Vanessa Hildebrand, on October 27th, 2002, in response to our email
inquiring if she was safe after the bombing in Bali:
Liz and Don,
Thank you for your email. It was really nice to hear from you. I am still in
Indonesia. My parents aren't thrilled about my decision to stay, but after
collecting an enormous amount of information about the situation I decided that
it is probably ok for me to stay here through Rhammadan. I will go home for
Christmas and then see what happens with war that seems likely to happen. A war
with Iraq will not be a popular event in Indonesia. I figure if I have to stay
home for a while after Christmas. I will have enough data so that I
can work on
analysis for a bit before I can return to Indonesia and finish the research.
I'm glad that you enjoyed the email about my first community-wide event (shall
we say) in Indonesia. Another email is almost ready--it is a more general email
about where I live, what I do and what it is like to do research here.
Yesterday I attended an event that I think would make a good email. Hopefully I
could send some photos along with it. My digital camera isn't working so I only
have regular photos, but perhaps I can find a scanner (I'm in Bali this week so
there are scanners around). Anyway, I attended the funeral the man who is
arguably the most important Hindu priest in Indonesia in the last fifty years.
It was a pretty amazing event with music, wayang kulit puppetry, large floats
destined to be burned, food, drinks, hoards of priests in white outfits and
what looks like crowns to the Western eye, cock fights, and most of all a fifty
foot bonfire and that was only one day. The community effort that went into
giving his soul a good send-off and laying his body to rest was just amazing.
It is very warming to hear that people are interested in what I'm doing. In an
way that I didn't expect it makes me feel as though I'm not so far away to send
stories of my experiences here home. When something really interesting or
different happens I say to myself, "I really need to write about this and
it home." Thank you for your interest. I will be sure to send the emails to
Please give my love to the family.
PS-all health problems have cleared up and the woman who had a miscarriage is
fine and hoping to be pregnant soon.
Vanessa Hildebrand in Indonesia, via Nancy and Peter Hildebrand, July, 15th,
Monday, July 15, 2002 1:45 AM
To: Nancy Hildebrand
Cc: Peter Hildebrand
Subject: Discovering the true meaning of "participant observation"
Dear Mom, Dad, Emily, Christopher and Mitch, (Mom can you please forward this
I hope that you are all well. I miss you all! I just got to Sumbawa Besar from
Lunyuk for a few days of research and lots of emailing! Thank you for all of
the messages. I love to hear about all the details about you being at home. It
makes me feel not so far away.
So that I could give you a taste of some of the details of my life here I
thought that I would send you an abridged version of my fieldnotes for one day
when some funny things happened that were pretty unexpected and very different
for an American.
I hope that you enjoy!
My exciting evening: the community-wide effort to help Vanessa get through a
bout of constipation and case number two, a miscarriage.
I don’t mean to be indelicate by relaying this story, but the fact that I
it is indelicate, considering the way that this story played out is what makes
it interesting. Kompyang told me last night that she was suffering from a bit
of constipation. I told her that I too was suffering from the same affliction
and hope that it would pass soon (no pun intended and certainly no pun was
understood when I said this to her in Indonesian). This morning when I woke I
went out to sit on the patio where everyone was waiting for the rain to stop
and hoping that the electricity would start working again soon. After pointing
out to me, and everyone else, that over the night I had developed a large
collection of pimples across my forehead, Kompyang told me that her
constipation problem from the night before had cleared and asked if mine had as
well. Unfortunately my problem had not cleared, which concerned her and she
asked how long it had been. I told her that it had already been five days since
I had anything to do with buang air kotor (throwing away dirty water). This
sent Kompyang and the cook, Nyoman, launched into a frenzied conversation in
Balinese that I, needless to say, only understood the subject matter not the
specifics. Then Kompyang asked me things such as, does this happen to you in
the United States? The answer no disturbed her and made her wonder if it was
her cooking that was doing this to me. I assured her that it wasn’t and I
wasn’t too worried at this point because it is quite normal for a foreigner to
have this problem when arriving in a place such as this. I was given a packet
of Vegeta, the Indonesian version of Metamucil, and off to the clinic we went.
At the clinic Kompyang let everyone know about my condition, not to gather
advice, but it just seemed to be information that everyone should know.
Everyone remarked that this was a long time to wait and maybe this was the
reason for the rash of pimples that had suddenly appeared across my forehead.
