Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 495] This leading citizen of Volant, Washington township, who now in the sunset of his life, having provided liberally for all his children, is in the main leading a retired life at his residence in the village, although engaging still to some extent in agricultural labors on his two farms, was born at New Garden, Columbiana Co., Ohio, May 4, 1828. He was a son of Robert E. Simison, who was born at Carlisle, Cumberland Co., Pa.

Our subject's father received the customary district school education, and upon its completion, learned the hatter's trade, serving an apprenticeship of several years. He then went to the State of Ohio and worked at his trade at various places as a journeyman, but at last tiring of the confinement he embarked in farming in Portage Co., Ohio, where he continued to be numbered among the citizens of that county until his death at the age of fifty-six. He was a self-educated man in many respects, and what he knew was chiefly obtained from books and experience, particularly from the latter source. Blessed with an intelligence far above the ordinary run, foresighted in his judgment, and cool in his calculations, we see in him many of the traits that show so plainly in his son, the distinguished subject of this sketch. In his political bearings, it may be said that he never deserted the Republican standard, voting the straight ticket as a loyal member of the party. His wife died at the age of sixty-six.

Parker Simison, after obtaining as much of an education as was practicable in the neighboring district schools of his native place, came to Mercer County and hired out to a farmer, with whom he then remained about three years. Starting "on his own hook," he rented a farm in that county, intending to purchase the property, so soon as he became equal to the task. After four years of renting, the farm became his by purchase, which was known as the "Old Herd Farm" in Mercer County, partly improved, but for the most part in a state of semi-wildness. While he owned the place, he made a number of improvements, lasting and extensive in character, principally comprised in fencing and in ditching. He sold this property about 1866, and then bought a mill in connection with a small farm in Wilmington, Pa., and spent $1,500 for necessary improvements, which placed the mill and farm in the best possible shape. Meanwhile he bought a farm two miles from the mill, and turned the milling property over to his two oldest sons, removing to the new farm with the remainder of the family. He lived on the farm one year, and sold it and with the proceeds next bought one hundred acres adjoining the farm he had sold in Wilmington township, this county, and remained there one year. He then came to Volant and purchased two small farms and the Volant milling property, which a little later he turned over to his two sons, David and Patrick. This is the splendid record of a man who was alive to the opportunities of life that lie around on every hand, awaiting the clever man who knows the value of things to seize them and make the most of them. He seems to be peculiarly gifted with the power to turn everything into gold, but this power on analysis resolves itself into a correct knowledge of the value of depreciated property, and of the value of improvements, and into an ability to seize the proper moment and strike when the iron is hot. He ranks high among his follow-townsmen as a shrewd business man, whose success has been brought about only in the most open and legitimate manner. He is alert and zealous in building up his part of the county, and thinks there is no such country for farming as may be found in Lawrence and the neighboring counties, in which opinion he is supported by every citizen who is alive to the best interests of this section of the State. He is stanch and steadfast in his advocacy of Republican political doctrines, and is known as a skilled politician, although he has never sought political office for himself.

Miss Esther E. McKean, daughter of William McKean, accepted, his invitation to share his heart and home, and in the course of their married life has presented him with ten children, namely: Mary E., who married J. Backup of Sheakleyville, Pa., and has three children—Guy P., Earl, and Emma; William E., who formed a matrimonial alliance with Effie Crooks, and has four children—Charley, Parker, John W., and Ruth; Barney, who married Ada McMillen, and has a family of three children—Cora, Edna, and Frank; Margaret, who became the wife of James McMahon; David, who married Tillie J. Jordan, and has two children—Paul J. and Raymond P.; Patrick R., who married Della Slocum, who died and left him one daughter, Jennie; Jennie, deceased; Carrie, who became the wife of Dr. J. P. Kirk of Wampum, Lawrence County; and Jack G., who lives at home with his parents. The family have always been faithful attendants of the M. E. Church, and the children were brought up to reverence its faith.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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