Monday, September 17, 2007

Genealogue Challenge #34

For those who can't get enough of O. J. Simpson, here's a challenge:

What was the name of his paternal grandmother's father?


Will Potter was the father of Lizie Potter who was the mother of James (Jimmie)Lee Simpson, OJ's dad. Sources: a Durden tree at ancestry and the 1920 Ark Ashley Co. census.


Will Potter?


Will Potter

O.J. Simpson's father was Jimmie Lee Simpson (1920-1986). According to the SSDI, Jimmie Lee Simpson was born in Arkansas, and his mother's maiden name was Potter.

The 1930 census shows Jim Simpson (age 10, born in Arkansas) living with grandparents Will and Mattie Potter in Wilmot Township, Arkansas.

Drew Smith

The book "Tabloid Culture" refers to O.J.'s great-grandfather as "Will Potter", with Will having a son named "L.D.". The 1930 census for Wilma Township, Ashley County, Arkansas shows Will Potter as head of household and in the household is 10-year-old grandson Jim Simpson, which would match O.J.'s father James "Jimmy" Lee Simpson, born in 1920.

Craig Manson

His paternal grandmother's father's name was Will Potter. Here's how to get there:
1. Check Wikipedia article on O.J. for father's name: James "Jimmy" Lee Simpson.
2. Wikipedia says father was born in 1920; died in 1986.
3. Check California Death Records for Jimmy Lee Simpson. Place of Birth: Arkansas; Mother's maiden name: Potter.
4. Check 1920 census for Simpsons near Potters.

Find 6 mo. old James Simpson in household of Will Potter, next door to Simpson household in Wilmot, Ashley County, Arkansas.


You all got it. Here's how I found the answer:

The obituary of O.J.'s father in the San Francisco Chronicle says he was a native of Wilmot, Arkansas, and that he was "survived by his mother, Pearlie Mae Wimberly of Los Angeles." Pearlie Mae's death certificate confirms that her maiden name was Potter (and says that she was only 9 years old(!) when Jimmy was born). The 1920 and 1930 censuses for Wilmot show Jimmy living with his grandfather, Will Potter.

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