Search billions of records on

  Grayson County TXGenWeb 

Crumpton & Simpson Families


Joseph Martin "Joe" Crumpton, Sr.

Joe Crumpton was perhaps Denison's leading "hotel man" for many decades. His family background is summarized in the following piece, posted on by Mary Florence Ashburn Hager in 2010.

The Crumpton/Fisher Story

Joseph Fisher married Elizabeth Lockwood in Yorkshire, England, and left for America about 1831. They had one child, a daughter named Sarah, who was about 18 months old and made the voyage with them.

They settled in Trenton, New Jersey, where he was a woolen manufacturer. He had brought both his machinery and his men with him. After a few years in Trenton, he moved his mill to Fishersville, Pennsylvania. Over the years, Joseph and Elizabeth had 13 children—8 boys and 5 daughters. All of the sons lived to adulthood, and 3 of the daughters did as well.

Alice Crumpton, born 1864
Larned, Kansas

Bernice Crumpton Ashburn, born 1906
Denison, Texas

Dorothy Crumpton, born 1908
Denison, Texas

When Sarah was 8 years old, she was sent to boarding school, where she was educated. She was 26 years old when she married William Crumpton, age 30, on 23 January 1856.

Will and Florence Crumpton
Taken soon after their wedding.

Sarah’s uncle on her mother’s [Lockwood] side of the family lived in Yorkshire, England, and was titled an Earl. He had two daughters who were presented at court. Sarah was referred to as “Lady Sarah” Fisher, more from breeding and education than royal entitlement.

John Crumpton’s ancestors came to America from England and settled in northern New Jersey (place in England unknown and date of arrival unknown). He married Ann Polk Graham, a cousin of James K. Polk. John Crumpton and Ann Polk Graham were married in Ohio (date and place unknown). They had three children: William John, Sarah, and Jane. William John was born in Chillicothe, Ohio. When he was 21 years old, he went back east to Pennsylvania and was employed by his uncle William McClulan, a merchant in McClulanville, Pennsylvania. At age 30, he married Sarah Fisher at her home in Laurel, Pennsylvania. He was a merchant in Chesterville, Pennsylvania, at the time.

William and Sarah Crumpton had eight children over the years. Their first, Millard Fillmore Crumpton, was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, on 20 November 1856.

Soon afterward, the family moved to Port Deposit, Maryland, where the next three children were born: Frank Fisher Crumpton on 31 July 1859; Carrie Ellsworth Crumpton on 28 October 1861; and Alice Gertrude Crumpton on 22 Jan 1864. In Port Deposit, John was in the hotel business. During those trying days when it was not known if Maryland would secede from the Union or not, John kept the American flag flying in front of the hotel. For six weeks, it was the only American flag flying on Maryland soil. Philadelphia papers commented favorably on this fact.

Sometime during the Civil War, the family moved to Morgan City, Louisiana, where William John Joseph was born on 12 December 1864. Originally called “J. J.”, he and his older sister Alice were born the same year. Family lore says that William was either a customs officer or manager of a supply depot on the Mississippi River. However, Union records show that he was part of a cavalry division. Maybe this all fits together somehow.

On 30 November 1866, the sixth child, Bessie Lockwood Crumpton, was born in Brashear City, Louisiana. She only lived for two years and died in Christian City, Illinois. Less than a year later, on 29 July 1869, George Henry Crumpton was born in Christian County, Illinois.

On 11 July 1873, the family was in Blue Mound, Macon County, Illinois, where the eighth and last of the children was born, Joseph Martin Crumpton. Family lore says that Sarah wanted a son named after her father, and since “J. J.” had so many names, they took the “Joseph” part away and gave it to the baby. Thereafter, “J. J.” was called “Will.” Will was five years old at the time.

In 1874, 19-year-old Millard Fillmore Crumpton died on 28 July in Blue Mound, Illinois. Three years later, 8-year-old George Henry Crumpton died on 17 November 1877.

Soon after this, the family took up a 280-acre homestead in Larned, Kansas, near the fort, and moved west. Of the eight children, only Carrie, Alice, Will and baby Joe survived.

