Monday, October 8, 2012


Sometimes the only things left when a person leaves for the Great Beyond is the smattering of records that tells their tale.  Each tale is personal and distinct and some of them make you want to just sit down and bawl.

                                                         A Quick Review        

When we left Parmenus W. Simpson, we had traced him through census records to the year 1900. We found that while Parmenus W. was serving in the Civil War he was listed as missing but had made his way home to his parents by 1870. We had also found that his wife, Lucinda, had disappeared after filing for a widows pension and that his pension record in the national archives is missing.  We also found him living with or next to his sister, Diademia, in each of the census records.1  We were left with many question about Parmenus W. and Diademia and the missing Lucinda. Then on September 21, I decided to search the pay sight and see if they had an obituary for Parmenus Simpson, they didn't, but instead I found a treasure, the document posted below.  It's contents are a bit disturbing and they brought more questions and eventually some answers and tears.

                                                           The Answers

The document proved that Lucinda, wife of Parmenus W., was still alive in 1922.  At this time, she was aged 92, living in Michigan and had, had an additional husband and was using the surname Hayes.  So at least some questions are now answered, but there are still  questions especially about Lucinda's choices and actions. Questions like, if she had not heard from the soldier, Parmenus  W. Simpson, since his enlistment, how did she know he died May 22, 1914 in a poorhouse?  How was Parmenus supposed to locate her if she left Wyoming County, New York and moved to Michigan?  Why didn't she just divorce Parmenus? She certainly must have known Parmenus W. was alive since she applied for a widows pension early on?  Was it so important that she avoid being a divorcee that she was willing to break the law and commit polyandry?2  Most of these question will never be answered because only Lucinda is qualified to answer them while other questions might be answered by the missing pension record.  When did she leave New York?  I hope to find the answer to that question once I receive a copy of her obituary.  She was living with the family of John and Sarah McKnight in Waverly, VanBuren, Michigan when the 1870 census was enumerated so she left New York prior to that date. [See source for additional information about Lucinda.]3  

Now on to the story of Diademia, sister to Parmenus. Reports in the Warsaw newspaper, The Western New Yorker, show she  was out and about the town of Bennington to some extent, visiting friends and taking short trips. An article (shown above) printed in late February 1890 tells she was so ill with la grippe she found herself dependent on her neighbors for food and warmth.4  She seems to have been liked in her community.

A disturbing newspaper report published in April 1894 (shown right) describes the torment the siblings suffered at the hands of some of the neighborhood hooligans.  The same story shows the contrasting opinions the community had for these siblings. Said to be feeble, Diademia is also described with such kind words as  mild, peaceable and respected.  Contrastingly, Paremenas is labeled with one single unflattering word, "peculiar."5  Diademia died in March of 1901 and is buried in an unmarked grave in an unknown cemetery leaving Parmenus W. to finish out his life.  In March 1905, a man named William Post who was residing with Parmenus on Poland Hill was found dead.  His age was approxiamted as about 64 years old.  He had no known relatives and was ordered buried in  Bennington by the overseer of the poor.7  At this writing, nothing more is known about the next twenty months of Parmenus W. Simpson's life.
Poorhouse information exists for a Parmeno Simson whose information matches very closely to Parmenus W.8  And so we say goodbye to Parmenus W. Simpson and hello to Permeno Simson/Simpson.  Permeno was admitted to the Wyoming County Poorhouse in the Town of Orangeville on November 22, 1907.  County records covering the three year period from 1910 through 1912 gets him from age 81 to age 83 as a resident of the poorhouse.9

Earlier poorhouse records covering the years 1907-1911, tell us the cause of Parmeno Simpsons dependence was due to his being old and homeless.  It also tells us he was able to do light chores, had good habits, that his recovery was doubtful and that his marital status was single.  Surprisingly, the document gives his occupation as doctor; with his education as common school.10  It  is unknown when he practiced medicine as none of the census records mention this occupation. It is so sad that he would find himself homeless after living in the town of Bennington his entire life except his years in the military and the time it took for him to make his way home.  His family roots in Western New York goes back several years before his birth in 1829.  It is no surprise that the 1910 Census lists Permeno as Permeus Simpson living in the county almshouse where he is listed as single, age 82 and his relationship to head of household is inmate.11  

Permeno Simpson/Simpson died 22 May 1914 12 still an inmate of the poorhouse.  He was buried in the Wyoming County Home Cemetery, Varysburg, Wyoming County, New York. His Find A Grave record gives his name as Peremo Simson.  His headstone is simply engraved with the number 185.13

Photo taken by Jim and  Elizabeth. Used by permission.

