bio- Sawyers



WILLIAM SIMPSON, M. D.--Highly esteemed as a successful physician and surgeon, with a long and enviable record of faithful, efficient service in the cause of humanity, Dr. William Simpson of San Jose enjoys a unique position in local society as one of the most interesting of old-time residents. He was born in the province of Quebec, Canada, on March 21, 1846, the son of George F. and Harriet (Towns) Simpson, who crossed the line into the States when our subject was three years of age and settled for a while near Fort Edward, N. Y. There Mr. Simpson died, and later his devoted widow came to California and remained with her son until her death, in her eighty-eighth year.

William went to the district schools in New York, and later topped off his education by pursuing courses at the Fort Edward Collegiate Institute; and then he taught school for a number of years. He was the last principal at the famous Farmers Hall Academy--whose first principal, by the way, was Noah Webster--and during Mr. Simpson's service this academy was incorporated into the New York state public school system and became the academic department of the Goshen schools. He then took charge of the Union Free School at Chester, N. Y., for six years, and after that studied medicine at the Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn's well-known medical school, from which he was graduated in 1878. He was resident physician at the Brooklyn Children's Seaside Home at Coney Island, being the first physician who had ever spent a season there. After that he was for three years at Hoosick Falls, N. Y.

In 1881 he came to California and located at San Jose; and since then he has carried on the longest term of practice of any physician near here, not one of his colleagues who were here when he came being alive today. Before coming to California, Dr. Simpson took a special course of study in New York City in relation to the eye, ear and throat, in which he specializes. He is now county health officer, and he has the distinction of having been the first health officer of San Jose, being appointed in 1889. He it was who began the making and preservation of the records of vital statistics, which had not been kept before he took charge.

Dr. Simpson was married on April 12, 1892, at San Jose, to Miss Rose E. Denne, and they have had one daughter, Mrs. Helen Simpson Cole. The family are members of Trinity Episcopal Church. Dr. Simpson has been a Mason since February 26, 1872, having been made a Mason in Standard Lodge No. 711, A. F. and A. M., at Chester (now Monroe), N. Y., and he served two terms as master and was a delegate to the Grand Lodge at New York, June 2, 1875, at the dedication of the temple there; he now belongs to San Jose Lodge No. 10, F. and A. M., and to San Jose Chapter, R. A. M. He also is a member of San Jose Lodge No. 522, B. P. O. Elks, in which society he was exalted ruler during 1906, and attended the national annual convention at Philadelphia the following year. He belongs to the Santa Clara Medical Society, having served as president, is a member of the California State Medical Society and has been vice-president of same, and is a member of the American Public Health Association; also the California State Health Officers' Association, serving as vice-president in 1922-23. Dr. Simpson was the first surgeon of the Fifth Regiment, N. G. C., and was retired with rank of major, though he served during the railroad strike and after the fire and earthquake in 1906, and was a member of the Volunteer Medical Service during the World War.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 496