News item from the Port Huron Daily Times, April 17, 1895, provided by Judith Arnold:
OLD PIONEER GONE.
James Simpson Was Identified With the Early Interests of Port Huron.
James Simpson, who has lived at the fork of the River and Gravel roads, above the toll gate, for more than forty years, passed quietly away at 1:40 o'clock Sunday afternoon, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Kate Short. Mr. Simpson was born in Aberdeen, Scotland.
His father, with four boys, of whom James was the eldest, came to Port Huron in the fall of 1835, and James engaged with the Steam Mill company, Sheely & Lewis for $8 per month, and worked for them for two years, when he met with an accident that nearly cost him his life. He was caught in the fly wheel and one leg was so badly crushed that it made him a cripple. As soon as he was able to be about he bought a fine pair of horses and went to teaming, which he followed for several years. No lime had every been burned in Port Huron and a lime kiln was needed, so he built one on the banks of Black River opposite where the post office stands now, and supplied the town and vicinity with lime for several years, when he sold out to Jedediah Spalding. About this time he had another narrow escape from death. He had become a member of the first fire company organized in this city. Fire broke out in the storehouse owned by Mr. Dowling and while carrying out the goods a keg of gunpowder was discovered in close proximity to the fire. Mr. Simpson and Henry Oavis seized the keg between them and started to run out with it when it blew up. Both men were badly injured, but Oavis had to be carried home on a stretcher. Amos James and David Bryce were near by. Mr. Bryce said as soon as he heard that there was a keg of powder in the fire he started to run, but was not quick enough. Something struck his back and knocked him down.
Mr. Simpson boarded for a number of years with Mrs. John Howard. He Married Mary Ann Carter, from Goderich, who was working for Mrs. Howard. She died 26 years ago, leaving seven children, five boys and two girls, all of whom are still living near the old home with nice children growing up. In 1853, after Mr. Howard's mill burned on the flats above the toll gate, Mr. Simpson traded ten acres of land on Howard street for the old site of the mill, including 130 acres of land. Two years later he bought 80 acres of land of Alexander Ashley, on the east side of his other purchase, and moved the old red house, that had been the steam mill boarding house, from the flats to the present site of the old homestead, where it stood for 25 or 30 years, until replaced by the present house.
His father was a Scotch Presbyterian. He attended the only churches there were at that time, the Episcopal and the Congregational, and later the Methodist, his wife being a member of that Church. Mrs. Simpson died 26 years ago, leaving a family of seven children, five boys and two girls. For many years he was so deaf that he could not hear and did not attend church. Mrs. Howard says that he was a very straight forward, honorable young man and highly respected by all who knew him. He leaves an estate of 150 acres of land, unincumbered, at the old homestead, with no will, but a statement to his children of how he wanted it arranged, which is as good as law to them.