There's something about this photograph of "Mrs. Lillie Sims" that I like. Lily seems like a no-nonsense, self-assured woman with a touch of panache. I wonder if those who knew her would describe her that way. The reverse of this postcard portrait tells us, in very neat handwriting, that it "was taken in Chinook, Mont. Dec. 1916"
I started to look for Lillie in the 1920 census, and found her exactly where the postcard suggested we look, in Chinook, Blaine County, Montana. She is 51 years old in 1920, which tells us, that, in the above photograph, Lillie is approximately 47 years old. She was born in Illinois. Her husband is listed as A. W. Sims, 49, born in Canada and a rancher. There are four children living with them: Leah, 23; Irling, 15; Lois, 12; and Frances W., 7.
I went backwards, to the 1910 census and found Lillie, 42 in Chinook. She is living with her children: Gladies Cockrill, 16; Leah Cockrill, 13; Bruce Sims, 8; Irling Sims, 6; and Lois Sims, 3. Even though Lillie is listed as married, her husband is not recorded in the household. I thought I'd look for him. I did find an Amandus Wilson Sims working as a farmhand in Cypress, Chouteau County, Montana in 1910. He is listed as "married," but his wife isn't living in the same household.
I moved on to the 1930 census and Lillie H. Sims, 62 is now living in Hamilton, Ravalli County, Montana with her two daughters, Frances W. Sims, 18 & Leah M. Cockrill, 32. No A.W. I found Amandus Wilson Sims in Spring Coulee, Montana with his son Irling, Irling's wife Iva and son Philip. The dates match Lillie's son Irving.
Onto Lillie's marriage records. According to the Brigham Young University-Idaho's Western States Marriage Index Lillie Hesselgrove married James R. Cockrill in Fort Benton, Chouteau Co., Montana on the 22nd of August 1892. The bride and groom were both 24 years old.
I did not find Lillie's marriage to Amandus Wilson Sims.
Finally, I searched for Lily in the 1880 census, and found her in Richmond, McHenry County, Illinois. Her parents are Robert Hesselgrave, 68 and Sylvania Hesselgrave, 49. Lily also has a brother, Robert, aged 14.
According to the Montana Death Index, 1860-2007, Lillie's first husband, James Robertson Cockrill, died 5 Apr 1943. Her second husband, Amandus Wilson Sims died 22 May 1959 in Park County, Montana. Lillie Hesselgrave Sims passed away at age 81 on June 13, 1949.
|From "Liberty County Times," June 16, 1949|
For anyone interested in Chinook, Montana, there is a book called Chinook: The First 100 Years that contains wonderful photographs of its early days.