Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 1907)
3E 'Omaha Sunday Beb
No Filthy Sensations
THE OMAHA DEC
Best tlT. West
FASXS 1 TO I
VOL. XXXVII NO. 24.
OMA1IA, SUNDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 1, 1907.
SINGLE COPY FIVE CENTS.
ANDREW J. SIMPSON PIONEER BUSINESS MAN OF OMAHA
How a Young Scot Faced Many Trials N and Endured Severe Hardships Before Reaching Omaha, Where He Entered on a Business Career-That Has Been Successful More Than Fifty Years
ALF a century la the same business in the same block la
Omaha Is the record of one of the sturdiest of the city's
pioneer citizens Andrew J. Simpson president of the
A. J. Simpson A. Son Cnmnnv
manufacturers. The firm now occupies the large build-in-
on Doi. street, between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets.
There it has been for about thirty years. For twenty years before
that It occupied a frame building: just around the .corner on Four
teen street. wM,re Mr. Simpson started In a small way In 1858.
just after be returned from the California gold fields.
Typically Scotch is Andrew J. Simpson. Look at that face. It
hows earnestness of purpose; it shows cautiousness and astute
ness; it shows boldness and enterprise; It shows In his gray eyes
a deeper Uioughfulnesa on things beyond the material world. The
lines of the face Indicate sterling honesty, solid morality and deep
These are all typical Scotch virtues. In no other nation are
they combined to such good advantage and with such an admirable
ensemble effect If you were to go down to Mr. Simpson's big
factory on Dodge street and meet him personally you would find
the rlrtues impressed even more thoroughly upon you. A tiny
pace is partitioned off in one corner of the big building as an
office and there in a dilapidated old chair before a little old table
alts a little man In a brown suit. That is Andrew J. Simpson, head
of the big factory. He will talk to you as though he was only one
of the workmen. He Is entirely without pretensions, and pride and
ranlty have no place in his makeup. He treats one man like
another and bolieves in the words of the great poet of his native,
land, that no matter what one's condition la In life "A man's
man for a that"
Energy and Thrift His Heritage
A study of the life history of Andrew J. Simpson Impresses
upon the mind more Indelibly than either his picture or his person
how thoroughly Scotch he Is and In how thoroughly and typically
Scotch manner he has acted. He was born In bonnle Scotland
in 1834. He came of the rigorous, ambitious, courageous, Godly,
stock which is such a common product of that bleak and mountain
ous country. His parents struggled against porerty and exhibited
a decided Scotch characteristic when they gathered enough money
together to pay their passage across the Atlantic ocean to the land
of pronise America. Andrew was only a small boy when that
perilous trip was made In a sailing vessel. After six weeks on the
ocean, they Jded. After living for a time In the east, near the
eacoast, they moved to what was then the frontier. Just west of
the Allegheny mountains In eastern Ohio. There Andrew grew np.
At the age of 12 years he went to Cincinnati and became an ap
prentice in the carriage manufactory conducted by Charles Dewey,
father of Charles Dewey who in after years was a member of the
firm of Dewey & Stone, furniture dealers in Omaha.
As boys, Andrew and young Dewey became fast friends. One
of the other apprentices in that) shop was to become governor of
Iowa. He first made his appearance at the shop as a boy with
a coon skin to sell. He proved so bright and apt that Mr. Dewey
offered him a place, and his advancement was rapid.
