BIOGRAPHIES

A listing of biographies of the members of the Pringle and Simmons families 

Here is a family tree that you may find useful as you're reading about the family. 

Most of these links go to obituaries.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Frank Anthony Simmons.  1860-1946.  A farmer who lived just south of Hastings for nearly forty years.

Ellen (Nellie) Morgan Pringle Simmons.  1863-1930.  Frank's wife; mother of seven children.

THEIR CHILDREN 

Francis Pringle Simmons.  1887-1904.  Frank and Nellie's oldest son, who died of tuberculosis at seventeen.

George Curtis Simmons.  1889-1978.  A WWI veteran who later worked at the County Post Office in Farmington, Minnesota.

Florence Ellen Simmons.  1891-1892.  A baby who died of unknown causes.

Ellen Pringle Simmons.  1894-1956.  A school teacher and administrator who never married.  She was an assistant to her brother Carroll in the antique business.

Lucia Simmons.  1895-1921.  A schoolteacher who died of tuberculosis at age twenty-five.

Mary Hudson Simmons Gray.  1897-1986.  A nurse, called "a career woman before there was such a thing" by her daughter in 2006.  Most of the letters in my collection are from her.

Carroll Bradford Simmons.  1903-1992.  An eccentric antique dealer who purchased the LeDuc Mansion in Hastings and donated it to the Minnesota Historical Society.

THEIR PARENTS

Lucius Curtis Simmons.  1833-1895.  Frank's father, a farmer who moved to Hastings during the Civil War.

Florence Ophelia Bradford Simmons.  1839-1875.  Frank's mother, who had seven children and died young of tuberculosis.

Lucy Delano Simmons.  1843-1921.  Frank's stepmother.  She married Lucius Curtis Simmons in 1882 in Terra Haute, Indiana.  (She was a cousin of Florence Bradford's.)

Martha Delano.  1840-1918.  Lucy Delano's sister, who served as a sort of surrogate mother in the Simmons family.  Her nickname in the Simmons family was "Cousin Mat."

George Paul Pringle.  1837-1874.  Nellie's father, a young lawyer who had hopes of becoming a politician before his early death of tuberculosis.

Frances Elizabeth Ellison Pringle Clagett.  1840-1923.  Nellie's mother, who was widowed twice and lived at 418 West Second Street for most of her life.

John Ramsey Clagett.  1826-1899.  Nellie's stepfather, Frances's second husband.  A civic-minded judge and lawyer who practiced in Hastings for many years.

THEIR GRANDPARENTS

Benjamin George Pringle.  1807-1887.  Nellie's paternal grandfather, who enjoyed an exalted political career as U.S. Representative, judge, and diplomat.  Appointed by President Lincoln to suppress the slave trade in Africa.

Mary Jane Hudson Pringle.  1809-1871.  Nellie's paternal grandmother, who was reportedly the great grand-niece of Henry Hudson, the renowned explorer.

Captain Carroll Jackson Bradford.  1815-18??.  Frank's maternal grandfather.  His daughter Kate Bradford moved to Hastings as a girl and was reportedly a wonderful pianist.  Presumably the man who Carroll Bradford Simmons was named after.

THEIR SIBLINGS

Edward Bradford Simmons.  1862-1924.  Frank's brother, who died of pneumonia.

William Simmons.  1864-1926.  Frank's brother, who moved to California in 1919 after farming in Hastings for many years.

Curtis Simmons.  1865-1926.  Frank's brother, who married twice and spent a summer with Frank and Nellie (and presumably Carroll and Ellen, as well) in 1923.

Florence Simmons Lyon.  1867-1931.  Frank's sister, who married Horace Lyon and lived for a time in Phoenix in the 1890s.  She is mentioned a couple of times in the letters; I have a letter that she wrote Nellie from Arizona.

Annie Grace Simmons.  (Known as Grace.)  1869-1958.  Frank's sister, who never married.  She was the favorite child of "Cousin Mat" (also known as Martha Delano; see her entry under "Their Parents", above).

Rose Simmons Garrison.  1872-????.  Frank's sister, who married a man named John Garrison.

Mary Hudson Pringle.  1870-1901.  Nellie's sister, who attended Wells College in New York and taught in Faribault and Minneapolis before moving to Colorado in hopes of improving her health.  She died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty.  I have her scrapbook.

George Ellison Pringle.  1869-1893.  Nellie's brother, who, according to his obituary, was a great lover of nature.  He died at the age of twenty-four, presumably from tuberculosis.

Frances (Fanny) Ellison Clagett Effinger.  1878-19??.  Nellie's half-sister, the daughter of her mother Frances and her step-father John Ramsey Clagett.  She married Gerard Effinger, who wrote one of the letters in my collection to Nellie.

