Thursday, April 15, 2010
Various Gilbert Simpsons of Northern Virginia and Nearby Maryland
The Continuing Search for the Kinship of the Various Gilbert Simpsons of Northern Virginia and Nearby Maryland
Researched and compiled by
Robert C. Neibling
627 Glen Eagles Avenue, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Written in 2007
In 2001, I made a diligent effort to distinguish between the three Gilbert Simpsons who were contemporary residents of Fairfax County, Virginia in 1750. I discovered that the eldest of the three was the son of John and Elizabeth (_________) Simpson, born about 1699 in Charles County, Maryland. Of the younger Gilberts, one was confirmed to be the son of the elder Gilbert and his wife, Elizabeth Williams. He died in 1803 in Fairfax County, Virginia. The third Gilbert had moved from Fairfax County to Loudoun in 1761. He entered into a partnership with George Washington and had relocated to Fayette County, Pennsylvania from 1774 to 1786 and then moved on to Kentucky where he died in 1794. Other than to suggest that this Gilbert was probably a nephew of the elder Gilbert, I was not able to identify his father. I documented the results of my research in a paper entitled, Profiles of the Three Gilbert Simpsons of Eighteenth Century Fairfax County, Virginia and sent copies to various genealogical repositories around the country.
In the ensuing years, I have continued my research of the Gilbert Simpsons of Fairfax County and nearby Prince Georges’ County, Maryland. In the process, I was able to establish the ancestry of an additional 18th century Gilbert Simpson and develop a plausible scenario for the identity of the father of the Gilbert who was Washington’s partner. In some instances, unexpected difficulties arose when some of the circumstantial evidence produced conflicting results. The conflicting evidence is presented and analyzed in this paper and an objective effort was made to reconcile the discrepancies. The results were the identification of probable lines of descent based on the preponderance of evidence. I decided to document the results and produce a sequel to my original research paper with the hope that future discoveries will provide additional clarification of these lines.
For purposes of continuity, this publication repeats some of the biographical information included in the earlier Profiles paper. However, these narratives have been modified to include new discoveries. In total, this publication identifies ten Gilbert Simpsons through six generations, all of whom descend from John Simpson of Charles County, Maryland. Another given name found frequently among these descendants is ‘French’ although no French surname has been found in this ancestral line. Seven French Simpsons are identified in this paper.
The research documented in this publication has been aided tremendously by the contributions of several other Simpson family researchers. I am particularly indebted for the excellent research plus the advice and consultation of the following Simpson researchers: Mary Gregg of Austin, Texas who has done extensive research of the various Simpsons of Northern Virginia and has diligently documented the results. She graciously shared the results of this research with me and her documentation was an invaluable aid in the production of this research paper. Likewise, Ralph D. Smith of Port Orange, Florida has done extensive research of the original records in Charles and Prince George’s Counties, Maryland. His interpretative skills in the analysis these ancient records have resulted in the publication of several family based genealogical histories which he freely shared with me. His consultation was extremely valuable to me in compiling this research paper. Dwight Barr of Midvale, Utah is a descendant of the Gilbert Simpson who became George Washington’s partner in the construction of a mill in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. His research was a great asset in determining the identities of the children of Gilbert and his wife, Tamer Johnston. Anna Corbin Dodson of Alexandria, Virginia is descended from William Simpson and his wife, Elizabeth Gretter. She researched the descendancy of various Gilbert Simpsons from his line and shared the results with me along with Lynne Simpson, the wife of her cousin, George Simpson. Robert P. Moore of Lexington, Kentucky has done extensive research of the Simpsons of Kentucky and shared with me valuable information about Thomas Simpson, probable eldest son of Gilbert and Tamer (Johnston) Simpson, based on documented evidence in Nelson County, Kentucky. Erick Montgomery of Augusta, Georgia has researched the descendants of John Simpson (the Scotsman) in Northern Virginia and has constructed a very impressive line of descent from this progenitor, identifying the kinship of most of the early Simpsons of Fairfax County. Although not connected with this line, his research was valuable in sorting out the different lines of descent.
Effective genealogical research is truly a team effort which is clearly demonstrated in the compilation of this research paper. I am most appreciative of the willingness that all of these dedicated researchers displayed in sharing the fruits of their labors and making this research paper a reality. Hopefully, by freely sharing the information in this paper, the process can continue for the benefit of future generations.
Finally, a word of caution. This research paper is the product of hundreds of hours of intensive genealogical investigation by many researchers of the Maryland and northern Virginia Simpson lines. These efforts have been severely challenged because, in many instances, there are no wills, deeds, or other legal documents establishing proof of descent of some of the subjects featured. Rather, this paper is the product of a combination of circumstantial as well as factual evidence. Consequently, where absolute proof is lacking, the conclusions drawn represent the most probable lines of descent based on an objective analysis of the available evidence. The risks in producing such a document are recognized and genealogists reviewing this paper are cautioned to use the evidence presented as an aid for further investigative research. Within this frame of reference, the background analyses in this paper and summaries derived therefrom have been sufficiently detailed and caveated so as to avoid premature conclusions being reached and perpetuated in various internet sites. It is my hope and intent that this research paper will be useful to other researchers in expending upon the descendants of John Simpson of Charles County, Maryland.
THE EVIDENCE & BIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVES
JOHN SIMPSON (ca. 1660’s – 1708) of Charles County, Maryland.
The progenitor of the Gilbert Simpsons featured in this research paper is a rather obscure individual named John Simpson who lived in Charles County, Maryland in the latter half of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth century. He lived in the same vicinity as Thomas Simpson and was of the same generation to have been his son. However, existing records do not provide the required proof. He was probably an adult by the 1680’s but does not appear in the records until 1694. Little is known of his personal life due to the paucity of public records in which he is mentioned. Research is complicated by the fact that there were two John Simpsons living in the same area of Charles County between 1694 and 1725. However, the records are basically sequential, separated by the death of the elder John in 1708.
The earliest record mentioning John Simpson of Charles County is actually a St. Mary’s County estate account for a William Roswell whose will was dated September, 1694 and probated in May 1695. This is because prior to 1696, the area where John lived was in St. Mary’s County. In this account, John Simpson is listed as owing a debt to the estate which would have been incurred some time prior to May of 1695.
John Simpson next appears in two court records in the October 1698 session of the Charles County court. In the first, Gerrard Slye brought action which resulted in Simpson recovering damages in the amount of 240 pounds of tobacco. In the next suit, brought by John Brasher, John Simpson is described as a “planter” but there is no indication that he was a property owner. His residence at that time was “Portobacco” where a Brasher administered treatment to John’s wife’s back and performed other services on 20 June, 1698. Brasher sued for payment and was granted 525 pounds of tobacco plus 253 pounds for costs incurred.
In the February 1699/1700 Charles County, Maryland Court, John Sympson of Charles County, Planter, was summoned to answer a plea by John Bayne that he “render unto him the sum of 750 pounds of leafe tobacco and cask which to him he oweth and unjustly detaineth”. The court supported Bayne’s petition. (Note: Robert Manhaine (Machone), who married John’s widow, was a servant of Captain John Bayne).
In March, 1704/5, John Simpson received payment from the administration account of the estate of Samuel Compton. Others receiving payment were: John Rowland, Phillip Briscoe, Matthew Compton, Henry Hardy, John Stansbury, Walter Storry, and Richard Cone. (Note: There is no known familial connection between John Simpson and any of the others. However, another Samuel Compton and another John Simpson, the presumed elder son of John, were sureties in the administration of the estate of Robert Whitely in Fairfax County, Virginia in April, 1744. This Samuel, was a son of Matthew and Susannah (Briscoe) Compton and was apparently a nephew of the first. Whitely’s widow was Susannah (Compton) Whitely, a daughter of Matthew Compton, and was also a surety. (Further details are provided in the biographical sketch of John Simpson, Jr.). Susannah subsequently married Henry Taylor in about 1745.)
John Simpson was also involved in two other court cases in 1705. Anne Wathen, widow, was attached to answer a charge of trespass brought by John Simpson but agreement was reached out of court. In the next action, John Simpson committed to the sheriff for eight pounds sterling and two hundred pounds of tobacco to satisfy a debt to Benoni Thomas.
On 29 November, 1704, John Simpson is mentioned in the will of John Young who bequeathed a one year old mare foal to Gilbert, youngest son of John (Simpson). This will was witnessed by Joseph Pile and John Parnham. John Simpson next appears as a witness to the will of Thomas Stonestreet on 14 October, 1706 along with Joseph Pile and John Parnham. These two records imply that John Simpson was an immediate neighbor of John Young, Joseph Pile, John Parnham, and Thomas Stonestreet and provide circumstantial evidence as to his parentage. Three generations of Thomas Simpsons were property owners in this vicinity beginning with the first Thomas Simpson who bought a tract of land west of Piles Fresh in 1671 which he called St. Thomas and another tract adjoining Piles Fresh which he called St. George. Piles Fresh was apparently named for either John Pile, an early 17th century settler in the area or his son, Joseph Pile, Sr., who died between 16 June, 1691 and 8 November, 1692. The first mention of this natural landmark in land records occurs in January 1668/9 so it seems to be more closely tied to the elder Pile. Joseph Pile, Sr.’s plantation, Sarum, was located on the east side of St. John’s Creek according to John Pile’s patent dated 16 August, 1662 and Joseph Pile’s patent dated 7 November, 1680. Thomas Simpson’s property also abutted St. John’s Creek, but on the west side. Sarum adjoined Thomas Stonestreet’s plantation, Morris’s Help. Joseph Pile, Jr. inherited Sarum and Edward Stonestreet inherited Morris’s Help. Joseph Pile, Jr. and John Parnham were brothers-in-law, Parnham having married Elizabeth Pile, daughter of Joseph Pile, Sr. Thomas Stonestreet’s daughter, Elizabeth, married Robert Hagar (Hagan?) who had purchased three parcels of land from Thomas Simpson: one parcel in 1687; another in 1695 bounded by Andrew Simpson and Thomas Clark containing 40 acres; and a third parcel, purchased in 1699, being part of St. George’s. These facts make a strong case that John Simpson was living on or near property purchased by the first Thomas Simpson, and was, therefore, possibly a younger son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Willan?) Simpson, an early settler of St. Mary’s (now Charles) County, Maryland. The fact that John named one of his sons Thomas adds further credence to this theory.
John Sympson and Thomas Sympson (apparent son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Willan?) Simpson, are separated by just one person in a very long debt list of those owing to the estate of Thomas Smoot in November, 1706. Two other names which appear later in the estate records of John Simpson are Thomas Orrell and William Hoult. Although the list contains 128 names, it is not alphabetical and may be somewhat more significant because Orrell is listed just before Simpson and William Hoult is listed just after.
In November, 1707 a John Simpson was sworn in as constable of Newport Hundred by Philip Briscoe. On 1 August, 1708, a John Crane brought suit against a John Mittchison for a charge of trespass involving a debt of 750 pounds of tobacco. John Simpson is listed in this record as having been paid 100 pounds of tobacco.
John Simpson died sometime prior to November, 1708 when his widow, Elizabeth Simpson, came into court and petitioned for reimbursement of expenses incurred while caring for and burial of the ailing school master, Jno. Lyscomb, in addition to being a poor distressed widow responsible for the care and well-being of five small fatherless children. Her petition is quoted as follows:
To the Worshipfull the Justices of Charles County now Setting in Court The humble Petition of Elizabeth Simpson Widdow Shewith — That whereas Jno. Lyscomb a Schoole master hapened to Dye att your Petitioners house and your Petitioner was at Considerable Expense and Charge in Tending him in his Sickness and burying the said Jno. Lipscomb and had noo manner of Compensason for the same he hath left some necessary wearing apparell In youre Petitioners Possession which if your worships think fitt to _______ upon your Petitioner In Regard of your Petitioners Trouble in the guise aft his sickness and chrg- of his buryall your worships Petitioner being a Poore Distressed Widdow and haveing the Charge of five small fatherless Children To Maintaine Shall Ever Pray _____
In response this petition, the court agreed that the personal belongings of the school master were the rightful property of Elizabeth Simpson as compensation for the expenses she incurred while caring for schoolmaster Lipscomb during his illness and for his burial.
On 9 February, 1708/9, Elizabeth Simpson, administratrix of the estate of John Simpson, had her administrative bond signed by sureties Joseph Cooper and William Hoult (Holt). The bond amount was 60 pounds. In the ideal case, one of the sureties is a close relative of the husband (to protect the interest of minor children) and the other, a close relative of the widow who is administrating the estate (to protect her interests). Where no such relatives are living nearby, the sureties may just be friends or neighbors who are willing to assume the risk of financial liability for the amount of the bond. However, where the estate is small and no land is involved, as it was with John Simpson’s estate, the risk is substantially reduced. In intestate estates, the wife is entitled to only one-third of the estate but when the widow remarries, she and her new husband have a tendency to end up with more that a third, to the detriment of the minor children. There is no indication that the sureties appointed for John Simpson’s bond were relatives of either John or Elizabeth. A review of the estate records of Cooper and Hoult (Holt) discloses no Simpson name in either estate record. However, there is evidence that the selection of Elizabeth’s sureties was influenced by Robert Machone. Specifically, Capt. John Bayne’s inventory account of 10 July, 1702 identifies Joseph Cooper and Robert Manhaine (sic) as servants of Bayne. The 15 July, 1703 inventory of widow, Madam Anne Bayne, identifies Robert Mahone as a servant. Interestingly, Joseph Cooper and William Hoult (Elizabeth’s sureties) were witnesses to Bayne’s will.
John’s estate was appraised by John Scott and Thomas Orell/Orrell in Charles County and recorded on 26 July, 1709. His estate was modest, consisting of a few livestock, household items, and no slaves. The total value as was 21 pounds, 17 shillings, 8 pence. By 6 April, 1711, John’s widow, Elizabeth, had remarried a widower named Robert Machone (spelled variously Machon, Mahone, Mackhorn, Mackhon, and Mahaune). In this record, her name is spelled Elisabeth Mahaune, wife of Robert Mahaune. Payments from the estate were made to: Anthony Simms (Anthony Semmes), Francis Wheatley, Madam Contee, James Williams (note that Gilbert Simpson married a daughter of James), Edward Stonestreet, Richard Highfield, John Crane, and Benjamin Hall. This was the last record involving John Simpson. The value of this estate was identical to that of the previous inventory account.
The next record involving Elizabeth Machone is a 1736 court case involving Michael Roby who brought suit against Daniel Ross. Roby obtained a writ of attachment against Ross for 250 pounds of tobacco plus 400 pounds of tobacco costs, claiming that Ross had absconded. Pursuant to this writ, in April, 1736 the Sheriff attached a small gray horse and an old gun of Ross’s that were in the hands of Elizabeth McHorne (sic). The horse and gun were appraised at the value of 550 pounds of tobacco and at a June, 1736 court hearing the property was condemned for Roby. Elizabeth did not appear to contest the attachment or condemnation. Thomas Simpson was present when the writ was served on Elizabeth and was one of the appraisers of the property that was attached.
Robert Mackhorne (sic) died in 1745 leaving Elizabeth a widow for a second time. He appears in several Charles County records including the estate records of James Williams in 1723, where he was an appraiser. Robert owned property on the east side of Pile’s Fresh named Hadlow. Robert Mahony acquired Hadlow, consisting of 300 acres by indenture dated 28 June, 1732 from Basil Waring and William Barton. This property was located “by an oak standing in the main swamp of Piles Fresh”. This was apparently just across the swamp from where John Simpson made his home. Robert Mackhorn’s will was dated 17 October, 1745 and proved 20 December, 1745. He mentions wife, Elizabeth; children: Robert, Elizabeth, William, Martha Duffy, Jane Wood, and Anne Ash; grandchild, Bennett Woodson; and sons-in-law, Jacob Wood and Thomas Ash. Witnesses were: Samuel Amery and James Dyson. At the time he made his will, Robert lived between “the main road and the land of Jacob Wood and Thomas Ash” (his sons-in-law). He directed that his sons, Robert and William, and his sons-in-law “build upon the land such houses as may be reasonably necessary for the said Elizabeth Mackhorne during the time she lives a single life but when ever the said Elisabeth Mackhorne either dies or marrys then that part of the aforesaid land of Hadlow to return to my son Robert…..”. Widow Elizabeth is cited as executratrix in Robert’s administration account dated 19 July, 1747.
Elizabeth Mackhon is next mentioned as a next of kin, along with Josias Simpson, in the inventory account of Thomas Simpson of St. Marys County, Maryland. This record comes from the Inventories of the Prerogative Court of Maryland wherein Thomas Simpson is recorded leaving an estate of 192 pounds, one shilling, and nine pence, 29 November, 1750 – 6 March, 1750/1. Details are:
Appraisers: Mr. James Mills & Capt. Zachariah Bond.
Creditors: Philip Key & John Eden.
Next of Kin: Josias Simpson & Elisabeth Mackhon.
Administrators/Executors: Benjamin Molten and wife, Mary.
