Rewriting the Biography: George Washington “Wash” SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

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

George Washington SIMS was the youngest of James SIMS’ sixteen children, the baby of the family he had with his second wife Elizabeth COTTON. George, also known as Wash, was born about 1821 in Nicholas County.

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

By 1830 his four oldest full siblings were married and living on their own. He was living at home with a sister Jane who would marry the following year and two brothers, Charles and Dryden. Also in the household were five slaves. Isaac SIMS (ca. 1793-1875) who would be manumitted by George’s father James in 1836 was likely the male age 24 thru 35.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia, for James SIMS

1830 U.S. Federal Census 1
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (George W.)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (Dryden and Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 70 thru 79: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 1
Slaves – Males – 24 thru 35: 1 (Isaac?)
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total Slaves: 5
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 11

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

George was about 19 years old when the 1840 census was enumerated. As the youngest of James’ children, he may have still been living at home. His parents had taken in two children, likely their deceased daughter Sarah’s children.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS

1840 U.S. Federal Census2
Nicholas County, Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: James Sims Sr.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (poss. Charles, son of Sarah)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (poss. James, son of Sarah)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (George W.)
Free White Persons – Males – 80 thru 89: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 1 (unknown)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 4
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total Slaves: 1
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6

Another possible location for George at the time of the census was the household of his brother Charles who was just across the county line in Fayette County. As James SIMS’ property spanned both Nicholas and Fayette at that time, Charles was probably living on his father’s land. Being young and unmarried George could have been helping both his aged father and his brother Charles who was also unmarried.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Charles SIMS

1840 U.S. Federal Census3
Fayette County, Virginia
Sheet 147, Line 6
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Charles Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (Charles and George?)
Slaves – Males – Under 10: 1
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total Slaves: 2
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

On 28 November 1845 George W. SIMS applied for a bond to marry Margaret J. DORSEY in Nicholas County. He went the bond with James DORSEY Jr. who made oath the bride was of age.4

Although they married in Nicholas County, their residence was in Fayette County in 1850 when they had two children, a son George W. and a daughter Edna P. M., in the home.

There are several discrepancies on the census sheet. Margaret is seen as Mary J., their oldest child George W. is incorrectly listed as 29 years old, and no occupation or value of real estate owned was given.

George’s immediate neighbors were his brother Charles, several of his nephews (sons of his half-brothers William and Martin), and his half-brother Martin.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for the George W. SIMS household

1850 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated by me on the 1st day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet No. 343A, Lines 36-39, HH #173-173
George W. Sims 29 M Virginia
Mary (sic) J. Sims 29 F Virginia
G. W. Sims 29 (sic, 3) M Virginia
Edny P. M. Sims 1 F Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

During the 1850s Margaret had another four or five children. Victoria (9) and Elizabeth (7) are seen in the household. An unnamed male child was born on 3 September 1855 and likely died before 1860 as he is not reflected in this listing. Another son John L. N. was born about December 1856 and died on 13 April 1858. A one-year-old female is seen without a name, only ditto marks on the sheet. The census was enumerated on August 4, two weeks after a daughter named Margaret Jane was born. Maggie, as she would be known, was born on 22 July 1860. Is she the unnamed child in the 1860 census? Or did the enumerator follow directions to not include any children born after June 1? Or was there another unnamed female child born about 1859?

George who was farming had no real estate of value and his personal estate was valued at $200.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for the Washington SIMS household

1860 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, Virginia
District No. 1
Enumerated by me on the 4th day of August, 1860. P. Morton, Ass’t Marshal.
Gauley Bridge Post Office, Sheet No. 290
Page No. 108, Lines 20-26, HH #800-734
Washington Sims 38 M Farmer $0 $200 Virginia
Margaret Sims 40 F Virginia
George W. Sims 13 M Virginia
Edna Sims 11 F Virginia
Victoria Sims 9 F Virginia
Elizabeth Sims 7 F Virginia
” (ditto) ” (ditto) 1 F Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

George’s wife Margaret died between 22 July 1860 (after Maggie’s birth) and 29 January 1863 when George married Mary Jane JOHNSON in Nicholas County. He was the only child of James SIMS to have his parents’ names mentioned on a marriage record although the maiden name of his mother was not included, only James & Elizabeth. The names of the parents of Mary Jane who was 23 were not stated on the marriage record.7

George R. Penick, Jr. wrote in his compilation on James SIMS and his descendants that George Washington SIMS’ second wife, Mary Jane JOHNSON, was a sister to the brothers John and William JOHNSON who married George’s half-sisters Elizabeth and Nancy Ann SIMS. This cannot be correct as Mary Jane was born between 1840-1843 which was long after the 1805 death of William JOHNSON Sr., father of these men. Neither John nor William could be the father of Mary Jane as their daughters are accounted for. John’s son Harrison had a daughter Mary b. ca. 1842 and William’s son Joseph Nelson had a daughter Mary A. b. ca. 1841. Marriages have been found for both of these girls and they are listed with their families in 1860. John and William had a brother James who died in 1834 but none of his sons’ daughters are matches. I do not see the possibility of Mary Jane being closely related to John and William JOHNSON. There were other Johnson families in the Kanawha-Nicholas-Fayette area as well as in Greenbrier which bordered on Fayette.

The candidate remaining was Mary J. JOHNSON age 18 in the household of Elizabeth McVEY (maiden name KOONTZ) in the Mountain Cove district of Fayette County in 1860. Further research would be necessary to prove or disprove this as well as to find her parents.

By 1870 Mary Jane had given birth to three children. The youngest, only one month old, was mistakenly noted as a female. In 1880 the child would be seen as William T. age 10 and, later in 1900, his month and year of birth would be May 1870 which fell within the census year, i.e. he would be the “female” child on the 1870 census. Only three of George’s children from his first marriage were still at home: Victoria, Elizabeth, and Margaret. His two oldest children George W. and Edna P. M. have not been found in 1870 or any later census. No marriage or death records have been found and I suspect they may have died in the 1860s.

The family was now in Nicholas County. George was farming and his real estate was valued at $600 and his personal property at $450. Living next door was Isaac SIMS, the first black man to own property in Nicholas County. The tract he owned bordered on the land originally owned by James SIMS.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia for the George W. SIMS household

1870 U.S. Federal Census8
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township, Page No. 1
Enumerated by me on the 22nd day of July, 1870. Patrick D. Horan, Ass’t Marshal.
Nicholas Court House Post Office
Sheet No. 163A, Lines 5-12, HH #2-2
Sims, George W. 49 M W Farmer $600 $450 West Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Sims, Mary J. 27 F W West Virginia
Sims, Victoria 18 F W At Home West Virginia
Sims, Elizabeth H. 15 F W At Home West Virginia attended school
Sims, Margaret J. 9 F W West Virginia
Sims, Ulysses G. 6 M W West Virginia
Sims, Minna 4 F W West Virginia
Sims, Not named 1/12 F W West Virginia
Sheet No. 163A, Line 13, HH #3-3
Sims, Isaac 72 M Mulatto Farmer $500 $400 cannot read & write West Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Note: Isaac Sims, the freed slave of James Sims, father of George W. Sims.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

During the 1870s George’s three daughters from his first marriage were married. Victoria Veazy SIMS married William Henry SUMMERS soon after the 1870 census and they had four children by 1880. Margaret Jane SIMS married John Wesley MARTIN on 9 January 1878. They had one daughter and were living with his parents in 1880. Elizabeth Honor SIMS married William Henry MARTIN on 19 April 1878 and they were the parents of a son and daughter by 1880. The MARTIN men were not brothers and I have not done research on the line to determine if or how they may have been related.