Kompyang, not I, was asked about my diet as of late and if I was prone to this
sort of affliction. When Kompyang relayed all the information about me (and my
bowels) that she could they started including me in the conversation about my
bowels. It was concluded that I would just have to wait and the discussion
about my condition turned into lots of Indonesian jokes about bodily functions,
including speculation about where it was that all of the “buang air kotor”
being kept in my body because surely it couldn’t all fit in the stomach area.
Although at first I was shocked that this was being widely discussed,
increasingly what started making me feel weirdest was that it was odd for me
but not for anyone else. No one looked away with embarrassment. No one talked
in hushed voices. Nothing. This was just normal—as were the new batch of
pimples on my forehead. Soon the conversation at the clinic moved on to other
things and since there were no patients that day we sat around and watched TV,
talked, and ate cookies. (Believe it or not these times are some of my most
useful for research.) Later we went home. I was given more vegeta while
everyone watch to make sure that I drank it all and drank it the proper way.
About three that afternoon, after everyone else had a nap and I had been typing
away, I went out to the patio where Kompyang and Nyoman were sitting. I was
asked if there had been any progress. When I answered no, it was greeted with a
surprised and concerned response. Again a very rapid conversation about my
condition occurred in Balinese and then we talked about the various cures that
were available. Fruit and vegetables are not widely available at the moment (ah-
ha this may be the cause of the problem) because it is the dry season and there
is no market in the area. It was decided that Kompyang and I should go to the
next town over to look for papaya and kayu manis (a leaf that when boiled is
supposed to be good for the gut) to try to solve the problem.
Kompyang and I got on the motorcycle and drove to Pada Suka (the town next door
where fruit had been spied). We arrived at Titin’s (another bidan and a
house after driving by a large group of people sitting at the entryway of a
family compound, where people seem to always seem to sit. Titin was sitting
with them and she came over to see what was going on. Kompyang relayed my
problem to her and then engaged in another conversation about my bowels without
including me. This conversation included Kompyang lifting my hat to show Titin
my be-pimpled forehead. Then we were off, in search of all of those fruits and
vegetables that were good for those with my affliction. We walked down the
small streets and paths looking at what people had growing in their yards, but
all along on our way to a woman’s house who reputedly had papaya. In fact she
did! After Kompyang explained to her that I hadn’t seen any air kotor for five
days the ancient woman expressed shock, took another look at me and handed
Kompyang a papaya the size of a large watermelon. This should do the trick she
said. I bought it for Rp3000 (Rp 10000 = $1).
Down the path we went. We walked by the mosque playing, or rather blarring, a
broken tape of a muezzin chanting important Muslim prayers, a house that was
preparing trees to be sold to hotels all over Bali, and finally to the street
where the pustu (pustu is a sub-clinic where I have spent a lot of time) was,
and then to the small market where we had bought vegetables before. There
Kompyang proceeded to tell the crowd of people about my problem and that we
were in search of certain foods, like green bananas. There was lots of laughter
and everyone had a good look at me yet again (we had been through the staring
many times before as we often buy food here). This time everyone seemed to
stare at me with a look of “hmmmmm she has the same problems that we do.”
After purchasing lots of veggies we returned to Titin’s house. By this time it
was sufficiently sore (Pronounced “soray” or evening time) so that all the
people in the town were starting to gather outside their houses to chat and
play. As we went people were asking about me, the things that we were carrying,
and what we were doing. Of course all of the people assumed that I didn’t
Indonesian and very openly talked about me. I decided to keep my mouth shut and
just listen to what they were saying. Titin told many of the people that we
passed that none of my buang air kotor had seen the light of day for five
now so that we had been shopping for food to address this problem. This
statement was always greeted with a look of shock and then a look of agreement
that the right course of action was being taken. Some people gave suggestions
about what other foods that I should eat. One woman flung the shutters open
from inside her house and shouted, “Don’t eat salak, that’ll make it
Eventually we arrived at Titin’s house where she has a polindes, or a sub-
clinic, but this version of the sub-clinic is especially for maternal and child
health. Titin and Kompyang were doing something in the house. I was still in
the patient room looking at the charts. Titin had carefully made lots of
charts, which told what was happening in Pada Suka that month with maternal and
The charts were quite interesting. Soon I sensed someone behind me looking in
the room. The person hadn’t made even a peep of noise. I didn’t turn around
a minute or so because I wanted to see what they were going to do—were they
just staring at me? Did they want something? If they wanted something how long
would they wait to get my attention? I gave in, turned around, and to my great
surprise there was a young man holding a very sick woman in his arms and
looking very worried. The woman was obviously in great pain. I told them to
come in right away and I ran to get Titin. It was about 4:30.
