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Manuscripts by Subject - Politics / Government - #10134

Title: Simons Family
Dates: 1924-1961

Collection Number: MSS 10134

Quantity: 2 feet

Abstract: Papers of Kenneth Wetherill Simons (1898-1948) and his son Kenneth William (Bill) Simons (1927-2007).

Kenneth Wetherill’s papers consist of correspondence, surveys, reports, studies, minutes, news releases, newspaper clippings, photographs, and printed material concerning the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), Civil Works Administration (CWA), RRA, North Dakota Water Resources Committee, North Dakota State Water Conservation Commission, Tri-State Water Commission, Interstate Conference on the Red River of the North, and the North Dakota Reclamation Association.  Correspondents include John Moses, Fred Aandahl, William Lemke, William Langer, Usher Burdick, Francis Case, and Milton Young.

Kenneth William’s papers include records of the Leader Publishing Company, Leader subscriptions, the Nonpartisan League (NPL), the North Dakota Democratic-NPL and Republican parties, political ephemera and printed material.

Provenance: The provenance of the Kenneth Wetherill Simons Papers is unknown.  The original inventory to this collection was prepared by Gregory S. Camp in May 1985. Bill Simon’s papers were donated by his wife, Ferne, and added to the collection by Emily Schultz in April 2014.

Property rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to the collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to materials in this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code and an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed. 

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.
Transfer: Eight photographs, all of which deal with civil defense, were transferred to the photo archives (Photo Collection 00111). Several artifacts were offered to the Museum Division of the State Historical Society of North Dakota in April 2014. See case file for a complete listing.

Related Collections:   
1353 Leader Publishing Company Stockholder's Meeting. 90 minute reel-to-reel master recording of the Leader Publishing Company Stockholder's meeting of January 29, 1955 at the Patterson Hotel in Bismarck, ND.


Kenneth Wetherill Simons was born on February 15, 1898 in Lima, Ohio to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Simons. He was the second of ten children and spent his early years in Ohio and Indiana.  Simons graduated from the Springfield, Ohio high school and attended Wittenburg College in the same city. Early in World War I, he entered the newspaper profession in Springfield and was transferred to Bismarck by the Associated Press in 1925.
Simons married Marie Malloy in Bismarck in 1926 and raised a family of four children. By 1930, he became editor of the Bismarck Tribune and served in that capacity until his death in 1948. In 1937, Governor Bill Langer appointed Simons to the State Water Conservation Commission and, like his tenure as editor, served until his death.

Along with his involvement with the Tribune, Simons was an active member of the Elks, Rotary, Bismarck Country Club, and American Legion. In the latter organization, Simons served as commander in 1935; in addition, he spearheaded the "Open Your Heart" Christmas campaigns.  Between 1937 and 1940, Simons also served with the 185th Field Artillery.

Kenneth W. Simons died on April 20, 1948, leaving a wife and four children:  Kenneth, Jr., Marie Joanne, Robert, and Paul.

Sources:  Information taken from the Kenneth Simons Papers.


Kenneth William "Bill" Simons, 79, Rolla, died March 16, 2007, at Altru Hospital, Grand Forks.

K.W. Simons was born in Bismarck, July 24, 1927, the son of Kenneth Wetherill and Marie (Malloy) Simons. His father was editor of The Bismarck Tribune and as a high school student, Bill worked at The Tribune. Upon graduating from Bismarck High School in 1945, Bill enlisted in the Navy and served his country at the end of World War II.

He attended Bismarck Junior College and graduated from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. He was editor of The Leader, the non-partisan league newspaper. His career in teaching began at Pettibone, where he met his wife, Ferne Rohde. They were married on Aug. 17, 1958, at Pettibone, and were blessed with three daughters and enjoyed life together for the next 49 years. His teaching career took them to Zap and Erie, before many years with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a high school English and history teacher on several Indian reservations including Pine Ridge, S.D., White Shield, Belcourt and Lower Brule, S.D. After retirement from the BIA, he taught at Esmond.

Bill was an active political participant, avid reader, faithful "letters to the editor" writer, knowledgeable of all levels of government and an advocate of democracy. He was involved in the International Borderland Car Club, Retired Federal Employees Association, North Dakota Historical Society, Rolette County Historical Society, Rolla American Legion, Rolla Senior Citizens and enjoyed World War II airplanes and big band music.