Sarah hated life on the prairie and the isolation of homesteading, and within a very few years she died (family lore says “female trouble”) on 17 January 1883. Her final request was: “Please don’t bury me in Kansas, take me home to Decatur.” As 19-year-old Will loaded his mother’s casket onto an oxcart and took her overland to Illinois, 22-year-old Carrie was married to Elmer Ellsworth Bardride. Along with her 20-year-old sister, Alice, they raised 10-year-old baby brother, Joe, as their father farmed the Larned land.

Within two years, Carrie would die in childbirth at age 23, leaving Alice as the only surviving daughter, and Will and baby Joe as the only surviving sons of this family of eight children. Alice never married and became a schoolteacher in Larned, and then superintendent of schools for Pawnee County. Later she lived in Denison, Texas, with her brother Joe.

Will enrolled at the University of Kansas, finishing a 4-year course of study in three years, doing odd jobs to put himself through school. He then “read for the law,” a 4-year course also, and worked part-time in law offices in Lawrence, Kansas. Just before completion of the course of study and the taking of the bar exam, Will became disenchanted with either the law or the lawyers (suspicion is the latter) and left the practice of law for a position as headmaster at Kansas State Reformatory for Boys in Topeka, Kansas.

Baby Joe left the farm as a teenager and ran off “to sow his wild oats.” One of the things he did was to join the circus as a clown, with an act called “Crumpton the Comical Cuss.” He eventually settled down in Denison, Texas, and went into business. He married the lovely Lucy Matilda Simpson, daughter of one of the founding fathers of Denison [Williamson Burton Simpson]. Her brother, Arthur O. Simpson, was a wheeler-dealer who had hotels in Clarksville, Denison, and elsewhere. An older brother, William [E.] Simpson, was a millionaire bachelor from St. Louis, the vice president of Rice-Stix, a wholesale department store chain. Joe Crumpton owned the Palace Hotel in Denison and, in partnership with his brother-in-laws, he owned the Simpson Hotel in Denison, which later became the Hotel Denison.

Will had married Florence Elizabeth Hinchcliffe during his days as headmaster of the boy’s school in Topeka. Her father was the superintendent of the school, and she had come along to take charge of the dining hall and food service for the boys. Florence was seven years younger than Will when they married at her home in Wichita at Christmastime in 1891. With his aged father in ill health, Will and Florence left the school and returned to Larned to run the family farm. A son, Rhea Hinchcliffe Crumpton, was born in 1893. Florence developed kidney problems and spent several years in treatment between Larned, Kansas, and Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Her friend, Lucy, accompanied her on the trips to the Sulphur Springs there.

Will Crumpton
Larned, Kansas

On 16 January 1906, she gave birth to a daughter, Bernice Ruth Crumpton, in Larned, and two years later, another daughter, Dorothy Louise Crumpton, in August 1908. It was at this time that Will embarked on the construction of a fine new two-story home on the property to house his enlarged family. He oversaw every detail of the project and was so proud of the craftsmanship exhibited in the final product.

Will was a very gregarious man, very intelligent, very well-read. He spoke several languages fluently and used to regale the children with bedtime stories in German about a frog. The house included a huge kitchen that prepared meals for large groups of farmhands and friends. The living room entertained large groups of friends who played cards and games in the cold winter, and dined together monthly in a club called “JFR” which stood for “Just For Recreation.” In the summers, weddings, picnics, and harvest parties filled the ample lawn. Will’s pride and joy was his well-stocked library with a library table ordered from London in 1910. The upstairs had five bedrooms that housed local schoolteachers, friends, and traveling Mormon missionaries. A guestbook kept by Florence gives witness of the numerous roomers and guests who stayed with the family from time to time.

Rhea left home as a teenager, saying he wanted nothing to do with farming. The girls were young when the boarding school in town called to say that Rhea had disappeared. Florence was devastated! In coming years, Bernice would become Will’s “hand” in the barn and garage, where she kept the machinery in working order. Dorothy would be Florence’s “hand” in the kitchen.

During the Great Depression, the family “lost the family farm.” Will had lung problems, having suffered with pneumonia for several winters in Kansas’ severe temperatures. The doctor told them that if Will stayed in Kansas another winter, he would probably not make it. Unfortunately, there were no buyers for property in the economic disaster of the late 1920s. The farm was in the name of Will’s sister Alice, and exactly what transpired is unclear at this time. We thought it was sold at auction for debts, but many years later, the family got notification of “back taxes” owed.