Mary Jane and George had four more children by 1880. Irvin Evermont, Joseph Wyatt, Cora Anna, and Oleona G. who was also known as Ola. They were still in the Jefferson district of Nicholas County where George was farming.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for the George W. SIMS household

1880 U.S. Federal Census9
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township
Enumeration District No. 105
Enumerated by me on the 10th day of June, 1880. W. M. Walker, enumerator.
Page No. 11, Sheet No. 101C, Lines 8-16, HH #79-79
Sims, George W. W M 59 married Farmer WV VA VA
Sims, Mary J. W F 40 wife married Keeping house WV WV VA
Sims, Ulyssius S. W M 15 son single Works on farm attended school WV WV WV
Sims, Minnie M. W F 12 daughter single At home attended school cannot write WV WV WV
Sims, William T. W M 10 son single attended school cannot write WV WV WV
Sims, Irvin E. W M 8 son single attended school WV WV WV
Sims, Joseph W. W M 6 son single WV WV WV
Sims, Anna W F 3 daughter single WV WV WV
Sims, Oleona W F 2 daughter single WV WV WV

The Widow in the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Federal Census

When the 1900 census was enumerated, Mary J. SIMMS was seen as widowed. George had died between 1880 and 1900. No records have been found to more precisely date his death. Mary Jane was now living in the town of Ansted in the Mountain Cove district of Fayette County, the same area a younger Mary J. JOHNSON had been found in 1860 in the McVEY household. Mary Jane was 65 years old, about 5 to 6 years older than seen earlier. She had in her household her youngest son Joseph Wyatt a coal miner who had been out of work for three months during the year.

1900 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for the Mary J. SIMMS household

1900 U.S. Federal Census10
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove District, Ansted
Enumeration District No. 17
Enumerated by me on the 1 day of June 1900. Geo M. Koontz, enumerator.
Sheet No. 1A, Lines 44-45, HH #7-7
Simms, Mary J. head W F May 1835 65 widowed mother of 7, 7 living WV WV WV can read cannot write speaks English rents house
Simms, Joseph son W M Oct 1875 24 single WV VA WV coal miner unemployed 3 months in 1899 can read & write speaks English

Mary Jane was still in Ansted in 1910 but now alone and living off her own income. Her age was now 69 and agrees with earlier census listings. As in 1900, the seven children she had were still living. Mary Jane was not found in the 1920 census and it is assumed she died between 1910 and 1920. No record of death has been found.

1910 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for Mary J. SIMS

1910 U.S. Federal Census11
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove District, Precinct 1, Ansted Town
Enumeration District No. 19
Enumerated by me on the 10th day of May, 1910. Wm. T. Hamilton
Sheet No. 28A, Line 9, HH #500-505
Sims, Mary J. head F W 69 widowed mother of 7, 7 living WV WV VA speaks English own income can read & write rents house

George’s Children from 1900 to 1961

Only three of the children George had with his first wife Margaret Jane DORSEY were found to have survived to adulthood, marry, and have children. If his two oldest children George W. and Edna P. M. moved to other parts, married, and had descendants, I would be happy to hear about them.

Victoria Veazy SIMS (1852-1928) had five more children after 1880 bringing the total children to nine. In 1900 she had eight children living as one of her children had died at the age of 2 years in 1894. By 1910 the number of living children went down by one as her oldest child died in 1905. She lost her husband in 1927 and died the following year in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia.

Elizabeth Honor SIMS (1853-bef. 1920) had four more children after 1880 bringing the total children to six. Her oldest child died before 1900. She likely died between 1910 and 1920 as her husband was listed as widowed on the 1920 census. He died in 1933 in Montgomery (Fayette County) where he had been living.

Margaret Jane “Maggie” SIMS (1860-1949) had four more daughters after 1880 bringing the total to five daughters born to her and her husband John Wesley MARTIN. He died between 1891-1899. Maggie then married Patrick BEIRNE on 4 January 1900 in Montgomery, Fayette County. The marriage was recorded in Kanawha County. Patrick was from Northern Ireland and Catholic. The SIMS family members attended the Methodist Episcopal church and were not Catholic. Maggie and Patrick were found in Fayette County in 1900 (after much searching!) with two of his children from his first marriage and her four youngest daughters. The couple was incorrectly listed as having been married 29 years and Maggie’s age was seen as 59 instead of 40. Maggie’s daughters were listed with their step-father’s surname which was indexed as Burns. In 1904 Maggie had a son Meredith James BEIRNE. By 1910 Maggie and Patrick were both listed as having been married 10 years and second marriages for both of them. The three oldest living MARTIN daughters (Nancy born in 1880 may have died before 1900) married in 1904-1906. Patrick died in 1914. Maggie lived in Charleston with her daughter Virgie Lee’s family in 1920 and 1940 and with her daughter Edith’s family in 1930. She died in 1949 in Charleston (Kanawha County).

All of the seven children George had with Mary Jane JOHNSON survived into adulthood.

Anthony Ulysses Grant SIMS (1865-1931) was found under this name in the 1900 through 1930 census. He used the alias James G. SYMMES when he enlisted the U.S. Army on 11 June 1888 in Ohio. He was a real estate agent at the time and 23 years old. He had blue eyes, light hair, fair complexion, and was 5 foot 8 inches tall. He served with Company A & K of the 7th Calvary. He was discharged 10 June 1893 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He re-enlisted on 11 June 1893 and was discharged on 10 May 1895. He apparently had a medical background as in 1900 he was an attendant at the Illinois Northern Hospital for the Insane in Kane County, Illinois; an attendant at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Chicago in 1910; and an orderly at the same in 1920. In 1927 he applied for a pension under his alias for his service during the Indian wars. In 1930 he was lodging at a hotel in Chicago and working as a guard at the U.S.V. Bureau. In 1931 he was back in West Virginia living with his sister Cora Anna who was the informant on his death record. She gave his occupation as a chemist. The 1931 death certificate included his alias which led to the military and pension records. He was never married per George R. Penick Jr. (compiler of a family history) and, although seen as single on his death record and most census records, he was listed as widowed in 1920.

Minna M. SIMS (1866-1934) married Frank E. FELTON and likely never had children. She has not been found in 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 census but was listed in the city directory of Huntington (Cabell County, West Virginia) in 1932 (widow Carsile) and 1934 (widow F. E.), living at the same address as her sister Cora Anna. It was this sister who was the informant on her death record in 1934. According to Penick, Minnie may have married or lived in Pennsylvania.

William T. SIMS (1870-aft. Apr 1940) married Virginia YOUNG in 1895 in Fayette County where William lived from 1900 to 1940. Jennie, as she was also known, gave him four daughters and a son. She died before 1920. Two of the girls have not been located in 1920 or later and may have also died in the 1910s. The other two daughters married but died in 1922 and 1925. The son died in an automobile accident at the age of 18 in 1927. In 1930 William was found with his sister-in-law Ethel CLAYPOOL, widow of his brother Irvin, and by himself in 1940. His death record has not been located.

Irvin Evermont SIMS (1872-1929) married Ethel CLAYPOOL in 1899. They were the parents of one daughter Lillian Eleanor (1899-1993) who never married or had children. Irvin and Ethel lived in Fayette County where Irvin died in 1929. In 1940 Ethel and her daughter were living in Charleston where Ethel died in 1961.

Joseph Wyatt SIMMS (1874-1942) was living with his mother Mary Jane JOHNSON in 1900. In 1905 he married Rosa MULLINS with whom he had a son in 1908. The marriage did not last. Rosa and their son were living with her parents in 1910. She married two more times. Joseph Wyatt was not found in 1910, 1920, or 1930. His son who never married died in 1938 at the age of 30. In 1940 Joseph was living in Nicholas County with the family of his double cousin (1C1R and 1C2R) Homer Holt SIMMS. Joseph died in 1942 in Huntington (Cabell County) of injuries sustained when he, a pedestrian, was hit by an automobile. Once again Cora Anna was the informant on the death certificate of a sibling.

Cora Anna SIMS (1876-1951) married Hugh T. PRIBBLE in 1900 in Fayette County. They were the parents of three children. They lived in Fayette County in 1900 and 1910. By 1920 they had moved to Huntington. The marriage ended in divorce and Cora Anna was found with her two single sons and her married daughter in 1930. In 1940 Cora Anna was the head of household. Her daughter and her second husband, as well as the daughter’s son from her first marriage, were living with her. Cora Anna died in 1951 at the same address in Huntington as she had been living since 1930. She had been the informant on three of her six siblings’ death certificates which would suggest a close connection to them.

