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Williamson Burton Simpson and Family



WILLIAMSON BURTON SIMPSON was one of the early pioneers of Grayson County and contributed in a large measure to its progress and development as it emerged from pioneer conditions and took on all the evidences of an advanced civilization. The nineteenth century might properly be termed the age of utility, especially in the West. The vast regions beyond the Mississippi were in that period opened up to civilization, and the honored pioneers who founded homes in the fertile but undeveloped regions were men who had to contend with the trials and difficulties of pioneer life. Theirs were lives of toil. They were endeavoring to make homes, cultivate farms, and establish business enterprises. Their importance to the community, however, cannot be overestimated, and the comforts and luxuries which we today enjoy we largely owe to the brave band of pioneer men and women who came to the Southwest during its primitive condition. It is also encouraging and interesting to note that many who came here empty-handed worked their way upward from a humble financial position to one of affluence, and that as the years passed and the country improved, prosperity attended their efforts and wealth rewarded their earnest endeavors. 

To this class of honored men belonged Williamson Burt Simpson. He was born in Boone County, Kentucky, March 18, 1833, and came to Texas with his parents, William and Rebecca (McPherson) Simpson. This was in the year 1845, when the son, Williamson, was but twelve years of age. The family settled in Titus County, Texas, and afterward removed to Colorado County. 

Mr. Simpson, of this review, aided the family in the labors of pioneer life and continued an active factor in business affairs until he enlisted in the Confederate Army. He served throughout the war in General Price’s division and was once wounded. At the close of hostilities he returned to Texas and in 1872 came to Denison, which was just being laid out and settled. It was an embryo city with as yet little done in the way of improvement, but Mr. Simpson believed that it had a bright future before it and identified his interests with the new town. 

He engaged in business here and built the first brick residence erected in Denison. It is still standing at the foot of Gandy Street near the yards of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad Company. As the years passed by, Mr. Simpson was connected with various business enterprises and contributed in large measure to the welfare of Denison through the promotion of its industrial and commercial activity. At length his labors brought to him a gratifying competence, and being relieved of the necessity of further activity connection with business life, he retired several years prior to his death and spent the evening of his days in the enjoyment of a well-earned rest.

On the 22nd of December, 1853, Mr. Simpson was united in marriage to Miss Lucy Matilda Bridges, who was born in DeKalb County, Alabama, and is a daughter of Ephraim and Elizabeth (Newman) Bridges. On the 22nd of December, 1903, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in this city. During the fifty years of their married life, there had never been a death in the family. Theirs was largely an ideal relation, their mutual love and confidence increasing as the years went by and they met together the joys and sorrows, the adversity and prosperity of life. 

They became the parents of nine children, and the family record is as follows:

John Lewis, the eldest, born in Titus County, Texas, married Miss Ida Cleaver, of Gainesville, Texas, where they now reside. They have two children, William and John, both of whom were born in Gainesville.

William E. Simpson, whose birth occurred in Titus County, is now living in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rebecca Elizabeth, also a native of Titus County, is the widow of Judge Richard Maltby, of McKinney, Texas, and has two children, Grace and Richard, both born in McKinney.

James N. [Newman], who was born in Colorado County, Texas, married Lizzie Toppin and lives in Dallas, Texas.

Burt A., born in Colorado County, Texas, was married to Alice Morgeson and had four children: Walter, Elizabeth, Georgia, and Burt, all born in Gainesville; and for his second wife he chose Lillian Whiteman, of Louisiana. They now reside in Ardmore, Indian Territory.

Sterling P. Simpson, born in Colorado County, Texas, married Gertrude Seasfeldt [Siesfeld], and they have three children, Gertrude, Jack, and Richard, all born in Gainesville, where the family home is maintained.

Arthur O. Simpson, also a native of Colorado County, is living in Ardmore [Oklahoma].

Minnie Eleanor, born in Denison, is the wife of Henry C. Ashley [Ashby], of this city, and has a son, Henry A., also born in Denison.

Lucy Simpson [Crumpton], a native of Denison, completes the family.


Williamson B. Simpson, the father, was a member of Denison Camp, No. 885, United Confederate Veterans, and he gave his political allegiance to the Democracy. He died October 17, 1904, at the age of seventy-one years. He was regarded as a wise counselor in his political party, but he disliked the publicity of office and therefore always refused official preferment. He was a generous and benevolent man, ever ready to extend a helping hand to the poor and needy and especially willing to assist those who were anxious to engage in business for themselves. He recognized the brotherhood of the race, but was always quiet and unassuming in his assistance to others. As a citizen he was public spirited in an eminent degree, deeply interested in the welfare of his country and the prosperity of his community. His death seemed a personal bereavement to the majority of the citizens of Denison, for he was honored and esteemed alike by young and old, rich and poor. 

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 631-633.

Additional Chronology

Birth: 1833 March 18

The above article says Williamson was born in Boone County, Kentucky. Other sources say he was born in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky.

1876 Denison City:

Simpson, William B., cattle dealer, residence on north side of Gandy between Houston and Lamar Avenues. Boarding with him were:

Simpson, James N., clerk at J. Nevins.

Simpson, John L., book keeper at J. Nevins.

