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William E. Simms (born William Elliott Simms; January 2, 1822 – June 25, 1898) was a U.S. Representative from Kentucky.[1] He also served as a commissioner for the Confederate government of Kentucky and in several posts in the Confederate States government during the American Civil War.

William E. Simms
Confederate States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
February 18, 1862 – May 10, 1865
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1861
Preceded byJames Clay
Succeeded byJohn Crittenden
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
William Elliott Simms

(1822-01-02)January 2, 1822
Harrison County, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedJune 25, 1898(1898-06-25) (aged 76)
Paris, Kentucky, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materTransylvania University


Simms was born in Harrison County, Kentucky. He attended the public schools, and was graduated from the law department of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1846. He was admitted to the bar in 1846 and commenced practice in Paris, Kentucky.

Simms served as a captain in the United States Army throughout the Mexican War, and was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1849 to 1851. He was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-sixth Congress (March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1861), but unsuccessfully ran for reelection in 1860.

On October 21, 1861, Simms was appointed to the temporary rank of colonel in the Confederate States Army. He was appointed lieutenant colonel in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States on December 24, 1861, and was assigned to the First Battalion, Kentucky Cavalry. He resigned his commission on February 17, 1862, having been chosen as one of two senators from Kentucky to the Confederate States Congress. He was a member of the Senate of the First and Second Confederate Congresses and also served in President Davis' Cabinet.

After the war, he engaged in agricultural pursuits, and died on his estate, "Mount Airy," near Paris, Kentucky, on June 25, 1898. He is interred in Paris Cemetery.


  1. ^ The Kentucky Encyclopedia gives the name as "Elliott"


  • United States Congress. "William E. Simms (id: S000421)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2008-10-19
  • Kleber, John E., ed. (1992). "Simms, William Elliott". The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Associate editors: Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0.
  • William E. Simms at The Political Graveyard

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