For other uses, see Eliza (disambiguation).
Eliza Van Houten (née Simpson; born 1852) was the daughter of Hiram and Mabel Simpson, the latter being the ancestor of the modern Simpson family who helped a man named Virgil get on the Underground Railroad.
During the era of the Civil War, Eliza helped a black slave named Virgil escape from Colonel Burns. She sheltered him in her house and forced her parents, Hiram and Mabel, into promising that they won't tell anyone about Virgil's presence. However, Colonel Burns deduced where Virgil had gone and arrived at the Simpson home, forcing Hiram into revealing the slave's location by offering shoes as gifts. Eliza tried to stop Burns, but Burns told him that little girls should be "seen, not heard", to which she sadly agrees. However, Mabel runs off with Virgil to Canada and eventually marries him, and divorcing Hiram. At first, it was believed by Lisa that she was the antecedent of the modern Simpson family, until it was revealed that she was merely a distant relative, and maternal half-sister to the Simpsons true direct ancestor, Abraham Simpson.
In a 1952 interview, there is a wedding photo in the background showing that Eliza ended up marrying Milford Van Houten, making Lisa and Milhouse distantly related, as they are both descended from Eliza's mother Mabel. In the interview, she tells that she only regrets not stopping Burns in finding Virgil, implying that she never found out about Virgil's successful escape.
It is possible that Eliza has been dead many decades before the Simpsons takes place.
- There is also a character named Eliza Simpson in the episode "Treehouse of Horror XV", though they are unrelated.
- In "Holidays of Future Passed", Lisa and Milhouse, distant relatives of each other, are shown to be married 30 years in the future, much like how Eliza and Milford married. However, it should be noted that the episode's events are non-canon, so it is unknown if the fact should be confirmed as true as of now.
- Since Virgil's position in the family is the great-great-great-great grandfather, it is possible that she and Hiram are related to the generations from The Simpsons Uncensored Family Album that came before the Hiram-Virgil cutoff. According to Abe, his family kept Virgil's existence a secret to avoid racist remarks at the time, which they may have also tampered with the family tree (such as removing Hiram, Mabel and Eliza from the tree) to deny any affiliation with Virgil.
- Coincidentally, Eliza looks very similar to Lisa Simpson, despite not even being directly related to her (she is related to Milhouse).