Rewriting the Biography: Nancy Ann SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

Rewriting the Biography is an ongoing theme for the rough draft notes of a new/updated biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) of Nicholas County.

Nancy Ann SIMS, my ancestress, was the youngest child of James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. She was born shortly before her mother’s tragic death in Bath County, Virginia. Nancy Ann was not yet married in 1810. She was not with her father James and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON and her half-siblings. As she was 17 years and not with her father and step-mother, it is probable she was living with one of her full siblings.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann’s brother William SIMS, the oldest of her siblings in the area, married Elizabeth WINDSOR before 1806. By 1810 they had two sons, William Jr. and Jeremiah, and a daughter Nancy. Also living in their household was a young female age 10 thru 15. This young lady may have been Nancy Ann who was born abt. 1793. If she was Nancy Ann then she should have been included in the same age bracket as her sister-in-law Elizabeth.

1810 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for William SIMMS

1810 U.S. Federal Census 1
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 25
Simms, William
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (William Jr. and Jeremiah)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (poss. sister Nancy Ann SIMS)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Elizabeth)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 6

The census listings of all of her full siblings have been analyzed and William’s household is the only one she could have been living in. At this time only her father James owned land and his married sons William and Martin likely lived on this land or in the homeplace as they were enumerated one after the other. Nancy Ann’s future mother-in-law Amy NELSON, widow of William JOHNSON, also was a neighbor. Hence, it is my belief Nancy Ann was in the neighborhood and most likely with her older brother William.

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann SIMS married William JOHNSON, the son of William JOHNSON Sr. and Amy NELSON, in 1814. This was not the first marriage joining the SIMS and JOHNSON families. William’s sister Susannah was the wife of Martin SIMS and his brother John was the husband of Elizabeth SIMS.

Nancy Ann and William were the parents of three children by 1820: a son Nelson, a daughter Huldah (my 3rd great-grandmother) and a son Alexander. William was engaged in agriculture.

Also in the household were two young men aged 10 thru 15 years. Who were they? In 1810 when William was not yet married he was probably living with his mother Amy. At the time she had two young boys in her household under the age of 10. Were these the same boys? If they were then they would have been under 6 years old in 1810. Amy had been widowed in 1805 and family tradition does not mention any children born so late in the marriage. Could they have been grandchildren?

1820 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for William JOHNSON

1820 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204B, Sheet 152, Line 31
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Name: William Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Nelson and Alexander)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2 (William’s nephews?)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Huldah)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Nancy Ann b. bet. 1794-1804)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 5
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 7

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann gave birth to Mary, John B., Amy, and Lewis during the 1820s. Her mother-in-law Amy lived with the family in 1830 and is the older woman seen in the household. From the writings of Laura Kincaid Blake (1875-1965), we know Amy lived among her children and her last days were at the home of her son William.

Nancy and William’s son John B. was born at the mouth of Rich Creek on Gauley in 1823. Some time after this and before the 1830 census the JOHNSON family moved to a place on Loop Creek (Loup Creek) in the area of what is known as Robson in present-day Fayette County, West Virginia. This is the reason they were found in Kanawha County in 1830. Fayette County would not be formed until 1831.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for William JOHNSTON (sic)

1830 U.S. Federal Census3
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 198A & 198B, Line 8
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: William Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Lewis b. 1828, John Brown b. 1823)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Alexander b. 1819)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Nelson b. ca. 1815)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William Jr. b. 1793)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Amy b. 1825)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mary b. 1820)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Huldah b. ca. 1818)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Nancy Ann Sims Johnson b. bet. 1791-1800)
Free White Persons – Females – 70 thru 79: 1 (Amy Nelson Johnson b. 1757)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 10

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann and William had four more children in the 1830s. A daughter Elizabeth was born about 1830, died at the age of 3 years, and was buried in the Nichols Cemetery on Loop Creek per the writings of Laura Blake. The three other children were William Hunter, Nancy, and Morris Houston.

Nancy Ann was incorrectly enumerated in the 30 thru 39 years range. Having married in 1814 it would be very unlikely she was born in 1801-1810.

