Matthew Simpson (20 June 1811 – 18 June 1884), was an American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1852 and based mostly in Chicago. During the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War, most evangelical denominations in the North, especially the Methodists, were strong supporters of radical policies that favored the Freedmen (former slaves) and distrusted the Southern whites. Bishop Simpson played a leading role in mobilizing the Northern Methodists for the cause. His biographer calls him the "High Priest of the Radical Republicans."
Matthew was born in Cadiz, Ohio. His grandfather, Thomas Simpson, was a British soldier who emigrated to Ireland. Matthew's father came to America in 1793. Matthew's grandfather Tingley was a Revolutionary soldier. Matthew's uncle also was Matthew Simpson, who also emigrated from Ireland to America in 1793. This Matthew Simpson represented Harrison County, Ohio in the Ohio State Senate for ten years, and served as judge of the County Court for seven years. In later life, he lived with his nephew, reaching the advanced age of ninety-eight. Matthew, the nephew, married Ellen H. Verner of Pittsburgh.
Matthew was consecrated at birth for the ministry by both of his parents. He was baptized as an infant by Bishop Francis Asbury. He was converted to Christ in 1829. Matthew received an academic education in his hometown. He then attended Madison College in Pennsylvania. Madison subsequently merged into Allegheny College in 1833. Matthew was elected to the office of Tutor in his eighteenth year, then engaging in teaching. Having also studied medicine in 1830-1833, he began medical practice...
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