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Feb. 9, 1870 Tyler Smith County Texas, USA
Jun. 30, 1935 Bay City Matagorda County Texas, USA
It is not given to many human beings to live in such completeness of union that two hearts really beat as one - but Bay City has had a beautiful example of such an one-ness in the lives of Dr. and Mrs. J. E. Simons, whose deaths came within just a few moments of each other, Sunday, June 30, 1935.
Mrs. Simons was Miss Annie Elizabeth Duffy, of Matagorda, where she was educated in the public and private schools, until she had finished all the work offered there. She then went to Victoria where she entered a convent to study the cultural courses offered young ladies.
During these years, J. E. Simons, who was born in Athens, Henderson County was being educated in the public schools. After getting what he could there, he went to work in a drug business, having decided on a medical career as his life work - a decision from which he never swerved. Through the kindness of business friends, he was able to go to Louisville, Ky., to college, from which he graduated in 1893, with his much coveted M.D. degree. He came to Texas, to begin his life work, and the first professional office of Dr. J. E. Simons, was on the old state prison farm.
Being a most jovial and social young man, a handsome young doctor, his services were much sought after in other places than in the sick room and we find him one evening in a very fashionable party in aristocratic Matagorda, entertaining one group, then another of young people till he met the fascinating Annie Elizabeth Duffy - and after that time, all of his social plans and activities were centered around her. He kept the grass well worn on the trail between Caney and Matagorda till early the following year Bay City came into being - a fine new court house was built and Bay City's first gesture as a social center was the formal opening of the county capitol in a grand ball, such as was popular in the "gay 90's".
In looking through her "treasure chest" (a possession of every girl) the printed program of this dance was found and "Annie Duffy's" card was almost completely filled by three initials: "J. E. S." which was very conclusive evidence of mutual attraction, each to the other. They were married in 1897, and Dr. Simons took his charming bride to their first home down on "Caney," where they lived for a short time, but before the new year, they decided to make a permanent home in the young but important county capitol. Over muddy roads they traveled to move their household effects to Bay City, where they had selected a plat of ground for their home and they built there.
The materials for their home had to be brought down the Colorado River, on barges, and with ox teams was transported to the spot where now stands the "Simons home." This was one of the first "fine houses" built in the new town, and in the years which have come and gone since 1897 - the "Simons home" has played its part in the social life of the city. Dr. and Mrs. Simons have even been a large part of the "anchor" which has held Bay City on the road to the enviable goal she achieved.
In church life, they were always leaders, being members of the Presbyterian Church did not keep them from taking a prominent part in any and all religious activities. There was never a question in the minds of the citizenry as to where Dr. and Mrs. Simons stood on any subject. They were bold, courageous and initiative in their manner of culture and of life, as they saw it. In the rounds of his professional life Dr. Simons found unlimited opportunity for leadership in every moral issue which arose. During the years together they read - studied - and discussed their work, and lived lives of such harmony that to think of them apart would be to do them an injustice. In the home, the mother was the "queen" - but the father was her king - their three children living and growing in such an atmosphere that made for them well rounded out home makers, themselves. The father and mother have lived - and their lives will be reflected in the lives they built to follow after them. Dr. Simons was by nature - and by election - a "doctor." His manner of life was "healing", and we thought as we watched the hundreds who passed their bier looking for the last time upon the faces of the man and woman who had nursed them to health from perhaps death's door - "these are they whom they served" - and the tears that blinded the eyes of these men, women and children were tears of real sorrow - real friendship, and real gratitude. The colored man was there - the old black mammy - they mingled their tears with the friends of wealth and position.
The crowds stood in mute reverence. Those two gray caskets, placed side by side, told a story rarely told. Those flowers shed a perfume, symbolic. Dr. and Mrs. Simons met life together, they solved their problems together, they served humanity together, they worshipped their God together, theirs was a one-ness of purpose, so molded together were they that even death could not sever those ties and they could not be separated even in death so they entered eternity together. Truly, two hearts that beat as one. The three homes they left are not desolate - just lonesome, for the hand that guided them, will still be the influence that leads on, on, and ever on for Wathan, Bryan and Madelene, the children of the Simons' home. In life-in death-together!
The Daily Tribune, Bay City, Texas, July 19, 1935 - Front Page