JOHN T. SIMS. - Ambition is the mind's inspiration in the conquest of obstacles, and no other nation in the world gives such credit and honor to the man who, holding the needle of life true to the pole-star of hope and animated by worthy ambition, presses steadily forward to a place of usefulness and to the goal of definite success. The present incumbent of the office of judge of the probate court of Wyandotte county is one who has built the ladder on which he has risen, and he has accomplished much as one of the world's great army of productive workers, the while he has merited and retained the inviolable confidence and esteem of those with whom he has come in contact in the various relations of life. As one of the honored official and representative citizens of Wyandotte county Judge Sims is well entitled to consideration in this history.
John T. Sims was born in the village of Robinson, Crawford county, Illinois, on the 31st of December, 1864, and thus became a right welcome New Year's guest in the home of his parents, Thomas J. and Arminta McComas (Elledge) Sims, the former of whom was born in Virginia and the latter in Kentucky. The father was a wagonmaker and blacksmith by trade and followed this sturdy vocation for many years. He was a representative of one of the sterling pioneer families of Crawford county, Illinois, where his parents settled, at Robinson, when he was but a boy. He was there reared to maturity and there secured such educational advantages as were afforded in the pioneer schools. In addition to the work of his trade he also became the owner and operator of a grist mill in the village of Robinson and he was one of its representative business men and most honored citizens for many years prior to his death, which there occurred in 1878, at which time he was fifty years of age. He was fairly successful in his business affairs and his life, was guided and governed by the highest principles of integrity and honor. His wife, a woman of ability and noble character, was summoned to the life eternal at the age of fifty-six years, and of their eleven children, of whom Judge Sims was the eighth in order of birth, three sons and five daughters are now living.
Judge Sims was reared to adult age in his native town, to whose public schools he is indebted for his early educational discipline, which was sufficiently adequate to enable him to become a successful and popular teacher when a young man. In his native state he thus followed the pedagogic profession for three terms, and in March, 1884, when twenty years of age, and soon after the death of his loved and venerated mother, he came to Kansas and located at Parsons, Labette county, in whose public schools he was a successful teacher for three terms. In 1886 he removed to Pratt, the judicial center of the county of the same name, and there he was engaged in the real-estate business until 1888. Owing to protracted drouths he met with reverses in his business, and in the year last mentioned he removed to Joplin, Missouri, where he was identified with mining enterprises for a short interval. He then secured a position with the Swift Packing Company, at its headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas, and after leaving Joplin, Missouri, he continued to hold various positions with this and other of the large packing concerns until 1893, in the meanwhile maintaining his residence in Kansas City, Kansas. Here he was elected justice of the peace in 1893, and he continued incumbent of this office for six years. In the meanwhile he carefully gave his attention to the study of law, and in 1895 he was admitted to the bar of his adopted state, when he came to Kansas City and engaged in the practice of his profession. He was finally elected police judge, and in this office he served three terms, with marked effcieney. His able efforts in this connection marked him as eligible for further official preferment, and in the autumn of 1909 he was elected probate judge of Wyandotte county. He has since retained this important office, has handled its affairs with marked discrimination and efficiency, and is one of the popular and valued officials of the county. Judge Sims is found aligned as a stalwart supporter of the principles and policies for which the Republican party stands sponsor and he has been an active and effective worker in its cause. He served for some time as secretary of the Republican committee of the second congressional district of the state and has otherwise shown his zeal in connection with party affairs. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraerity, in which he has received the chivalric orders, being identified with the Kansas City commandery of Knights Templars, and he is also a membr of the Knights of Pythias and several orders. He has been many times chairman of different conventions. Both he and his wife are member of the Presbyterian church and are active in the various departments of religious work.
In the year 1894 Judge Sims was united in marriage to Miss Cora A. Petri, who was born and reared in the state of Ohio and who was a resident of Parsons, Kansas, at the time of their marriage. They have one child, Elizabeth Arminta, now seventeen years of age.
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