In a deposition dated 10 May, 1755 by Elizabeth Machone which gives her age as 76, therefore, born sometime between 10 May, 1678 and 10 May, 1679 which is quoted as follows:
Maryland Charles County May 10th 1755 Elizabeth Machone, aged Seventy Six years and upwards, being duly Sworn on the holy Evangelists of Almighty God Declares that She remembers the Death of Marmaduke Simms about Sixty years agoe and that his Eldest son was Named Anthony and the Eldest son of the said Anthony Simms was Named Marmaduke & the said Marmaduke Simms Eldest son is named Anthony now alive and futter saith not —
It is interesting to note that others giving similar depositions at that time were: Christian Lemaster, aged seventy-five; Thomas Simpson, Jr., aged sixty; William Simpson, aged fifty-seven; and Richard Edelen, aged eighty-three. This strongly implies that John and Elizabeth (_________) Simpson were living in the same neighborhood as Thomas and William Simpson in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.
There is no record of Elizabeth (_________) Simpson Machone’s death but it apparently occurred sometime after 1761. The Charles County, Maryland Debt Book for the years 1758 and 1761 show Elizabeth Mchon and Mchone, respectively, as a part owner of Hadlow, 211 acres. However, this record must be caveated to the extent that a person may continue to be list on the debt rolls after their death if the authorities have not been notified of a new owner.
What these records disclose is that: 1). John Simpson was deceased sometime prior to November, 1708 when Elizabeth Simpson, widow, filed her petition to claim the clothing of deceased schoolmaster Lipscomb; 2). Elizabeth was born in either 1678 or 1679 so she probably married John Simpson about 1697 or 1698 (age 19 or 20) and if so, she was apparently a second wife of John because Gilbert, his “youngest son” according to John Young’s will of 1704, was born about 1699 (See deposition of Gilbert Simpson, 1 July, 1765 quoted further in this text); 3). John and Elizabeth were living in the same vicinity as other proven sons of Thomas Simpson, Sr. about the time of their marriage in the late 1600’s; 4). Elizabeth was either the mother (or perhaps, step-mother) of at least five children including sons: Gilbert, Thomas, and Joseph; and 5). Elizabeth apparently never married again after 1745 and probably lived at least into her 80’s.
John Simpson was probably married twice because, as discussed above, Elizabeth (_____________) Simpson Mahaune was probably too young to have been the mother of sons older than Gilbert who is described in John Young’s will of 1704 as “the youngest son of John Simpson”. If so, his eldest son may have been John Simpson, (Jr.?) because Charles County records identify another John Simpson appearing as an adult between the years 1708 and 1726.
The elder John died relatively young, perhaps in his early 40s. His widow, Elizabeth, married as her second husband, Robert Machone by 1711. Robert was born about 1673 and died in 1745. Elizabeth died sometime subsequent to 1761.
The only documented son of John Simpson is Gilbert. However, others can be tentatively identified based on circumstantial evidence in Charles County records and associations with known family members. A detailed analysis of these likely sons follows:
1. JOHN SIMPSON: A younger John Simpson begins appearing in the Charles County records about the time that the elder John died. He was of adult age perhaps as early as 1708 but certainly by 1711. Therefore, he was probably born about 1690 by an earlier wife of the elder John. On 20 August, 1708 he registered his cattle mark. While this is near the time of the elder John’s death, it is assumed that the cattle mark was for the younger man. Presumably, a man in his forties would have registered his mark earlier. In November, 1711, John was sued for a debt of 1050 pounds of tobacco by Alexander Willson. Simpson failed to appear and judgment was for Willson. (On 8 June, 1714, this same Alexander Willson bought a tract of land from Thomas Simpson (the second) called Thomas’s Beginning, bounded by John Wathen, Richard Edelen, John Cathon, and the St. Thomas estate.) Alexander died the next year leaving his entire estate to the children of the said Thomas Simpson). In June 1713 John Simpson was sued by a Thomas Reed for a debt of 2660 pounds of tobacco accrued in 1708 and 1709 for articles of clothing and food. John next appears in the estate records of Philip Briscoe on 3 December, 1725 among numerous others who owed money to the estate. The most significant record linking the younger John to the elder John is found in the estate Inventory record Edward Briscoe dated 17 March, 1725/6. In this record, John, Gilbert, and a Joseph Simpson all appear on a small list of those who owe debts of tobacco to the estate. This portion of the record is quoted as follows:
A List of debts Tobacco Tobacco
Michael Boswell 500 Jno Redman 50
Gilbert Simpson 300 John Slye 40
Edward Birch 670 Priscilla Saintclair 100
Willm Throne 640 Gillum Wood 140
Joseph Simpson 40 Elias Herrington 60
Robert Taylor 300
John Simpson 40
John probably moved from Charles County to nearby St. Mary’s County by January 1729/30 when a John Simson (sic.) is shown making a payment to the administration account of a John Mills. This is the first mention of a John Simpson in St. Mary’s County and he does not appear in any other the records of St. Mary’s in the 1720’s. However, on 24 August, 1730, John Simpson was one of only three persons who were paid from the estate of Samuel Johnston of St. Mary’s County. Samuel Johnston had died in St. Mary’s County in 1729, sometime between 4 August when he made his will and 24 November, when it was proved. Samuel named his son, Samuel, and daughter, Susannah, his executors. This younger Samuel was apparently the Samuel Johnston of St. Mary’s County who moved to Clifton Neck in Fairfax County, Virginia on 19 August, 1745 and settled with wife, Hannah, and son Samuel on 200 acres and a plantation whereon John Simpson now lives….
During the 1730’s there were seven St. Mary’s County residents who died, leaving administration account records mentioning John Simpson of St. Mary’s County. John Young and Thomas Greenfield, the decedents in these last two records died in May, 1731 and March, 1733/4, respectively. Thereafter, there is an extended break in the mention of a John Simpson in St. Mary’s County records. The chronological evidence provided by these records fits nicely with the arrival of John Simpson in Fairfax County, Virginia in about 1736. Therefore, it is considered probable that John Simpson, eldest son of John Simpson of Charles County, Maryland preceded his younger brother, Gilbert, to Fairfax County. However, this theory is complicated by an entry in a publication entitled, The First Hundred Years of Mount Vernon, by Robert M. Moxham which states that Augustine Washington “replaced his overseer, bringing in his stead John Simpson in 1736. The fact that Simpson had only just arrived in Virginia from England, and presumably had no experience in frontier agriculture may be circumstantial evidence that Capt. Augustine had been dissatisfied with the performance of Simpson’s predecessor……..”. This statement is extremely significant because if the immigration from England is accurate, this John Simpson is eliminated as the younger John Simpson of Charles County. Unfortunately, Mr. Moxham did not cite a source reference in his publication but the primary source was probably a deposition by John Simpson dated 29 March, 1748. It reads as follows:
“John Simpson aged forty nine Years being produced as a Witness by the Ptf in the Difference aforesaid being first sworn on the Holy Evangelist in presence of the Surveyor & Jury deposeth that eleven Years ago he became an Overseer to Augustine Washington ______ that the Point called Sayn Landing had then & for some time before the name of the Sayn Landing that the Point shown by the Dft to the Surveyor & Jury before the House where William Sparks lived was then called the River Landing that the overseer immediately before him used to call it so as likewise John Reed who lived as a servant with William Sparks formerly a Tennant there nor did he ever hear it called the Creek Landing. And being asked which he thought the Mouth of the Creek answered from a point of Marsh just above what he has deposed for the River Landing & Mr. Clifton’s Point being asked how long since he first came to Virginia say twelve Years and further saith not Signed this 29th of March 1748.
John l—l—l Simpson.”
The only factual difference in the deposition and in Moxham’s statement is the reference to John having immigrated from England. In an effort to verify this reference, an intensive study was conducted to find another primary source reference. As disclosed in the detailed footnote below, no mention was found of Augustine Washington bringing a John Simpson from England to be his overseer. It is considered likely that when John Simpson said he “first came to Virginia say twelve years…” (i.e., 1736), Mr. Moxham may have made a logical assumption that he had been recruited by Augustine Washington on his business trip to England that same year. This assumption was probably influenced by the depositions of Bryan Allison in 1748 and 1786, references to which immediately follow the statement about John Simpson in Moxham’s book. Allison did, in fact, emigrate from England and he was also deposed in the 1748 Marshall v. Darrell court case, saying he had “been in this country about 11 years”. This is strikingly similar to Simpson’s statement about having been in Virginia for twelve years. In actuality, Simpson, in his deposition, was probably referring to his having moved over to Virginia from Charles County, Maryland. A careful reading of Simpson’s deposition discloses that he did not become Washington’s overseer until he had been in Virginia for as long as a year. If Washington brought Simpson from England for that purpose it is unlikely that he would have waited a year to put him to work.
John Simpson and Gilbert Simpson both appear in the estate records of Robert Whitely in Fairfax County in 1744 and provide further evidence that John had roots in Charles County. Compton’s estate owed Gilbert Simpson 600 pounds of tobacco and John Simpson signed Whitely’s administration bond as a surety along with widow, Susanna Whitely, and Samuel Compton on 10 April, 1744. John’s signature mark (l—l—l) confirms that he is the same John Simpson who signed the deposition in 1748. Robert Whitely was also a former resident of Charles County. He had married Susannah Compton, sister of Samuel Compton, the other surety. Nearly forty years before, the elder John Simpson received payment from the estate of Samuel Compton, apparent brother of Matthew Compton who was the father of this Samuel Compton and of Whitely’s widow, Susannah (Compton) Whitely. John Simpson was still living in Fairfax County in 1749 based on a court order book entry dated 23 June which reads, “William Ashford is appointed constable in the precinct whereof John Simpson was lately constable”.
John’s whereabouts subsequent to 1749 cannot be determined due, in part, to the emergence of multiple John Simpsons in northern Virginia. Moreover, there are indications that he may have moved back across the Potomac to Maryland. The August, 1749 Charles County Court records disclose that Messrs. Stephenson & Company sued Captain Samuel Chunn for 897 pounds of tobacco. The statement of account produced in court shows that 872 pounds of that amount was a debt that Chunn incurred in April, 1748 as a credit to John Sympson. (Note: One sees this kind of transaction fairly often. A person, usually a merchant, (in this case, Stephenson and Co.) credits a second person with a certain sum (in this case, Simpson) and at the request of a third person (in this case, Chunn) makes the third person (but not the second person) liable to the first person for the amount extended. What is unusual in this instance is that the amount credited Sympson is virtually the entire amount owed by Chunn). It may be significant that Samuel Chunn was the person that Gilbert and Elizabeth Simpson employed as power of attorney on 11 August, 1748 in the sale of their inheritance from the James Williams estate (Reference the Gilbert Simpson, Sr. biography).
In summary, the information about the younger John Simpson being an elder son of John Simpson (the elder) is not absolute but there is considerable circumstantial evidence indicating that he was a son of John and a first wife whose name is not known. Conflicting facts are a variation of his age (ca. 1690 versus 1699 as given in the deposition) and the shadow of doubt cast by Moxham’s seemingly unverifiable reference to John Simpson having immigrated from England. Based on the above cited records and the inability to find confirming source records of his immigration, the John Simpson of Fairfax County must be considered a likely son of John Simpson of Charles County.
2. GILBERT SIMPSON: Gilbert Simpson is confirmed as a son of John and Elizabeth (________) Simpson. He was born about 1699 in Charles County, Maryland. Details of his life are found in the biographical sketch entitled, I. Gilbert Simpson.
3. THOMAS SIMPSON: Thomas Simpson died in St. Mary’s County, Maryland in about 1750. The inventory of his estate was made 29 November, 1750 and recorded on 6 March, 1750/1. Administrator and executrix was Mary Molten, wife of Benjamin Molton and widow of Thomas. His next of kin are listed as Josias Simpson and Elizabeth Mackhon. Elizabeth was obviously Thomas’s mother, widow of John Simpson who had married second, Robert Mchaune. Therefore, Thomas is a confirmed son of John and Elizabeth (_______) Simpson. Josias, initially thought to be a brother, is now considered more probably an elder son of Thomas who was just reaching adulthood in 1750. In 1754, George Brent leased a parcel of property on Clifton Neck, Virginia to Josias Simpson for a term of seven years. This lease was terminated prematurely by the owner and Josias lost the law suit that he filed for recovery of expenses. It appears that Josias went back to St. Mary’s County because he is mentioned in nine different legal transactions between the years 1758 and 1778. This theory is further supported by the “emigration” of a Josias Simpson, farmer, from St. Mary’s County to Washington, D. C. in 1795. Thomas had married Mary Fanning, widow of John Fanning, sometime between 1 December, 1745 (when she is listed as Fanning’s wife) and 19 May, 1747 (when she is listed as Thomas Simpson’s wife). He probably had no children by Mary but may have had Josias (Josiah) and perhaps others by an earlier marriage.
4. JOSEPH SIMPSON: Joseph Simpson was born about 1705, apparently in Charles County, Maryland. Joseph first appears in Charles County records on 17 March, 1725/6 along with John Simpson and Gilbert Simpson and nine other persons in a “list of debts” of small amounts of tobacco in the inventory of the estate of Edward Briscoe. A Joseph Semson (sic.) is listed as receiving payment from the estate of William Willes in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Some time prior to 12 July, 1729, Joseph married Sarah Noe, who was also born about 1705. Joseph Semson (sic) and Sarey Semson are listed as next of kin on that date in the inventory of John Noe. Sarah Noe (apparently John Noe’s widow) was administratrix. Joseph Simpson is listed as 1 taxable in the 1733 Charles County Tax List, Newport West Side, Lower Part. Joseph was number 9 on the list. Also listed are Thomas Simpson, Sr. (number 42), James Simpson (number 43), Thomas Simpson, Jr. (number 45), and William Simpson (number 53). On 17 February, 1738/9, Joseph Simpson appears on a long list of those who made payments to the estate of John Fairfax. Joseph Simpson’s last recorded presence in Charles County was 25 September, 1740 when he signed the inventory of John Scot. By June, 1750 Joseph Simpson had moved his family to nearby Prince George’s County, Maryland. On that date he leased a portion of “Friendship” lying near Broad Creek from James Edelen for 20 years. On 13 December, 1758 he purchased 100 acres called Two Johns from John and Mary Parmar. Joseph’s property is listed there in the Debt Books from 1760 to 1765. In November, 1770 Edward Stonestreet and Joseph Simpson are recorded as sureties for the administration of the Prince George’s County estate of Eliazer Lanham by the administratrix, Christian Fry, wife of Leonard Fry. Joseph probably died sometime in 1782. His will was written on 29 October, 1780 and proved on 10 August, 1782. The will is very informative and is quoted as follows:
In the name of God Amen, I Joseph Simson do constitute this my last will and Testament in manner and form following. Item I give and bequeath unto my son Thomas all my Land that lies on the South side of the main Road. Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Juda all my Land that lies on the North side of the said Road but not until my wifes decease. Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Lyda one Cow with Calf. I give and bequeath to my Son Thomas after my wife’s decease one bed and Furniture. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Juda one Cow with Calf and to my Daughter Lyda one large Chest and one Bed and Furniture and one Iron pot. Item. I give and bequeath unto my Son John one Shilling Sterling. Item. I give and Bequeath unto my Son William one Shilling Sterling. Item. I give and Bequeath unto my Son Gilbert one Shilling Sterling. Item. I give and Bequeath unto my Son James one Shilling Sterling. Item. I give and bequeath unto my Son Joseph one Shilling Sterling. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Elizabeth One Shilling Sterling. Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Susannah on Shilling Sterling. Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Ann one Shilling Sterling. But it is my will and desire that none of the above Legatees be paid off till after my wife’s decease whom I do Constitute and Appoint Executrix of this my last will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 29th day of October 1780.
Joseph X Simpson
Signed and Sealed in presence of mark
Therefore, on the basis of the will and other source documents, the following children were born to Joseph and Sarah (Noe) Simpson:
1. John, born about 1725; married Sarah Ball, daughter of Richard Ball, and had the following children:
a. Ann, baptized on 26 January, 1752 at King George’s Parish, Prince George’s
b. Hezekiah, born 10 September, 1753 in King George’s Parish, Prince
George’s County, Maryland.
c. Eleanor, born 23 February, 1755; married William Lawson in 1778 in
Prince George’s County, Maryland.
d. John, born 18 March, 1760.
e. Josias, baptized in August, 1763 at King George’s Parish, Prince George’s
County, Maryland; married Sarah Phillips 1/8 December, 1789 at King
George’s Parish, Prince George’s County, Maryland.
f. Mary Ann, born 26 October, 1769 at King George’s Parish, Prince George’s
g. Susanna, born 24 June, 1772 at King George’s Parish, Prince George’s
2. Gilbert, born about 1730. (For further details of his life, refer to IV. Gilbert Simpson).
3. James, born about 1737. He married Priscilla ________ and had the following children:
a. Thomas, born 5 October, 1763; married Ruth King 7/10 April, 1787 in King George’s Parish, King George’s County, Maryland.
b. John, born 4 June, 1765.
c. Lewin, born 3 September, 1767; married 18 November, 1794, Elizabeth Burch.
d. Priscilla, born 28 April, 1773.
e. Sarah Ann, born 6 November, 1775.
