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Benjamin Franklin Simpson papers [microform]

Creator: Simpson, B. F. (Benjamin F.), 1836-1916

Date: 1838-1914

Level of Description: Coll./Record Group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: MICROFILM: MS 1703-MS 1704 (Microfilm copy of the records)
Ms. Coll. 240 (Use microfilm: MS 1703-MS 1704)
Misc.: Simpson, B

Unit ID: 40240

Restrictions: None.

Biographical sketch: Kansas attorney general, speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives, U.S. marshal for Kansas; of Paola. Full name: Benjamin Franklin Simpson.

Abstract: Mainly papers of B. F. Simpson but also papers from other people either directly or indirectly related to him. Papers of B. F. Simpson concern primarily his activities in Paola, Kan.; the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention (1859); his work as Miami County attorney & Kansas attorney general; his military service as captain of the 15th Kansas Cavalry Regiment; and his position as the U.S. marshal for Kansas. Other series in the collection include papers of his wife, Augusta Burford Simpson; Lewis Burford, Augusta Simpson’s 1st husband, who served in the 1st Missouri Cavalry (Confederate); William R. Burford, Augusta Simpson's son, who was actively involved in business & real-estate speculation and who disappeared in 1914; Caroline H. Simpson, B. F. Simpson’s daughter, who worked for the Kansas State Board of Review & left written material related to her work; Richard St. John Simpson, B. F. Simpson’s son, & material concerning family members; William P. Simpson, B. F. Simpson’s father, who was involved in real-estate speculation in Texas; and others.




1 Brelsford, Augusta (Simpson), 1878- . 1 1
Papers, 1890.

2 Brelsford, William Edward, -1930. 1 2
Papers, 1904-1930, concerning Freemasonry in Topeka

3 Burford, Lewis, -1861. 1 3
Deed, 1860 June 18,
For land in Paola, Kansas
Letters sent, 1861,
While serving in the First Missouri Cavalry.
Letters, 1859-1861,
Sent to Augusta (Redfield) Burford Simpson,
while serving in the First Missouri Cavalry.

4 Burford, Wesley Browning, 1840-1918. 1 6
Biographical notes.

5 Burford, William R., 1860?-1914?
Bank receipts, 1904-1914 1 7
Deed, 1898 May 9, for land in Ness County, Kansas. 1 8
Disappearance papers, 1911-1917 1 9
Letters received, 1895-1914 1 10
Tax receipts, 1897-1905, Ness County 1 11

6 Burford family.
Photographs, 4 items. 1 12

7 Sears, Madeline M. (Simpson), 1870?- .
Primarily, letters received, 1886-1895 1 13

8 Simpson, Augusta LaReine (Redford) Burford, 1837-1934.
Letters received – 1880-1924. 1 14
Letters received (undated). 1 15
Miscellaneous papers, 1883,
concerning primarily the Grand Army of the Republic
of Miami County, Kansas. 1 16
Obituaries, 1934. 1 17
Real estate indentures, 1875-1878. 1 18
Widow's pension papers, 1916. 1 19

9 Simpson, Benjamin and Augusta.
Letters received, 1885-1915 1 20
10 Simpson, Benjamin Franklin, 1836-1916.
Accounts, 1866-1892 2 1
Agreements, 1868 2 2
Appointment acceptance, undated,
For U.S. Marshal (Kansas)? 2 3
Bar Certificate of Admission, 1856 May 28 2 4
Biographical notes 2 5
Cavalry.15th regiment. C company
Discharges and pension 1865-1908 2 6
Constitutional Convention. 1859 Wyandotte.
Topeka State Record, 1861 April 19 2 7
State Papers, 1859-1871 2 8
Letters received, 1864-1879 2 9
Letters received, 1880-1911 2 10
Letters received, undated 2 11
Letters sent, 1858-1886 2 12
Miscellaneous 2 13
Newspaper clippings, undated 2 14
Real estate indentures, 1859-1881 2 15
"Governor John A. Martin" 2 16
"In Memoriam" 2 17
"Kansas Spirit, The" 2 18
"Memorial Address" 2 19
"Miami County, Kansas" 2 20
"Osawatomie" 2 21
"Wanderers from the Wea" 2 22
"1855" 2 23

