Descendants of George Washington Simmons
Generation No. 1
1. GEORGE WASHINGTON3 SIMMONS (ABIJAH2, WILLIAM1) was born September 28, 1857 in Albion, Noble Co., Indiana1, and died November 17, 1930 in Kendallville, Indiana1. He married LORESSA HOWARD April 26, 1896 in Noble Co., Indiana2, daughter of CHARLES HOWARD and MATILDA BUTTERBAUGH. She was born April 05, 1868 in Bellville, Richland Co., Ohio3, and died November 27, 1966 in Coldwater, Branch Co. Michigan3. More About GEORGE WASHINGTON SIMMONS: Burial: Rose Hill Cemetery, Albion, Indiana, Sec. A-11
OBITUARY: FORMER ALBION MAN DEAD - George W. Simmons, aged 73, died at his home in Kendallville Monday afternoon from hardening of the arteries. He had been ailing for some months, and was bedfast the past four weeks. Death came peacefully as he slept. Born in Jefferson Township, Noble County, September 28, 1857, the son of Abijah and Margaret Branyan Simmons, he grew to manhood there. He had lived all his life in Noble County with the exception of a few years in Kansas. He was one of 12 children. He was united in marriage to Loressa Howard, April 26, 1898. Mr. and Mrs. Simmons moved to Albion soon after and remained here until 1901, when they located in Kendallville, where they have since resided. He was recognized by his many friends as industrious, frugal, a sincere friend and a good neighbor, and was a member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church at Albion all of his life. Surviving are the widow, two sons, Howard of Monroeville, and Chester of Ft. Wayne, and two daughters, Mrs. Dorothy Koder and Mrs. Liela Kessler, both of Chicago, and four grandchildren. Also two sisters, Mrs. Jane Bushong of Avilla, and Mrs. Ollie Randall of Chicago.
Family notes: George made his living by using a team of horses to pull a "dray" wagon. As such, he would deliver goods for local businesses to customers located in town. Thus, today he would be called a truck driver. Loressa was a typical homemaker of those times who stayed close to home and raised the children. Loressa spent her final years with her son, Chester, in Coldwater, Michigan.
Notes for LORESSA
Children of GEORGE SIMMONS and LORESSA HOWARD are:
i. DOROTHY GRACE4 SIMMONS4, b. December 17, 1896, Albion, Noble Co., Indiana5; d. April 15, 1977, Tampa, Florida6; m. (1) CHARLES R. CRIPE, February 12, 1916, Kalamazoo, Michigan; m. (2) DONALD KODER6, June 06, 1925, Waukegan, Illinois7; b. Kendallville, Indiana. More About DOROTHY GRACE SIMMONS: Burial: Garden of Memories Cemetery, Tampa, Florida8
d. April 06, 1988, Ft. Wayne, Allen Co., Indiana; m. GLADYS. Notes
iii. LEILA BLANCHE SIMMONS, b. June 14, 1898, Albion, Noble Co., Indiana9; d. August 10, 1990, Houston, Texas9; m. (1) ELMER "HAP" KESSLER; b. Kendallville, Indiana; m. (2) JOHN FITZGERALD. Notes for LEILA BLANCHE SIMMONS: It was reported by Bill Hannon's 2nd wife, Doris, that Leila died in Texas with her granddaughter Patty. After her death her body was returned to Chicago for burial and she believes the funeral directors were Blake & Lamb. More About LEILA BLANCHE SIMMONS: Burial: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 W. 111th St., Worth (Chicago), Cook Co., Illinois, Grave 1, Lot 10, Blk 48, Sec. 41
iv. CHESTER DEAN SIMMONS, b. September 30, 1902, Albion, Noble Co., Indiana10; d. July 21, 1976, Coldwater, Branch Co., Michigan10; m. ROA LAURINE BOLLEY, February 25, 1930, Ft. Wayne, Indiana11; b. September 24, 1909, Mongo, LaGrange Co., Indiana12; d. January 14, 2004, Coldwater, Branch Co. Michigan.
THE LIFE OF CHESTER AND ROA SIMMONS:
Roa was born on Sept. 24, 1909 on the family farm near Mongo, LaGrange Co., Indiana. She was the seventh of eight children of Jacob Bolley and Stella McCally. Chester was born on September 30th, 1902 in Albion, Noble Co., Indiana. Chester was one of four siblings born to George W. Simmons and Loressa Howard.
