January 28, 1869 to July 16, 1944
Biography of Lynn Carroll Simpson The following biography has been compiled from the notes of Lynn Beedle, Gin
Jane Hildebrand. Please add any recollections that you might have to make the
biography more complete.
Biography of Lynn Carroll Simpson
The following biography has been compiled from the notes of Lynn Beedle, Gin Douglas and Jane Hildebrand. Please add any recollections that you might have to make the biography more complete.
Born in Salem, Oregon, January 28, 1869, to Sylvester Confucious Simpson and Mary Frances (McFarland) Simpson. (That was the year the transcontinental railroad was completed at Promentory Point, Utah.) According to Mom, his mother said that he was "her first daughter" because he enjoyed his younger siblings and very often took them out with him when he was going to play with his friends. He often had a young one sitting on his shoulders when he was playing marbles, etc. (Mom said that was why he had a very rounded humped back). I do remember hearing that his playmates were Indian children, that his father was an "Indian agent". The family moved to San Francisco, near Mission Dolores, when Lynn was about ten years old. Per Gin Douglas, she thinks Bancroft was responsible for the move to San Francisco, because Sylvester Simpson helped Hubert Howe Bancroft write the Oregon section of Bancroft's History.
As a boy, he had worked as a telegraph messenger, delivering telegrams on his bicycle.
Lynn’s father, Sylvester, was a friend of the president of the University of Pacific, which was near San Jose, CA. The University of Pacific had an academy associated with the university. Lynn’s older brother Ernest, who was a wild sort, was planning on attending U. of P., so Lynn, who was 14 years old, was sent to the academy to keep his older brother Ernest in line. John Dick Van Eaton, the father of Elizabeth Belle, rented the little house at 817 Myrtle St. in San Jose to seven boys, two of whom were Ernest and Lynn. In college, Lynn played baseball. Apparently he was quite good because he was shown on a layout of the playing field with his name entered in all 9 positions. There’s a story about his joining with colleagues during Halloween to disassemble the college president’s carriage, putting it into his office piece by piece, and reassembling it therein.
At graduation Lynn was offered a position on the San Francisco city baseball team. He did not accept because he would have had to accept pay for playing on Sunday. Lynn graduated in 1891. After graduation (no family members came to see the graduation). Lynn was supposed to meet the rest of the family and go on a camping trip, but somehow missed them. Depressed, through college, no job other than hauling gravel for John Dick Van Eaton, Mammee (Elizabeth Belle) said " Why don’t we get married". Lynn left for a while, then came back all dressed up with license in hand and asked, "Are you ready?" Mammee put on her best clothes (black dress) and with her father’s permission they went off to Mr. Oliver, the minister, to get married. Lynn married Elizabeth Belle Van Eaton, Jun 12, 1891, in San Jose, California.
Mammee and Lynn lived with Mammee’s father in San Jose in a house on the corner of University Avenue and Myrtle Street until John Dick Van Eaton died. Daughter Carol Enid was born in this house. They moved to San Francisco, soon after, when Carol Enid was about two, to a little house on Buchanan Street. . Son Ray Venti was born in San Francisco. (A daughter, Jane, died of measles in less than a year. Jane was between Carol and Ray). They then moved back to San Jose and stayed until the earthquake of 1906.
Lynn had wanted to study to become a doctor, but set aside those plans when he married Mammee. When his daughter, Carol Enid, was about eight years old, he attended Cooper Medical School (now Stanford Hospital) for a short time, but could not complete the requirements due to the demands of his job on the Chronicle as Eastern Telegraph Editor.
He joined the San Francisco Chronicle in 1893. (Gin Douglas recalls that he may have worked for the Call Bulletin for a period before joining the Chronicle.) Used to regale us with tales of the Chinese tong wars. He was in the top floor of the Chronicle building during the 1906 earthquake. Told of the building sway being so great that he could look straight out the window and see Market St. come into view ….then disappear. He and a mate had an issue on the paper ready to roll when the fireman drove them out on account of the advancing conflagration. He was at the Chronicle from 1893 to 1913.
Per Jane Hildebrand: "The version of the '06 earthquake that I
During the earthquake of 1906, Lynn worked for the Chronicle in San Francisco, but lived in San Jose. Immediately following the earthquake, Lynn meet Mr. Bean, a previous schoolmate, on the steps of city hall. Lynn said, " isn’t this awful", to which Mr. Bean said, "not as bad as San Jose". Lynn tried to buy a horse and buggy, but everyone else wanted them also. He saw a boy on a bike, gave him fifty cents for it, and started for home. Rode up to top of Mission Street hill and at top of hill looked back and counted 22 hotels on fire. He took the train from San Francisco to San Bruno where there was a large crack in the ground. Changed trains and continued to San Jose. Mammee thought that Dad had undoubtedly died during the earthquake because the news from San Francisco was so bad, so she was amazed when he walked into the yard. The family had set up tents and kitchen in the yard by the time Lynn showed up in the evening. Half the neighborhood slept in their backyard that night, because rumor had it that everyone would be murdered in their beds because Agnews, the insane asylum, had fallen down. First thing in the morning, Lynn took Mammee off in search for food.