11 Simpson, Caroline H., 1871?- .
Review, State Board of, 1918-1920 3 1
Letters received, 1882-1920 3 2
Letters received, undated 3 3

12 Simpson, Eleanor (Franklin), -1935.
Obituary, 1935 3 4

13 Simpson, Emma, 1880-1898.
Memorial poem, 1898, dedicated to Emma Simpson 3 5

14 Simpson, Frank, 1837?- .
Letters received, 1884-1890 3 6

15 Simpson, James W., 1886- .
Letters undated, sent and received. 3 7

16 Simpson, Rachel H., 1884-1910?
Obituary, undated. 3 8

17 Simpson, Richard St. john 1884- .
Papers, 1921-1928 3 9
Include letters sent and received, concerning the death of W. A. Burford, the publication of the papers of Benjamin Franklin Simpson; and biographical notes concerning Benjamin Franklin
Simpson, jr.

18 Simpson, William P., 1800- .
Letters received, 1846-1890. 3 10
Papers, 1838-1882, concerning land speculation in Texas 3 11

19 Miscellaneous. 3 12
Letters. 3 13
Maps. 3 14
Photographs. 3 15
Poetry. 3 16
Stock certificates, 1857-1873, for the Paola Town Co. 3 17


Deed. 1898 May O.S. 240.1.8

Discharge, 1865, from the 15th Kansas Cavalry. O.S. 240.2.6

Topeka State Record, 1861 April 19 Map Room O.S. 240.2.7

Warranty deed, 1861 O.S. 240.3.12 (1 of 2)

Insurance policy, 1880. O.S. 240.3.12 (2 of 2)

Map, n.d., Pittsburg, KS O.S. 240.3.14

Map, 1882?, Herald Map of Miami County, KS Map Room O.S. 240.3.14

Map, 1886, County and Railroad Map of Kansas Map Room O.S. 240.3.14

Bar certificate of admission (Ohio). 2.4
Burford, Edward C. 1.12
Burford, Emma. 1.12
Burford, Fannie. 1.12
Burford, Louis W. 3.9
Burford, W. A. 3.9
Constitutional Convention, Wyandotte. 2.7
Freemasonry. 1.2
Grand Army of the Republic 1.16
Attorney General 2.8
Calvary. 15th regiment. 2.6
Constitutional Convention. 1859. Wyandotte. 2.7
District Court. 2.8
House of Representatives. 2.8
Inspector General. 2.8
(Map, 1866, County and Railroads). 3.14
Review, Board of. 3.1
Senate. 2.8
Supreme Court 2.8
LaReine, Gussie 1.1
Maps 3.14
Martin, John Alexander. 2.16
Miami County, Kansas. 2.20
Miami County, Kansas (map, 1882?). 3.14
Missouri. Cavalry. 1st Regiment 1.4
Memorial Day address 2.19
Moore, Miss Madaline 1.13
Osawatomie. 2.21
Paola Town Company 3.19
Pittsburg, Kansas (map, n.d.). 3.14
Real estate indentures. 1.3
Santa Claus. 1.1
Shannon, Wilson. 2.17
Simpson, August LaReine (Redfield) Burford 1.5
Simpson, Benjamin Franklin, jr. 3.9
State papers, Kansas. 2.8
Texas - Land Speculation. 3.11
District Court 2.8
Marshal (Kansas). 2.3
Widow's pension papers. 1.19
Wyandotte Constitutional Convention 2.7
Wyoming. 1.9

Space Required/Quantity:
Reference copies: 2 microfilm reels ; 35 mm. Originals: ca. 1.5 cubic ft. (4 boxes : 1 oversize) + 1 oversize folder

Title (Main title): Benjamin Franklin Simpson papers [microform]

Titles (Other):

  • Simpson collection, B. F. [Archives box title]
  • Papers [Portion of title]
  • B. F. Simpson collection
  • B. F. Simpson papers
  • Benjamin F. Simpson papers
  • Benjamin Franklin Simpson collection


Biog. Sketch (Full):

Benjamin Franklin Simpson was born in St. Clairsville, Ohio in 1836, to William P. and Rachel (Duvall) Simpson. Simpson received his education first at a common school and later at a military academy in Washington, Pennsylvania. Soon after returning from the military academy he was appointed assistant Clerk of the District Court, at which time be began studying law. During his time spent clerking for the District Court, he met and befriended Wilson Shannon, who would later become the second territorial governor of Kansas.

