David PROFFITT and his great-grandfather Silvester PROPHET

Door23These doors represent David PROFFITT and his great-grandfather Silvester PROPHET.

I’ve been putting off doing research on David PROFFITT and Sarah “Sallie” COCKRAM [4th great-grandparents] for so long. Married in 1813 in Franklin County, Virginia, they were the parents of Rachel PROFFITT, 3rd wife of Jordan N. PETERS.

Yesterday I began by attaching the census records for 1820-1870 to David PROFFITT b. abt. 1793 d. aft. 1870. Next step would be to transcribe them or at least go through the pre-1850 to determine ages of possible children. This will help when comparing children seen in other family trees for this couple. Normally I would try to follow each of the children by checking for marriage records, census, and death records to see if there is proof of parentage. But I’m not interested in the children (at least right now). I want to know who David’s parents and ancestors were.

Online searches show that David was the son of Augustine PROFFITT b. abt. 1770 and Elizabeth ROBERTSON of Amherst County, Virginia. Their marriage transcript shows that Augustine was the son of David PROFFITT b. abt. 1730. The elder David was married in 1757 in Goochland County, Virginia, to Elizabeth SMITH, and was the son of Silvester/Sylvester PROPHET/PROFFITT and his wife Alice. Silvester PROPHET, a Scottish rebel, came to America in 1716 on the ship “Elizabeth and Ann”.

As a guide, I like to consult families trees found online. I have not checked Ancestry.com because I am not a fan of the trees grown using their shaky leaves. The trees I found on Rootsweb nearly all had the same text attached to Silvester PROPHET but without a source citation. I did not check all spelling variations of the name so there may be other trees with more information and better citations.

Searching a portion of the quoted text online turned up a hit on a message board. Bonnie Mann, the author of Prophet Progeny (July 1983), posted the text of the chapter Prophet Beginnings in Virginia. In this 1999 post, she wrote, “Some of the information I wrote in 1983 has been passed on to others who are doing research on their Proffit/Proffitt genealogy. I am writing a copy of that story so everyone will now have it in its entirety and know that this was written by me.” [Source: Proffitt Family Genealogy Forum message #324, online http://genforum.genealogy.com/proffitt/messages/324.html]

These quick searches gave me a framework for four generations of the PROFFITT family from David PROFFITT to Silvester PROPHET. Further research has to be done to fill in the blanks but at least the groundwork is done.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

James SIMS (1754-1845) Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia

James SIMS (1754-1845)
Pioneer of Nicholas County, West Virginia
© Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Note: This biography was written in early 2002 and first shared with cousins on April 28, 2002. Corrections were made on February 22, 2003. The last revision was made on August 25, 2013.

A little over two hundred years ago, our ancestor James Sims came to Kanawha County with his young wife Elizabeth Cotton and the children from his first marriage. He settled in the area of Kanawha County, Virginia, which later became Nicholas County, West Virginia.

James Sims, born 8 October 1754[1] in Culpeper County, Virginia, was the only child of Jeremiah Sims and Agatha Nalle. On 4 March 1768[2] a weak and sick Jeremiah Sims wrote his will which was probated 18 October 1768[3] in Culpeper County. James was nearly 14 when his father died in 1768. Jeremiah left half of his estate to his beloved wife Agatha Sims and the other half to his loving son James Sims. In the event that James would die without heirs the estate was to be divided equally between Jeremiah’s two nephews, Thomas Graves and Jonathan Sims or their heirs. Jeremiah appointed his loving wife Agatha and his loving friends Edward Sims, John Nalle Jr., and Henry Pendleton as executors of his will. The will was witnessed by Thomas Griffin, Moses Spicer, Henry Pendleton and John Nalle Jr.

“In the name of God Amen. I, Jeremiah Sims of the County of Culpeper being
sick and weak but of perfect mind and memory blessed by God for it, Do
constitute ordain and appoint, this my last will and testament in manner and
form following (to wit) In the first place I bequeath my soul to God was
gave it, and my Body to be decently buried. ITEM I lend unto my beloved
wife, Agatha Sims one half of my estate both real and personal during her
natural life, after my just debts are paid.  ITEM I give and bequeath unto my
loving son James Sims one half my estate both real and personal after my just
debts are paid.  ITEM My will and desire is that if my said son James Sims
should dec without heir that my wife have the use of my whole estate during
her natural life and then to be equally divided between my two nephews,
Thomas Graves and Jonathan Sims or their heirs.  ITEM I do constitute and
appoint my beloved wife Agatha Sims executrix and my loving friends Edward
Sims, John Nalle Jr. and Henry Pendleton executors of this my last will and
testament.  Witness my hand and seal this twenty fourth day of March 1768.
                                                                                  Jeremiah Sims (LS.)
Signed, sealed and acknowledged in presence of us:
Thomas Griffin and Moses Spicer, Henry Pendleton and John Nalle Jr.[4]

Jeremiah’s will establishes that James Sims was the son of Agatha and Jeremiah. Agatha Nalle was the daughter of John Nalle and Mary Brown. John Nalle’s will, written 16 September 1780[5] and probated in Culpeper County, Virginia, 19 August 1782[6], mentions amongst his legatees his daughter Agatha Hill and her son James Sims. In the item concerning his daughter Agatha, John lends to her half the service of a Negro woman Jinncy (or Jinney) during her lifetime and the other half goes to the grandson James Sims from the time of his mother’s marriage to Russell Hill. After Agatha’s death the slave and her increase is willed to James Sims and his heirs forever. Agatha was also left ten shillings.

“Item. I Lend to my daughter Agatha Hill half the Service of a Negro Woman named Jinncy During my Daughters life the other half of the said Negroes Service to my Grandson James Sims from the time of My Daughters marriage to Russel Hill, and after My Daughters Descease I give the Said Negro Woman Jinncy and her Increase to my Grandson James Sims to him and his Heirs for Ever also Ten Shillings to my Daughter Agatha Hill and her Heirs for Ever.”[7]

On 15 January 1776 in Culpeper County, Virginia, Russell Hill of Culpeper and one Agness (not Agatha) Wood of Culpeper entered into an agreement because of a marriage to be solemnized between the two of them shortly after the above date. In this document Agness Wood states and Russell agrees that any property, etc. she brings to the marriage is hers and if she should die before him said belongings and property will be given by Russell Hill to her son – James Sims and if James Sims should die before his mother then to James Sims’ heirs. If Russell Hill should die before Agness Wood (Hill) then his property, etc. is to go to his sons and Agness agrees to this. Also, if Russell Hill should die before Agness then she would receive only her present estate that she brings into the marriage. This was witnessed by three men: Richard and John Vawter and John Breedlove.[8] It is possible that James Sims’ mother Agatha married a Mr. Wood between 1768 and 1775 and was widowed for a second time. There is no proof that the above Agness Wood is our Agatha Nalle but it is something to be researched. The fact that this Agness Wood has a son named James Sims and a marriage is to be solemnized between her and Russell Hill lends credit to this assumption.

James Sims married Phebe [–?–], born Abt. 1755 in Virginia, before 1777. Robert Owens notes that they were married 1775 in Culpeper County, Virginia[9]. (Note: Rose Mary Sims Rudy recently heard from Col. Owens; he told her his information was not to be considered as it has been successfully disputed by other researchers.) According to family tradition his wife was a cousin. It has not been proven that she was from the Sims or the Nalle side of the family. George R. Penick, Jr. in his compilation of information on the descendants of James Sims wrote that John H. Simms of Boomer, WV (1872-1950?), who did considerable family research, seems to have been of the understanding that James’ first wife’s name may have been Phoebe Nalle (a cousin on his mother’s side).[10] It should be noted here that James’ eldest son Jeremiah and his eldest daughter Elizabeth both named their eldest daughters Phoebe.

William H. Maginnis wrote in notes found in Virginia Bondurant Johnson’s DAR file:

“As several persons named James Sims were recorded in Culpeper County, Va., between 1768 and 1808, I took note of the names of their wives and after some study came to the conclusion that the James Sims whose wife was named Phoebe was the one who moved to Bath County and later, after Phoebe was drowned, to Gauley river in what is now Nicholas county, W.Va.”

Here an error in information needs to be noted. Many researchers have listed James Sims’ first wife as his cousin Elizabeth Sims. However documentation has since been found to correct this. This documentation which includes the circumstances of Phebe’s death in 1794 will be discussed in sequential order.

James and Phebe’s first child Jeremiah, named after James’ father, was born 24 May 1777[11]. Most likely James missed out on the first three months of Jeremiah’s life as he declared:

“In the month of June 1777 according to his recollection he was called into the service as a drafted militia man under Captain John Tutt for a tour of three months. He served as Orderly Sergeant in said Company. He resided then in Culpepper County Virginia, and said Company was collected in said County. The company was marched towards Fredericksburg, and kept moving about through the country around thereabout guarding it from the depredations of the British, Tories, and Negroes, and after Serving out his time he was discharged…….”[12]

On 21 July 1777 James Sims and his wife Phebe deeded to “Martin Nalle son of John” a certain “parcel of land containing one hundred and eighteen acres… in the Great Fork of Rappahanock river Joining on Devils Run.”[13] Martin Nalle the brother of Agatha Nalle Sims was James’ uncle. In 1785 in Culpeper County, Virginia, the Sims tract was sold by James Nalle to Francis Nalle (both brothers of Martin),”.… Land being formerly the property of said Martin Nalle dec’d was given by him by will.…”[14][15]

A copy of the above deed must be procured or Deed Book H pages 475-477 must be consulted to verify the date of this transaction. If James’ statement that he was called to service in June 1777 is correct then he would not have been in Culpeper County in July 1777. Another source lists a different date for this land deed:

“In Deed Book H, page 475, Culpeper, Va., in deed dated Dec. 17, 1779, 11 years after the date of Jeremiah Sims’s will, James Sims and his wife Phoebe, conveyed to Martin Nalle 118 acres of land in Bromfield parish, in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock river. The land had been left to James Sims “by my father”.”[16]

In October 1780 James was again called into service as an Orderly Sergeant for a tour of three months. His wife Phebe was most likely 8 months pregnant with her second child when James marched in the direction of York Town. On 6 November 1780[17] their second son William was born while he was away. As with his first son, James may have missed out on the first two months of his second son’s life.