4. Joseph, born about 1741; married Charity Teneley, who was born about 1747. Sometime prior to 1782 Joseph moved from Prince George’s County, Maryland across the Potomac to Fairfax County, Virginia. He owned 2 slaves, 5 horses and 7 cattle. Joseph is listed on the tax lists through 1795. He died in 1796 in Fairfax County, Virginia. He made his will on 21 January, 1795 and it was proved on 18 July, 1796. He mentions his wife, Charity, son, George, and daughters: Sollime, Mille, and Mimoon. He died in 1796 in Fairfax County, Virginia. Children were:
a. Tenely (Phillop (sic.) Tenaley), born 1762 according to the 1776 census or 1
October, 1764 (perhaps a baptism date?) .
b. Levi, born 1 June, 1764; died 13 June, 1838; married first, Jane Williams
and had children:
(1). Sarah, born 20 September, 1794.
(2). Ann, born 29 May, 1796.
(3). Margaret, born 10 December, 1796.
(4). French, born 12 April, 1800.
(5). George, born 10 January, 1802.
(6). Elizabeth, born 15 January, 1804.
(7). Lewis Conner, born February, 1807.
(8). Nancy, born 28 March, 1809.
Levi married second, Nancy Priest and had the following children:
(9). Joseph, born 8 April, 1818.
(10). Frank, born 8 April, 1818.
(11). Emily, born 29 April, 1819.
(12). Amelia, born 7 June, 1820.
(13). Fannie Louise, born 12 May, 1824.
(14). Lucy, born 12 May, 1824.
c. Thomas, born 1766 according to the 1776 census or 5 October, 1768.
d. George, born about 1768 according to the 1776 census.
e. Solline (Salome), born about 1770 according to the 1776 census.
f. Amelia, born about 1774 according to the 1776 census.
g. Mimoon (Mildred), born 13 September, 1775.
5. William, who was alive at the time of his father’s will in 1780 but had
apparently departed Prince George’s County prior to 1776 as a singleman since he
is not mentioned in the census for that year and his marriage is not recorded in
Prince George’s County. It is not known where William settled but a William
Simpson first appears just across the Potomac in the records of Fairfax County,
Virginia as the husband of Elizabeth Gretter in February, 1775. (See the details
under the section V. Gilbert for an analysis of this possible connection).
6. Thomas, born about 1750. He first appears in a record in Prince George’s
County in April, 1774, making a payment to the estate of George Hardy.
BIOGRAPHIES OF FIVE GILBERT SIMPSONS:
I. GILBERT SIMPSON (1699-1773) Of Charles County, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia.
Gilbert Simpson was born about 1699 in Charles County, Maryland, a younger son of John Simpson by his wife, Elizabeth. The will of John Young identifies Gilbert as a son of John Simpson and is quoted as follows:
In the name of God Amen. I John Young of Charles County in the province of Maryland, Cooper, Single man being very weak in body but in perfect memory thanks be to good Impl. I give & bequeath my soul into the hands of Allmighty God ——- hoping through the merits of my dear redeemer Jesus Christ to inherit everlasting life and my body to have a decent & Christian burial. I also request & desire that my debts be fully satisfied. Item. I leave my well beloved friend John Crane my sole Execitor. Item. I give & bequeath unto Gilbert Simpson the youngest son of John Simpson a mare foal of one year Old. Item. I also give and bequeath unto my well beloved friend John Crane all the rest of my estate personall with goods & chattles as witness my hand and seal the twenty ninth day of November Anno Dom 1704.
John Young Testis John Parnham — Joseph Pile
Amerced to the foregoing will was the foll’g pro ____ (towit) December 7th 1704. Then
came before me John Parnham & Jos Pile the above mentioned witnesses to the above
will & testament of John Young of Charles County late dec’d & proved the said last will
& testament in due manner & form according to law.
. Boughton, DepComCarol towit
Following the death of his father when Gilbert was about eight years old, he probably grew to adulthood in the household of Robert Mahaune (Mackhon), his step-father. Two deeds of gift in 1741 state that Robert’s property, Hadlow, was on the east side of Piles Fresh. This was probably just across the swamp from where Gilbert was born and lived his first eight years. Sometime prior to 6 April, 1730, Gilbert married Elizabeth Williams, daughter of James and Elizabeth (Tennison) Williams. On that date, Thomas Simpson, Jr. conveyed a 158 acre parcel to the heirs of James Williams. This deed transaction was initiated at the request of a George Hatton, apparently for the purpose of getting the land ownership officially recorded since the payment amount was only a token amount of 5 shillings. Elizabeth, wife of Gilbertus Simpson, is cited as one of the heirs. It is quoted as follows:
At the request of George Hatton the following deed was recorded the 16th June Anno Dom 1730. This indenture made the sixth day of April seventeen hundred thirty between Thomas Sympson Junr of Charles County planter of the one part and John Williams (,) Thomas Williams (,) James Williams (,) Daniel Short and his wife Catherine (,) Justman Williams (,) William Williams (,) (and) Gilbertus Simpson and his wife Elizabeth heirs of James Williams late of Charles County Deceased of the other part Witnesseth that the said Thomas Sympson Junr for and in consideration of five shills sterling money of great britain to him in hand paid thereof where of he doth hereby acknowledge and therefor does acquit the said John (,) Thomas (,) James Williams (,) Daniel Short and his wife Katherine (,) Justman (,) and William Williams (,) Gilbertus Simpson and his wife Elizabeth (,) their Exer and admrts have given granted bargained sold allowed (c?ed) (c?) and confirmed and by these presents for himself his heirs does hereby give grant bargain sell allow convey (?) and confirm unto the said John Williams and the (?) above mentioned forever all the right title and interess claim Estate of heirs the said Thomas Sympson his heirs of in and unto a certain tract of land called St. Thomas’s lying in Charles County on the West side of piles fresh and beginning at a bounded popular standing in a branch thence South by East seventy five perches to abounded red oak thence East by North two hundred and sixty perches thence South East by South sixty perches to the said swamp thence binding to the said swamp thence binding with the said swamp to the first bound tree containing and now laid out for one hundred and fifty eight acres more or less to have and to hold the said bargained sold and conveyed land (?) with its appurtenances and improvements unto them the said John Williams (,) Thomas Williams (,) JamesWilliams (,) Daniel Short and his wife and the rest of the above written forever fully and forever acquitted and discharged of all manor of claim of him the said Thomas Sympson and Sarah his wife their heirs forever and all other persons there out which here after shall grow due to the Christ (?) (?) and the said Thomas Sympson and sarah his wife for themselves their heirs do hereby covenant and agree with the said John (,) Thomas (,) and James Williams and there above mentioned that he the said Thomas Sympson and Sarah his wife before mentioned land and promisses with …….. (and so forth) ……
Thos. Simpson Junr seal
In about 1735, Gilbert was living as a tenant planter on a tract called the Lyons Denn which adjoined (Peter) Wood’s Addition on the west side of Zachia Swamp. Wood’s Addition, in turn, adjoined St. Thomas which had been owned by the elder Thomas Simpson. Gilbert’s rented house was located about 150 yards from a poplar tree standing on the west side of a small branch that leads into Marmaduke Semmes’ mill branch.
In a court case dated August, 1736, Gilbert Simpson, Ann Williams, and her mother, Mary Ancrum, brought charges against a Thomas Thompson for the theft of 250 pounds of tobacco from the warehouse of Mary Ancrum. Each was placed under a recognizance bond from which they were released after giving their testimony. This Ann Williams was probably the widow of William Williams who died between 19 November, 1735 and 5 May, 1736 but the evidence is not conclusive. The William Williams who died in 1735/1736 was the eldest son of John and Sarah Williams, born 2 October, 1685. In this 1736 court case Gilbert Simpson gives his occupation as “planter”.
Some time prior to 14 August, 1741, Gilbert Simpson, “planter”, migrated across the Potomac to Fairfax County, Virginia. On that date he leased 150 acres from William Clifton. He was a resident of Fairfax County at the time this lease was contracted so he had apparently moved there some time earlier. The lease was to extend to his wife, Elizabeth, upon Gilbert’s demise and to his son, Gilbert, Jr. upon the death of Elizabeth. The rental payment was 730 pounds of tobacco to be paid yearly by the 25th of December. Witnesses to the transaction were Robert Whitely, Jno. Westbrooke, and William Williams. Gilbert’s leased property was on the Potomac, by a cove, and adjoined the properties of John Sheridan and William Williams. Records of Charles County disclose that this William was not Gilbert’s brother-in-law. His connection, if any, to the Williams family of Charles County is not known. In 1755, a surveyor with initials, ‘T.H.’ surveyed the Clifton Neck area and drew definitive boundaries. George Washington used this survey in 1760 to delineate the boundaries of his various tenants. Gilbert Simpson’s leased property was located on the Potomac at the upper right hand side of the neck. The property consisted of 154 acres. This deed is quoted in its entirety as follows:
This Indenture made this fourteenth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred forty & one Between William Clifton of the County of Prince William gent of one part & Gilbert Simpson of the aforesaid County Planter of other part Witnesseth that the said William Clifton for the Rents and Covenants expressed on the part of Gilbert Simpson his heirs to be performed hath granted to farm Let unto the said Gilbert Simpson a certain parcel of land by estimation one hundred and fifty acres in the aforesaid County being the land where the said Simpson now lives on & bounded beginning at three chestnut white Oaks on the lower side of a Cove running thence Southwest by West to two red Oaks corner trees between the said Gilbert Simpson & William Williams then North to a corner red Oak in the line that divides the land of Mr. Clifton & Smith thence North East to a box Oak thence Northeast to the river side then down with the several courses thereof to the first beginning with the rights to the same now belonging To Have and To Hold the said land & other the premises to him the said Gilbert Simpson his heirs during the Natural life of him the said Gilbert Simpson, Elizabeth, his Wife & Gilbert his Son during which time it shall be lawfull for the said Gilbert Simpson to possess the said land paying therefore unto the said William Clifton his heirs or assignes the annual rent of Seven hundred and thirty pounds of tobacco quallified according to Law to be paid yearly by the twenty fifth day of December & the said Gilbert doth agree with the said William Clifton not to dispose of any Timber of the aforesaid premises nor have a Subtenant on the same during this Lease neither sell his lease to any without the Leave of the said William Clifton Provided Always if it shall so happen the said Rent be not paid in Twenty days space next after the same shall be payable that then it shall be lawfull for said William Clifton into the messauge to enter & having entered & the goods & chattels then and there found to take & distrain by himself or Servant for and appointed by him the said William Clifton to bear away & the same to keep until the rent and arrearages of rent be fully paid further said William Clifton for himself his heirs agree it may be lawfull for him the said Gilbert Simpson his heirs to make use of any timber they can find on the Land unleased belonging to the said William Clifton for the support of the Plantation provided it is not to be found on his own part Sufficient to support the same Land hereafter only excepted all the land lying between the said William Cliftons & a North Course running to four Spanish Oaks corner trees of John Sherridans Land to a red Oak & two Spanish Oak saplins Corner trees by the side of a Branch that William Williams is bounded finally the said Gilbert Simpson doth oblidge himself in three years Space after the present date to plant out one hundred Apple trees on the said Plantation & the same to keep under good fence & if any Dies to plant one in its Stead. In Witness whereof the parties have set their hands & Seals.
In presence of Robert Whitely
Jno. Westbrooke William X Williams
At a Court held for Prince William County the 24th day of August 1741 William Clifton acknowledged this Lease from himself to Gilbert Simpson to be his act & deed & it was thereupon admitted to Record.
(In the margin: Dd Mr. Simpson June 1770)
During this same period, Clifton leased out other tracts in this area. Gilbert Simpson was a witness to the following leases, all of which occurred on 14 August, 1741: Jane Hester (Easter), John Sheridan, John Westbrook, William Williams, and William Carney.
On 19 August, 1745, Samuel Johnston from St. Marys County, Maryland leased 200 acres from William Clifton. This lease was for the life of Samuel, Hannah, his wife, and his son, Samuel. An interesting reference in the lease is “……to farm let to Samuel Johnston a plantation where John Simpson now lives…….”. The identity of this John Simpson and his relationship, if any, to Gilbert Simpson has not been conclusively established but it is quite likely that John Simpson was the older brother of Gilbert as documented in the sketch of John, above.
Gilbert Simpson’s name appears very infrequently in Fairfax County during the remainder of the 1740’s. In 1741, he was one of the appraisers of the estate of Giles Easter. On 20 May, 1746, he was one of three who was selected to inventory the estate of John Cumpton (Compton). He was listed as a voter on a poll list in 1744 and again in 1748. On 11 August, 1748 Gilbert and Elizabeth Simpson of Fairfax County sold their portion of the 158 acres in Charles County, Maryland inherited from the estate of James Williams to James Nivison, through Samuel Chunn as power of attorney.
Beginning in 1750, Gilbert Simpson is recorded in thirty-two activities involving law suits for indebtedness, witnessing legal transactions, and inventorying and appraising estates. On 24 July, 1752, he was paid “for rent” from the account of Jeremiah Presgrove. On 9 April, 1757, Gilbert Simpson Sr. and Gilbert Simpson, Jr. were executors of the will of Robert Preston and were given custody of Preston’s minor children. Gilbert, Sr. was given responsibility for sons, Thomas and John Preston and Gilbert, Jr. for daughter, Catherine and son, Robert. This is a curious entry because there is no indication of a family relationship between the Prestons and the Simpsons. It is unlikely that Preston would have left his children in the custody of strangers so it has been speculated that perhaps he had married a daughter of Gilbert, Sr. who predeceased him. However, Preston may have had no relatives with whom to leave his orphaned children and selected the Simpsons as his closest friends in the vicinity. Since Robert Preston was an overseer, he may have been in Gilbert Simpson’s employ on his 150 acre rental property. In any event, this custody was later a matter reviewed by the court. On 17 August, 1763, Gilbert Simpson, a blacksmith, was ordered to appear at the next court to answer a complaint of Catherine Preston and the other Preston orphans. It was ordered that Catherine Preston was no longer obligated to serve him but that John and Robert Preston be returned to him.
On 19 December, 1759 the Fairfax County grand Jury indicted Ann Simpson for having a “base-born” child based on information furnished by Col. John West within twelve months past. Gilbert Simpson, Sr. posted security for Ann. This would indicate that Ann may have been a child of Gilbert and Elizabeth Simpson.
In April 1760, George Washington purchased William Clifton’s property on Clifton Neck and Gilbert Simpson became his tenant under the same terms as before. Gilbert was a blacksmith as well as a planter and was paid by Washington for doing “Smith’s work”. His tobacco harvests were generally stored in one of the tobacco warehouses at Hunting Creek along with the other tenants of Washington on Clifton Neck.
Gilbert Simpson’s rental property is briefly described in an indenture between George Washington and Samuel Johnston dated 25 December, 1761 for the rental of 200 acres adjoining the “tenement whereon Gilbert Simpson, Sr. now lives”. This property was on the lower side of a cove on the Potomac River.
From time to time, Gilbert Simpson’s wife, Elizabeth, received payment from Washington’s account for serving as a midwife to the Mount Vernon slaves at River Farm on Clifton Neck. She appears in three entries aiding slaves: Peg (twice), Doll, Lidia, Judy, and Daphne. Washington also transacted agricultural business on a small scale with the Simpsons and undoubtedly saw them frequently. His Papers show that when he was at Mount Vernon, he would ride around his estate on days of good weather and his diaries also mention Gilbert Simpson’s home in several entries when he was out fishing or fox hunting.
On 1 July, 1765 Gilbert apparently traveled back to Charles County on the ferry to record a deposition to fix the property boundaries of a tract called Wood’s Addition. He signed the deposition, Gilbert Simpson, Senr. which strongly implies the existence of a Gilbert Simpson, Jr. This clearly points to the Gilbert Simpson, Sr. and Jr. of Fairfax County and is strengthened by the fact that there is no other mention of a Gilbert Simpson in Charles County subsequent to 1736. This deposition is quoted as follows:
The deposition of Gilbert Simpson aged 66 years or thereabouts having sworn on the
Holy Evangalist of Almighty God saith that a poplar tree standing on the west side of a
small branch that leads into Marmaduke Simmes Mill Branch is the beginning tree of
Woods Addition which he was showed by John Maston, Barton Hungerford Senior, and
William Williams and understood from them that it was the beginning tree of Woods
Addition about thirty years ago at the request of PeterWood and they began on the
aforesaid tree and further saith that he was a tenant at the same time on Lyon’s Denn
adjoining to Woods Addition and or Peter Wood and lived in a house about one hundred
and fifty yards from the aforesaid tree which he could see every day from the aforesaid
house and that the branch above mentioned was his spring branch and further saith not.
Gilbert Simpson, Senr.
