This sterling and honored citizen of Omega township, Marion county, is
the owner of one of the best farms in this community and is a local minister
of the Gospel of much popularity, having for many years performed a grand
service among the people whom he has elected to serve, burying the friends
who pass over the mystic river, marrying the young, beginning life's more
serious walks, and in many ways assisting in ameliorating the condition of
the public at large and his character has from his youth up been unblemished
by shadow of wrong, so that the community regards him as one of its most
William Jackson Simer is a native of Marion county, having been born here September 9, 1849, and is therefore fifty-nine years old at this writing (1908). His father's name was Jason R. Simer, a Tennessean, who came to Illinois when fifteen years of age and worked by the month until he was married at the age of twenty-five years to Amelia Gaston, who was born near the Marion County Home and who was called to her rest in 1866, at the age of forty years. Jason R. Simer married a second time to Ruth Carpenter in the year 1870. Seven children were born to him by his first wife, our subject being one of the number; and three children were born of the second union.
Our subject worked out among the neighbors .until he was seventeen years of age, having attended the local schools in Jefferson county, later the Huff school, in the meantime during the winter months, and received a good foundation for an education by diligently applying himself to his studies, and he has now become a well read man by constant home study and personal observation. When twenty-five years old he began to make public addresses on local political issues and so well did he speak that when his name was announced to appear on a program he was always insured a large and interested audience, and his powers as an orator and his ability as a political worker were soon recognized by party leaders and he was invited to speak in other communities.
Our subject has always been more or less interested in farming pursuits and he early in life gave marked evidence of being a man of affairs, and he began to work for himself when seventeen years old. He now owns a fine farm of two hundred and three acres, forty acres being in timber, the rest being under a high state of cultivation.
Rev. Mr. Simer has always been an active church worker and Sunday school worker, especially so since 1880, and he is now filling the pulpit each Lord's day at Level Grove, Smith's Grove, Bethel in Clay county, and at Brubaker, giving a fourth of his time to each charge, all of which he has built up and greatly strengthened.
Our subject has been twice married, his first wife's name being Sarah E. Easley, to whom seven children were born, four of whom are living, the family being composed of six sons and one daughter. His second wife was Mary Alice Farson, to whom two children were born, both living. Their names are Clay and Frank. The names of his children by his first wife follow: The first child died in early infancy; Leroy, who married Goldin Allen, and who had three children, two living, a son and a daughter; Hershel, who married Jennie Tate and who has four children, two sons and two daughters; Charley, who married Ama Hultz; Hugh, who married Minnie Jennings, and who has one son; Margaretta and Rollie.
Mr. Simer takes a great interest in public affairs and is serving his third term as Supervisor of Omega township in a manner that reflects much credit upon his ability and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. He is greatly interested in the cause of education, and he has taught six successful terms of school in his own neighborhood, gaining considerable praise as an able instructor and his services were in great demand. He is a very versatile man on almost any topic and he is ever ready for any good work. He has a large, well arranged and carefully selected library, consisting of the best books of modern and early days on a wide range of themes among which much of his time is spent. He has always been a close student of the Bible, having an ardent desire to know and comprehend the same, being anxious to know and do the will of the Heavenly Father, and to follow His teachings at all times. In matters affecting the general welfare Rev. Simer has been most active and influential.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 402-404.