For the moment I’m done chasing the Willie County rabbit (but not totally… I’m angling to eventually get one or two historical markers erected in Taylor and Bartlett about Willie County), so I’ve had some time to finish tracking down J.A. Simons, who served on the building committee for the 1891 First Christian Church in Taylor.
James Alfred Simons was born in Madisonville, Kentucky (on the western side of the state) in 1852. When he was about a year and a half, his family relocated to Texas; his father died shortly after arrival, at the young age of twenty-six.
His mother, Anastasia de Noailles Lafayette Hewlett Simons (that’s a mouthful) then married Charles P. Vance, then of Lexington (at the time located in Burleson County) in 1854.
You may remember Vance; he also served on the building committee, and the window pictured below is dedicated to the memory of his wife, who died in 1891.
And yes, that wife was James Simons’ mother!
Around 1873, he, his mother, and his stepfather relocated to Taylor, where he was very involved with various businesses in Williamson County.
He operated a store north of Taylor in Circleville from 1873-76. At that point, he operated Vance & Company in Taylor (another store) for his stepfather until Mr. Vance sold his interest to Simons and J.A. McCarthy (another member of the building committee).
In 1891, Simons and McCarthy merged with Root, Mills, & Co. to become Simons, Root, & Co.
In 1883, Simons helped organize the Taylor Building and Loan Association.
In 1894, he was appointed postmaster of Taylor by the Cleveland administration, and also served as the tax assessor of Williamson County.
At some point, he relocated to Fort Worth, where he served as president of the Fort Worth Grain and Cotton Exchange. Simons died in 1932.