|Strangers to Us All||Lawyers and Poetry|
John Franklin Simmons
[Reference: Edwin Anderson Alderman & Joel Chandler Harris (eds.), Library of Southern Literature 399 (New Orleans: Martin & Hoyt Co., 1910)(1907)(Vol. 15, Biographical Dictionary of Authors, Lucian Lamar Knight ed.)]
"John Franklin Simmons, son of Perez and Adeline (Jones)
Simmons, was born in the house where he now resides, on the
twenty-sixth day of June, 1851. He attended the district school
at Rocky Swamp for two years, beginning when he was seven years
old. For six years he was a student at Assinippi Institute, where,
during the latter part of the time he served as assistant teacher.
When he was fifteen years old, in the fall of 1866, he taught, for
a few weeks, a private school at East Marshfield, now called Marshfield Hills, established by Rev. Otis Leonard. The following
winter, he taught the district school at Whiting street in this town,
and, in September, 1868, he went to Phillips Exeter Academy to
In June, 1869, he passed his examination for admission to Harvard University without condition, being one of the three Exeter men to attain to that rank. He entered the class of 1873, the first class to enter after the present president, Charles W. Eliot, had been elected.
He took a very high position in his college course, both in his studies and as a member of some of the prominent college societies. His ability as a debator and leader was a power recognized by his classmates.
"In the election during the senior year for its class officers, Mr. Simmons was elected orator of the class and received the congratu lations of Pres. Eliot at the close of his oration on Class Day.
At graduation Mr. Simmons received an offer of the assistant
professorship of history at the United States Naval Academy at
Annapolis, Maryland; also an offer of an assistant's place in the
fitting school of Mr. Hopkinson at Boston, and of several other
situations; but, having received the appointment of proctor in the
Mr. Simmons was for over eight years President and counsel of the South Scituate Savings Bank, succeeding his father in those positions. He was the receiver of the Abington National Bank in 1886, and in six months turned it over to the reorganized bank, becoming himself one of the directors in the new institution. Wliile Gen. B. F. Butler was Governor of Massachusetts, he offered and urged upon Mr. Simmons the position of Insurance Commissioner of this Commonwealth but Mr. Simmons declined it. In 1889, December 26, Mr. Simmons went to Europe in connection with the somewhat important McNally will case, visiting while away. Irelaud, England, Wales, and France.
July 7, 1905, at the invitation of the Bar Association of the State of Indiana, Mr. Simmons delivered the annual address before the meeting of the association at Indianapolis.
At the first old Home Week exercises in this town, in July, 1903,Mr. Simmons delivered the oration, and the poem, which was read on that occasion, was written by him.
On January 10, 1877, Mr. Simmons married Fannie Florence
Allen, daughter of Cyrus W. and Mary Folger Allen. Mr. Allen
at that time was the pastor of the First Congregational Church at
Hanover. Mr. Simmons has four children, Henry Franklin, born
June 21st, 1878, who married Eugenia Highriter Jacobs, and has
Lawyer, was born in Hanover, Massachusetts, June 26, 1851, the son of Perez and Adeline (Jones) Simmons. He traces his descent through his paternal grandmother from six of the Mayflower passengers, among them John and Priscilla Alden, and in the direct male line from Moyses Simmons who came over in the ship Fortune to Plymouth in 1623. Through his mother he is also descended from Elder Brewstcr of the Mayflower. Colonel Benjamin Church, the old Indian fighter who had a grandson at Binker Hill, is also among his ancestry.
John F. Simmons was educated in the public schools of Hanover and in the Assinippi Institute, a private school no longer in existence, and prepared for College at Phillips Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire. He was graduated at Harvard in the Class of 1873, being elected by his class to be the Class Day Orator, and after two years in the law School of that University was admitted to the Bar at I'lymouth, and established himself in practice in the town of Abington, Massachusetts. From 1S75 to 1883, Mr. Simmons was in partnership with Judge Jesse E. Keith, under the style of Keith & Simmons, subsequently with Harvey H. Pratt as Simmons & Pratt, until 1894, when this firm was dissolved. Mr. Simmons opened an office in Boston in 1890 and is now [at the time of this publication] practising there. Among the important litigations in which he has appeared is the McNulty will case, involving about $60,000. While in partnership with Mr. Pratt, Mr. Simmons served for six months as Receiver of the Bington National Bank, and for a long time he was on the School Committee of the town of Hanover. During Governor Russell's administration he was strongly urged for a seat upon the Supreme Court Bench. In Masonry, Mr. Simmons is a Knight Templar and member of the Old Colony Commandery, and in politics he was a Gold Democrat, but now votes the Republican ticket. January 10, 1877, he married Fanny Florence . . . ." [Joshua L. Chamberlain (ed.), Universities and their sons; history, influence and characteristics of American universities, with biographical sketches and portraits of alumni and recipients of honorary degrees (Boston: R. Herndon Co., 1900)]
John Franklin Simmons, The Monroe Doctrine: Its Status ( [Boston], 1907)
John F. Simmons Papers