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            The life of Dr. Simms has not been one of unvarying monotony circumscribed by the habits, thoughts and customs of some narrow community, but contains many interesting instances that come with travel and extensive intercourse with the world.  Born on the Atlantic seaboard, he has viewed many of the interesting scenes of our country and is now located in the pretty little town of Milton, where he is devoting his time and attention to the practice of medicine.

            John R. Simms is a native of Virginia, his birth having occurred near Standardsville, Greene County, on the 25th of April, 1821.  The ancestral history of the family accords to an English origin and the early establishment of one of the family branches in Maryland.  His paternal grandfather removed from that state to Virginia.  His youngest son, the Doctor’s father, was born at the family homestead in the Old Dominion, and when he had arrived at years of maturity he married Miss Lucy Early, a native of his own town and a cousin of General Early.  They became the parents of eight children, but only four are now living.  The father departed this life in 1861, at the age of sixty-one years.

            The Doctor is the only representative of the family in California.  His childhood and youth were passed at his parents’ home, and when he had completed his literary education he entered upon the study of medicine in the office and under the direction of Dr. Hugh McGuire, a noted surgeon of his time.  When he was well qualified for his chosen calling he began practice in 1849, in North River Mills, West Virginia, and was for a time a practitioner at Capon Springs, removing thence to Texas.  He settled near Austin, in Travis County, where he was successfully engaged in practice for eighteen years, when he came to California, taking up his abode in Los Angeles County, where he remained until 1872 and then settled in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, where he conducted a ranch until the fall of 1880.  He then removed to San Joaquin County, where he practiced until 1892, the year of his arrival in Milton.  His practice has extended to many parts of the Golden state and he has had an eventful life, devoted largely to the alleviation of suffering humanity.  Day or night, he has responded to the calls of those in need of his services, without regard to the pecuniary return which he would receive.  The poor have indeed found him a friend, one who’s generous and charitable impulses have made him a noble representative of the profession.

            In February, 1858, Dr. Simms was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Kerr, a native of Virginia, and by their union has been born eight children, namely:  Virginia, who died in her seventeenth year at Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, her death being occasioned by consumption; John K., who was one of Stockton’s prominent young men and died at the age of twenty-six, mourned by a large circle of friends; James M., who died in his twenty-fifth year; Lucy, who died in crossing the plains and was buried in San Diego, California; Harry L., now a resident of San Joaquin County; Eugene S., who is a mining expert, living in Denver, Colorado, and has invented an electric hoist, on which he has secured a patent; Thomas E., of San Joaquin County; and the twin sister of Eugene S., who died in infancy.  The mother died in April, 1880, and was laid to rest in the Santa Rosa cemetery.  She was most devoted to her family, doing everything in her power to promote the welfare and happiness of her husband and children, and by all who knew her she was held in the highest regard.  The Doctor maintains his office and residence in Milton and has a liberal patronage from among the best class of people.  In politics he is a Democrat, and when in Texas he was appointed by the governor one of the trustees of the blind asylum of the state.  He has never been identified with fraternal organizations, finding that his professional duties occupied his entire time.  His labors have been attended with excellent results, viewed from both a professional and financial standpoint, and today he enjoys the high regard and confidence of all with whom he has formed an acquaintance.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 395-396. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




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