Taken and examined before us this
1 July, 1765 Thos. Contee
George Washington’s financial records disclose that in his later years Gilbert Simpson may have encountered financial difficulties. Beginning in 1767, John Muir was apparently controlling the tobacco rental payments for Gilbert. A contra entry in Gilbert Simpson’s account dated 14 July, 1770 reads, “by life in the hands of Mr. John Muir”. This entry may coincide with the annotation in the margin of Gilbert Simpson’s 1741 deed which reads, Dd Mr. Simpson June 1770. Muir was a prominent Scottish merchant in Alexandria. The reason for Gilbert’s financial predicament is not known but it apparently did not affect Gilbert’s immediate neighbors so it was likely a result of deteriorating health. In any event, it did not affect the succession of proprietorship specified in the original deed.
Gilbert Simpson died in 1773, apparently in Fairfax County, Virginia. His will was written on 7 July, 1773 and probated in Fairfax County on 17 November, 1773. It mentions his widow, Elizabeth; sons, Gilbert and John; daughter, Valinda; and a granddaughter, Kessiah. The will, however, implies the existence of other children because it states the remainder of the estate is to be “divided among my whole children”. Witnesses to the will were Sampson Darrell and Josias X (his mark) Payne. Gilbert signed his will so it is known he was literate, at least to the extent that he could sign his name. The will is quoted as follows:
In The name of God Amen, I Gilbert Simson of Fairfax County Being week of Boddey but in perfect Sence and Memory, Doe constitute and appoint this to be my last Will and Testament Revoking all other Wills that that by me made If any Such can be found. Imprianius I give my Soul to God who first gave it Hoping for a Joyeful Reserection throw the werks of Jesus Christ and my Boddey to the earth to be Decently Buried at the Discretion of my Executors. First I give and Bequeath to my Daughter Valinda Simson my best bed and Furniture. Also I give and Bequeath to my Grand Daughter Kessiah my next best bed and Furniture. Item I give to my son John Simson as much out of my Estate as shall be of the Vallue of a Bed and Furniture. Item I give and Bequeath to my Loving Wife Elizabeth Simson all the rest of my Estate to her During her life, also it is my Will and Desire that if the Stock Should be too Burdensum to her, that then She may Sell or Dispose of to her children as she thinks fit. Item it is my Will and Desire that at the death of my Said Wife, that my whole Estate be Equally Divided amongst my whole children. Lastly it is my Will and Desire that my Son Gilbert Simpson and my Wife be Executors to this my Last Will and Testament. In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and fixed my Seal this 7th Day of July 1773.
Gilbert Simpson (Seal)
Signed Sealed and Delivered In presence of us
Sampson Darrell, Josias X Payne
At a Court Continued and held for the County of Fairfax 17th November 1773—-
This Will was presented in Court by Gilbert Simpson and Elizabeth Simpson Exrs herein named who made Oath thereto and the same being proved by the oaths of the Witnesses is admitted to Record and the said Executors having performed what the Laws require a Certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form.
Gilbert’s widow, Elizabeth, survived him and, according to the 1741 lease, would have become the leaseholder until her death. She was alive at least through December, 1777 when she appears on the contra side of Lund Washington’s account in George Washington’s ledger book B. Moreover, she probably survived until 1785 when 230 pounds of tobacco for partial rent was transferred from daughter, Virlinda Payne’s, account to Gilbert Simpson, Jr.’s account in June, 1786. Gilbert, Jr. was the final leaseholder in the “three lives lease”. If Elizabeth (Williams) Simpson did survive until 1785, she was probably about 80 when she died. Among the known (and probable) children of Gilbert and Elizabeth Simpson were:
1. Gilbert, Jr., the eldest son, whose biography follows.
2. John, born 7 November, 1739. Except for being mentioned in Gilbert’s will, John cannot be specifically identified in Fairfax County records because several John Simpsons lived there at the time. However, there is considerable circumstantial evidence in Loudoun County linking him to Violinda Payne, proven daughter of Gilbert. John probably grew up on the 154 acres Gilbert leased from William Clifton on Clifton Neck in 1741. He married Mary Moore, daughter of Samuel Moore who eventually settled in Fauquier County before migrating to Kentucky. The earliest mention of John Simpson in Loudoun is a court case in January, 1781. In 1782, he began renting 153 acres from Carter on a “20-year lease to purchase” arrangement. This property was located just north of Goose Creek near the Oatlands Plantation and was named, Coon Skin Farm. Personal property tax records confirm that John prospered over the years even though he never owned land in Loudoun. His slave holdings grew from 2 in 1784 to 18 at the time of his death in 1801. In about 1787, Gilbert Simpson’s daughter, Violinda Payne, moved from Fairfax County to Loudoun and settled near John Simpson’s family. Their close association is illustrated by the following facts: Violinda’s daughter, Keziah, who was also mentioned in Gilbert’s will, married John Beveridge, Jr. and another daughter, Henrietta, married Christopher Skillman. John Beveridge, Sr. witnessed John Simpson’s will and John’s daughter, Violinda (probably Violinda (Simpson) Payne’s namesake), married Abraham Skillman, brother of Christopher. In later years (1845), John Simpson, son of John, administered the estate of Keziah (Payne) Beveridge, presumably, his first cousin. It is also considered significant that the younger Gilbert Simpson, undoubtedly the nephew of Gilbert Simpson, Sr., had leased and settled on 150 acres located less than two miles north of John Simpson’s leased 153 acres. He lived there from 1761 to 1774, thus providing further circumstantial evidence that John was the son of Gilbert and Elizabeth (Williams) Simpson. Finally, John Simpson’s leased land was very near the 312 acres that William Whitely leased from Robert Carter in 1763 on the north side of Goose Creek near the Oatlands plantation. The proximity to the Simpson property is illustrated by a court order dated 13 April, 1801 stating that “John Simpson be appointed overseer of the road from Goose Creek at Whiteley’s Ford to a branch on the north side of John Rose’s plantation…..”. William Whitely was the son of Robert Whitely who witnessed the lease signed by Gilbert Simpson on 14 August, 1741. John Simpson, (Jr.) and Gilbert Simpson, Sr. were both recorded in the settlement of Robert Whitely’s estate in 1744 (See page 9). While not conclusive in itself, this clue provides further evidence that John Simpson of Loudoun was the son named in Gilbert Simpson’s will. John Simpson made his will on 8 December, 1796. Witnesses were John Beveridge and Thomas Field. He died on 20 April, 1801 and was buried on his farm. His will was probated on 11 October, 1802. His estate was inventoried on 25 February, 1803. Mary (Moore) Simpson survived and in 1813, she purchased from John Threlkeld 493 acres which included the 153 acres John had rented from Carter since 1782. It also apparently included the 150 acres that Gilbert Simpson had leased in 1761. Mary died sometime between 25 April, 1814, when her will was written, and 7 July, 1814, when it was proved. Her will mentions all of her living and deceased children. Children identified in the family Bible, the documented personal recollections of James Hendley Simpson, and in Mary Simpson’s will were:
a. Nancy, born in 1773; died in 1777.
b. William, born 19 March, 1775; married Ann (Nancy) Titus 1 January, 1798;
died 20 December, 1803.
c. Henson, born 19 April, 1778; married (1) Elizabeth Squires 15 December,
1802; married (2) Mary Baty (Beatty?) 10 December, 1807; died 1815.
d. Violinda (Ann Violinda?), born 30 August, 1780. (She is thought to have been named after her aunt, Violinda (Simpson) Payne and possibly also for her “aunt”, Ann Simpson. On 26 February, 1798, she married Abraham Skillman, brother of Christopher Skillman who married her cousin, Henrietta Payne).
e. Hendley, born 4 August, 1784; married Elizabeth Farrow 11 January, 1812;
died 7 October, 1857.
f. Innocent, born 4 August, 1784; died 4 August, 1784.
g. John, born 12 June, 1787; married Nancy Smith 17 December, 1811; died 7
h. Elizabeth, born 30 January, 1790; married John Jones 21 September, 1808;
died 29 June, 1840.
i. James, born 8 September, 1792; married Elizabeth Weeks 10 August, 1815;
died 13 September, 1822.
j. French, born 1 June, 1795; married Elizabeth Ish 17 December, 1816; died 27
May, 1855. (Note: He was the second French Simpson. The first was the son
of Gilbert Simpson, Jr. of Pohick, and grandson Gilbert Simpson, Sr. The elder
French Simpson died young, a short time before the birth of this French Simpson.
It is presumed that he was named in memory of his recently deceased first
cousin but no proof exists).
k. Samuel, born 15 October, 1800; married Catharine (Kitty) Elgin; died 16
September, 1838. He was probably named for his maternal grandfather,
3. Ann, possible daughter, born about 1741.
4. Violinda (Verlinda, Valinda), who married Josias (Josiah) Payne in Fairfax County, Virginia, probably in the late 1760’s. Josiah was apparently the son of Josiah Payne since Josiah Payne and Josiah Payne, Jr., appear in the same record in Fairfax County in 1771. He died in Fairfax County prior to 16 September 1782 when the Fairfax County, County, Virginia bond book records that Violinda Payne, John Lomax, and Gilbert Simpson were bonded in the amount of 1000 pounds in the settlement of the estate of Josiah Payne. Violinda signed as administratrix. The inventory of “Josias” Payne’s estate, amounting to 303 pounds, 13 shillings, and 6 pence, was recorded on 14 December, 1782. Violinda continued to live in Fairfax County at least until 1787 when she disappears from the tax rolls. The Ledger Book of George Washington may provide a clue as to where she lived after the death of her husband. Washington carried a brief account for “Virlinda” Payne which records payment of 730 pounds of tobacco in June, 1786 for rent on the Clifton Neck property leased by her father, Gilbert. The contra side of this account shows a settlement with Gilbert Simpson amounting to 230 pounds of tobacco. Gilbert Simpson, Jr.’s account shows a payment of 230 pounds of tobacco for the year 1785. Since Violinda was not in the “three lives” lease chain, previously explained, these entries suggest that in her widowhood she probably lived with her aged mother on the Clifton Neck property. This would explain why she made the rent payment of 730 pounds of tobacco. However, mother Elizabeth probably died at about the age of 80 in 1785. This would explain Gilbert, Jr.’s payment of about a third of the rent due for that year, implying that ownership devolved to him in about August of 1785. Having lost her livelihood, and perhaps her place of abode, this would also explain widow Violinda moving to Loudoun County in about 1787 to draw on family support from her brother, John. On 11 January, 1790 in Loudoun County “Valinda” Payne was allotted her dower of her late husband, Jonah (Josiah) Payne. Sometime between this date and 9 April, 1793, Violinda married Phineas Skinner in Loudoun County. Phineas died sometime between 9 April, 1793 and 13 October, 1794 when Violinda relinquished her right to administration of Phineas Skinner’s estate in favor of his son Cornelius Skinner. Violinda apparently died in Loudoun in 1804, or slightly before, when she disappears from the personal property tax lists. Josiah and Violinda (Simpson) Payne were parents of three children as proven in settlement of the estate of John Lomax, half-brother of Josias Payne. These children were:
a. John, who may have been the John Payne who married Rosannah, daughter of
Jacob Countryman, and inherited land in Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia.
b. Henrietta, who married Christopher Skillman of Loudoun County on 9 March,
1793. Christopher Skillman, born 9 February, 1767, was a brother of
Abraham Skillman who married Violinda Simpson, daughter of John and Mary
(Moore) Simpson, on 26 February, 1798.
b. Keziah, who was the granddaughter, “Kessiah”, mentioned in Gilbert Simpson,
Sr.’s will of 1773. She married John Beveridge, Jr. of Loudoun County. His
father, John Beveridge, was a witness to John Simpson’s will. Her probable
cousin, John Simpson, Jr., was administrator for Mrs. Keziah Beveridge.
II. GILBERT SIMPSON, JR. (ca. 1725- 1803) Of Fairfax County, Virginia.
Gilbert Simpson was the eldest son of Gilbert and Elizabeth (Williams) Simpson and was probably born in Charles County, Maryland in the late 1720’s. This relationship was established by evidence presented in my research paper, Profiles of the Three Gilbert Simpsons of Eighteenth Century Fairfax County, Virginia, 1999 (Revised 2001). The research and analysis presented in that publication will not be repeated here but will be summarized in sufficient detail to prove conclusively that the Gilbert Simpson who settled along the Pohick in Fairfax County was the son of Gilbert Simpson, Sr.
George Washington had financial dealings with all three Gilbert Simpsons and he maintained separate accounts for each. The elder Gilbert was identified as “Gilbert Simpson, Sr.” and this account deals primarily with Gilbert’s annual rental payments of 730 pounds of tobacco. Gilbert Simpson, Sr.’s son is identified as “Gilbert Simpson, Junr.- Pohick” in Ledger Book A and as “Gilbert Simpson, Junr – Fairfax” in the continuation of the account in Ledger Book B. Gilbert of Loudoun, who became Washington’s partner is identified as “Gilbert Simpson – Youghiogheny” and these entries pertain to the financial transactions associated with the partnership. Proof that Gilbert Simpson, Jr. of Pohick and Fairfax was the son of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. is found in an entry on the contra side of his ledger, “1786 Nov By your lease of the Land in Clifton Neck 50 0 0”. On the debit side is an entry, “1787 To 230 lb tobacco due in part for 1785 @ 20 2 6”. This entry corresponds with a transaction in Virlinda Payne’s account, “1786 June By Settlement w/ G. Simpson 230”. Virlinda (Violinda) Payne was Gilbert, Sr.’s daughter who was apparently acting in the capacity of a “conservator” for her aged mother, Elizabeth, prior to her death in 1785. The transactions involving 230 pounds of tobacco represents the point in time that Gilbert Simpson, Jr. became the leaseholder following the demise of his father and his mother in the “three lives” lease signed on 14 August, 1741. The entry, “1786 Nov By your lease of the Land in Clifton Neck” pertains to Gilbert Simpson, Jr.’s sale of the Clifton property lease back to George Washington. This document is quoted as follows:
“Know all men by these presents that I Gilbert Simpson of Truro Parish, in the County of
Fairfax am held and firmly bound unto George Washington of the County & Parish
aforesaid in the just and __?___ sum of Five Hundred pounds currt money of Virginia to
be paid unto the said George Washington his certain attorney, his heirs, Executr, admrs,
or assigns; to which payment well and truly; to be made I bind myself, my heirs,
Executers, Administrators firm as by these presents. Sealed with my seal and dated this
Twenty 1 day of November Anno Dom One thousand seven hundred and eighty six.
The Condition of the above obligation is that if the above bound Gilbert Simpson do and shall on or before the 25th of december in the present year, surrender, of cause to be surrendered the tenement containing acres of land, be it more or less, of which the said Gilbert is seized by virtue of a lease from William Clifton, Gentm deceased to Simpson father of the said Gilbert also deceased, together with all houses, fences, landings, and other appurtenances thereunto belonging so as that the free and entire use of that may be had by the said George Washington, his heirs, Exrs, Admrs, or assigns with out the let, molestation, or interruption of his the said Gilbert Simpson or any other person or persons claimen by, from esunder him: ____ And shall _____?______, if thereunto required by the said George Washington his heirs, Executers, Admr or assigns ____?___ the said lease and all his the said Gilberts right, title, and interest the seize legal form, this the above obligation is with & several, otherwise to ______ ________ & virtue.
and delivered in the} Gilbert Simp (sig)
George Washington” (sig)
(Note: This paper is torn thereby mutilating the last three letters of Gilbert’s signature).
The Gilbert Simpson who signed this paper was definitely the son of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. who originally rented the property from William Clifton and he was definitely a resident of Truro Parish, Fairfax County, Virginia when this document was signed. The Gilbert Simpson who was Washington’s Partner had not lived in Fairfax County for 25 years. As a matter of fact, in November, 1786, he was living in Kentucky. Therefore, the evidence in this document, coupled with the definitive entries in George Washington’s ledger books proves the identity of Gilbert Simpson, Jr., son of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. Further proof is found in an analysis of the various signatures left for posterity by the two younger Gilberts.
As a youngster, Gilbert moved with his parents across the Potomac, settling on 150 acres of leased property along the river on Clifton Neck. According to records within the Mason family he married Rosanna Mason, daughter of French and Mary (Nicholson) Mason. It is possible that Gilbert may have been married previously to a Catharine ___________ but there is no conclusive evidence of this. This Gilbert is either another, unidentified Gilbert Simpson or Gilbert of Pohick by the process of elimination. In either event, Gilbert’s marriage to Rosanna Mason occurred some time between 24 March, 1753 when she is still recorded under her maiden name and May of 1759 when he was probably living on the Pohick on land Rosanna inherited from her father. Rosanna’s father, French Mason, died in 1748 leaving six children and 1455 acres of land. Since several of his children were not of age, the Fairfax County court appointed his brother, George Mason of Gunston Hall, as the guardian of his minor children. Rosanna was probably one of these minor children in 1748. She inherited from her father, “the plantation where I now live and 100 acres adjoining”. Soon after their marriage, probably about 1759, Gilbert and Rosanna moved to the house and 100 acres in the vicinity of Pohick Creek that Rosanna had inherited.
Gilbert first appears in the records as Gilbert Simpson, Jr. on a Fairfax County militia roster 10 October, 1755. He was a corporal. Also on the list was a Gilbert Simpson, “the younger” who was a sergeant. Presumably, this was the other Gilbert Simpson who eventually became George Washington’s partner. The following December, Gilbert Simpson, Jr. appears with Gilbert Simpson, Sr. as freeholders who voted for Captain John West.
