The old proverb, “He that becometh surety for a stranger shall smart for it,” was exemplified to the sad experience of our subject, for from a comfortable and good place he was reduced to almost penury by having to pay a debt for which he had become surety. Mr. Simmons was thus forced to begin life on the reservation, with a family to support and nothing but the wild sod to gain a living from, and handicapped because of lack of capital to improve the farm. He has done well and the land which he filed on in the fall of 1805 and upon which he removed his family in 1896, is now one of the fertile and well developed farms of the vicinity of Ilo, being one mile south and one east.

Mr. Simmons was born in Warren County, Iowa, on November 18, 1857, being the son of William C. and Mary B. (Allen) Simmons, who are mentioned elsewhere in this volume. Our subject grew to manhood in Iowa and gained his education there.

When twenty-one he went to farming for himself and soon bought a farm, which he tilled until 1884, when he came west to the vicinity of Genesee, where he settled and bought a farm. This continued to be the family home until he removed onto the reservation as stated above. He is now a prosperous farmer, has two acres of orchard and handles considerable stock.
On October 16, 1878, in Harrison County, Iowa, Mr. Simmons married Miss Matilda J., daughter of Jeremiah and Melinda (McGuire) Whitt, who are mentioned in this volume elsewhere. Mrs. Simmons brothers and sisters are also mentioned in the volume as are the brothers and sisters of Mr. Simmons. Five children have been born to bless this marriage: Jettie M. Trueblood, Myrtle A. Nichols, both in this County; Bird, Murt Merl and Pearl, twins, all at home. Mr. Simmons is a member of the M. W. A. at Ilo and has been a school director for some time, but has preferred of late that another should take the office. He has labored and does continuously strive for the advancement and up building of the country and especially for the betterment of educational facilities.

Mr. Simmons is a staunch Democrat and has the courage and intelligence to expound the principles of his party.

He and his son-in-law, John Nichols, have built a livery and feed barn in Ilo, where Mr. Simmons has recently moved.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903