“On or about the 1st of October 1780 he was again called into the service as a drafted militia man, under according to best of his recollection Captain James Tutt, but whether that was really his name or not, he recollects him to have been a slim spare man. This was for another tour of three months. They were marched in the direction of York Town to aid in the Seige of that place, but before they reached that place Lord Cornwallis had surrendered. They assembled in the County of Culpepper Va and were placed under the Superior Command of Col Slaughter, after serving out his time he was discharged.”[18]

As James and Phebe named their first son after James’ father Jeremiah it is likely that they named their second son after Phebe’s father. This gives us a choice of the following names for Phebe’s father: William Sims, William Nalle, William [–?–] married to an [–?–] Sims, or William [–?–] married to an [–?–] Nalle.

It is believed that following the birth of Jeremiah (1777) and William (1780), James and Phebe’s children were born as follows: Elizabeth (1782), Martin (abt. 1783), Edward (1785), John (1787), Mary (bet. 1788-1792), and Nancy Ann (1793). It is difficult to estimate the years of birth for these children as the ages on the available census records vary from one decade to the next. The possible years of birth for these children will be discussed in later sections dealing with the children of James Sims.

According to Penick, family history relates that James moved to Lowmoor, Virginia, about 1787 where he engaged in rifle making.[19] Although no documentation has been found proving when James moved from Culpeper County, we have found that his wife Phebe died in early January 1794 in Bath County, Virginia.[20] They apparently lived in the Lowmoor/Clifton Forge area which was once part of Botetourt County (formed in 1770), then part of Bath County (formed in 1791 from Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier), and now in Alleghany County (formed in 1822). From this we can assume that James moved from Culpeper County to Botetourt County. Family tradition is that James’ wife was coming home from caring for a sick friend, fell from her horse, and drowned in the Jackson River. We have been able to verify this story with the coroner’s inquest report dated 22 January 1794, which includes the following statement: “Phebe was accidently drowned occasioned by the horse whereon she rode Rearing and plunging and throwing her into the water.”

Phebe Simms
Inquisition Taken
the 22nd of January
1794 Before John
Dean Gent. Coroner
Bath County to wit
                                                   Inquisition indented taken ?
in the County aforesaid on the twenty second day of January in the
year One thousand seven hundred and ninety four before me John Dean a
Gentleman and of the Coroners of the Commonwealth for the County aforesaid
upon view of the body of Phebe Sims late of said County then and there lying
dead; and upon the Oathes of Robert Armstrong Jr., William Morris, John Scott,
John Bird, Andrew Baurland, Thomas Barber, James Armstrong, Robert
McClintic, William McClintic, John Somwalt, Paul Harpole and
Adam Kimberlan, good and lawful men of the County aforesaid, who being
Jurors and charged to inquire on the part of the Commonwealth, when where how
and after what manner the said Phebe Sims came to her death, do say upon their
Oathes, that the said Phebe was accidently drowned occasioned by the horse
whereon she rode Rearing and plunging and throwing her into the water.
The witness whereof as well the aforesaid Coroner as the Jurors aforesaid
have in this Inquisition put their Seals on the day and year aforesaid
and at the place aforesaid.
John Dean               Robt. Armstrong
                                   William Morris
                                   John Scott
                                   John Bird
                                   Andr. Baurland
                                   Thomas Barber
                                   Jas. Armstrong
                                   Robert McClintic
                                   William McClintic
                                   Johannes Zumqualt
                                   Paul Harpole
                                   Adam Kimberlan

In February 1995 Connie Metheny of Millboro, Virginia, became involved in a very interesting project of sorting through old original papers that had been stored in bundles and filed at the court house in Bath County. The Virginia State Library funded the work done to their specifications. The old records dated back to 1790 and the condition was good considering the age. There were cases that involved the Sims family, mostly over debts owed them or that they owed others. These papers will have to be found and perused. Mrs. Metheny did send to Rose Mary Sims Rudy a copy of a case in Judgment – Simms vs. Scott which was located in a file of old law cases for 1795. This verifies that the wife of James Sims had drowned and in this case it seems that John Scott accused the son, Jeremiah Sims, then nearly 17 years old, of causing the accident. James Sims defended his son and brought suit against Scott for one hundred pounds damage.

Sir Please to Issue a Writ vs John Scott for saying my son (Jeremiah)
was the Damn son of a bitch that Drowned his Mother
Col C. Cameron
                                                                  Jas. Sims
Issued for Saying that Jeremiah Simms was the
Damned Son of a Bitch that Drowned his Mother

The Commonwealth of Virginia, to the Sheriff of Bath County, ?
You are hereby commanded to take John Scott
if he be found within your bailiwick , and him safely keep so that you have his
body before the justices of our court, of our said county, at the court-house on the Second
Tuesday in May next to answer Jeremiah Simms by James
Simms his father and ?? of
a plea of Trespass on the case damage one
hundred pounds
and have then there this writ, witness Charles Cameron, clerk of our said court,
at the court-house, the 16th day of April 1794
in the 18th year of the Commonwealth.
                   Chas. Cameron[21]

The story of Phebe Sims’ death has been repeated so many times that some very erroneous information can now be found in genealogy publications. One of these incorrect stories:

“The Settle-Suttle Family” by William Emmett Reese pg 456.
“While living near Clifton Forge, Virginia, Elizabeth (Sims) Johnson was drowned when her horse stumbled and fell while fording the Jackson River. She was returning home after an all night vigil with a sick neighbor. At date of her death, there were nine children in the family, Jeremiah, Jr., Anthony, Martin, William, Mary, Elizabeth, Virginia, Nancy and Dryden. After the sudden death of his wife, the Rev. John Johnson was restless and upon hearing of the illness of his cousin Frances–who had married Joshua Morris and in 1770 established a home in the wilderness of Peter’s Creek in the Kanawha Valley–he decided to visit them, when upon arrival, to his great sorrow, he found that their daughters, Peggy and Betsey had been killed and scalped by Indians.” (This entry is sourced as History of Kanawha County, George W. Atkinson, Charleston, 1876, p.21.)

Unfortunately the above quotation is full of errors and cannot be considered a reliable source. The names in bold italics are incorrect. They should read Phebe Sims and James Sims. Rev. John Johnson and Elizabeth Sims, daughter of James Sims,  were married 2 June 1802 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia after James Sims settled in the area. Elizabeth Sims Johnson died in Fayette County 1 June 1845, the year of the terrible typhoid epidemic.[22]. Elizabeth Sims and Rev. John Johnson’s children are listed as James, Amy, John Brown Jr., Phebe, William B., Rachel, Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth, Susannah, Harrison, and Barbara. The children listed on page 456 of The Settle-Suttle Family seem to be a mixture of James’ children with his first and second wife as well as some children that have been attributed to him but not proved. We see here that Phebe Sims, the mother, and Elizabeth (Sims) Johnson, the daughter have been confused. “Elizabeth, wife of Rev. John, was noted for her kindness and skill in caring for the sick and needy; a characteristic for which her mother was well known.”[23] From the above we cannot tell when Frances Simms Morris fell sick. She was born in 1755 and died in 1848 as per tombstone and estate settlement. The story related about the daughters being killed and scalped by Indians is also only partly true. According to Mildred Chapman Gibbs in her excellent book, “From Culpepper County to the Teays Valley,” this happened to Henry Morris, brother of Joshua. Same victim daughters – Margaret and Betsey – Peter’s Creek. Henry was born 1747, married to Mary Byrd.  He was a reckless, macho man and settled, against advice, in remote Peter’s Creek, Gauley River, 1791. The 2 girls were sent down a trail to drive the cows home for evening milking, and they were killed and scalped (1792). “The tragedy grieved and embittered him, and vowing no Indian would ever cross his path and live, he avenged the deaths of his daughters many times.” We see from the above that the information that Mr. Reese gives is incorrect. It is not known if Mr. Reese misinterpreted the 1876 source for the Settle history or if it is also incorrect.

According to Maginnis “Joshua and Frances Simms Morris, who were among the first settlers in the Kanawha Valley in 1774, were back in Culpeper County, Virginia, in 1794, when their youngest son John was born. Frances died in the following year, but Joshua and his family continued to reside in Teas Valley, in what was then Kanawha County.”[24] Frances Simms Morris did not die in 1795 as seen in this statement as well as in The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993, pg. 449.

Another family tradition is that James Sims, learning that his dear cousin Frances Simms Morris, wife of Joshua Morris, was sick, went to Kanawha Valley:

“Following her death (refers to his first wife), James Simms married Nancy Cotton (this should be Elizabeth Cotton). Soon after this marriage, he went to Kanawha Valley to visit a cousin and also visited the Henry Morris home on Peter’s Creek. Henry tried to persuade him to buy near him, but James being a great hunter, said, “No, this section is too thickly settled.” So Henry took him on a hunting expedition down Peter’s Creek, out across the Little Elk Mountain and started down Little Elk Creek where they found signs of bear, deer and wild turkey. James Sims then said, “Henry, if I can buy land on this creek, I’ll be your neighbor soon.” The land belonged to John Jones who lived at what is now Pratt. He had married a Morris and had purchased thousands of acres of land. He at once went to see Mr. Jones and they soon agreed on a price for 500 acres on Little Elk Creek: a plug horse and a flint lock rifle. As soon as he could make arrangements, he moved his family there.”[25]

William H. Maginnis relates the following story:

“In 1795, the year of General Anthony Wayne’s treaty with the Indians at Greenville, Ohio, a James Sims of Culpeper County, Virginia, settled on Gauley River, a few miles from Kanawha Falls. In 1800, a deed recorded in Kanawha County transferred to him from John Jones of Culpeper County 123 acres above a ferry on that stream in what is now Nicholas County.”[26]

The order of events in these stories does not seem to fit. We know that Frances Simms Morris did not die in 1795. If James had visited her then and decided to move to Kanawha at that time why did he buy 240 acres on Bollors Ridge on the waters of Jacksons River on 19 August 1796[27]?

