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Monday, 18 May 2015

William Henry Simms (1880 - 1945)

William Henry Simms was the eldest son born to Irish immigrants William Simms and Agnes McAllister.  He was given the middle name of his paternal grandfather.  Born in the South Gower area of Ontario on October 26, 1880, his birth record says no doctor was present and the birth was registered by his father William on November 18 of 1880.  William and Agnes had married in Antrim, Ireland in March of that year and had crossed the Atlantic to make their home in Canada in June, arriving on the 15th on a ship called the Montreal.

On the 1891 Canadian census, William was enumerated as a ten year old with four younger siblings in the farming household.  There was no change looking at the 1901 census.

In 1917 on the11th of April, 36 year old "Bill" married Mae Miller.  She was the 21 years old and a resident of Haddo.  Her father James was owner of the General Store in Haddo in 1905.  

On the Census document from 1921, Bill and Mae were renting a farm in Dundas county and had one child.

The 1930 US census records showed the Simms family in Oswegatchie town in New York State with 5 children and William as a labourer.  This form says they immigrated in 1918 but that doesn't fit with the 1921 census, unless they returned for a time.

His son, William John Alton's obituary from 2008 says:
He immigrated to this country with his family, when he was almost 4 years old. The family
crossed at Prescott, Ontario to Ogdensburg by way of the very huge ferry, the Joseph Dubrule. They brought some horses and horse drawn equipment to start their new life on this side. The family eventually settled on a farm on the Black Lake Road.
The following is the text of the letter that Mae wrote to her sister-in-law, my grandmother Mary Simms upon learning of the death of William's brother Alexander in 1941.  Alex was my grandfather and last time they would have seen each other was 38 years before.  It is hard to imagine this reality two generations ago and it makes me sad for them.

My dear Mrs. Simms,
We just received word Alex has passed away.  Will is awfully upset - although he knew he had not been well.  Doris used to write to Jean.  Will has intended to go out to see him since he knew he wasn't well but he didn't get.  He hasn't seen him since he went out west.  You have our deepest sympathy.  I am sure Will wants to know if you have any snaps if you would mind sending one and we will return it.  He just would like to know what he looked like.  I suppose the funeral might be today.  We hope you or someone will write us the particulars.  Well will close now and may the Lord bless and keep you all in this hour.  You are ever on our minds.  I am not a very good writer any more.
Lots & lots of love & sympathy - Will & Mae Simms

Less than 4 years later, William died on January 20,1945.  He was buried in Pine Hilł (Eel Weir) Cemetery. His wife Mae died on October 19, 1960 and is buried beside him.
Edna and Billy Simms in the summer of 1945 - children of William and Mae

Children of William and Mae:
Norma Jean (1919-2005) married Earl William Livingston and had a family of 4
James Miller (1923-1985) married Charlotte Hughes and had 2 daughters
Claude Malcolm (1924-1938) drowned at age 13 - link to his blog post
William John Alton (1926-2008) married Dorothy Jane Livingston and had a family of 7- link to obituary
Edna Lorraine (1928-2012) married Webster Fields and had 3 children - link to obituary

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