Tuesday, September 20, 2016

John William SIM (1870-1954)

John Wm, Buffalo
Photo courtesy of cousin Mary Ellen F.
George SIM >John Wm SIM

Early years- John Wm was the youngest child of James SIM and Elizabeth GRUER.  He was born on 7 August 1870 in Ontario, Canada. The SIM family lived in Cramahe Township in the Village of Colborne, Northumberland, Ontario.  He had an 8th grade education and was also known as “Jack”. 

Military service- He served 5 years in the Canadian armed forces; 2 years as a private and 3 years as a Gunner in the Canadian Field Artillery (C.F.A.) 37th Regiment.  This likely occurred some time between 1891 and 1898.

Work history- In the marriage registry on 1891, he was listed as a bartender.  From 1900 through 1920, he was a lineman and electrician for a telephone company.  He next owned a couple of speakeasies, I mean "soda shops", in Buffalo.  By 1940, he worked as a security guard at the Fowler Plant (an airplane manufacturing) in Buffalo.  

Immigration and Citizenship- John Wm immigrated the family to the US about 1898.  In 1915, he became a US citizen.   Later, in Canada during WWI, he signed draft documents pledging his loyalty to the crown.

Physical: John Wm was 5' 8", fair complexion with auburn hair and blue eyes.

Religion: In the marriage registry, he was listed with no religious affiliation.  In a 1911 Canadian census, he was listed as Presbyterian (same as wife).
Family- At age 18, John Wm met Mary Ann WALLACE (1870-1945), a waitress at a Toronto restaurant.  Two years later, they were married on 11 September 1891 in Toronto, York, Ontario. 
From the Gloversville Leader Republican, 1941: 

 They had at least 5 children:
In the early years, the lived in Mary Ann's hometown of Owen Sound and their first 2 children were born there.  Then things got confusing:
They appear on the 1900 census in Rochester, Monroe, NY and it is likely that they moved there because his sisters where living there (Mary, Jemima and Jessie).  It appears that they owned several properties in Western New York and Ontario.  By 1905, they appear in the Batavia, Erie, NY census.  In 1905, there was a newspaper article stating that they were moving to Toronto.  In a 1907 obituary, they are listed as living in Springville, NY.  They appear in the 1910 through 1940 census in various locations around Buffalo.  In 1911, they appear in the Owen Sound, Canada census.  We found out from Aunt Pat and Aunt Joan that they owned several properties in Western New York and Ontario.  Here are the Buffalo addresses:
  • In 1910, they lived at 91 Peach Street in Buffalo.
  • In 1915, they lived at 106 Congress Street in Buffalo.
  • In 1917, they lived at 500 Niagara Street in Buffalo.
  • In 1920, they moved to 330 Hudson Street in Buffalo.
  • In 1930-1940, they lived at 217 LaSalle Avenue in Tonawanda.
  • By 1945, they lived at 150 Norwalk Avenue in Buffalo.

Death- John Wm died 4 July 1954 at the Betty Storck Nursing Home in Buffalo.  He was 83 years old and died of coronary thrombosis.  His remains are interred at Ridge Lawn Cemetery in Cheektowaga.
Documents we have found tell us he was 5'8", fair complexion, auburn hair and blue eyes.

From the Buffalo Courier Express, 1954
Visit the on-line memorial at: