While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Naomi Hatton Kincaid

SIMPSON, JOHN NICHOLAS (1845–1920). John Nicholas Simpson, cattleman and businessman, son of William Morrow and Elizabeth (Rhea) Simpson, was born in Jamestown, Tennessee, on March 1, 1845. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the Confederate Army; he served in the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry and later as assistant inspector general on the staff of George D. Dibrell. Simpson moved to Texas in 1866, first to Waco and then to Weatherford. About 1872 he and James R. Couts entered the cattle business with the Hashknife brand and with headquarters at the present site of Abilene Christian University in Taylor County (see HASHKNIFE RANCH). Simpson presided at the organization of the Stock Raisers Association of Northwestern Texas at Graham on February 15, 1877, and at Buffalo Gap on August 7, 1879. In May 1881 he sent his Taylor County cattle to the Pecos River area and bought the Millett brothers' ranch and cattle in Baylor County. With his new partner, William E. Hughes, he formed the Continental Cattle Company, which was merged with the Mill Iron Cattle Company on February 5, 1884, to form the Continental Land and Cattle Company. Until 1888 Simpson was manager of the company, which had cattle on three Texas ranches as well as from 25,000 to 70,000 head in Montana. Simpson was director and president of the Exchange Bank, Dallas, and became vice president when it became the First National Bank of Dallas. He was also vice president of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad. As president of the Dallas County Fair in 1885 and of the State Fair of Texas in 1893, 1919, and 1920, he promoted livestock interests. He was Republican candidate for governor of Texas in 1908. On June 6, 1875, he married Sue Sloan in Weatherford. They had one son. Simpson died on June 26, 1920, and was buried in Dallas.

Dallas Morning News, June 27, 1920. History of the Cattlemen of Texas (Dallas: Johnson, 1914; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1991).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Naomi Hatton Kincaid, "SIMPSON, JOHN NICHOLAS," accessed August 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsi22.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...