Oleona G. “Ola” SIMS (1878-1961) married Weston Edward STEVENS in 1902 in Fayetteville. They were the parents of eight children, one of whom died at the age of nearly 1 1/2 years. They lived in the Falls district of Fayette County in 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. Weston died the end of 1940. Ola was living in Huntington in 1961 when she died.

This post concludes the census study of the children of James SIMS (1754-1845). The census research has been a great amount of work since the first post in March. I’ll be taking a break from this project for a few months. I have no fixed plans or schedule for upcoming posts but hope to bring a bit of variety to the blog.

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

Rewriting the Biography: George Washington

  1. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film: 0029677, NARA Rol M19_198, Nicholas, Virginia, image 35+36 of 42, page 189A+B, line 17, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  2. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, image 26+27 of 67, page 10, line 8, James Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  3. Ibid., FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette page 147A+B, line 6, Charles Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  4. Neva Jane Stout Bryant, (abstracted and compiled by), SIMMS/SIMS Marriages, Nicholas County, West Virginia 1817-1933, (abstracted from James S. & Evelyn E., Early Nicholas County (West) Virginia Marriage Bonds (& Records) 1818-1864; Cochran, Nicholas Co WV Marriages 1817-1903; Cochran, Nicholas Co. WV Marriages 1903-1933). George W. Sims, applied for a bond to marry Margaret J. Dorsey, 11-28-1845 in Nicholas Co. (W)VA. George W. Sims and James Dorsey Jr. went the bond. James Dorsey made oath that the bride was of age. 
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_943; Images: 291; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 27 of 91, Sheet No. 343A, Lines 36-39, HH #173-173, George W. Sims household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 April 2018). 
  6. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1344; FHL Film: 805344; West Virginia, Fayette County, District 1; image 2 of 26, Sheet No. 290, Page No. 108, Lines 20-26, HH #800-734, Washington Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  7. Abstracts of marriage records by Neva Bryant. Simms, Washington, Widow, 39, b. Nicholas, res. Fayette, s/o James & Elizabeth to Johnson, Mary Jane, 23, Fayette, parents not stated — 29 Jan 1863. 
  8. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1695; FHL Film: 553194; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 1 of 17, Page No. 1, Sheet No. 163A, Lines 5-12, HH #2-2, George W. Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed accessed 29 April 2018). 
  9. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1410; West Virginia, Nicholas County, Jefferson, image 11 of 17, Enumeration District No. 105, Page No. 11, Sheet No. 101C, Lines 8-16, HH #79-79, George W. Sims household. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 December 2016). 
  10. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm: 1241758; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, image 1 of 50, Enumeration District No. 17, Sheet No. 1A, Lines 44-45, HH #7-7, Mary J. Simms household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 September 2018). 
  11.  1910 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_1680; FHL microfilm: 1375693; West Virginia, Fayette, Mountain Cove, image 53 of 53, Enumeration District No. 19, Sheet No. 28A, Line 9, HH #500-505 Mary J. Sims household. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 September 2018). 
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Rewriting the Biography: Dryden SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

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

James SIMS was the father of sixteen known children. Eight of them were born during his marriage to his first wife Phebe. Following her tragic death the winter of 1793/1794 he married Elizabeth COTTON in 1796. With Elizabeth he also had eight children. The second youngest was their son Dryden who was born about 1818, the year Nicholas County was formed from Kanawha County.

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

In 1820 Dryden was in the household of his father James SIMS. At the time he was James’ youngest child. However he may not have been the youngest person in the household as there were also nine enslaved persons with five of these being in the under 14 years category.

1820 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia, for James SIMS

1820 U.S. Federal Census 1
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 19
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Dryden and Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Jane and Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Margaret and Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25: 2 (Isaac and Robert)
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 3
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25: 2 (Black Jude and Black Fanny)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total Slaves: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 17

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

In 1830 Dryden was about twelve years old and should have been enumerated in the 10 thru 14 years category. The census, however, shows his age was 15 thru 19 years. A younger brother had been born during the 1820s and Dryden was no longer the youngest.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia, for James SIMS

1830 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (George W.)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (Dryden and Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 70 thru 79: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Elizabeth 46-49)
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 1
Slaves – Males – 24 thru 35: 1 (Isaac?)
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total Slaves: 5
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 11

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Dryden SIMS married Rebecca BAYS, daughter of Thomas BAYS and Nancy Ann LINEGAR. Rebecca was born in Giles County, Virginia, on 28 November 1819. The marriage took place in Fayette County on 18 October 1837.3 Records of birth and marriage have not been found to confirm these dates. Rebecca may have been born in a part of Giles County which became Fayette County.  A part of Giles went to Logan when the county was formed in 1824 and a part of Logan became Fayette County in 1831. Thomas BAYS was enumerated in Logan in 1830 and in Fayette from 1840 until 1860.

Dryden and Rebecca had one son born following their marriage and before the 1840 census. Dryden had several other children in his household. As all of the census listings of the children of his father James SIMS have been worked through, I have made this assumption concerning these extra children. Two of the orphaned children of Dryden’s sister Sarah may have been taken in by him and his wife, namely Mariah FOSTER and James FOSTER who did not fit in any other SIMS household.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia, for Dryden SIMS

1840 U.S. Federal Census4
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 9, Line 30
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Dryden Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Alfred)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (not a son, may be Sarah’s son James)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Dryden)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (not a daughter)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (not a daughter, may be Sarah’s daughter Mariah)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Rebecca)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

During the 1840s Dryden and Rebecca had four more sons. Dryden was a farmer but did not own land. In his household was a single man named Paschal HENDRICK (ca. 1816-1883) who owned land. Were Dryden and his family living on and working his land?

Next door to Dryden was his nephew Jonathan SIMS, son of his half-brother William, and in the next household was his sister Jane SIMS, wife of Joseph DARLINGTON.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia, for Dryden SIMS

1850 U.S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, Virginia
The 43rd District
Sheet No. 371A, Line 23-29, HH #412-412
Dryden Sims 32 M W Farmer Virginia
Rebecca Sims 30 F W Virginia
Alfred Sims 11 M W Virginia
William Sims 8 M W Virginia
Andrew Sims 6 M W Virginia
Alexander Sims 3 M W Virginia
Thos Sims 8/12 M W Virginia
Pascal Hendrick 34 M W Farmer $400 Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Dryden and Rebecca lost their son Thomas born in 1849 during the 1850s. Two daughters and a son were born by the time the 1860 census was taken. The son was only two months and listed as Lenard M., the same name as the head of the next household, Lenard MORRIS. The name of the child appears to be incorrect as will be seen in later census listings. Dryden was still farming and had land valued at $300.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia, for Dryden SIMS household

1860 U.S. Federal Census6
Nicholas County, Virginia
Nicholas District, Nicholas Court House
Sheet No. 1004, Page No. 86, Lines 14-21, HH #770-578
Dryden Sims 42 M W Farmer $300 $400 Virginia
Rebecca Sims 42 F W wife Virginia
William J. Sims 17 M W farmer Virginia
Andrew J. Sims 15 M W farmer Virginia
John Alexander Sims 12 M W Virginia
Mary J. Sims 10 F W Virginia
Nancy E. Sims 6 F W Virginia
Lenard M. Sims 2/12 M W Virginia

Dryden and Rebecca’s oldest son Alfred Hansford SIMS had married his first cousin Mariah FOSTER in January 1858. Mariah, who likely grew up with Alfred, had married Jordan HUDSON in 1846, lived in Missouri for a short time before returning to the Fayette/Nicholas counties area where two children were born before Jordan’s death. Alfred and Mariah’s first child Alfonso Graves was born very close to the date of marriage as his age was given as 63 years when he died in September 1920. He was with Alfred, Mariah, and her two HUDSON children in Nicholas County in 1860.

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

The 1860s brought much change to the family of Dryden SIMS.