Will Crumpton
Clarksville, Texas

Will and Florence had to leave their dream home in Kansas and move south in 1922 because of Will's breathing problems.  They were employed at the Hotel Main in Clarksvile.   The family moved to Texas, where Will went to work as manager in the Clarksville Hotel, a property owned by Joe Crumpton and the Simpsons. Florence took charge of the food service and dining room, just as she had at the boys' home in Topeka. Bernice was in her senior year of high school, and Dorothy was just beginning high school.

As the Depression worsened, the Clarksville Hotel was closed, and the family moved to Denison, Texas, where Joe Crumpton lived, and worked in the Hotel Denison there. Bernice became the bookkeeper, and Dorothy worked the switchboard. It was there that Bernice met and married Lawrence Ashburn, and Dorothy met and married Joe Oliver Ellsworth.

[Another family account states: Bernice and Dorothy finished high school in Clarksville. Then the family moved to the Hotel Denison in Denison, Texas, still part of the Simpson chain of hotels. Here Bernice was the bookkeeper, and Dorothy ran the switchboard, as Florence continued in food service and Will ran the office and reservation desk. At one time, the Simpsons came to town to oversee their investment and were concerned at all the Crumptons working for the business. They approached Joe and inquired about the obvious nepotism. Joe's response was, "I'll be glad to replace them if you can find me someone near as good at what they do." After examining the books and records, the Simpsons concurred that all was running very smoothly and never asked again.]

Will retired, and he and Florence moved in with Bernice and Lawrence in Denison shortly after their marriage. When Lawrence was transferred to Fort Worth, they all relocated to that city. It was there that Will suffered with phlebitis and died in 1939. It was also there that Rhea came during his last illness and passed away and was buried. 

Rhea Crumpton

Lawrence was transferred to Dallas in his family’s business during World War II. It was in Dallas that Florence contracted Parkinson’s disease and died in 1948.

[Source: This was compiled by Mary Florence Ashburn Hager, granddaughter of Will and Florence Elizabeth Crumpton, in 2010. She states: "This biographical story is a combination of information from:
(1) A short bio by Alice Gertrude Crumpton, written about 1920.
(2) Notes from the Bible of Mildred Crumpton (Joseph Martin Crumpton's daughter).
(3) Family sheets by Joanna Chapman, Hinchcliffe family historian and daughter of Charles Hinchcliffe.
(4) Notes from Dorothy Louise Crumpton about 1990.
(5) An interview with Bernice Ruth Crumpton about 1983.
(6) Birth, death, and Census records for confirmation where available." Find it at: ]

J. M. "Joe" Crumpton in Denison, Texas

As noted above, Joe Crumpton was an amusing, adventurous young man. After he arrived in Denison around 1900, for the next half-century he either owned or managed the three most important hotels in downtown Denison. These were:

1. The first Hotel Denison, at 500 West Main Street. In 1890, the National Commercial College was erected on the site. The grand red brick building was an ambitious undertaking for a small city. It billed itself as “The largest business college in America,” with 86,000 square feet of floor space and room for 1,500 students. Four of Denison’s leaders were the officers: T. V. Munson was president; Samuel Hanna, vice-president; T. W. Roach, secretary; and A. H. Coffin, treasurer. Around 1900, the building was converted into a fine hotel, which continued in operation until January 1920, when it was reduced to ashes in one of Denison’s greatest fires. From around 1902 to at least 1908, M. L. Oglesby was hotel manager.

"The Denison Hotel Building. Carter's Music Store and Pace's Furniture Store on First Floor."
Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., 1901]. Page 7.

2. The Palace Hotel, at 400 West Main, at the corner of South Burnett Avenue. This hotel, three stories tall with a mansard roof, had been built before 1895 and long operated as the Central Hotel. Then it became known as the Simpson Palace Hotel, then as the Palace Hotel and the New Palace Hotel. It housed the Palace Grill coffee shop. The building was demolished in 1961.