As an apprentice young Simpson showed those, characteristics
which won for "felm success nd honor in after life. He exhibited ;
all his Inborn Scotch virtues. Hla Industry, sklllfulnesq and am
bition brought him rapidly to the front in the shop. He might have
become one of the leading business men In Cincinnati had he not had '
In his blood that other Scotch, characteristic, a 'spirit of enterprise
and adventure. Prof. Blackie,' the keen analyst of the character of
bis countrymen, gives the following vivid picture of the Scot abroad
la the world In quest of adventure or fortune. '
"The Boot abroad Is a character well knownwhether In Ger
man wars of religion or French wars of conquest, whether scaling
the cliffs of the Crimea or quelling a rebellion in India, whether
dictating commercial treaties In slippery Chinese, tracking the source
of the Nile or forcing a high road through the wilds of Central
Africa you will always find a Scot with determination for his
companion and progress for his pioneer. Like the Greek he has a
strong expansive power. And like Wordsworth's peddler he carries
not only his wares, but his wisdom with him. I have found a Mac
donald sleeping quietly after years of honorable activity In a re
mote churchyard of Hugh Town In the Sicily Islands. And I have
no doubt that whoever shall first reach the North pole will find
a Scotsman already there, snugly sheltered under a snow palace
of his own construction." ' . . '
Joins the Argonauts of '47
The gold excitement In California Is what drew Andrew Simpson
out In quest of his share of adventure. The son of his employer de
termined to go with him and In the spring of 1849 Andrew Simpson
and Charlie Dewey set sail from Philadelphia in a small barque,
bound for far oft California. It was a long'and tempestuous voyage,
filled with many hardships. But it was the delight of the young
Scot to meet hardships, for he knew he would overcome them
by the force of his industry and his Indomitable determination.
The barque stopped on the east coast of the Isthmus of Panama,
the adventurers disembarked and prepared to make their way across
the wild country to some Indistinct point on the west coast, where,
perchance, they might find a ship to take them up to the land of
gold. The adventures of that short trip across the narrow neck of
land were themselves more than fall to the lot of many a man in a
lifetime, but they formed only a short chapter in the life of this dar
ing Scot. At times, they were in danger of fever. The heat of the trop
ical sun was fearful upon their heads, unused to It - At places they
found crosses set np where people had met death at the hands of
jobbers. But they pushed on and finally, after weeks, they reached
a steamer and embarked tor California.
i 1 ,
ANDREW J. SIMPSON.
Territory of Nebraska. He saw a future there which the moun
tains of California with all their gold could never equal. He deter
mined to become a citizen of Nebraska. In the spring of 1857 he
bade goodby to the companion of his youth and the partner of bis
young manhood, Charlie Dewey, and set out upon the perilous trip
across the 2,000 miles of mountains and plains to the east. In the
early sumper of that year he arrived in the little frontier town of
Omaha and started upon the building of the clean record for hon
esty, public spirit and unselfishness which has made him one of
the city's most honored citizens -today.
He had exercised Scotch thrift as well as industry in California
and had a little money when he arrived here. The panic was Just
past and this money bought a great deal In Omaha. Mr. Simpson -erected
a two-story frame building on the cast Bide of Fourteenth
street, Just north of Douglas street The front part of the first
Btory was a blacksmith shop, the rear the carriage shop proper, while
the second floor was devoted to carriage trimming and painting.
At first Mr. Simpson did all the work. Then he began hiring others
as the business expanded until he now employs about thirty-five men.
Among the present citizens of Omaha who were in his employ in the
early days is Martin Dunham.
The large business which Mr. Simpson has built up in Omaha
Is due to the lines of sterling honesty upon which he has conducted
It. "He has always done an honest piece of work for an honest
dollar and has put skill and fine judgment Into his work," said a
pioneer citizen, who has known him all his life.
Public Spirited and Enterprising
. As a public spirited and entirely unselfish man, Andrew J. Simp
son has made an enviable record. In work of a public nature to be
done, for the public good and without remuneration to the doer he
is conspicuous, while in offices or positions of emolument his name
is not seen. Probably the first small enterprise in which he ap
peared was' the opening exhibition of the Douglas County Agricul
tural association, which was held October 1 and 2, 1858. Mr. Simp
son was one of the exhibitors there.
He Is best known as a veteran volunteer fireman. During twen
ty-five years of Its ear!y history Omaha's protection against fire con
sisted of the volunteer department, which was made up of a num
ber of citizens, who served absolutely without pay and held them
selves ready at all hours of the day and night to go out In all kinds
of weather and fight any fire which might break out Among these
Andrew J. BimpBon was a leader. He was one of the eight citizens
who banded together and first organized the volunteer company in
1860. This company contained no laggards and It was distinctly
understood from the start that it was not organized for the purpose
of dress parade in bright uniforms on the Fourth of July and similar
occasions. These eight citizens were William J. Kennedy, P. W.
