CAIRN TO BE ERECTED TO
FIRST WHITE SETTLER IN BRIGHTON
A very interesting historical event is scheduled to take place near the old lime kiln at Presqu'ile Point on Wednesday, September 9th, 1931. The descendants of the first white people, Obediah and Mary Simpson, to settle near Brighton, will assemble to unveil a cairn erected by them to his memory. The cairn will be built of granite boulders gathered on the piece of land settled in 1796, and which is now occupied by Bert Maybee and Frank Simpson.
Dr. Robert Arthur, one of his descendants, who is now at his home in Sudbury, has compiled a history of the life of Obediah Simpson, and in a letter to Dr. George Wade of Hanna, Alberta, gives a synopsis which we have the doctor's permission to publish.
Dr. Arthur, in his letter, after some personal details as to his condition of health and kindly wishes regarding the health of Dr. Wade and his wife, starts the historical sketch as follows:
"Now about the Simpsons and our places for a marker for poor Old Obediah's grave. I showed the spot to Lou Simpson, a little sand dune in the field of the old John Burr farm, now owned by one of the Simpsons, I think Jim, Darwin's son. This is just opposite where the old lime kiln stood, where the road turns to go to Presqu'ile Point.
Now don't forget that Simpson and his family were the first settlers in or near what is now Brighton. It was then part of the township of Cramahe [pronounced 'cram-mee'], Lot 4 Concession 2 the old deed calls for. So they must have started to number the lots from the east side of the township.
"Now for some Simpson details; your sister Alice told me, since I visited you, that they originally came from Vermont, but that is wrong. They were planters in North Carolina, near Wilmington before the Revolutionary War and espoused the Tory side in the conflict. There is an old affidavit in the Department of Crown Lands, Toronto, taken when the patent for his land grant was issued to him, in which he swore that he 'joined up with Delancy's Horse in 1776'. He would likely be 18 or 19 before they would take him in a regiment of horses. Delancey's were a prominent Loyalist family of upper New York State, and raised three regiments during the conflict and after the end of the war settled in New Brunswick, where their descendants are still to be found. After the war was lost they hung around New York, particularly West Chester County, 20 miles up the Hudson. It was in this area he married Mary Taylor, in 1783 (one of the original families of the famous New York merchants, now Lord and Taylor).
"Probably that summer or autumn, as you will remember, that the British had to vacate New York by November 1, 1783. Obediah and Mary went with the British Fleet to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where the ship building and repair docks were. The oldest child, John, your great grandfather and mine was born in May 1784. I do not know how long they stayed in Nova Scotia, but at least long enough for Obediah to learn the trade of ship carpenter, probably 5 to 7 years. I have an official record, that they were in West Chester County, N.Y. in 1791, in the form of a medical certificate given by a local surgeon Dr. James Adams. The certificate said Obediah Simpson was unfit to serve in the local militia on account of a lame knee, no other details are given. We know that he must have been forced out of New York that year by the patriots, as he built a boat and the spring of 1792 they
started for the Land of Promise, which they reached in July of 1792 via the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, thence a four mile haul by oxen overland to Lake Oneida, then down the Oswego River to Lake Ontario and then clear sailing to Adolphustown. They sailed around via Sackett's Harbour, Watertown, Cape Vincent and then past Kingston before reaching their destination.
"By the time they reached Adolphustown, all the land in that and surrounding townships was taken up, so he worked for others and then on shares for four years before he tried to locate for himself. Several of the children were born there particularly old Uncle Obediah of Pleasant Bay, Prince Edward County. Then near the last of February 1796 he and his eldest son John took an ox team and one cow and drove up along the Bay of Quinte to the Carrying Place, Wellers Bay and on to Presqu'ile Harbour and located on the old lot we used to own in Brighton. They built a small log house and a shelter for the cattle right where those old apple trees used to stand in our 'trackfield'. Then Obediah took his snowshoes and hiked back to Adolphustown to await spring and the opening of navigation to bring the rest of the family and provisions by boat. The twelve year old John remained there alone until late in April to cut browse for the cattle and look after them. He was there in the wilderness alone for six weeks, during which time he never saw a human being. The family arrived in April and commenced their clearing of the land. Two more children were born to them before Mary died in 1805. (Benjamin later settled in Bloomfield, Prince Edward County and Deborah "Auntie Colby" of our younger days.)
"The poor old lady had a tragic and sudden death of some kind, the description given to me looked like a hemorrhage from gastric ulcer, and as there was no place to bury the dead (she being the first white person to die here), they took her down to the above mentioned sand dune, which was then an Indian Burial place and buried her there. Natually, when Obediah passed away in 1810, they laid him by her side."
Obediah Simpson and his wife were the first whites to settle and die in these parts, and the location of the sand dune mentioned is straight west from the north end of the old bridge on the road to Presqu'ile. It is quite a sized mound and is called by some, Indian Island.
The Memorial will take the form of a cairn, built of granite boulders gathered from the farm he settled over a century ago. It will be 4 x 3 feet at the base, tapering to 2 feet 10 inches at the top, and will be surmounded by a large granite boulder. A marble slab, bearing the inscription matter will be inserted on the south face of the monument, with an arrow pointing to the location of the sand dune.
The cairn will be located at the junction of the three roads leading to Presqu'ile Point.
There are many descendants of our first settlers, some of whom, like Dr. Arthur, Dr. Wade, Jessie Craig and on the Loomis families, as well as those of the same name, who may well be proud of their U. E. Loyalist Ancestors. Many of his direct descendants are still to be found in our neighbourhood, while others have gone far afield.
The gentlemen who have the erection of the cairn in hand, invite all the blood kin of Obediah and Mary Simpson and all others to be present at the unveiling, to do honour to the first pioneer family to settle at Brighton. The unveiling ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Bring your basket and make a day of it at the point.
For Genealogical correspondence concerning Obediah Simpson, please
Email Allan Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org.