Captain Nicholas Simpkins of Massachusetts

A full history of Captain Nicholas Simpkins of Massachusetts hasn’t been writtenBoston South Battery to my knowledge.  Below is a collection of note that I’ve gathered about him over the past 30 years.

1632: A battery was constructed at Fort Hill, the southern most portion of the Boston peninsula as an advance line of defense in case of attack.

1634 Now an established community, Boston sought defenses further out in the harbor, on one of the numerous islands which protected the port; shipping being the only means of receiving supplies and communications from England. Hull was the first site inspected but the cold sea breeze proved too much for Governor Winthrop and his counselors and this idea was abandoned. In July of this year twenty men, including Governor Thomas Dudley and his council, visited Castle Island and decided it would be perfect site for a fortress. Each man present subscribed 5 pounds for the fortification and elected Deputy Governor Roger Ludlow of Dorchester, to supervise construction. After two platforms and a small earthwork were constructed on the northeast side of the island, the General Court resolved that the fort at Castle Island be fully perfected, before any other fortification was begun.

1635 Three cannon, one of which belonged to Deputy Governor Bilingham, were carried down on lighters and installed at the Castle and the garrison, made up of two men weekly from each of the six towns to be paid from the treasury of the colony, fired these at incoming vessels until the ship recognized the fortification by raising her flag. Thomas Beecher (ancestor of Henry Ward Beecher) who had come over as master of the "Talbot" was one of the Castle officers at this time. Nicholas Simpkins was the first commander (followed by Lt Edward Gibbons).

The Frost Genealogy p. 345 SIMPKINS FAMILY.

in 1636, April 14th, Nicholas Simpkins was brought before Gov.Winthrop for "braving Lt. Morris and telling him in public that he lied. He confessed but refused to acknowledge it as a fault or to ask pardon." He was committed and on the 16th, upon his submission and acknowledgment that he had done ill, "we took his bond of twenty pounds to appear at the next court and left him at liberty. Besides he was ill and we feared he would grow distracted." Nicholas Simpkins on March 5th, 1640, ordered by the Court at Yarmouth with Philip Tabor, to be added to the Commission to make an equal division of planting land.
Nicholas Simpkins, tailor, when in Boston, 1634, was made First Captain at Castle in the harbor. Aug. 28, 1636, Sebastian Paulina was brought over by Mr. Simpkins to be bound out to Mr. Robert Keayne for ten years, but because he was a nephew of Mr. Simpkins it was decided he had no power to apprentice him. Nicholas moved in 1638 to Yarmouth, back to Boston in 1649, and was of The Ancient and Honorable Artillery in 1650. His wife was Isabel (???).

Feb. 5, 1645, Nicholas and wife Isabel living in "Bastable, "probably meant for Barnstable, sells to Thomas Boardman of Yarmouth their plantation of fifty-five acres.

March 1, 1648, Nicholas Simpkins of Scituate, New Plymouth, sells to John Williams, Jr., all houses, barns, thirty acres of upland and thirty of meadows.
April 4, 1649, Esbell (?) Simpkins, the wife of Mr. Nicholas Simpkins, releases her third in same. Among the historical collections in Plymouth, Mass., may be seen an ancient deed given by Nicholas Simpkins to Andrew Hallet of Yarmouth, bearing date 1644. Page 345

Isabel- b. 1610-d. Sept. 1668 in Boston

Ruth A. Hatch-Hale, "Genealogy and History of the Hatch Family" (Salt Lake City, Utah; 2 vols.; 1925-28): pg. 10: on Sept 12, 1640, Jonathan Hatch was arrested in Boston as a fugitive from service and "was censured to be severely whipped and for the present is committed for a slave to Lieut. Davenport" … he escaped and made his way back to his farther in Yarmouth. On Dec 1, 1640, Capt. Nicholas Simpkins had him (Jonathan Hatch) arrested and charged with slandering him. "When the case came up for trial in the General Court at Plymouth, Jonathan evidently proved the truth of his charges for Capt. Simpkins was fined 40 shillings and Jonathan was set free"

Nicholas Simpkins was a freeholder in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York.
First Settlers of Ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodsridge Olde East New Jersey part 5 page 870

CAPTAIN NICHOLAS SYMPKINS OF BOSTON

There, 1636, and of A. & H. A. CO., 1650 and Commander of the Fort, under Morris, (ARTILLERY, p. 161; SAVAGE, Vol. IV, p. 101; POPE, p.416; HOLMES, p. ccxvii). He had a dau. m. GEORGE BURRILL. He was a bro. of foll. VINCENT SYMPKINS, and the writer was delight. to find him or his son, NICHOLAS, upon L. I., at Oyster Bay, 1683, (DOC. HIST. N. Y., II, p.307),which was a triumph.
William’s father-in-law, Capt. Nicholas Simpkins, a draper and tailor by trade, was the first commander of Castle Island Fort in Boston Harbor, in the year 1634. He occupied this post for one year only. After retiring from command of the fort he lived successively in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Scituate and then returned to Boston in 1650 where he lived until his death about 1656. According to "Topographical Dictionary" by C. E. Banks, Capt. Simpkins came to America from Burcoat, Northamptonshire, England. His widow, Isabel, died in Boston in Sept. 1668. William Therrill by his Will was a Merchant-Taylor. Could he have been apprenticed to Capt. Simpkins to learn tailoring, and upon completion of his time (usually atage 21) married the daughter of his Master? This was often the case.