Per Jane Hildebrand, "The part about the insane asylum is new to me. The
"half of the
neighborhood sleeping outside" was probably due to their houses being
severely damaged. The "wave" of the quake hit every other block in San
and their house was very badly damaged and had to be partially rebuilt.
Lynn C. Simpson was in San Francisco at least until the time Carol graduated from high school (remember her speaking of "Girls High")
The family moved to Sacramento in 1913 where Lynn C. Simpson had purchased an
interest in the Sacramento Union. Carol (Enid) used to speak of the threats on his
life as a result of his editorializing against the "red light" districts and liquor
interests. The police chief told him he should carry a gun, but he refused. Per
Carol Healy, he actively supported the development of a state highway system for
During WW1 he worked for the Food Administration. In 1920 Lynn was appointed to the War History Department of the California Historical Survey Commission, as evidenced by the following appointment:
Lived in Berkeley, California from 1920 to 1922, during which time he was employed________________________________________________________________.
Moved to Santa Barbara in 1922-23, where he went to work for Tom Storke, owner and publisher of the then Santa Barbara Daily News. Eventually became the managing editor. (The first job Lynn Beedle ever had where he was paid by check, was working as a copy boy for the Daily News.}
Jane recalls: "Perhaps Mammee and Dad moved to 324 (?) W. Montecito St.
before Ray and Cleo were married. In any event Ray and Cleo lived across the
street from M & D in a duplex owned by Mrs. Bates before moving to 2401
Chapala. (Note: Mammee was a "moving" force in more ways the one. She
great business sense, would pursuade Dad to go look at interesting (to her)
pieces of property often on the Mesa and sometimes want to buy them, only to
have Dad say, "Now, Belle, why do you want to do that?" She would be
Letters of appreciation from Pres. Elect Herbert Hoover, Community Chest, & American Legion.
Lynn's recollection: "Lynn and Elizabeth Belle (Mammee) first lived at 2401 Chapala Street. When Ray and Cleo were married and came to Santa Barbara, Lynn and Belle moved to 302 W. Montecito St. (just 3 blocks from the beach)."
Life in Santa Barbara stirs up all sorts of memories for Jane. "I don't remember the date, but there was an earthquake in Santa Barbara in the early morning while Mammee & Dad lived at 2401 Chapala. Gin and I were sound asleep in a double bed when Dad woke us up saying "we must get out of the house because - - - - ". All the neighbors were in their backyards setting up temporary living areas. Later Dad drove us around downtown so that he could assess the damage. We saw a hotel with one whole side wall gone."
Eventually left the paper and went into advertising and PR work, mostly for organizations like Community Chest and Red Cross. It was during this period that Lynn Beedle worked for him, typing directly from his dictation.
Lynn Carroll Simpson moved to Mill Valley upon his retirement in 1941 and died in Mill Valley, California, in July 1944, after a fall.
Per Lynn Beedle, "We kids (Lynn, Carol, Gin, Jane, John & Dick) spent a lot of time in Santa Barbara, mostly summers and at holiday time, while we were living in LA, Hollywood, and Glendale. Recollections of 5 o’clock A.M. swimming expeditions….a single square of Hershey’s chocolate (Gin says it was Bishop's Chocolate) for each of us when the dishes were done….threading the cars into the 2-car garage….waiting in the car while he was putting the paper to bed….occasionally making the hoped-for stop at the ice cream parlor for chocolate-covered ice cream….night trips to Mill Valley. He was always trying out cars for the auto dealers. Nothing but the best: Lincoln, Packard, and most of those trips were to LA and Hollywood to see his family.
Jane's recollections: " I think the swimming call was at 6:00 am,
and if you agreed to go the night before, you COULD NOT change your mind in
the morning just because it was cold and foggy and your wool suit which had
Carol's memories: During the time Lynn Carroll Simpson was at the "Mansion", "didn't we also stay in an apartment closer to the beach for a short time? The apartment had a refrigerator (a first for us) and I experimented with freezing bananas and got sick. Finally we camped in the vacant lot next door to 324 Chapala. Moved to Mill Valley in 1942."
Note from Lynn Beedle: "Lynn C’s grandson, William Ross Simpson, was killed while on active duty during the Korean war, ending a line of the Simpson name extending back to Lynn C. and perhaps even to Sylvester, his father."
Newspaper articles and letters pertaining to Lynn C. Simpson:
Notes from a eulogy at Lynn C. Simpson's funeral service.
Author Art Casaday -- notes were in Mammee's scrapbook.