I am the 'computer nut' with a web page. My brother is the 'genealogist'. Between the two of us, we have come up with these pages about the Simpson Family. To date, my brother has compiled a list of over 2,000 names. The names listed in the Obediah Simpson Genealogy Page are limited to the first two generations of Simpsons. However, I decided to include the direct links from myself to Obediah.
Our research has uncovered many small aspects which had never really been considered before. For example, there are indications of a number of different spellings of Obediah's name: Obediah, Obadiah, Simpson, and Simson. Anyone who may think these names are linked to his or her family should definitely check out this page.
The most reasonable explanation for all of these different spellings lies in the fact that there are no known signatures by Obediah. Any documents signed by him were simply marked with an 'X'. With this in mind, it is logical to assume that Obediah could not write, and, hence, could probably not spell his name either.
Except for any directly-quoted references, the name I will use will be the standard which we have come to recognize: 'Obediah Simpson'.
The Simpson family of Brighton, Ontario, can be traced back almost two and one-half centuries to 1755 when Obediah Simpson was born. Since then, almost a dozen generations of Simpsons have also been born and the direct descendents of Obediah Simpson now live all over Canada and the United States.
Obediah was born in 1755, near Wilmington, North Carolina (very possibly Cape Fare). Evidence indicates that his parents were planters, but no records have ever been uncovered and even their names remain a mystery to this day. It is known, however, that Obediah had at least one brother, William, who also settled in Canada.
The Simpson family fought as Loyalists during the conflicts between the Colonies and Great Britain when the Colonies fought to sever their ties to the Monarchy. Those British colonists who refused to take up arms against the Crown became known as United Empire Loyalists. After the war, they were literally forced to leave their homes in the newly-formed United States. Many of them escaped with what they could and made their way north into Canada where land was plenty and the freedom to remain British was theirs to enjoy. Very quickly, Loyalists became the most important group in Canada and were the founders of many Canadian towns.
At the age of 21, in 1776, Obediah Simpson upheld his family's beliefs and joined a Loyalist group known as the Delancey's Horse. (The Dalanceys were a prominent New York family which had raised three regiments with sworn loyalty to the King.) After the war, the Delanceys moved to New Brunswick, in the Maritimes, to make their new homes.
Obediah fought with the Delancey's Horse until he went to Westchester and met his future bride, Mary Lord Taylor, who may well have been the daughter of the founders of the original 'Lord and Taylor Merchants Store' in New York City. Obediah and Mary were married in 1783, the same year that the British were forced to evacuate New York. Obediah and his new bride sailed with the group to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where Obediah learned the trade of ship carpentry.Obediah Simpson, Late of Cape Fare in North Carolina, but now of Cumberland in Nova Scotia, maketh Oath and Saith; that he resided at Cumberland from the 15th of July, 1783 to the 25th of March 1784, and this Deponent further saith, that he was utterly incapable of proffering or delivering to the Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament, dated in the 23rd year of his Present Majesty's Reign, entitled, an Act for appointing Commissioners, to enquire into the names and services of all such Persons who have suffered in their rights, properties and professions during the late unhappy . . . . . . in America in consequence of their Loyalty to his Majesty and attachment to the British Government, or at their office any Memorials, claim or request for aid or relief on account of this Deponents service during the late unhappy . . . . . . in America, within the time allowed by the said Act for receiving such claims, by this reason that this Deponent during all such time, v.z., between the 15th of July, 1783 and the 25th of March 1784, lived or resided at Cumberland and afore said.
Sworn before me at Amherst, Nova Scotia
April 1st, 1786
Wm. Blake, J.P.
I do certify that here personally appeared before me, William Black (sic), Esq., on of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace; Obediah Simpson, late of Cape Fare of North Carolina, and beareth testimony and witnesseth, that he joined the British Army in May 1779, as a private in Captain Purdy's Company, Commanded by James Delancey, and continued so till the Evacuation of New York, and then Embarked for Nova Scotia.
Sworn before me at Amherst,
April 1st, 1786,
William Blake, J.P.