Titin and Kompyang had gotten out cooking utensils and were getting ready to
make something, I wasn’t sure what. Titin went into the room to see what was
happening and disappeared to get the rubber sheet that usually lined the exam
table. Kompyang and I got all of the things off of the exam table so that the
man could set down sick wife. With the couple came a parade of people. Many of
them came into the small room and sat on the bench. Children and babies sat on
the floor. People crowded around the outside entrance to peer in and see what
was the matter. Kompyang and Titin inserted an IV with saline fluid into her
arm. They had a lot of trouble finding a vein to insert the IV, but eventually
did it. Several family members, including the woman’s father, made it through
the throngs of people to tend to their family member. Kompyang showed one girl
how to hold the patient’s hand comfortably while there was an IV inserted. Her
husband pounded a nail into the wall so that no one had to hold the IV bag up
into the air.
The very young woman, probably in her late teens, was having a miscarriage. She
was newly married and was only two months pregnant.
Many of the people in the room started staring at me and paying more attention
to me than to the woman so I returned to the house and sat down with Kompyang
who was back to making a vegetable/fruit dish that was supposed to be good for
constipation. While Titin was assessing the problem, Kompyang and I chopped
cucumber, papaya, apple, and salak. I was also commanded to eat an apple (which
interestingly enough was from Washington State, ah the wonders of the world
economy never cease). Then Kompyang made a bumbu, or a sauce, with peanuts, red
sugar, a chili and a little water. This was all mixed and mashed on the flat
type of mortar and pestle that people use here and then spooned generously on
top of the mixture of veggies and fruit.
By this time Titin had assessed that there was nothing that she could do except
write a note to the doctor appraising him of the situation and telling him that
she thought that the patient probably wasn’t going to want a D&C. She sent
message off with someone and we all set to work eating the rujak while the
family sat with the woman. I wondered if maybe more attention should be paid to
the woman, but I guess this is how things work. I gleefully stuffed belly with
fruits and vegetables. I hadn’t had such a good meal is a long time.
When we finished the eating, Kompyang and I hopped on the motorcycle with all
the bags containing veggies and the remaining foot and a half of papaya,
promising to return after we had taken a mandi (a bath). We arrived home and
started to tend to the kayu manis. First we stripped the leaves off of the long
branches. Then we washed the leaves. Then we boiled them with garlic, shallots,
a bit of broth and salt. Delicious!
After dinner we went back to Pada Suka to see what was happening with the
miscarriage. The woman had been moved from the polindes to the pustu because
there was a gynecological exam table (that looks like a torture device to me).
When we arrived the doctor was just leaving. Apparently, even though I hadn’t
seen him that day, he heard about my condition and asked how I was doing. I
told him that there had been no change yet, but I’d be sure to let everyone
know as soon as there was some action. Then he said that he was leaving because
the patient was “uncooperative,” so there was really no reason to be there.
There was a large crowd of people outside of the pustu, including family
members, Siti (thje nurse who lives at the pustu) and Titin’s husbands and
children, and people there to just look and chat. When we walked in we were
further debriefed. Apparently the doctor and Titin had tried to do an exam but
the young woman would not let anyone touch her.
There were lots of people stuffed in the exam room. Mind you this is a room
twice the size of the main floor bathroom in Mom and Dad’s house. Most of them
were the woman’s family members. Titin and Siti were just then taking off
gloves and were basically done tending the woman. Titin’s little girl was in
the room as well with a flashlight, playing under the exam table. This seemed
to be just fine. It soon became obvious that there was to be no biomedical
intervention, so the biomedical health care practitioner (BHCP) team hung out
in the outer room with me. First they read over my shoulder while I wrote in my
book what was happening. I translated for them while it wrote.
The patient was throwing up all over the place. Kompyang explained to me that
they could do a D&C with anesthesia. The woman would sleep and everything
be over in a few hours. Without the D&C the woman would basically have to go
through what is essentially a delivery. The bidans and the nurse were very
critical of this decision. I asked if maybe the woman didn’t want to pay for
the operation and they told me that it would be free.
People were filtering in the room and out, bringing tea, water, food, clean
sarongs, etc. Men were in the room as frequently as women. Men and women
carried children and babies as they came in to check on what was happening.
There were definitely certain women who were more in charge than other women.
There was very little contact between the family and the BHCPs. The BHCPs were
watching what was being taken in, giving bowls for the woman to throw up in,
etc, but for the most part allowing the family to do the care giving.
