I remember when I first started searching for my grandfather’s
parents, William Gilbert Simpson and Virgie Marie Strider. I had few names to
go on but knew they were from Alexandria, Virginia. Doris Moriarty from
Florida, and Norman, Eugene, Janette, and Virgie were the only names I had remembered or was told were in the family. I started with a search for William Franklin Simpson (Bill) my grandfather who passed in 2001.
I searched for hours, obsessively, and then I found it…an
obituary from 1955. It read
“Suddenly, on Saturday, November 19, 1955 at his residence, 609 South Fairfax Street, Alexandria Va., William Gilbert Simpson, husband of Marie Virgie Simpson,
father of William F…”
At this point every little detail about this obituary was absorbed,
all other things happening around me drifted in the background. I found them! I
“…and Edwin C Simpson, Mrs. Janette Kidwell, and Mrs. Doris Moriarty, brother of Norman, Eugene, and Clarence Simpson, Mrs. Fannie Ayer, Mrs. Laura Hardbower, , Mrs. Effie Bayliss, Mrs. Rena Shaney, Mrs. Marion Hardbower, and Margaret Leake. Friends may call the Demaine Funeral Home, 520 S Washington St. Alexandria Va, where services will be held on Tuesday November 22 at 2PM Interment Union Cemetery.”
This one piece of evidence! An obituary provided enough
information to plug into my family tree that led me to generations of
knowledge. William Gilbert Simpson, who at age 22 married 17 year old Virgie
Marie Strider, she worked in a shoe factory, and he a laborer…at a florist? Would have never guessed that one! But there he was on the 1910 US Census with his parents and all the brothers and sisters listed in his obituary.
By 1920 William and wife Virgie resided at 217 Gibbon St, Alexandria,
Virginia. He was a foreman at a shipping yard; she stayed home with three
children Jennett, Edwin, and Doris. By 1930 they resided at 609 South Fairfax
Street, Alexandria, Virginia. My grandfather, Bill was 7 years old. His father William
Gilbert was a Steele worker at Iron Works. Jennett was about 28 years of age
and had moved out if the household, likely had already married Kidwell. Edwin’s
name was shown as Charles Edwin Simpson on the census. Granddad, William and Virgie’s son had grown up to be at one time the most sought after bricklayer in Alexandria.
After his death he received a reward for his work on historical buildings in
Spotsylvania, Virginia. It is funny how a small ceremony and a certificate can
touch people’s hearts and send them searching for who they are.
William Gilbert Simpson born 10 Nov 1888 and died 19 Nov
1955 at his last residence, 609 South Fairfax St, Alexandria, Virginia. Husband
of Virgie Marie Strider, buried at Union Cemetery.