Matthew Simpson was an American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1852 and based mostly in Chicago [Correction: Philadelphia. Simpson and his wife were fixtures of Society Hill]. During the Reconstruction Era after the Civil War, most evangelical denominations in the North, especially the Methodists, were initially strong supporters of radical policies that favored the Freedmen (former slaves) and distrusted the Southern whites. However by the late 1860s in border state conferences, the MEC North moved well away from their work with the Freedmen's Bureau and often sided with the grievances of Southern white members. Bishop Simpson played a leading role in mobilizing the Northern Methodists for the cause. His biographer calls him the "High Priest of the Radical Republicans."