For the next few weeks, I’m going to feature several women in my family tree. This week is my maternal great-grandmother, Amy Ruth Duckworth Simpson, who went by the name Ruth.
She was born in 19 December 1902 in Campbell, Mo., the daughter of Felix and Bessie Pearl Clymer Duckworth. Her parents were 21 and 17, respectively, at the time of her birth, and I’m not entirely sure what happened during Ruth’s early childhood that she ended up being raised by her grandparents, but by age 7 she is living with Maggie Jane and J.C. Clymer in Benton, Mo., census records note.
She had one brother, Cecil Duckworth, born in 1906. There is no indication that he ever lived permanently with his mother’s parents like Ruth did.
She remains there, likely until her marriage, though I’m not entirely certain of this. She was living in Commerce in 1920, according to census records. She was 16 years old according to those documents, so there might be some discrepancy about her age.
She married Aaron Lloyd Simpson on 21 January 1922, in Lawrence, Kansas, where he was studying agriculture after the end of the Great War, which later generations called World War I. The couple moved back to Missouri, farmed and raised two children, Lloyd Norman and Harold Leroy.
She also helped to raised her grandchildren, my mom and aunt, when they were young teens.
My great-grandmother lived at the other end of the block from me when I was a kid so we were at her house all the time. I remember playing around her front yard on warm spring and summer days. I also remember sitting on her front porch swing, listening to her sing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and having Sunday dinners of Kentucky Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans at her house each week when my grandfather came down from St. Louis.
I remember writing notes to her to remind her to take her medicines, and watching “Hee Haw” on her television on Saturday nights when I’d spend the night so I could walk to church with her on Sunday mornings.
She died 25 November 1984 in Florissant, Mo., where she’d been living in a nursing home. She had dementia.
She is buried at Lightner Cemetery in Scott City, Mo., next to her husband, and near several Clymer relatives.