400 West Main
"Simpson Palace Hotel. European Plan. Joe M. Crumpton, Manager."
Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., 1901]. Page 84.
Ground floor tenants include R. M. King Dry Goods and a dentist (see sign shaped like a tooth). Name later shortened to "Palace Hotel."

3. The Hotel Simpson, which became the second Hotel Denison, was built in 1924 at 119 South Burnett Avenue at the northwest corner of West Chestnut Street. It was located on property that had long belonged to the Simpson family, of which Joe Crumpton's wife was a member.

In December 1906, Joe married Lucy Matilda Simpson (1877–1971), daughter of an early Denison settler, Williamson Burton Simpson, who operated the Star Livery stable at 117 South Burnett Avenue. Joe formed a long-lasting business partnership with Lucy's brother, Arthur O. Simpson, while another brother, William E. Simpson, joined the partnership from time to time. Arthur was a traveling salesman based in St. Louis, Missouri. W. E. Simpson, too, lived in St. Louis, where he was vice-president of Rice-Styx Department Store, a large wholesale mercantile operation. Joe Crumpton managed the Denison hotels. 

Joe and Lucy had four children: Mildred Lee (1907–1980); William Burton (1910–1987); Joseph Martin Jr. (1912–1980); and Frances Alice (1915–1971). Joe's unmarried older sister, Alice Gertrude Crumpton (1864–1943), lived with the family for decades. The family took over the Simpson home at 1031 West Morton Street, at the corner of Tone Avenue, living there for decades. Later the Crumptons downsized to a house at 909 West Gandy.

Chronology of Joe Crumpton's Life in Denison

1900 U.S. Census

First mention of Joe Crumpton in Denison. He is 26 years old and single. Works as a hotel clerk at 400 West Main, also living there. In 1896, this was the Central Hotel, owned by James H. Mershon and C. H. Silcox.

1901 Denison City Directory

Joe is manager of Simpson's Palace Hotel, over 400-402 West Main. Joe lives on the premises. First appearance of a Crumpton in the Denison City Directories.

1903 Denison City Directory

Joe is manager of Palace Hotel.

1904 October 17

Death of Williamson B. Simpson

1905 Denison City Directory

Joe is proprietor of Palace Hotel

1906 December 10

Joe marries Lucy Matilda Simpson

1907 Denison City Directory

Joe is manager of Palace Hotel. Rooms at 1031 West Morton, home of Lucy Simpson, widow of Williamson B. Simpson. The Palace Hotel is owned by J. M. Crumpton & Co. That firm's owners are Joseph M. Crumpton, Arthur O. Simpson, and W. E. Simpson.

1909 Denison City Directory

Joe lives at 909 West Gandy, home of his elder sister, Alice G. Crumpton. Proprietor of Palace Hotel is J. M. Crumpton & Co. The firm's owners are Joe Crumpton and Arthur O. Simpson.

"Bird's Eye View Looking East on Main Street."
Robinson, Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., 1901]. Page 28.
400 and 500 block West Main Street, south side, view east.

1910 U.S. Census

Joseph "Crumple" is listed at 930 West Gandy Street. Married for three years and 36 years old, he is manager and partner of a hotel. He is head of household and sole occupant at this address. A separate listing exists for Lucy Crumpton at 909 West Gandy. Married and head of household, she has "own income." Living with her are daughter Mildred L. Crumpton, age 2, and Joe's sister Alice G. Crumpton, 47. Alice has no occupation.

1911 Denison City Directory

Joe is manager, Denison Hotel, 500 West Main. J. M. Crumpton & Co. (Joe Crumpton, Arthur O. Simpson) are proprietors of Hotel Denison and Palace Hotel. Joe and wife Lucy live at the Hotel Denison, along with Alice G. Crumpton.

1913 Denison City Directory

J. M. Crumpton & Co. (Joe Crumpton, Arthur O. Simpson) owns Hotel Denison and Palace Hotel. Living now at 1031 West Morton Street are Joe's sister Alice G. Crumpton, Joe and Lucy Crumpton, their daughter Mildred Lee Crumpton, and Joe's nephew Rhea H. Crumpton, traveling agent.

