The Arms & Equipment in the Civil War Message Board

Civil War Tailor Montgomery Alabama

My great grandfather, Myles Simpson, was an Irish immigrant to Alabama in the late 1850's. He and a relative set up a tailor shop in Georgiana, then moved to Greenville. By 1861, he had moved to Montgomery and set up shop in the Belshaw Building on Court Square opposite the Exchange Hotel.

A January 30, 1862 ad in the Montgomery Advertiser lists M. Simpson as a Military and Naval Tailor. He must have done well. He raised a large family, bought land in Montgomery and became a city alderman. His oldest son, James B. Simpson was a Montgomery newspaper editor(the Montgomery Dispatch and the Montgomery Journal) who was appointed recording secretary by Gov. Joseph F. Johnston in 1896.

Family legend has it that Myles Simpson was the first tailor in Montgomery. I speculate that he was a bespoke tailor cutting individual uniforms for officers, rather than a mass producer of clothing. I am curious if anyone has seen or heard anything about my ancestor in correspondence. W.W. Rogers' book Confederate Home Front does not mention him and I have enquired at the Alabama Archives and History Department with little result. It seems that tailors in the Civil War era would not leave labels or unique marks to identify their works. I would be thrilled to learn that any uniform cut and sewn by my great grandfather had survived the war and was preserved today. Finding such a uniform may be unlikely but I would sincerely appreciate any reply that discusses Montgomery during the war that may shed light on how my ancestors lived.