   1. See my blog titled: HOW PARMENUS W. SIMPSON BECAME KNOWN AS No.185: The Questions 
       for sources mentioned in this paragraph.  See links below sources for links to more information on 
       Parmenus W. Simpson's military units. 
   2. Pensions and Increase of Pensions For Certain Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War, 
       September 1, 1922.  Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and Ordered to be 
       Printed September 1, 1922 Publication: Serial Set Vol. No. 7959; Report: H. Rpt. 1203 
       Source:  This document continued to a second page not shown that 
       explains that Lucinda was in constant need of aid and support of others and that she owned 
       no property, had no income and was senile. She received a $30 per month pension.  As a 
       note of interest Lucinda died in July of 1922. Her headstone can be found on Find A Grave, 
       Memorial #79486424 at:     
   3. "United States Census, 1870," index and images,(
       accessed 03 Oct 2012), Lucinda S Simpson in household of John Mcknight, Michigan, United
       States: citing p. 23, family 176, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 552205.
   4. Diademia Simpson Warsaw, The Western New Yorker 
       1889-1891, Image no. 220 Thursday, 27 Feb 1890 pg. 2 column 2 Bennington News. 
   5. Parmenas and Diademia Simpson Warsaw Western New Yorker 1892-1894a 
       image no. 480, 26 Apr 1894 pg. 2 col. 4.  This article was first brought to my attention by Anita Hayes
       see source 6 below for her information.
   6. Email from Anita Hayes dated 25 Sep 2012.  Anita Hayes is a 
       professional genealogist and historian who charges for her services.  Note: The full date of death 
       is given in the email. 
   7. P. Simpson Warsaw, The Western New Yorker 
       1904-1906, Image no. 220 Thursday, 24 Mar 1904 pg. 6 column 4 Bennington News. 
   8. Email from Linda Conpenelis Schmidt stating she had found 
       Permeno Simpson listed in New York Poorhouse records while doing a search on
   9. Journal of the Board of Supervisors of Wyoming County, New York. By Wyoming County (N.Y.). 
       Board of Supervisors 1910-1912. pages 95, 97 & 200.  Available through Google Books:           at
 10. Linda Conpenelis Schmidt [See 7 above] first emailed me this information on 23 Sep 2012.  I have 
       since obtained a copy of the image at the FHL in Salt Lake City, Utah through  Source
       Citation: New York State Archives: Albany, New York; Census of Inmates in Almshouses and 
       Poorhouses, 1875-1921; Series A1978; Reel: A1978:228; No. 583. Source Information:
       New York Census of Inmates in Almshouses [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA 
       operations, Inc., 2011  Original data: New York State Board of Charities. Census of Inmates in 
       Almshouses and Poorhouses 1835-1921 Series A1978 Microfilm, 225 rolls, New York State 
       Archives, Albany, New York. Description: This database contains an indes and images of  records 
       for residents of poorhouses and almshouses in New York State. Institutions used standard form 
       that can provide rich detail on inmates. Copyright 2012, The Generation Network, Inc.
 11. "United States Census, 1910," index and images,(
       accessed 04 Oct 2012), Permeus Simpson in household of Sally Schoonover, Orangeville, 
       Wyoming, New York; citing sheet 6B, family 139, NARA microfilm publication T624, 
       FHL microfilm 1375100.  
 12. Email from Anita Hayes [see 6 above.] Email sent 25 Sep 2012.
 13. Permeo Simpson record Find A Grave Memorial #: 83595657.
       Photo by Jim and Elizabeth on 8 Jun 2012. Photo used by permission and is copyrighted. 

Additional information about the 130th New York Volunteer and the 1st Dragoons in which Parmenus W. Simpson served can be found by following these links:


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