1915 Denison City Directory

J. M. Crumpton & Co. (Joe Crumpton, Arthur O. Simpson) owns Hotel Denison and Palace Hotel. Living at 1031 West Morton Street are the widow Lucy Simpson, Joe's sister Alice G. Crumpton, and Joe and Lucy Crumpton.

DHS Yearbook, inside back cover
The Denison Hotel
Yellow Jacket 1916
500 West Main Street
J. M. Crumpton Company

1917 Denison City Directory

J. M. Crumpton & Co. (Joe Crumpton, Arthur O. Simpson) owns Hotel Denison and Palace Hotel. Living at 1031 West Morton Street are Alice G. Crumpton and Joe and Lucy Crumpton.

1920 January 2—U.S. Census

Living at 1031 West Morton are J. M. Crumpton, age 45, manager of hotels; wife Lucy, 41; daughter Mildred Lee, 12; sons William Burton, 9, and Joseph Martin Jr., 8; and Lucy's widowed mother, Mrs. W. B. Simpson, 82.

1920 January 24

Fire destroys Hotel Denison at 500 West Main Street.

1921 Denison City Directory

J. M. Crumpton & Co. (Joe Crumpton, Arthur O. Simpson) owns Palace Hotel at 105 South Burnett Avenue. Joe and wife Lucy live at 1031 West Morton. Rooming at the Palace Hotel is Joe's nephew Rhea H. Crumpton; he works as bookkeeper at the Beazley Tire & Auto Company.

1924 October 1

Opening of new Hotel Simpson, 121 South Burnett Avenue. Officers of Denison Hotel Company are: Arthur O. Simpson, president; William E. Simpson, vice-president; and Joe Crumpton, secretary-treasurer. On this date, the Denison Herald published a special edition celebrating the official opening of the hotel.

1925 Denison City Directory

Joe Crumpton is manager of Hotel Simpson and secretary-treasurer of Denison Hotel Company. The Denison Hotel Company at 121 South Burnett Avenue is headed by A. O. Simpson, president; W. E. Simpson, vice-president; and J. M. Crumpton, secretary-treasurer. J. M. Crumpton & Co. (Joe Crumpton, Arthur O. Simpson of St. Louis, Mo.) owns the Palace Hotel at 105 South Burnett Avenue. Living with Joe at 1031 West Morton Street are wife Lucy and Joe's sister Alice.

1925 June 13

Death of Lucy Crumpton's mother, Lucy Matilda Bridges Simpson.

1926 April 1

Denison Police Department
1 April 1926
Photograph taken by Kelley
If you look closely behind the 4th policeman from the right, you can see a "POLICE" sign on the building.
The aldermen, acting as Police Commissioners are (L to R) Joseph Martin Crumpton, Walter S. Hibbard and Patrick H. Tobin

1927 Denison City Directory

Joe Crumpton is manager of Hotel Simpson and secretary-treasurer of Denison Hotel Company. Living with Joe at 1031 West Morton Street are wife Lucy, daughter Mildred, and son William. In addition, Joe has become a city alderman (member of City Council); the mayor is Walter S. Hibbard, and Patrick H. Tobin is the other alderman. As alderman, Joe has charge of the city's Standing Committee for Streets, Alleys, and Sewer.

Hotel Simpson/Hotel Denison
May 1927
121 Burnett Avenue at West Chestnut Street
International Travelers Annual Meeting
Photo by Walter P. Lebrecht
Note: Arthur O. Simpson (part owner of hotel) was a traveling salesman.

1929 Denison City Directory

Joe is still City Alderman; manager of Hotel Simpson; and secretary-treasurer of the Denison Hotel Company. Living with him at 1031 West Morton are sister Alice, wife Lucy, daughter Mildred, and son William.

Living in the Hotel Denison are Joe's brother William J. "Will" Crumpton, Will's wife Florence, and daughters Bernice and Dorothy. Will is manager of the Hotel Simpson Coffee Room, while Bernice is the hotel's bookkeeper. Dorothy is a student at Draughon's Business College.

1930 U.S. Census

The family lives at 1031 West Morton, a home valued at $10,000. Joe is a hotel manager, age 54. Living there are Joe, wife Lucy age 52, sister Alice age 65, daughters Mildred age 22 and Frances age 14, son William B. age 19, and son Joseph M. Jr. age 18.

