Calhoun County

1891 Biography - Elias Simpson

ELIAS SIMPSON. This well-known resident of Richwoods Precinct, Calhoun County, is one of the men whose life presents an example of unswerving integrity, persistent industry and intense loyalty, worthy of the emulation of the rising generation. He was born in Effingham County, October 10, 1837, is of remote Scotch ancestry in the paternal line and is the worthy son of respected parents. His grandfather, Abel Simpson, was born in Ireland whence he came to America when a young man. He married in Alabama, but spent the last years of his life in Illinois. He was a soldier in the War of 1812 and his occupation was that of a farmer.

George Simpson, the father of our subject, was born and reared in Alabama, coming to this State with his parents when a young man and being one of the early settlers of Effingham County. In 1861 he enlisted in the Fifteen! Ii Illinois Infantry and served until after the close of the war. He was severely wounded at Little Rock, Ark., and is now a pensioner of the United States government. In 1865 he removed to Jersey County where he is now living at the ripe old age of eighty-four years. He married Nancy Bryant, who died in Effingham County many years ago.

Elias Simpson was born in Effingham County October 10, 1837, and was bereft of his mother in infancy. He was taken in charge by an aunt and cared for by her until ten years old, when he went to Coles County to live with another aunt. He was reared amid the surroundings of farm life, adopted the occupation to which he had been bred, and was laboring thereat when the Civil War began. The attempt upon the Union aroused him from his peaceful pursuit and Ft. Sumpter had scarcely been fired upon ere he had determined that his duty lay in the front of battle. .June 10, 1861, his name was attached to the muster roll of Company B, Seventh Illinois Infantry, of which regiment we find the following in the Adjutant-General's report: "It was the first organized regiment from Illinois mustered into the United States service and was the first to return to the Capital for re-enlistment. It was the only regiment in the whole army to buy its own guns — Henry rifles, sixteen-shooters — -and pay for them out of the meagre salary of $13 per month."

After serving with the regiment until the expiration of their term, July 25, 1861, Mr. Simpson immediately re-enlisted in the same company and on December 22, 1863, veteranized. The more important battles in which he participated were Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, Iuka, Tallahatchie, Swallow Bluff and Altoona. During a skirmish in Northern Alabama, May 7, 1864, he was captured by the enemy, taken to Mobile, and from there to Andersonville. He was confined there five months, then transferred to Florence, S. C, but before reaching the latter place, he and a comrade named William Allen jumped from the train and succeeded in making their escape. This was February 26, 1865, and they rejoined their regiment at Washington City and took part in the Grand Review. Mr. Simpson was mustered out with the regiment and honorably discharged at Louisville, Ky., July 9, 1865.

When his services were no longer needed in the armies of his country Mr. .Simpson resumed the arts of peace, making his home in Calhoun County. He has operated threshing machines, clover hullers and sawmills, has bought and improved a good piece of property upon which he resides, and is able to supply his family with the comforts and many of the luxuries of life and still lay aside something for a rainy day. His army days are lived over again in association with his comrades in Calhoun Lodge, No. 448. G. A. R.

Mr. .Simpson is a peaceable, law-abiding citizen, interested as all good citizens should be in the upbuilding of the country and the thorough establishment of the civilizing institutions of the land. His attractive home is presided over by a lady who bore the maiden name of Olive Fuller and who became his wife March 17, 1872. She was born in the Precinct in which she now lives and is a daughter of Alanson and Harriet (Twitchell) Fuller, who were natives of New York and pioneer settlers here. Mr. and Mrs. Simpson have five children — Nettie, Lloyd, Myrtle, and Harrison and Morton, twins.

Extracted 24 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Album of Pike and Calhoun Counties, Illinois, published in 1891, pages 251-252.

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