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THE POET who wrote, "Order is heaven's first law," stated a truism the wisdom of which is obvious, is axiomatic and therefore true in all things. Much of the failure experienced by mortals is due to their lack of order. System should be the impelling though back of all effort, which would demand perfection; and if order be made the basic law of human activity the right thing will always be done at the right time. If we would "make our lives sublime," we must never lose sight of the will that ever makes for good; and we are told by Tennyson that "our wills are ours, we know not how." It is evident that the late Robert Simpson, for a long lapse of years one of the progressive business men of Cincinnati, Ohio, understood these principles, judging from his accomplishments and his commendable life.
Mr. Simpson was born March 16, 1830, at Rochester, New York, where the Simpsons have long been prominent. He was a son of William and Mary Ann (Penney) Simpson of that city. To these parents seven sons and two daughters were born, all the sons and one of the daughters being now deceased; the only survivor, Harriet, is the wife of Frank B. Hutchinson; they live in Rochester, and are the parents of three sons, living. Mary Scott Simpson, the other daughter, died a number of years ago. She was married to Thomas Scott and as a result of this union two daughters were born. They now reside in Rochester, N. Y.
Robert Simpson grew to manhood in his native city and there received his education in the common schools. He began his long, varied and eventful business career by working in the counting room of the Rochester Union and Advertiser. Later he learned telegraphy and was placed in charge of the operating department of the Western Union Telegraph Company, in New York City, becoming quite proficient in this line of endeavor, in fact, taught telegraphy, and he took charge of the construction of lines, etc., in 1850. He enjoyed the distinction of establishing the first telegraph line in Cuba. He was regarded as one of the company's experts and most capable and trustworthy employees. In 1858 he turned his attention to the life-insurance business in Davenport, Iowa. While in that city, in 1861, he decided to make a specialty of the life-insurance business, for he had met with pronounced success from the first. In 1863, he became the representative of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey, and became manager of the Cincinnati branch and built up a large business in that field. He subsequently purchased the Cincinnati Northwestern Railroad, known as the College Hill Railroad, and was its president. By his ability, sound judgment, industry and wise foresight he made a great success of this [rail]road. He was president of the board of directors of what is now know as the Ohio Military Institute of College Hill, a suburb of Cincinnati. He was a man of rare business acumen and whatever he turned his attention to prospered, and he accumulated a handsome competency.
Mr. Simpson was married September 12, 1854, to Sarah Jane Hartwell, a daughter of Thomas and Phoebe Hartwell, of Northumberland, New York, both of whom are now deceased. Her sister, Mrs. Phoebe Ann Winney, is the widow of Dow Winney, deceased; she lives at Ballston Spa, New York, and has the following children: Jennie, single; Sarah is the wife of Reuben Rogers; Frank is single.
The following children were born to Robert Simpson and wife: William T. Simpson, now deceased; Mary Delle Simpson, now deceased; Orville Hartwell Simpson, living; Robert Simpson, the second, living; Frank H. Simpson, living.
William T. Simpson married Sarah Ricker; they had one child, now deceased. Mary Delle Simpson married F. D. Emerson and to them were born four children: Mary Elizabeth, single; Ruth Nancy, single, Saradelle, single; Earl Arthur, Married Margaret (Hamilton James, and they have one child, Polly Adelle. Orville Hartwell Simpson married Cora Allen and they have two children, Lowe H., aged twenty-eight years, and Robert Orville, aged twelve years. Robert Simpson, the second married Ada Lillian Ramp, daughter of Susie and Samuel W. Ramp; they have no children. Frank H. Simpson married Anne (Carroll) [Sic.] Taylor, a daughter of David and Laura (Carroll) Taylor; they have five children: Harold, aged twenty-two years; Laura Carroll, aged twenty-one years; Della, aged nineteen years; Francis, aged seventeen years; and Eleanor, aged thirteen years. Laura Carroll married Peter G. Thompson and they have one child, Anne.
Robert Simpson gave all his children excellent educational advantages and they became well situated in life. The family is related to many of the most prominent and influential families of College Hill.
Fraternally Mr. Simpson was a member of the Masonic Order, but, being a great home man, he was never much given to frequenting lodges or clubs. He was a man of imposing presence, over six feet tall, and had the appearance of a born leader of men. He was popular with all classes, being friendly, genial, obliging, and of the highest moral character; honest was his watchword in all his dealings with his fellow-men. He was a noble and lovable character. He was loyal to his friends and they were loyal to him. Although a very busy and industrious man he was socially inclined and delighted to gather his friends about his commodious and hospitable home. He was a great lover of nature, delighted in excursions into the countryside. He was never selfish, but took delight in scattering sunshine all along the path of life. he took much pain in rearing his sons to be successful business men and at the same time to be an honor to the communities in which they cast their lots. He was very fond of his family and best contented when they were gathered around him at his own fireside. This excellent citizen was summoned to close his eyes on earthly scenes March 11, 1897.
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