Finally it was decided that there was really nothing left to see and it was
quite definite that Kompyang’s services were not going to be needed we went
of letters between Kit Healy and Lynn Beedle, initiated by the Lynn's
trip west and the meeting of the siblings in Los Angeles, CA, for the
of the OPAL awards. Lynn Beedle will be one of the recipients!!!!
Thanks for that remarkable story! My hunch is that the trip on the coast
to Oakland) might have been back when that train was called the Daylight
Limited. I rode on it a couple of times. The last was in 1961 when our
family took the train south, stopping overnight in Santa Barbara, then on to LA
and Disneyland. Then it was United Airlines back to Bethlehem.
Thanks for sharing that experience.
PS: I think your mother is going to take that train trip with me -- and maybe
Jane as well. And I just read email from Dorothy and she and Dick
the rails, too. Wouldn't that be something!
Kit Healy wrote:
> Dear Lynn:
> I'm afraid I won't be near the west coast until at least the later part of
> summer. But in spite of my rather meager traveling background, I'm
> to report that I did once take Amtrak from LA to Oakland and also from
> Portland to Seattle. (The later leg was actually part of an Amtrak
> from LaGrande to Seattle). Both were daytime trips and quite scenic.
> I took the LA-Oakland trip in the mid 70's when I was returning from
> weeks of active duty in the Navy. I spent the 2 weeks on a mine
> home-ported in Long Beach. We stayed in port on the weekdays doing
> chores but on the weekend the regular reserve crew assigned to the vessel
> joined us and we departed Friday evening to cruise around the channel
> islands. Since I was a radar operator I probably spent watch time
> our position and contacts. However I have no recollection of this.
> remember is that for the first 24 hours I was seriously seasick for the
> first and only time in my life...and this was after a year or so at sea on
> 600 ft. oiler.
> I definitely learned one thing: mine sweepers bounce around a
> than oilers!! Anyway, after 24 hours and a few nibbles on some
> crackers, I developed an incredible appetite. Someone suggested that
> saltines were a good cure for seasickness at that stage and they worked!
> The rest of the voyage was quite enjoyable. I believe we returned to port
> sometime Sunday morning. I probably have a more detailed record of
> Mom's house in Seattle as I was keeping a journal of my daily activities at
> that time. In fact I have been doing this for most of my life in one
> or another.
> In any case, the trip to Oakland was very pleasant as well, traveling up
> coast through Oxnard and Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo I believe.
> neat thing I remember about the trip was that the entry doors to each car
> were designed so that the top half of the door could be slid down and you
> could stand at the door and poke your head out into the passing breezes and
> sightsee or take pictures...which I did for much of the trip. I remember
> sticking my head out the window and watching the block signals turn from
> green to red as the locomotive passed into the next block. It seems
> remarkable today that they would allow such a thing...but they did and it
> was most enjoyable
> Well, I've rambled on for quite a while here with these serendipitous
> snippets from my past. I hope your journey is at least as delightful
> mine was and that you have a "rail" good time!!
from Lynn to Geri Masters, March 6, 2002:
I just came across an old note in my files.
It's from a visit I must have made to Boston to the New England
Historical Genealogical Society.
I read in it (about a John Beedle)
"A man of considerable wealth, who settled in Richmond at early date. A
taxpayer in 1823. "
And "way back then" I added this notation, "Was he the father of
Granville T Beedle? Or could he have been his brother?
Interesting, but still a puzzle.
I enjoyed what you wrote.
- Did Charles convince William to go to California? Or was it the other
-In spite of the fact that Charles' wife, Mary, was the record-keeper
for the Nevada City Daughters of Pioneers, she kept precious little
informaiton about the family. I'm curious about why Charles went west.
-I have precious little information about descendants to other stems. I
concentrate on my antecedints -- and even then, I just don't have time.
- Yes, Mary E. was Charles Wesley's wife.
- That Laymance is a familiar name. Couldn't find out if that's an
antecedent or not.
- Sorry, I have no photos from Maine.
-Sarah Greenleaf Collins Beedle, was of course, the wife of Lemuel
Collins, Grandparents of Charles.
-What were the first names of your Spilbeler grandfather -- and your
husband (just to complete by chart :-)
- I'm a "chart" guy that hasn't quite got around to gettng everying on
the computer. I've got a couple of charts you might like. Send me you're
address and they will be on their way.
Keep at it and keep us posted. You're doing a fine job.