On 9 April, 1757, Gilbert Simpson, Jr. and Gilbert Simpson, Sr. were executors and heirs in the will of Robert Preston. The will directed that his children, Catherine and John, be placed in the care of Gilbert Simpson, Jr. and Thomas and John, under the care of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. Preston was deceased by 20 September when the will was presented to the court by Gilbert Simpson, Jr. The will was proved on 15 November, 1757.
George Washington’s Ledger Book A, page 81 records a brief account for Gilbert Simpson, Jr. which begins in January, 1760 and concludes on 16 June, (1761?). The annual rent fee was 830 pounds of tobacco. The contra entry cross-references to a payment of 980 pounds of tobacco in a tobacco account warehoused under the tobacco mark of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. so the elder Simpson may been some sort of a partner in this enterprise. A copy of a 1755 map of the Clifton Neck vicinity has survived and identifies the parcel that is referenced in this entry. The parcel consisted of 157 acres and was located on the Potomac, surrounded by George Taylor, John Sheridan, and Samuel Johnston. It had previously been leased by Jane Hester (Easter). Simpson’s lease of this acreage was apparently of short duration, pending his relocation to the Pohick Creek area.
During the same period, Gilbert Simpson, Jr. was apparently settling on his property on the Pohick which adjoined that of Robert Boggess. This property was located on Pohick Run. Beginning in 1759, a dispute apparently arose over property boundaries. On 17 May of that year Boggess brought suit against Simpson for trespass. On 21 August, Simpson, George Mason, Jr., and French Mason acknowledged themselves to be indebted to Robert Boggess. On 19 March, 1761 a jury trial decided in favor of Boggess. Through the years, court actions continued between Gilbert Simpson and Robert Boggess until 21 July, 1788 but probably for a variety of different complaints. Between the years 1759 and 1801, Gilbert Simpson was involved in over one hundred incidents requiring his presence in court. In many of these appearances, he was acting in the capacity of a constable or posting a security bond for friends or family members. Members of the Mason family were frequently co-lateral parties in the court cases. Other court appearances were a result of being called as a witness or being ordered by the court to inventory or appraise estates.
There is evidence in the Papers of George Washington that Gilbert Simpson, Jr. may have been a weaver by trade as well as a planter. On 30 March, 1768 he was paid from Washington’s cash account for weaving 8 1/2 yards of cotton. A similar payment was made on 6 December for 9 3/4 yards of Jeans. In addition, Gilbert was appointed constable in 1768 and served through 1772 when he was replaced . He was paid 45 pounds per year for this duty.
On 22 June, 1770, the Virginia House of Burgesses signed an agreement with a fourteen resolutions in opposition to Great Britain’s arbitrary imposition of taxes without due representation by the colonies. The resolutions pledged to impose an embargo of all goods affected by these taxes and a boycott by the merchants on the purchase of such items. In response to this declaration, the forty-one subscribers or citizens of Fairfax County signed a pledge supporting the agreement and swearing to abide by the resolutions. Gilbert Simpson was among the signatories of this pledge.
On 7 July, 1773 Gilbert is identified as a son in Gilbert Simpson, Sr.’s will. On 17 November the will was probated and Gilbert was co-executor with his mother, Elizabeth. He gave a bond for administration of the estate. On 16 September, 1782, Gilbert, his sister, Virlinda Payne, and John Lomas (Lomax) were bonded in the administration of the estate of Josias Payne, Verlinda’s husband.65 John Lomax was Josias’s half-brother.
On 22 March, 1785, Gilbert Simpson and Mary Boggess co-signed a bond for the guardianship on a minor, Robert Boggess.
In about 1785, Gilbert Simpson, Jr. came into possession of the property on Clifton Neck that his father had leased in 1741. This is based on the account of “Virlinda” Payne in Washington’s ledger book and a corresponding entry in the account of Gilbert, Jr. The entry in Gilbert’s reads: “To 230 Ditto due in part for 1785” and the contra side of Violinda’s account contains the entry, “By settlement with G. Simpson 230” (pounds of tobacco). Later, on 21 November, 1786 Gilbert Simpson relinquished his right to the Clifton Neck property to George Washington for 50 pounds sterling.
Gilbert Simpson of Pohick was reasonably prosperous. In 1782 he owned 12 slaves, 8 horses and 25 cattle. Five years later, in 1787, he owned 15 slaves, 7 horses, and 15 cattle. On 20 September, 1790, Gilbert entered into a “deed of trust” in which he sold 8 slaves to Daniel McCarty, Jr. for a token amount of 5 shillings to be used solely for the benefit of Gilbert and Rosanna and upon their deaths, for the benefit of daughter, Ann Johnston, and her husband, Captain William Johnston, then, to their children and if none survived, to son, French Simpson, and his heirs. The rationale for this transaction was probably financially based. The cost of maintaining eight slaves was significant and Gilbert apparently felt the financial need to “downsize” but at the same time, he wanted to retain his slave assets as part of his estate for the benefit of his heirs. The advantage of this arrangement to McCarty was having full use of the slave labor, with no outlay of cost (except for maintenance), for the period of time pending reversion of ownership to the heirs of Gilbert Simpson. The heirs are identified as well as the sequence of inheritance. Despite the reduction of Gilbert’s slave holdings, he was increasing his land holdings during this same period. According to Land Tax records, Gilbert acquired an additional 100 acres from Thomas Lee sometime before 1787. By 1796 he had inherited an additional 200 acres that his deceased son, French Simpson, had purchased from Francis Mason for 100 pounds on 13 February, 1790. This property was located on the northeast side of Pohick Creek and was originally owned by Thomas James. It was part of 500 acres bought by George Mason in 1690 who then willed it to his son, French Mason in 1717. French Mason devised 200 acres to his son, French Mason who, in turn, devised it to his son, Francis. Therefore, at the time of Gilbert Simpson’s death, his land holdings totaled 400 acres between Pohick and Accotink Creeks. On 16 October, 1793, Gilbert Simpson’s property is described as being next to Robert Boggess on the Colchester road from Accotink to Pohick Run. Another source states he was appointed surveyor of the road from Pohick Run to Accotink on both roads and from the new church to the riverside road.
On 11 October, 1802, Gilbert Simpson prepared his will. He mentions his daughter, Ann Johnston, who inherited the estate; granddaughters, Ann and Sarah Johnston; grandson, Dennis Johnston and nephew, John Simpson, who inherited 20 pounds. John was also named co-executor, along with grandson, Dennis Johnston. This John Simpson cannot be identified. Although John Simpson of Loudoun had a son named, John, he was only about 15 years old when Gilbert made his will so he is eliminated from consideration, being too young to function as executor. The will was witnessed by James H. Blake, Beverly R. Wagener and John Speak. In his will Gilbert emancipated his favorite slave, Nell, and she was given a house and lot consisting of one and a half acres of land. Gilbert Simpson, Jr.’s will is transcribed in its entirety as follows:
In the Name of God Amen, I Gilbert Simpson of Fairfax County and Commonwealth of Virginia being weak in body but of Sound and disposing mind and Memory – do make this my last Will and Testament in Manner and Following that is to say—–First I give and devise unto my much beloved daughter Ann Johnston after payments of my Just Debts the whole of my Estate both real and personal (Excepting two Negro Children, named Milly and Jinny) to be by her Distribution among my Grand Children at her Discretion – by will or otherwise. Secondly I give and devise unto my Grand Daughter Ann Johnston Negro Milly (before Excepted) to her and her Heirs Forever——3dly I Give and bequeath unto my Grand Daughter Sarah Johnston one Negro girl named Jinny (before Excepted) to her and her heirs forever——4thly. I do hereby emancipate my Favorite Servant Nell who it is my will and desire shall be provided at my decease with a house and lot consisting of one and half Acres of Land and Supported out of my estate as a Faithful Servant —-5thly. I do hereby give and bequeath unto my Nephew John Simpson the Sum of Twenty pounds Virginia currency to him and his Heirs to be raised from the sale of my property not before devised —- as horses, cattle, plantation utensils, etc. —– 6thly and Lastly, It is my will and desire if my Grandson Dennis Johnston should arrive at the age of Twenty One years before my decease that he shall take possession of all my Estate and be accountable for the profits thereof to his Mother ( if alive) if not to his brothers and Sisters as they may arrive at Ages Making him a reasonable allowance for his Trouble —- but in Case my Grandson should not have arrived to the age aforesaid then it is my will that my Nephew John Simpson shall take possession of all my estate he paying annually a Moderate rent for the same —- and to comply fully with the aforesaid several Gifts and bequeaths — and I do hereby constitute my Grandson Dennis Johnston and my Nephew John Simpson Executors of this my last Will and Testament. In Testimony whereof I have hereunder to put my hand and Seal this 11th October 1802 ———–
Signed Sealed published and declared
to be my last will and testament of
the Testater in the presence of us the
Subscribers who have in the presence and
at the request of the said Testater. Subscr-
ibed our names as witnesses thereto
James H. Blake Beverly R. Wagener John X Speake
At a Court held for Fairfax County the 18th day of July 1803—– This last will and Testament of Gilbert Simpson deceased Was presented in Court by John Simpson Executor therein named and the same being proved by the oath of James H. Blake a witness thereto who also deposed that Beverly R. Wagener and John Speake subscribed and signed the said will as witnesses at the request and in presence of the said Testator and on presence of the deponent is ordered to be recorded and the said Executor having in open Court refused to take upon himself the burthin and Execution thereof, whereupon Administration with the will Answered of the said Deceedents Estate is granted William Johnston he having together with William Payne and Francis Keene his Securities entered into and acknowledged a bond for the same Conditioned as the law Directs.
Test. Wm Moss, Ct. FrCty
The following 16 May, after the signing, John Simpson, executor, stated to the court why he should not be executor of the estate and William Johnston, husband of Ann, was executor when the will was probated on 18 July, 1803. Beginning in 1811, William Johnston, Sr. is shown as owner of the 400 acres on Pohick Creek previously owned by Simpson.
Gilbert and Rosanna (Mason) Simpson were parents of the following children whose dates of birth and order of birth is not known:
1. Ann, born, perhaps, about 1760 based on the approximate age of her son when her father died. She was, perhaps, the elder of the two children because she is mentioned before French in the order of benefit of eight slaves deeded to Daniel McCarty, Jr. for a
nominal sum of 5 shillings. Ann married Capt. William Johnston sometime between
July, 1785 and February, 1786.
2. French, born perhaps about 1762 since he begins appearing in the Fairfax County records as an adult in 1784. He was a sailor of some sort because on 15 November, 1784 the court bound a 16 year old Leroy Montgomery to him to learn the art of seaman and to read and write. Therefore, we know that French Simpson was literate. He died relatively young and probably unmarried in about 1794 or early 1795 because on 21 September, 1795 Gilbert Simpson and William Darrell “bounded unto the justices of County Court in the administration of the estate of French Simpson, deceased”. Gilbert Simpson was appointed administrator.
III. GILBERT SIMPSON (ca. 1730/35 – 1794) – Of Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, Virginia, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and Fayette County, Kentucky.
Gilbert Simpson was born about 1730/35 based on the birth date of his eldest child. In years past, he was generally thought to be the son of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. but this theory was disproved in favor of Gilbert Simpson, Jr., above. The most substantive clue to Gilbert’s parentage is evidence from Gilbert’s own words indicating that he was the son of one of the brothers of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. In one of his letters to George Washington, Gilbert reminds Washington that “…it’s true I am a Poor man whom your Honor have known from a Child and Likewise the family I derive from…”. This statement strongly implies that Gilbert was raised in the immediate vicinity of the Mount Vernon estate and in the proximity of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. on Clifton Neck. There is both circumstantial and factual evidence that two close relatives of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. lived on Clifton Neck during the 1740’s and 1750’s. One was John Simpson, a probable older brother, whose relationship to Gilbert, Sr. is discussed earlier as the eldest son in the biography of the progenitor, John Simpson. John is mentioned in three Fairfax County records in 1744, 1745, and 1749. The first two records place him on Clifton Neck. Therefore, John must be considered a logical candidate for the father of Gilbert (Washington’s Partner). However, a unique signature mark (I–I–I) confirms that this is the same John Simpson who Augustine Washington allegedly brought over from England in 1736 to be his overseer at Mount Vernon. The source for this statement is not cited by Mr. Moxham in his publication but was obviously a deposition that Simpson made in 1748. This source states that John came to Virginia in 1736 but does not mention England. Mr. Moxham is now deceased so he cannot be consulted but it is possible that when John Simpson said he “first came to Virginia twelve years (ago)”, Moxham may have made a logical assumption that John was recruited by Augustine Washington in England because his arrival date in Virginia (as stated in his deposition) coincided with Washington’s trip to England in 1736 and/or 1737. He may have further been persuaded by the fact that the dates also coincide with the depositions of Bryan Allison who did emigrate from England. An intensive three year study has failed to identify any primary source stating that Simpson emigrated from England. This study did, however, disclose facts indicating that Mr. Moxham did not rely entirely on primary source material for his statement about Augustine Washington’s trip to England. There are only scant contemporary references pertaining to Augustine’s trip to England. In England, he signed a contract on 15 April, 1737 and purchased a book on 4 May, 1737. His arrival back in Virginia is preserved on page 4 of the 22 July, 1737 edition of the Virginia Gazette. The coverage of this event reads as follows:
“From Friday, July 15 to July 22, 1737
We hear from Potomack, That a Ship is lately arriv’d there, from London, with Convicts. Capt. Augustine Washington, and Capt. Hugh French, took their Passage in her: the Former is arriv’d in Health; but the Latter dy’d at Sea, and ‘tis said of the Goal Distenper, which he got on Board.”
On the basis of the study and the resources checked (See Author’s Footnote 49), neither primary nor secondary evidence has been found to confirm the statement that John Simpson was brought from England to be Augustine Washington’s overseer.
The other clue to Gilbert’s identity is found in the fact that Gilbert named his eldest son, Thomas. English and early American naming conventions during Colonial times called for the first son to be named for the paternal grandfather and the second son for the maternal grandfather. Of course, not everyone followed these conventions so the clue is indicative rather than decisive. Thomas Simpson, son of John and Elizabeth (________) Simpson, died sometime before 20 November, 1750 in St. Marys County, Maryland. His administration account mentions his widow, Mary (who by that time had married Benjamin Molten), and next of kin, Josias Simpson and Elizabeth Mackhon. Mary had been previously married to Philip Tipett who died about 1736 and John Fanning who died about 1745. In the 3 or 4 years they were married, it is doubtful that Thomas and Mary had children. However, it is quite likely that Thomas had children by an earlier wife who died young. Perhaps Josias was the eldest of these children, being a young adult at the time of his father’s death in 1750. Elizabeth Mackhon was definitely the mother of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. who married Robert Mackhon (Machone) following the death of John Simpson. Except for the first two children, the order of birth of Gilbert’s children is not known. However, a younger son was named Samuel after the maternal grandfather, Samuel Johnston. It appears that Gilbert may have been following the traditional naming conventions and that he may have been a teenage son of Thomas at the time of his death in 1750. As a homeless teenage orphan, it seems logical that young Gilbert would have either gone to live with his grandmother, Elizabeth Machone, or across the Potomac to live with his uncle and godfather(?), Gilbert Simpson, Sr. on Clifton Neck in Fairfax County, Virginia. Gilbert’s grandmother, Elizabeth Machone, had been recently widowed for a second time and was in her seventies when Thomas died. It is doubtful that she had either the finances or the stamina to properly care for a teenage boy. Supporting the theory that Gilbert went to live with his uncle Gilbert is the fact that Josias Simpson, possible older brother of the younger Gilbert, was in Fairfax County in 1754 when he leased 238 acres on Clifton Neck from George Brent. This property was less than two miles from Gilbert, Sr.’s 154 acres. The lease was for seven years but a dispute arose over the title to the property and Josias brought suit to recover 20 pounds. The case went to court on 20 March, 1755/6 and continued through 2 March, 1759. Josias apparently lost the case or lost interest in it because he soon returned to St. Mary’s County, Maryland. In summary, Gilbert’s reminder to Washington about his early life coupled with evidence that Josias Simpson (Thomas’s next of kin) had moved to Clifton Neck near Gilbert Simpson, Sr. provide at least a thread of theoretical evidence that Gilbert was an orphaned son of Thomas.
