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John SIMPSON: Evidences

Is the John SIMPSON who died in Culpeper County, Virginia, in 1776 the same John SIMPSON who married Elizabeth NAYLOR in Stafford County in 1735? Some researchers have accepted this connection, but I do not believe it has been proven. Here is a description of the evidence, followed by my observations. Please contact me with any additional evidence or observations.

1. My ancestor John Simpson died in Culpeper County, Va., in 1776; his will was both executed and probated in that year (Culpeper Will Book B, page 189). The will names his wife Elisabeth and his children William, James, Alexander (my ancestor), John, Anne, Jane, Elenor BOOTON, Mary BURK, and Elisabeth BERRY. My transcription of John Simpson's will is posted on VAGenWeb here. (All external links will open in a new browser window.)

2. The will of my John Simpson left slaves named Charles and Jo to his wife Elisabeth (Culpeper County Will Book B, page 189).

3. My John Simpson received a patent of 400 acres in Spotsylvania County (now Madison County), Virginia, on December 3, 1733 (Virginia Colonial Patents No. 15, page 135). The patent's description of the land refers to the adjoining lands of William "Kirtlet" and William Eddings, and to "Stanton's River Bank." This patentee is definitely my John Simpson: Shortly before the death of my John, he deeded land to his four sons. Three of the deeds state that the land conveyed was part of a patent of 400 acres to John (Culpeper Va. Deed Book H, pages 380, 382, 385), and the land descriptions in two of the deeds refer to William Kirtley's line (pages 380, 385). (Orange County was formed from that part of Spotsylvania in 1734; Culpeper County was formed from that part of Orange in 1748; and Madison County was formed from that part of Culpeper in 1792.) The 1733 patent states that John was "of Prince George County." Some researchers believe that this is an error for King George County. (An image of this patent is available on the Library of Virginia's web site, in the Land Office Patents and Grants. The image itself is here.)

4. In October 1736, one John Simpson requested a "view" and valuation of the improvements made to his land, in Orange County, lying between the lands of "Kirtlet," Eddins, and Thomas Stanton (Orange County Deed Book 11, part 2, page 12). Patentees were required to "seat and seed" their new land within a certain length of time -- that is, to build a small dwelling and make other improvements. Although I know of no statutory requirement that patentees record proof of having complied with this requirement, I understand that many did so in order to foreclose challenges to their title.

5. The list of Orange County, Virginia, tithables for 1739 has a John Simpson, with three tithables (Orange County Reel 564; The Library of Virginia; Richmond). There is no John Simpson on any of the other lists of tithables on the microfilm, including those for 1736 and 1737. (Culpeper County was formed from Orange in 1749. However, no lists of tithables from Culpeper have survived.)

6. One Alexander Simson, age 10, appears on a list of tobacco tenders in Overwharton Parish, Stafford County, Virginia, in 1724 (Stafford County, Virginia Thithables, 1723-1790, by John Vogt & T. William Kethley, Jr., p. 32). Also, the will of one John Simpson of Stafford County, executed and probated in 1756, mentions a legatee Alexander Simpson (no relationship stated) (Stafford County, Liber O, p. 321, abstracted in Will Abstracts of Stafford County, Virginia, 1748-1767, by Ruth & Sam Sparacio). Finally, one John Simpson was granted administration of the estate of one Alexander Simpson in 1793 (Stafford County, Scheme Book L & D, p. 436, abstracted in Deed and Will Abstracts of Stafford County, Virginia, 1780-1786, by Ruth & Sam Sparacio).

7. My John's son, Alexander Simpson, married Ann or Nancy HARRISON in 1783, in Culpeper Co., Va. (Revolutionary War pension file of Alexander Simpson, National Archives, Washington, D.C.). I have not yet found marriage dates for any of John's other children.

8. A thorough search of 18th-Century records from Prince George County, Virginia, has discovered only one SIMPSON: a Robert Simpson who served on a grand jury in 1737-1740 (Prince George County Virginia Records, 1733-1792, by Benjamin B. Weisinger). On the other hand, most of Prince George County's records were destroyed during the Civil War.

9. One John Simpson ("of Overwharton Parish") married Elizabeth NAYLOR ("of Brunswick Parish") in St. Paul's Parish, Virginia, on August 6, 1735 (The Register of Saint Paul's Parish 1715-1798, by George H.S. King, p. 124). Overwharton Parish was in Stafford County, Virginia, and Brunswick Parish was in King George County, Virginia. Although some sources say that St. Paul's Parish was in King George County, the modern St. Paul's Episcopal Parish has told me (by letter in May 1999) that the parish was in Stafford County in 1735, but that it fell into King George County when the boundaries of the two counties were realigned in 1776.

10. The father of this Elizabeth NAYLOR (i.e., the one who married John Simpson) was John NAYLOR, whose wife, at the time of his death, was Ann (King George Will Book A-I, page 115). Ann was his second wife; his first wife (Elizabeth's mother) was Mary (The Registers of North Farnham Parish 1663-1814 and Lunenburg Parish 1783-1800, Richmond County Virginia, by George H.S. King, page 137).

11. Elizabeth was apparently the oldest child of John and Mary Naylor; she was born in 1712. Hannah, apparently their second child, was born in 1715. Mary Naylor, first wife of John Naylor, died in 1717. After John married his second wife, Ann, they had a daughter, named Anne, in 1720, who died in 1722. (The Registers of North Farnham Parish 1663-1814 and Lunenburg Parish 1783-1800, Richmond County Virginia, by George H.S. King, page 137.)

12. John NAYLOR died in King George County, Virginia, about 1735 (King George Will Book A-I, page 115). His will gave his "plantation" to his daughter, Hannah. The will was challenged by John Simpson, husband of the testator's other living daughter, Elizabeth (King George County Order Book 2, page 44). (In bringing this challenge, John Simpson was represented by a prominent attorney, John MERCER. I have attempted to find information about this John Simpson by pursuing the personal papers of John Mercer, but so far have been unsuccessful.)

13. In the division of the estate of John Naylor (recorded Feb. 6, 1735/36), his daughter Elizabeth received slaves named "Man Joe," "Woman Sary," and "Boy Charles" (King George Deed Book 2, page 7).

14. One John and Elizabeth Simpson had a child named Jane who was baptized in Overwharton Parish (Stafford County) on January 27, 1750 (The Register of Overwharton Parish, Stafford County, Virginia 1723-1758, by George H.S. King, p. 108).


The evidence described above leads me to certain observations that would tend to prove my connection to Elizabeth Naylor, as well as to other observations that would tend to disprove it:

In favor of my John Simpson being the one who married Elizabeth Naylor:

Against my John Simpson being the one who married Elizabeth Naylor:

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This page was last updated on May 18, 2004.

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