Geraldine Masters to Teresa Haldorson and Lynn Beedle on March 5, 2002:
> Lynn:I have met Teresa Haldorson on the internet and found we are both
> descended from John and Susannah Wilson BEEDLE.My GGrandfather was
> William Henry BEEDLE Sr. Brother of Charles Westly BEEDLE who was
> responsible for having him come to California. No year was given on my
> information.I wonder how much you might remember about William or his
> wife Katie Jones BEEDLE. Her mother was Mary Webb Jones Roberts. I
> can't seem to find out where in England the Jones' came from.On your
> family site I saw a photo of my GGrandmother Katie Beedle and my
> Mother's cousin's Willetta and Austin Laymance. Plus Mary? I wonder if
> Mary was Charles Westly BEEDLE's wife. Photo dated 1905.William Henry
> Jr. b. 2 Oct 1878 and Laura Wilson BEEDLE only had one child, my
> mother, Minnie Will Beedle Spilbeler. Did you ever meet her?
> GGrandmother Katie (her Grandmother) got custody of mother in 1913 and
> raised her. Mother lives in Oakland now, she is 91 years. Born July 3,
> 1910.Do you have any photo's of the BEEDLE's in Maine. I have one of
> Sarah Greenleaf Collins Beedle. No date. This must be from William
> Henry Sr. Willetta Laymance Carey Cooly had it. William Henry Beedle
> Sr. was her Grandfather.I have gotten some information from
> 'freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~kuwilhelm/'. His wife is related to
> the Beedle's. I am #20 in the references on that site.I had thought
> about trying to find any of Granville L. Beedle's family in the Bay
> area. So this was such a supprise to find Teresa on the internet.This
> is rather long and I could go on and on.Geraldine Spilbeler Masters
between Lynn Beedle and Kirke L. Wilson regarding Simpson
172 HANCOCK STREET
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94114
9 August 1993
It was good to hear from you. I had heard from Carol and others
that you were the keeper of family lore in your side of the
extended Simpson clan. I had intended, long before now, to
contact you and share my contribution.
My interest in far more in the history than the begats but I try
to use the Simpson-Cooper family on the moving frontier as a
structure for my investigations. I began the research in Oregon
and followed backwards into Missouri, Tennessee (Simpsons) and
Kentucky/Virginia (Coopers) before learning the connection to the
North Carolina and Maryland Simpsons. Prior to finding the early
Simpson connection, I was writing in muddled chronological order
beginning with the Coopers in Virginia in the 1750s and Kentucky
during the Revolution. This is completed but now partially
superseded. I have also drafted but not completed a long piece
on Missouri 1800-1846 which includes the Coopers in the early
settlement of Boonslick, the Indian Wars (where Sarshal Cooper is
killed), the fur trade, the Santa Fe Trail (the Coopers were
among the earliest traders) and eventually the Platte County
marriage of Nancy Cooper and Benjamin Simpson before they set out
for Oregon in 1846 (the same year, her uncle Stephen Cooper sets
out for California where he serves as first alcalde of Benecia
and one of the incorporators of what became Mills College).
I have completed the section on Maryland beginning with the
appearance of Richard Simpson in the upper Chesapeake region in
1688, his marriage and three generations of Simpsons in Maryland
(Thomas, a second Richard, a second Thomas) until they disappear
from the Maryland records in about 1750. This is the "book" you
saw at Carol's. I will send you a copy as soon as I get
I have nearly completed a similar "book" (chapter is more
accurate) on the Simpsons in North Carolina from about 1750 to
1804. This includes the second Richard in Rowan and Guilford
County from 1758 to his death in about 1792, the second Thomas in
Guilford and Rockingham Counties and the birth of the William
Simpson (the Anti-Missionary Baptist preacher) in 1793. The
context is the settlement of the Carolina piedmont, the revolt of
the Regulators and the Revolutionary War. I hope to complete the
North Carolina book this summer and send it out.
I will then return to the Missouri book in hopes of completing
work in 1994. My objective is to prepare a book on 1846 and the
Oregon Trail in 1996, the 150th anniversary of the Simpson
emigration to Oregon. Since 1846 is also the year of the Donner
Party, Francis Parkman and DeVoto's excellent book, there is an
enormous amount of secondary source material. The only primary
material I have located about the, Siiiip∨ crossing is slim and
not entirely trustworthy.
Eventually I will return to the Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee
book and edit it so that it conforms to what I have learned in
recent years. Incidentally, there are several remote Simpson
cousins who are active genealogists and one or two who are
historians. (I was assisted in North Carolina by a sixth cousin
Wayne Simpson who is the incumbent Tax Collector in Rowan County
and descended from that part of the family that did not leave in
1804). There is even a Simpson newsletter. I will send you a
It was wonderful to hear from you and I will send materials as
soon as I can assemble them.