The second son William Henry Harrison SIMS married Sabina Hester McCARTY about 1861. The groom was seen in most records as William H. H. however records have been found with the middle names Henry and Harrison which led to the conclusion that he was named after William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) the ninth President of the United States who served the shortest tenure in presidential history to date. The couple had four children by 1870 and was living in Kanawha County.

The third son Andrew Jackson “Jack” SIMS married Virginia A. Sintilla MORRIS in 1865. She was the daughter of Lenard MORRIS, a neighbor in 1860, and seen as Cynthia on that census listing. They had one son and were living next door to William H. H.

The oldest daughter Mary Jane SIMS married Charles Marvin MORRIS in 1866. They had a son and daughter and were living a couple of households away from her oldest brother Alfred. Her husband Charles was the first cousin of Jack’s wife.

The oldest son Alfred Hansford SIMS‘ family had increased to six children. They were living in Nicholas County close to his sister Mary Jane.

Dryden and Rebecca had moved to St. Clair County, Missouri, with their remaining unmarried children before the 1870 census. John Alexander, their fourth son was at home with no occupation listed even though he was 22 years old. Nancy Elizabeth was fourteen and did not attend school unlike her brother Thomas Newton who was attending. Thomas would be the child seen as Lenard M. in the 1860 census obviously named after his deceased brother Thomas who shared the name with their maternal grandfather. Thomas was born 11 April 1860 per his grave marker – a match for the two-month-old son on the 1860 census.

1870 U.S. Federal Census for St. Clair County, Missouri for Dryden SIMS household

1870 U. S. Federal Census7
St. Clair County, Missouri
Chalk Line District
Sheet No. 430B, Page No. 15, Lines, 19-23, HH #101-98
Sims, Dryden 51 M W Farmer Virginia US citizen over 21 yo
Sims, Rebecca 51 F W Keeping house Virginia
Sims, Alexander 22 M W At home Virginia US citizen over 21 yo
Sims, Nancy E. 14 F W Virginia
Sims, Thomas N. 9 M W Virginia attended school within the year (cannot read & write appears to have been struck out)

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Rebecca SIMMS was found in the household of Andrew Jackson KING as the widowed mother-in-law. Andrew had married Dryden’s daughter Nancy Elizabeth about 1878. Dryden SIMS apparently died prior to the enumeration of the 1880 census.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of St. Clair County, Missouri, for A.J. KING household

1880 U.S. Federal Census8
St. Clair County, Missouri
Monegan Township
Supervisor’s District No. 6
Enumeration District No. 229
Enumerated on the 30th day of June 1880 by Charles W. Nesbit
Sheet No. 317C, Page No. 23, Lines 24-28, HH #204-212
King, A. J. W M 21 married Laborer MO TN MO
King, Nancy E. W F 21 wife married Keeping house WV VA VA
King, Mary J. W M 8/12 October daughter MO MO WV
Simms, Rebecca W F 60 mother-in-law widowed WV VA VA
Cook, Joel W M 45 single Justice of Peace disabled IL TN TN
Note: Column for disabled includes: maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled.

Dryden’s oldest son Alfred Hansford died before 1880 if we are to believe the census listing of his wife Mariah who was living in Fayette County with their four youngest children and listed as widowed.

William H. H. was now the father of seven and still living close to his brother Andrew Jackson in Elk District of Kanawha County. Jack was the father of four. Mary Jane was living in Jefferson District of Nicholas County and the mother of five children.

John Alexander who at the age of 22 was without occupation in 1870 likely died in Roscoe, St. Clair County, Missouri on 1 March 1873. Likely because a cemetery listing for the Roscoe Cemetery shows John A. SIMS son of D. and R. died 1 March 1873 at the age of 4 years. I suspect the grave marker may have been difficult to read and the age should be 24 years. The Find A Grave memorial does not include a photo of the marker and birth is listed on the memorial is 27 May 1868. I cannot access the original RootsWeb page which had the cemetery reading for John Sims in the Roscoe Cemetery and cannot trust the unsourced Find A Grave information.

The youngest of Dryden’s children, Thomas Newton SIMS was not located in the 1880 census. Per descendants of this line, he married Margaret Ann BOUDINIER on 15 March 1878 in Appleton City in St. Clair County, Missouri. No known children were born to this couple before the 1880 census.

The Years After the 1880 Census

In The Matter of Dryden SIMMS Estate, J. W. WHEELER named Thomas SIMS and Lizzie KING (daughter of Dryden) as the heirs on 12 May 1881, a full year after the 1880 census in which his wife was listed as a widow. WHEELER was appointed the administrator of the estate as Dryden had not left a will.  There was no mention of the children who had remained in West Virginia when Dryden removed to Missouri in the late 1860s.9

John W. WHEELER was unable to find any property of any character whatever belonging to the estate and it was ordered that he be discharged of his duties on Friday, August 18th, 1882.10

Alfred Hansford SIMS, who appeared to be deceased at the time of the 1880 census turned up in Buchanan County, Virginia when he married Marinda Magdaline VANCE on 1 August 1898. Alfred was 59 and Rinda was 17. They had one son George William SIMS (1899-1942). In June 1901 during the flood on the Dismal River near Whitewood, Virginia, Rinda who was pregnant with her second child went out to grab clothes from the line when a falling tree hit and killed her and her baby. After the Dismal River flood Alfred moved from Buchanan County to Paynesville on top of Bradshaw Mountain in the Sandy River District of McDowell County, West Virginia. He died soon after and was buried in Vance Cemetery at Paynesville. His son was raised by the VANCE grandparents, Alexander and Betty Harmon Vance.11

William H. H. SIMS continued to live in Kanawha County with his wife Sabina with whom he had seven children.

William Henry Harrison SIMS and Sabena Hester McCARTY ca. 1890. Courtesy of Ronald W. HURLEY, 28 January 2002.

This photo of William and Sabena needs to be dated more precisely. Circa 1890 is the year Ron gave when he shared the picture with me over sixteen years ago.

William Henry Harrison SIMS abt. 1920. Courtesy of Ronald W. Hurley, 9 February 2002.

All of William and Sabena’s children married and only one did not have children. After Sabina’s death in 1911, William was found living with his granddaughter Minnie Rebecca VANDAL and her husband John H. ORD in 1920 in Clendenin, Mason County, West Virginia. He died in Kanawha City in 1921 at the age of 78.

Andrew Jackson SIMS, father of four, was widowed in 1887 and remarried twice more. First in 1888 to Celia BROWN. She gave him a son who died in 1890 at the age of 1 year. Celia died the following year. About a year later he married Mary Savannah KEITH who gave him four more children. The two oldest died the same day at the age of 4 and 6 in 1899. Jack died in 1915 at the age of 70 in Clay County where he had lived since his second marriage.

Mary Jane SIMS and Charles Marvin MORRIS were the parents of seven children, six living. Mary Jane was likely divorced from Charles before 1886 when she was seen marrying Ebenezer MILAM. Charles Marvin MORRIS died 31 March 1889; his death was reported by his step-mother Rhoda DARLINGTON, widow of William B. MORRIS and daughter of Dryden’s sister Jane SIMS. Mary Jane had four children with her second husband before being widowed in 1906. In 1910 she married her first husband’s first cousin Hillary Jones MORRIS, a son of Lenard MORRIS mentioned earlier. The marriage did not last as Hillary was seen marrying again in 1918 with his marital status being divorced. Mary Jane went back to using MILAM, her second husband’s surname. She died in 1936 shortly before her 85th birthday in Charleston, Kanawha County.

Nancy Elizabeth SIMS had ten children, eight of whom were living in 1900. Nancy died before the 1910 census, likely between 1904-1906. Her husband Andrew Jackson KING was found in the 1910 census but not in 1920 or 1930. He died in 1936 in Roscoe, St. Clair County, Missouri per his death record.

Between 1880 and 1894 Thomas Newton SIMS and his wife had seven children, one of whom died as a baby. Per a handwritten obituary found on a descendant’s tree, he was the father of ten, six were living when he died on 3 March 1896. The three children who pre-deceased him are unknown at this time. Also surviving him was one sister per the obituary. The person who wrote it did not know he had four siblings still living in West Virginia. Thomas’ death was likely attributed to blood poisoning he developed when he cut his leg with an ax while chopping wood according to his granddaughter Georgiana Rae EVERHART (1908-2005). The obit claims he had been in poor health for two years. Thomas’ widow moved to Henry County, Missouri before 1900, remarried about 1905, moved to St. Louis County, Missouri by 1910, and died there in 1927.