A final allegation that must be addressed is the inference that Gilbert Simpson may have been born in Scotland. The source for this is William E. Lane (1807-1892), the son-in-law of Thomas Simpson of Nelson County, Kentucky, who may have been the eldest son of Gilbert and Tamer (Johnston) Simpson. The date of birth of 27 June, 1757 coincides with the likely age of Gilbert’s eldest son and is the exact date given to Thomas by many of Gilbert’s descendants. It is also the exact date cited from Thomas’s family record as documented in the letter of William E. Lane, written 18 October, 1886. Obviously, the identical dates emanating from the divergent sources would likely pertain to a single individual but it is also possible that Mr. Lane’s letter was the source for both. Mr. Lane doesn’t name Thomas’s father and gives his place of birth as Scotland. He further claims that Thomas came from Scotland to Virginia with his father as a young boy. Assuming Gilbert was Thomas’s father, Gilbert would have emigrated from Scotland to Virginia sometime after Thomas’s birth in 1757 and this scenario would invalidate the theory that Gilbert descended from John Simpson of Charles County, Maryland. However, Mr. Lane’s knowledge of Thomas’s ancestry is flawed in another significant aspect. He claims that Thomas Simpson had a brother, John, who was the maternal grandfather of President Ulysses Simpson Grant. If this were true, the parents of Thomas and John were John Simpson, born in Northern Ireland about 1738, and his wife, Hannah Roberts. This John did, in fact, emigrate as a youngster but from Northern Ireland; not Scotland. No evidence has been found to substantiate the claim that John and Hannah had a son named Thomas. Therefore, the claim that Thomas was of Scottish origin is suspect and probably a convoluted conclusion based on the belief that Thomas’s brother was President Grant’s grandfather. However, other facts in the letter appear to be authentic. For example, Lane’s article identifies a daughter of Thomas and Abigail named Tamer, born 15 January, 1789 and a son, Gilbert, born 23 January, 1799. This provides circumstantial evidence that Gilbert and Tamer (Johnston) Simpson were the parents of Thomas. Further, it is known that Gilbert and Tamer were married in Virginia sometime prior to the birth of their eldest child, Susanna, on 9 May, 1755. Her marriage to Richard Shores on 18 February, 1773 is recorded in Shelburne Parish, Loudoun County, Virginia. This provides proof that Gilbert did not emigrate from Scotland sometime subsequent to 1757 as indicated in Mr. Lane’s letter. Since William E. Lane married a younger daughter of Thomas and Abigail (Moore) Simpson and presumably, a granddaughter of Gilbert and Tamer Simpson, one wonders why the confusion exists about Thomas’s origins in his letter. First of all, William E. Lane was seventy-nine years old when he wrote his letter on 18 October, 1886 and was near the end of his life. At this age, one might expect some memory loss and confusion, particularly about events that occurred fifty years before he was born. Secondly, William never personally met either Thomas or Abigail Simpson. They were both deceased for over five years when William married Elizabeth Simpson on 31 December, 1830 in Harrison County, Indiana so he had no first hand knowledge of his in-laws’ background. Third, Elizabeth Simpson, William’s family conduit to Thomas and Abigail, had been deceased for seven years when William wrote his letter so she was not available for consultation or factual verification. Moreover, Elizabeth was only 24 when her parents died, so even her knowledge of her father’s origins may have been limited. And finally, there may have been a reluctance on the part of some later descendents of Thomas to link him to Gilbert due to the highly publicized “bad press” Gilbert received from historians as a result of his business venture with George Washington. If distain for Gilbert existed among some of the early descendants of Thomas, it was apparently not shared by Thomas, himself, because he named one of his sons, Gilbert. On balance, William E. Lane’s letter is a genealogical goldmine, irrespective of the apparent factual flaws in Thomas’s ancestry. (See footnote 364 for additional rationale for Thomas being the son of Gilbert and Tamer (Johnston) Simpson).
Given Gilbert’s statement about having known Washington from his childhood, it is can be assumed with a high degree of certainty that he was the grandson of John Simpson of Charles County, and consequently the nephew of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. Furthermore, the preponderance of factual evidence points toward John Simpson (Jr.) being Gilbert’s father. Specifically:
a. John Simpson was Augustine Washington’s overseer beginning in about 1737 and in his deposition of 1748, it is apparent that he was providing testimony because of his knowledge about certain physical landmarks on property later called Clifton Neck. Therefore, it can be reasonably assumed that John was a resident (or nearby resident) in that immediate vicinity in 1737.
b. John Simpson, (the elder) was closely associated with the Compton family in Charles County, Maryland and John Simpson, (the younger) was one of the surieties, along with Samuel Compton and widow, Susannah (Compton) Whitely, in the administration of the estate of Robert Whiteley, a resident on Clifton Neck who was deceased by 1744. Robert Whitely had apparently been a resident of Clifton Neck since he was a witness to the seven lease agreements that William Clifton transacted on 14 August, 1741, including Gilbert Simpson, Sr.’s lease. Susannah (Compton) Whitely subsequently married Henry Taylor in 1745 whose property is shown on a 1755 map as a lessee of 116 acres on Clifton Neck.
c. John Simpson was a resident on the property that Samuel Johnston of St. Mary’s County leased on Clifton Neck from William Clifton on 19 August, 1745 and may have known the Johnston family when they lived in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.
d. Gilbert Simpson (III) married Tamer Johnston, daughter of Samuel and Hannah (Martin) Johnston of Clifton Neck, in about 1754 where John Simpson had been a resident in 1745.
e. Gilbert had a son named John; albeit, he was not his first born as he would have been if the naming conventions had been strictly followed.
f. A careful review of John Simpson’s deposition in 1748 casts dispersions on the contention that Augustine Washington brought Simpson over from England. There was a lapse of as long as a year from the time Simpson arrived in Virginia and the time that he was employed as Washington’s overseer. It is considered unlikely that Washington would have gone to the expense of recruiting Simpson in England as his overseer and not promptly employed him in that capacity upon his return to America.
g. Despite an intensive search, no primary source has been found supporting the contention that John Simpson came to Virginia from England (See footnote 49 for details of this search).
To summarize and conclude the discussion about Gilbert Simpson’s parentage, there is no factual evidence to support the theory that Thomas, son of John of Charles County, was Gilbert’s father. Furthermore, the allegation by William Lane that the father of Thomas Simpson of Nelson County, Kentucky was a Scottish immigrant is fraught with contradictory facts. On the other hand, there is considerable factual evidence, as summarized above, indicating that John Simpson (the younger) was the likely father of Gilbert Simpson who became George Washington’s partner. Such a scenario would certainly be congruent with Gilbert’s statement to Washington in his letter of 27 April, 1784 that “…it’s true I am a Poor man whom your Honor have known from a Child and Likewise the family I derive from…”
Judging from the quality of Gilbert’s letters, he was literate and apparently received an above average education for the time. In about 1754, he married Tamer Johnston, daughter of Samuel and Hannah (Martin) Johnston, who lived on Clifton Neck. On 10 October, 1755 Gilbert was listed as a sergeant in the Fairfax County militia rolls. Also on the same roster was a Gilbert Simpson, Jr. who was a corporal.
By 11 May, 1761 Gilbert had moved to Loudoun County, Virginia. On 8 June of that year, he leased 150 acres on “Kittoctin” (Catoctin) Mountain near the drains of the South “Segolan” (Sycoline) Branch from Bryan Fairfax. The term of the lease was for the lives of Gilbert; his wife, Tamer; and of his son, Thomas; in the amount of 3 pounds payable on 1 December of each year. The lease also required that he plant apple trees thirty feet apart, a fence, and a dwelling house at least 20 feet long and 16 feet wide. The indenture was proved on 10 November, 1761.
Subsequently, Gilbert appears frequently in Loudoun County records as a witness to several deeds and the will of John Ethell in Cameron Parish on 17 March, 1766. He also appears on the Loudoun County tithable list beginning in 1761 and continuing through 1773. Listed on the tithable list were negros, Orson and Chloe, and several overseers. In 1765, his overseer was John Johnston, apparently his brother-in-law. Later on, these two persons apparently had a serious difference of opinion because there was considerable ill-will between them. Other overseers through the years were: Benjamin Brish (or Bowditch), and James Artis.
On 19 June, 1769 Gilbert Simpson, Hannah Johnston, Samuel Johnston, and Thomas Triplett were bonded for settlement of the estate of Samuel Johnston (Sr.) in Fairfax County. On 21 January, 1771, Gilbert posted a bond for 25 pounds for the good behavior of Samuel Johnston (Jr.) in the theft of two geese from William Haskins in Fairfax County. On 16 September, 1771, Gilbert Simpson, Jr., Susanna Johnston, Hannah Johnston, and Pierce Bayly acknowledged a bond for administration of the estate of Hannah Johnston in Fairfax County.
On 5 October, 1772 Gilbert Simpson wrote a letter from his home in Loudoun County to George Washington proposing a partnership in the settlement and development of Washington’s property along the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania. Washington had claimed this 1644 acre tract in 1768. Simpson’s proposal was that they would share the labor and livestock costs and that Gilbert would be the manager of the venture. Washington responded in the affirmative on 18 December with some additional stipulations. In his reply on 26 December, Gilbert agreed to the proposal and stated his intent go out the following year with his Negro, Orson, and asked Washington to provide two slaves. He also questioned the stipulation that Simpson family hold the lease for twenty-one years after his death.
On 23 February, 1773 George Washington wrote Gilbert Simpson and described the qualifications of the slaves that he was committing to the partnership. He also appointed Capt. Crawford as his agent to work with Simpson. On 11 April, 1773 Gilbert Simpson advises Washington in a letter from Youghiogheny that he arrived on his land with great difficulty. He states his intent to do his best to improve the land until the fall and then to quit the concern. The reason he cited was that his wife was never agreeable to move to Youghiogheny and he was not favorably impressed himself. He then described how they could divide the initial investment. On 20 May, 1773 Gilbert sent another letter to Washington from Youghiogheny stating that he had not received a reply to his two previous letters. He tells Washington of his wife’s aversion to moving and reiterated his opposition to moving his family to Pennsylvania. He said he would rather go out once or twice a year than to relocate. He also stated he would be back in Loudoun County in about four weeks but would plan to be back in Pennsylvania again by the end of summer.
On 14 June, 1773 in a letter to Washington from Loudoun, Gilbert Simpson says he intends to stay in Loudoun County for the summer and to go back to Youghiogheny on about 1 September. He suggests a meeting in Leesburg if convenient for Washington because it would save him the trouble of coming “down to you”. He then discusses the difficulties he has been having. He asks for a schedule of his events for their planning purposes. Washington responded in a letter dated 8 July, 1773 but it has not survived.
In July, 1773, Gilbert Simpson responds to Washington’s letter of 8 July. He expresses concern about Washington’s reaction to his letters about dissolving the partnership. He explained his reasons for not being able to relocate, i.e., his wife’s refusal to go, the worthlessness of the slaves Washington provided, etc. and then described the progress he had made despite these difficulties. Finally, he asks whether Washington intends to take “any part of all of my things” in the event he selects an overseer.
On 31 August, 1773 Gilbert Simpson wrote to Washington from his home in Loudoun County. He said he hoped to see Washington before he leaves for Williamsburg and if that did not work out, he suggested that their business be conducted with “Lum” (Lund) Washington. At issue was the commitment of a man who knew how to work with horses and other plantation business and a young Negro woman and money to begin construction of the mill. He also says it will be late before he can move his family and offers the name of a Joseph Croos as an alternate. On 20 September, 1773, Gilbert gave a bond for administration of the estate of Samuel Johnston, deceased.
In a letter to George Washington on 1 October, 1773, Gilbert reports that things are going well but cites difficulty in getting wagons to move his family out. He doubts that he will be able to get back to Virginia before Washington has to leave for Williamsburg but asks that he leave money to credit out the greatest part of his affairs at home.
On 15 March, 1774 Gilbert Simpson was a juror in Loudoun County in the case of Jacob Reed and Mary Evans, executors of John Evans, deceased, versus Cornelius Anderson. The same day, the Loudoun County court heard a suit by John Jones, plaintiff, versus Gilbert Simpson, defendant. Judgment was for the defendant and the plaintiff was charged with making a false claim. Jones asked for a new hearing.
About the time that Simpson was sent out as manager of Washington’s property, Valentine Crawford became Washington’s financial agent in the region and kept him advised of progress being made in the development of his land and the construction of the mill. Building operations were apparently delayed for some time due to the threat of Indian uprisings and the difficulty in securing and retaining laborers and carpenters. On 27 April, 1774, Crawford wrote Washington the following status: “I went to Gilbert Simpson as soon as I got out and gave him the bill of scandling you gave me and the bill of his articles. I offered him all the servants that he might take them to your Bottoms until we got our crews at work; but he refused for fear they would run away from him.” On 6 May, 1774 he again wrote, “I went to Mr. Simpson and offered him some of the carpenters and all of the servants; but he refused taking them. The latter for fear they would run away; he has however agreed to take some of the carpenters to do the framing for the mill and the servants to dig the race. I am afraid I shall be obliged to build a fort until this eruption is over, which I am in hopes will not last long. Mr. Simpson yesterday seemed very much scared but I cheered him up all I could. He and his laborers seemed to conclude to build a fort if times grew any worse.” Things did get worse as stated in a letter dated 25 May. Crawford stated that he “was building a stockade fort around his own house” and on 8 June, “that Simpson had completed a fort at the Bottoms.” Continuous delays of this nature resulted in increased costs in constructing the mill. In a letter to Washington on 27 July, 1774, Crawford states, “I consider it a pity that the mill was ever begun in these times. It appears to me sometimes that it will be a very expensive job to you before it is done.”
On 4 May, 1774 Gilbert Simpson expressed his anxiety about impending problems with the Indians. In a letter to George Washington he advises that the Youghiogheny country is in “great confusion” due to a general Indian uprising. He states his intention to build a fort and to stay with the philosophy that “I may as well be ruend one way as the other for to flie I would loos great part of what little I have. so I declare to stand as long as I can see the lest hoops and goo on with your mill”. He closes the letter with a request for funds to buy rifles. By 20 August, 1774 the uprising must have abated because Simpson gives Washington a detailed progress report on construction of the mill. He states his intention to send his son for an additional 250 pounds.
On 24 September, 1774, Gilbert Simpson advised Washington that his son has returned safely with the money he requested. He said that he was sorry that Washington “should think the cost of the mill so high….” when it was done according to his specifications. On 9 November, 1774 he again sent his son to get additional money to pay off the men for their work at the mill. He also gives a progress report on the mill.
On 6 December, 1774, Gilbert Simpson was assigned to survey the road from Thomas Gist’s to Fort Dunmore to Paul Freeman’s on Shirtees Creek. On 18 December, 1774 in a letter from Youghiogheny, Gilbert Simpson told Washington that he was sorry that he was still disturbed about the cost of the mill but proceeded to explain the reasons for the costs. On 6 February, 1775 Gilbert again wrote to Washington and described the property. He also invited him to visit the property but, recognizing that Washington’s time was being taken up by matters of the coming revolution, he asked for James Cleveland to come in his stead. Finally, he mentioned that one of his young sons is recovering from a seven week fever. Cleveland fell ill when he arrived soon afterward and was back home in Loudoun County by 11 February. In early March, Washington decided to send William Stevens ahead to Simpson’s with a working party. A letter from Washington was sent with Stevens still complaining about the cost of the mill. Simpson’s reply on 3 April, 1775 was quite haughty in his defense of the costs incurred.
The next surviving letter from Gilbert Simpson to Washington was dated 7 May, 1781 from Washington Bottom. He stated that his family are in good health and gives a progress report.
On 11 June, 1783, in a letter to Lund Washington, George Washington makes it clear that he still harbors resentment about the cost effectiveness of the mill. He states, “I expect also, that all the money I have expended on the mill on Yohoghaney, and all the property which has been put into the hands of Gilbert Simpson will be sunk for want of proper endeavors to bring him to account”.
On 13 February, 1784 George Washington wrote a letter to Gilbert Simpson stating that having settled his public commitments, he can turn his attention to his private affairs. He states that from information he has received, the finished mill “is the best mill…..on the west side of the Alleghaney Mountains”. He also asked for a full and complete settlement of their partnership accounts and he expected to show a handsome profit. The next day, Washington wrote a letter to John Lewis asking him to deliver the letter and to observe the condition of the plantation and the mill.
On 27 April, 1784, Gilbert Simpson responded to Washington’s letter of 13 February. He had received it on 8 April when he and his family were ill with smallpox. Gilbert then recounted his progress over the past twelve years. He defended himself against accusations the he had converted “emoluments” to his own use and reminded Washington that “it’s true I am a poor man whom your honor have known from a Child and Likewise the Family I derive from”. He then accused his brother-in-law, John Johnson, of “injuring his character”. He closes by stating that he had, in fact, received cash from the business but that the profits were offset by bills of credit. He proposes that Washington send an attorney to “settle our affairs” and praises him for his contributions in the defense of his country.
On 24 June, 1784, George Washington issued an advertisement from Mount Vernon which appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser a month later. An auction was to be held for his Washington Bottom property on 15 September, to be sold to the highest bidder. In a letter to David Luckett on 10 July, 1784 Washington states his intention to visit the Youghiogheny property on the 10th of September and to have the mill and other matters disposed of by the 15th. On the same date, he wrote a letter to Gilbert Simpson wherein he discusses the terms for settling the partnership. He said, “I do not expect to be compensated for my losses, nor mean to be rigid in my settlement, yet common sense, reason and justice, all require that I should have a satisfactory account rendered of my property which has been entrusted to your care, in full confidence of getting something for ten or twelve years use of it”. On 31 July, 1784 Gilbert wrote a letter to Washington from Washington’s Bottom. He reports that he arrived home safely after meeting with Washington (at Mount Vernon) and found everything well and undisturbed. He described a feeling of faintness in his meadow while inspecting his wheat. He concludes the letter by discussing arrangements for Washington’s pending visit.
