Mexborough and Swinton Times, February 17.
Presentation to Mr Arthur Simpson*, of Conisborough.
*At the 1881 Census Arthur Simpson lived at the Rock House, with his wife Edith and 2 young children. He employed 36 men and 7 boys in his business.
The inhabitants residing around the ruins of the famous old Conisborough Castle recently learned, with extreme regret, that one of their most respected brethren intended, shorted to depart from their midst and to sail for America.
The gentleman referred to is Mr Arthur Simpson, sanitary brick & pipe manufacturer, who, notwithstanding his exceedingly unostentatious disposition, has secured to himself many devoted friends.
This was testified by the gathering, which took place in the Board School at Conisborough, on Thursday evening last, when he was presented with a silver salver, weighing 49 ounces, of the value of £27, and upon which was the following inscription:
“Presented to Arthur Simpson, Esq. from his friends at Conisborough and the neighbourhood on the occasion of his leaving England for America, as a mark of their affection and esteem. February 9, 1882.”
There was a large and fashionable attendance and amongst those present were the vicar, the Reverent, J.J.Wood, Mrs T.H.Simpson, Miss Simpson, Dr and Mrs Hills, Mr and Mrs Colley, Mr and Mrs Greaves, Miss Duncan, Mr and Mrs Hawkins, Mr Godfrey Walker, Mr George Nicholson, Mr Edward Nicholson, Mr R. Wilson, Mr Harris, Mr Appleyard, Mr Hargreaves, Mr T Wilson, Mr Barron, Mr Downing, Mr Thomas Booth, etc
Mr and Mrs Arthur Simpson on entering the room were heartily cheered. On the motion of Mr Greaves, seconded by Mr Booth.
Dr hills was voted to the chair. The doctor said:
Mr Arthur Simpson, we have asked you to meet his here this evening to celebrate an event which is to all who are present, one alike both a pleasure and pain. It is our pleasure, inasmuch, as it has afforded us this opportunity of giving expression – in the form of the testimonial which we are now about to present to you – of the kind and cordial feeling we entertain towards you, of the brotherly love which we bear you, the respect and admiration we feel for your irreproachable character, of the gentle, blameless, life you have lead, of the kindness courtesy and consideration which you are always shown towards everyone with whom you’ve been brought into contact.
It is one of pain because it is too soon to be followed by your departure from amongst those, by now losing the sight of the dear familiar face we know so well; that before many weeks are passed, you will have left, certainly for a long time, but we hope, not for ever, the place in which so many happy, peaceful days of your life have been spent. (Applause.)
We do never asked you to receive this testimonial on account of its intrinsic worth, but, we do ask you to receive it as a proof and as an earnest of our esteem and affection for yourself, and for those who are nearest and dearest to you. (Applause.)
On behalf of the members of the committee and of the subscribers, I have much pleasure in presenting you with this testimonial, and in asking you to accept it and carry it abroad with you as a lasting memento as an imperishable memorial of the affectionate and brotherly feelings which are cherished towards you by every friend whom you are about to leave behind in old England. (Applause.)
In handing this salver to you, I can only say that I wish it was both heavier, larger and more costly; but, such as it is, it is freely and liberally given.
The applause having somewhat subsided, Mr Arthur Simpson rose, and this was the signal for another outburst of cheers.
Mr Simpson replied with considerable emotion as follows:
Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you most sincerely for this unexpected and undeserved demonstration of kindly feeling. Deeply I feel my inability to thank you as I ought. It is impossible for me to do so. But I can only assure you that this beautiful present will be accounted one of my greatest treasures in the far-off land to which I’m going. (Cheers).
My children too will ever look with pride upon it and we shall all be reminded of the many dear friends whom we leave behind. (Applause.)Although, I shall be in another land, I shall still be a Yorkshire man at heart. (Applause.)
Mr Simpson was at this point unable to restrain his feelings, and he hoped his friends would excuse him from making an elaborate speech. He desired that he might meet them all again – if not on earth in heaven. (Applause.)
The liquor being asked to say a few words, address Mr and Mrs Simpson those:
After the very eloquent manner in which Dr Hills has made this presentation – and I’m sure he has given expression of feelings entertained on your behalf by all of us, especially by those who have known you for some years in this part – I feel there is little left for me to say. I could speak for half an hour to you both, especially to Mr Arthur, whom of course I’ve known much longer; but in my own mind, I think it must be very painful on occasions like this to have much speaking and that the feelings of our friends were best considered if we speak to them, in the fewest words. (Hear, hear).
Each one of us would like to say something to them, and I know that, even if some others do not speak, Mr and Mrs Arthur Simpson will both feel that our hearts are with them. (Cheers).
Of course, in what I have to say, I should be more disposed to speak as the vicar of this parish and, having been in Conisborough more than 15 years, I have perhaps special reason for knowing Mr Arthur Simpson. I can assure both Mr and Mrs Simpson that my best wishes and prayers will go with them in their new home. (Cheers)
There is one very good hope and bright ray to cheer them and us in this matter – and that is that a step so important as the one they were about to take, would never be undertaken by them without earnest prayer and guidance. (Hear, hear).
So we may well believe that our Evidently Father has been opening the way for them and, in some way or other we shall see that His blessings will rest upon them at the present very painful decision for which to which they have come. It may not be entirely an earthly prosperity, though I am sure we hope that they may reap an abundant return in the course of a few years for the painful separation they have to make from all dear to them. (Hear, hear).
But even if they should not be permitted to get that earthly return for the efforts they now put forth, still, as Mr Arthur so nicely expressed it, they will have the comfort of knowing that, if they continue to live a life of faith in the Son of God, there is an imperishable life in store for them – a home where no cloud darkens the sky, and where there is no parting and separation; although we are all hope it may please God to see the old familiar faces in Conisborough once more in the course of a few years. (Applause.)
But of this they may be quite sure – that even if they returned to us before very long, they will not find is all her. We know, from past experience, that every year some 50 or so of our people in Conisborough are “called away,” either by death or removal. Let us hope however, that if not on earth, we may all have a happy reunion in the bright world above. (Applause.)
The interesting proceedings were shortly afterwards brought to a conclusion.