By 1791, however, Obediah was back in the 'States'. Whether he was unsatisfied with the carpentry business or he was just plain 'homesick' is unknown. Nevertheless, he ended up in Westchester County again where he attempted to join the militia. The official certification of his rejection follows:
Mr. Simpson of Captain Haw's Co., Colonel Strangs' Regiment of West Chester County, Militia, is unfit for military service by reason of a game leg.
R. Adams, Surgeon
Banished once again from New York by the Patriots, Obediah took his small family along the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers to Lake Oneida, then down the Oswego River to Lake Ontario. From there, Obediah sailed by way of Sackett's Harbor, Cape Vincent, and Kingston, finally arriving in Adolphustown in July, 1792. By this time, many Loyalist evacuees had arrived and settled before him and most of the available land was already taken. Obediah worked shares for 4 years, but again he was not statisfied with his situation and decided another change was in order.
In February of 1796, he took his eldest son, John (12 years old), a team of oxen, and one cow, and travelled along the Bay of Quinte to what is now Presqu'ile Bay. Obediah stayed long enough to build a small log hut for his son and a shelter for the cattle, then strapped on a pair of snowshoes and hiked back to Adolphustown. For 6 weeks, John was left alone to fend for himself and to take care of the small, but vital, herd. Obediah returned by boat, along with the rest of the family, in the spring. Having secured a land grant while in Adolphustown, Obediah Simpson was to become the first settler in what is now the Town of Brighton. The Simpson Family of Brighton took root.
The bearer Obadiah Simpson 30 years of age, born in North Carolina professing the Catholic religion and by trade a ship carpenter, having been this day examined by me, and taken the oaths prescribed by law, is recommended for a location of 200 acres of land within this district provided it does not appear from the surveyor's books that he has any prior grant of lands in any part of this Province.
Alex Fisher, J.P.
The land was a gift from John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada who, in 1792, made this offer of free land to encourage settlement. Nevertheless, prior to Obediah's arrival in the Brighton area, there were only 4 recorded settlers on the west side of the Trent River. A bridge, built in 1834, opened the area and land quickly became scarce and very expensive. With a naturally protected harbour, prime agricultural land and plenty of fresh water, Brighton was the perfect place to make a home. And Obediah Simpson was the first.
Brighton's founding pioneer died at the age of 54. His wife, Mary, died at 45. They were buried on a small island near the entrance to Presqu'ile Provincial Park (see map above), although the exact location of the graves is unknown. The island is still owned by the Simpson family and is very likely to remain so. A few hundred metres away, just outside the gates to the park, stands a cairn erected from granite stones taken from the original homestead. Originally erected in 1931, it is faced with an engraved marble slab with an arrow pointing to the gravesites and reads:
IN YONDER SAND DUNE
LIE THE REMAINS OF THE
FIRST SETTLER OF BRIGHTON DISTRICT
OBADIAH SIMPSON OF NORTH CAROLINA
1756 - 1809
AND HIS WIFE
MARY LORD OF WESTCHESTER COUNTY N.Y.
1760 - 1805
U. E. LOYALIST DELANCY'S REGT.
SETTLED ON LOT 4 CONC. 2
THEN TWP OF CRAMAHE
NOW THE TOWN OF BRIGHTON
For years, the cairn was left untended and fell into major disrepair. The proud 'centerpiece' of the Simpson Family became little more than a pile of rocks. However, for the bi-centenial of Obediah's arrival, we managed to gather enough money to reconstruct the cairn. It stands again, as it did over 60 years ago, for anyone entering or leaving Presqu'ile to see. It is now maintained regularly from privately donated funds.
Please contact Allan if you have any additions, comments or questions.
We would enjoy hearing from you.
The Simpson family of Brighton.
Obediah Simpson Genealogy page
Obediah Simpson's Last Will and Testament
Obediah Simpson's Estate Inventory
Cairn to be Erected...
Simpson Cairn Unveiled
Simpson Cairn Decorated
For Genealogical correspondence concerning Obediah Simpson, please
Email Allan Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org.