece for them.

    The children attended the log schoolhouse at Avola.  Mrs. Smith recalls that the seats in the school at that time were just split logs.  There were three churches in Avola at that time, each with their own building, separate from the school.  Mrs. Smith attended the Christian services.

    Our oldest resident was married to James M. Simpson in 1876.  They were parents of one daughter, Mrs. Mary Maxwell, who died in 1902, and two sons, C. F. Simpson of Nevada and S. B. Simpson of Nebraska City, Neb.

    After their separation in 1900 she was left with her two sons to raise on the farm.  Charles was then 13 and the younger son was nine.

    Mrs. Smith has always been a hard worker and her life has centered around her family.  Before her first marriage she could cut corn and "shuck it as good as any man," and sheared sheep as quick as her father by the time she was 15 years old.

    She worked very hard after her separation from Mr. Simpson to take care of the farm, herself and her two young sons.  She milked cows, fed hogs, raised chickens, canned foods, and just about every other similar task.  She has kept a good garden every year since she was old enough, and only quit that practice about five years ago.

    In 1906 she was married to John W. Smith and moved from the farm to Nevada about 40 years ago.  Following her marriage she joined Mr. Smith in membership in the Methodist Church and has continued her membership in that denomination to this day.  Mr. Smith died in 1917.

    Annie Smith, who is the only living child of her eleven brothers and sisters, has been so busy during her lifetime raising her children and taking care of home duties, that she has not had much time for club memberships.  She now has 20 grandchildren, 10 great-grand children and one great-great grandchild. 

    For 35 years years she lived at 914 South Cedar in Nevada, but that home burned down about five years ago.  Her son, Charles, then build her a small home near them, on Ewing street.

    Mrs. Smith, who is very alter mentally, even though she has been ill the past two weeks and is now a patient at a local nursing home, is a friendly person with a twinkle in her eye.

    She is rather proud of being the oldest person in the county, but said that she is old enough to die, and that when the Lord calls her she will be willing to go.  She feels that God has allowed her to live such a long life for some purpose.  What it is, she has not determined, but has always done her best to overcome the trying situations that have come her way, and to help her family in any way that she was able.  Truly she is a worthy representative of the pioneer spirit in Vernon County.

    Other nominees were:  (lengthy list of other persons nominates for the County's Oldest Resident will be added as a link to this page at a later time.)

The Nevada Daily Mail, Nevada, Missouri. 1955



Nevada's Oldest Resident Died At Age 99

    Mrs. Anna E. Smith, Nevada's oldest citizen, according to a survey made during Centennial year, died at 6:20 o'clock Saturday morning at the Tate Nursing Home, where she had been a patient for the past two years.  Mrs. Smith would have been 99 years old on March 8.

    Mrs. Smith had been in failing health for some time, however the immediate cause of her death was a stroke which occurred last week.

    She was born March 8, 1859, in McDonough County, Ill., the daughter of Daniel and Mary Dorcas Everhart Edwards.  She was first married in 1876, to James M. Simpson, who is deceased.  In 1906, she was married to John W. Smith, who died Jan. 28, 1917.  Mrs. Smith became a member of the Avola Christian Church in 1885, however she joined the Methodist Church later when she moved to Nevada to make her home.  She lived at 109 West Ewing and had been a resident of Nevada 45 years.

    Survivors include two sons, Charles Floyd Simpson of Nevada, and Samuel Baker Simpson of Sanger, Calif.; 14 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild; also two nieces and four nephews.

    Funeral services will be held at two o'clock Tuesday afternoon at the Ferry Funeral Home and Burial will be in the Bickett cemetery.

The Nevada Herald, Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri, February 9, 1958.




Annie E. (Edwards) Simpson Smith

March 8, 1859 - February 8, 1958

Bicket Cemetery

Vernon County, Missouri


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