Washington arrived at Gilbert Simpson’s at 5 o’clock on the evening of 12 September, 1784. He stayed in the Simpson home through the 17th. On the 15th they had the sale of Washington’s moiety of the co-partnership stock but no great sale was made. There was no bid at all for the mill. Simpson’s plantation rented well but there was a major complication – the tenant was to be Gilbert Simpson and he was reluctant to commit himself to more than a one year lease. In consideration of Simpson’s leasing the plantation, he was allowed to hire George Washington’s slaves there (about eight in number) at a price Washington considered cheap. On 19 September, 1784, Gilbert paid Washington 79 pieces of Virginia money of various denominations. In a in his ledger book B Washington penned in a note, “Settled by a payment in depreciated paper Money”. Nevertheless, by the following spring, Simpson was threatening to quit the lease, “the seasons being difficult and the rent so high”. Gilbert is on the Franklin Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania Tax List in 1785 with 5 slaves, 6 horses, five cattle and 25 acres of land. He apparently left Washington’s Bottom by the end of the year.
Gilbert and his family moved to Bourbon County, Kentucky, probably in early 1786 but certainly before 4 July of that year when he gave permission for his daughter of marry Zachariah Masterson. On 25 August, 1786 he was one of the signatories of a petition by the inhabitants of Limestone Settlement in Bourbon County, Kentucky requesting the formation of a new county . From 1787 through 1793, Gilbert Simpson was on the Fayette County, Kentucky tax list. In 1789 he bought 50 acres of land from Samuel McDowell. On 22 December, 1789 he was among the signatories on a petition requesting public land to build a Presbyterian Church. The tax roles for 1792 record that Gilbert was taxed for ten slaves and six horses.
On 12 December, 1792, Gilbert Simpson (Sr.), Samuel Simpson (his son), and James Johnson signed as witnesses to the will of James Simpson. The will was proved in the July, 1793 court. Since James and Gilbert both owned property along Cane Run in Fayette County, it was long suspected that there might be a family connection. However, James’ estate records provide evidence that he came to Fayette County from Botetourt County, Virginia and no further connection between the two has been discovered. Therefore, the two Simpsons living in such close proximity may just be coincidental and not indicative of a family relationship.
On 27 January, 1794 Gilbert Simpson wrote his will in which he mentions sons: Thomas, Samuel, John, and Gilbert; daughters: Jemima Byrn, Susanna Shore, Ann Masterson, Tamer Simpson, and Hannah Simpson. (Note: the will was badly mutilated so some names may be missing) Gilbert died the following March and his will was probated in May, 1794. The original copy of this will was partially burned in a court house fire in 1821. The following was taken from an abstracted copy interpreted and produced by Simpson descendant, Dwight Barr. ____ indicates missing letters with known meaning and —- indicates missing words or sentences with unknown meaning:
—————————————–my working slaves which is negro————————————————————————-and two feather beds one old black horse—————————————————————-called Fanny with all my cattle sheep and hogs———————————————————-__plements belonging to my plantation all to enjoy———————————————————__sses during her widowhood and she shall not sell——————————————————__y of the above mentioned slaves or things but her and——————————————————of the family to live on the produce of same.
I leave to my son Thomas Simpson a negro boy call__ ——
I leave to my son Samuel Simpson a negro girl cal___
Charity. I leave to my daughter Jemima Byrn a negro ———
__ leave to my daughter Susannah Shore a negro ————–
I leave to my daughter Ann Masterson a negro gi__
I leave to my youngest child Tamer Simpson two neg___
Sarah and Peter one feather bed one cow and calf two———–
————- one man called Fancy ———————————-
I leave to my son John Simpson after my wife ———————
___lled Jane and a boy called Phillip and on_—————————–
the other three so as the girl shall ———————————–
and where it shall be thought proper between ——————–
and Gilbert Simpson whom I do appoint my ———————
wifes death or marriage that the two shall sell m_ —————
which they shall pay in trade or cash as it may suit t___ ——–
the and Gilbert Simpson last to my daughter Hannah ________
fifteen pounds likewise and in like manner shall ——————
Thomas Simpson fifteen pounds and to my son Samuel ______
Fifteen pounds and beg that the above may be———————
–ention to and after all my just debts is paid I leave
John and Gilbert Simpson all my stock and househo__
_____ture and tools of every kind to be equally divided as
___ance of the land likewise between the said John as ———–
I acknowledge this to be my last will and test____
___uary 27th in the year of our Lord 1794
___n Gorham Gilbert Simpson
__ward Cavin Jany 27 in the year of our Lord
_______ County May Court 1794
This last Will and Testament was produced in C____ ————
Oaths of George Taylor, John Gorham and Edw___ ______
being witness there to and order to be Rec_____
Gilbert and Tamer (Johnston) Simpson were parents of the following children:
1. Susannah, born 4 May, 1755; married Richard Shore, son of Thomas and Sarah
(Woodson) Shore 18 February, 1773; died in December, 1842.
2. Thomas, who was the eldest son of Gilbert and Tamer. This is established in a letter Gilbert wrote to George Washington on 20 August, 1774 in which he states that he sent his son from Youghiogheny in Pennsylvania to Mount Vernon to personally hand-carry 200 pounds currency back from Washington to his father. Washington identifies this son as Thomas by the entry in his Day Book, “by his son Thos on Acct of my Mill Exps”. Additionally, the letter was addressed “To The Care of Thomas simpson”. For several reasons, this Thomas is presumed to be identical with the Thomas Simpson of Nelson County, Kentucky whose biography was authored by his son-in-law, William E. Lane in 1886. However, further investigative research has failed to discover confirming factual evidence. Lane gives Thomas’s birth date as 27 June, 1757. He married Abigail Moore in 1784, probably in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, because both of their parents were living there at that time. Abigail was born 6 July, 1761. She was the daughter of Aaron and Mary (Prather) Moore . According to Lane, Thomas entered into a contract to rent a farm from George Washington on 21 December, 1785. Under the terms of the contract, Thomas was to have the use of the houses and to provide for the slaves on the farm. He was obliged to sell Washington’s hay and corn for two shillings and six pence per bushel. The date of this contract coincides approximately with Gilbert Simpson severing his rental agreement with George Washington in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, giving rise to speculation that son, Thomas, might have taken over the rental agreement from his father. However, this theory is not supported by the personal property tax lists or the deed records of Fayette County. Instead, Thomas is listed in the 1787 personal property tax lists of Nelson County, Kentucky. Thomas explored Nelson County, Kentucky as early as 1779 and moved there prior to 10 March, 1795. He settled on Simpson’s Creek. Also settling in Nelson County as early as May 1776 was a John Simpson who, along with John Muldraugh, marked trees to establish Thomas Simpson’s claim along Ash’s and Jack’s Creeks. Because of their close association, it has been assumed that this John was Thomas’s brother but that John died in Fayette County in 1815. This John Simpson’s will in Washington County, Kentucky and his association with the Muldraugh family indicates that he may have been one of the sons of James Simpson, a neighbor of Gilbert, along Cane Run in Fayette County. Thomas made his will on 22 July, 1825; proved 11 September, 1825 in which he mentions wife, Abigail, and the following children Betsey, Hannah, Samuel, Gilbert, Tom, Mary Shore, Eleanor Silkwood, Nancy Rhodes, and John:. Thomas died at about twelve o’clock on 10 August, 1825 in Nelson County, Kentucky. He was preceded in death by his wife, Abigail, who died on 12 February, 1825 of dropsy. They were buried on the old farm on Simpson’s Creek, Nelson County, Kentucky. The names and dates of birth of the children of Thomas and Abigail (Moore) Simpson of Nelson County, Kentucky are repeated here because of the possibility that Thomas was the son of Gilbert and Tamer (Johnston) Simpson. It must be recognized, however, that there are significant contradictions between the recollections of William Lane and known facts about Thomas, eldest son of Gilbert. A cursory search by this author has not produced sufficient factual evidence to reconcile these conflicts and further research is definitely warranted. Children of Thomas and Abigail (Moore) Simpson of Nelson County, Kentucky were:
a. Mary, born 15 May, 1786; married 13 December, 1812 Thomas Shore in Nelson County, Kentucky.
b. J. Moore, born 2 November, 1787 (Note: This is probably a transcription error. The ‘J’ was probably intended to be a ‘T’ for Thomas, who is mentioned in Thomas’s will as Tom and who married Anna Howell on 22 January, 1806.)
c. Tamer, born 15 January, 1789; married Sylvanus May on 28 August, 1807. (She was probably deceased when her father made his will since he mentions grandchildren, Allen May and Silvanus May).
d. Samuel, born 5 December, 1789; married Elizabeth Scott 12 October, 1817.
e. Nancy, born 4 August, 1793; married a Rhodes.
f. Nelly, born 29 January, 1795.
g. John, born 27 October, 1796.
h. Gilbert, born 23 January, 1799; married Isabel Rice 10 May, 1824.
i. Elizabeth (known as Betsey), born 19 January, 1801; married William E. Lane 4 February, 1830 in Harrison County, Indiana. William was born on 3 July, 1807. They moved to Boone County, Indiana on 31 December, 1830. Betsey died on the morning of 28 March, 1879 in Boone County.
j. Hannah, born 18 June, 1804.
k. Eleanor, who married a Silkwood. (Note: Eleanor does not appear in the family records provided by William E. Lane but she is mentioned in Thomas’s will as a daughter. Conversely, Nelly is not mentioned in will. Could Nelly and Eleanor be the same person?)
4. Samuel, who married Catherine Moeller 25 February, 1790 in Bourbon County,
Kentucky; died between 18 January, 1803 and May, 1803, according to his will. In
his will, he mentions his mother, Tamor, and his deceased brother, Gilbert. His
a. Nancy, who married William How.
c. Jane, who married Benjamin Cromwell.
e. Mary, who married Moses Masterson.
5. John, born about 1765; married Frances Taylor about 1798 in Fayette County,
Kentucky; died prior to 13 May 1815.
6. Ann, born about 1767; married first, Zachariah Masterson 16 May, 1787 in Bourbon
County, Kentucky; married second, Isaac Cook on 3 December, 1796 in Scott County,
Kentucky; died 7 August, 1834.
7. Jemima, who married a Byrn and lived in Owen County, Kentucky.
8. Gilbert, who died before 1803 based on his brother, Samuel Simpson’s will.
IV. Gilbert Simpson (ca. 1730-1787) – Of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
This Gilbert Simpson was the son of Joseph Simpson and his wife Sarah Noe of Charles and Prince George’s Counties, Maryland. He was born about 1730. He married Mary _______, probably about 1755 or 1756. Mary was born about 1736. Gilbert Simpson appears on a “List of Fidelity”, Peter Bowie’s Return, recorded March 25, 1779 at a court held at Upper Marlborough Town. Gilbert made his will on 21 August, 1787. It was recorded 25 September, 1787. His will was witnessed by Overton Carr, Jonathan Ridgeway, and John Simpson, presumably, his brother. Children were:
1. Libby, born 14 August, 1757.
2. Joseph, born about 1760; married Rachel Galworth/Galwith in King George’s Parish, Prince George’s County, Maryland 31 January/3 February, 1788. He is mentioned as the administrator in the settlement of his father’s estate in 1794.
3. Mary Ann, baptized 18 April, 1762.
4. Sarah (Sally), baptized 30 September, 1764 at Broad Creek.
5. Verlinder, born 7 April, 1772 at Broad Creek. (Note: A Linny is also mentioned as a daughter of Gilbert but it is more likely that this was a short form for Verlinda, rather than another daughter).
V. GILBERT SIMPSON (ca. 1772/7-1809) – Of Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia.
Gilbert Simpson was the son of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson but William’s origins have long been a mystery. In order to establish Gilbert’s ancestry, it is necessary to determine William’s.
EXCURSUS INTO THE ANALYSIS OF THE IDENTITY OF WILLIAM SIMPSON:
Many genealogists have speculated that William was probably the son of either Gilbert Simpson, Sr. or Gilbert Simpson, Jr., primarily because he had sons named Gilbert, French, and John. In the past few years, another possibility has surfaced in the form of Joseph Simpson of Prince George’s County, Maryland. The names, Gilbert and French also appear among his descendants. An evaluation of the various possibilities follows:
Gilbert Simpson, Sr.:
Gilbert Simpson, Sr. left a will but it didn’t mention a son named William. His will implies, however, that there were other children, not named, when Gilbert states that the remainder of his estate is to be “equally divided amongst my whole children”. Further evidence that there were other children is found in Gilbert Simpson, Jr.’s will, in which he names his nephew, John Simpson, as executor. The father of this nephew John is not known. Gilbert, Jr. had a brother, John, who was also named in Gilbert, Sr.’s will and this John had a son named John. According to a transcribed copy of John Simpson’s family bible, this younger John was born on 12 June, 1774 which would make him old enough to have been named executor in Gilbert, Jr.’s will. However, this birth year is apparently erroneous; the result of a transcription error. John’s obituary and his tombstone state that he was actually born on 12 June, 1787, a fact confirmed by federal census records and the recollections of descendant, James Hendley Simpson. Therefore, this nephew, John, was only about 15 when Gilbert, Jr. made his will; obviously too young to have been named as an executor. William also had a son named John and he was an adult by 1799 but may also have been too young to have functioned effectively as an executor of Gilbert’s estate. This could account for John petitioning the court following Gilbert’s death to relieve him of the responsibilities of executor. According to Fairfax County personal property tax lists, land tax lists, the Fairfax County Road Orders, 1749-1800, deeds, and probate records there were six John Simpsons living in Fairfax County near the time that Gilbert Simpson, Jr. wrote his will. Five are eliminated because they are descended in the fourth and fifth generations from John Simpson, the Scotsman, a different line entirely. The sixth is the son of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson. Another name is mentioned in the will of Gilbert Simpson, Jr. which may have a bearing on the identification of “nephew John”. One of the witnesses to the signing of the will was Beverly R. Wagener. Beverly was the son of Col. Peter and Sinah (McCarty) Waggoner (Wagener). It will be shown later that John Simpson, son of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson, married Ann Nancy Wagener, a daughter of Peter and Sinah. Therefore, the Beverly R. Wagener who witnessed the signing of Gilbert Simpson, Jr.’s will was the brother-in-law of John Simpson, the son of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson. At one time, Peter and Sinah made their home in Alexandria at the corner of Duke and St. Asaph Streets which was about two blocks south and one and a half blocks west of the lot Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson inherited from her father. This family connection strengthens the theory that “nephew John” was the son of William Simpson and that William was a younger son of Gilbert Simpson, Sr. However, another possibility is that Beverly R. Wagener was simply a neighbor who Gilbert called in to witness his will signing, irrespective of any family connection. Fairfax County road orders confirm that Peter Wagener was living in the same neighborhood as Gilbert Simpson in 1797. Another witness to the signing of Gilbert Simpson, Jr.’s will was James H. Blake. Blake also certified the qualifications of the appraisers the estate of Henry Zimmerman and is listed twice in the administration account of Zimmerman. James H. Blake also certified as to the accuracy of the guardian account of the heirs of John and Margaret Gretter, deceased, on 16 November, 1806. William Simpson married Elizabeth Gretter, sister of John, and several of their children intermarried with the children of Henry Zimmerman. It appears James H. Blake was a Justice of the Peace in Fairfax County so this connection may be of an official nature rather than indicative of a family connection.
Gilbert Simpson, Jr.:
Gilbert Simpson, Jr. had a son named French. He also left a will but it doesn’t mention William as an heir. Given their respective estimated dates of birth, it would appear that William was born too early to have been a son of Gilbert, Jr. and Rosanna Mason. The earliest recorded mention of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson was February, 1775. Therefore, they must have been married sometime in 1774 or earlier. Assuming William was 25 when he married, his birth year is estimated at 1749 or within the range of 1745 to 1750. Gilbert, Jr. and Rosanna were married sometime after 21 March, 1753 when Rosanna was still recorded under her maiden name and 17 May, 1759 when Gilbert, Jr. was living on the Pohick on land from Rosanna’s inheritance. However, there is evidence that Gilbert may have had a prior marriage. On 21 March, 1757, a Catharine Simpson, wife of Gilbert Simpson, was a witness in a civil lawsuit. Gilbert Simpson (III) is ruled out as this Gilbert because his eldest child by Tamer Johnston was born two years earlier on 4 May, 1755. It is possible, therefore, that Gilbert Simpson, Jr. was married twice; first to Catharine _______ sometime before 1757 and second, to Rosanna Mason sometime before 17 May, 1759. Furthermore, the “deed of trust” between Gilbert and Daniel McCarty, Jr. on 20 September, 1790 was closely akin to a will in that it carefully prescribed the sequence of ownership of eight slaves among Gilbert’s heirs. In summary, it is conceivable that William could have been Gilbert, Jr.’s son by a first wife but if so, one would expect that he would have been mentioned in either the will or the deed. Gilbert’s difficulties in naming a male heir as an executor (first, a nephew and a minor grandson and then, a son-in-law) is pretty compelling evidence that he had no other sons at the time of his death. Finally, William Simpson had a great-granddaughter named Rosanna, born 10 March, 1850. A connection to Rosanna (Mason) Simpson would appear to be merely coincidental because, as explained above, William as a son of Gilbert Simpson, Jr. and Rosanna Mason does not fit chronologically.