Lynn S. Beedle
102 Cedar Road
15 August, 1993
What a coincidence. Your letter came on the anniversary of Kirke Simpson's
birth so many years ago. I think you were named for him. I had the great
pleasure of having so much contact with him when I was in the Navy. There
were so many things he did for me. Invited me to Gridiron Club dinners, at
which (over the years) I sat at the same dinners with Roosevelt, Truman,
Nixon, Kennedy, and a host of Washington folk. Those occasions were something.
Thanks so much for writing. I could tell your interest in the history side
of genealogy from the book I scanned at Carol's. I'm a "chart" guy. Like
to have all the boxes filled in. But at the same time, I'm captivated with
why the families moved from place.to place. I remember in the case of the
Van Baton family, I couldn't figure out why John Van Etten moved from right
here in the Lehigh Valley to North Carolina. That was just after the
French-Indian Wars. Then I was reading in ROOTS one day and saw a
conversation between two people that described a migration from
Pennsylvania to Alamance Co. (adjacent to Davie Co., I think). There
was great agricultural land there. Small farms (that didn't require slaves),
quite unlike the plantations. And it's surmised that they gave former
army captains a break on the price of land. Well, it was interesting to
stumble on that nugget -- all by accident.
Your letter mentions Simpsons in Rowan Co. NC. That's new to me. I knew of
Simpsons in Rockingham, but not in Rowan. So maybe they knew the Van Baton
family there. That would be amazing because the connection wasn't made
until Lynn Simpson (my grandfather) married Elizabeth Belle Van Eaton in
San Jose. Obviously I'll be interested in reading your North Carolina book.
I'm enclosing my pedigree sheet. The earliest Simpson is John. I see that
I got that from a letter from Ben Simpson to one of his sons (April 12,
1897) written from Selma Alabama. But I've found some discrepancies in that,
so John may not be the father of William. Who was William's father, then?
Was it Thomas (2nd) then Richard (2nd) then Thomas then the first Richard?
Interesting that you should mention 1846 and the Oregon Trail. I was out
in Portland for Joyce Beedle's wedding to Wes Wolfe last month. The
Oregonian was just finishing a multi-part series on the Trail, Gin and
Page and I visited a display at the "end" (the Willamette Falls, now Oregon
City), and I got all fired up about maybe making a trip West in 1996 on the
150th anniversary of Ben Simpson's 100-day trek. So I'll be fascinated to
read what you produce. (It's hard to read, but I enclose a 1925 story by one
of our ancestors. I'm sure you must have it already)
I guess none of our people were part of the Donner party -- unless it
would have been on my Dad's side.
Thanks for writing Kirke. I look forward to your material -- eagerly.
All best, Lynn
172 HANCOCK STREET
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94114
17 August 1993
The enclosed is a collection of family charts and other
information I have accumulated from various sources:
"Simpson's in the 20th Century" shows the descendants of
Myrtle Simpson Wilson and was prepared for the 1991 family
"The Simpson Family in North America" is my summary of the
first eight generations;
"Sylvester Confucious Simpson" and "Four Generation Ancestor
Chart" were prepared by Shirlie Simpson, now a resident of
"Descendants of William and Mary Simpson" was prepared by
Samuel L. Simpson of British Columbia;
the six computer-generated charts were prepared by Nona
Williams, the editor of the quarterly newsletter "The
I am also enclosing a recent copy of Nona's newsletter. As you
will see, it reports on a large number of people named Simpson of
whom most are not related to us. Because Nona and her primary
source Donald Simpson are descended from the North Carolina
Simpsons, the newsletter emphasizes our branches of the family.
Shirlie Simpson is the wife of Grover B. Simpson II who is a
grandson of Grover Benjamin Simpson (1858-1934) a younger brother
of Sylvester. Grover II is our second cousin, once removed.
Samuel L. Simpson is a grandson of the pioneer poet of the same
name (1845-1899) and is also our second cousin, once removed.
Nona is descended from our four great grandfather Thomas Simpson
(1739-1833) and is, I believe our fifth cousin, once removed.
With all these genealogists in the family, I can spend my
time on the history. I will send you Maryland and Virginia-
Kentucky-Tennessee as soon as I make copies.
Lynn S. Beedle
102 Cedar Road
21 August 1993
What a gold mine of information you sent me. Terrific. I've got all the charts in the
world, now, but mostly the definite line of my Simpson ancestry in the USA.