Nancy Ann’s husband William and Alexander, the oldest son living at home, were employed in agriculture. Only one person over 20 years of age could not read and write. Later census listings would not indicate Alexander, Huldah, or Nancy could not read or write. If these can be trusted, then William may have been the person who was illiterate. This surprises me as his older brother John was a Methodist minister.

Two of William and Nancy Ann’s children had married before 1840 and had their own households.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for William JOHNSON

1840 U.S. Federal Census4
Fayette County, Virginia
Page 145, Sheet 2A & 2B
Name: William Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (William Hunter and Morris Houston)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (John Brown)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Alexander)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Amy)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Huldah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Nancy Ann; should be listed as 40 thru 49 yo)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 6
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 4
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 10

Nelson JOHNSON and Elizabeth HUGHES

Nancy Ann’s oldest son was the first of her children to marry. Nelson married his first cousin Elizabeth HUGHES, daughter of Thomas HUGHES Jr. and Mary “Polly” SIMS, in 1837. Their first child Irvin Nelson was born early in the 1840 census year and was enumerated with them. Nelson was engaged in agriculture. His wife Elizabeth is the person who could not read and write as will also be seen later in the 1850 census.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Nelson JOHNSON

1840 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Page 147, Sheet No. 4A & 4B
Name: Nelson Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Irvin)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 3

Mary JOHNSON and David Alexander MILLER

Nancy Ann’s second oldest daughter was the first of the girls to marry. Mary married David Alexander MILLER in December 1839. Mary was expecting her first child on 1 June 1840 when the census was enumerated. The child would be born in January 1841. David, a farmer, was incorrectly counted in the 30 thru 39 range. He was only about 18 years old as will be seen in later census years.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for David MILLER

1840 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, Virginia
Page 146, Sheet No. 3A & 3B
Name: David Miller
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (David)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Mary)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 2

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Laura Blake in her writings on the family stated, “William and Nancy died around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. Afterward, most of his family went to Kanawha County to an area called the Grapevine, near Charleston.”

Nancy Ann was living in 1848 when the partition suit was filed for the sale of the land of her father James SIMS. This alone refutes her death taking place during the typhoid fever epidemic in 1845. Sons Morris Houston and Lewis both died in August 1845 and were followed by their father William JOHNSON in December 1845.

Which family members were found in the 1850 census and who was missing? Can the second part of Laura’s statement concerning the removal of the family to Kanawha be correct? As will be seen below, Nelson went to Missouri. Huldah and Alexander were in Fayette County. Mary, John, and Amy were in Kanawha County. Nancy Ann and her children William Hunter and Nancy have not been found in the 1850 census.

Nelson JOHNSON and Elizabeth HUGHES

Nelson and his wife Elizabeth were found in Madison County, Missouri. Four daughters had been born to them before they moved to Missouri. The youngest was two years old indicating the move was made around 1849. Nelson was a cabinet maker and his two oldest children attended school. Elizabeth could not read and write.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Madison County, Missouri for Nelson JOHNSON household.

1850 U.S. Federal Census7
Madison County, Missouri
54th District
Enumerated on 26 September 1850
Sheet 241A, Lines 16-23, HH #462-462
Nelson Johnson 35 M Cabinet Maker $30 Virginia
Elizabeth Johnson 33 F Virginia cannot read & write
Irvine L. Johnson 11 M Virginia attended school within year
Mary J. Johnson 9 F Virginia attended school within year
Nancy J. Johnson 7 F Virginia
Unus E. Johnson 5 F Virginia
Virginia A. Johnson 2 F Virginia
Monroe Marrow 25 M Carpenter Virginia

Huldah JOHNSON and Robert INGRAM

Huldah married Robert INGRAM about 1841. The marriage record has not been found. They had three sons by 1850. Robert was a farmer and owned land with his brother Matthew who lived next door with their mother and two of their sisters.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Robert INGRAM and his mother Margaret INGRAM

