Select Simpson Miscellany

Here are some Simpson stories and accounts over the years:

Simson and Simpson

In the 15th century a John Symson living in the city of London was alternatively known as John Sympson, thereby showing that the two spellings of the same name could exist side by side.

The Simpsons from Buckinghamshire

The family name Simpson was said to have emerged as a notable English family name in the county of Buckinghamshire, where they were descended from Archil, a Saxon lord living at the time of King Edward the Confessor around 1050. 

Even after the Conquest this family held many lands, including the manor of Clint in Yorkshire.  In the 12th century this branch called themselves de Clint.  Simon, son of William de Clint, adopted the name Simpson to distinguish himself from the other de Clints.  From the 14th century his family became known as Simson. They flourished and moved north into Scotland where they became affilated with the Fraser clan.

The Simpsons of Idle in Yorkshire

Idle is a small village in the West Ridings of Yorkshire close to Bradford.  It history goes back to the 14th century and the Simpsons there back to 1629.

The William Simson recorded then was the forebear of the Simpson family which followed.  William died in 1661.  His sons Richard and John Simson appeared in the Idle Hearth Tax records of 1672.  John Simson was constable of Idle in 1686. 

The spelling changed with the next generation to Simpson.  An area called Simpson Green, named after a family holding, was first reported in the 1739 register of the local Calverley church.  The Simpsons remained in Idle village through the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Simsons of Blairstruie

The Simson family of Blairstuie was one of old standing, having established itself in Fifeshire in the 15th century.  There were subsequent branches of the family at Pitcorthie and Brunton.

The family fortunes took an upturn after George Simson went out to India in 1783, made a fortune there, and returned home to spend it.  He first acquired the Pitcorthie estate in Fifeshire and then various estates in England, including Sillwood Park in Berkshire.  He was MP for Maidstone in Kent in 1806.

The fortunes of the Simson family later declined.  George Simson's business ventures in London proved disastrous.  His sons chose to have careers with the East India Company in India.  One Simson did return to live at Brunton in Fifeshire in the 1880’s.

John Simpson, Virginia Planter

John Simpson, a Virginia planter, made the following deposition about his father in 1748:

“John Simpson of Stafford county, planter and aged about 69 years, deposed and said that he had been informed than he was born within ten miles of Woodstock in Stafford county.  While he was a child the Deposer’s father and mother removed to live on the Woodstock plantation and continued there until he was about 15 or 16 years of age.  At that time he removed himself about a mile from there and continued there until he came of full age and married and has lived ever since that time within twenty miles of the plantation.

This Deposer perfectly well remembers George Brent, deceased, who lived at Woodstock when the Deposer’s father and mother removed there.  The Deposer always understood and was informed by his father, who served his time with the first George Brent, that this George was born in England and came from there to Virginia.”

His father John Simpson was a Scotsman and was indentured to George Brent when he came to America.  He is believed to be the John Simpson reported at Acquia in Virginia in 1680.

The son John Simpson was illiterate and attached his mark to his will made out in 1756.

“I John Simpson of Stafford county, being sick but of perfect mind, do make this my last will and testament.  I recommend my soul into the hands of God and that my body be buried in a decent manner.  I will give and bequeath to Ann, daughter of Benjamin Sudderth, one feather bed and furniture and one young pacing horse of one year of age.  I give to Alexander Simpson two coats and my riding saddle.  I give to my beloved wife Silent Simpson all the remaining parts of my personal estate.  And lastly I appoint my beloved wife Silent Simpson as my whole & sole executrix.” 

He had two brothers, Thomas and George, who had died before him.

George Simpson and His Offspring

George Simpson, known as “the little emperor” for his leadership of the Hudson Bay Company between 1820 and 1860, had been born illegitimately around 1787 (the exact date is uncertain) in Scotland to George Simpson and an unknown woman.  Simpson had subsequently little respect for legitimacy.  He sired at least eleven children by at least seven women, only one of whom was his wife.

While in London he produced two daughters by two unknown women. When he left for Canada they were sent to Scotland to be cared for by his relatives. The eldest, Mary Louisa Simpson, was given a £500 dowry on her marriage and moved to Canada. She has over a hundred recorded descendants.

In 1817 Simpson produced a daughter by a half-Cree washerwoman named Betsy Sinclair.  She was soon passed onto an accountant whom he had promoted. The daughter married an English botanist but died in a canoe accident on her honeymoon.

The record of James Keith Simpson is poorly documented. Simpson then fathered two sons, George and John, with Margaret Taylor.  Soon after the birth of John, Simpson left Margaret to marry his cousin.  Simpson shocked peers by neglecting to notify Margaret of his marriage or to make any arrangements for the future of his two sons. The sons have over 400 descendants in Western Canada and California.

By his legal wife between 1831 and 1850 he had five children. After his wife's death he impregnated a servant and married her off to his manservant.

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