Biography - James Sim

JAMES J. SIM. Among the pioneers and native sons of Pope County, no one has been more interested in its success and progress than has the gentleman of whom we write, who has been a witness of great changes in the development of this region. He was born January 14, 1829, in Golconda, and well remembers in his boyhood seeing large herds of deer and wild game of various descriptions.
Our subject is a son of William and Frances E. (Jack) Sim, the former a native -of Aberdeen, Scotland, and the latter of the Keystone State. William Sim emigrated to America in the early part of the year 1800, and acted as surgeon on the sailing-vessel in which he crossed the Atlantic. It was his intention to locate in Natchez, Miss., but, crossing the country to Pittsburg, he there took passage on a boat plying the Ohio, but was only enabled to go as far as Golconda, Ill., on account of the severe winter, and the freezing up of the rivers. He therefore made the best of his disappointment, located in the place, and commenced to practice. His intention was to proceed on his journey south in the spring, but this plan he never carried out, as he found there was plenty of work for him to do in this region, and moreover he was pleased with the country. After a time he returned on a trip to Pennsylvania, where he was married, and then, coming back to this State, he continued his general medical practice in this locality until his death. When he first located at this point there were only about twelve families here, and his practice extended for many miles into adjoining counties. He was active and vigorous until shortly before his death, in 1858.
The subject of this sketch remained with his parents until the death of his father, attending the county schools. The schoolhouse was built of logs, with a fireplace extending across one end of the building, and the seats made of roughly hewed planks. He afterward pursued his studies for a time at Cumberland College, in Princeton, Ky., and also had the advantages of a private school at Shawneetown, and practical training in a commercial school at Cincinnati. His first situation was on a wharfboat, on which he worked for about five years. He then embarked in the mercantile business in Johnson Country, where the village of Grantsburg now is, and ran a store for about three years, when he sold out. For several years he was on the river, running back and forth on flatboats and steamers. While in that business he has purchased from two to three thousand pounds of venison in one single day, as deer and wild game were more plentiful and cheaper than any other kind of meat. In February of 1862 he was appointed Quartermaster at Smithon, Ky., and in 1865 returned to Illinois, taking a position as clerk in a store at Golconda, and holding the same for several years. In September, 1878, he accepted the position on the wharfboat at this city, and has held the same up to the present time.
In December, 1878, Mr. Sim and Miss Louisa Williams were united in marriage. The lady was born in Greensburgh, Ky., August 2, 1847, and is possessed of a good education and social attainments. Mr. Sim is liberal in his religious belief, but is rather inclined to favor the Presbyterian faith. He casts his ballot in favor of the nominees and principles advocated by the Democratic party, and socially he is a member of Golconda Lodge No. 131, A. F. & A. M., and of the Royal Arch Masons. In this county, where he has passed almost his entire life and is necessarily well known, he stands high in the estimation of all, as a man of honorable and unblemished character, his life being an open book to be seen and read of all men.

Extracted 21 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 287-288

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