Finding the families of Ernest Loren Simpson

I had other plans for today, but as I began organizing my office, I became distracted with this photo:

Deloise Jessie Pearl Simpson

Since finding this picture, I’ve been captivated by it.  I’ve cropped it down, but the full portion of the back is shown below:

Jessie Pearl's note to her sister-in-law, Abbie (Dalton) Simpson

Jessie Pearl’s note to her sister-in-law, Abbie (Dalton) Simpson

She writes:

Please give this to Abbie –


Dear Sister I would like to here from you.  I just got back from Peoria.  had a fine time come up and see me some time  hope you are not mad.

Born Jessie Pearl Simpson, she was the daughter of Ernest Loren Simpson and his first wife, Rowena Maude Wiley.  (By 1920 she’d begun to go by the name Deloise, but also used her middle name, Pearl.)  She was my grandmother’s half sister, and one of many half siblings she’d never had the occasion to meet.  In fact, there were several siblings of whom she was unaware.

Ernest married Rowena Maude Wiley on 23 May 1891 in Fort Dodge, Webster Co., Iowa.

Marriage certificate for Ernest and Rowena

Marriage certificate for Ernest and Rowena

Page 2 of marriage certificate

Page 2 of marriage certificate

The following children were born to them:

  1.  Clarence Vernon Simpson, b. 11 Nov 1892 in Iowa
  2.  Jessie Pearl Simpson, b. 17 Mar 1895 in Fort Dodge, Webster Co., Iowa
  3.  Horace Wiley Simpson, b. 12 Aug 1896 in Ringgold, Ringgold Co., Iowa

The marriage was short; on 16 October, 1901, Ernest married his second wife, Maggie M. Hoag, in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  They had a large family, with all children born in Iowa:

  1. Margaret M. Simpson, b. abt. 1902
  2. George D. Simpson, b. abt. 1906
  3. Mamie Alice Simpson, b. abt. 1907
  4. Frank Simpson, b. 21 Feb 1909
  5. Edna M. Simpson, b. abt. 1910
  6. Dorothy Simpson, b. abt. 1911
  7. Viola Simpson, b. abt. 1913

Postcard given to Ernest by his first wife, Maggie.


Back of postcard

Quite faded, the penciled handwriting is difficult to read, but clear when blown up.  It says:

From All –

Margaret said lets us send this to papa he will think it is pretty I bet.  Love & kisses from all.

M and children

This marriage was also short-lived; by 1915, Margaret and children were living on their own.  Whatever happened to end this marriage was painful.  He never disclosed to my grandmother that she had seven additional half-siblings in addition to Clarence, Jessie and Horace.

Marriage certificate for Ernest L. Simpson and Susan B. (Stanwood) Clark

Marriage certificate for Ernest L. Simpson and Susan B. (Stanwood) Clark

So much of Ernest’s life before his marriage to Susan is a mystery.  He shared with my grandmother little about his own parents, and even less about his former families.  He was a passionate, emotional man who wrote poetry but was known for having quite the temper.  Nevertheless, my grandmother loved him dearly.  He died when she was only 17 years of age, taking with him his untold history.

Chocolate boxes can be used for pictures too!

Chocolate boxes can be used for pictures too!

The box above holds little treasures from Ernest’s life, such as the pictures of Deloise Jessie Pearl, and the items below:

Ernest's book which holds notes from his jobs as a painter

Ernest’s book which holds notes from his jobs as a painter

Inside the book contains his notes:
And other miscellaneous items:

An empty envelope with Clarence's address penned in Ernest's handwriting

An empty envelope with Clarence’s address penned in Ernest’s handwriting

The photo below shows Ernest holding a baby. The identities of the two young men are still a mystery:
The following two pictures are possibly of Deloise Jessie Pearl:

Pearl and Rowena?

Pearl and her mother Rowena?


Pearl and ?

Pearl and her brother Clarence or Horace?  Or someone else?

Mysteries do not end with Ernest. So little was shared with his children, and several of them seemed to keep their own family history a secret from their descendants. It is hoped that we can all eventually connect and piece together the Simpson mysteries.

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