John Simpson (Kentucky)

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John Simpson
7th Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
December 3, 1810 – December, 1812
Preceded byWilliam Logan
Succeeded byJoseph H. Hawkins
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Died(1813-01-22)January 22, 1813
River Raisin, Michigan
Political partyDemocratic-Republican
Height6 ft 7 in (201 cm)[1]
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUS Army
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain 1812-1813
Unit1st Regiment of Riflemen
Battles/warsNorthwest Indian War
Battle of Fallen Timbers
War of 1812
Battle of River Raisin

John Simpson (died January 22, 1813)[2] was a United States Army officer, attorney, and politician. Simpson saw military action in both the Northwest Indian War and the War of 1812. He also served 4 terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives including 2 years as the House's Speaker. In 1812 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives but died before he could take office.

Early life[edit]

Simpson was born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky with his family as a child.[3] They settled in Lincoln County[3] and Simpson would attend school in first Danville and then Bardstown.[4]

Northwest Indian War[edit]

During the war Simpson volunteered for the Legion of the United States under the command of Gen. Anthony Wayne. He participated in the final skirmish of war; the Battle of Fallen Timbers.[5]

Political career[edit]

After the war Simpson moved to Shelby County, Kentucky where he would study law and become a one of Shelby County's first attorneys.[6] He went on to be elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives representing Shelby County. He was elected to 4 consecutive terms from 1806 to 1811.[5] He was elected Speaker of the House from 1810 to 1811; defeating Samuel South and William MacMillan.[7]

In 1812 he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the newly created 8th District of Kentucky. Although the 8th district had just been formed he defeated incumbent Stephen Ormsby who had been redistricted from the 3rd. He defeated Ormsby by a 'small margin'.[8] Before taking his seat the War of 1812 broke out and Simpson rejoined the army. Ormsby would later win a special election to be his replacement.[9]

War of 1812[edit]

Names of American officers who died at Frenchtown
(Kentucky War Memorial Frankfort, KY)

During the War of 1812 Simpson once again volunteered for service. On August 15, 1812 [1] he joined the First Rifle Regiment using his political clout to become the regiment's Captain.[4] Under the command of Col. John Allen his regiment helped reinforce Gen. Hull in Detroit.[3] He participated in the Battle of River Raisin on January 22, 1813. He joined the battle during a British counterattack while the regular soldiers where retreating to the river. He was killed early into the retreat.[1] He was later exhumed in September 1834 and reburied in the State Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky.


John Simpson is the namesake of both Simpsonville, Kentucky and Simpson County, Kentucky.[4] Fourth street of Shelbyville, Kentucky was also once named Simpson street in his honor.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Clift, Garrett (1961). Remember the Raisin! Kentucky and Kentuckians in the battles and massacre at Frenchtown, Michigan Territory, in the War of 1812. Kentucky Historical Society. p. 64-65, 212, 163. ISBN 9780806345208.
  2. ^ The Biographical Dictionary of America, p. 156
  3. ^ a b c Collins, Lewis; Collins, Richard H. (1998). History of Kentucky. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 722. ISBN 9780806345642.
  4. ^ a b c Talbott, Tim. "County Named, 1819". ExploreKYHistory. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Sanders. "Captain John Simpson". ExploreKYHistory. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  6. ^ Willis, George Lee (1979) [First published 1929]. Willis, George Lee, ed. The History of Shelby County. Utica, KY: Cook & McDowell Publications. p. 249. ISBN 0806346469. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  7. ^ "Kentucky 1810 Speaker of the House". Tufts. January 11, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  8. ^ "Kentucky 1812 U.S. House of Representatives, District 8". Tufts. January 11, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  9. ^ "ORMSBY, Stephen, (1759–1844)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  10. ^ Shinnick, Ed D (1980). Some Old Time History of Shelbyville and Shelby County. Owensboro, KY: McDowell Publications. p. 38. ASIN B0006XPVOG. LCCN 86158724. Retrieved February 19, 2018.

External links[edit]