A nice collection of photographs of William H. H. SIMS and his family were shared with me by Ron HURLEY. I have only shared two of these in this post as the rest were not identified at the time. I plan on sharing the photos in a future post.

The last installment will be for George Washington “Wash” SIMS, the youngest child of James SIMS and his second wife.

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

Rewriting the Biography: Dryden SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  2. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film: 0029677, NARA Rol M19_198, Nicholas, Virginia, image 35+36 of 42, page 189A+B, line 17, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  3. R.C. and Beverly Bays Steele, Descendants of Thomas Bays (1798-1886), page 3. (https://books.google.lu/books/about/The_Descendants_of_Thomas_Bays_1798_1886.html?id=PYUxAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y : accessed 27 August 2018) 
  4. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, imagea 24 + 25 of 67, page 9, line 30, Dryden Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_963; Image: 304; Virginia, Nicholas County, Western District; image 63 of 93; Sheet No. 371A, lines 23-30, HH #412-412, Dryden Sims household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 April 2018). 
  6. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1365; FHL Film: 805365; West Virginia, Nicholas County, Nicholas District; image 80 of 118, Sheet No. 1004, Page No. 86, Lines 14-21, HH #770-578, Dryden Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 August 2018). 
  7. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_807; FHL Film: 552306; Missouri, St. Clair County, Chalk Level, image 15 of 22; Sheet No. 430B, Lines 19-23, HH #101-98, Dryden Sims household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 August 2018). 
  8. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 714; Missouri, St. Clair County, Monegan; image 23 of 27; ED No. 229, Sheet No. 317C, Page No. 23, LInes 24-28, HH #204-212, A. J. King household. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 August 2018). 
  9. “Missouri Probate Records, 1750-1998,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9LM-36NZ?cc=2399107&wc=QZ9D-HPN%3A1328143201%2C1328162674 : accessed 25 August 2018), St Clair > Administrator bonds, letters, settlements, 1867-1890, vol A5 > image 184 of 327 > right page > 1881 Dryden Sims administrator bond; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. 
  10. “Missouri Probate Records, 1750-1998,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99LM-3P6Z?cc=2399107&wc=QZ9D-7FH%3A1328143201%2C1328145386 : accessed 25 August 2018), St Clair > Probates, 1878-1888, vol D-E > image 209 of 684 > right page, 4th entry > 1882 Dryden Sims final settlement; Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. 
  11.  Quintin Dale Vance, Wanda Rizpah Green, Edna M. Horne, David Vance and family, published 1985, page 35. Quoted by one of the authors, Wanda Green (1937-2006) in an email received 2 December 2002. 

Rewriting the Biography: Charles SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

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

The three youngest children of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON were boys. The oldest of these was Charles SIMS (1815-1891), born two months before his father turned 61 years old. His mother was about 35 years old.

Courtesy of Paul Guttman (1 January 2002)

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

As with all of the youngest children of James SIMS, Charles was seen in his father’s household in 1820. He was five years old and one of two males under the age of 10 years. The other was the baby of the family, at that time, Dryden age two.

1820 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS

1820 U.S. Federal Census 1
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 19
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Dryden and Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Jane and Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Margaret and Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25: 2 (Isaac and Robert)
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 3
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25: 2 (Black Jude and Black Fanny)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total Slaves: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 17

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

In 1830 Charles was 15 years old and seen in the 15 thru 19 category. The second male in the same category is obviously an error as Dryden would have been only 12 years old. Occupations were not listed on the 1830 census. James was 75 years old and likely relied on Charles to help with much of the work on the farm.

1830 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (George W.)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (Dryden & Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 70 thru 79: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 1
Slaves – Males – 24 thru 35: 1 (Isaac?)
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total Slaves: 5
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 11

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

When Fayette County was formed in 1831  the Gauley River became the borderline between Fayette and Nicholas County from Belva to the point where the Meadow River joins the Gauley.

The land owned by James SIMS was “on the Gauley River” and the lines crossed the river twice placing part of his tract in Fayette County:

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 Thence 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 open line thence South seventy six poles crossing the river to the Beginning…

When Charles SIMS was first seen on the census with his own household in 1840 he was likely living on the part of his father’s land which was now in Fayette County. Two males were in his household. The second was likely his youngest brother George who was not with their father.

Charles and George were both unmarried at this time. Charles had two enslaved persons in his household: a young male under 10 and a female 10 thru 23. By 1836 James SIMS had disposed of all of his slaves. Of all of the SIMS households in 1840, this was the only one with slaves.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Charles SIMS

1840 U.S. Federal Census3
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 147, Line 6
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Charles Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (Charles and George?)
Slaves – Males – Under 10: 1
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total Slaves: 2
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

 

Courtesy of Paul Guttman (1 January 2002)

In May 1842 Charles SIMS and Minerva J. SUMMERS went to Gallia County, Ohio, where they were married on the 17th. What a story this would make if only the details were known. Both the groom and bride’s parents lived in Nicholas County. By 1850 Charles and Minerva were the parents of four daughters. Also in their household was Charles FOSTER, the orphaned son of Charles’ sister Sarah.

Eight consecutive households with SIMS families were listed in the 1850 census including Charles, his brother George W., their half-brother Martin and three of his married sons, as well as two married sons of their half-brother William. In 1816 Charles’ half-brothers Martin and William had acquired 260 acres which joined the land of their father James SIMS which explains why so many SIMS households were enumerated one after the other on the census.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Charles SIMS household

1850 U.S. Federal Census4
Fayette County, Virginia
The 14th District
Sheets 343A+B, Lines 40-42 and 1-4, HH #174-174
Charles Sims 37 M Farmer $500 Virginia
Manerva J. Sims 26 F Virginia
Mary J. Sims 7 F Virginia
E. K. Sims 5 F Virginia
E. L. Sims 3 F Virginia
Lydia Sims 1/12 F Virginia
Charles Foster 13 M Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Minerva gave Charles three more children during the 1850s, a son William L. and two daughters Mary F. and Ellen M. The four daughters who were born during the 1840s were still living at home. Charles was a farmer and his land was valued at $3000.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for the Charles SIMS household

1860 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, Virginia
Gauley Bridge Post Office
Sheet 290, Page No. 108, Lines 11-19, HH #799-733
Charles Sims 45 M W Farmer $3000 $500 Virginia
Minerva Sims 39 F W Virginia
Jane Sims 18 F W Virginia
Eliza C. Sims 15 F W Virginia
Elizabeth A. Sims 13 F W Virginia
Lydia Sims 10 F W Virginia
William L. Sims 7 M W Virginia
Mary F. Sims 3 F W Virginia
Ellen M. Sims 9/12 F W Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

The 1860s brought two more children into the SIMS household as well as two marriages, and eight grandchildren.

Charles and Minerva’s oldest daughter Margaret Jane married George Washington NICHOLS in 1861. She gave him three sons before dying in 1867.

Their second oldest daughter Eliza C. was 15 when she married her first cousin once removed Franklin Pilcher SIMS, grandson of William SIMS (Charles’ half-brother) about 1861. He was fourteen years older. Eliza gave birth to five children before the 1870 census.

Minerva gave Charles another son Aaron Floyd in 1862 and a daughter Sallie Tyree in 1867. Seven children were living at home in 1870.

1870 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls of Kanawha Township
Martin Hill, Assistant Marshall, enumerator.
Sheet No. 110B+111A, Page No. 32+33, Lines 36-40 and 1-4, HH #217-212
Sims, Charles 54 M W farmer $1500 $310 Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Sims, Minerva 48 F W housekeeper Virginia
Sims, Sarah 3 F W Virginia
Sims, Elizabeth 22 F W at home Virginia
Sims, Liddy 20 F W at home Virginia
Sims, William 16 M W Virginia
Sims, Mary 13 F W Virginia
Sims, Ellen 10 F W Virginia
Sims, Floyd 8 M W Virginia

Daughter Eliza was in Nicholas County with her husband and five children. Son-in-law George W. NICHOLS was living in Kanawha County with his three sons, a new wife and their six months old daughter.

