Among the various elements which go to make up a community of intelligent people, we here and there meet those of the kindlier and softer nature, who insist in smoothing down the rough places of life. Mr. Simmons and his estimable lady are people who enjoy the esteem of many friends, possessing this quality in an eminent degree. Their lives have been signalized by patience and charity, and the philosophy which has enabled them to meet the various difficulties of life, by making the best of what they cannot prevent, and making the most of the blessings which Providence has vouchsafed them. Among many others they have suffered adversity, but they have not allowed reverses to sour their natures, or take from them the kindly Christian spirit with which Providence so richly endowed them.
A native of New York State, our subject was born in Cato Township, Cayuga County, June 4, 1827, and was one of eight children, the offspring of Adam and Mary (Albright) Simmons, who were also born in the Empire State. After marriage they settled on a farm in Cayuga County, but in 1845 emigrated therefrom to Nora Township, this county, where thc father operated a tract of land, and where both parents spent the remainder of their days. Their family all lived to mature years, and six of the children are now surviving, making their homes in Illinois.
The boyhood days of our subject were spent at the old homestead in his native county; in fact, he lived there until his marriage, which occurred Feb. 20, 1850, the bride being Miss Cordelia Bishop. Mrs. Simmons was born in Otisco, N. Y., Feb. I l, 1831, and is the daughter of John and Eliza (Fish) Bishop, who were likewise natives of New York State. The father died in Cayuga County. The mother is still living, being now quite aged, and makes her home in New York. The parental family included five children, of whom Mrs. Simmons was the second born. Our subject and his wife lived in Cato Township, N. Y., for a period of nine years, then resolved to seek their fortunes in the more western country. In 1840 they came to this county, and with the exception of eight or nine years spent at Lena, Ill., where Mr. S. engaged in buying and shipping stock, have since been residents here.
The present homestead of our subject includes 120 acres of land. He was at one time the owner of 155 acres, which he brought to a good state of cultivation, and which was the source of a comfortable income. In due time there came to the fireside of Mr. and Mrs. Simmons four children, the eldest of whom, Orlando J., now operates as a carpenter at Lena, Ill.; Vellas L. is conducting a photograph gallery in Waterloo, Iowa; Emma died when an interesting little girl of seven and one-half years; George, a cigarmaker by trade, is located in Horton, Kan. Mr. Simmons cast his first Presidential vote for Fillmore, and for a period of forty-one years bas been, politically, an uncompromising Democrat.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess Co., IL (1889)