The Simpson family will hold its 126th (1893-2019) family reunion Aug. 2-4 at Roberts Centre in Wilmington.
Coming together for the second time in 1893, the Simpsons are the second-oldest continuous African-American family reunion in the United States, according to Dr. Ione Vargus, genealogist and ex-chair of the Family Institute of Temple University in 1993.
The first-generation John Simpson and Eliza McCoy originated in Pennsylvania. Their siblings immigrated and made a home where the second generation was started in Guernsey and Muskingum counties in Ohio, according to family historian Alberta McClung in 1993.
Joseph, a second-generation Simpson and a member of the 27th U.S. Colored Troop (Civil War), married Amanda Gilson in 1863 in Cumberland, Ohio. They had 14 children, six boys and eight girls. (One boy died in infancy).
These descendants realized the importance of family strength and organized the first family reunion in 1863 on the Noah Haines farm, Brimstone Hollow, Chester Township, Clinton County. The first reunion was held on a Saturday afternoon and time was spent visiting with family, eating and playing games.
Thus, the legacy was started.
The locations for subsequent reunions have all been held within a 30-mile radius of the original home location, including 37 years on the homesteads of Mattie Ellen and her husband, Dulaney (Dick) Carter in Chester Township, Clinton County (Ohio). Mattie Ellen was third generation Simpson and the daughter of Joseph and Amanda.
We in the Simpson family are proud to knowledge our vast history, rich heritage and many accomplishments that mark our ancestry. This is why, as we enter our 126th family reunion, this year’s theme is Family Unity. Even though times have changed, the Simpson family still thrives on the meaning of unity. The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.