Sim Family of Scotland History


Duncan Monroe Sim and Elizabeth Gormley

Duncan was born August 29, 1874, in Clydebank, Old Fitzpatrick, Scotland. 

His parents were James (#3) Sim and Mary Kennedy

He was the fourth born of 10 children.  At the time of his birth his father was working at the Thomson Shipyard in Clydebank.  His father had been recruited to come to the Thomsson yard because he was a journeyman shipfitter.  Being a journeyman he and his family were entitled to live in the tenement house owned by the yard.  This was where he was born.  After the yard closed, the famous tenement house was finally torn down around 1995 and is now a park.

According to Margaretta, it is believed that Duncan Monro was the first to emigrate to the United States around 1888.  The story is that at the age of 14 he came over with his aunt Margaret Monroe and her husband.  Duncan stayed in Philadelphia, but Margaret and her husband eventually went on to Baltimore, Maryland.  Duncan went to work on a tug boat.  His parents and the rest of the family came to the U.S. in 1890. 

According to the Michigan census of 1894, Duncan is list as living in Bay City, Michigan with the other members of his family.  They were all working in a shipyard in Saganaw, Michigan.

Duncan returned to Philadelphia.  He then began working in shipyards as a shipfitter.

Duncan Monroe Sim married Elizabeth M. Gormley in 1898. 

They had four children:

James Monro Sim, born October 12, 1900, in Philadelphia
Margaretta Sim, born October 4, 1901, in Philadelphia
John Duncan Sim, born July 5, 1903, in Newport News, Virginia
Henry Allen Sim, born August 3, 1908, in Philadelphia

The reason that John was born in Newport News is that was where his father Duncan was working.  In those days the shipbuilders followed the ships.  When the ship they were working on was finished, they moved on to another yard to get work.

The 1910 United States Census records show Duncan and his entire family living with the Gormly family at 2804 E. Norris St., Philadelphia, with his Father-in-Law:
    Bernard Gormley, age 60, head of house
    Lizzie (Elizabeth) M. Sim, age 28, Daughter
    Charlie Gormly, age 9, Son
    Duncan Monro Sim, age 34, Son in Law, Shipfitter
    James Sim, age 9, Grandson
    Margaretta Sim, age 8, Granddaughter
    Duncan (John) Sim, age 7, Grandson
    Allen, age 1 1/2, Grandson
At this time there was also a visitor living there, a Maggie Monroe, age 60.  (This is probably the Margaret Monroe who brought Duncan Monro Sim to the United States).

Left to right:  Father Duncan Monroe, John Duncan, Allen (down front)
James, Margaretta, and mother Elizabeth.  Probably around 1915.

In 1918 Duncan registered for the military draft.  At the time he was 43, living at 2542 Dauphin St., Philadelphia, and working as a shipfitter at Cramps & Son Shipyard.  This shipyard was down the end of Norris St., a few blocks away.

In 1920 the following were living at 2542 Dauphin St.
Duncan, age 45, shipfitter
Elizabeth his wife, age 36
Allen, son, age 11
Margaretta, daughter, age 18 (now married to Joseph Heston)
Joseph Heston, ( Margaretta's husband) age 19, his occupation was a flue blower on a railroad
Joseph H. Heston, son of Joseph and Margaretta, age 9 months

In 1930 the following were listed again at 2542 Dauphin St., Philadelphia.
Duncan Monroe, age 48?, working as a shipfitter at a shipyard
Elizabeth (Duncan's wife), age 47
Allen, son, age 22, ironworker, shipyard
John, son, age 26, ironworker, shipyard
William (son of John) age 5

Elizabeth died at age 49 on July 2, 1932 and is buried at the New Cathedral cemetery, in Philadelphia.

In 1941, Duncan was working at the Kensington Ship & Drydock, in Philadelphia.

Duncan worked in many of the shipyards around Philadelphia, he even worked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard during World War Two.  He was around 72 at that time.  He was living at 1306 Berks St. in Philadelphia.  His height was 5' 1" and he weighed 130 lbs.

Duncan around 1945

Duncan was killed in a fall on March 27, 1950, at the house on Dauphin St.,  and is buried at the New Cathedral cemetery (on Tioga Avenue) in Philadelphia.

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