1850 U.S. Federal Census8
Fayette County, Virginia
Enumerated on 27 August 1850
Sheet No. 365B, Lines 41-42 and Sheet 366A, Lines 1-3, HH #461-461
Robert Ingram 31 M Farmer $100 Virginia
Huldah Ingram 32 F Virginia
Vincent Ingram 9 M Virginia
Irvin L. Ingram 4 M Virginia
Wm. P. Ingram 2 M Virginia

Alexander JOHNSON and Isabella HUGHES

Alexander and Isabella HUGHES, whose parentage is unknown to me, were married before 1850. Alexander was living in Fayette County six households away from his sister Huldah. He was a farmer. Alexander and Isabella were the parents of a four months old daughter.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Alexander Johnson

1850 U.S. Federal Census9
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 365B, Lines 7-9, HH #455-455
Alexander Johnson 30 M farmer $150 Virginia
Isabella Johnson 23 F Virginia
Lucinda Johnson 4/12 F Virginia

Mary JOHNSON and David Alexander MILLER

Mary and David who were newlyweds at the time of the 1840 census had two daughters and two sons by the time the 1850 census was enumerated. They were found in Kanawha County. David could not read and write.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for David MILLER household

1850 U.S. Federal Census10
Kanawha County, Virginia
District No. 29
Enumeration by me on the 13th day of November 1850. Andrew P. Fry, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 125A, Lines 12-17, HH #1790-1835
David Miller 28 M Laborer Virginia cannot read or write
Mary Miller 29 F Virginia
Vienna Miller 9 F Virginia
William R. Miller 7 M Virginia
James A. Miller 5 M Virginia
Mary W. J. Miller 3 F Virginia

John JOHNSON and Mary Ann SETTLE

John married Mary Ann SETTLE in 1846 in Fayette County. Their son Julian, seen here as a female named Julia, was born in what is today Clifton in Kanawha County placing their move to Kanawha at soon after their marriage. John was a laborer.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for John JOHNSON household

1850 U.S. Federal Census11
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated the 7th day of September 1850
Page 68A, Lines 34-36, HH #1013-1017
John Johnson 23 M W laborer Virginia
Mary 22 F W Virginia
Julia 3 F W Virginia (sic, son Julian)

Amy JOHNSON and Charles McClung HUFFMAN

Amy married Charles McClung HUFFMAN in 1849. They are listed in Kanawha as having married within the census year which would be from 1 June 1849 to 1 June 1850. As they have a one-month-old son I have given them the benefit of the doubt and estimated their marriage as having taken place in the first half of the census year. Charles was a farmer in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for Charles M. HUFFMAN household

1850 U.S. Federal Census12
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sheet 84B, Lines 29-31, HH# 1239-1256
Charles Huffman 23 M Farmer Virginia married within the year cannot read & write
Amy 23 F Virginia married within the year
Franklin W. 1/12 M Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann who was missing in 1850 along with her son William and daughter Nancy reappeared in the census in 1860. They were found in the Sissonville area where Grapevine, the place mentioned by Laura Blake, lies.

Nancy Ann SIMS, the widow of William JOHNSON Jr., was living with her youngest son William in 1860. Her relationship to the head of household is not noted in the listing however her age is correct for her being born about 1793-1794 just before her mother died. Her son William had married Louisa Lavinia SAMUELS in 1856. She was 17 years old at the time of the marriage and by 1860 had given William a daughter and a son.

Next door to William is his brother Alexander. Two households separate Alexander from his sister Amy.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for Charles HUFFMAN, Alexander JOHNSON, and William JOHNSON with Nancy Ann SIMS

1860 U.S. Federal Census13
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sissonville Post Office
Page No. 113, Lines 21-25, HH #788-788
William Johnson 28 M Farmer $0 $250 Virginia
Louisa L. Johnson 20 F Virginia over 20 yo who cannot read & write
Mary G. Johnson 2 F Virginia
James N. Johnson 1 M Virginia
Nancy Johnson 66 F Virginia

Nelson JOHNSON (dec’d) and Elizabeth HUGHES

Nancy’s oldest son Nelson died about 1855. He had returned to the Kanawha area from Missouri by September 1854 when he was the informant for the death of his daughter Joanna, a twin who had been born in Missouri in 1851. Joanna’s twin sister Josephine died in November 1856. Another daughter Virginia died in January 1857 leaving Nelson’s widow Elizabeth with four children living at home.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for Elizabeth JOHNSON household