Simpson tested for and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1856, documentation for which exists in this collection.

It was Shannon's intention to move to the Kansas Territory (and also the intention of another friend, W. R. Wagstaff) that inspired Simpson to migrate with them. They left from Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) and arrived at West Port Landing in 1857.

Soon after arriving in Kansas, Simpson established a claim for land near present-day Clinton in Douglas County, later selling it for $4,000.

In June of 1857 Simpson and Wagstaff established a law firm in Paola; a partnership that (with the exception of ten years when he held elective office) lasted until Simpson's death. To Simpson, Paola was his special place, a place where he felt especially at home. He was the first mayor of that city.

During the controversial "Bleeding Kansas" years leading up to Kansas' statehood, Simpson was in the middle of the fight, leading his own posse against pro-slavery forces. He was an ardent free state Jayhawker in spite of his father's pro-slavery/states' rights sentiments, and the fact that he came to the territory with Wilson Shannon (a strong pro-slavery man) illustrated his ability for tact and flexibility when necessary.

Politically, Simpson was among the most active men in Kansas. In 1858, he was elected County Attorney for Miami County. The following year he attended the Wyandotte Constitutional Convention (at the age of twenty-three, he was the youngest delegate). In 1860 he served in the last territorial legislature. Once Kansas was admitted to the Union as a state, Simpson was elected to the office of Attorney General, only to resign shortly thereafter to accept a commission as a captain of the 15th Kansas Cavalry. He and his regiment were mustered out in October of 1865. A few weeks later, he was elected to the Kansas State Senate.

At the national level, Simpson was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1868. He served as speaker of the House in the state legislature in the 1871 session and was a delegate to another Republican National Convention in Philadelphia a year later. He returned to the state senate in 1876 and served on the Judiciary Committee. In 1877 he was appointed to serve on the Commission to Revise the State Statutes. The following year President Hayes appointed him U. S. Marshal for the State of Kansas. Simpson's final duties in public service came in 1887 when he served on the Supreme Court Commission. Following his public service, Simpson returned to his Paola law practice.

Scope and Content

Scope and content:

This collection is contained is contained in three 2.5 inch upright hollinger document cases. The collection is comprised mainly of papers of Benjamin Franklin Simpson, but also include papers from several other people either directly or indirectly related to Simpson. Papers of Simpson's children, Simpson's wife, her first husband and some of their children appear in this collection.
Noteworthy documentation other than that of B.F. Simpson are those of Lewis Burford (Augusta Simpson's first husband), who served in the Confederate States Army in the First Missouri Cavalry. Also, Augusta Simpson had a son who was actively involved in business and real-estate speculation and who disappeared mysteriously in Wyoming in the autumn of 1914. Caroline H. Simpson, one of Benjamin F. Simpson's daughters, worked for the Kansas State Board of Review and left written material relative to her work with that agency. Richard St. John Simpson, another of Ben's children, left a variety lf material concerning several members of these families. Ben Simpson's father, William P. Simpson was involved in real estate speculation in Texas for many years, as the papers in series 18 indicate.
This collection is broken down into series; one for each individual. In some cases, a series might be a single folder, while for others, a series might take up several folders. Benjamin F. Simpson's are in series 10, which occupies all of box two. However, letters addressed to both Augusta LaReine (Redfield) Burford Simpson are found in the previous series in box , folder 20.
When searching for correspondence, either to or from one particular individual, the researcher should examine all likely possibilities. For example: the researcher who is looking for letters written from Benjamin F. Simpson to his daughter, Madeline M. (Simpson) Sears, should examine both series 7 and 10. A letter written by Ben Simpson to Madeline Sears could be either in box 2, folder 12, or in box 1, folder 13.
There is a set of photographs of children of the Burford family (found in box 1, folder 12, series6). The actual photographs have been transferred to the Photographic Division, while photocopies of the originals remain with the literary collection.
Oversize materials have been removed to oversize storage, some of which are in map size storage. Photocopies of the originals have been inserted in their appropriate places in the collection and refer to their oversize storage place.

