Letitia Simson: Saint John Poet
Paper, works-in-progress seminar, Mount Allison, 28 October 1997
by Eldon Hay, Sackville, New Brunswick.
    The role of women in Reformed Presbyterianism (Covenanterism) in Canada was not a strong one. Moreover, there is a dearth of materials relating to the life, witness and devotion of Canadian Covenanter women.
    Letitia Simson (c. 1825-1885 of Saint John, N.B.) is an exception, chiefly due to two reasons. First, even as a young woman, Letitia liked to write poetry. This activity was condoned, even encouraged, in her tradition. So throughout a significant portion of her life, Letitia wrote and published poems in local newspapers and religious journals. Some of this writing is directly related to religious themes, some to specifically Covenanter causes and concerns. Secondly, Letitia's initial marriage was to Seymour Pickett of the parish of Kingston, N.B. in 1843, details of which I come to shortly.
    A selection of her poetry was published in 1869, entitled Flowers of the Year and Other Poems (Saint John, N.B.: J.& A. McMillan).    
    In this talk, I give a brief background of Reformed Presbyterianism (part i), outline the life of Letitia Simson (parts II and III), discuss her poetry and add a few reflections (part IV).


    Reformed Presbyterianism is a brand of presbyterianism noted for its church-state stance. Reformed Presbyterians believed that Christ is to be head of the state as well as the church. When that hope or expectation was thwarted by the Revolution Settlement of 1690 in Scotland and England, Covenanters refused to vote or serve on juries (the strictures against voting have been dropped in the contemporary denomination found in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the USA, and in Ontario, Canada). Reformed Presbyterianism is also noted for its manner of worship - Covenanters believed that there should be no organs or other musical instruments, and that only the psalms were to be sung - a practice that continues until this day in the denomination.

    Reformed Presbyterianism came to the Maritimes from Ireland. It came with missionaries Rev. Alexander and Catherine Clarke, who landed in Saint John in 1827, a year later moving to Amherst, and living their lives there, devoted to the spread of the Covenanter cause. Reformed Presbyterianism came with missionary Rev. William Sommerville, who came to Saint John in 1831, married Sarah Barry Dickie of the Amherst area in 1832, and they then went to live and minister in Horton and Cornwallis in the Annapolis Valley. The Covenanter cause had come to Saint John even earlier, in the 1820s, though there was not a resident minister until the Rev. Alexander McLeod Stavely came to that city in 1841. In 1852 he married Margaret Cameron, and the Stavelys were to have a marked impact on that city. They went to Ireland a year or so after the great fire of 1877.

    Simson was personally acquainted with all of these missionaries and their families, and indeed with many in the Covenanter community. The Reformed Presbyterians did not join with other Presbyterians in the unions of 1861 or 1875; and it became virtually extinct in maritime Canada in the 1930s.

    Women did not have a major role to play in the Canadian movement. In her biographical essay about the first missionary, the Rev. Alexander Clarke, his daughter Lavinia Clarke writes that

    Rev. Dr. Alexander Clarke was ably assisted and strengthened in his work by a few godly women in the different congregations.... Their cheering words and their efforts and zeal in the cause being even more untiring than that of the men.

    Lavinia Clarke indeed names the women, but very few specifics are given as to what those efforts were, in what that zeal consisted. Letitia Simson is something of an exception. What is her story?


    We know little about Letitia's early life - her childhood and education. She was born in Ireland about 1825, and came with her parents, James and Eliza Agnew, to Saint John in 1833. It seems clear that she had brothers and sisters, but  we do not know how many, nor exactly where Letitia 'stood' in the family; though she was the eldest daughter, and clearly one of the older children. Her father, James Agnew was a watchmaker and jeweller, and established a good trade in that business in Saint John. The Agnew family was probably Reformed Presbyterian, before they came to Saint John.  James Agnew became a ruling elder in the Saint John Reformed Presbyterian congregation. We hear first of Letitia, when as an eighteen-year-old, she married, in 1843. The wedding itself was announced in the New Brunswick Courier of 8 April:

    married Thurs. [April 6] by Rev. W.T. Wishart, Seymour Pickett of Golden Vale, Kings Co. [N.B.]/Letitia F., eldest daughter of James Agnew, watchmaker of this city [Saint John].

Rev. Wishart was at that time a Church of Scotland minister of Saint John. The Pickett family was staunchly Church of England.