Hitchcock, Benjamin Stickles, J. S. McCormick, Henry Grey, Henry
Z. Curtis, M. II. Clark and Andrew J. Simpson. It was Incorporated
May 2, 1861.
Some of His Activities
From the first Mr. Simpson was a leading spirit. The new organ
ization bought a hook and ladder and a goodly supply of buckets,
for hose had not been heard of then.. Several cisterns were con-'
structed under the street In the business district To many an alarm
these self-sacrificing men responded in those early days and with'
their buckets put out the flames. In 1866 the city had grown to
such an extent that it was decided to buy a hand fire engine. An
drew Simpson was selected to go to Davenport, la., and make the
purchase. He did so and the "Fire King," as the crude hand engine
was proudly christened, was Installed In the house on Twelfth street
between Farnam and Douglas streets. Mr. Simpson was chosen
foreman of the company. In the same year he was elected chief of
(he department and continued in the position until 1869, when he
resigned and returned to the ranks, where he did excellent service
during all the time the volunteer department was In existence..
When the Veteran Fireman's association was organized in December,
1887, Mr. Simpson was unanimously elected its president.
Mr. Simpson was a member of the school board, another unpaid
office, for three years and was president of that body In the middle
'60s, when some of the most notable work toward building up the
educational system of the city was done.
He joined the Odd Fellows lodge In 1860 and has been elected
seven times to the office of grand treasurer.
In business, aside from his own, he has been a heavy but conserva
tive Investor and the weight of his cool counsels has been sought in
some of the biggest enterprises of the city. He was a stockholder
and director in the Sperry Electric Light & Power company, which
was the progenitor of the Omaha Electric Light & Power company.
He was one of the early stockholders in, the Omaha National bank
and Is now and has been for many years one of the directors of that
When the Omaha Real Estate Owners' association was formed
In 1891 Mr. Simpson .was one of Its members and was made a mem
' ber of Its advisory board.
Remembers Burns' Caution
Perhaps the most striking characteristic of this strikingly typ
ical Scotchman is his reticence about himself. It you were to go
In and ask him for personal reminiscences you wouldn't probably
learn a thing. He follows unconsciously the advice given by Robert
"Aye free, aff-han', your story tell
' When wi' a bosom crony;
'But still keep something to yoursel',
J -Ye scarcely tell to ony:
' " . Conceal yoursel' as weel's ye can
. r' Frae critical dissection;
, But keek thro" ev'ry other man,
Wi' sharpened, Bly inspection."
Consideration for the feelings of others is a characteristic of
Mr. Simpson. He was never known to discharge a man in his em
ploy.. If he saw that the man was undesirable be merely met him
sometime when no one was in hearing and told him that business
was slack or made up some other .kindly story to get rid of' the
employe. His consideration of his men is witnessed by the long
terms of service of some of them. One man has worked for him
continuously for nearly forty years. There are others with records
nearly as long.
Another of his traits decidedly Scotch also is his serious atti
tude toward religion and toward tho mysteries of the spiritual world.'
He has inquired into these and thought deeply upon them.
Mr. and Mrs. Simpson live in their comfortable home at 120
South Thirty-first avenue. F. C. Simpson, their son, lives with
them. Mr. Simpson is as active as ever, though he Is well past
three score and ten. He Is In his office every day and for long hours
at that. He Is also a valued counsellor In the other business en
terprises' In which he Is prominently Identified. He has attained
that distinction and solid respect which the admirable Scotch vir
tues gain for their bearers in all parts of the world.
