Harriet Ann Horn Simer

Photo of Harriet Ann Horn Simer
Harriet Ann (Horn) Simer (1850-1933)

Harriet was born on Valentine's Day 1850 in Cove Creek, Washington County, Arkansas to Margaret and Samuel Wyatt Horn.

For years her parents have remained a mystery because family tradition held that she was raised in Peach Orchard, Arkansas on the opposite side of the state. A closer inspection of the records, however, shows that it was probably her future husband, Francis Marion Simer, who was raised near Peach Orchard in Lawrence County, Kentucky.1

Harriet's mother Margaret was born about 1820 in Virginia and her father Samuel W. Horn about 1818 in Kentucky. Harriet was the third of seven chidren born between 1847 and 1862 in Cove Creek, Arkansas. Her siblings were George H., Martha, Samuel, Jr., Sylvester V., Sarah, and Josephine. It appears that her parents remained in Cove Creek until their deaths.

Her daughter-in-law, Dollie (Neafus) Simer, wrote this remembrance of Harriet in a letter to her son Fred in 1978.

I know you remember a little about your grandmother Simer. Her name before she was married was Harriet Horne and she was born way back in the hills of Arkansas. No education. She could read just a little and the Bible was all she ever read. She was a beautiful singer. She was a frail, small woman with black hair and deep-set blue eyes. I do not think she came from a large family. I never heard her speak of but only one brother and his name was Sylvester, so you see where Ben Simer got his name. 

She had ten children and raised nine. When I first knew her, she was only fifty-eight years old and was a bent, old woman — so much hard work, trouble, and grief. I am so glad she did not live to see her youngest son disgrace her by dying with a bullet in his stomach from a bar-room brawl. Harriet loved him best of all. She was a good religious woman. She was eighty-three years old when she died is buried in La Grande, Oregon.  She has a nice marker on the grave that your father and Aunt Burleigh put there.

Harriet's husband, Francis Marion Simer, was born 20 Sep 1849 in Johnson County, Kentucky to Martha (McKenzie) and Andrew Picklesimer. He was the oldest of twelve chidren. His siblings born between 1850 and 1869 were Emily, John, Cynthia, Abraham, Lucas, Martha, Andrew, Margaret, Julia, Hanner, and David. The family moved frequently. Between 1849 and 1850 they lived in Johnson, Carter, and Lawrence Counties Kentucky. During the Civil War Martha and the children lived in Ohio and returned to Kentucky in 1866. In 1870 they appear in the census of Crawford County, Arkansas. Between 1875 and 1877 they were living in Hill County, Texas. What became of Francis's parents and siblings after this point is unknown.

In 1870 just twelve miles of wagon road separated the two 20-year-olds -- Francis M. Simer in Lee Creek, Crawford, Arkansas and Harriet A. Horn in Cove Creek, Washington, Arkansas. 2 They were married in 1874 according to the 1900 census. No marriage record has been found.

In the 1910 census Harriet is recorded as having given birth to 11 children, 8 of whom were still living. Their known children were: Samuel Andrew (named after his grandfathers), Mary A., Burton Ward, Frederick Thomas, William Douglas, James Arthur, Francis Rose, Burleigh, Margaret, and George Dewey.

Samuel and Burton were born in Boulder, Colorado (1876 - 1879). Frederick in Atoka, Oklahoma Indian Territory (1881), and the last five children were born in LaMadera, Rio Arriba, New Mexico (1885-1898).

Francis worked as a farm laborer and wagon trail guide, but primarily as a coal miner. He was working as a miner in Ogden, Utah when he died 2 Feb 1907 at the age of 57 from asthma and Bright's disease.

Harriet died on August 11, 1933 in LaGrande, Union, Oregon at the home of her daughter Burleigh at the age of 83.

1. In 1860 the Simers were enumerated in Lawrence County, Kentucky. Their township is not listed, but they were known to be on Nat's Creek just two miles from Peach Orchard township.

2. Enter 35.8167489 -94.3002098 to 35.6814731 -94.3493785 in Google maps. Coordinates were taken from the USGS feature query.

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