    The Seymour Pickett/Letitia Agnew marriage was to be very eventful. To understand fully what was to happen, we have to enter somewhat into the family history of the husband. And for that immediate family history, I am largely dependent on Doris Calder's All Our Born Days: A Lively History of New Brunswick's Kingston Peninsula.

    Seymour was the second son of Gould Pickett. Gould Pickett, of solid Loyalist stock, had built, as a young man, the fulling mill at Pickett's Lake, and for the rest of his days maintained a thriving business there. He also owned good farm land.  He was able to keep his wife, three sons and four daughters in comfortable circumstances, having built a large square two-and-one-half-storey house near the mill by the end of the lake.

    Gould Pickett was proud of his children.  They were smart and eager to learn.  He had seen to it that they attended school regularly and were brought up by the teachings of the church.  He had taught his sons the fulling business, and although his eldest son, Stephen, moved to a farm several miles away from Pickett's Lake, his other sons, Seymour and Munson, were anxious to carry on the father's business.  Gould had expanded the fulling mill to include carding machines, looms and grindstones for gristing.  The water to run the mills flowed from Pickett's Lake into a long wooden sluiceway along the outlet stream to feed into the big water wheel.  Altogether the location was exceptionally fine, situated beside the road in a beautiful valley just two miles from the center of Kingston village. Small wonder that the entire Pickett home and establishment became known as 'Golden Vale.'

    At the time of his death at 75, in 1840,  Gould Pickett had reason to feel satisfied with his life. He had served well in a number of positions of public trust. Especially gratifying - he was leaving a well-established business for his two sons to carry on. This gratification was enshrined in his last will and testament.

    I, Gould Pickett, Esquire, of the Parish of Kingston in Kings County in the Province of New Brunswick  being of sound body and mind thanks be to the great giver of all blessings  do hereby make and publish this my Last Will and Testament ... The farm on which I now reside I give to my two sons Seymour and Munson together with all the privileges, buildings, improvements, Mills, Machinery, farming utensils and stock of all descriptions to be equally divided, or to be held as tenants in common when Munson arrives at the age of twenty-one years on condition that they provide for the [rest of the] family till they are able to provide for themselves ... Should my decease happen before Munson comes of age, Seymour is to have all he can realize after keeping Mills and Machinery in good repair, also the buildings, and furnishing the family in a decent and comfortable manner till Munson arrives at the age of twenty-one years ... I also recommend to my sons Seymour, and Munson to carry on business, in partnership after my decease and be sure and take no advantage of each other ... Signed Gould Pickett  March 21, 1836.

    Gould Pickett died a contented and gratified man. But in his last will and testament were contained the seeds of contention.

    According to the terms of the will, Gould Pickett's widow and four daughters lived on at the homestead, as did Munson and Seymour.  Munson was only fifteen when his father died and Seymour was twenty-eight, so he assumed sole management of the mills and farm.  Seymour was his own boss and that was the way he liked it.  Munson worked there, but still had another six years before he came of age and could claim his half of the property.

    The mills prospered under Seymour's management.  He had ideas and he devised and put into operation some original improvements in the machinery used in the manipulation of cloth. 

    As already mentioned, Seymour married Letitia Agnew, daughter of a prominent jeweller in Saint John; Letitia was well-educated, refined, sensitive and liked to write poetry.  In 1843, a bride of eighteen, and city-bred, she went with her husband to the country to meet for the first time and move into the same household with his mother, four unmarried sisters and younger brother Munson.  But the house was divided:  Munson, his mother and sisters on one side, and Seymour with his young wife on the other.  They lived in separate quarters on opposite sides of the hall of the big two-and-one-half-storey house. 

    In the spring of 1844, Seymour and Letitia had a baby son, whom they named James Agnew Seymour Pickett.  Five months later the baby became ill and died.  In the summer of 1845, Letitia bore another son, Henry Bernard. 

    On March 11th, 1846, Munson came of age.  On that day he approached Seymour with a neighbour as witness to claim his half of the property or his property rights as stated in his father's will.  Seymour said he would divide and give up everything belonging to Munson and seemed to admit that Munson had as much right there as himself.  There was, however, a discrepancy between what Seymour said he would do and what he actually did.  He refused to divide the property; to make partition or to allow Munson free access to his part of the farm and the mills.  Munson tried to have the matter settled through arbitration, and by having friends reason with Seymour.  Seymour reacted by locking doors against Munson, and by continuing sole possession of the property.  He further agitated Munson by selling farm items, livestock and mill machinery, part of which rightfully belonged to Munson.

