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This southern town, dating back to 1780, was county seat of Nelson County, Virginia, until Kentucky’s statehood in 1792

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Bardstown, Kentucky, is hardly a place you would identify with survey instrument making. It was the birthplace and home of Jonathan Moore Simpson, the son of Thomas Simpson and Abigail Moore. Born e a silversmith, clockmaker and survey instrument maker.

It is the author’s belief that John Fitch 1 had an influence on Jonathan Simpson’s work. John Fitch moved to Bardstown when Jonathan Simpson was 9 or 10 years old. It’s possible that John Fitch saw in Jonathan the same desire to learn that John had experienced at that age. Jonathan Simpson may have been at John Fitch’s side when John was working on Mr. Maysville dating app. Howell’s brass works shop on his model steamboat. John would have been able to share his stories with Jonathan and the others in the shop of his silversmithing skills and his experiences in land surveying.

Jonathan later apprenticed in silversmithing. It is not known under whom he did his apprenticeship but it is possible it was under Felix Cachot, a monk and silversmith from France who moved to Bardstown in 1813 when he was released from his vows. Jonathan married Elizabeth Linebaugh. His brother-in-law, Jacob Rizer, was a prominent Kentucky rifle maker in Bardstown. Jonathan and his wife had 3 children, two boys and one girl. Their son Jonathan Jr. died when he was 23 years old.

During this time, Land Warrants were being surveyed in this part of Kentucky, the West was opening up, there was a need for surveying compasses. Jonathan Simpson had the necessary skills and access to a brass works right in Bardstown. Along with his silversmithing and clock making, he was able to produce surveying and mathematical instruments to meet the need. His skills as a master silversmith and elaborate compass face engravings set him apart from the other instrument makers.

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