James Simpson was born at Cullybackey, son of Thomas Simpson, Mayola. He was educated at the National School, Meaden’s Classical and Commercial Institute, Ballymena, and Queen’s College, Belfast. While there he was awarded first prize in Anatomy and Physiology, and in the theory and practice of Medicine. He also held prizes in Materia Medica, Surgery and Midwifery and for dressing at the Royal Hospital. In 1881 he was awarded his M.D. from the Royal University of Ireland, and Licentiate Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow, and Licentiate in Midwifery in 1886. He was a member of the British Medical Association. Dr Simpson was the medical attendant to the Royal Irish Constabulary, Medical Officer Free Gardeners, the Post Office and Medical Referee for Pearl and New York Assurance Companies. In 1898 he married Margaret Kernohan of Waterbank, Cullybackey.
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