The references to other sources, particularly the newsletter, is all I'll ever need.
Incidentally on your "Simpson's of the 20th Century" my information is:
-Ernest Sylvester Simpson died in 1941.
-Belle Van Baton (my grandmother) was Elizabeth Belle
-Kirke Larue was first married to Ella May Field. Lovely lady.
(I attended the wedding. 1945)
-Kirke's second wife I knew and corresponded with a great deal.
Irene Lishemeff. Married in 1953.
I look forward to the copies of your coming articles. And I commend you on your
attention to history.
Now that I've got all the names I can begin to work seriously on "Why They Went There."
Thanks so much.
All best, Lynn
cc: Kirke Simpson's Obit.
Lynn S. Beedle
102 Cedar Road
Sure enjoyed your letter of August 23rd. And your book, FOR WE CANNOT
TARRY HERE is excellent. I am already half way through it. What a
wonderful condensed history of our country -- and especially for the regions
of the Simpson "saga". Thanks so much for sending it.
Your mention of the "Lost Colony" struck an especially responsive chord.
We spend our vacation there each summer. Four weeks on the beach. We
see the production often. As you know, it was the first of the outdoor dramas
in the US.
Page mentioned the Barlow Road when I was out in Portland last month. I
think I was on a part of it when I was in that region for a conference in the 70's.
Took off for a ride up the Columbia Gorge and around Mr. Hood. I seem to remember
taking a picture of an "Oregon Trail" sign on that trip. Will have to check.
We all hate to wait until 1996 to see Oregon Trail part of your history. But
we'll be patient.
I'll look at what I have on the Oregon Simpsons and send you a print of same.
Do you have Ben Simpson's letter of April 12, 1897 to Sylvester? There's a lot
of information in it, but I'm sure at least a part of it is not accurate.
My information about the Cooper family is meager indeed. Enclosed are my
two charts. The information on chart 50 came from the State Historical
Society in Columbia, Missouri. I was there at a conference back in the 70's.
My notes show they had information of Simpson, Cooper, Higgins, Kimsey.
The information on chart 100 came from Ben Simpson's 1887 letter. Not
reliable, I fear.
Thanks again. Be sure to let me know about the Thomas Gilbert that was
listed first in you May 1991 sheet.
Thanks much, Lynn
KIRKE WILSON..172 HANCOCK STREET.. SAN FRANCISCO 94114
24 August 1997
Thank you for your note and encouragement. I am enclosing a check for
the Helen Beedle CD of nineteenth century music. I am pleased to discover that
someone in the extended clan has musical talent. While I remember that Aunt
Vera sang in the church choir for many years, my strongest memories were of the
the player piano at 26 Crystal Way. I have often wondered whether the player
piano discouraged greater musical creativity. I suspect that the disproportionate
number of boys in the Wilson generations may have also been a factor.
As you may have heard. Myrtle Stickel organized another family reunion
over Memorial Day weekend at Asilomar. The turnout was excellent with more
than fifty attending covering four generations and eight decades. While Myrtle and
her family lived in several places while Dick was working, the next generation
(yours and mine) are all currently living in California (eleven people aged 40-60)
and all but two of the next generation (nineteen between the ages of 10-40) are in
California. Perhaps it is inertia.
When Crystal Way was being emptied. Myrtle accepted responsibility for
saving any photographs anyone could identify. As a result, she has a two or three
cartons of photos including Uncle Kirke in a Lowell baseball uniform, Ben
Simpson in a top hat. Grandfather McFarland and Grandmother McFarland as well
as many photos from the early 20th century. The photographs are generally in
good condition. I hope some compulsive cousin will take an interest in preparing
My little history project has stalled somewhat. I blame part of the stalling
on a major renovation project we undertook last year--including moving to another
house for six months--and several large projects which have taken my time. I was
involved in a bitter and complex public battle which successfully preserved $3
billion for charity as part of the conversion to for-profit of Blue Cross of
California. I am currently completing a frustrating two-year negotiation to sell part
of an experimental theater, of which I am board chair, to British investors. Several
years ago, the theater began to prepare interpretive audio for museums and
historical sites throughout the country. The business has grown and we now
control half of the United States market (the other half is controlled by a company
whose chair was a classmate of mine at Yale) but, as a non-profit, are likely to
have an increasingly difficult time obtaining capital and retaining outstanding staff.
Since the industry is becoming increasingly technology-driven, we will continue to
need capital to remain competitive and to exploit new opportunities. I hope to
complete the sale within the next few weeks.
