Clay Taylor and Martha (Rowe) Simmons, taken in Ontario, Oregon in 1939. This picture is one of my favorites. It reminds me of the classic American Gothic painting and just seems so iconic. Clay Taylor Simmons is my great grandfather. He was known in the family as “Taylor”. I don’t know much more about him, or Martha either, so if anyone reading this knows more, please share!
Clay “Taylor” was born on November 8th, 1882 in Millville, California to Shelby Huggins and Nancy Jane (Newton) Simmons. Sometime around 1890, the family moved to Harney county, Oregon where Taylor’s father passed away when Taylor was sixteen years old.
My uncle, Randy Simmons, recently shared this picture of great-grandpa with me. It is amazing to me to be able to really see his face for the first time, to look into his eyes. He looks like a serious man, pensive almost.
In 1918, Taylor registered for the draft for World War I. From that draft card, I know that he was a farmer and he was of medium height with a slight build, light blue eyes and brown hair. I like that we can see his signature on this card.
1918 also brought the birth of my grandfather, Rolin Clay Simmons. I haven’t been able to find a marriage record, so not sure what year Taylor and Martha got married, but it would have been sometime before 1918.
In both the 1900 and 1920 censuses, he was listed as a Farmer, living in Harney county, Oregon in 1900, still in 1918 on the draft record, but then listed in Malheur county, Oregon in 1920. By the 1930 census, the family had moved to Oroville, California where Clay was listed as a laborer doing bridge work. He was 48 then.
Martha Alameda Rowe Simmons – May 15th, 1940, Oroville, California. Uncle Randy also shared this picture of great-grandma with me. She looks so happy in this picture. Again, I’m thrilled to see her face.
When Taylor was 61, his wife, Martha passed away in Redding, California where he lived until his death in 1953 at 70 years of age.