1860 U.S. Federal Census14
Kanawha County, Virginia
Enumerated by me on the 16th day of June, 1860. Wm C Blain, Ass’t Marshal
Upper Falls Coal Post Office
Page 44, lines 9-13, HH #302-302
Elizabeth Johnson 42 F $0 $150 Virginia
Warren 20 M Laborer Virginia
Mary A.  18 F Virginia
Nancy J. 15 F Virginia
Venus E. 13 F Virginia

Huldah JOHNSON and Robert INGRAM

Huldah was the mother of six children by 1860 when the family was enumerated as INGRUM instead of INGRAM. Her husband Robert was still farming the land he’d patented with his brother Matthew in 1843. Robert bought out Matthew’s share in the land when he moved to Sissonville in 1852.

Also in the household of Robert and Huldah was Amanda BLAKE, daughter of John BLAKE and Malinda JOHNSON, with her son John. It is unknown if or how Malinda JOHNSON and Huldah were related.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Robert INGRUM (sic) household

1860 U.S. Federal Census15
Fayette County, Virginia
District No. 1
Enumerated the 20th day of June 1860, P. Morton, Ass’t Marshall
Gauley Bridge Post Office
Page No. 25, Sheet No. 335, lines 12-21, HH #183-161
Robert Ingrum 41 M Farmer $1000 $200 Virginia
Huldah Ingrum 42 F Virginia
Vincent Ingrum 19 M Farm Laborer Virginia
Ervin L. Ingrum 14 M Virginia
William P. Ingrum 12 M Virginia
Amy Ingrum 8 F Virginia
Nancy M. Ingrum 7 F Virginia
Mary E. Ingrum 3 F Virginia
Amanda Blake 20 F day laborer Virginia
John A. Blake 1 M illegitimate Virginia

Alexander JOHNSON and Isabella HUGHES

Alexander and Isabella’s oldest child Lucinda lived to see three siblings born. She died in 1859. Alexander, a farmer, had moved to the Sissonville area by 1852. (see image of census page with Alexander above under Nancy Ann and her son William)

1860 U.S. Federal Census16
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sissonville District
Page No. 113, lines 16-20 HH #787-787
Alexander Johnson 39 M Farmer $0 $150 Virginia
Isabella 33 F Virginia
Harland P. 7 M Virginia
Andrew D. 2 M Virginia
Vianna C. 2/12 F Virginia

Mary JOHNSON and David Alexander MILLER

Mary and David had lost their oldest son before the 1860 census. Five children had been born since the 1850 census was enumerated. Their oldest daughter Vienna was incorrectly listed as Susannah. David was still working as a farmer. In this listing, both David and Mary were marked as not being able to read and write.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for David MILLER household

1860 U.S. Federal Census17
Kanawha County, Virginia
Enumerated by me on the 10th day of July 1860. Wm. C. Blaine, Ass’t Marshal.
Sissonville Post Office
Page No. 118, lines 30-39, HH #826-826
David Miller 38 M Farmer $200 $150 Virginia cannot read & write
Mary Miller 37 F Virginia cannot read & write
Susannah Miller 19 Virginia
James A. Miller 15 Virginia attended school within year
Margaret W. Miller 13 Virginia attended school within year
Ann P. Miller 9 Virginia attended school within year
Silas M. Miller 7 Virginia
Irvin W. Miller 5 Virginia
Mary E. Miller 4 Virginia
Joseph H. Miller 10/12 Virginia

John JOHNSON and Mary Ann SETTLE

John and Mary Ann had two daughters born in the 1850s however they both died before the 1860 census. Elizabeth Clifton JOHNSON was born in 1851 and died in 1858. Mary Susan JOHNSON was born in 1852 and died in 1853. Julian remained an only child. John was working as a carpenter. Elizabeth Elkins, the young lady in their household may have been live-in help.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for John B. JOHNSON household

