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1848 - 1908

William Riley Simons

known as Will

William Riley Simons, who came to Springdale, (Arkansas) with his family in 1903 had been in the Civil War when he was 18 years old. Born in 1848 near Mountain Home, Arkansas, he later went to Illinois where he volunteered for the Union Army. Only in the war a year, he was discharged at Centralia, Illinois in 1864.

Will settled in Dent County, Missouri where he was married and widowed twice. The second wife, formerly Mary Ann Sprague, died in childbirth with his fourth son who later died at six months. Will married a third time to Minnette Sprague, who was a cousin of Mary Ann. They moved to Mountain Grove, Missouri, where eight of their nine children were born, two dying in infancy.

Will heard of the fine produce being grown in the Springdale area and brought his family there in 1903. He opened a small produce store. But his health was poor and he died in 1908. Left with a large family and no means of support, Minnette took in washing and obtained a small Civil War pension.

The oldest daughter, Emily, married Albert Smith and lived in Central Arkansas, later in Rogers. They had children, 3 sons, Roy, Earl, Woodrow, 2 daughters, Hazel & Bricy.

The oldest son, Earl married Pearl Hull of Rogers, Arkansas and raised two sons, James & Harold. Earl worked many years at the Famous Hardware in Springdale, Arkansas. Another son, Bill married Edith Watts had two daughters, Betty and Carol. He worked 43 years at the Springdale post office.

Eva married Guy Miles. They had four children and lived in Fayetteville (AR), later moved to Fort Smith. Elizabeth worked for the telephone company as an operator in its early days before dial telephones. She was forced to give up her job because of bad health.

Mamie didn't marry and stayed to take care of her mother whose health was failing. Eunice worked for the Famous Hardware and later the Veterans Hospital in Fayetteville (AR).

Minnette died in 1954 at age 89. Dates of deaths of the others are as follows: Elizabeth, 1962. Emily, 1962. Edith, Bill's wife, in 1971. Pearl, Earl's wife, in 1972. Mamie, 1982. Eva, 1982. Bill, 1982. Eunice, 1984. And Earl, at 98 yrs, deceased in 1985.


Endnote:
This document is handwritten by Wanda Smith McGarrah, grand-daughter-in-law of William Riley Simons, on the side of a brown paper bag. The name, Gerald Clack, is written on the opposite side of the bag. No other information about the origin of the biography is available. The biography is recorded, here, as written. Information about the origin is appreciated. Please notify this webmaster about documented copyright violations, if applicable.

Resource: Personal papers of Wanda Smith McGarrah. Shari Smith, Tulsa OK, custodian.

 

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