Jas. Simms
240 acres
& defd to
Wm Deane the
28 June 1798
(the above written in left margin)

Robert Brooke Esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia
to all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Know ye that by
Virtue of an Exchanged Treasury Warrant Number three
hundred and sixty one, issued the twenty second day of April one thousand
seven hundred and eighty eight. There is granted by the said Common=
=wealth unto James Simms, a certain tract or parcel of Land contain=
=ing two hundred and forty Acres by survey bearing date the twenty ninth
day of June one thousand seven hundred eighty nine, Lying and
being in the County of Botetourt on Bollors Ridge on the Waters of
Jacksons River, and is bounded as followeth to Wit Beginning at two
chestnuts on a hill, North twenty four degrees East three hundred and
twenty poles to two Maples on a hill North sixty six degrees West
one hundred and twenty poles to three Locust Bushes, thence South thirty
four degrees West one hundred and twenty four poles to a large black
Oak, thence South twenty degrees West two hundred poles to a Chestnut
thence south sixty six degrees East one hundred and twenty poles
to the beginning, with its appurtenances to have and to hold the said
tract or parcel of Land with its appurtenances to the said James
Simms and his Heirs forever. In Witness whereof the said Robert
Brooke Esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia
hath hereunto set his hand and caused the lesser seal of the
said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond on the
Nineteenth day of August In the year of our Lord one
thousand seven hundred and Ninety six, and of the Common=
=wealth the twenty first.
                                                   Robert Brooke[28]

Two months later James remarried. The marriage bond for James Sims and Elizabeth Cotton was signed 25 October 1796, surety Enock Cotton, and with Benjamin Cotton consenting for his daughter Elizabeth. The witnesses were Enock Cotton and Shadrick Cotton. No minister return was filed. From this I have estimated that she was less than 18 years of age placing her birth abt. 1779. Elizabeth is believed to have been the daughter of Benjamin Cotton and Francis Knox. Two years later, in October 1798, James and Elizabeth sold the land on Bollors Ridge to Alice McClintic.

“James Simms & Elizabeth his wife to Alice McClintic
Bath County, Virginia
Land Deed
October 27, 1798

This Indenture made the 27th day of October one
Thousand seven hundred Ninety eight Between James Simms &
Elizabeth his wife of the County of Bath of the one part & Alice Mc
Clintic of the same County of the other part witnesseth that the said
James Simms & Elizabeth his wife for and in Consideration of
five shillings Current Money to them in Hand paid doth bar=
gain & sell unto the said Alice McClintic & her Heirs one Certain
tract or parcel of Land in the said County of Bath containing
two hundred & forty acres on Ballars Ridge on the Waters of
Jacksons River & bounded as follows to Wit Beginning
at two Chestnuts on a hill N 24° E 320 poles to two Maples on a
hill 66° W(?) 120 poles to three Locust Bushes thence S 34° W 124
poles to a large Black Oak thence S 20° W 200 poles to a Ches=
nut Thence S 66° E 120 poles to the Beginning Together with
all its appurtenances To have & to hold the said two hundred
& forty acres of Land with all its appurtenances to to the said
Alice McClintic & her Heirs to the sole use & …….. of her heirs
& assigns forever And the said James Simms & Elizabeth his wife
for Themselves & their heirs doth Covenant with the Alice McClin=
Tic & her Heirs that they the said James Simms & Elizabeth his wife
& their heirs the said Land with the appurtenances unto the said Alice
McClintic & her heirs against all persons whatsoever will for Warrant
& Defend In Witness whereof the said James Simms has hereunto
subscribed his Name & affixed his seal the Day & Year above Written
signed sealed & delivered in
the presence of                                          James Sims
Samuel Vance                                       Elizabeth X Sims
Thos. Milhollin                                                    mark
Wm. ?? Dean

Bath County  ??? Court 1798
This Indenture of Bargain and Sale Between James Simms

and Elizabeth his wife of the one part and Alice McClintic of the o=
ther part proved in Court by the Witnesses thereto and
ordered to be Recorded with the commission & ? exami=
nation of the said Elizabeth ?
                                  Teste   Chas. Cameron CBC

The Commonwealth of Virginia to Samuel Vance & Thomas Milhollin
Gentlemen Greeling(?) whereas James Sims and Elizabeth his wife by
their Certain indenture of Bargain and Sale Bearing date the 27
day of October 1798 have sold and Conveyed unto Alice McClin=
tic two hundred & forty Acres of Land with the appurtenances lying and
being in the said County of Bath and Whereas the said Elizabeth
Sims Cannot Conveniently travel to our County Court of Bath
to make Acknowledgement of the said Conveyance therefore we
do Give unto you or any two or more of you power to receive acknow=
ledgement Which the said Elizabeth Sims shall Make before you
of the said Conveyance aforesaid Contained in the said indenture
which is hereunto annexed and we therefore Command you that
you do personally go to the said Elizabeth Sims and Receive her
Acknowledgement of the same and Examine her privately and apart
from the said James Sims her husband Whether She doth the same
freely and vaulentarily without his persuation or threats and Whether
She be Willing that the same should be Recorded in Our said County
Court of Bath and when you have Received her Acknowledgement
and Examination as aforesaid that you have distinctly and openly Cer=
tify us therefore in our Said County Court under you hand and Seals Sending
their the said indenture & this writ witness Charles Cameron Clerk of our
said Court at the Courthouse of the said County the 13th day of September 1798
and 23rd year of the Commonwealth.
                                                                    ? White  DC

Bath County
By Virtue of this Commission hereunto annexed we the Subscribers

did on the 27th day of Oct. in the year of the Commonwealth and in the year of
our Lord Christ 1798 personally go to the Within Named Elizabeth
Sims and having examined her privately and apart from the Within
named James Sims her husband do certify that she declared that she
freely and vaulenterely acknowledged the Conveyance Contained
in the Indenture hereunto annexed Without his persuation or threats
of her said husband and that she was willing the same should be recor=
ded in the county court of Bath Witness our hands and seals the day
above Mentioned.
                                                                  Samuel Vance
                                                                  Thos. Milhollen”

The location of this land may be near the town of Bolar on the boundary between Bath and Highland County, Virginia. Bolar Gap, Bolar Run, Bolar Spring, and the Jackson River are all in the vicinity of Bolar. Another location could be in the area of Bolar Mountain north of Lake Moomaw and north-northwest of Lowmoor and Clifton Forge.

The relationship between the Sims and the McClintic must be noted here. James’ eldest son Jeremiah married Sarah Milhollen daughter of Thomas Milhollen and Jane McClintic in 1800. Jane was the sister of Alice McClintic’s deceased husband William.

William Griffee Brown wrote in his History of Nicholas County, West Virginia, copyright 1954:

“James Simms, the first of the name to come to Nicholas County, came from Bath County in 1787 and located at the mouth of Little Elk Creek on Gauley River. He was a gunsmith and the Simms rifle was praised for its accuracy.”

From the previously mentioned documents and sources it is more likely that James Sims came to Little Elk Creek, then in Kanawha County, after his marriage to Elizabeth Cotton in 1796 or even after they sold their land in Bath County in 1798 but before 1800 when he bought the tract from John Jones. Another source dates his move to about 1798:

“Then he (William Johnson Sr.) and his sons, William, John, Nelson and James, moved to Gauley River in what is now Nicholas County, W. Va. near and below the mouth of Little Elk about 1798. There William, Jr., married Nancy Sims, a daughter of James Sims, who had also moved on Gauley from Virginia with the Johnsons.”[29]

The first documented proof of James’ residence in Kanawha County is found in the 1800 Jones to Sims land deed:

This Indenture made this Eighth Day of April in the year of
our Lord one Thousand Eight hundred, Between John Jones, of & Frances his
wife of the County Kanawha and State of Virginia of the one part and
James Sims of County & State aforesaid of the other part Witnesseth. The John
Jones & Frances his wife for and in Consideration of the sum of five shilling
to them in hand by the said James Sims the __ whereof they do hereby
acknowledge hath Given Granted Bargained & Sold & by these presents do
give grant bargain & sell unto the said James Sims, his heirs or Assigns
forever a Certain Tract or parcel of land lying & being in the County of
Kanawha Containing one hundred & seventy three acres on Gauley River
above the Ferry and bounded as follows to wit: Beginning at a Lynn &
bank of the South Side of Gauley River at Deer Lick. East of two Lynns to
a Corner in the Pattent?, Running East thirty five poles to a Buckeye ___ South
Sixty Degrees East 198 poles to three bushes on bank of the River north
two hundred poles crossing the river to two White Oaks on a Hill, South seventy
five degrees North one hundred & fifty four poles to a Stake in the ___
___ thence South seventy six poles crossing the river to the Beginning
to have and to hold the said tract of land with Its appurtenances
To the said James Sims, his Heirs or Assigns forever, and the said John Jones &
Frances his wife, for themselves heirs Executors Administrators Doth Covenant &
agree to and with the said the said James Sims, that they will relinquish there
Claim, or Claims to the said James Sims, his heirs forever. In Witness
Whereto the said John Jones & Frances his wife hath hereunto set their
hand & seal this Day and year above written.
                                             John Jones (his mark)
Kanawha County April Court 1800
This Deed from John Jones, & Frances his wife to James Sims was
presented in Court and duly Acknowledged by the said John Jones
and the same is ordered to Record, and that a Commission Issue to
take the private Examination of Frances the said wife To ___ her
right of dower in the Premises.
                                     Teste     John Reynolds Clk[30]

“James Simms” is seen along with his sons “William Simms” and “Martin Simms” on the tax lists of Kanawha County, (West) Virginia in 1809. “Edward Simms”, believed by some researchers to be a son of James Sims, is also found on this tax list.