1860 U.S. Federal Census18
Kanawha County, Virginia
Enumerated the day of August 1850 by William C. Blaine
Cannelton
Page 319, lines 16-19, HH #2190-2190
John B. Johnson 36 M Carpenter $1000 $400 Virginia
Mary A. Johnson 37 F Virginia
Julian M. Johnson 13 M Virginia
Elizabeth Elkins 22 F Virginia

Amy JOHNSON and Charles McClung HUFFMAN

Amy and Charles’ family increased by three with the births of their daughter Margaret and sons Perry and Charles Jr. Charles was working as a farmer. (see image of census page with the HUFFMAN household above under Nancy Ann and her son William)

1860 U.S. Federal Census19
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sissonville District
Page No. 113, lines 3-8, HH #784-784
Charles Huffman 34 M Farmer $1000 $1500 Virginia
Amy 34 F Virginia
Franklin W. 9 M Virginia attended school
Margaret K. 8 F Virginia
Perry 5 M Virginia
Charles M. 2 M Virginia

Nancy JOHNSON and William B. MARTIN

Nancy, the youngest of Nancy Ann and William’s children, married William B. MARTIN in 1853. Nancy gave birth to three daughters during their first seven years of marriage. William was a farmer.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for William B. MARTIN household

1860 U.S. Federal Census20
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sissonville
Page 105, lines 36-40, HH #735-735
William B. Martin 28 M Farmer $400 $200 Virginia
Nancy 24 F Virginia
Clarissa A. 6 F Virginia
Nancy C. 3 F Virginia
Isarbinda 5/12 F Virginia

After the 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Nelson’s widow Elizabeth who had lost her three youngest children and was left with four children in 1860 had seen the three oldest marry during the decade. In 1870 only her youngest Eunice was still living at home but not for long as she died in the fall. Elizabeth was with her oldest son in 1880 and with her youngest living daughter in 1900. She died before 1910.

Huldah and her husband Robert INGRAM had their four youngest children living at home in 1870. Richard Edward was born in March 1862. Their oldest son Vincent died between 1862-1870. Their son Irvin Lewis, my second great-grandfather, married in 1867 and their son William Preston married in 1869. Both had their own households in 1870 however my ancestor Irvin managed with his wife and children to not be enumerated. By 1880 two daughters had married: Nancy Margaret in 1872 and Mary Elizabeth in 1874. Amy, the oldest daughter, and Richard, the youngest son, were still at home. Richard married in 1883. Huldah died sometime between 1880 and 1900. Amy married in 1895 at the age of 43 and remained childless. Huldah’s widower Robert boarded with a Hamilton family in 1900 and according to family tradition he died about 1902 at the home of his cousin Preston KINCAID.

Alexander and his wife Isabella had three more children during the 1860s. They lost two sons before 1870 when they had their four living children, two daughters and two sons, in their household. Both daughters married in 1879 but, although in their husbands’ households, they were also listed with their parents in 1880 with their maiden names. Alexander and Louisa’s oldest son Harlin married in 1881. Alexander died in 1887. His youngest son Alexander married in 1889 and the following year his widow Louisa remarried. She was widowed again in 1899 and not found in the 1900 census. It is not known when she may have died.

Mary and David Alexander MILLER’s three oldest children married in 1864. By 1870 their five youngest were still at home but the oldest, a daughter would marry before the end of the year. David died in 1871 and Mary was left with three sons and a daughter. The daughter would marry in 1876, the two youngest sons in 1879, and the oldest in 1880. Mary lived with her son Irvin who had married his first cousin Louisa J. JOHNSON, daughter of Alexander, in 1880. Mary died in 1898.

John and his wife Mary Ann had in their household in 1870 their son Julian, his wife, and their two children. They had married in 1867. Julian, the only living child, still made his home with his parents in 1880. His family had grown by six children born before the 1880 census was enumerated. However the two oldest children born before the 1870 census died in 1873 and 1872. One last child was born in 1882. Mary Ann died in 1896 and John in 1902.