Other evidence indicates that William was the son of Joseph and Sarah (Noe) Simpson of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Joseph and Sarah had sons named Gilbert and John and a great-grandson named French. More importantly, they had a son named William. A William Simpson is listed as an heir in the will of Joseph Simpson dated 29 October, 1780. However, William is not listed in the 1776 census of Prince George’s County, indicating that he had moved from the county. A William Simpson first appears just across the Potomac from Prince George’s County Maryland in the records of Fairfax County, Virginia in 1775 as the husband of Elizabeth Gretter. In this deed, Michael Gretter, Elizabeth’s father, sold Elizabeth Simpson, wife of William, a portion of Lot number 115 in Alexandria for 50 pounds. This lot was located on King Street between Pitt Street and Royal Street. The following year, a William Simpson is listed in the Truro Vestry Book as “William Simpson, son of Joseph, per account, 1776”. This clue, of course, is decisive, providing this William is identical with the William who married Elizabeth Gretter. For research purposes, it is fortunate that the name, Joseph Simpson, is fairly uncommon in northern Virginia at this time. Fairfax County tax, property, and probate records do not identify any Joseph Simpson old enough to have been the father of a William who was an adult by 1775. The only two Josephs who were contemporaries of William in Fairfax were: (1) Joseph Simpson, proven son of Joseph and Sarah (Noe) Simpson of Prince George’s County, Maryland, born about 1741 and (2) Joseph Simpson, son of George and Susannah (Wheeler) Simpson, born about 1767. Since neither Joseph was old enough to have been the father of the William in the Truro Vestry minutes, he would appear to be the son of Joseph and Sarah (Noe) Simpson of Charles and Prince George’s County, Maryland by the process of elimination. Furthermore, the Joseph Simpson, son of Joseph and Sarah (Noe) Simpson of Prince George’s, and the William who married Elizabeth Gretter appeared on the same tax list and lived near each other. William lived at the Old Turnpike Gate near Alexandria and Joseph lived between Alexandria and Great Falls. A Fairfax County deed dated 11 March, 1789, Fairfax County Road Orders, a 21 April, 1789 court caseand Joseph’s will shows Joseph as an adjoining neighbor of a William Swink. Modern maps of Fairfax County show a place called Swink’s Mill on Scott’s Run approximately 12 linear miles north of Alexandria toward Great Falls. Like Joseph, William Swink had migrated to Fairfax County from Prince George’s County, Maryland sometime subsequent to 1776. Among his children, William Swink had a daughter, Catherine, who apparently married a son of his neighbor, Joseph Simpson, and a daughter, Barbara, who married Benjamin Shreve. Their son, Benjamin F. Shreve, married Sarah Elizabeth Simpson, granddaughter of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson by his son, John. Further evidence is found in an analysis of the various William Simpsons living in Fairfax County in 1775. Fairfax County personal property tax lists (PPTL), land tax records (LTR), deeds, probate records, and county road orders, indicate that there were apparently three adult William Simpsons living in Fairfax County at the time that William is documented as the husband of Elizabeth Gretter in 1775. The 1783 personal property tax list shows four but one was apparently the son of George Simpson (of Richard, of John, the Scotsman) who was born in 1757 and would have been too young to have been considered a head of household in 1775. Two of the other Williams were: (1) the son of Thomas (of John, the Scotsman) and (2) his son, William, Jr. This elder William was born about 1712 and died in Fairfax County in about 1795. The younger William is shown as a “Jr.” in the 1782 PPTL and as a son “of William” in 1787. The remaining William in the 1783 PPTL would seem to be the William identified as the “son of Joseph” in the Truro vestry records by the process of elimination. However, this conclusion, by itself, cannot be considered absolute because the personal property tax lists (like census records) were not necessarily all-inclusive of the adult population. In summary, it must be noted that while many of the names that William selected for his children are found in will of Joseph Simpson of Prince George’s in 1780, the name, Joseph, is conspicuously missing.
The names Gilbert, French, and John exist in all three family lines so this clue is of little value in trying to determine William’s parentage. As described above, there is only theoretical evidence that William Simpson was the son of Gilbert Simpson, Jr. (ca.1725–1803) due to uncertainties about a possible earlier marriage for Gilbert. Conversely, there is some factual as well as circumstantial evidence that William was a son of either Gilbert Simpson, Sr. (1699-1773) or his brother, Joseph of Prince George’s County, Maryland (1705-1782). The factual evidence that Gilbert Simpson, Sr. had other children not mentioned in his will, coupled with a possible family connection between Beverly Robinson Wagener, James H. Blake, and “nephew John” Simpson, makes a credible argument that William may have been a brother of Gilbert, Jr. and therefore, the son Gilbert, Sr. However, the reference to “William, son of Joseph” in the Truro records remains the strongest factual evidence of William’s parentage. Coupled with the facts that two of William Swink’s daughters married into the families of both Joseph and William Simpson and an analysis of the identities of the various William Simpsons in 1775, the preponderance of evidence indicates that William was the son of Joseph and Sarah (Noe) Simpson. Lacking more definitive proof, he is considered a probable son.
The details of William’s life and his descendants are especially significant to this research paper because he was the progenitor of later Gilbert and French Simpsons into the 19th century. Based on his marriage date and the approximate birthdates of his children, William was probably born about 1745-1750. He married Elizabeth Gretter, daughter of Michael Gretter, sometime prior to 13 February, 1775. Fairfax County Deed Book M, pages 136-137 records that Michael Gretter of Alexandria sold to his daughter, Elizabeth Simpson, wife of William Simpson, for 50 pounds Lot Number 115 on King Street in Alexandria. Sometime prior to 18 July, 1791, this property was sold to Lawrence Hoof. On 29 August, 1794, William Simpson purchased from William Hattersley for 150 pounds, twelve shillings 31 ¼ acres of land situated between the Mount Vernon and the Colchester Roads. Subsequently, William Hattersley died. The mortgage had been satisfied by payment to William Hattersely in his lifetime and to Samuel, his brother, after his death but the documentation had been lost. Therefore, Samuel Hattersley and William Simpson reaffirmed the transaction on 18 June, 1803 by William paying the nominal sum of one dollar. This deed was witnessed by Cleon Moore and Gilbert Simpson (presumably William’s son). It was re-acknowledged by Samuel Hattersley on 7 June, 1811 and recorded ten days later. On 10 March, 1796, John West and Sarah, his wife, sold to William Simpson for 40 pounds, 5 acres, 7 perches beginning at a stone near Turnpike Gate “on the north/south of Duke Street when extended”. This sale included a half acre on which Simpson’s house stands previously purchased by Simpson from West. William Simpson was among the tithables living at Turnpike Gate on 22 September, 1789. On 19 August, 1799, William Simpson and Elizabeth, his wife, sold to John Simpson (their son) for 20 pounds, their property beginning at the corner of Fendall and Lee’s land on Duke Street extended in the line of Ludwell Lee. Witnesses were Presley Sanford, Andrew Monroe, and Gilbert Simpson (presumed older son of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson). On 5 June, 1804, George Deneale was appointed to sell a tract of land for the heirs of Michael Gretter, deceased, to Alexander Perry. Heirs were identified as John Gretter; Elizabeth Simpson; Dorothy, wife of John Harper; and Ann, wife of Lawrence Hooff. William Simpson apparently died in 1811 because the Fairfax County land tax records for 1812 report his 5 acres at the Old Turnpike Gate and the 31 acres near Cameron Run in the possession of his heirs. By 10 September, 1815, William’s widow, Elizabeth had married, as her second husband, John Gooding. John was deceased by 17 June, 1816 and Elizabeth apparently remained a widow. On 17 June, 1817, Elizabeth Simpson, Henry Davis, and John W. Beedler were bonded in the administration of the estate of William Simpson and Elizabeth was named administrix. The estate was appraised on 16 July, 1817 by William A. Harper, Lawrence Hooff, Jr., William Cassidy, and Samuel Lightfoot. On 20 June, 1820, Lawrence sold to Samuel Catts for $400.00 his share of the late Michael Gretter’s properties and 2 ¾ acres at the west end of the Turnpike that William Simpson had purchased from John West. William had lived on this property during his lifetime and Mrs. Gooding was living there at the time of the transaction. The other property, containing 31 acres, was purchased by William Simpson from Samuel Hattersley and was situated between the Mount Vernon and Colchester Roads. Both parcels were conveyed by William Simpson to John Hooff in trust for Elizabeth Simpson for her life and after her death, for the use of the children of William and Elizabeth. The 2 ¾ acres was devised by Lawrence’s brother, Gilbert, to be divided into fourths with each part going to Lawrence, John, Thomas, and Ann Zimmerman. By 31 October, 1820, Thomas Simpson made his will naming his mother, Elizabeth Gooding, as his only heir and making her the executrix. John Simpson, son of William and Elizabeth, made his will on 25 September, 1823 and it was proved 16 August, 1824. He mentions children: Sinah Zimmerman, Peter Simpson, James Simpson, Archibald M. Simpson, Francis Henry Simpson, Sarah Elizabeth Simpson, and Beverly Simpson (a male). On 19 December, 1832 Sarah, widow of John Simpson, sold her share of the inheritance to Samuel Catts. On 13 March, 1833 the children of French Simpson, son of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson sold their Simpson inheritance to Samuel Catts for $150.00. On 19 March, 1833 Ann Zimmerman, widow of George Zimmerman and daughter of William and Elizabeth Simpson, and Susan Simpson, widow of Gilbert Simpson, son of William and Elizabeth Simpson, sold their share of the Simpson inheritance to Samuel Catts for $140.00. Based on the foregoing documented evidence and evidence in the references cited, William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson had the following children:
2. Gilbert, born in the range 1772-1777; married Susanna Zimmerman.
3. John, who married first, Ann Nancy Wagener, a daughter of Peter Wagener, Jr. and Sinah (McCarty) Wagener and second, Sarah (Young) Morgan Wagoner. John was probably the John Simpson who leased two lots adjoining the town of Alexandria from Elisha Cullen Dick and Hannah, his wife, on 1 August, 1795. Therefore, John was apparently born about 1774 or before. Lacking pertinent dates, it cannot be determined which of the following children were born to which wife. However, the names Sinah, Peter W., and Beverly would seem to emanate from the Waggoner line:
a. Sinah Elizabeth, born ca. 1800; married 18 December, 1817 Adam Zimmerman who was born ca. 1798.
b. Peter W., born 17 December, 1800; died 30 June, 1881; married Mary A. Trydell 9 October, 1826, born 9 December, 1805; died 11 November, 1887. Child:
(1). Peter W., Jr., born 12 October, 1830; died 7 January, 1915; married
Mary A. _________, born about 1831; died 14 February, 1894.
c. James, who was living in Loudoun County, Virginia in 1819. He was a party to a division of 49 acres originally owned by Henry Zimmerman. In 1821, he also bought property in Aldie, Loudoun County, from William and Catherine Noland.
d. Archibald M.
e. Francis Henry.
f. Sarah Elizabeth, who married Benjamin F. Shreve. Benjamin, born 29 August, 1820 in Falls Church, Virginia, was the son and Benjamin and Barbara (Swink) Shreve. Barbara was the daughter of William Swink whose sister, Catherine, married a son of Joseph Simpson.
g. Beverly, who married Elizabeth _______. She married second, William Andrews.
4. Thomas, who was deceased July 1821.
5. Ann, who married George Zimmerman 23 August, 1806.
6. William, who was born in the range 1774-1779. He was deceased by 18 January, 1832. He married Joanna Lightfoot on 14 January, 1798 in the Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Virginia. They had children:
a. Gilbert, born 15 September, 1809 in Alexandria ; died 29 July, 1880. He married Margaret A. ______ about 1829. Margaret was born about 1812 and died 19 February, 1872. Gilbert was a grocer in Alexandria. At the time of his death, he was living on St. Asaph Street in Alexandria. Children:
(1). Margaret Virginia, born about October 1831; died 7 July, 1832.
(2). William George, born 1834; died 25 February, 1894 in Alexandria,
(3). James H., born 1836 Alexandria, Virginia.
(4). Margaret V., born 20 November, 1837; died 1 December, 1882.
(5). Thomas F., born 17 September, 1840; died 25 August, 1885.
(6). Henry Clay, born March 1841; died 16 Sept. 1842.
(7). Gilbert, born 11 March, 1844; died 26 February, 1921; married
Laura V. Jenkins.
(8). Mary A., born 16 November, 1845; died March, 1867; married D.
(9). Elizabeth, born 1847; died 16 January, 1895.
(10). Mary Elizabeth, born 1848; died 1851.
(11). Rosanna, born 10 March, 1850; died 9 February, 1851.
(12). Henry R., born 1852.
c. Elizabeth, who married James C. Goods.
7. French, who married Ann Lewisand had:
a. Harry L. (Henry L.), born 20 August, 1805; married Julia A. Cross on 1 February, 1832. She was born 9 January, 1812, daughter of Reid and Mary Cross. Henry died 5 February, 1877. Julia A. died 1 April, 1899. Children:
(1). French Reid, born about 1832; died 8 November, 1839.
(2). French Reid, born 20 June, 1839; died 16 February, 1899.
(3). Mary Alice, born about 1845; died 22 November, 1862.
(4). Arthur, born 24 February, 1847; died 30 January, 1886.
(5). Emma, born about 1848; died 8 September, 1850.
(6). Winfield M., born 12 April, 1852; died 11 May, 1886.
b. Stephen Francis.
c. Elizabeth, who married Richard Y. Cross.
d. Mary Frances, who married Samuel Catts.
8. Francis, probable son. He is described as probable son because no record has been found confirming his parentage. However, evidence exists in the names of two of the three of those who were bonded in the administration of his estate. George Zimmerman was apparently Francis’s brother-in-law, husband of his sister, Ann, and William A. Harper was apparently the son of John Harper who married Dorothy Gretter, Francis’s aunt. The third person bonded was Ann Simpson, apparently Francis’s widow, who was named administrix. Francis died on 12 January, 1815. His obituary was recorded in the Alexandria Gazette on 14 January. The bond was approved on 7 February, 1815. The estate was inventoried on 11 February, 1815 and was recorded on 4 March, 1815. The value of the estate was $238.75. The final accounting of the estate has an entry, “By Cash received from James Popler’s estate”. This is an indication that Francis may have married Ann Poplar.
Gilbert Simpson, son of William and Elizabeth (Gretter) Simpson, was born about 1772 to 1777 based on his appearance on the Fairfax County list of tithables along with William Simpson on 21 March, 1793. He witnessed the sale of property in Alexandria by his parents, William and Elizabeth, to their son, John, on 19 August, 1799. Gilbert married Susanna Zimmerman, daughter of Henry Zimmerman, in the Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Virginia on 3 February, 1803. He died sometime between 13 July, 1809 when he wrote his will and 17 July, 1809 when it was proved. He left his estate to his wife, Susanna. Susanna did not remarry. On 12 October, 1819 she purchased property in Loudoun County from her brother, George, for $200.00. This 49 acres was inherited by George from his father, Henry, upon the latter’s death. On 3 December, 1819 another son, Jacob, sold his portion of the inheritance to Susanna for $130.00. On 19 March, 1833 Ann Zimmerman, widow of George Zimmerman and Susan Simpson, widow of Gilbert Simpson, sold to Samuel Catts their portions of two lots originally owned by William Simpson “the Elder”. One lot, consisting of 3 acres, was on the Little River Turnpike opposite the old turnpike gate and the other, consisting of 31 acres, was on the Mount Vernon Road on the south side of Hunting Creek. Susannah Simpson made her will in Loudoun County on 20 June, 1842, leaving her estate to her brother, Samuel Zimmerman. The will was proved on 10 July, 1848. Therefore, it can be assumed that Gilbert and Susannah had no surviving children.
This research paper has documented the lives of the five Gilbert Simpsons who lived in Maryland, just east of the Potomac, and northern Virginia during the 18th century. Additionally, five other Gilberts are identified as descendants whose lives extended into the 19th century. Although the parentage of two of the Gilberts in the 18th century cannot be absolutely determined, it was the objective of this paper to document the analyses and the most probable lines of descent of each as well as the proven ancestries of the other three. It will be noted that the name, French (or Friench), Simpson is nearly as popular as Gilbert in these lines. Additionally, there are other Gilbert and French Simpsons, not addressed in this paper, who lived in Kentucky during the 19th century. The determination of their ancestries was outside the scope of this research paper. Hopefully, this publication will provide a basis for a Simpson researcher to one day discover intermarriages which will explain the proliferation of these names and extend the research.
Note by Nona Williams: Mr. Neibling’s research paper included extensive source citations that have not been included here. I will be happy to provide them upon request. Please email me at kittylover at gmail.com.