    On the one hand, it appeared that Seymour, having enjoyed sole authority of the household, farm and mills during the five years since his father's death, considered that he deserved sole ownership.  On the other hand, Munson had lived in anticipation of the day when he would no longer be dependent on his brother, and he was not about to relinquish his inheritance. Munson became increasingly angry and frustrated and stayed away from home, returning only when Seymour was absent.

    For Christmas 1846, Seymour took his wife and nineteen-month old child to Saint John to visit Letitia's relatives, the Agnew family, and others.  They returned by horse and sleigh late on Saturday afternoon, December 26.  Letitia, tucked under blankets with their baby on her lap, enjoyed the ride home through the beautiful countryside, listening to the sleigh bells jingle in the frosty air.  Across the frozen Kennebecasis River they rode, then to the heart of Kingston village, past the courthouse and gaol, past the church and cemetery, and Sam Foster's store.  They waved and called seasonal greetings to a small group of neighbours standing on the doorstep of Sam's store.  On up the hill they went, the horse pulling eagerly now that it was almost home.

    The sun dipped below the western side of the creek, and immediately the air seemed to chill. There was Sam Hoyt coming up from his tanhouse.  He made shoes as his father had done.  When he saw Seymour and Letitia he waved, "I've got your boots ready", he called, "I'll bring them over tomorrow."  Seymour nodded and waved.

    They followed the road beside the lake, and in a few minutes saw smoke curling from the chimney on his mother's side of the house.  They turned into their own yard and Seymour paused to let Letitia and the baby off at the door, then went to put the horse in the barn and feed it for the night.  When he entered the back door of the house he heard gaiety coming from his mother's side.  Munson was at home having a Christmas party with his mother and sisters.  Seymour went into his own kitchen to light a fire to warm the house.

    He soon noticed that some articles were awry.  On closer inspection he discovered that some documents pertaining to the estate were missing.  He stood stark still, his expression darkening.  Then he turned abruptly and strode from the room.  Letitia perceived his fury and followed nervously.  Seymour went to the end of the hall, stopped opposite Munson's door and knocked loudly.  "Open up!", he demanded.  Munson refused.

    "Open up!  You've got my papers, I know you've got them!" Seymour's voice rose angrily as he kicked and pounded on the door.  "You'll not come in here!", shouted Munson in reply. "You open this door or I'll get an axe and break it in", yelled Seymour in a rage.  "Do that, and I'll shoot", warned Munson, just as raging.

    Heedless of the warning, Seymour ordered his wife to bring him an axe.  She did.  He grabbed it, and with one terrific swing burst open a panel of the door.  But, before he could strike another blow, there appeared through the opening the black muzzle of a gun.  A sudden flash, a loud crack, and Seymour fell to the floor.  His hand clasped to his chest, he lay at Letitia's feet, blood trickling and collecting on the floor.  Letitia's screams brought Munson to his senses.  Horror-stricken, the family carried Seymour to a cot and tried to dress his wounds.  Letitia knelt beside him, begging God for his life, her tears mingling with the blood stains on his clothes.

    Stunned at first by what had happened, Munson was soon beside himself with grief.  In the midst of the horror, Seymour called out for Munson to be brought to his side, where he forgave him freely for what he had done.  Four hours after he was shot, Seymour Pickett died.

    Scarcely was he gone when a knock came on the door and a constable entered.  He arrested the pale and shaken Munson and took him to the gaol in Kingston Square.  The entire countryside was thrown into shock and disbelief.  Seymour Pickett, known far and wide, shot dead at thirty-four by his brother Munson!  Gould Pickett's sons!  Such a thing just could not be.

    The community pulled itself together long enough to pay their last respects and to attend the funeral for Seymour at Trinity Church.  Just a few  steps away, confined in the gaol on the other side of the road, Munson neither slept nor ate, but brooded over the consequences of his rash act. 

    Poor Letitia watched her husband's body being placed in the frozen ground to rest beside the body of their first-born son. Back at the Pickett house, some neighbours, full of pity for the family, had gone in to scrub away the awful bloodstains, using tubs of hot water.  Amidst the hustle and bustle, Letitia's second-born, Henry Bernard, ventured too close to the steaming vats, and fell into the scalding water before anyone could grab him.

    On hearing the terrible news, Letitia went into shock.  The following day, little Henry died.  Letitia began the New Year by burying her second son.

    Although she was loved by the community, Letitia felt alone.  Her husband and children were dead and the circumstances surrounding two of the deaths were too horrible to contemplate.  Before long, and pregnant with another child, she moved back to Saint John to be near her parents.