Amy gave her husband Charles McClung HUFFMANN five more sons in the 1860s. By 1870 they had eight sons and a daughter, all living at home. By 1880 the six youngest sons were still at home. In 1900 Amy and Charles, married 50 years, were on their own with only a servant helping in the household. Amy died in 1904 and her widower Charles in 1913. This family group has not been researched by me and I have very little information on their children and descendants.

William and his wife has six more children by 1870 and three more by 1880. Louisa died of heart disease at the age of 44 years in 1884. William died 6 January 1899. Thirteen children were attributed to them by persons who contributed to the publication, Sissonville A Time To Remember. The death records of two of these children, both males, were found. The names and the ages given does not correspond with any of the sons found in the census. Smith who died on 29 April 1885 at the age of 18 years (born abt. 1867) and John B. who died on 6 March 1871 at the age of 11 years and 6 months (b. abt. Sept 1868) were not with the family in 1870.

Nancy gave birth to four children during the decade and only one of them survived to the 1870 census. Her oldest was only 15 years old when she married in January before the census. Nancy, her husband William B. MARTIN, their three unmarried daughters and their married daughter and her husband were in the 1870 household. Three sons and a daughter were born in the 1870s and none of the older girls married. Seven of the eight children lived at home in 1880. The two youngest children died in 1881, a son and a daughter. By the end of the year the second oldest daughter was married. Two daughters and two sons were still unmarried. The girls married in 1885 and 1888 and the boys in 1892 and 1895. Nancy and Martin’s children were all married by 1900 when they were found together along with a granddaughter named Effie B. MARTIN age 12 years. As the sons had only been married 8 and 5 years, the daughters were looked into. Effie was their granddaughter through their daughter Mary S. and her husband John F. FISHER. In 1910 Nancy and Martin were last seen together in the census. Nancy died in 1915 and her widower was living with their oldest daughter in 1920. His death record has not been located.

All of the living children of Nancy Ann SIMS and William JOHNSON were located in the 1870 census. She was not found with any of them and I assume she died between 1860 and 1870 when she was 66 to 76 years old. Previous conjecture had been that she died during the 1840s, likely at the same time as her husband. However, with the 1848 partition suit and her being found in the 1860 census with her youngest son and his family, this family lore was rejected. Several family trees show her death as taking place in April 1870 in Fayette County per the 1870 Mortality Schedule of Fayette County. This death record is that of Nancy KELLY, widow of Israel JOHNSON. My ancestress’ death likely took place during the 1860s, a decade in which many records were misplaced or destroyed due to the Civil War. And as more records become available online at FamilySearch, I will continue to search for any and all documentation which will help to pinpoint her time of death.

This is the last post for the census work of the children of James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. Before continuing with the children from his second marriage, I would like to share in my next post the tragic story of the demise of Phebe SIMS.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Rewriting the Biography: Nancy Ann SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 25, William Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204B, line 31, William Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 37+38 of 84, page 198A+B, line 7, William Johnston. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  4. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, image 13&14 of 54, sheet 145, line 23, William Johnson Sr. household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 June 2018). 
  5. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette, image 17 & 18 of 54, sheet 147, line 30, Nelson Johnson household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  6. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette, image 15 & 16 of 54, sheet 146, line 2, David Miller household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  7. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_405; image 491; Missouri, Madison, image 89 of 124, sheet 241A, lines 16-23, HH #462-462, Nelson Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  8. Ibid., Roll: M432_943; image 336 and 337; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 72 and 73 of 91, Sheet 365B lines 41-42 and Sheet 366A lines 1-3, HH #461-461, Robert Ingram household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 72 of 91, Sheet 365B, Lines 7-9, HH #455-455, Alexander Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Virginia, Kanawha, District 29, image image 227 of 271, sheet 125A, lines 12-17, HH #1790-1835, David Miller household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Virginia, Kanawha, District 29, image 113 of 271, sheet 68A, lines 34-36, HH #1013-1017, John Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  12. Ibid., Virginia, Kanawha, District 29, image 146 of 271, sheet 84B, lines 29-31, HH #1239-1254, Charles Huffman household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  13. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1356; Page: 113; FHL Film 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 114 of 54, page 321, lines 21-25, HH #788-788, William Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 June 2018). 
  14. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; FHL Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 45 of 321, page 44, lines 9-13, HH #302-302, Elizabeth Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  15. Ibid., Roll: M653_1344; FHL Film: 805344; Virginia, Fayette, District 1, image 23 of 26, page 25, sheet 335, lines 12-21, HH #183-161, Robert Ingrum household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  16. Ibid., M653_1356; Page: 113; FHL Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 114 of 321, page 113, lines 16-20, HH #787-787, Alexander Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  17. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; Page: 118; Family History Library Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 120 of 321, page 118, lines 30-39, HH #826-826, David Miller household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  18. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; FHL Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 290 of 321, page 319, lines 16-19, HH #2190-2190, John B. Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  19. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; FHL Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 114 of 321, page 113, lines 3-8, HH #784-784, Charles Huffman household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  20. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; Family History Library Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 106 of 321, page 105, lines 3–40, HH #735-735, WIlliam B. Martin household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