He is survived by his wife, Ferne, Rolla; his daughters, Roberta (Bill) Mathiason, St. John, Rebecca (Scott) Ward, Hastings, MN., and Bonita (Vince) Ferretti, Hickory, NC; a surrogate son, Vine Whiteface, Laramie, WY.; his grandchildren, Amanda, Megan and Lars Mathiason, Rachel and Nicole Ward and Morgan and Matthew Ferretti; his sister, Joanne Murray, San Diego; his brother, Dr. Paul Simons, Anchorage; and his nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Robert J. Simons.

Source: The Bismarck Tribune, March 25, 2007


Series I:           Kenneth Wetherill Simons: State Water Conservation Commission Records,

Box 1:
1 Geological Survey Maps and Descriptions of North Dakota Lakes, 1937-1938
2 Tri-State Water Commission, Minutes and Correspondence, 1937-1938
3  State Water Conservation Commission Correspondence with Lt. JohnTucker, Army Corps of Engineers, 1944-1945 
4 Letters to the State Water Conservation Commission, 1937-1940
5 Letters to the State Water Conservation Commission, 1941-1943             
6 Letters to the State Water Conservation Commission, 1944-1945
7 Letters to the State Water Conservation Commission, 1946-1947
8 Water Conservation Commission Correspondence and Reports, 1938-1944
9 Reports of North Dakota Water Resources, North Dakota Planning Board (Water), 1937 
10 Drought Study, 1937-1945
11 Need for Irrigation File, 1945-1947 
12 Flood Mobilization Plan, Garrison District, 1947 
13 Land use in Burleigh County Report, 1940 
14 Rural Rehabilitation File, 1940s-1950s

Series II:          Kenneth Wetherill Simons: Federal Program Files, 1935-1952

15 Farm Credit Administration reports and correspondence with regard to North Dakota, 1930s
16 Federal Relief material dealing with North Dakota, 1930s
17 Civil Works Administration files, 1930s 
18 Works Progress Administration/Rural Resettlement Administration/Reconstruction Finance Corporation in North Dakota files, 1935-1952
19 National Re-employment Service, 1936-1939  

Series III:        Kenneth Wetherill Simons: Federal Reports Files, 1937-1950

20 Federal Housing Administration Report, 1950
21 Land ownership in North Dakota, a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1950
22 Land ownership in North Dakota file, 1939 
23 Land ownership in North Dakota file, 1937
24 Publicly owned land in North Dakota file, 1940 
25 Social Economics of North Dakota, 1942

Series IV:        Kenneth Wetherill Simons: Civil Defense Records, 1941-1958

26 Bismarck-Mandan Target area survival plans, Red Cross material, 1941-1958
Series V:          Kenneth William Simons: Leader Publishing Company and Political Records,

Box 2:
1 Leader Publishing Company: minutes, correspondence, financial information, 1945-1960
2 Leader Publishing Company: bylaws, membership records, subscription reports, 1950s
3 Leader Publishing Company: bylaws, membership records, subscription reports, 1950s (continued)
4 Leader Publishing Company stockholders (ledger), 1945-1946
5 Nonpartisan League (NPL) membership and Leader subscriptions (removed from ledger), 1954-1958
6 Nonpartisan League (NPL) membership and Leader subscriptions (continued), 1954-1958
7 NPL membership and Leader subscriptions (continued), 1954-1958
8 NPL membership and Leader subscriptions, 1956
9 NPL membership and Leader subscriptions, 1958
10 NPL records: convention minutes, convention delegates, precinct worker names and resources, correspondence, convention procedures, elections of
committeemen, resolutions of township and precinct meetings, credentials committee reports, financial records, 1924-1960
11 NPL records (continued), 1924-1960
12 NPL records (continued), 1924-1960
13 Democratic-NPL records: meeting minutes, memoranda, campaign appraisal questionnaire, financial information, election and convention material, platform, 1956-1962
14 North Dakota Republican party, 1958-1961
15 Political ephemera and printed material: broadsides, programs, brochures, flyers, bumper stickers, 1950s-1960s

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