WILLIAM SIMPSON, M. D.
Surnames: TOWNS, WEBSTER, DENNE, COLE
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
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