21 thoughts on “Rewriting the Biography: Nancy Ann SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census”

  1. I assume you must work backwards—finding the names and ages of the children and then deducing from those facts who is represented by the tick marks on the earlier census records. You must have lots of lists and charts and notes to do this so thoroughly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amy, I’ve been working on these SIMS family groups since 2002. Everything I have is in my genealogy database. Still the early research has to be revisited. I have the census images but did not do full transcriptions or write the source citations. However this is good because I am getting the hang of adding the census event, image, and citation. Where at first it took me five minutes to do them I can now do it in under a minute. No lists or charts just the genealogy database. When I first began I did have to work backwards since I needed the children’s names and ages before I could assign them an age range in the pre-1850 census. Thank you, Amy.

      Like

      1. I first became interested when I was about 35 but only because my sister-in-law, who was even younger than I, asked my Mom for family history information. And that was the beginning of my now 25 years of doing genealogy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope you thank your SIL! My aunt tried to get me interested, but I was too stupid to listen as a child. I had no interest in dead people I never knew. Sigh….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So often when I read your amazing research results I am struck by how different it feels to read about white people owning black slaves and about the enslaved themselves. It feels as if my relatives in Michigan and Illinois were from a different planet from those who owned slaves, but by the time my grandmother’s sister married, she married a man from North Carolina whose family owned people. I imagine what it was like for her, if she knew, and if she and her husband ever discussed it. Or was it all swept under the carpet by the 1930s?

    Like

    1. Nancy Ann’s father had enslaved people but I have not as yet found that any of his children ever owned slaves. He went through a complicated procedure to be able to emancipate his slave Isaac which included a petition signed in 1836 by most of the men in the county to allow Isaac to remain in the community. At the time a freed slave was required to leave the state within a year of being set free.

      James SIMS’ religious beliefs may have influenced him. I have not looked into his religious affiliation but believe he was a Methodist as his great-grandson gifted land (which was once part of James’ property) to the Methodist church. The Sims Memorial Methodist Church now stands on this land and James’ grave is in the cemetery behind the church.

      Methodists spoke out against slavery and clergy were not supposed to own slaves although in this was not always followed in the south. This led to a split in the northern and southern congregations in 1844 – eight years after James SIMS freed Isaac SIMS.

      I don’t believe the subject was swept under the carpet but people likely ignored the subject which resulted in stories not being passed down by word of mouth in the families.

      Thank you, Luanne, for your comment. It has given me more to think about and write about. I too often ignore religion when researching my ancestors.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, I didn’t know that about the Methodists. I was raised a Methodist, and I remember it being a pretty middle-of-the-road denomination in those days in Michigan. Later, I learned that southern Methodists were not like that, being more like Baptists about dancing and drinking. And then the main Methodist body became more socially conscious and tolerant as time went on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I only recently learned this as I follow Christy Perry Tuohey who wrote a fictional novel about an ancestor, Panther Mountain: Caroline’s Story. Her ancestors were Methodists from the same area as my James Sims. In fact, Isaac, the freed slave of James Sims, made an appearance in her book and she cited my work in the bibliography. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.