Founders of the Massachusetts Bible Society - 1809

The Massachusetts Bible Society began on July 6, 1809 and is an ecumenical, Christian organization dedicated to promoting Biblical literacy, understanding, and dialogue. This blog lists brief biographies of our founders who gathered in the Massachusetts State House Senate Chamber on that historic day to sign the Charter founding MBS. Please visit our website:

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Location: Newton Centre, MA, United States

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Deacon John Simpkins

One of the pall bearers at Samuel Salisbury’s funeral was a deacon from the New North Church, John Simpkins. Mr. Simpkins was born in Boston on Nov. 12, 1740, graduated from Harvard in 1786 and became an upholsterer. Deacon Simpkins was a Captain in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Society, recruited in 1769, and served in the Revolution in the company of Cadets under the command of John Hancock.

For many years Deacon Simpkins was the senior and presiding deacon of the Congregational Churches of Boston as well as serving as the treasurer of the Massachusetts Missionary Society and the Mass. Charitable Society.

The Boston Mite Society was founded in Deacon Simpkins’ home when at a social gathering Grandmother Wollcott (the Mite Society’s founder) asked, "Why a society could not be formed to do good among the poor, by each member contributing one cent per week?" Deacon Simpkins replied, “I can now forbear drinking this glass of wine, and devote my cent to this purpose,” at which point the other guests followed the example of their host and the society was born.

Deacon Simpkins died on December 11, 1831 at 91 years of age, leaving a handsome estate and a mansion near the Brattle Street Church.

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