909 West Gandy Street, north side of street
Hotel owner and manager Joe Crumpton and his family lived here starting around 1934.
His daughter Mildred still lived there in the 1960s.

Photo by Mavis Anne Bryant, ca. 2005

Joe's brother Will Crumpton, wife Florence, and daughters Bernice and Dorothy are living in a boarding house at 1106 West Gandy Street. Will is a hotel bookkeeper, Florence is a hotel housekeeper, Bernice is secretary in a flour mill office, and Dorothy is a hotel switchboard operator.

1934 Denison City Directory

Joe is manager of the Hotel Simpson and Hotel Simpson Coffee Room; he is secretary-treasurer of Denison Hotel Company. At the Hotel Simpson, daughter Mildred is bookkeeper; son William B. Crumpton is clerk. Joe, Lucy, Mildred, and William all live at 909 West Gandy Street.

1936 September 14

Death of William John "Will" Crumpton, Joe Crumpton's brother, in Fort Worth, Texas

1936 May 9

Death of Arthur O. Simpson, partner of Joe Crumpton and brother of Lucy Simpson Crumpton

1938 Denison City Directory

Joe is a clerk at New Palace Hotel, 107–109 South Burnett Avenue at Main Street. Joe and Lucy live at 909 West Gandy Street.

The New Palace Hotel is owned by Carl E. Thomas and Clara E. Hughes. Carl also operates the Palace Grill and Fred's Lunch on Woodard Street; he and wife Bessie live in the New Palace Hotel. Clara and husband Enoch H. Hughes live at 1815 S. Fannin Avenue. Listing for the hotel reads: "Modern, Clean, Comfortable. Reasonable Rates by the Day, Week or Month."

New Palace Hotel advertisement
1938 Denison City Directory

The Hotel Denison is "Denison's Largest and Leading Hotel, Air-Conditioned Coffee Shop and Dining Room, 115–121 South Burnett Avenue." Manager is Hope Conner Huff, who with spouse LaVerne Huff, lives at the hotel.

Also listed is Hotel Simpson Garage at 111–115 South Fannin Avenue. Owner is I. C. Combest.

1940 U.S. Census

The family lives at 909 West Gandy, a home valued at $3,500. Joe is a desk clerk in hotel, age 65. Living there are Joe; wife Lucy age 62; daughter Mildred age 32, saleswoman for publishing house, and Joe's sister Alice age 76.

1943 January 16

Death of Alice Gertrude Crumpton, older sister of Joe Crumpton

1946 Denison City Directory

Joe is a clerk at the Palace Hotel. Living at 909 West Gandy are Joe, wife Lucy, and daughter Mildred, PBX operator.

Manager of the Palace Hotel, 107 South Burnett Avenue, is B. E. Green, who lives on the premises. The Palace Grill is at 109 South Burnett Avenue. Upstairs at 200-1/2 West Main Street is the Palace Barber Shop, operated by James Love.

1948 October

Hotel Denison is sold to Alsonett Hotel chain.

1949 Denison City Directory

Joe and wife Lucy live at 909 West Gandy Street. Also there is daughter Mildred L., service assistant at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.

1951 Denison City Directory

Joe and wife Lucy live at 909 West Gandy Street. Also there are daughter Mildred L., operator at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company; and son Joseph Martin Crumpton Jr. and his wife Lois L. Crumpton.

The Hotel Denison and Coffee Shop is listed as "Denison's Largest and Leading Hotel, Air-Conditioned Coffee Shop and Dining Rooms, Banquets, Parties, Bridge Luncheons, Commercial Men's Meeting Place. Judson T. Sampson, Manager."

1955 Denison City Directory

Joe and wife Lucy live at 909 West Gandy Street. Also there is daughter Mildred L., service assistant at Telephone Company.


Demolition of Palace Hotel, 400 West Main Street

1962 January 24

Death of Joseph Martin Crumpton Sr.

1971 September 24

Death of Lucy Matilda Simpson Crumpton

Arcade, Hotel Denison
117 South Burnett Avenue
Photo by Mavis Anne Bryant, ca. 1995



Elaine Nall Bay