Rewriting the Biography: A Darling Little Boy

Rewriting the Biography has become a catch-all for not only the biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) but also his children and their descendants. I took a break from working on this series after doing the census work and posts for his sixteen children.

While I was working on these last year, Patricia Simms Williams shared this lovely tribute written by her grandfather following the death of one of his children. The Genealogy Sketch box puts this family in perspective to James SIMS, Patricia, and myself.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Charles Edward SIMMS
Parents: William Thomas SIMS and Mary Catherine WILLIAMS
Spouse: Lydia Ellen WILLIAMS and Cora Estella HURLEY (*)
Children: Ophelia Virginia, Chusvert, Laura, Cecil James, Charles Erman, Carman, Claude, and Cluster Erwin
Whereabouts: West Virginia counties: Fayette, Nicholas, Braxton, and Greenbrier
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 3rd cousin 3 times removed

1. James SIMS and his wife Phebe
2. Martin SIMS and Susannah JOHNSON
3. Nelson SIMS and Nancy JONES
4. William Thomas SIMS and Mary Catherine WILLIAMS
5. Charles Edward SIMMS and Cora Estella HURLEY
6. Charles Erman SIMMS and Nina Mae MILES
7. Patricia Ann SIMMS

Charles Edward SIMMS was born in 1866 to William Thomas SIMS and Mary Catherine WILLIAMS. His father died in 1870 and his mother remarried in 1872. He had two siblings and 5 half-siblings.

Charles married his first wife Lydia Ellen WILLIAMS in 1887. She gave him two sons and a daughter before her death. Charles married again in 1896 to Cora Estella HURLEY.

By 1900 the two sons from his first marriage had died and his household included his wife Cora, his daughters Ophelia from his first marriage and Laura B. from his second marriage. Cora was listed as the mother of two children, one living. This would mean Charles had lost three children by 1900.

In 1902 a son was born to Charles and Cora. No record of birth has been found for him nor a record of his death in September 1905. His name and years of birth and death have been passed down in the family history. Cecil James SIMMS died after his father came in contact with measles while stopping off at a neighbor’s house.

This is his recollection and tribute to his son. The scans of the pages with the handwritten poem did not include a title. I’ve taken the liberty to give it this title.

A Darling Little Boy

Returning once unto my home
Along a muddy way
The path that through the fields did come
I took that fatal day.

Near by a neighbor farmhouse stood
I, weary, sad, thought best
to stop with them partake of food
and gain a little rest.

Fate lays her hand in silent state
Unwarned on all of earth
Regardless of the small or great,
Or those of noble birth

Fate, silent stroke here fell on me
I, measles did inhale,
The bellows of life troubled sea
Rose by the stirring gale.

There was a flower in my home,
A darling little boy;
No dearer object there could come,
This precious little toy.

I used to take my darling son
When near the close of day
The busy cares then being done
And sing in joyful lay.

“I never will cease to love him
My, Jimmy, my Jimmy!
I will never cease to love him
He’s done so much for me.”

But when the sickness seized this flower,
It drooping, withered, died
We strove to save it from that power;
It perished by our side.

We sadly laid him in the grave
To wait that coming day;
And trusting Jesus power to save,
Our heats will ever say:

One by one the Savior gathers,
choicest flowers rich, and rare,
He’ll transplant them in his garden,
They will bloom forever there.

Charles Edward Simms (1866-1936)

This poem conveys Charles’ feelings, his love for his son Jimmy, and the sadness of losing him. It was written like a hymn which is not unusual as Charles was a preacher and teacher. In the years which followed Charles was also a manager for Singer sewing machines as well as a jewelry shop owner.

Following the death of his only living son in 1905, Charles’ wife Cora gave him four more sons. Charles, Carman, Claude, and Cluster. Claude died of influenza in 1918 during the epidemic at the age of 4 years and 15 days. Charles and Cora’s daughter Laura had died the previous year. Patricia wrote:

Laura was not married to Joseph Edward Bruffey, the father of her son Joseph Eugene Bruffey. For some reason, Laura’s mother Cora didn’t want her to get married. Laura had polio as a child, childbirth was hard for her and she died the following day after giving birth to Joseph Eugene. The Bruffey’s wanted to raise the baby but grandma Cora refused to let them.

After all of these losses in Charles’ family, his children Ophelia, Charles, Carman, and Cluster lived long lives. Ophelia lived to be 82, Charles 69, Carman 70, and Cluster 93.

When Patricia shared the scans of the poem with me, she wrote:

It should be shared with someone who will take care of it after I’m gone.
By featuring it here, I hope it will not be lost to future generations interested in our SIMS ancestry.
© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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.

16 thoughts on “Rewriting the Biography: A Darling Little Boy”

  1. Cathy, What a heartfelt and touching post…many times “genie” folks can tend to look past the human element of what it is we do. Our ancestors felt just as deeply as we do, and we have to remember that and promote that sentiment as often as we can. Bravo!
    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You picked a great title. That’s a very sad situation. I just can’t imagine how he must have felt. I also shared a poem once that was written by a mother who had to give her child up for adoption. HAD to as it was in the 1930’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laura. My great-grandfather Walter Farmer Roop also wrote poetry after the death of his dear wife. Charles and Walter both had a way with words and were able to bring across the feelings of sadness and grief. I’ll go over to your blog and take a look at the poem you mentioned.

      Like

  3. With the recent outbreaks in measles, this poem has a special painful resonance. If people realized just how deadly measles can be, perhaps they would not be so hesitant to get their children vaccinated. A lovely and heartbreaking poem.

    Like

      1. I am with you on that. But there are people who don’t believe in climate change also, including the current person occupying space in the White House. People are just willingly ignorant.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Cathy, that is so sad, doubly, because he realized he had brought the measles home, which led to his son’s death.
    In a way, I think it should be shared nationally, somehow, to bring realization to the families who have refused vaccinations for their children. I believe it would be an eye-opener for some, but sadly, not all.

    Liked by 1 person

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