1800 U.S. Census for Denison, Texas:

Simpson, Williamson, age 46, cattle dealer, born in Kentucky, head of household.

Also in the household:

Wife Lucy M. Simpson, age 43, born in Alabama.

Simpson, John L., age 25, bookkeeper. Born in Texas.

Simpson, Elisabeth Simpson, age 21. Born in Texas.

Simpson, James N., age 18, clerk in store. Born in Texas.

Simpson, Burton A., age 15. Born in Texas.

Simpson, Sterling P., age 10. Born in Texas.

Simpson, Arthur A., age 6. Born in Texas.

Simpson, Minnie E., age 5. Born in Texas.

Simpson, Lucy, age 2. Born in Texas.

Marshall, Annie, age 35. Divorced mulatto female domestic servant, born in Texas of parents born in Virginia.

Star Livery, W. B. Simpson
1887 Denison City Directory
111 South Burnet Avenue, rear of Post Office

1887 Denison City Directory:

Simpson, William B., proprietor of Star Livery, sale and feed stable, 111 South Burnet Avenue. Residence at 1031 West Morton Street at the corner of Tone Avenue. 

Simpson, James M., traveling salesman for Leeper, Lingo & Co. Boards with Mrs. M. J. Riddle.

1891 Denison City Directory:

Simpson, William B., residence at 1031 West Morton Street at the corner of Tone Avenue. His business is W. B. Simpson & Son, proprietors of Star livery, sale and feed stable, 111 South Burnet Avenue.

Simpson, William E. Partner in W. B. Simpson & Son, proprietors of Star livery stable. Lives with William B. at 1031 West Morton Street.

Simpson, James N., clerk at Leeper Hardware Company. Residence at 510 West Morgan Street.

Simpson, Arthur, living at home of W. B. Simpson.


Marriage of John Lewis Simpson and Ida Cleaves. She grew up in Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas, and the couple would live there for the rest of their lives. John became a prosperous banker there.


Marriage of Sterling Price Simpson and Gertrude "Gertie" Siesfeld. They will live in Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas; and later in Dallas.

Star Livery, W. B. Simpson
1896 Denison City Directory
111 South Burnet Avenue

1898-99 Denison City Directory:

Simpson, William B., proprietor of Star Stable. Residence at 1031 West Morton Street.

Simpson's Palace, Furnished Rooms, 400-1/2 West Main Street. W. E. Bement, manager. [Note that this address is on the corner of Main and Burnet Avenue. It is adjacent to the Star Stable location at 111 South Burnet.]

1901 Denison City Directory:

Simpson, Williamson B., proprietor, Star boarding stables and wagon yard. 111 South Burnet Avenue. Residence 1031 West Morton. Phone 160–4.

Simpson, Arthur L., traveling salesman. Lives at 1031 West Morton.

Simpson Palace (European Plan), over 400-402 West Main. Joe M. Crumpton, manager. Phone 51-3.

1904 October 17

Death of Williamson B. Simpson. Burial in Fairview Cemetery, Denison.

1905 Denison City Directory:

Simpson, Mrs. Lucy (widow), residence at 1031 West Morton.

Simpson, Miss Lucy, residence at 1031 West Morton.

Simpson, A. O., traveling salesman. Residence at 1031 West Morton.

Simpson Palace Hotel, J. M. Crumpton proprietor, 400-2 West Main.

1906 December 10

Marriage of Lucy Matilda Simpson to Joseph Martin Crumpton, in Denison.

1907 Denison City Directory:

Simpson, Mrs. Lucy (widow of William), residence at 1031 West Morton.

Simpson, Arthur O. (J. M. Crumpton & Co.), residence in St. Louis, Mo.

Simpson, William E. (J. M. Crumpton & Co.), residence in St. Louis, Mo.

1909 Denison City Directory:

Simpson, Ashby (widow of William), residence at 1031 West Morton.

Simpson, Arthur O. (J. M. Crumpton & Co.), residence in St. Louis, Mo.

Simpsons buried in Fairview Cemetery, Denison, Texas.

SIMPSON  A  O              1872     1936

SIMPSON  BIRDIE  L       30 JUN 1878     29 MAR 1965

SIMPSON  ELVA  L          6 NOV 1920    13 JUN 1923

SIMPSON  FELIX  LEE    1861   19--

SIMPSON  FLOYD     MAY 05, 1928  ---   *S/W-  JUANITA  L  SIMPSON

SIMPSON  FOSCUE  E      22 MAY 1910     13 JUL 1987  

SIMPSON  I  FLORENE    JUN 10, 1919  ---   *S/W-  JAMES  W  SIMPSON

SIMPSON  JAMES  M       9 APR 1877  26 APR 1943

SIMPSON  JAMES  W     FEB 06, 1917  NOV 15, 1988   *S/W-  I  FLORENE  SIMPSON

SIMPSON  JUANITA  L    SEP 16, 1931  ---   *S/W-  FLOYD  SIMPSON


SIMPSON  MARGARET  JO    JUL 10, 1932  ---

SIMPSON  S  P     1868   1933

SIMPSON  VIOLA  B       23 NOV 1914     21 DEC 1995

SIMPSON  WILLIAM  W       23 DEC 1911     3 JUL 1959





Elaine Nall Bay

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