Simpson History





William B. Buchanon / Major John Reid

Nine letters between the Reid and Simpson families

written between 1816 and 1847
Contributed by Ralph Simpson

1) John B. Reid to his father, Major John Reid (1/9/1816)

Richmond Ky. Janr. 9th 1816

Dear Father,

No doubt when you open this letter & see the early date of it from the one I sent you by Col. Murphy, you will be a little astonished, the more so when you see it is from Richmond. After my compliments to you, mother & the rest of the family, I will state to you the cause of my living in this place. When Col. Murphy started home I rode with him to this place & when we had parted & I was about to start back to uncle Maj. Grugett, the gentleman with whom I board, understanding that it was my intention to go to school in this country somewhere, informed me that there was a gentleman lately arrived here from Boston who was well qualified to teach & wished to get a small private school in his home, I told him I could give no answer untill I saw uncle & conversed with him on the subject as I intended to be entirely guided by him - consequently next day uncle and myself went to town to take my deposition which was done accordingly. & then Maj. Grugett introduced uncle to the gentleman when after considerable conversation with him & his being so highly recommended by an acquaintance of uncles' he concluded to send me to him awhile - so I commenced on the 19th Dec in order that if I should not like his teaching I might leave off going & loose less time than I would if I should have commenced after Christmas - but in the time that I went I liked him very well as a teacher & determined to continue with him - but next it was necessary to know what he would have for tuition, which he said would be one dollar per week - which I immediately determined not to give him - but after consulting with uncle - he thought that my advantages here would be so great as we both board in the same room together (that is the teacher) that we concluded to offer him $30 per Ann which he refused to take but sd. he would take 75 cts a week. This uncle and myself thought was very extravagant but upon considering over everything we concluded to give it to him for 3 or 4 months - as Willson's session had commenced about the 1st of Decr. last & there is only 5 months in a session which would have only 4 for me to go in. & I would have to pay for the whole session even if I could only to go 2 months - whereas I only pay him for the time I go - & my advantage here will be as great again as at Willson's  - for if I was to go on to Willson then the school would be very much crowded & has only about 10 or 12 students & of rights I can get any information on any subject whatever from Mr. Whitting who is my teacher - for you may depend he is a very clever fellow & a Yankee too has formerly taught in one of the principle Academies in Massachusetts & a graduated lawyer but his state of health at present will not permit him to come to the bar - & as my future study is that of law he says he can teach me every thing necessary to commence that study. - I am now studying geometry & trigonometry & expect to commence geography up on a new scale there is a small book with questions in it & I am to find the answers from the globes which will fix it in my mind without any summarizing. - I have to give Majr. Grugett $75 per term for board. & to Mrs. Parker a private lady in town $15 per term. for washing. The more I am in the country in which you live, - you cannot imagine how my astonishment is excited to think that you will live there & not come here - now let me again entreat you to sell yr. possessions if possible & move to this or some other country better than that as soon possible for the sooner the better. - I was on Wednesday the 27th Decr. at a Masonic Ball held at Maj. Grugett's, where I enjoyed myself very agreeably with 69 other gentlemen & about 100 ladies - the company separated about 12 o'clock - all in harmony. - Polly Simpson is to be married tomorrow evening to a Mr. Phelps a close neighbor of uncles who is recommended to me as a very fine young man & very well off. Robert is to be married in about 2 weeks to a Miss Dickey & Richd. is going to Orleans - the people of this town & also in the country have & are now very sickly with something like the influenzy & bad colds. - I have been very unwell with it but am much better than I have been - & hope this letter will you all enjoying health - Duke Watson? is still living with xxx & has got no where else to go to but uncle says he will pay him whatever his work shall be worth untill he can get some place to go to - I have one charge to give you, that is, you must not fail to write to me immediately after the reception of this letter & let me know how all acquaintances are & also if you have sold yr. tobacco when, where, & what you got for it - do all you can to keep Clary & Tommy at school for youth is the time to improve the mind & cultivate the morals - I will write you again in the course of a month or 6 weeks & let you know how I progress &c &c -

Give my love and best respects to all the family & give my friends particularly to Col Murphy & Mr. Leasaur? - Tell William that I should be extremely glad to receive a letter from him -

I got a pretty general acquaintance with all the gentlemen in town & find extremely clever & familiar. - I must close this letter, after saying as much as I have, but with reluctance for it appears as I wish to write something but know not what - I therefore subscribe myself your Sincere & ever affectionate son.


P.S. Let me know also if you are about to get
many subscribers to T. Reids proposals - yrs. &c.

  From the John Reid Papers #3882
  Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library
  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

1) John B. Reid to his father, Major John Reid (1/9/1816)

2) John B. Reid to his father, Major John Reid (3/3/1816)

3) John B. Reid to his mother, Keziah Simpson Reid (3/5/1816)

4) Richard "Duke" Simpson to his brother-in-law, Major John Reid (4/24/1816)

5) Richard "Duke" Simpson to his brother-in-law, Major John Reid (5/8/1816)

6) Richard "Duke" Simpson to his nephew, William B. Simpson (4/7/1845)

7) Richard "Duke" Simpson to his nephew, William B. Simpson (9/9/1845)

8) Richard "Duke" Simpson to his sister, Keziah Simpson Reid (5/4/1847)

9) Duke Williamson Simpson to his aunt, Keziah Simpson Reid (10/25/1847)