Sims Family (Friend, Neb.) [RG5576.AM]


RG5576.AM:  Sims Family (Friend, Neb.)

Papers:  1899-2000; mostly 1899-1945

Friend, Saline County, Neb.:  

Size:  0.4 cu.ft.; 1 box


Earl Charles Sims, son of Mr. and Mrs. F.L. Sims, was born on May 9, 1876 at Chillicothe, Illinois. The Sims family moved to Nebraska in March of 1883 and settled on a farm northwest of Friend in Saline County. Sims attended Friend Public School and graduated in 1895. He taught in the local school district for one year and then became a member of the Colorado National Guard. After his discharge, he enlisted on April 19, 1899 and served in Troop I of the Fourth United States Cavalry. He trained in California and then was sent to the Philippines. Sims served on the staff of bodyguards of General Henry Lawton, and during the battle in which Lawton was killed, Sims was chosen as one of the six to carry the general off the battlefield. He was honorably discharged on April 18, 1902, having attained the rank of sergeant. After his discharge, he worked in the Jefferson Barracks and at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.

Earl Sims returned to Friend, Nebraska and married Margaret Andrew on May 23, 1906. They had three sons; Leland A., Lyle Francis, and Bernard Merle. Lyle Sims died in infancy. The family stayed on the family farm northwest of Friend until 1915 when they moved into town. The 1920 census lists Earl Sims’ occupation as “real estate.” Earl Sims stayed active in the community and was a member of Friend Lodge No. 73, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, and Friend Camp, Modern Woodmen of America, Head Council. He was also a member of William Lewis Camp No. 2, United Spanish War Veterans. He served as a trustee of the First Congregational Church of Friend from 1931 until his death. Earl C. Sims died on Sept. 1, 1933 and is buried in the Andrew cemetery.*

*Obituary for Earl C. Sims, The Friend Telegraph (Friend, Neb.), Sept. 8, 1933, 1:1.

Margaret Andrew Sims, daughter of Will and Mary Andrew, was born on a farmstead just west of Friend, Nebraska, on August 2, 1880. She married Earl C. Sims on May 23, 1906. She was a member of the First Congregational Church of Friend for 67 years and a member of Friend Rebecca Lodge for 69 years. Margaret Andrew Sims died in Friend, Nebraska on August 5, 1970 and is buried in the Andrew cemetery.**

**Obituary for Margaret Andrew Sims, The Friend Sentinel (Friend, Neb.), Aug. 13, 1970, 1:7.

Bernard Merle Sims, son of Earl and Margaret Sims, was born on June 5, 1916 in Friend, Nebraska. He attended Friend High School where he played football, winning a state championship in 1933. He graduated from Friend High School in 1934 and went on to the Lincoln School of Commerce in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he majored in accounting. Sims completed the junior accountancy course and graduated on Nov. 22, 1935. Sims enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served as Storekeeper 1st Class aboard the U.S.S. LST-26 in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He participated in the landings at Leyte and the Subic Bay operations in the Philippines. Sims was honorably discharged on December 15, 1945. After the war he settled in San Jose, California, where he went to work as the manager of the General Paint Store. In the late 1940s he met and married Steffi Abbott, a young widow with two children, Burton and Stephanie. They would also have another daughter, Lisa.

Bernard Sims founded Rent Rite Equipment Rentals, a tool and machinery rental company. After many years, Sims eventually sold the business to a national chain. He was an active booster for Stanford University’s football program and founded a group of season ticket holders know as the “Tailgaters.” Sims joined the San Jose Rotary Club in 1957 and remained a member for 42 years. Bernard Merle “Bernie” Sims died on Jan. 12, 2000.***

***Obituary for Bernard Merle Sims, Saratoga News (Saratoga, California), Feb. 23, 2000.


This collection consists of one box of family papers arranged in three series: 1) Earl C. Sims, 1876-1933; 2) Bernard M. Sims, 1916-2000; and 3) Sims and related families. The bulk of the collection relates to Earl Sims’ military service during the Philippine Insurrection and to his son, Bernard Sims’ service in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The collection contains correspondence, military service records, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous other memorabilia.

Series 1 consists of materials relating to Earl C. Sims. The majority of correspondence in folder 1 dates between 1899-1901 and consists of letters sent by Sims to his brother Leslie. Sims writes about his experiences in the Philippines. Also included in the correspondence is one letter dated May of 1918 written to Earl Sims by Chester Smith, who was serving with the 13th Infantry Supply Co., A.E.F., in Europe. The second folder contains documentation about Earl Sims’ military service and pension. The obituary and memorial booklet for Sims are found in folder 3. The last folder in series 1 contains several miscellaneous items including Sims’ calling card from his time at the Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis; a pass book to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (with photo of Sims attached); an 1899 Philippine Insurrection service medal; and a “Visitor” medal/badge to the 31st National Encampment of the United Spanish War Veterans in Denver, Colorado, 1929.

Note:  Various photographs of Earl Sims and the Sims family have been transferred to the photo component of the collection [RG5576.PH].

Series 2 contains materials relating to Bernard M. Sims. This series includes a scrapbook and memorabilia from Bernard’s high school days (1931-1934) as well as correspondence and other information relating to his military service during World War II. The scrapbook contains mostly high school event programs and miscellaneous newspaper clippings. The folder of Friend High School memorabilia includes alumni banquet programs (1984, 1989), a booklet of YMCA Camp Songs, a felt “32” patch and a chenille “F” (probably for a high school letterman’s jacket), and two “District 1 Music Contest” medals (Sims participated in music contests in high school).

The three pieces of correspondence in this series consist of letters written by Bernard to his mother. They are written from New Guinea, the Philippines, and China. The letters mainly discuss site-seeing experiences during “R & R.” Also included in this series are military service and discharge papers, information about the U.S.S. LST-26 and its crew, and examples of foreign currency collected by Bernard Sims. Note:  The original currency is restricted, but photocopies have been provided for reference use.

Note:  Various photographs of Bernard Sims have been transferred into the photo component of the collection [RG5576.PH], including photos of the 1934 Friend High School class and various snapshots take by or of Sims in the Philippines during World War II.

Series 3 contains miscellaneous information about the Sims and related families (and friends). This series includes memorial programs, newspaper clippings (including obituaries), and misc. other notes.

Note:  Various photographs have been transferred into the photo component of the collection [RG5576.PH], including photos of members of the Sims, Andrew, and Packard families.


Series 1 – Earl C. Sims, 1876-1933

Box 1


    1. Correspondence, 1899-1901, 1918

    1. Military service and pension documentation

    1. Memorial booklet and obituary

    1. Miscellaneous, including: Calling card; pass book; 2 medals

Series 2 – Bernard M. Sims, 1916-2000

    1. Scrapbook, Friend High School, 1933-1934

    1. Friend High School memorabilia

    1. Diploma, Lincoln School of Commerce, 1935

    1. Correspondence, 1944, Oct. – 1945, Oct.

    1. Military service and discharge papers

    1. Information about the USS LST-26 and crew

    1. Foreign currency collected by Bernard (photocopies only)

Series 3 – Sims and related families

    1. Memorial programs

    1. Newspaper clippings

    1. Miscellaneous



Andrew Family

Friend (Neb.) — History

Friend High School (Friend, Neb.)

Military service

Packard Family

Philippine American War, 1899-1902

Sims Family (Friend, Neb.)

Sims, Bernard Merle, 1916-2000

Sims, Earl Charles, 1876-1933

Sims, Margaret (Andrew), 1880-1970

Soldiers — Friend (Neb.)

World War, 1939-1945


Revised 05-23-2008   TMM/pb

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