In 1810 we find “James Simms” in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia, with 1 male 0-10 yo (James Jr.), 1 male over 45 yo (James), 3 females under 10 yo (Margaret, Sarah, Mildred), 1 female 26 and under 45 yo (Elizabeth), and 5 slaves. By 1810 all of James’ children by his first marriage had left home as we see that the children listed with him were all born between 1800 and 1809.[31][32]

In 1820 Hedgman Triplett enumerated the Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Census where we find James Sims with 2 males under 10 yo (Dryden, Charles), 1 male over 45 yo (James), 2 females under 10 yo (Jane & Sarah), 2 females 10 & under 16 yo (Margaret, Mildred), 1 female 26 and under 45 yo (Elizabeth).[33]

In 1830 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, we find James Sims with 1 male 5 and under 10 yo (George W.), 2 males 15 and under 20 yo (Dryden & Charles), 1 male 70 and under 80 yo (James), 1 female 15 and under 20 yo (Jane, only unmarried daughter still at home), 1 female 40 under under 50 yo (Elizabeth), and 5 slaves: 1 male 10 and under 20, 1 male 20 and under 30, 2 female 10 and under 24, 1 female  24 & under 36.[34]

Then in 1832 we find James acquiring further land in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

“Sims Deed Nicholas County November 1, 1832

John Floyd Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia:
TO ALL TO WHOM these Presents shall come, GREETING: KNOW YE, That in conformity with a Survey, made on the eighth day of May 1831, by Virtue of a Land Office Treasury Warrant N° 7425 issued December 14th 1823

there is granted by the said Commonwealth, unto James Sims,

A certain Tract or Parcel of Land, containing Seventy-five acres situated in
Nicholas County, on the South Sides of Gauley River and
bounded as followeth to Wit: Beginning at a lynn and
berch at a dear Lick Corner to his Old Survey East 35
poles to a buckeye Corner to Same S. 60 E. 36 poles to two
berches on the bank of the River Corner Same and James
G. Neil, thence leaving Same and with Neil S. 85 W.
14 poles to an Ash and Sugar tree on the Side of the Moun
=tain Corner Same and with S. 50 W. 108 poles to two
Chestnuts near the top and leaving S. 78 W. 35 poles along
the side of the Mountain to a Stake on the Side of
the Same N. 8 ½ W. 148 poles to the beginning —

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said Tract or Parcel of Land, with its appurtenances to the said
James Sims and his
heirs forever.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the said John Floyd Esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, hath hereunto set his Hand, and caused the Lesser Seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed, at Richmond, on the first day of November is the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two and of the Commonwealth the 57th
John Floyd”

In 1834 James appeared before his son William Sims, a Justice of the Peace in the county of Nicholas, and made a declaration that he had served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

“A Copy of the
Declaration of
James Sims
State of Virginia
Nicholas County
On this eighteenth day of Febru
=ary 1834 personally appeared before me William Sims
a Justice of the Peace in and for the county of Nicho
=las in the State of Virginia, and as Such a member
of the County Court of Nicholas, which is a Court
of Record, James Sims aged seventy nine years on the
8th day of October next, who being first dully Sworn accor
=ding to law doth on his oath make the following decla
=ration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Con
=gress passed June the 7th 1832. That he entered the Ser
=vice of the United States under the following named
officers and Served as herein Stated. In the month of
June 1777 according to his recollection he was called into
the service as a drafted militia man under Captain
John Tutt for a tour of three months. He served as Orderly
Sergeant in said Company. He resided then in Culpepper
County Virginia, and said Company was collected in
said County. The company was marched towards Fred
=ericksburg, and kept moving about through the country
around thereabout guarding it from the depredations of
the British, Tories, and Negroes, and after Serving out
his time he was discharged, but whether it was in
writing or verbally he does not recollect.
On or about the 1st of October 1780 he was again

called into the service as a drafted militia man, under
according to best of his recollection Captain James Tutt, but
whether that was really his name or not, he recollects him
to have been a slim spare man. This was for another tour of
three months. They were marched in the direction of York
Town to aid in the Seige of that place, but before they
reached that place Lord Cornwallis had surrendered.
They assembled in the County of Culpepper Va and
were placed under the Superior Command of Col
Slaughter, after serving out his time he was discharged
but whether in writing or not he does not recollect.
He served in the company as Orderly Sergeant. He was
born in Culpepper County Va on the 8th day of October
1754. He has a record of his age at home. He was
living in Culpepper County Va when called into the
Service where he continued to live until the year 1800.
when he moved to the place of his present residence
in Nicholas County, but which was then Kenhawa County
Va. He was called into the service as a drafted Mili
=tia man. He has stated the names of the officers under

whom he served, and the general circumstances of his
Service according to his recollection in the foregoing
detail. He was discharged from the Service at the
end of both tours, but he does not know whether it
was in writing or not, but if in writing he does
not known what has became of it. He is known to
Jonathan Windsor and Henry Tritt of his neighbourhood
(there being no clergyman who can be procured) who can
certify to his character for veracity and their general
belief of his Services as a Soldier of the Revolution.
He knows of no documentary evidence whereby to prove his
services, and he knows of no person whose testimony he
can procure who can testify to his services. He hereby
relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity
except the present, and declares that his name is not
on the pension roll of the Agency of any State. Sworn
to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.
James Sims
We Jonathan Windsor and Isaac Collins residing in the

County of Nicholas in the neighbourhood of the aforesaid
James Sims hereby certify that we are well acquainted
with the said James Sims who has subscribed and
Sworn to the above declaration, that we believe
him to be about seventy nine years of age, that he
is reputed and believed in the neighbourhood where
he resides to have been a Soldier of the Revolution and that
we concur in that opinion. Sworn to and Subscribed the
day and year aforesaid.                     Isaac Collins
                                                               Jonathan Windsor
                                                              Henry Tritt

And the said Justice of the Peace do hereby declare my opinion
after the investigation of the matter, and after putting the
interrogatories prescribed by the War Department that the
above named applicant was a revolutionary Soldier and
served as he states, and I do further certify that it appears
to me that Jonathan Windsor and Henry Tritt, who have
signed the preceeding certificate are residents in the neighbour
=hood of the said James Sims and credible persons and that
their statement is entitled to Credit. I further certify that
there is no clergyman residing in the neighbourhood of
the said applicant, and that the said James Sims from
age and bodily infirmity, in my opinion, is unable safely
to attend any Court of Record in his said County. He
resides about 20 miles from the Court House. I further cer
=tify that from a long and intimate acquaintance with the
said applicant, I have generally heard it said that he
was a Revolutionary Soldier and I have no doubt myself.
I further certify that the foregoing are the original
proceedings of myself in the matter of the application of
the said James Sims for a pension. Witness my hand and
seal at the County of Nicholas aforesaid the day and
year aforesaid.
William Sims

I Samuel Price Clerk of the County Court of Nicholas County do
hereby certify that William Sims Esq. Was on the eighteenth
day of this month and yet is a Magistrate in the
said County of Nicholas duly commissioned, qualified
and acting as such that full faith and credit
are due to all his acting and doings as such
and the within signature purporting to his is genuine.

In testimony whereof I have here unto set
my hand and affixed the seal of my said
Office this 20th day of February AD. 1834.
and the 58th year of our Independence
Saml Price”[35]

He was allowed pension for service of six months as sergeant in the Virginia troops, War of the Revolution, on his application. James Sims of Nicholas in the State of Virginia who was a Sergeant in the regiment commanded by Col. Slaughter in the Virginia line was inscribed on the Roll of Virginia at the rate of 30 Dollars per annum to commence 4 March 1831. Arrears in the amount of $90 for the period from 4 March 1831 to the 4 March 1834 and a semi-annual allowance of $15 for the period ending the 4 September 1834 were paid to James Sims for a total of $105.

Penick found further documentation concerning this pension. One document appears to be a statement or letter of reply to the Pension Bureau in 1835 by James Sims after someone (possibly the U.S. Attorney at Winchester) questioned the authenticity of his claim to be a veteran of the Revolution. Penick believed James’ pension was revoked and that he never drew any money.

James Sims Pensioner Serv 9 mo. Receives $30 pension. I the undersigned James Sims in pursuance of the requisites of the Secretary of the War gives the following narrative ________ services as a Soldier in the War of the Revolution & statement of my age to-wit. I am in my 79th year of age. I am a native of Culpepper County & lived in that county during the War of the Revolution. In my nieneteenth or twentieth year of age (I cant tell in what year) I was drafted for 3 mo. & marched from Cupepper Country under Capt. John Tults (?) (don’t recollect the names of his subaltern officers) Capt Tults company was attached to a Regt commanded by Col Jno Slaughter which went from Culpepper. The Regt. Marched to Norfolk. Can’t recollect the names of any towns through which we marched on going to Norfolk. We were discharged at Norfolk in time to get home before the three months expired. In less than one year after the preceding term, (I cant tell in what year) I was drafted again for 3 mo. And hired a substitute whose name was William Noll (?) gave him $500 in continental money and a new rifle gun. In the year in which Cornwallis was captured at Yorktown I was drafted again for 3 mo. Set out from Culpepper under a Capt. Whose name I have forgotten. We were preparing to set out on the march for nearly one week, when the news of Cornwallis’ defeat was received & we were ordered to return home & done so, having been in service this latter term about one week – I was a Sergeant & they ended my services — Saml Price wrote my Declaration to whom I gave this same narrative of my service. That I now give. I agreed to give him $20 if he brought me my money In ______________of all which I hereto subscribe my name. Jany 10, 1835
James      X      Sims

Another document found in the pension file of James Sims:

William Sims, son of James Sims, says that his father gave Price the same account of his service that he has given. (?)

Spencer Hill aged 73 says he has known Sims since he Hill was 10 years old. They were raised and lived in the same neighborhood during the War of the Rev° – never heard of his being in service as a soldier. nor does he believe he ever was. – that Sims has been all his life a boasting & loquacious man. and a great  egotist – & that he never pretended that he was in service until since the passage of the Pension Law. Hill has been a neighbour to him all their lives–

Jos. b. Nutt concurs in the statement given by Hill — they are both respectable men

H. Coby (?)

W. G. Singleton
Jany 15, 1835

James Sims
Nicholas County

Fraud – withdrawn
no money

The original application papers were sent to W. G. Singleton, U.S. District Attorney, at Winchester, Virginia, on 13 March 1835. Upon an examination of his claim by the U.S. District Attorney, his name was dropped from the pension rolls, 21 March 1835, as it was shown that he did not render the alleged service.

James Sims is listed on the Statement of Nicholas County, West Virginia, “a statement showing the names, rank, and other data relating to persons residing in West Virginia counties, who have been inscribed on the pension list under the Act of Congress passed on the 7th of June, 1832.”[36] Information listed as follows: Name: James Sims; Rank: Private; Annual Allowance: $30.00; Sums received: [blank]; Description of Service: Virginia militia; When placed on Pension Roll: 21 April 1833; Commencement of Pension: 4 March 1831; Age: 79.

