Bio: Simmons, John Wesley (History - 1843)

Contact: Janet Schwarze


----Source: ----Source: 1891 History of Clark & Jackson Co., Wis.



JOHN WESLEY SIMMONS, an esteemed resident of the village of Loyal, where he has lived retired from active labor for the last seven years, was born near Willoughby, Lake County, Ohio, Aug. 22, 1843. The scene of his birth was the log cabin on the farm of his parents, John and Charlotte (Beckwith) Simmons, who had come to Lake County while yet, unmarried as respective members of two representative families. At the time they arrived there were only three settlers within a radius of eighteen miles.


After their marriage John and Charlotte settled on a tract of wild land in Lake County, that part of Ohio being then but sparsely settled. To get his grist ground, Mr. Simmons had to go by Indian trail to Willoughby, carrying it on his back and returning in like manner with flour. Meat was generally easy to procure, as there were plenty of deer and wild hogs in the woods, and fish was also abundant in the rivers. Bread, the most important article of diet, cost the most trouble to obtain. There John and Charlotte Simmons lived out their lives, enjoying most comfortable circumstances with the lapse of time, as he was able to clear his land and plant crops. After the formation of the Republican party he became one of its active supporters.


He and his wife were also people of strong religious faith, ardent members of the Methodist Church, and brought up their children in the f ear and love of God. Of these children there were nine: Adeline, Moransey, George, Anna Maria, Alice, Helen, Ellen, Lorin and john W. The last mentioned, subject of this sketch, was 12 years old when his father died. He remained at home for two years longer and then struck out for himself in some measure, as he worked out during the winters for his board, and to get a chance to go to school, but assisted on the home farm in the summer. In this way he grew to manhood and succeeded in getting a piece of land to work on shares. He then married Ermina Brooks, a native of Ohio, and settled on the land, he and his wife residing there for fifteen years. During that time two children were born to them--Wilford and George. At last John W. Simmons decided to make a new start in life. He had heard of rich opportunities in the great Northwest, and while on a hunting trip in Clark County decided that this would be a good locality in which to settle. Accordingly, he sold his farm in Ohio and came here with his family, which then included two more children: John and Everett. On arriving in the county he stopped first at Medford and then went on to Unity, where he unloaded his goods and chattels. For a short time he rented a farm, but soon bought a tract of eighty acres of wild land in Section 13, Beaver Township. Here he built a three-room log house, 18 by 24 feet, and a good frame barn. He had brought with him a horse team and later bought two yoke of oxen. For many years after coming here he was engaged in logging, but continued to improve his farm until he had developed it into one of the best in the county, also gradually increasing its size by the purchase of more land until it contained 200 acres. In time he built a fine brick veneer house to replace the old log cabin, and erected other buildings until he had three frame barns, a tool-house, granary, milk and ice-house, and a fine hennery. He also raised a good grade of Durham cattle, being one of the first in this county to promote the improvement of the breed, or, rather, to encourage the keeping of graded stock. His horses were also of fine stock, and so were his hogs. He had brought with him when he came a full-blooded Yorkshire sow, and later got a full-blooded boar, and his hogs were the best that were raised in that part of the county.


As one of the leading citizens of his township, he was often called upon to fill public office and served several times on the township board, and also as school clerk for eleven years, besides being a delegate to Republican conventions. In December, 1909, Mr. Simmons gave up farming and moved to Loyal village, where he has since resided, enjoying the fruits of long years of industry. He is an active worker in the Methodist Church, which he joined at the age of 28 years, and was instrumental, with the Rev. Mr. Connell, in founding the Methodist Church of Beaver, of which he was trustee and steward during his residence there. Since coming to Loyal he has taken an equally active part in the work of the church here, serving also in the same offices. A member of the Farmers Equity and the Guardians of Liberty, he had rendered active and efficient aid in both those organizations. Mr. Simmons' business interests now lie only in real estate, especially farm properties. Among his personal holdings is his own fine residence in Loyal.


Mrs. Erinina (Brooks) Simmons died Nov. 29, 1890, and on Dec. 4, 1891, Mr. Simmons married Belinda Fletcher. All the four sons previously grew to manhood, became excellent citizens, and have been a credit to the family name. Wilford W., now deceased, married Ida W. Chapman, who is now also deceased. They left two sons-Paul and Ernest. After their mother's death their grandfather, John W. Simmons, became their guardian and has always given them a father's care. George W. Simmons, the second child, is now a prosperous man, residing at Miles City, Mont., where he owns a 320-acre ranch. He married Lydia Dutcher, and they have four children: Guy, Ralph, Ethel and Noel. John P. Simmons, who now operates part of the old homestead in Beaver Township, is one of the representative farmers of his community. He married Sadie Dickson, of Ashtabula County, Ohio, and they have four children-James, Susan, Kenneth and Raymond. Everett M. Simmons, the youngest child, is a leading farmer in Helena, Mont. He married Melissa Fryat, of Grand Rapids, Wis., and they have had five children-Grant, Edith, Herbert, Esther and Lizzie. In all there are thirteen grandchildren, three of whom are now in the United States service.




My great grandfather, Marcellus George Brooks was a younger brother, I think to Ermina Brooks Simmons. At nine years old he is in the 1860 Geauga County, Ohio census in the home of her mother, along with her and a sister, Naomi. At nineteen I think I find him, a plumber, living with plumber, C J Brooks. in his late twenties, (a brother?) in Chicago in 1870, under the name MG Brook. Later CJ and he are in the census in Chicago as Brookses, so that was a misprint. He did go on to be a plumbing contractor. My grandfather, Frank Melvin Brooks, from Chicago, was his eldest son, born 1876 to Arrolyn Small. Marcellus was said to have been an orphan and at 9, Ermina's brother Marcellus had no father in his household. The widow he lived with, his mother, presumably, but maybe an aunt, had been married to James Brooks of New York I'm Ohio. Her maiden name was Hester Ann Robinson. Oddly, a woman named Hester A Brooks is in the 1870 census in the same Chicago ward as MG and CJ Brooks, a widow the right age to be the Hesterv Ann who was earlier iin Ohio. So if she was his mother, perhaps he was not an orphan. Do you have information on Ermina's family?  Leslie Brooks,




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