I had other plans for today, but as I began organizing my office, I became distracted with this photo:
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:
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.
The following children were born to them:
- Clarence Vernon Simpson, b. 11 Nov 1892 in Iowa
- Jessie Pearl Simpson, b. 17 Mar 1895 in Fort Dodge, Webster Co., Iowa
- 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:
- Margaret M. Simpson, b. abt. 1902
- George D. Simpson, b. abt. 1906
- Mamie Alice Simpson, b. abt. 1907
- Frank Simpson, b. 21 Feb 1909
- Edna M. Simpson, b. abt. 1910
- Dorothy Simpson, b. abt. 1911
- Viola Simpson, b. abt. 1913
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.
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.
The box above holds little treasures from Ernest’s life, such as the pictures of Deloise Jessie Pearl, and the items below:
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.