Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mary Jane Hill Simpson 1862-1918


I have been working on finding the parents of my Great Great Grandmother Mary Jane Hill Simpson. I spent today typing up all the info I had on Mary Jane and my conclusions. Trying to be very thorough and included all my sources. Let me know what you think or if you are connected to any of these ancestors.




Mary Jane Hill Simpson


My first record for Mary Jane Simpson was from her daughter’s death certificate. Her daughter Grace Simpson Hefley died 20 Oct 1959 in Downs, Osborne Co., Kansas. [i] Grace’s death certificate states her parents were William Simpson and Jane Hill.

I then located William and Mary J. Simpson in the 1900 census in Cornith Township, Osborne Co., Kansas.[ii] The household included their four children Henry, Edward, Grace and Earnest Simpson. Mary J.’s age is listed as 37 years old and born in 1862, the space for a birth month to be written only contains a small smudge. It also shows her as being born in Ohio and her parents born in Ohio.

Next William and Mary are found in the 1910 census in Ross Township, Downs, Osborne Co., Kansas.[iii] The household includes their youngest son Ernest Simpson, William’s mother, Margaret Simpson and Christie Niles a 16 year old listed as a servant. Mary is 47 years old and born in Ohio and parents born in Ohio. This would put her birth year about 1863.

Mary Jane Simpson died 15 August 1918 per her death certificate. [iv] She died in Ross Township, Osborne Co., Kansas and was a widow. Her birth is listed as 3 August 1862 and born in Warren Co., Ohio. Her son W.E. Simpson [William Edward] was the informant. Her father is listed as Knotley Hill birthplace unknown and her mother is listed as Emma Masters.

I searched censuses in Ohio for Knotley Hill, but I was unable to place Mary Jane Hill with any family headed by Knotley/Notley Hill. I searched census in Warren and Clermont County Ohio for Hill family’s and was still unable to place Mary Jane with any family. I then remembered that Grace’s two older brothers were born in Iowa per the 1900 census. I was able to find a birth record for William Edward Simpson and he was born in Prairie Township, Keokuk Co., Iowa.[v] This gave me a place to look Mary Jane Hill. 

I found a marriage index for William Henry Simpson and Mary Jane Hill. [vi] I have written for the original but the database shows Mary was born in 1862 and was 19 years old. They were married 29 November 1881 in Keokuk Co., Iowa.

I searched the 1880 census in Keokuk Co., Ohio but still could not locate Mary Jane Hill. I had found her future husband William H. Simpson living with his widowed mother Margaret and William’s younger sister Hannah (and a boarder named Robert Crossman) in the 1880 census in Van Buren, Keokuk Co., Iowa.[vii]  My breakthrough came when I looked at this 1880 Census again and noticed that the family listed before them was a Hill family. It was the Henry R. Hill family and I had looked at this family before in earlier census and knew he had a brother named Notley and their parents were Notley and Rachel Hill. But the 1870 census[viii] listed a daughter for Henry Hill as Jenny. I now believe the 1880 census which lists Henry’s daughter as May J. and the 1870 Census which lists Henry’s daughter as Jenny are indeed the same person as Mary Jane Hill. I can only guess that they said Janie and the census taker heard Jenny and wrote that instead.

Summary for Mary Jane Hill Simpson


Mary Jane Hill was born August 3, 1862 in Warren Co., Ohio to Henry R. and Elizabeth Masters Hill. Henry and Elizabeth had 8 children: Margaret Ellen, Nancy M., Joseph Charles, Eunice, Rachael B., Mary Jane, Sarah Anna, and Emma Hill all were born in Ohio.

In 1870 the family lived in Perry Township, Brown Co., Ohio and Henry was listed as a huckster with real estate valued at $1400 and a personal value of $250. A huckster in 1870 was someone who sold small items door to door or peddled a cart around and yelled out his wares for sell, such as fruits or vegetables.  Elizabeth Hill must have died between April 1870 and 1872 as Henry remarried Amanda Lavina Young in 1872. 

By 1880 the family had moved to Van Buren, Keokuk Co., Iowa and Henry was listed as a farmer. The Simpson family seems to have moved from Clermont Co., Ohio at this same time. I believe the Hill and Simpsons families lived near the borders of Warren and Clermont County Ohio and may have migrated together along with other families. I need to research this further.

In 1880 Mary Jane Hill is 17 and lives next to William Simpson. On November 29, 1881 they married in Keokuk Co., Iowa.  William was 22 and Mary was 19. Their first two sons were born in Keokuk Co., Iowa in 1882 and 1884. Sometime between 1884 and 1890 they moved to Osborne Co., Kansas.

In 1900 the family consisted of William and Mary Simpson ages 40 and 37 and their 4 children: Charles Henry, William Edward, Grace Irene, and Earnest Leroy Simpson. Only Grace and Earnest were born in Kansas. William is a farmer living in Cornith Township, Osborne Co., Kansas.
In 1910 Ernest at age 14 is the only child left at home with William and Mary Simpson. However, Williams widowed mother Margaret Simpson is living with them along with servant Christy Niles who is 16 years old.

William died August 27, 1914 and Mary Jane died August 15, 1918 in Downs, Osborne Co., Kansas. Both are buried at the Downs Cemetery.

Oral history says that the Simpsons lived in a dugout when they moved to Osborne Co., Kansas. Dugouts were common on the prairies of Kansas.


[i] Kansas Kansas State Board of Health Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate 59 016144 (1959), Grace Irene Hefley; Kansas State Board of Health Division of Vital Statistics. 

[ii] 1900 U.S. census, Osborne Co., Kansas, population schedule, Cornith Township, enumeration district (ED) 102, sheet 2A, p. 138, dwelling 34, family 34, William Simpson Family; digital images, Familysearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623. 

[iii] 1910 U.S. census, Osborne Co., Kansas, population schedule, Ross Township, enumeration district (ED) 129, sheet 15A, p. 4657, dwelling 381, family 381, William Simpson Family; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624. 

[iv] Kansas State Board of Health-Division of vital statistics, Death Certificates, death certificate 71-795 (1918), Simpson, Mary Jane. 


[v] "Iowa, Births and Christenings, 1830-1950," database, Familysearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 4 Jul 2012), William Edward Simpson 1884 birth entry. 


[vi] "Iowa, Marriages, 1809-1992," database, Familysearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 4 Jul 2012), William Henry Simpson and Mary Jane Hill marriage 1881. 


[vii] 1880 U.S. census, Keokuk Co., Iowa, population schedule, Van Buren, enumeration district (ED) 153, p. 2, dwelling 15, family 16, Simpson and Hill families; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9. 


[viii] 1870 U.S. census, Brown Co., Ohio, population schedule, Perry Township, p. 72, dwelling 544, family 482, Henry R. Hill Family; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593. 

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