James Sims was a blacksmith and gunsmith. According to James P. Whister, it was reported by Rev. Donnelley (Beckley newspaper, 24 September 1965) that he owned slaves and used them in his work. Donnelley also reported known guns by Sims, although Mr. Whister wrote that he had never seen any.[37]

Col. Edward Campbell, author of a series of articles which appeared in the Chronicle in 1883, wrote about James Sims:

Going up Gauley River to the mouth of Little Elk, which empties into the river two miles above the ford, we come to the settlement made by J. Windsor. James Sims also made a small improvement at this place. He came from Jackson’s River in Bath County, Virginia. He was a gunsmith and blacksmith, and did but little farming. He had a large family of children, both male and female. Mr. Sims also brought the first darkies that were ever seen in these parts. He had two sons that were also gunsmiths and made the best of rifle guns. As these guns were much in demand with the increasing settlers they did a lucrative business. They both married young, and settled near their father and did some farming in addition to their work on guns. James lived to see his family settled here and elsewhere. His sons, William and Martin, remained here until they were old men and died leaving large families. James Sims was said to be 90 years old when he died.[38]

Col. Edward Campbell, the son of John Campbell and Nancy Hughes, was born in 1800 and acquired the basics of an education from his parents. Shortly after the formation of Nicholas County in 1818, he was appointed a justice of the peace and travelled throughout the county performing legal services for many of the outlying settlers who found it inconvenient if not impossible to make the long trip into Summersville. Campbell possessed an extraordinary memory for names and facts about the earliest inhabitants of Nicholas County, and some sixty years following his days as a travelling justice, he wrote down his reminiscences of the early settlers and the way in which they lived. Campbell’s memoirs have always been held in high esteem by historians, and where validation is possible he has seldom been found in error in any of his remarks.[39]

James reportedly brought eighteen slaves with him to Nicholas County. We have found documentation for at least two of these slaves. Lawrence M. Huddleston, Belle, WV, author of The Huddlestons My Kin had in his possession the original bill of sale from James Sims to John Huddleston for the slave “July Hulen” when June Settle Ciocca visited him at home more than 12 years ago. At the time she did not realize her relationship to James Sims. On 9 February 2002 in an e-mail in which she shared the photo of this bill of sale, she wrote: “Larry told me that James Sims had previously sold July Helen’s mother to the Huddlestons and that both mother and daughter were so heart-broken, he agreed to sell them the child also. Larry had no children and my understanding is that his immense genealogical collection was donated to the archives in Charleston. I would assume that is where this document can now be found.”

“I James Sims of Nicholas County
and state of Virginia have bargain
=ed and sold one yallow girl named July
Hulen aged six years for the sum of
one hundred and eighty dollars to me
in hand paid to John Huddleston of
the county of Fayatt and state
afore sd (said) and will warrent and defend
the title of sd (said) slave to the sd (said) Huddleston
and his heirs forever in witness whereof
I have set my hand and seal this twenty
nineth day of November Eighteen hundred
and thirty three
                                       James Sims       Seal
witnesses present
Joseph McNutt
Elizabeth Tritt
third witness illegible”

Isaac Sims, a slave of James Sims, is documented in three different papers, first:

“1836 James Sims to Isaac Sims
(note in margin “Delivered to Isaac Sims Sept. 9th 1842”)

Know all men by these presents that I James Simms Sr. of the County
of Nicholas and State of Virginia having heretofore made my last
Will and Testament in which I have disposed of all my Estate real
and personal including my slave property except one slave ….
my Negro man Isaac which said Negro slave Isaac I heretofore
intended to emancipate and set free according to the laws of this
Commonwealth upon certain Conditions thereafter to be mentioned
and put to writing. Now this Instrument of writing Witnesseth
that in Consideration of the premises and for others ……
good causes moving me thereto. I do hereby and by virtue and force of these
presents emancipate and set free forever my aforesaid Negro slave Isaac upon
the following condition to wit that is to say that the said Isaac causes to be
paid to me one hundred and fifty dollars good and lawful money of Virginia
fifty dollars of which is to be paid in hand which said fifty dollars is this
day paid to me and the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged fifty dollars
of which the said Isaac shall cause to be paid on or before the 1st day of
April 1836 and fifty dollars the last payment thereof the said Isaac
shall cause to be paid to me on or before the first day of May 1836 and
it is furthermore agreed to on my part and which I hereby in addition
to the foregoing make known that in the event of my death before the
payment of the fifty dollars which is next due after the date of this writing
that then and in that case the said fifty dollars nor the aforesaid fifty
dollars the last instalment or payment above mentioned nor either of
said payments or instalments shall be required or exacted by my heirs,
Executors, administrators or assigns nor shall they or either of them
cause the said Isaac to pay either of said payments or instalments of fifty
dollars nor shall his failure to pay the same in any manner affect or
do away with the force of these presents in emancipating and setting free
the said Isaac after my death according to the laws of this Commonwealth
now in force. And it is furthermore agreed to on my part that in the
event of my death after the payment to me of the aforesaid fifty dollars
which next becomes due after the date of this writing as above mentioned
that then and in that case the last payment or instalment of fifty dollars
the said Isaac shall be exempt from the payment of in the same manner
and to the same effect as I have exempted him from the payment of the
fifty dollars which first becomes due as is mentioned and set forth in the
preceding paragraph. And it is furthermore agreed upon my part
that in the event of the death of the said Isaac before my death that then
and in that case I do hereby promise and agree that any money or monies
or payments which the said Isaac may cause to be made paid to me
or which may have been in any way paid to me on account of the promises
shall be appropriated by me or my heirs Executors ? in cause of my
death, in the following manner: That is to say that whereas the said Isaac
has two children named George Addison and Harriett Jane by his wife
Emily now dead and owned in her life time by Joseph McNutt
and feeling a natural love and affection for his aforesaid children and wishing
to provide for the comfort and happiness of the same I do hereby
promise and agree as before mentioned to appropriate the money
paid to me after his death that happening before mine as above
stated to such use or uses for the benefit of the above named children
of the said Isaac as will best promote their spiritual and temporal
welfare agreeable to their condition and character in this state and
according to the Laws and usages of this Commonwealth. To the
true performance of the above I do hereby bind myself my
heirs Executors Administrators
as witness my hand and seal this 19th day of March 1836
James Sims
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Bernard Hendrick

I have this day received this full consideration
in good and lawful money cald for in this foregoing Instrument of
writing as witness my hand & Seal
James Sims
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Bernard Hendrick”

The second is a letter of manumission for the slave Isaac which is framed and hanging in the Nicholas County Courthouse in Summersville right below the sign that says “Information”. A Morris researcher Sherry Levoy and his husband Robert visited the courthouse and photographed the letter which is transcribed below:

“Know all men by these presents that I James Sims
of the County of Nicholas in consideration of a large
sum of money paid to me by my slave Isaac
as for the additional considerations of his fidelity
to me I have on this day manumitted and let
him the said Isaac free. To remain and continue
from hence forward to all intents and purposes
entirely free and discharged from servitude to
me my heirs and assigns forever. And for the purpose
of removing any difficulty as to the identity of the said
Isaac and to enable him to enjoy his Freedom in
the most absolute and perfect manner. I also hereby
certify and state that the said Isaac was born my
slave, that he has resided with me up to this date
that he is very black, his stature about five feet
five inches, of slender make and about forty three
years old, that he has had his right leg broken
just above his ankle. In testimony whereof I
have hereto set my hand and seal this 26th day of
September 1836.
James Sims
in the presence of
Andrew M. Dickinson
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Edward Rion
Bernerd Hendrick
John Hill”

The original of the third document can be found at the Virginia State Library in the archives division. It reads as follows:


To the Legislature of Virginia

Your Petitioners humbly represent that JAMES SIMS
of the County of Nicholas has recently emancipated ISAAC
a blackman who is desirous of remaining in the Commonwealth,
your Petitioners represent that there are but very few
slaves in the County of Nicholas not exceeding sixty —
nor is there more than one other coloured person in the
County who is free — your Petitioners further state the
said black man ISAAC is an exceedingly honest industrious
and useful man addicted to no vicious habits whatsoever,
but peaceful & inoffensive & meek in all his intercourse
& business with the country — your Petitioners would be
truly gratified should this Legislature in its wisdom think
proper to grant his application — your Petitioners are
well convinced that no mischief can result to the country
by doing so and as a precedent in this part of the state
nothing of evil is to be apprehended.