    I'll relate that next chapter of Letitia's life; but before doing so, I return for a few moments to Munson Pickett and Kingston Village.

    Munson remained in Kingston gaol, charged with the murder of his brother Seymour.  At his trial he was defended by Lemuel Allen Wilmot, who later became Attorney General of the province, but Wilmot lost the case.  Munson was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged.   The people of Kingston felt that they couldn't allow another tragedy to occur in the Pickett family, even in the name of justice.  They agreed that Munson had done wrong to kill his brother, but they realized that Seymour was not without blame. They knew that Munson had tried repeatedly to gain his rights through peaceful means, although constantly rebuffed by Seymour. In view of this, they circulated a petition for mercy which was numerously signed. One of those signatures was that of Letitia Pickett. The petition was sent to the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, forwarded to the Secretary of State in England, and Munson's sentence was changed to life imprisonment. 

    While in prison Munson's health suffered, and after four years he was pardoned.  Upon his release he returned to Pickett's Lake and began to manage the mills, although the property rights remained with the province.  Three of his four sisters married and moved away.  His mother moved away also, and the fourth sister, who was unmarried, went to live in Fredericton.  Munson ran the mills successfully, and employed several people.  In 1858 he married Mary Lee, and they lived at Pickett's Lake in the big old house where Munson had killed his brother twelve years earlier.  During those years Munson refused to fix the shattered door still hanging on its hinges in the hallway.  His wife and children found it a strain to live on the scene amidst constant reminders of the tragedy.  Munson suffered too from the experience of his past, and was quite unhappy and depressed.  Sometime after 1862, having operated the mills for about ten years, Munson moved with his family to the United States to make a fresh start.

    However, the tragedy had deeply affected others, particularly his unmarried sister who lived in Fredericton.  As time went on she became obsessed with the thought of the Pickett property, which had been confiscated by the Crown.  She demanded that it be returned, and devoted her full time to achieving that end.  She was constantly in and about the House of Assembly in Fredericton, where she seized every opportunity to buttonhole the members and relate her tale of injustice and plea for redress.  She was a familiar figure on Queen Street, pacing up and down the street every day with slow, steady, majestic step seldom speaking with anyone, never women.  The members of the legislature tried to avoid her, and as long as she didn't disturb the actual sitting of the House, they tolerated her.  But finally they considered her too troublesome, and she was sent to the provincial asylum in Saint John.  The farm she loved so much was sold to strangers. At this point, I leave that chapter, and my complete dependence upon Doris Calder.


    As already noted, some time in 1847, Letitia took up residence in Saint John, probably with her parents. Later, she gave birth to another baby son, and called him Seymour Pickett.

    In December of 1850, Letitia's father was the subject of a newspaper report.
It is with much regret that we announce to-day, that no tidings have been had of Mr. James Agnew, Clock and Watch Maker, of this City. He arrived at Eastport [Maine], on his return from New York, by the [steamer], where he remained until [another steamer] was ready to leave for Saint John, which was sometime about 11 o'clock [at] night, up to which time he was at the hotel. On being informed that the Steamer was about to leave, he immediately left there, in company with Mr. James, Watchmaker, of Eastport, and on arriving at the head of the Steamboat Wharf, they shook hands, and parted company, Mr. Agnew proceeding towards the Steamboat, since which period he has not been seen or heard of. Various are the conjectures as to his fate, but the most probable one appears to be, that he has fallen over the wharf. Some of his friends have gone down by stage, with a view to make further investigations. We ... trust that something further will be learned in the matter.

Nothing further was ever learned.

    From this point on, the details of Letitia's life become more sketchy. In the 1851 census of Saint John, it is clear that Letitia, and her four year old son, Seymour Pickett, are living with her widowed mother Eliza Agnew, and several brothers and sisters. Throughout the next period of her life, Letitia contributed poetry to Saint John, N.B., papers and to magazines in Scotland and Ireland.  The collection of her poetry was published in 1869.

    Late in 1855, she remarried. The New Brunswick Courier of 4 Jan. 1856 carries the announcement:

    married Monday evening 31 December [1855] by Rev. A. McLeod Stavely, David Simson, Cupar, Fife, Scotland/Mrs. Letitia Picket, daughter of the late ... James Agnew of Saint John city.