NELLIE'S PATERNAL AUNT AND UNCLES

Caroline Sophia Pringle Thorne.  1830-1923.  She was the second wife of Dr. William Thorne, a prominent doctor in Hastings.  Their son Gilbert is mentioned in one of Frank's letters to Nellie.  Their beautiful house is a well-known one in Hastings.

Henry Hudson Pringle.  1832-1879.  He established the first hardware store in Hastings in 1856 and was involved in the First National Bank and St. Luke's Episcopal Church.  He and his wife Louisa had two children, Benjamin Pringle (1859-?) and William Henry Pringle (1864-?).  I have a letter that Benjamin Pringle wrote to Nellie in 1921.

William DeWitt Pringle.  1840-1930.  A prominent Hastings citizen who passed on many valuable pieces of furniture to Carroll when he began his antique shop. 

THE LEDUC FAMILY

General William Gates LeDuc.    1823-1917.  Minnesota pioneer and entrepreneur who built a huge Gothic Revival home in Hastings during the Civil War, now called the LeDuc Historic Estate or LeDuc Mansion.  He lived in Washington, D.C., for a time, serving as Commissioner of Agriculture under Rutherford B. Hayes.

Mary Elizabeth Bronson LeDuc.  1829-1904.  Wife of William and mother of four children; she helped design the LeDuc home.  The LeDucs were friends with the Pringle, Clagett, and Simmons families.

Mary (Minnie) Elizabeth LeDuc Gardner.  1852-1937.  The eldest child of William and Mary LeDuc.  Attended Wells College in New York, like Nellie's sister, Mary Hudson Pringle.

Florence Gray LeDuc.  1855-1929.  A Sunday school teacher who, like Minnie LeDuc and Mary Pringle, attended Wells College.  She is mentioned in one of the letters to Nellie from 1882.  Frank and Carroll served as her pallbearers.

William Bronson LeDuc.  1857-1940.  The third child of William and Mary LeDuc.

Alice Sumner LeDuc.  1868-1962.  The youngest child of William and Mary; an all-around Renaissance woman noted for her love of history and artistic talent.  Carroll donated several of her pieces to the Minnesota Historical Society.  He purchased the LeDuc house from her in 1941.

Mabel Gardner (1875-1967) and Edith LeDuc Gardner (1877-1966).  Two sisters, daughters of Minnie LeDuc Gardner, who were raised in Hastings and inherited the LeDuc house after their grandfather's death.  Mabel ran a tea-shop and antique store in the late twenties that eventually was merged with Carroll's shop.

Augustine Vincent Gardner.  1880-1967.  Brother of Mabel and Edith; son of Minnie LeDuc Gardner.  One of Carroll's friends and one of the two witnesses present during his marriage to Margaret Dunlop in 1959.

OTHER CHARACTERS

Margaret Emily Dunlop Simmons.  1892-1983.  Carroll married Margaret in 1959.  I don't know much about her except that she grew up on Summit Avenue in St. Paul (at one point, she lived a block away from F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda).

Hazel Jacobsen Theel.  1909-Present.  The wife of the Hastings hardware store owner, Hazel led a citizen's crusade to preserve and document Hastings history.  Thanks to her efforts, more than sixty structures in Hastings have been put on the National Register of Historic Places.  She helped convince Carroll that he should donate the LeDuc Mansion to the Minnesota Historical Society.

Robert Kerstetter.  ca.1935-1991.  Carroll hired Robert at the age of fourteen to serve as an assistant in his antique shop.  He remained in Carroll's employ for the rest of his life.

Marie Moreland Simmons.  ca. 1885-1949.  Frank's second wife.  A poet from St. Paul who was involved in the theater.  She taught at Hastings High sometime in the late teens or early twenties.

PETS

Rollo.  The family dog who obligingly played circus with the Pringle children.  (He was the wild animal, and the children were clowns and drummers.)  He lived in the 1870s.

Laddie.  A breed of herding dog that lived on the Simmons family farm sometime between 1910-1920.  Marjorie Ohls begged Carroll not to let Laddie chew up some photographs that Carroll had taken that she wanted to see.  Carroll had his picture taken with Laddie and a chicken sometime in the late teens.

Taurus.  A huge German Shepherd who served as a guard when Carroll and Ellen lived at the LeDuc Mansion.  He was so impressive, a whole paragraph was devoted to his exploits in a 1940s St. Paul Pioneer Press article on Carroll and Ellen's business.

Willie.  According to local lore, Carroll kept a string of black cats, all inexplicably named Willie.

Henry.  I know nothing about Henry except that he was, to quote Dr. Timothy Blade, a professor at the University of Minnesota and a frequent visitor at Carroll's shop, "enormous."

Lucky.  Another German Shepherd who had an appetite for visitors' shoes.

Return to Home