Saml Price                              David Mays
John H. Robinson                 William Sims
E. S. Duncan                          Robert Hughes Jr
Johnson Reynolds               Edward Sims Jr
Benj. H. Smith                       Jeremiah Sims
P. B. Wethered                       Martin Sims
John McWhorter                   Co. John Sims
Ro Hamilton                          Anderson Sims
L. D. Wilson                           Charles Sims
Addison McLaughlin         William Morris
John McDermott                   Joshua Morris
Thomas Miller                      John H. Morris
Jacob D. McClain                  Thomas Elliott
Thm. Hill                                Aron Loyd
Mathew Hughes                   G. C. Landcraft
Charley Reynolds                William Sims
Robert Hill                              Edward Rion
Harrison A. Low                  William R. Summers
George Reynolds                  Edward Campbell
Andrew Odle                         George Rader Sr
John Kincaid                          John Foster
James Nichols                       Jas. G. Murray
James Walkub                       James Bryant
William Hamrick                 G. W. Grose
John Dunbar                          David Bare
Robert McCutchen               Lemasters Stephenson
William Miller                      Jacob C. Chapman
Allen Ewing                           John Groves
Jacob Drennen                       John G. Stephenson
Joseph Darlington               Jacob Chapman
J. D. Sutton                              Michael Rader
J. M. Alderson                        John Linch
J. McClung                              Andre Skidmore
James R. Henderson           Isaac Gregory
James a. Walker                    Fielding McClung
R. Duffield                              Abner Stephenson
Seth Thayer                            Wm. Bell
Thomas Legg                         Cortes Stephenson
Joshua Stephenson              John Rader
Wm. D. Cottle                        J. G. Neel
Samuel Nichols                    T. B. Thomas
Joel Hamrick                          Alexander Grove
David Stuart                          James Simany
Jefferson Grose                      Joseph McClung
(?) Dorsey                                Daniel Falkler
J. Warren                                Henry (?)
Richard A. Arters                 William Chapman
William Taylor                     David Moore
Wilson Arters                        David R. Hamilton
Philip Duffy                           Moses Hill
R. Kelly                                   Ira Davis
Elij. Lightner                          Jacob Odell
James Lightner                      Wm. Hughs
James Kelly                            Wm. Bryant
J. M. Hamilton                       George Fitzwatters
John McCue                           Andrew Neil
John McClung                       Robert Neil
S. A. Hamilton                      Samuel Hutchison
Edward McClung                George Hardweg
Nathan Groves                     John Morris
Peter Duffy                             John Duffy
J. McMillian                           B. L. Boggs
Wm. Livesay                          M. A. Triplett
Jacob Hutchison                   William M. Boggs
David Hanna                        John Trout
David Peebles                        James Grose
Adam Given                          Robert Keenan
Elverton T. Walker               Isaac Fitzwater
Thomas M. Fitzwater         Nathaniel Hughes
Thomas B. Morris                Hiram S. Marsh
W. Summers Sr.                    S. Backhouse
Henry Morris                         Jos. Montgomry
John Smith                             L. C. Buster
Thomas T. Marton               Thos. Hawkins
Peter Coleman                       Thos. Hines
John Backhouse                    Cyrus Hedge
William Bird                          John Slack
Cornelius Dorsey                 James B. Cole
Pascal Backhouse               Austin McCorgil
Joseph Backhouse                Nathan Huddleston
Jeremy G. Odel                      William Kincaid
Joseph Backhouse                James Settle
William Hillard                    Bolen Ballenger
William Smith                      John Johnson Jr.
Bernard Hendrick                James Likens
Mathew Kaincaid              John P. Huddleston
John Dorsey                           W. Tyree
John Fitzwater                       Hiram Curry
John Dorsey Sr                      P. Keenan
Dryden Sims                          E. Hutson
Hudson N. Dickenson       Henry Montgomery
Miles Hansen                        John Huddleston
Jas. H. Miller                          John Hill
P. W. Buster                            Joseph Huddleston
Pleasant Hawkins               Henry Tritt
Seaton B. Prowsy                  William Huggins
James B. Murray                   Robert Huggins
James J. Sims                         Robert Heuse
(Name Illegible)                    John Heuse
Leonard Cury                        S. A. Masterson
William Johnson                  Joseph W. Nutt
Jno. McNutt                            Jno. Carton
F. T. Hughes                           Adam Johnson
Fenton McMorrow               Wm. Kelly
Job Huddleston                     Taswell W. Hues
Nelson Sims                          Andrew Kenan
Joseph Reams                        (?) Price
Francis Cincaid                    E. R. Hutchison
William Loyd                        Joseph Young
Thos. S. Buster                       Edda Young
Moses Coleman                    William Martin
T. B. Hamilton                       Thos. L. Lewis
John Kincaid                          Wm. Myles
Thos. J. Huddleston            William Kincaid Jr.
John Johnson                         Gataspher Kincaid
Me_?_ J. Conly                      Benjamin Darlington
Levi B. Murrey                       H_?_ Long
Edward Hughs                     Joel Alexander
Joshua Foster

James Sims is last seen on a census in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia in 1840. He is listed as James Sims Sr. with the following persons in his household: 1 male under 5, 1 male 10 and under 15, 1 male 15 and under 20 (George W.), 1 male 80 and under 90 (James), 1 female 50 and under 60 (Elizabeth), 1 male slave 10 and under 24 making a total of 6 members in the household. Four of these persons were employed in agriculture.[41] The two youngest males in the household were likely grandsons of James and Elizabeth.

James Sims’ homestead was located at the mouth of Little Elk Creek on Gauley River at what is now called Swiss, West Virginia. He is buried in the churchyard cemetery of the Sims Memorial M.(Methodist) E.(Episcopalian) Church. The church was built in 1922 on land donated by the Sims family and stands on the spot of his original 2-story log house. [42] The exact site of his grave is now in doubt as the original stone marker was displaced and lost many years ago but it has been said that he is buried near a large cedar tree. It is reasonable to assume that Elizabeth, his second wife, is buried beside him. Richard Morrison, a descendant of James’ youngest son George Washington Sims, visited the cemetery located behind the church. A caretaker told Richard and his wife Nancy that the bodies of many slaves were buried among and along beside the Sims. Their graves are only marked with large creek stones, some lying at the foot of a Sims burial plot. There are two markers in the graveyard for James Sims:

MRIN02312 1754-1838 James Sims
Grave Marker #1
MRIN02312 1754-1845 James Sims
Grave Marker #2

Grave marker #1 was secured from the Veterans Administration in 1979 by George R. Penick, Jr. It shows his date of death as 1838 as that was assumed to have been the year he died by some older family members that Penick spoke with. It would be interesting to learn who placed marker #2 as we now know that James was still living in 1840 at the time of the census.

Documents verifying the dates of death of James Sims and his wife Elizabeth, who died first, have not been found. In 1848 a partition suit was filed in the Circuit Supreme Court of Law and Chancery for Nicholas County, George H. Lee, Judge, seeking to have the court provide for the sale of the 125 acre farm near Beech Glen which was left by James Sims when he died. The problem with this document is 1. we do not know if it is a true transcript of the original or a summary 2. James is listed as having died in 1836 when we know that he was still living in 1840 and 3. there are names listed that may be transcribed incorrectly, for example Sarah Hyphy which may be Sarah Hughes. The year of death may be a typing error as it is 12 years prior to the time that the suit was filed. It is very likely that this should read 1846. Penick’s compilation also discusses this suit and no variations were found in the information he listed and the information found in a typewritten letter dated 8 June 1947 from Willard E. Simms of Cozaddale, Ohio, to John T. Simms, of Charleston, West Virginia found in the DAR file of Virginia Bondurant Johnson.

“Atty John Reynolds filed suit in 1848 in the circuit supreme court of law and chancery for Nicholas County, Geo. H. Lee being judge; seeking to have the court provide for the sale of the 125 acre farm near Beech Glen, I believe, which was left by James Sims when he died in 1836.  The bill of complaint represented that William, Martin, John, James, Dryden, Charles, Washington Sims; Joseph Darlington and Jane (Sims) Darlington, his wife; Joel Settle and Mildred (Sims) Settle, his wife; and Nancy (Sims) Johnson respectfully represent that James Sims, the father of your orators and oratresses departed this life on the ___day of ___1836 intestate and leaving no widow and leaving besides your orators and oratresses to survive him the following heirs at law to-wit: the children of Jeremiah Sims, dec’d (he having died 1824 near Springfield O.) who live in the western country, the names of whom are unknown; also the children of Elizabeth Johnson, dec’d, formerly Elizabeth Sims: to-wit, John Johnson, Wm. Johnson, Harrison Johnson, James Johnson, James Settle and Rachel his wife; William H(?)ale and Amy his wife, John Backhouse and Phoebe his wife; ______Montgomery and Elizabeth his wife; Sarah Hyphy, John Kincaid and Mary his wife; also the children of Mary Hughes, formerly Mary Sims, to-wit, Tazewell Hughes, Andrew Hughes, Nelson Johnson and Elizabeth his wife; Johnson Foster and Mary his wife; also the children of Margaret Hughes, formerly Margaret Sims, to-wit, Matthew Kincaid and Susan his wife; Ann Hughes, Robert Hughes, John Hughes, the last three are infants; also the children of Sarah Foster, formerly Sarah Sims, to-wit, Jordan Hickson and Mariah his wife; James Foster, Peyton Foster, Charles Foster, and Milton Sims, the last three but one are infants, and the same James Sims, the father of your orators and oratresses died seized of a tract of land containing 125 acres in Nicholas county, on the Gauley river, etc., etc.

“The matter was finally settled in the spring term of court 1853. It sold for $183 and the costs approximated $160, thus leaving about $22.50 to be distributed.”[43]

The above clearly lists the following children for James Sims: William, Martin, John, James, Dryden, Charles, Washington, Jane, Mildred, Nancy, Jeremiah (dec’d), Elizabeth (dec’d), Mary (dec’d), Margaret (dec’d), Sarah (dec’d). Using known dates of birth and ages found on the census we have been able to list the children in nearest possible order of birth and determine the mother of each. The order in which the living sons are listed in the suit is also their order of birth; while the living daughters are listed youngest to oldest; the deceased daughters are listed oldest to youngest. Using this information we have been able to group the children with their mother. Note: Edward was not mentioned in the above but has been included in the following lists.

Children of JAMES SIMS and PHEBE [–?–] are:
i.   JEREMIAH SIMS, b. 24 May 1777, Culpeper County, Virginia; d. 19 January 1824, German Township, Clark County, Ohio.
ii.   WILLIAM SIMS SR., b. 6 November 1780, Culpeper County, Virginia; d. 5 October 1854, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.
iii.   ELIZABETH SIMS, b. Abt. 1782, Culpeper County, Virginia; d. 1 June 1845, Fayette County, (West) Virginia.
iv.   MARTIN SIMS, b. abt. 1783; d. aft. 1853.
v.   EDWARD “NED” SIMS, b. 7 Jun 1785, Virginia; d. 31 Mar 1852 Cass County, Missouri
vi.   JOHN SIMS, b. 15 May 1787; d. October 15, 1869, Kanawha County, West Virginia.
vii.   MARY SIMS, b. Abt. 1787; d. Bef. 1848.
viii.   NANCY ANN SIMS, b. Abt. 1793, Culpeper County, Virginia; d. Bet. 1860 – 1870, Poca District, Kanawha County, West Virginia.

ix.   JAMES SIMS, JR., b. Abt. 1801, Kanawha County, (West) Virginia; died unknown but last seen in 1850 census of Kanawha County, (West) Virginia).
x.   MARGARET SIMS, b. Bet. 1801 – 1804; d. Bef. 1848.
xi.   SARAH SIMS, b. Bet. 1804 – 1806; d. Bet. 1837 – 1848.
xii.   MILDRED SIMS, b. Abt. 1806, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia; d. May 1882, Fayette County, West Virginia.
xiii.   JANE L. SIMS, b. Abt. 1810, Virginia; d. Aft. 1880.
xiv.   CHARLES FULLERTON SIMS, b. 13 August 1815, Swiss, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia; d. 26 April 1891, Swiss, Nicholas County, West Virginia.
xv.   DRYDEN SIMS, b. Abt. 1818, Kanawha County, (West) Virginia; d. Abt. 1880, St. Clair County, Missouri.
xvi.   GEORGE WASHINGTON SIMS, b. Abt. 1821, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia; d. abt. 1920