George R. Penick Jr. (1921-1986), a great-grandson of Charles, compiled a family history in 1978-1980.  The compilation did not have a name – I call it The Penick Papers. Mr. Penick tells an interesting story recounted to him by two persons.

According to Mrs. Mary Ann Smith, Webster Springs, WV and to Mrs. Helen Nichols Kelley, Earth, Texas, they had 3 sons, William, Bernard??, and Charles Lee. Sometime after Margaret died Mr. Nichols took William and Bernard?? and went west. On the way his horses bolted and Bernard??, age 5, fell out of the wagon and was killed when run over by a wagon wheel. Mr. Nichols left Charles in West Virginia (with his grandparents in Swiss according to Mrs. Kelley – and with his Uncle Frank Nichols in Dixie according to Mary Ann Smith). His paternal grandparents probably lived in Dixie.

There appears to be a question in this story of the name of the son who was killed. The 1870 census listing shows William age 8, Charles age 6, and Irvin age 4. In 1880 William was found with his father in Missouri and Charles was with his uncle Franklin M. NICKOLS in Fayette County, West Virginia. The youngest son Irvin born about 1866 per the 1870 census may likely be the son who was killed at the age of 5. A marriage record for George and his second wife Elizabeth ESTES has not been found. On the 1870 census, she was listed as born in Missouri. Their daughter Mary C. was born in December 1869 in West Virginia. The column for married within the census year is not checked therefore they likely married before June 1869. George may have gone out to Missouri after he was widowed in October 1867, married Miss Estes, and returned with her to West Virginia. The trip west when the tragic death of the son took place must have been after the 1870 census. If in 1871, Irvin would have been 5 and likely the son who was killed which would match the story. The 1880 census shows George and his family were in Missouri by 1873, in the Indian Territory around 1875 and back in Missouri around 1878.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Charles SIMS with his youngest daughter Sallie Tyree SIMS. Courtesy of Paul Guttman (1 January 2002)

In 1880 the four youngest children of Charles and Minerva were living at home. Charles was still working as a farmer. Also in their household was Minerva’s widowed brother-in-law John McNUTT. His two children were living with their SUMMERS grandparents.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for the Charles SIMS household and Franklin SIMS household

1880 U.S. Federal Census7
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Sheet No. 2D, Page No. 4, Lines 24-30, HH #22-22
Sims, Charles W M 64 married Farmer WV VA VA
Sims, Minerva J. W F 58 married Wife Keeping house WV VA VA
Sims, Mary J. W F 23 single Dau At home WV WV WV
Sims, Ella M. W F 22 single Dau At home WV WV WV
Sims, Floyd W M 17 single Son Laborer WV WV WV
Sims, Sallie W F 13 single Dau At home WV WV WV
McNutt, John W M 62 widowed Boarder Civil Engineer WV VA ?

Charles and Minerva’s daughter Lydia had married Ezra Walker MORRIS on Christmas Day 1871 and had three sons.

Their son William Lancaster SIMS never married and died in 1875 in Louisburg, Miami County, Kansas.

Eliza and her husband Franklin Pilcher SIMS were living next door to Charles and Minerva with their six children, Franklin’s father William SIMS Jr., and his brother William V. SIMS.

Elizabeth Ann had married Johnson Reynolds HEDRICK in February 1880 and was living with him in Putnam County. He was a widower with six children still at home in 1880.

Before the 1900 U.S. Federal Census

In February 1882 Charles and Minerva’s son Aaron Floyd married Nancy Ellen “Nannie E.” CARPER. The following month their daughter Mary F. married her first cousin Joseph Andrew Dixon DARLINGTON, son of Jane L. SIMS and Joseph DARLINGTON. Their daughter Ellen also known as Ella Mae married Charles E. SMAILES in April 1883.

Following these marriages, only young Sallie was living at home with her parents. In January 1886, according to Mr. Penick, Sallie and John Samuel SIMMS took a steamboot from Montgomery, Fayette County, West Virginia to Catlettsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky to be married. I have not been able to find a marriage record to corraborate this story. John, a great-great-grandson of James SIMS, was Sallie’s first cousin twice removed.

Courtesy of Paul Guttman (1 January 2002)

Charles SIMS died 26 April 1891 and his wife Minerva J. SUMMERS died 9 August 1899. They are both buried in the Sims Memorial Church Cemetery in Swiss, Nicholas County, behind 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 James SIMS’ original 2-story log house.8

All census records and the marriage record for Charles SIMS give his name as Charles without a middle initial or name. Mr. Penick listed him as Charles Fulton SIMS and wrote “Birth & Marriage dates from Simms Family Bible. All of the handwritten Bible entries spell the name Sims.” It is not known if the middle name Fulton came from the Bible and Mr. Penick did not mention who owned it. As he is the only source for this middle name and I cannot substantiate it, I will continue to list him as Charles SIMS as seen on his grave marker.

The Remaining Children

Mary F. died at the age of 30 in 1887; Lydia Emmaretta died at the age of 65 in 1915; Ella Mae died at the age of 65 in 1924; Elizabeth Ann at the age of 90 in 1937; and Aaron Floyd died at the age of 78 in 1940.

Charles and Minerva’s youngest daughter Sallie Tyree SIMMS died at the age of 97 on 23 March 1964. The informant on her death certificate was her daughter Mae, mother of Mr. Penick. Sallie was the last living grandchild of James SIMS (1754-1845) and died 210 years after his birth.

The next installment will be for Dryden SIMS, the second youngest son of James SIMS and his second wife.

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

Rewriting the Biography: Charles SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  2. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film: 0029677, NARA Rol M19_198, Nicholas, Virginia, image 35+36 of 42, page 189A+B, line 17, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  3. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette page 147A+B, line 6, Charles Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  4. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_943; Images: 291+292; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 27+28 of 91, Sheets 343A+B, Lines 40-42 and 1-4, HH #174-174, Charles Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  5. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1344; FHL Film: 805344; West Virginia, Fayette County, District 1; image 94 of 118, Sheet No. 290, Page No. 108, Lines 11-19, HH #799-733, Charles Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  6. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1686; FHL Film: 553185; West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls of Kanawha; image 32+33 of 36; Sheet No. 110B+111A, Page No. 32+33, Lines 36-40 and 1-4, HH #217-212, Charles Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 August 2018). 
  7. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1402; West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 4 of 24, page 19, sheet 3A, lines 24-30, HH #22-22, Charles Sims household. “.” (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-94Y1?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 2 July 2018). 
  8. George R. Penick Jr., The Penick Papers (a Sims family history compiled in 1978-1980), pg. 13. 

Rewriting the Biography: Jane L. SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

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

The fifth child, fourth and youngest daughter of James SIMS and Elizabeth COTTON was born after the 1810 census, likely between 1810 and 1813. Jane SIMS was enumerated in 1820 age under 10, 1830 age 15-19, 1840 age 20-29, 1850 age 40, 1860 age 47, 1870 age 56, and 1880 age 67.

Her census analysis has not been easy. She lived long enough to be enumerated on the first census with relationships – the 1880 census. But how I wish the three before, from 1850 to 1870, also had the relationship to the head of household included.

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

Jane was born in Kanawha County before the creation of Nicholas County in 1818. In 1820 she was the baby girl of the family but had two younger brothers.