Stavely, as already mentioned, was the Reformed Presbyterian minister of Saint John, and David Simson was a Reformed Presbyterian layman. There must have been children born to Letitia, now Mrs. Simson. And there was death in that family. On 19 January 1864, this newspaper announcement:

    On Friday night, 15th [Jan. 1864] David Henry, youngest son of David and Letitia Simson, aged 1 year and 6 months.

Death - even tragic death - seemed to be Letitia's quite consistent companion. She wrote a poem "on the death of a brother, who was accidentally shot by a companion, at Red Head, [N.B.]."

    Letitia was to be left a widow for a second time, though when David Simson died is not known. It seems clear that Letitia left Saint John and settled in Boston in the late 1870s. Perhaps it was as an indirect result of the Great Fire in that city in 1877.

    We have very little information about Letitia's life in Boston. There is this one detail, carried in a Saint John newspaper in December 1882:

    Mrs. Letitia F. Simson, has an appeal in the Georgetown (Mass.) Advocate in favor of the erection of a Home for Friendless Women. General Butler, Mayor Green, Collector Worthington, Gen. Sherman, and other notables are on the committee in aid of the object.

Perhaps Letitia's own life experiences had prepared her to understand the plight of 'friendless women.'

    Letitia died on 6 February 1885, approximately sixty years old. There is another announcement in the Saint John press.

    Mrs. Simson was known to a great many readers of the local press by her poetic contributions.... They gave evidence that the writer possessed a tender and sympathetic nature. Sometimes she dealt with a patriotic theme or public event, in the treatment of which she displayed poetic fervour. Her friends everywhere will hear with regret of her death.


    Letitia's poetry is the only writing that has come down to us. Letters there must have been, journals, but we have them not.

    Letitia's poetry was written for the genteel--the middle and upper classes of the society she knew. Ninety seven patrons are listed at the back of her Flowers of the Year and Other Poems. The first named is Lemuel Allen Wilmot, attorney-general of N.B., the man who had earlier been Munson Pickett's defence lawyer. The names are drawn from government, prominent citizens, clergy, druggists, bankers, barristers, medical doctors, and other assorted esquires. Nary a woman's name on the list.

    Much of the poetry is familial and personal. She has "Recollections of School Days," "To Miss Mary Clark, on her approaching marriage." Not surprisingly, some of the poems dealt with death. She wrote a poem a couple of months after the scalding death of her second son "On the death of Henry B.S. Pickett." There were others: "Our Mother," "Lines on the death of a Brother, accidentally shot."  Others deal with matters more mundane--"To my Sister, on her sixteenth birthday," "To a Brother on his departure from home." She paid a return visit to the community she had gone to as an eighteen year old bride, some years after her departure from that place; and wrote about it "On visiting Golden Vale, Kingston."

    Some of the poetry is religious, in a denominational sense. Letitia was a Reformed Presbyterian, and this is a central theme of several poems, such as "Lines suggested by a sermon by Rev. A.M. Stavely," "Lines addressed to the Renwick Association," which celebrates a particular denominational hero. "To the Rev. Alexander Clarke" indicates Letitia's friendship with this Chignecto missionary and clergyman. "On the proposed erection of a Reformed Presbyterian Church in Saint John," deals with distinctive Covenanter convictions:

        It's walls shall never echo praise
        Sung by the Organ's pealing voice;
        But hearts shall sweetest music raise,
        And in that melody rejoice.

    Some of Letitia's poetry is religious, Presbyterian, but goes beyond denominational interests. She has "Thoughts suggested at the Bible Society anniversary," "Lines on the Sabbath Question," "The Missionary." And some of this poetry is clearly beyond the interest of her fellow Reformed Presbyterians, as in "Lines addressed to the recently United Synod of the Presbyterian Churches of the Lower Provinces." "Is there a brighter World?" addresses a theme upon which Letitia had ample opportunity to reflect.

        What matter if the sky of all our life
        Be shadowed o'er with clouds of care and sorrow,
        If we but rest from all its toil and strife;
        If we but wake, to rise upon a brighter morrow.

    Letitia also tackled some socio-political matters. In March of 1847 she penned "Lines to the St. Patrick's Society--in commendation of their charitable endeavours to assist their fellow countrymen during the Famine." Other poems "Lines suggested by the proposed Atlantic Cable," "Confederation Song,"  "On the death of President Lincoln."

    Finally, Letitia's poetry seems sometimes inspired by observation of local and natural events around her, such as "Song to the Skaters of the St. John Skating Rink," "Stars of the Winter Night."