National Library Growing: in Quality and Quantity
ASHINGTON, Nov. 28. The Ave
great libraries of the world, so far
as mere mass of material la con
cerned, are the Blbllotheque Na
tional at Paris, the British Mu
seum library In London, the Library of Congress
at Washington, the Imperial library-at St Peters
burg and the Royal library at Berlin.
Their relative size is probably in that order.
Th la no doubt about the first two. About the
It was more than four months after their departure from Phlla- other fce 0Ome quegtlon. Dut the Con.
delphla when the reached San Francisco. They disembarked and
went Into that city, the oddness and the wierdness of which made an
Impression on Mr. Simpson's mind not forgotten to this day. Every
thing, he says, waa new except the ground and the sky. ' It waa a
city of tents and shacks, populated by gamblers, adventurers, out
casts and a general ruck of men. Flour sold at 84 a pound; tin
pans, ft each; rum. $20 a quart; picks, $18 each; good boots, $96;
and eggs, $20 a dozen.
Stopping but a short time In the city, the two young companions
went out Into the ratings and gulches, where men were seeking the
gold. They worked there with true Scotch Industry for many months,
undergoing unbelievable hardships, sleeping at night on beds of
branches, harrassed by poisonous ants and lizards, by cold and heat
alternating, by rain and all the vicissitudes of a strange and capri
cious climate. They lived on hard bread, sometimes mouldy, on
flour, halt cooked; on salt pork. They alternated between high
hope and deep despair. In short, they lived the typical, hard, life
sapping lite of the early California miner.
Hard Work and Disappointment
A few months of this served to show young Simpson that it was
not the way to get wealth. Some days they were rewarded tor the
hardest toll by taking out CO centaworth of gold. Sometimes they
did not take as much. Andrew Simpson decided to go Into busi
ness and he returned to San Francisco, where he did work of various
kinds and lived for a time In the midst of the strenuous and exciting
ecenes of the day. It was a life lived at high pressure, under which
many of even the best men succumbed, not only physically, but
morally. But the Scotch piety and sturdlness of Andrew Simpson
upheld him and he came through the ordeal unscathed. He re
moved from San Francisco after a time, and went to Sacramento
which was a city of much the same nature.
He remained In California until 1857, Then reports reached htm
at the new country opening up Just west of the Missouri river la the
gresslonal, with approximately a million and a
half printed books and pamphlets, almost a hun
dred thousand maps and charts, half a million,
pieces of music and a quarter million photographs
and prints, would probably lead if libraries were
classed by bulk alone.
But American pride In the National library
should not be too rampant Of the number of
volumes it contains, hundreds of thousands are
duplicates. Of separate titles there are probably
not more than 800.000. And with apologies to
the book makers of this pen driven people, a great
many of that 800,000 would not be admitted to
the shelves if the copyright law did not place
Why. Harvard has a better library in quality
than the one at Washington. So has Boston. New
York will have one when the Astor and Lenox
are brought together. Each of these Institutions
Harvard. Boston and New York boasts about
600,000 volume. and they have not accumulated .
by copyright deposits, either, but by years of
But though the Congressional may not lead as
a library for general research, it does stand fore
most In certain lines, and Is fast becoming a great
library In quality as well as In mere quantity.
For Instance, the law library is the largest collec
tion of strictly law books in the world. It con
tains over 120,000 volumes, and Is in constant
use by the judges of courts and members of the
The fact that the library Is primarily the
library of congress la one which will govern the
lines on which it is to be developed. According
to present plans, it will in time lead absolutely in
collections on jurisprudence, social science and
all questions of public administration. "
It will be strong in books dealing with Indus
trial problems and sociological matter of all
kinds. It will be the niecca of every student o,
social science. 1 "
' It will be only less strong In some of the phy
sical sciences.' such as chemistry, biology, the de
velopment of electricity, etc. It will be rather
light on agriculture, for 'the reason that the De
partment of Agriculture is cultivating that field
with all the energy at its command.
It will almost entirely neglect medicine, be
cause there la already at Washington, In the sur
geon general's library, one of the greatest medi
cal libraries in the world. In the department of
literature, while it will not be a meager, it will not
perhaps be as strong as some other libraries.
