John W. Simpson

JOHN W. SIMPSON. The people of the Town of Tescott in Ottawa County recognize in John W. Simpson the man who more than any other individual has been identified with the growth and upbuilding of the community, and they have confirmed their choice of him as a natural leader by keeping him in the office of mayor continually for twelve successive terms, so that he is at once the first and last and only mayor the village has ever had.

Mr. Simpson was born in Owen County, Indiana, March 26, 1854, and is of old Virginia colonial stock. His father, John Simpson, was born in Virginia in 1817. In 1821 his father died and in 1829 his mother passed away, so that at the age of twelve years he was left an orphan. He soon went to Ohio, where he followed farming and where he married, and in 1847 he migrated to Owen County, Indiana, and as a pioneer he pre-empted a tract of land and paid $1.25 an acre. He cut down the timber, built a log cabin and went through all the trials and vicissitudes of an early settler. He was a man of substantial prominence in the community for many years and died there in 1897. In politics he was a republican. John Simpson married Rhoda Barnes, who was born at Zanesville, Ohio, in 1819, and died in Owen County, Indiana, in 1901.

Of their five children John W. Simpson was the youngest and is the only survivor. The older children in order of birth were Sarah Jane, Theodore, Harvey and Charles.

John W. Simpson lived in Owen County, Indiana, over thirty years. He received his early education in the rural schools and in 1878 graduated from the normal department of Valparaiso College at Valparaiso, Indiana. For eight terms he taught school in Owen and Morgan counties, and otherwise followed farming until 1887, when he came to Kansas. The first year in this state he lived on a farm near Tescott, and then, moving into the town of Tescott, spent about four years on the road as traveling representative for the school supply house of Thomas Kane Company of Chicago. From that he turned his attention to insurance and real estate. In 1910 he established the Farmers State Bank at Tescott, remained its president four years, selling his stock in 1914, and spending the next winter in Texas. Since his return to Tescott he has continued as a real estate and insurance man, with offices on First Street, owning the building in which he is located. He also owns his home on Minnesota Avenue, having subjected it to an extensive remodeling in 1909, and has much other local real estate, including a farm adjoining the town on the south, seventy acres. He also owns the Tescott flouring mill.

Mayor Simpson sold nearly all the lots in platting the City of Tescott and has much land platted around the town, so that its growth cannot be blocked. He was also the man chiefly instrumental in securing the building of the new city hall and has identified himself with every worthy movement in the town. He has served for many years as justice of the peace and in politics is a republican, and is a member of the Baptist Church.

In 1878, in Owen County, Indiana, Mr. Simpson married Miss Ella Layne, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Layne, both of whom are now deceased. Her father was a farmer.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Jessica Elaine Price, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, January 26, 2000.

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