    In many ways, Letitia seems to be a Protestant woman affected, as were many of her peers, by nineteenth century evangelicalism. This is shown in her gentility, her wealth, even in her home for friendless women. There can be no question about Letitia's faith. In spite of much tragedy in her life, and the fact that some of the poetry reflects sadness and sombreness; that writing also shows a woman of considerable resilience and resolve--characteristics which were buttressed if not founded on a robust faith.

    Yet some parts of that nineteenth century evangelicalism are muted or missing. For one thing, there is in Letitia Simson's poetry no deep sense of sin, with its concomitant counterpart, conversion. Even in the poem about her return to Kingston Vale, the contrast is between immaturity and innocence as over against maturity and contention. Letitia shows a muted sense of solidarity with other women. Of course, there are poems about women, and to women; but these are not in any sort of numerical predominance. And her home for friendless women finds her in collegiality with others, all men.

    Letitia fits the nineteenth century mould in some ways, is muted in others. She utilizes the Reformed Presbyterian emphasis on education, education even for women. She capitalizes on that denomination's permission, even approval, of poetry writing. She uses this poetry to support and undergird the traditional themes of home, children and church. Of course, she was able to use all of this - she had the wealth, and she came from the class that made it possible.

    Letitia expands the mould in other ways. She marries a man who belongs to the Church of England, though she corrects that a second time by wedding a Reformed Presbyterian! She does not indulge in a suffering religious angst when her first husband is shot. She signs a petition of pardon for her murderous brother-in-law. She expands the mould again by writing about political subjects.

    Letitia Simson, Saint John poet.


1.  According to her tombstone inscription, Catherine McMillan Clarke, wife of Alexander, was also a missionary. This information is unconfirmed from Irish sources. See Eldon Hay, The Chignecto Covenanters: A Regional History of Reformed Presbyterianism in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, 1827-1905 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996).

2. Lavinia Clarke Baird, "Missionaries of the Reformed Presbyterian Church to the Lower Provinces of Canada: Alexander Clarke, D.D." Olive Trees, (January 1899), 19-23.

3. For much information about Letitia's life see Doris Calder, "The Pickett Tragedy," ch. 16 of All Our Born Days: A Lively History of New Brunswick's Kingston Peninsula (Sackville, N.B.: Percheron Press, 1984) 115-22. I am deeply indebted as well to Sandra J.E. Thorne of Saint John. It was Sandra Thorne who first of all tipped me off as to who 'Letitia Simson' was. She introduced me to Calder's book; and gave me other pertinent information based on census records and newspapers.

4. W.M. Glasgow, "Saint John," Reformed Presbyterian Record, 1902, 4. Agnew became elder in 1845. This fine source is found in the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Library in Pittsburgh.

5. Cited by Calder, All our Born Days, 115.

6. Sandra Thorne writes:
    In the 1851 census for Saint John Letitia and her four year old son, Seymour, are living with her widowed mother, Eliza, and several brothers and sisters.
I assume that Letitia was pregnant at the time of her husband's death, and that she named this third son Seymour, even though her oldest child  had also this name: a practice not unusual in that time.

7. "Disappearance of Mr. Agnew," New Brunswick Courier, 7 December 1850. The man disappeared [and probably died] on 27 November 1850.

8. Information made available to me by Sandra J.E. Thorne.

9. Letitia's "Lines suggested by the proposed Union of the Old World, and the New, by a Telegraphic Cable," was published in the Edinburgh Scotsman in 1866. Two of her poems appeared in the Irish Reformed Presbyterian journal, the Covenanter. "In Memoriam: [on the death of Rev. Alexander Clarke]," Covenanter, 7 (July 1874), 224; "Consolation [a few weeks before the death of Rev. Wm. Sommerville]," Covenanter, 11 (October 1878), 340.

10. Saint John Telegraph, 19 January 1864.

11. Simson, Flowers, 74f.

12. Letitia was apparently still in Saint John in August of 1878. See Letitia F. Simson, "Consolation, [a few weeks before the death of Rev. Wm. Sommerville]," Covenanter, 11 (October 1878), 340. That poem is placed and dated as follows: "St. John, August, 1878."

13.  Daily Telegraph (Saint John), 16 December 1882, 3.

14.  "Recent Death," Saint John Globe, 10 February 1885.

15.  Simson, Flowers, 28f.

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Eldon Hay is interested in locating  letters or journals written by Letitia Agnew Pickett Simson. If you know of any e-mail   rmcusack@nbnet.nb.ca

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