Roa's life as a child was good. "A big, fun family" is how she described her parents and siblings. As one of the younger family members she was closely looked after by her brothers and sisters. She never had to work much on the farm as one of the younger family members. A favorite game was a card game called "Peedro". Her parents were good church going people. (Dunkard Church) Jacob was a quiet man, yet had a firm hand in matters of discipline. Stella was described as the outgoing parent. At first the family rented a 500 acre farm (3 miles from Brighton, 3 miles from Mongo) but later bought a smaller farm of 80 acres about 1 1/2 mile north of Mongo, Indiana. Her memories of school involve taking the "School Hack" the 3 miles to school everyday -- a horse-drawn wagon similar to a school bus of today. The high school at Mongo, Indiana had 6 boys and 5 girls in it's graduating class. They convinced her to take the 12th grade at Mongo so the class would have an even number of boys and girls. She spent that entire year living with the Smeltzley Family in exchange for helping around the house. Up until high school Roa's name was actually spelled with an "H", as in "Rhoa". She never liked the "H" and dropped it in high school.
Chester's childhood was described as somewhat harder. His father, George, made his living by using a team of horses to pull a "Dray" wagon. As such, he would deliver goods for local businesses to customers located in town. Thus, today he would be called a truck driver. Because this enterprise didn't produce much income and because George was not always in the best of health, Chester quit high school after the sixth grade to help his father in the business. Roa described George as a very quiet man whom seldom said much of anything. His mother, Loressa, was a typical homemaker of those times who stayed close to home and raised the children.
As a couple, Chet and Roa owe their meeting to Roa's sister, Verabelle. Verabelle lived in Kendallville and knew Chet. They went out on a blind date and dated for one year before getting married on February 25, 1930 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. They never told anyone of the marriage and no family members attended. This was in the heighth of the Great Depression. Money was tight and they couldn't afford a honeymoon. Expecting her first child, Roa moved in with her sister, Verabelle, and brother-in-law, Ralph, in Elkhart, Indiana. Shirley Eldine was born on October 7, 1930. Their second child, Robert Neil, was born on February 26, 1932 in Ft. Wayne, IN. Roa then quit her job as a long distance operator to become a full-time housewife. Chester went to work in a gas station. This was not a job that brought in much income, but it was a job in difficult times. Chester has a memory of the notorious gangster, John Dillinger, stopping at his station. Shortly after he left, numerous police cars went racing by in apparent pursuit. For the rest of the decade Chet would scramble for any possible work in order to support his family. At one point during those years the family moved in with Roa's sister, Frieda Miller, and her husband on a farm near Bronson, Michigan. While there, Chester would often stand in line for hours at local factories hoping to get called in for a few hours of work each day. In 1940 Chester got the break of his life when he passed the Michigan State Civil Service examination. He was subsequently hired as a maintenance mechanic at the State Home and Training School in Coldwater, Michigan. Chester even acted as a chauffeur on occasion. For the first time in their ten-year marriage, Chester and Roa had a stable income. A year later World War II broke out and the economy picked up as the country furiously began producing war material. Roa got a job in a local factory to help raise the family income and years later finished her working career at Allbright's Appliance. In 1956 Chester's mother, Loressa, moved in with the family. She was then 88 years old and required care. She lived there for a couple of years and then moved in with an elderly couple in Coldwater for several years until her death in 1966 at the ripe old age of 98 years.
Chester retired from the state in 1966. They bought a travel trailer, traveling much, spending their winters in Florida. For the next ten years, until Chester died in his sleep in July 1976, they shared a good life. They bought a modest home on Marble Lake, near Quincy, Michigan, and both enjoyed fishing, boating and entertaining their grandchildren. After Chester's death, Roa continued going to Florida for another 10 years by herself, but finally quit and moved into a retirement home in Coldwater in 1986. Around 1997 she moved into an assisted care center as mild Alzheimer's Disease was taking hold.
In summary, Chester and Roa both may have struggled at times but managed to live a happy and good life. They raised two children and were the perfect grandparents to their many grandchildren. Bluegill fishing, homemade peach pies, and sitting on the back porch swing on a warm summer evening typified the simple American heartland life they lived.
OBITUARY: Chester D. Simmons, 73, of Quincy Route 2, Branch County resident for many years, died suddenly at 5 a.m. Wednesday at his home at 6053 Marble Lake. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Putnam Funeral Home. Mr. Simmons was born Sept. 30, 1902 in Kendallville, Ind., the son of George and Loressa (Howard) Simmons. He married Roa Bolley Feb. 24, 1929 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He came to the Coldwater area from Bronson in 1940 and had lived at Marble Lake the past 11 years. He was retired from the Maintenance Department at Coldwater State Home and Training School. He was a member of Tyre Lodge No. 18, F&AM. Survivors include his wife, Roa; one son, Robert N. Simmons of East Lansing; a brother, Howard of Ft. Wayne, Ind.; two sisters Leilia Fitzgerald of Chicago and Dorothy Koder of Tampa, Fl.; eight grandchildren, one great grandchild and several nieces and nephews. One daughter, Shirley Fuller, died in 1970 in Denver. More About CHESTER DEAN SIMMONS: Burial: Lakeview Cemetery, Quincy, Branch Co., Michigan
Notes for ROA