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

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

Outside envelope:     West Port Mo
                                Oct. 25th
                                Mrs. Keziah Reid
                                Tulip Post Office
                                Dallas County

West Port Mo., October 25th  1847

Dear Aunt,

                       For the last year, my father finds it impossible to do what writing he wishes, and it hurts him so, to write, that I think it is more than probable that he will hardly ever write another letter.  - At his instance I write you these lines, as he feels very curious that you shall hear from him. - He made two attempts to write you a letter, and failed.  - He feels very solicitous to hear from you, as long as you and himself lives and I will do his writing hereafter.

                       For the last year, my fathers health has been excellent for a man of his age, and he looks young comparatively speaking for a man of his age, he is medling? fleshy?, and is full of life, and is as as talkative and fond of company and friends as a boy. - He is entirely temperate, drinks no spirits of any kind, quit some eighteen months ago and says that he feels better and enjoys himself better than he ever did before. - He determined within himself to quit using any spirits. - He never joined any Temperance Society. This I consider a very extraordinary case, a man that has been in the habit of using spirits for 65 or 70 years to a small extent, should entirely quite is a rare occurrence. - He is living with his daughter Henrietta Harris since the death of my mother, apparently as well contented as any person, where he enjoys the society of his children almost every week, all living near to him, except brother John, and Betsey, who married Hardin. - John lives in Baltimore, and Betsey lives above us on the Mo. River some 150 miles.  - My fathers children who live in Mo. are all well off, in good circumstances and are making money, clear of any dissipation, and pretty much devoted to work and business.

                       My fathers offspring are quite numerous, he has a large number of children and grandchildren. - Betsey Hardin and her husband have managed worse than any of our family in point of wealth. - I have been unfortunate in some respects, I have my third wife, whom I married about 18 months ago, she was a Mrs. Winchester raised near Gallatin in Tennessee, she was a widow of Levitius Winchester (who was the son of Genl. James Winchester who died in Sumner County Tennessee). My present wife was a daughter of Isaac Bledsoe, near Bledsoe's lick in Sumner County Tenn. - I have six living children, 4 Sons & 2 Daughters, all hale, and healthy.  - At present I am living in West Port, have been selling goods here since March 1839.  I also own a fine farm and landed estate 3 miles south of this place, and my prospects are as good as I ought to wish in money matters.

                       My father at one time promised himself to pay you a visit in cousin Williams life time, and was two or three times on the very eve of starting , but he dislikes the idea of going from home and is and always was the most home person that you ever saw. - I doubt now whether he ever will have the pleasure of seeing of you in time.  - But I must insist on your writing to him, you have no idea how he is delighted on receiving a letter from you.  - It has been a great while since I had the pleasure of seeing of you, or any of your family.  - Once, when a boy, it was a great treat to go visiting to uncle Reids and my recollections of circumstances and things are as bright and clear as yesterday.  - Cousin Clarissa was very young and timid in those days, and I reckon she scarcely remembers me. Tender to her and her husband my best wishes for their future happiness and welfare.

                       There are but a few persons who have enjoyed the same degree of health as you and my father and who have lived to the same age.  - Time is sweeping of us off.  - In looking back I find you have lost cousin John and Wm. and my father has buried his wife and Bros. Robert, Richard, George and Polly an a great many of my youthful acquaintances and schoolmates are gone the way of all the earth.  - My father is well pleased at eh idea of you going to live with Clarissa and thinks you will be much better contentious and is glad to hear that you are in a good neighborhood and? have good society. These things render life much more agreeable.  - I find from you letter to father that you are fond of going to church, which I rejoice exceedingly to hear, being in accordance with my own notions of right.  - I was Baptized in 1804 in Ky. and have been attached to the Christian body since that time and in this day and time they call me a Reformer or Campbellites (that is to say the Sects).  - But with me nicknames are nothing.  - You request to know of my father your age and his. - You were born on the 8th February 1767 and he was born on the 3rd of March 1770. - My fathers health is good at present and our relations generally speaking are well.  - We have had some sickness among us this season, my family has been somewhat unwell, that is my wife's health is not good, though better than it has been. Some of my slaves have been unwell, indeed I have lost one young woman this season. - Mr. Harris's family have been somewhat unwell this season, though he has not lost any of them.  - Our country generally speaking has been healthy. - Give my respects to Mr. Smith and Clarissa and family, and accept of my best wishes for your health and happiness, both in time and Eternity. -

Truly I remain your Nephew,


[Calculations of Keziah and Richard's age were handwritten on the bottom
of the letter based on the birth days mentioned above. The letter is dated
in 1847 but the calculations were done for the years 1848 and 1855]

                 1848                 1855                 1855
                 1767                 1767                 1770
                    81                    88                     85

  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)