© 2002-2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

[1] Declaration of James Sims dated 18 February 1834 in order to obtain the benefits of the Act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832 (Revolutionary War Papers) transcribed from photocopies procured by David Fridley from the National Archives (pension claim file ref. # S 19464).
[2] Culpeper County, Virginia, Will Book A, pg. 466
[3] Culpeper County, Virginia, Will Book A, pg. 466
[4] Transcription courtesy of Rose Mary Sims Rudy (e-mail 13 Jan 2002)
[5] Culpeper County, Virginia, Will Book B, pg.519-522
[6] Culpeper County, Virginia, Will Book B, pg.519-522
[7] Nall Families of America including Nalle, Naul, Nalls. Compiled and published by Sally Nall Dolphin and Charles Fuller Nall. 1978
[8] Estep, Lee. E-mail dated February 7, 2002. Information he found in Culpeper County, VA, Deed Book H, page 189-190.
[9] Owens, Robert. RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project. John Symes descendents. 25 August 2001. Online http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:107791&id=I9532 23 October 2001.
[10] A compilation of data on James Sims and his family by George R. Penick, Jr. of Arlington, Virginia, made in 1978, 1979 and 1980. This compilation will be referred to as The Penick Papers. Penick was a descendant of James’ son William.
[11] David Fridley calculated his birthdate from age given at death on the tombstone. Jeremiah died 19 January 1824 in German Twp, Clark Co, OH, at 46 years of age. His tombstone records his age as 46 yrs., 7 mos., 26 days. His body was interred in Callison Cemetery in German Twp, Clark Co, OH. Cemetery listing: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Garden/3458/Townships/German/Callison.htm (link no longer valid). The geocities information was transferred to http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohclark/cemetery/callison.htm (link no longer valid). Rootsweb sites were taken down by Ancestry late in 2017. As of 22 June 2019, this cemetery page is still not online. A photo of the tombstone is available on https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6021100/jeremiah-sims
[12] Declaration of James Sims dated 18 February 1834 in order to obtain the benefits of the Act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832 (Revolutionary War Papers) transcribed from photocopies procured by David Fridley from the National Archives (pension claim file ref. # S 19464).
[13] Culpeper County, VA, Deed Book H pages 475-477.
[14] Nall Families of America including Nalle, Naul, Nalls. Compiled and published by Sally Nall Dolphin and Charles Fuller Nall in 1978. pg. 36-37.
[15] Culpeper County, VA, Deed Book H, pages 162-164.
[16] Maginnis, William H. Notes found in Virginia Bondurant Johnson’s DAR file.
[17] Date taken from tombstone in Beech Glen Cemetery, Beech Glen, Nicholas County, West Virginia (cemetery reading done June 2001 by a contact of Paul Guttman and supplied by him per e-mail February 2002)
[18] Declaration of James Sims dated 18 February 1834 in order to obtain the benefits of the Act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832 (Revolutionary War Papers) transcribed from photocopies procured by David Fridley from the National Archives (pension claim file ref. # S 19464).
[19] The Penick Papers. A compilation of data on James Sims and his family by George R. Penick, Jr. of Arlington, Virginia, made in 1978, 1979 and 1980.
[20] Coroner’s Inquest Report, Photocopy of original document received from Rose Mary Sims Rudy.
[21] Judgment – Simms vs Scott found in a file of old law cases for 1795 by Connie Metheny, Millboro, Virginia, and sent to Rose Mary Sims Rudy August 1, 1995.
[22] The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993 pg. 33
[23] The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993 pg. 33
[24] Maginnis, William H. “The Simms Family In Kanawha County – Part I”, West Virginia History: A Quarterly Magazine, Volume VIII, April 1947, Number 3, pages 283-304; published by State Department of Archives and History, Charleston, West Virginia
[25] Ancestors & Descendants of Thomas Sims of Culpeper County, Virgina Edmund Butler of Virginia and Kentucky with Allied Families & Other Culpeper Data. “James Sims of Culpeper, Fayette & Nicholas Cos., (West) Va.”, page 156. Compiled and published by Lela Wolfe Prewitt, Fairfield, Iowa, 1972.
[26] Maginnis, William H. “The Simms Family in Kanawha County – Part I”. West Virginia History: Quarterly Magazine, Volume VIII, April 1947, Number 3, pages 283-304; published by State Department of Archives and History, Charleston, West Virginia
[27] Botetourt County, VA Grants 35, 1795-96 p.641. Found on website: HAYS/SIMS in Land Grants & Will Books from the Library of VA, Digital Files And Other Related Notes http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~janicekmc/hays_p3.htm
[28] Transcribed from images received from David Fridley on February 11, 2002 per e-mail, downloaded from the Digital Library of the Library of Virginia (http://www.lva.lib.va.us/dlp/index.htm).
[29] Laidley, William Sydney (1839-1917). History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens, published Chicago IL; Richmond-Arnold Publishing, 1911.
[30] Transcribed from photocopy of page from the Kanawha County (West) Virginia Deed Book A-391 supplied by Rose Mary Sims Rudy in February 2002.
[31] Falin, Becky. US GenWeb Archives. 1810 Kanawha County, WV. Pg 15 Ln #23. 5 August 1998. Online ftp://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/wv/kanawha/census/1810.txt 4 October 2001
[32] 1810 Kanawha County (West)Va Census, compiled by David A. Turner & Sigfus Olafson, published by Kanawha Valley Genealogical society, Inc., P.O. Box 8555, South Charleston, West Virginia 25303, 1991.
[33] Bryant, Neva Jane Stout. USGenWeb Archives. 1820 Federal Census  Nicholas County, Virginia. Page No. 204B. 25 July 2001. Note: transcription has not been proofread. Online ftp://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/wv/nicholas/census/1820.txt 3 October 2001
[34] Bryant, Neva Jane Stout. USGenWeb Archives. 1830 Federal Census Nicholas County, Virginia. 25 July 2001/October 2001. Online ftp://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/wv/nicholas/census/1830c.txt 13 November 2001
[35] Declaration of James Sims dated 18 February 1834 in order to obtain the benefits of the Act of Congress passed June 7th, 1832 (Revolutionary War Papers) transcribed from photocopies procured by David Fridley from the National Archives (pension claim file ref. # S 19464).
[36] The West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia, Volume Nine, Supplemental Series, The Soldiery of West Virginia. Edited and Published by Jim Comstock, Richmond, West Virginia, 1974.
[37] Gunsmiths of West Virginia by James P. Whister, pg. 105
[38] Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers 1818-1860, “Early Settlers of Nicholas County, Virginia” by Edward Campbell, pg. 63
[39] Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers 1818-1860, “Early Settlers of Nicholas County, Virginia” by Edward Campbell, pg. 54
[40] Transcribed from Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers 1818-1860, pages 35-38, received from Rose Mary Sims Rudy by fax on March 20, 2002.
[41] Fridley, David. e-mail dated 10 October 2001 with 1840 census image attached.
[42] The Penick Papers
[43] Hughes, Eve. E-mail dated June 13, 2001. This information, taken from a file containing papers for application for membership in the DAR for Virginia Bondurant Johnson, was passed to her by another researcher.

Jean FOURNEL and Catherine SETON

Door21Jean FOURNEL (b. abt. 1655 d. 1721) and Catherine SETON (b. abt. 1657 d. 1702)
Place of death: Saulnes, Département Meurthe-et-Moselle, Region Lorraine, France

Jean and Catherine are the oldest known ancestors in my FOURNELLE line. In 2003 André Hennico sent me a descendancy report on this couple. Over the years I have been able to find the documents to prove the dates and places he lists for the families who stayed in Luxembourg. I have also been able to fill in the branches and correct some erroneous information found in other databases.

A recent search on the internet turned up transcriptions (dépouillement) of birth, marriage, and death records (late 1600s-early 1700s) in Herserange (France) which match some of Hennico’s information. A couple of these, although recorded in Herserange (France), show that the place of the event was Rodange (Luxembourg).

A direct descendant of this couple, Gaston Naux in his database on geneanet.org lists Nicolas FOURNEL as the father of Jean FOURNEL. This is not sourced and needs to be researched.

My grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE always spoke of the house in Rodange where she visited relatives being half in Luxembourg and half in France. The house may have passed through several generations as her grandfather André FOURNELLE was the last of her direct line to be born and raised in Rodange (Luxembourg). Census records show that his father André Sr. had his oldest daughter and her husband and children living with him in 1855 and 1858 and later, in 1861 and 1864, the head of household was the son-in-law and the father-in-law was part of the household. Most likely they remained in the same house. Satellite images of the area show that Saulnes and Rodange form the border between France and Luxembourg with most of the land along the borderline being woods and fields. The house may have been on the Route de Longwy where a parking lot (half in France and half in Luxembourg) can now be found. My mother remembers their visits but does not know for sure where the house was. This is one mystery that I would like to solve.

This Sunday my 5th cousin 1st removed, John Fournelle will be visiting so that we can discuss our FOURNELLE family and our common ancestors Pierre FOURNELLE and Jeanne NEU, his 4th and my 5th great-grandparents. John’s great-grandfather Nicolas FOURNELLE emigrated in 1882 from Luxembourg to Ramsey County, Minnesota, while my line remained in Luxembourg. Nicolas FOURNELLE’s second cousin Nicholas FOURNELL emigrated in 1890 from Luxembourg to Pawnee County, Nebraska. There may be more family in America as one in five of the inhabitants of Luxembourg emigrated to the United States between 1841 and 1891.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Johan Anton NOLL (aka Anthony NOLL)

Door19Johan Anton NOLL (aka Anthony NOLL)
b. abt. 1720 Palatinate d. 1801 Baltimore County, Maryland

Where was his place of origin?

The ocean voyages were harsh, over-crowded, under-supplied, and unsanitary. Provisions supplied by the ship’s masters were generally the least expensive available and frequently ran out. We cannot imagine the suffering endured by our immigrant ancestors: the cold, wet, stench, sickness, disease, and even death. Survivors needed to be strong and healthy as well as courageous.

In 1744 some of the emigrant ships were captured by French and Spanish privateers and the emigrants were not able to continue to North America. Johann Anton NOLL, his wife Magdalena and daughter Elisabetha Margreth made the voyage and survived. They came from Rotterdam by way of Cowes arriving in Philadelphia on 8 October 1744 on the ship “Aurora” captained by Robert Pickeman. Another NOLL couple was also on the ship: Matthias and Elsa Catharina. Johan (sic, Anton) NOLL and Matthis (sic, Matthias) NOLL were two of the foreigners imported in the ship Aurora who took the Oath of Allegiance.