1820 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS

1820 U.S. Federal Census 1
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 19
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Dryden, Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Jane & Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Margaret, Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25: 2 (Isaac and Robert)
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 3
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25: 2 (Black Jude and Black Fanny)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total Slaves: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 17

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

In 1830 Jane was a young lady just under 20 and the only daughter still living in the household of James SIMS. She now had three younger brothers. Along with her parents and brothers, there were five slaves in the household, four less than a decade earlier.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS

1830 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (George W.)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (Dryden & Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 70 thru 79: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Elizabeth 46-49)
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 1
Slaves – Males – 24 thru 35: 1 (Isaac?)
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 2
Slaves – Females – 24 thru 35: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total Slaves: 5
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 11

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Jane SIMS married Joseph DARLINGTON, son of Benjamin DARLINGTON and Mary “Polly” JOHNSON on 25 August 1831. They were married by Rev. John JOHNSON. Her mother-in-law was the sister of her half-siblings’ spouses: Rev. John JOHNSON (md. Elizabeth SIMS), Susannah JOHNSON (md. Martin SIMS), and William JOHNSON (md. Nancy Ann SIMS).

The 1840 census was enumerated by visit and not in alphabetical order. Jane and Joseph were living next door to her father James. There were two men in the household who were engaged in agriculture, her husband Joseph and an unknown man who was also in the 20 thru 29 years old age range. Since their marriage in 1831, Jane had given birth to five children: three daughters and two sons.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James SIMS and Joseph DARLINGTON

1840 U.S. Federal Census3
Nicholas County, Virginia
Name: Joseph Darlington
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Benjamin)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (Joseph & ?)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Rhoda)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Mary, Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Jane)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

In 1850 we find the family living next door to Jane’s half-nephew Jonathan SIMS (son of her half-brother William) and her brother Dryden SIMS. Dryden was involved in the settlement of his father James’ estate which could mean that he and his sister Jane were actually living on the land which was part of the estate of James SIMS.

A naming pattern was seen when the names of the children were found in the 1850 census. Jane and Joseph had named their first four children after their parents:

  • Elizabeth after her maternal grandmother
  • Mary after her paternal grandmother
  • Benjamin after his paternal grandfather
  • James after his maternal grandmother.

These children were followed by Rhoda Ann, Lorenzo Dow, Catherine, Houstin, and David. The last two would be missing in the next census. Joseph was a farmer and his two older sons, Benjamin 14 and James 12, likely helped on the farm and were not listed with occupations.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for the Joseph DARLINGTON household

1850 U.S. Federal Census4
Nicholas County, Virginia
The 43rd District
Enumerated on 26 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet No. 371A (line 41-42) & 371B (line 1-9), HH #414-414
Darlington, Joseph 38 M W Farmer Virginia
Darlington, Jane 40 F W Virginia
Darlington, Elizabeth 18 F W Virginia
Darlington, Mary 16 F W Virginia
Darlington, Benjamin 14 M W Virginia
Darlington, James 12 M W Virginia
Darlington, Roda 10 F W Virginia
Darlington, Lorenzo 9 M W Virginia
Darlington, Catharine 7 F W Virginia
Darlington, Houstin 5 M W Virginia
Darlington, David 1 M W Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

In 1857 two of Jane and Joseph’s children married. Their oldest daughter Elizabeth married George PETTIT in January and their second son James F. married Mary Frances WHALEN in March. The PETTIT family was living near Dryden SIMS in 1860 while James and his family were likely missed.

Jane and Joseph were living near other SIMS families as well as Isaac SIMS, the enslaved man James SIMS had emancipated. Isaac owned land which bordered on the land of previously owned by James SIMS. There were, however, unoccupied households on both sides of the DARLINGTON family in 1860. This sets the household apart from the rest of the persons enumerated on the page. But perhaps this is not of great importance as the enumerator, as seen on other pages of the census, appears to have kept track of all unoccupied dwellings he visited in the area.

The members of the household in 1860 caused a lot of head scratching. Elizabeth and James, as mentioned, were married and no longer at home. Joseph and Jane were seen with eight children between the ages of 21 and 9. Rhoda, Lorenzo, and Catherine were carried over from 1850 to 1860 aging 10 years.

Missing on the 1860 census were Mary, Benjamin, Houstin, and David. New on the 1860 census were Rowdy M. age 21, Andrew D. age 15, Sarah A. age 13, Martha M. age 11, and Susan J. age 9? Are their ages correct? Why weren’t the first four found on the 1850 census? Could Andrew D. be the son David age 1 in 1850? If so, were the ages of the girls also off by up to four years? Was Jane the mother of these three girls or were they children taken in by the family? Sarah and Martha were not found in 1850 with the Darlington surname. The three girls were not found in 1870 nor in the register of marriages for Nicholas or surrounding counties.

And what of Rowdy M.? Was he supposed to be Benjamin? Rhoda Ann also went by Rhodie. Could there have been a mix-up in the name for the young man and Rhoda/Rhodie’s name was listed twice?

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for the Joseph DARLINGTON household

1860 U.S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, Virginia
Nicholas Court House
Page No. 100, Sheet No. 1018, Lines 28-37, HH #919-683
Darlington, Joseph 45 M Farmer $1100 $300 Virginia
Darlington, Jane L. 47 F Wife Virginia
Darlington, Rowdy M. 21 M Laborer Virginia
Darlington, Roda Ann 20 F Domestic Virginia
Darlington, Lorenzo 19 M Farmer Virginia
Darlington, Catherine 18 F Domestic Virginia
Darlington, Andrew D. 15 M LaborerVirginia
Darlington, Sarah A. 13 F Virginia
Darlington, Martha M. 11 F Virginia
Darlington, Susan J. 9 F Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

The 1870 census would not solve the questions caused by the 1860 census. Jane and Joseph’s oldest daughter Elizabeth must have died as her PETTIT children were found living with their DARLINGTON grandparents. George PETTIT, the father of the children, was in the previous household. Jane and Joseph’s son James also died in the 1860s, possibly in 1865 as his youngest child, a daughter was born in December 1865 and named Edith James. His widow and children were living with her mother in Fayette County. Lorenzo Dow married Jane “Jennie” NEAL in 1863 and was living in Kanawha County.

Only two children were living at home, Rosa and Dixon. Rosa is likely an error and should be Rhoda. She would be married with one child by 1880. Dixon age 15 would have been 5 in 1860 but there was no child this young in the family at the time. Would the 1880 census clear this up?

As in 1860, Joseph owned real estate, however, no record has as yet been found to document this.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia for the Joseph DARLINGTON household

1870 U.S. Federal Census6
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township
Page No. 8, Sheet No. 166B, Lines 8-14, HH #53-53
Darlington, Joseph 57 M W Farmer $700 $500 West Virginia male US Cit. over 21yo
Darlington, Jane 56 F W West Virginia
Darlington, Rosa 30 F W At home West Virginia
Darlington, Dixon 15 M W Farm Laborer West Virginia
Pettit, William 12 M W At home West Virginia cannot read & write
Pettit, Jane 11 F W At home West Virginia cannot read & write
Pettit, Elizabeth 10 F W At home West Virginia cannot read & write

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Jane was the informant for the death of her husband Joseph when he died on 1 February 1875. In 1880 Jane was living with her daughter Rhoda who had married the widower William B. MORRIS and was enumerated as his mother-in-law. Jane was three years younger than her son-in-law William. Rhoda and William had a daughter Valena Victoria born on 5 June 1876.

Also in the household was Joseph A. D. DARLINGTON age 25 and whose relationship to the head of household was brother-in-law. Is this the same young man as Dixon 1870 age 15 and Andrew D. 1860 age 15? Should the age in 1860 have been 5? Was he the youngest son of Jane and Joseph as the relationship to William Morris would suggest? Did he begin to use the first name Joseph after the death of his father?

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia for the William B. MORRIS household with Jane (Sims) DARLINGTON

1880 U.S. Federal Census7
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township
Enumeration District No. 105
Page No. 6, Sheet No. 98B, Lines 2-7, HH #39-39
Morris, William B. W M 70 married Physician WV WV WV
Morris, Rhoda W F 41 wife married Keeping house WV WV WV
Morris, Sarah J. W F 24 daughter single WV WV WV
Morris, Velena V. W F 3 daughter single cannot read & write WV WV WV
Darlington, Jane W F 67 Mother-in-law widowed cannot read & write WV WV WV
Darlington, Joseph A. D. W M 25 Brother-in-law single Works on farm WV WV WV

After the 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Jane SIMS, the widow of Joseph DARLINGTON, was not found in the 1900 census. She likely died after the 1880 census in a time period in which death records are sparse for Nicholas County. Where were her children?

