The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

July 8, 2014

Simington family of Danville dates to America’s birth

— RIVERSIDE — The Simingtons try to get together as often as they can.

After all, they’re getting up in years.

Five of them are regulars at monthly breakfasts in Mooresburg.

Only two of the six siblings are under 90. Their family dates to Revolutionary War times in the Mooresburg area.

The family homestead still stands where all siblings except the “baby,” Martha Cole, were born at home. She was born at Geisinger Medical Center.

One of her sons — Greg and his family — is the fourth generation to live on the homestead.

Once one of the siblings hits 90, they hold a big party. On other birthday occasions, the parties are smaller.

They are looking forward to celebrating with their oldest sister — Anne Scott — on her 102nd birthday in Williamsburg, Va., in November.

Next are Joe Simington, 97; Dave Simington, who turns 95 on July 7; Mary Johnson, 92; Paul Simington, 89; and Cole, 85.

They had a brother, William, a dentist in Northumberland, who died of a rare blood disease at age 59 in the 1970s.

Scotland and Wales

Their dad’s side of the family can be traced to Scotland and their mother’s ancestors to Wales.

Their grandparents, on their mother’s side, were involved in ironwork, blacksmithing, carpentry and cider-making.

Almost all the siblings have been to the hometown of their grandmother in Wales and have found their way to a small town by the name of Simington in Scotland.

“It seems our great-grandfather, Ephrim Bower, was in the Civil War,” Paul said. He added Bower’s bride came from the next farm.

“Education was always important in our family,” said Mary. She and her sisters are Hood College graduates. Their mother and dad both went to boarding schools.

Their mother taught school and their dad was among one of the first classes to attend Bucknell University. He later worked as a steel mill foreman in the Pittsburgh area before moving back to the Mooresburg area after his mother died.

The Simington siblings’ careers have included the military, business, science, health care and veterinary science.

“The 90s is a pretty common number for us,” said Paul, with Martha adding they all worked on the farm where they grew up.

“The biggest secret to get to 97 is to outlive 96,” quipped Joe.

Dave added, “Don’t get out of bed before noon.”

“We milked cows, had chickens, pigs, fruits, vegetables and sheep,” Joe said.

“It was a self-sufficient place,” said Mary.

“Back then, we never realized we were poor,” Martha said.

“We had plenty of dogs and cats,” Dave said.

Joe added they had an ice house along with a water-powered mill race and a grist mill. “We made ice cream quite often,” Joe said.

“We learned to swim in the pond and skated on it in winter,” Paul said.

Looking back at growing up, Paul said they learned “to operate all types of equipment and the chores were kind of fun.”

“We learned if we wanted something, we earned it,” he said.

“Our mother taught us that girls had to take care of themselves,” Martha said.

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