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Jesse L. Simpson

Previous Illinois Supreme Court Justice

Jesse L. Simpson was born at Troy, Madison County, Illinois on January 13, 1884. His parents being of modest means, it was necessary that he begin working at an early age. During school vacation periods he worked on nearby farms. At the age of sixteen he was employed as a railroad section hand and later served as telegraph operator. During his employment as operator, he began the study of law, and later entered the Illinois Wesleyan University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1909. He was admitted to the Illinois Bar in the same year and began the general practice of law at Edwardsville where he continued in general practice until elected to the bench. In his early practice he served as City Attorney of Edwardsville for four years, and was also Master in Chancery of the Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois for two terms. Much of his time was devoted to civic and charitable matters. He was president of the Board of Education at Edwardsville for eight consecutive years, headed the Madison County Chapter, American Red Cross, and also was president of Cahokia Mound Council, Boy Scouts of America. He was connected with certain financial institutions, being the president of Edwardsville Savings & Loan Association and vice chairman of the Board of Edwardsville National Bank and Trust Company. He was also vice president of Alton Memorial Hospital. He was a member of the Methodist Church and chairman of its office board. He also belonged to various Masonic Orders, the Knights of Pythias, and the Modern Woodmen of America. In November 1946, Justice Simpson was elected County Judge of Madison County and on August 4, 1947 was elected to the Supreme Court of Illinois from the Second Judicial District in an election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Justice June C. Smith in February of that year. He died May 7, 1973.