The annotated ship list on The Palatinate Project – Pennsylvania German Pioneers (broken link as of 6 February 2016) shows that their place of origin was “Gönndersdorf, Hessen-Nassau”. Gönndersdorf is not a known place name. In Annette Burgert’s book “WESTERWALD to AMERICA, page 161, there are two paragraphs concerning Anthon Noll & Matthias Noll. I believe that Burgert’s book is the source of the place of origin seen as an annotation and needs to be consulted to determine the correct spelling and possible location. [A lookup needs to be requested]

Since recruiting for the colonies generally occurred in a fairly localized region from which a group would travel together to Rotterdam and then on to the colonies, identifying the origin of others on the same ship may give clues as to the origin of a particular family. In the case of this ship list, annotations show that most of the families came from the Westerwaldkreis in Rheinland-Pfalz. I believe that the place name may be Gönnersdorf which is found three times in Rheinland: 1) Kreis Uhrweiler, 2) Kreis Neuwied, 3) Kreis Daun city. The last, in the Vulkaneifel, was also known as Gondersdorf, Gundersdorf, and Gundeszdorph in earlier times.

Other possibilities per Betseylee Browning [Germany/Prussia Genealogy Research]: Gebersdorf, Gittersdorf, Ginseldorf, Guntersdorf, Grebensdorf, Gersdorf, as well as Gronaunerhof and Guntershof.

The annotated list shows that Anton Noll’s wife’s maiden name was Brental. Did Anton and Magdalena and their daughter flee the old country because they were not allowed to marry? On 3 April 1753 Anton NOLL and Magdalene BRENTEL were married at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Penn Township, York County, Pennsylvania. In March 1757 their daughter Elisabeth Margreth Noll was baptized. I have wondered if this entry in the Jacob Lischy’s Private Pastoral Records (York County, PA) may have been for her confirmation instead of baptism. She would have been at least 13 years old – close to the age that confirmations were performed in the Lutheran Church.

Anton Noll and his family moved from Hannover, York County, Pennsylvania, to Manchester, Carroll County, Maryland, sometime between 1757 and 1760. From 1760 Anton, his first wife, his second wife, his children from both marriages, as well as grandchildren are seen in Manchester in church records. [Source: Maryland German Church Records, Volume 10, Zion Church, “The German Church”, Manchester, Carroll County, MD]

In 1768, the year that my 5th great-grandmother, Catharine Barbara NOLL was born, her father Anton as well as her future-father-in-law Jacob Rub (sic, Johann Jacob Rupp) signed a petition to transfer the county seat from Joppa to “Baltimore Town”.

My big discovery this week while preparing this post was finding the entire “estate package”: will, administration bond, widow’s renunciation, inventories, orphans court record, accounts. It pulled everything together. Proves that there was only one Anton Noll who was married twice and all children mentioned in the church records are indeed his.

Anthony NOLL, as his name was written in his will dated 3 January 1801, was survived by his wife Catharina, 6 daughters, and 2 sons. In his will, he mentions his wife, his daughters Lovis, Elisabeth, Magdalena, and Betsy (no married names were given), his sons Francis and John and his daughter Catharina (clearly separated from the other children as she was the only child of his 2nd marriage). Catherine Barbara (Noll) RUPE, the only child no longer living in Maryland, was not mentioned in the will. Administration bonds were taken out and his will was probated 10 January 1801, inventory was dated 16 January 1801, widow’s renunciation dated 7 February 1801, and other accounts of his estate 1802-1808.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Cousin Bait

Door20Have you hit a brick wall in your genealogy research?

Leave a comment about the brick wall you are/aren’t working on – who, what, when, where, why (5 W’s).

Cousin Bait: Share this photo on your timeline and include the 5 W’s for your brick wall.

Someone may have the key you need to open the door in your brick wall.

It’s worth a try!

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY


John COOLEY (Oct 1827-aft. Jun 1900) and Sarah Ann TREADWELL (sic) (Apr 1828-aft. Jun 1900) married in Meigs County, Ohio, 9 September 1851. In 1853 they were living in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, when their oldest son Calvin was born. John COOLEY’s occupation was listed as sawyer on his son’s birth record. By 1860 the family was living in Missouri. In 1870 they were back in Meigs County, were John was working in a sawmill. In 1880 they were living in Mason County, West Virginia. By 1900 John and Sarah were in Fayette County, West Virginia. In their household was a widowed son-in-law and a granddaughter.

In the 1850s when John COOLEY was in Wood County there was another man of this surname in the county, William COOLEY and his wife Drusilla Stewart. Their marriage record has not been found however descendants say that they married in Ohio were Drusilla was born. They had the following children in Wood County: Rachael born 18 Jun 1856, Sarah Angeline born 4 Oct 1857, and Sarah A. born 12 Dec 1859.

I believe that there must be a connection between John (b. Oct 1827) and William (b. 1825) as both were born in Missouri, married in Ohio, lived in Wood County at about the same time. Census listings for William have been found from 1860 to 1920; William’s and Drusilla’s death records have been found.

The 1850 census listings for John and William COOLEY may be a very important piece to the puzzle. William Washington COOLEY’s death certificate lists his father as Isaac COOLEY. Online postings from descendants tell the story that his parents died when he was 7 and that he had a brother Charles and a sister Sarah. It is not known if this is documented.


Sarah’s surname has been seen as TREADWELL and as TREADWAY. Two of her children’s death certificates list her as Sarah TREADWAY. Daughter Ida’s birth record lists Sarah Jane TREADWAY. A family bible lists TREADWAY. However, the marriage record lists TREADWELL.

Although there is no conclusive evidence to show that Sarah Ann TREADWAY was the daughter of Henry TREADWAY of Wood County, (West) Virginia, I have attached her to his family in my GEDCOM file. I like to do this “for research purposes” as it makes it easier to compare things. Henry had children named Calvin and Melissa and these are names that Sarah gave to her firstborn children. Sarah has not been located in the 1850 census. Was she living with one of her siblings? Henry’s oldest daughter per 1830 census has not been identified. Calvin, Helena, Alcinda, and Melissa, the other children of Henry TREADWAY have been located in 1850 — Sarah is not living with them.

This couple has me hitting my head against a brick wall that doesn’t want to budge.


The will of Isaac COOLEY (below) names four children: William, James, Thomas Marian, and Harriet. Therefore John COOLEY and William Washington COOLEY were not brothers. Could they have been cousins?

Submitted by michael_95073
Note added Mon Mar 4 20:30:55 2013

Transcription of the will of Isaac Cooley, dated April 3, 1838, in Randolph County Missouri:

Known all men by these present that on the third day of April in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty-eight that I, Isaac Cooley, of Randolph County in the State of Missouri being of sound mind and disposing judgement, but low and weak in bodily strength and health do on this day dispose of my effects in the following manner. I give and bequeath to my son William one dollar. To my son James one dollar. To my son Thomas Marian one dollar and to my daughter Harriet one dollar. And I give and bequeath to my beloved wife [my home place] (crossed out) Nancy Cooley to have and to hold during her life time, my land and at her death I want the land to revert back to my son Thomas Marian and his heirs and assigns forever. After all my just debts are paid I want the above disposition of my effects made between my children of the one part and my dear wife Nancy Cooley of the other.

I leave my friend Thomas K White my executor to carry into effect __ _ In testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand and affixed my seal on the above.

[Source: http://ancestraldata.com/Notes/index.cgi?1167835947+%2Fahnentafel%2F256%2Flineages%2Fjohncooley-desc.html]

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Hezekiah SUMNER

Door17Hezekiah SUMNER (abt. 1750-1823) of Botetourt and Montgomery County, Virginia

Hezekiah came to America from Wales about 1760-1765 according to family oral tradition. He may have migrated down Shenandoah Valley from the north or from the Tidewater area. Neither has been proven.

He was said to have been a known Tory, however, pension records show that he gave public service during the American Revolution being assigned to Capt. Easom’s Co., August 31, 1782, in Botetourt County, Virginia, to serve for three years.
Between 1786 and 1808 he obtained by land grants 596 acres on both sides of the Little River in Botetourt and Montgomery counties. He also bought land adjacent to his property in 1790 (acreage unknown). The 4 land grants (totaling 596 acres) were found in the Library of Virginia’s Land Office Grants database.

Marriage records have not been found. Isabella may have been his first wife as she is listed on son Owen’s death record as the mother. His will names Mary as his wife.
He died between 16 Nov 1822 (will) and Mar 1823 (probate) in Montgomery County, Virginia (Wills – Bk. 3 p. 522). [Need lookup for will!]

Known children were Rebecca Ann (md. Jacob England), Charity (md. Ralph Ratliffe), Priscilla (md. Joseph Harris), Owen (md. 1. Sarah Newton 2. Levina Sowers), Isaiah (md. Nancy Hungate), and Susannah (mentioned in father’s will, no further information known).

Lots of research still needs to be done on Hezekiah SUMNER and his descendants.

Don’t assume family tradition is right until you’ve proven it correct.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


Door16John LESTER I (1751-1825) and his wife Catherine PLICKENSTALVER (abt. 1759-1833) of Montgomery County, Virginia.

Although I have many descendants listed for this ancestral couple, I haven’t done very much research on them. This is mainly due to the fact that others have shared their extensive research:

In 1996 Marguerite Tise wrote “The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia”

Copy available online: Tise’s book (pdf)

Barbara Reininger’s site on Floyd County, Virginia:
RootsWeb site which is at present offline (July 2018)
includes two pages on the Lester families of that county:
Lester page 1 (unavailable due to Ancestry taking down the RootsWeb private websites
Lester page 2 (idem)

Jerry Curtis Lester’s genealogy site:

Jerry Curtis Lester Genealogy – GEDCOM file:

Chad K. Flentje’s site:
The Lester Family

Marguerite Tise’s information has been used by many including Jerry Lester and Chad Flentje. Barbara Reininger cites Tise but uses mainly county and census records for Floyd County.

There are likely many more sites online with information on the LESTER family but the above were around when I first began doing genealogy research on the internet in 2000.

Seventeen years ago Marguerite wrote, in her book, “Intensive efforts have been made by family members and researchers over the years to locate John Lester’s father and ancestors in Pennsylvania, but with no success up to the present time.” It would be nice to be part of this discovery when it is made. Hopefully, it will not be another 17 years before this happens.

© 2013, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.