SIMPKINS notes

Nicholas Simpkins- a tailor- made 1st Captain at Castle Island, Boston Harbor. One of his successors, Roger Clap, says it was 1634. Seems in 1636 to have given dissatisfaction by being indebted to the government and removed 1638 to Yarmouth. After some years came to Scituate and then to Boston before 1649 and was ar. co. (artillery company) 1650.

Town of Yarmouth- A History 1639-1989 by Vuillemier

On 7 Mar 1639 14 men given permission to take up freedom at Yarmouth, MA, Simpkins was appointed to the committee to make equal divisions of planting land. He settled near Stony Cove, Mill Pond. Sept. 1641 he was arraigned for "lending a pistol to an Indian." The charges were later dropped but he was fined 40 shillings for not bringing the Indian maid tocourt as the governor commanded. The court remitted the fine in Dec. because the woman "Neither had shoes nor was in health to come."

Pioneers of Massachusetts p 416

Removed to Dorchester and then to Cambridge- bought land 20 Nov 1637. He deposed before General Court as to the gun he took to the Castle in 1635. Yarmouth 1638. 1640 removed to Barnstable and sold land there 645. Removed to Scituate and sold land there 1 May 1648. He deposed 1 June 1654 age about 54 years. Isobel deposed the same time, age 44 years. Admin. of his estate was granted Isobel 30 (8) 1656 for herself and children. Reg 1X226. Her estate adm to Pilgrim 11 Sept 1669.(Her son’s name was Pilgrim.)
Records of Massachusetts, Vol. 1, p. 165

3 Mar 1635/6. Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Willm Spencer are deputed to take the accts. of Mr. Simpkins and return the same into the nexte Courte.

p. 181- Mr. Coddington, Mr. Nowell, Mr. Spencer, and Mr. Hutchinson, being deputed to ‘puse’ the accts. of Nicholas Simpkins,did return to this court that they found him indebted to the countrey in the some of fourtie pounds, 8s, 4d.
The Pilgrims of Boston. p. 97- reference to gravestone of Pilgrim Simpkins
Isabel- b. 1610-d. Sept. 1668 in Boston

Ruth A. Hatch-Hale, "Genealogy and History of the Hatch Family" (Salt Lake City, Utah; 2 vols.; 1925-28): pg. 10: on Sept 12, 1640, Jonathan Hatch was arrested in Boston as a fugitive from service and "was censured to be severely whipped and for the present is committed for a slave to Lieut. Davenport" … he escaped and made his way back to his farther in Yarmouth. On Dec 1, 1640, Capt. Nicholas Simpkins had him (Jonathan Hatch) arrested and charged with slandering him. "When the case came up for trial in the General Court at Plymouth, Jonathan evidently proved the truth of his charges for Capt. Simpkins was fined 40 shillings and Jonathan was set free"

Nicholas was a witness on the will of Peter Worden of Plymouth.

Nicholas Simpkins- a tailor- made 1st Captain at Castle Island, Boston Harbor. One of his successors, Roger Clap, says it was 1634. Seems in 1636 to have given dissatisfaction by being indebted to the government and removed 1638 to Yarmouth. After some years came to Scituate and then to Boston before 1649 and was in artillery co. 1650.

Town of Yarmouth- A History 1639-1989 by Vuillemier On 7 Mar 1639 14 men given permission to take up freedom at Yarmouth, MA Simpkins was appointed to the committee to make equal divisions of planting land. He settled near Stony Cove, Mill Pond. Sept. 1641 he was arraigned for "lending a pistol to and Indian." The charges were later dropped but he was fined 40 shillings for not bringing the Indian maid to court as the governor commanded. The court remitted the fine in Dec. because the woman "Neither had shoes nor was in health to come."

Pioneers of Massachusetts p 416. Removed to Dorchester and then to Cambridge- bought land 20 Nov 1637. He deposed before General Court as to the gun he took to the Castle in 1635. Yarmouth 1638. 1640 removed to Barnstable and sold land there 1645. Removed to Scituate and sold land there 1 May 1648. He deposed 1 June 1654 age about 54 years. Isobel deposed the same time, age 44 years. Admin. of his estate was granted Isobel 30 (8) 1656 for herself and children. Reg 1X 226. Her estate adm to Pilgrim 11 Sept 1669.
Records of Massachusetts, Vol. 1, p. 165 3 Mar 1635/6. Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Willm Spencer are deputed to take the accts. of Mr. Simpkins and return the same into the nexte Courte. p. 181- Mr. Coddington, Mr. Nowell, Mr. Spencer, and Mr.Hutchinson, being deputed to ‘puse’ the accts. of Nicholas Simpkins, did return to this court that they found him indebted to the countrey in the some of fourtie pounds, 8s, 4d.