Since we last talked, I have been concentrating on the Missouri (1805-
1846) period including particularly the Platte Purchase (1839-1846). I spent
several productive days in Platte County last spring and plan to return in early
November. I tracked down a Kimsey relative who lives in Platte City and appears
to know everyone and I spent time with a little group of elderly women who are
the keepers of the local history (although their interest seems to be strongest for
the civil war period). One of these women owns original Cooper land in Howard
County. Her late husband was a student at University of Missouri during the
depression and befriended an elderly, unmarried Cooper woman who had inherited
160 acres of Cooper land. The woman gave the land to the student with the
condition that it remain in its natural state. The widow is now trying to figure out
what to do with the land. I suggested she inquire whether there is a land trust in
the area (unlikely) or whether some state agency might be interested.
With help, I have been able to track down Simpson land ownership in
Howard, Johnson and Platte County. The land ownership patterns have been very
useful in helping me understand the extent the migrations were clan-based and the
likelihood that the Simpsons and Coopers knew each other long before Benjamin
Simpson married Nancy Cooper. It turns out that Simpson lands in Howard
County (Boonslick) were near those of the Coopers and that William Simpson and
William Cooper were neighbors in Platte County (in the area immediately north of
the present Kansas City airport). While this is all interesting, it gives me little help
in understanding why they went to Oregon in 1846. I have nearly completed the
Missouri research and have done most of the writing but have a great deal of
editing to do before I am done.
I appreciate your encouragement and hope to see you on one coast or the
other during the next year.
KIRKEWILSON 172HANCOCKST SAN FRANCISCO CA 94114
2 January 2000
Thank you for your KLS birthday card. I have been thinking about you as
I prepared my latest chapter, the 1836-1846 period in the Platte Purchase, for the
printer. I have no idea why this little segment has been so slow. At this rate, I
may never get the project completed. The Platte Purchase is enclosed.
The next task is 1846 and the Oregon Trail. Several years ago, Anne and I
drove the part of the trail west of Fort Laramie to Oregon City (but omitting the
Barlow Road section over the Cascades) but I am less familiar with the eastern half
of the trail. As you will see from the Platte chapter, I have a reasonably good idea
about who was in the Simpson party (the only real question is the number of young
children), the routes they took and the approximate dates. Although 1846 is the
best documented of the years on the trail, there is surprising little contemporary
mention of the Simpson party in trail diaries leaving me to speculate about their
experience and forcing me to rely on various "recollections" collected many years
later when memories were somewhat unreliable but the pioneers were heroes.
The early part of the saga (Maryland and North Carolina) is written and
reasonably accurate. The Kentucky/Tennessee section is written but is uneven
with accurate sections on Benjamin Cooper's Revolutionary War record and the
Battle of the Blue Licks but an inaccurate section on the Simpsons (based largely
on hearsay which I have subsequently discarded). I have researched and written a
long section on Missouri 1800-1836 that includes the Coopers Fort period and the
Santa Fe Trail along with other events. Rather than return to editing and fact
checking the massive Missouri section, I am moving on to Oregon. Perhaps when
I retire in five years or so, I will return to the Missouri section.
Your example of paring down is one I should observe. Anne and I each
have forty or more years of accumulated paper. In each case, some may be of use
to someone interested in the social movements of the late 20th century in which we
have been involved. The library at the Indianapolis campus of the University of
Indiana/Purdue has inquired about the papers Anne and I have from 25 years in
philanthropy. I was flattered but realized that whatever papers I have are scattered
and need sorting. I don't know where to start. By the way, do you know anything
about the rumor that the University of Nebraska either offered to take Uncle
Kirke's papers or actually did so? I mean to contact them and determine what if
anything they have.
Please let me know if any of your Beedle relatives would have an interest in
the little Platte saga. I would be happy to send copies.
Last May, we assembled about 60 of the descendants of Clarence and
Myrtle S. Wilson at Asilomar for what have become a tradition in odd-numbered
years. Only Dick and Mytle Stickel were present of the oder generation (travel is
difficult for Dorothy in Hanford, Dorothy in Santa Rosa and Ralph and Lydia in
Sacramento). Apart from the enormous number of little children racing about, the
remarkable thing is that only one of the families currently is living outside of
California. I guess the restlessness that infected their ancestors has receded in
recent generations. For example, all three of my children live in San Anseimo but
a few miles from Mill Valley where they grew up.
I hope you had a good Christmas and enjoy the Platte Purchase.
Lynn Beedle's notes from 23 Aug 1995: