Marion J. Simmons. To that class of representative citizens who work with the full measure of manly strength for individual success, but also unselfishly endeavor to promote public prosperity, belongs Marion J. Simmons, of Elk City, president of the Citizens State Bank, leading agriculturist, public-spirited citizen and an ordained minister of the United Brethren Church. He has through his abilities and industry accumulated a competency in his individual enterprises, but has always felt it his bounden duty to aid his community and his fellow men, and thus, while holding a position of prestige in the business and financial world, also has a firm place in the esteem and confidence of those among whom he has lived and labored.
Mr. Simmons was born near Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa, February 22, 1860, and is a son of William and Susan (Wininger) Simmons, and a member of a family of French origin which was founded in the colony of Virginia prior to the revolution. His grandfather, John Simmons, was a pioneer to Indiana, where he passed his life in farming, and died in DuBois County before the birth of Marion J. Simmons. None of the grandfather’s children survive. William Simmons was born in DuBois County, Indiana, in 1826, and was there reared on a farm and educated in the public schools. Some time after his marriage he went to Iowa and located on a farm in Taylor County, where he resided until 1869, on September 15th of which year he settled on a Government claim of 160 acres on Card Creek, five miles southeast of Elk City. This was before the Government survey was completed and when the Indians were still in the country. Mr. Simmons proved up his claim, developed a good farm, and increased it to 280 acres, which he owned at the time of his death, with the exception of one acre, which he donated to the Simmons schoolhouse, now known as the Card Creek schoolhouse. His death occurred at Elk City, in 1900. Mr. Simmons was an industrious and energetic man and a good citizen. He was an independent democrat in political inclination and never aspired to office, and was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His doors were always open for public worship in those pioneer days when there were no church houses. The Methodist and the Quakers both held their regular preaching services in his home, and in the winter of ’70 both of the above named denominations held their revival meetings there and the results of which were twenty conversions. Mr. Simmons married Miss Susan Wininger, who was born in 1824, in Tennessee, near Cumberland Gap, and died on the farm in Montgomery County, Kansas, in 1889. They were the parents of the following children: Mary, who was married in Iowa to Thomas Freel, a veteran of the Civil war and a farmer, came to Elk City in 1875, where Mr. Freel died, and where Mrs. Freel still resides; J. A., who was engaged in farming for a number of years but later turned his attention to the undertaking business, and is now a retired resident of Yam Hill, Oregon; Marjorie, who died in childhood; Rebecca Ellen, deceased, who married G. W. Carr, a farmer and veteran of the Civil war, who also died in Oregon; George K., who was a farmer and stockman until his death in Oklahoma; Louisa, who was married at Elk City to William Wallace, a veteran of the Civil war, who died on his farm located near Elk City, in which city his widow still resides; Leonard, who was a farmer and died near Elk City at the age of twenty-six years; William R., who first was engaged in farming near Elk City, but for the past eighteen years has been carrying on agricultural operations in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma; Marion J., of this notice; Rachel, who married J. C. McCarter and with her husband owns the old homestead formerly belonging to William Simmons; and Dennis P., who died on his farm near Elk City in 1896.
Marion J. Simmons secured his early education under difficulties, being compelled to follow a furrow two miles over the prairie to attend a subscription school, although later he went to the district school in Montgomery County. From boyhood until he was twenty-one years of age he took care of the stock on his father’s farm, and upon reaching man’s estate embarked in the stock business on his own account, following that until 1915. He has been successful as a farmer and is now the owner of two fine properties of 160 acres each, one located five miles south of Elk City and the other one mile nearer. In addition to these, he owns his handsome residence on Main Street. In 1890 he was ordained a minister of the United Brethren Church, and has preached locally ever since, as well as having ridden the circuit to preach on many occasions. A democrat in politics, he served as township trustee three terms, and without his knowledge was nominated for the offices of probate judge and county treasurer by his friends. Although this is a strong republican district, he made it decidedly interesting for his opponents and in both campaigns cut down the normal republican majority by a large number of votes. Mr. Simmons is a member of William Penn Lodge No. 78, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Elk City.
In the early part of 1915, when the Citizens State Bank of Elk City was organized, Mr. Simmons became a stockholder in that institution, and in December of that year was elected its president, a position which he has retained to the present, the other officers being J. W. Brown, vice president; and E. E. Lugenbeal, cashier, both of Elk City. Under Mr. Simmons’ direction the bank has prospered and his well known reliability has served not only to gain the confidence of the people in its substantiality, but to give it an excellent reputation in banking circles of Montgomery County. The banking house is situated on Montgomery Street, and the institution has a capital of $15,000 and a surplus of $1,500. Mr. Simmons is a leader in all public-spirited movements launched in Elk City and a promoter of any enterprise that promises to be of benefit to the city or its people.
On August 23, 1881, in Montgomery County, Mr. Simmons was married to Miss Anna B. Davidson, daughter of Asher and Deborah (Curlis) Davidson, farming people of this county who are both now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Simmons have no children of their own, but have reared two boys: Charles W. Simmons is engaged in farming near Elk City and Marion C. Simmons lives on the old home farm, and is overseer of an oil lease and also engaged in the stock business. These are energetic young men of a high moral standing, and they are sons of Mr. Simmons’ brother, the late Dennis P. Simmons.