The Pilgrims of Boston. p. 97- reference to gravestone of Pilgrim Simpkins
Isabel- b. 1610-d. Sept. 1668 in Boston Simpkin notes

Nicholas Simpkins- a tailor-made 1st Captain at Castle Island, Boston Harbor. One of his successors, Roger Clap, says it was 1634. Seems in 1636 to have given dissatisfaction by being indebted to the government and removed 1638 to Yarmouth. After some years came to Scituate and then to Boston before 1649 and was in artillery co. 1650.

The Pilgrims of Boston. p. 97- reference to gravestone of Pilgrim Simpkins
Charles Henry Pope’s "Pioneers of Massachusetts" says this:

SIMKINS, SIMPKINS, SYMPKINS

Nicholas, gent., tailor, draper, Boston; removed to Dorchester, then to
Cambridge, where he bought land Nov. 20, 1637. Was first commander of the
fort on Castle Island, Boston Harbor. [ Capt. Roger Clap.] He deposed before
Gen. Court in 1645 as to gun he took to the castle in 1635. Was of Yarmouth
1638-1640. Removed to Barnstable; sold land there in 1645. Scituate, sold
house and land there 1 March, 1648. He deposed June 1, 1654, age about 54
years, and Isabel deposed at the same time, age 44 years.

Admin. of his est. was gr. to the widow Isabel 30 (8) 1656 for herself
and children. Admin. of her est. was gr. to her son Pilgrim S. 11 Sept. 1669.
5 March 1638/39: The General Court ordered that Mr. Nicholas Simpkins, William Palmer, Philip Tabor, and Josiah Barnes of Yarmouth be added as commissioners to make a division of planting lands. (Plymouth Colony 1620 – 1691).

"It need not, however, be inferred from the fact that the first dwelling houses of the settlers were small and unpretentious, that they were necessarily an indigent and humble class of people in point of worldly fortune. In respect to some of them we know this would not be a correct estimate. Anthony Thacher, Edmund Hawes and Richard Sears were certainly men of education and social standing in England, and Thomas Howes, John Crow, Edward Sturges, Andrew Hallet, Nicholas Simpkins and others appear to have belonged to the substantial middling class, either staunch yeomen or educated gentlemen. They built such houses as their condition required of them as pioneers of a new country; whose first care was to shelter their families while they were preparing the soil, making roads and enclosing their plantations. The next generation saw a great change in their style of living, as well as in their habitations."(pp. 79, 80.) (Thomas Howes of Yarmouth, Mass by James W. Hawes)

Nicholas Simpkins- a tailor- made 1st Captain at Castle Island, Boston Harbor. One of his successors, Roger Clap, says it was 1634. Seems in 1636 to have given dissatisfaction by being indebted to the government and removed 1638 to Yarmouth. After some years came to Scituate and then to Boston before 1649 and was ar. co. 1650.

Town of Yarmouth- A History 1639-1989 by Vuillemier

On 7 Mar 1639 14 men given permission to take up freedom at Yarmouth, MA Simpkins was appointed to the committee to make equal divisions of planting land. He settled near Stony Cove, Mill Pond. Sept.1641 he was arraigned for "lending a pistol to and Indian." The charges were later dropped but he was fined 40 shillings for not bringing the Indian maid to court as the governor commanded. The court remitted the fine in Dec. because the woman "Neither had shoes nor was in health to come."

Pioneers of Massachusetts p 416

Removed to Dorchester and then to Cambridge- bought land 20 Nov 1637. He deposed before General Court as to the gun he took to the Castle in 1635. Yarmouth 1638. 1640 removed to Barnstable and sold land there 1645. Removed to Scituate and sold land there 1 May 1648. He deposed 1 June 1654 age about 54 years. Isobel deposed the same time, age 44 years. Admin. of his estate was granted Isobel 30 (8) 1656 for herself and children. Reg1X226. Her estate adm to Pilgrim 11 Sept 1669.

Records of Massachusetts, Vol. 1, p. 165

3 Mar 1635/6. Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Willm Spencer are deputed to take the accts. of Mr. Simpkins and return the same into the nexte Courte.

p. 181- Mr. Coddington, Mr. Nowell, Mr. Spencer, and Mr. Hutchinson, being deputed to ‘puse’ the accts. of Nicholas Simpkins, did return to this court that they found him indebted to the countrey in the some of fourtie pounds, 8s, 4d.

The Pilgrims of Boston. p. 97- reference to gravestone of Pilgrim Simpkins

Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2011-05-31 17:16:00
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