History of the Restoration Movement

Henry James Simpson


[need photo]

Henry Simpson's Story

Henry James Simpson was born around 1850. He was the son of Jeremiah and Alsey Simpson. According to the U.S. Census of 1850, dated October 9, 1850, he was the youngest of nine children born in June of 1850 in Alabama. Henry's parents were from Virginia.

Henry was a minister in the Methodist church when J. M. Barnes of the Christian church came into the region of Morris in Jefferson County, Alabama, in the mid-1870s. Attending a meeting where Barnes was preaching, Henry soon heard the "strange" teachings that challenged his long-held Methodist beliefs. He was so rattled that he stood and challenged Barnes to a debate. In short, when the discussion was finished, the honesty of this searcher for truth was humbled by truths of the Bible being taught by the preacher from the church of Christ. So, he was moved by the truth of the Scriptures. He desired to be baptized and was so by the hands of J. M. Barnes. Immediately, Henry set out preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ in and around his home.

Throughout his preaching career, he traveled the state preaching where he could. After several years, he was a trusted name among the churches in the region. His popularity reached the ears of the Gospel Advocate in Nashville, Tennessee, when James E. Scobey reported a trip to Alabama where he determined to seek out and "make the acquaintance of Henry Simpson, a preacher of the gospel." He said of Simpson, "He was not at home, but his good wife made me comfortable by giving me a hospitable welcome. I soon stirred out into the village, thinking thinking to beat up a congregation to preach to that night; but it soon began to rain, and continued the remainder of the day. Late in the afternoon Brother Simpson returned home from his appointment. I was glad to meet him, for his praise is in the mouths of all the brethren who know him. A Methodist preacher converted to the faith by brother J. M. Barnes, has become a power for good in his country. I found him a fearless and zealous advocate for a "thus saith the Lord" in all matters of work and worship." (Gospel Advocate, August 13, 1896, p.515).

F. P. Fonner, writing from a few miles north of Morris, in Vinemont, Alabama, "Brother Simpson is a good man, who makes his own living by manual labor mainly and preaches at mission points." (Gospel Advocate, June 21, 1906, p.389) Brother Simpson, like so many preachers of that day, traveled and preached at different churches each Sunday of the month. But, during the week, he had work such as farming, and mainly it was the work of brother Simpson to work as a tax collector. This was an elected position. Through the years, short advertisements like the one below reminded the voter of his desire for this office. Politically, he was a Democrat.

These quotes attest to the quality of individual brother Henry Simpson was among the churches of Christ in North Central Alabama. He was long respected for his commitment to God and the Word of His grace. He was married to Nancy A. Simpson. Not much is known of her history at this writing other than that they had no children. Brother Simpson rested from his labors on February 9, 1914. His body was laid to rest to rest in the Morris Cemetery, Jefferson County, Alabama, to await the coming of the Lord.

-Scott Harp, 12.19.2023

We Extend Sympathy

Brother Henry Simpson, of Morris, Ala., died on February 9, 1914, after an illness of twenty-one days. Brother Simpson was one of our old pioneer preachers in this part of the country. He was well known, well thought of, and will be greatly missed. Brother Simpson was a Methodist preacher in his early life, and attended one of Brother J. M. Barnes' meetings for the purpose of converting him; but after a few questions and answers, he was convinced himself, obeyed the gospel and began to preach it. -John T. Smithson.

-Gospel Advocate, February 19, 1914, page 228.

Daily Mountain Eagle
Wednesday, August 30, 1905, p.8

Birmingham Post Herald, Birmingham, Alabama
Sunday, January 21, 1900, p.14

1885 Gospel Advocate, 06-03-22, p.346

1906 Gospel Advocate, 06-21-25, p.389

Directions To Grave

Henry James Simpson was buried in the Morris Cemetery in Jefferson County, Alabama. This is an area north of Birmingham. Take I-65 north to the Exit 275. Turn right on Barber Blvd. and then immediately back to the left on Hwy. 31 (a 4-lane). Heading south you will enter the township of Morris. The simplist route is to turn right on Morris Majestic Rd. then take the seventh left (2nd Ave.) Go south of town and 2nd Ave. will become Stouts Rd. You will soon see graves on both sides of the road. As I've not been to the grave, it is assumed that the burial location is somewhere on the left in and amongst the pine trees. See photo below.

GPS Location
33°45'24.0"N 86°48'31.9"W
or D.d. 33.757250,-86.809222

Masonic Emblem
In memory of
my dead Husband
January 18, 1851
February 9, 1914
He was a Christian
Minister 35 yrs.
And died as he lived
Asleep in Jesus

Source: Melissa Hogan (Find-A-Grave)

Webpage produced 12.19.2023
Courtesy Of Scott Harp


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