The microfilm contains the Benjamin F. Simpson Papers in their entirety. Each series, and subseries within each series, is marked with a microfilm target to indicate the beginning of that series. Used in conjunction with this research guide, finding a particular item or series on this microfilm becomes more convenient.

This manuscript collection was microfilmed in order to preserve the original papers, and to protect them from being handled by patrons. Also, being microfilmed, this collection becomes more accessible to a wider range of people, as manuscript collections on microfilm are available through Interlibrary Loan.

Contents: Roll 1 (MS 1703). Brelsford, Augusta (ser. 1)-Simpson, Caroline (ser. 11) -- roll 2 (MS 1704). Simpson, Eleanor (ser. 12)-misc. (ser. 19).


Locator Contents
006-10-05-02 to 006-10-05-04  Non-oversize 
074-03-03-01  Oversize 
909-30-00-00  Oversize: from Box 2, folder 7, and Box 3, folder 14 (3 folders total) 


  • MS 1703: Papers of Related Individuals (box 1, folder 1--box 3, folder 3)
  • MS 1704: Papers of Related Individuals (box 3, folders 4--17)

Related Records or Collections

Other Finding Aid/Index: Finding aid available in paper format in the repository.

Index Terms


    Confederate States of America. Army. Missouri Cavalry Regiment, 1st
    Kansas Territory. Constitutional Convention (1859)
    Kansas. Legislature. House of Representatives
    Kansas. Legislature. Senate
    Kansas. State Board of Review
    United States. Army. Kansas Cavalry Regiment, 15th (1861-1865). Company C
    Burford family
    Simpson family
    Kansas -- History -- 1854-1861
    Kansas -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
    Miami County (Kan.)
    Paola (Kan.)
    Brelsford, Augusta Simpson, b. 1878
    Brelsford, William Edward, d. 1930
    Burford, Lewis, d. 1861
    Burford, Wesley Browning, b. 1840
    Burford, William R., ca. 1860-ca. 1914
    Martin, John A., 1839-1889
    Sears, Madeline M. Simpson, b. 1870
    Shannon, Wilson, 1802-1877
    Simpson, Augusta Lareine Redfield Burford, 1837-1934
    Simpson, B. F. (Benjamin F.), 1836-1916
    Simpson, B. F. (Benjamin F.), 1836-1916 -- Family
    Simpson, Caroline H., b. 1871
    Simpson, Eleanor Franklin, d. 1935
    Simpson, Emma, 1880-1898
    Simpson, Frank, 1863-
    Simpson, James W., b. 1886
    Simpson, Rachel H., 1884-1910?
    Simpson, Richard St. John, b. 1884
    Simpson, William P., b. 1800
    Attorneys general -- Kansas
    Lawyers -- Kansas -- Paola
    Legislators -- Kansas
    United States marshals -- Kansas
    Abolitionists -- Kansas

Creators and Contributors

Additional Information for Researchers

Restrictions: None.

Use and reproduction:

This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

The user is cautioned that the publication of the contents of this manuscript collection may be construed as constituting a violation of literary property rights. These rights are derived from the principal of common law, affirmed in the 1976 copyright act, that the writer of an unpublished letter or other manuscript has the sole right to publish the contents thereof for the duration of the copyright. Unless he or she affirmatively parts with that right, the right descends to his or her legal heirs regardless of the ownership of the physical manuscript itself. It is the responsibility of the author or his or her publisher to secure permission of the owner of literary property rights in unpublished writing.

Add'l physical form: Microfilm. Topeka, Kan. : Kansas State Historical Society, 1993; rolls MS 1703-MS 1704, lab no. 36473-36474; available for research, inter-library loan, or purchase.

Cite as: Researchers needing to cite any or all of this collection in footnotes should cite the specific document, box and folder number, Benjamin Franklin Simpson Papers, Library and Archives Division, Kansas State Historical Society.

Action note: Processed by Robert A. McInnes.