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William Lee Simpson

William Lee Simpson prominent as a lawyer and public man of Lander in Bighorn County, Wyoming was born at Fort Lyons, Colorado on January 26, 1868, the son of John P. and Margaret (Sullivan) Simpson the former of an old South Carolina family prominent in the affairs of that state from Colonial times and the latter of a similar Virginia ancestry. They were among the early settlers in Colorado, the father being a government contractor and a prominent Indian fighter and scout in the early days and one of the early businessman of Denver, Colorado. He was active in the development of the section in which he lived aiding materially in opening and constructing the road from St. Louis to Denver in the earlier sixties. Of late years he has been engaged in the stock business, he and his wife living at Jackson, Uinta County Wyoming. Of their seven children six are living. William L. Simpson began his education at North Denver where he attended school until he was ten years old he being the eleventh pupil to present himself and so made up the number required to form a real school at that place. In 1878 his father removed for a time to the Black Hills and he remained with his grandfather at Loveland, Colorado attending school there until he was fifteen. At that time where Loveland now stands flourishing wheat fields gladdened the heart of the farmer with their annual harvests. In 1883 Mr. Simpson came to Lander and began working on a stock ranch continuing this occupation until December 1889 and while pursuing it he acquired some stock of his own. He then began the study of law under direction of Mr. Douglas A. Preston, and finished his three years course under that of Mr. Charles Allen, being admitted to the bar on July 12, 1892 since which time he has been in active practice. On the day of his admission to the bar his active connection with public affairs began he being elected on that day to the first state convention of Wyoming and in the following autumn he was elected to the office of prosecuting attorney for Fremont and Bighorn counties. In 1895 after the conclusion of his official term he removed to the Jackson Hole country, where he had an interest in land and stock and at once made himself felt as an influential factor in the development of this beautiful section of the state. During his residence there the Indians became troublesome and preferring to practice his profession he returned to Lander after disposing if the most of his interests near Jackson Hole. He had however kept up his professional work by practicing at Evanston and in Idaho. Mr. Simpson deserves his prominence and success in life. He has the moral and intellectual qualities on which success is properly based and the application and clearness of vision to make the most of his opportunities, He is one if the most prominent and influential men in his part of the state and being now in the prime of life with all his faculties in vigorous health and exercise he may confidently look forward to the distinguished career his friends and acquaintances predict for him. Professionally he stands high and finds his service in great demand. He is the representative of the Shoshone Indians in their litigation against the government and has a representative clientage among all classes of people. His property interests are considerable and his prosperity is well assured. He has town property at Thermopolis and Jackson having been the founder of the latter place and has valuable holdings in oil and mining lands in various places. Fraternally he is connected with the Freemasons and the Woodmen of the World holding membership in the local lodges of these orders. On October 18, 1894 he was married to Miss Maggie L. Burnett at Lander, Wyoming a daughter of Fincelius G. and Elizabeth Burnett, her father being the head farmer at the Shoshone agency. Three children have blessed their union, Emma Virginia, Burnett McDowell and Milward Lee.

  • I found a William L. Simpson, in the 1880 census living at Precinct 4, Big Thompson, Larimer, Colorado.

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