September 30, 2011.
THE NORTH END SIMPSON FAMILY OF KNOTTS ISLAND By William E. and Dorence Simpson. Published in the Heritage of Currituck 1670-1985.
Zachariah Simpson (b. 1/29/1829, d. 12/26/1886) was married to Lydia B. Waterfield (b. 9/7/1838, d. 7/15/1917). Zachariah acquired the farm at the North End of Knotts Island when his first cousin, Caleb Spratt went off to fight the Yankees in 1861.
Spratt made a will, that if he did not return his land would be divided between his brother, Andrew Spratt and first cousin Zachariah Simpson. Spratt was killed soon after he left. Zachariah took up residence at the North End of Knotts Island moving from the South End.
September 30, 2011. Comment - Jack Dudley: "Caleb Spratt was born in 1830 and died April 15,1863 in a Richmond hospital he entered Dec.9, 1862."
Zachariah had two children, William Edward (b. 3/6/1861, d. 11/8/1929) and Mary Emma (b. 3/ /1869). Zachariah reared his family by farming and hunting. He died 12/26/1886 and is buried in the Cooper Cemetery.
Lydia B. Waterfield, his wife after his death, married a Whitehurst and she died 7/15/1917 and is buried in Knotts Island Methodist Cemetery in the Simpson plot.
Zachariah left his farm to his two children William E. Simpson, who married Arsenah Williams (b. 2/27/1863), and to Mary Emma, who married Robert Williams Arsenah's brother, Mary Emma moved to another part of Knotts Island and raised three children, who were Floyd, Mittie and Etta. Mary Emma later willed her share of the farm to her brother William.
William and Arsenah stayed on the North End and farmed, hunted and took in sportsmen for a living. They had two children, Russell Edward (b. 11/8/1892, d, 4/19/1959) and Grace Enolia (b, 8/5/1895, d. 1/25/1976). William acquired the marsh land on the approach to Knotts Island, approximately 300 acres, which he later sold, with his brother-in-law John Williams, to Alton Corey, the millionaire of U.S. Steel. This land is now known as the National Game Reserve. William also owned Malbon`s Island, which he sold to the Millionaire Corey.
Duck hunting was a way of life for many, and in many cases quite dangerous as the boats were often lost on the Great Back Bay. Just crossing the Bay to get to the Beach side could be very difficult in the fog banks and bitter cold weather. Once when crossing, my grandfather, William Simpson, my Father Russell, and a live-in school teacher were stranded all night in the bitter cold and almost lost their lives. To stay alive they had to huddle together for body warmth, lest they fall asleep and wake no more. Meanwhile, other members of the family burned torches all night to light the way home. So were the times so long ago as reported in local papers and a national magazine.
William E. Simpson, a tall man in stature, God fearing, but more important, God loving, died November 8, 1929 of cancer, leaving the farm to his two children, Russell and Grace. He was buried in Knotts Island Methodist Cemetery in the Simpson plot.
Arsenah Simpson, Williams wife, was a deeply religious person, worked very hard on the farm, and even after the farms chores of the day were completed, rested by making beautiful quilts. Some that her great grandchildren are using today. She had a stroke and was bedridden for seven years, died November 9, 1919 and is buried in Knotts Island Cemetery in the Simpson plot.
Grace Enola Simpson (b. 8/5/1895, d. 1/25/1976) was a beautiful girl who longed all her life to be a nurse but left school in Blackstone, Va., to care for her Mother the last seven years of her life and her Father in his remaining years. She married a very patient Willie Ward Bell from Pungo, Va. There they lived all the remaining years of their lives as the farmer and his wife. She nursed all and none were ever turned from her door. Grace had no children of her own, but yet she had many. More than one lonely soldier ate at her dinner table during World War ll. She went home January, 1976, and is buried in Knotts Island Methodist Cemetery, as is her husband Willie Bell (12/12/77). Russell Edward Simpson (b. 11/8/1892, d. 4/19/59), my Father, but more important my friend, had many physical handicaps, which we will not mention here. He was five feet tall, weighed 100 lbs., was a master carpenter, boat builder, electrician, auto mechanic, radio repairman, telephone linesman, farmer, duck hunter, movie projectionist, and truly a family man who loved every square inch of Knotts Island.
Russell Sr. married Everett Medora Cason (b. 3/12/1898, d. 6/22/82), the daughter of Jerome Bonepart Cason and Medora Waterfield. They lived on the farm for about 22 years before moving to Virginia Beach in 1937. But their hearts never left Knotts Island for they kept their membership until the day they died at the Knotts Island Methodist Church. Moma joined the Dawson Bible Class at the United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach to remain active in church as long as she was able to attend. They had two sons Russell Edward Jr. and William Everett. Russell E. Simpson Sr, Died April 19, 1959 at his home in Virginia Beach and was buried in Knotts Island Cemetery beside his Mother and Father. Everett Cason Simpson died in her home in Virginia Beach June 22, 1982 after a long illness and was buried in Knotts Island Cemetery next to her husband.
Russell Edward Jr. (b. 11/7/1922) married Agnes Louise Fauson from Tazewell, Va. They are both pharmacists and own and operate Oceana Pharmacy. They have four children, Louise Anne (b. 1/21/1956), Martha Jane (b. 2/7/1963), Russell Edward lll (b. 1/22/1964, d. 1/23/1964) and Russell Edward lV (b. 4/19/1967).
William Everett Simpson (b. 9/12/1937) married Cathy Little and had two children, Heath Edward (b. 4/17/62) and Debbie June (b. 6/22/64). He later married Dorence Marie Meredith from Pembroke, Va. They have three daughters, Tonya Lynn Mellette (b. 2/27/1967), Wendy Cheri (b. 12/8/1968) and Meredith Marie Everett (b. 5/7/1978). William worked in television production and television repair.
The North End farm remains in the same Simpson family from the Civil War to the present date.