. The idea Is not to make it a repository of
belles-lettres. Is to be a working library, where
the nation can study Its problems, sum up what
the world has accomplished and build ideas for
Another strong department Is that of music
A copy of every piece of music copyrighted in
this country must be deposited In the library.
It may be thought that this brings only a
worthless mass of ragtime -melodies and coon
songs. On the contrary, almost all the world's
great music comes in under some detail of copy
right, either a new fingering, a new arrangement
or something of that sort.
The library contains also the most notable col
lection of public documents and the larest collec
tion of publications by societies in all parts of the
world. The Smithsonian gets out a magazine of
its own, which It exchanges with those of other
scientific Institutions of all countries. These ex
lection of public documents and the largest collec
reports cf sclentlflo experiments, are all depos
ited in the Library of Congress.
In America the Congressional is not so strong
as the John Carter Brown library at Providence,
the Lenox at New York, or any one of several
collections. It lacks the funds of these heavily
The John Carter Brown library, for Instance,
can pay thousands of dollars for a single work.
As the Congressional is trying to become a great
library In other and perhaps more practical dl
J rectlons and has less than $100,000 a year (this
year it has $94,600), with which to accumulate
treasures, It is not buying things simply because
their price Is high.
That the library Is a national Institution Is
true In ways that most persons know nothing
about It is no longer' for the use of congress
alono. Any person from any place may examine
any book In its possession and may do this freely
without introduction or credentials.
It is not a circulating library, although within
the District of Columbia any person engaged in
serious research may have the home use of books
if it is required. Better still, books are lent from
Maine to California to assist students and inves
tigators who cannot go to Washington to carry on
These books are lent only through another
library. It is done on condition that the book
is an unusual one, which it Is not the duty of the
local library to supply, that it can for the time
being be spared from the Library of Congress, '
and that the risk and expense of transportation
be borne by the borrowlng'llbrary.
Another service to the public at large Is per
formed by the bibliographical department The
walking encyclopedias which preside over this de
partment receive about 10.00Q letters of Inquiry
They come from all over the country and they
ask 'all manner of questions. Most of them ask
for lists of books on various subjects. To meet
this demand the library publishes these lists from
time to time as new matters occupy public atten
tion. In 1906 ten new lists were complied and
These Included lists of works relating to mer
cantile marine subsidies, to child labor, to govern
ment regulation of insurance, to government own
ership of railroads, to the Germans in the United
States, to the consular service, to the negro ques
tion, to immigration and so on. The preparation
of thebe lists is only one of the many ways In
which' the student has his path smoothed for him.
In making things easy for the reader this
country is probably doing more than any other,
unless it is England. Mr. Putnam, librarian of
the Congressional, says that England is using-up
to date library methods, just as we are, but that
we make more noise about it.
Perhaps there is no more careful or complete
classification of books anywhere, though, than
there Is at the Library of Congress. By the
decimal system the finest shade of distinction in
the subject matter of books on the same general
subject may be recorded in an almost infinite
number of subdivisions. For example, 4,000 of
these subdivisions are provided for under the
head of American history alone.
With such a minutely analytical classification
the reader can find what he wants, and Just what
he wants, without wasting time and trouble in
digging it out for himself through endless futile
The difficulty and expense of making these
elaborate classifications has led to another serv
ice undertaken by the National library, as the
Congressional is coming to be called. To classify
a book may cost, in the time taken and the ex
pense of setting up and printing the catalogue
card, from 2 or 3 cents to as many dollars.
It may be necessary to bunt out the author
ship or the full name of the author, while as for
analyzing the subject matter with a view to ac
curate classification the service of a trained ex
pert Is necessary.
The Library of Congress does this work on
all books it receives. Then it supplies duplicate
cards to other libraries at a nominal price, 2 cents
for a single card, or five cards for 4 cents.
The value of this service Is something only a
trained librarian can appreciate. There are now
(Continued on Page Four.)
Powered by Open ONI