Elizabeth had died between 1860-1870 leaving three known children and a widower. I had not been able to trace any of the children until I found a birth record for Elizabeth’s son William L. The date of birth matches that found on a death certificate for a man by the same name who died in 1942. An error was made by the son who declared his death, giving the informant’s mother’s name instead mother of the deceased. The name of the father was not known. The 1889 marriage record of William L. PETTITT and Maria SMITH included the names of his parents: George and Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s son had moved to the southern part of West Virginia, living in Mercer and Mingo counties.

Traces of Mary, Benjamin, Houstin, and David were lost after 1850. I had also lost Catherine after the 1860 census. With the recent find of Elizabeth’s son William, I searched for him in the Ancestry user trees and found a tree for him which includes his aunt Catherine. She married Rev. Anderson Marion NEAL in 1864 or earlier and they had ten children, eight living in 1900 per the census. A quick perusal of delayed birth records and death records for her children show their mother was a DARLINGTON with the middle name Jane, born in Swiss, Nicholas County. Swiss is the town in which James SIMS’ original land tract was located. Records for her family will have to be added to my database as this was found only hours before I was to publish this post.

James’ widow Mary Frances WHALEN died 13 December 1904 per records kept by descendants of this line. She lived Fayette County. The death records of three of the four children who lived to adulthood prove their parents were James DARLINGTON and Mary WHALEN. The death record (index only) of the fourth child who died in Chicago in 1908 does not include the names of his parents who were from West Virginia.

Rhoda who married William B. MORRIS before 5 June 1876 was widowed 5 May 1886 and reported his death. She was not found in the 1900 census. By 1910 she was living in the household of John S. DARLINGTON who had married her only child Valena. Rhoda died in 1915 at the age of 78 in Jefferson district of Nicholas County.

Lorenzo Dow lived in Jefferson, Nicholas County until his death caused by liver and kidney trouble in 1905 at the age of 64. He was the father of nine, four of whom died in infancy while the other five lived long lives dying in their 60s and 70s. His son John S. who married his sister’s daughter Valena lived to be 81 dying in 1952.

No trace of Joseph Andrew Dixon DARLINGTON was found after his marriage in 1882 in Kanawha County to his first cousin Mary F. SIMS (1857-1887), daughter of Charles SIMS and Minerva J. SUMMERS.

In the next installment Charles Fulton SIMS (1815-1891), the third youngest son of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON will be featured. Charles was the father of Mary F. SIMS mentioned in the previous paragraph. Perhaps while working on his census analysis I will pick up a trace of his son-in-law and nephew Joseph A. D. DARLINGTON.

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

Rewriting the Biography: Jane SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  2. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film: 0029677, NARA Rol M19_198, Nicholas, Virginia, image 35+36 of 42, page 189A+B, line 17, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  3. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, image 26+27 of 37, Sheet 10A+B, Line 9, Joseph Darlington. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  4. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_963; Images: 304-305; Virginia, Nicholas County, Western District, images 63+64 of 93, Sheet No. 371A (line 41-42) & 371B (line 1-9), HH #414-414, Joseph Darlington household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 August 2018). 
  5. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1365; FHL Film: 805365; West Virginia, Nicholas County, Nicholas, image 94 of 118, Page No. 100, Sheet No. 1018, Lines 28-37, HH #919-683, Joseph Darlington household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 August 2018). 
  6. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1870 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T132, 13 rolls, Roll: M593_1695; FHL Film: 553194; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 8 of 17, Page No. 8, Sheet No. 166B, Lines 8-14, HH #53-53, Joseph Darlington household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  7. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls, Roll: 1410; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 6 of 17, Enumeration District No. 105, Page No. 6, Sheet No. 98B, Lines 2-7, HH #39-39, William B. Morris household. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 August 2018). 

Rewriting the Biography: James SIMS Jr. in the U.S. Federal Census

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

James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON’s first known child was a son, James, born about 1801. James and Elizabeth were married in Bath County, Virginia, in October 1796 and moved to Kanawha County by 1800. This was where young James was born.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

James SIMS Jr. was the young boy under the age of 10 with his parents in 1810. He had by this time three younger sisters as seen in the analysis of his father James SIMS’ census records.

1810 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James Simms (top line)

1810 U.S. Federal Census 1
Kanawha County, Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 23
Name: James Simms
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (James Jr.)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Margaret, Sarah, Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Numbers of Slaves: 5 (Isaac, Black Jude, Black Fanny, Robert, and ?)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 11

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

By 1820 James was no longer showing up in the census with his parents. His half-brother William, the second oldest son of James Sr., was married with six children at the time of the 1820 census. Also in the household was a young man 16 thru 25 years old. Could this be James Jr.?

Two persons in the William SIMS household were engaged in manufactures. William may have been apprenticing his young half-brother James. William, as well as his brother Martin, were well-known rifle makers.

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

1820 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 17
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: William Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Jonathan & Edward)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2 (William Jr. & Jeremiah)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (poss. brother James)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Miriam)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Manufactures: 2
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 9

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

James SIMS Jr. married Elizabeth STANLEY in Kanawha County, Virginia, on 26 August 1821. By 1 June 1830, they had two daughters and a son. Their first child, Susan, if born after the date of marriage, should be seen here in the 5 thru 9 years range. Her age would continue to fluctuate in 1840 through 1860. James’ occupation was not indicated on this census listing.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James Sims Jr.

1830 U.S. Federal Census3
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sheet 213A&B Line 17
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James Wesley age 4)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (James age 29)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Seneth age 1)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Susan 1850 age 23, 1860 age 40)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 5

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

By 1840 the family of James and Elizabeth grew by two daughters and two sons. According to this listing, everyone in the family was engaged in farming except for two persons. They could only be the two youngest children who were under 5 years old. In the 30 thru 39 years range with James is a second male who remains unknown.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for Jas. Sims

1840 U.S. Federal Census4
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sheet 51A&B, Line 13
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (William and James)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 2 (James and unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Rachel and Seneth)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Susan)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 8
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 10
Note: Annotated ages are from the 1850 census.

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

In 1850 we finally see the names of the children of James and Elizabeth on the census sheet. Two more sons were born during the 1840s bringing the total children to nine. Only eight of these were living at home. The missing child was their oldest son James Wesley SIMS who married in October 1848.

James and Elizabeth’s daughter Nancy was enumerated as being deaf in 1850. This fact would later be useful in finding the 1860 census listing.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James Sims household (part 1)
1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James Sims household (part 2)

1850 U.S. Federal Census5
Kanawha County, Virginia
District No. 29
Enumerated by me, on the 25th day of June 1850, A.P. Fry Ass’t Marshall
Sheet 102A, Lines 39-42, Sheet 102B, Lines 1-6, HH #1476-1510
James Sims 49 M Farmer Virginia cannot read & write
Elizabeth Sims 47 F Virginia
Seneth Sims 21 F Virginia
Rachael Sims 18 F Virginia
Susan Sims 23 F Virginia
William H. Sims 16 M Laborer Virginia
Nancy Sims 12 F Virginia deaf
John E. Sims 10 M Virginia attended school within the year
Charles Sims 7 M Virginia attended school within the year
Daniel S. Sims 2 M Virginia

As mentioned above, James Wesley SIMS married in 1848 and was seen with his wife Sarah Jane HALL and their first child, a daughter Elizabeth. They lived next door to Sarah Jane’s parents and siblings and a little more than a dozen households away from James’ parents. James W. was working as a laborer and could not read and write.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for James W. Sims household

1850 U.S. Federal Census6
Kanawha County, Virginia
District No. 29
Enumerated by me, on the 24th day of June, 1850, A.P. Fry Ass’t Marhall
Sheet 101A, Lines 39-41, HH #1462-1495
James W. Sims 23 M Laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Sarah J. Sims 18 F Virginia
Elizabeth Sims 9/12 F Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

James SIMS and his family moved to Texas during the 1850s according to family tradition leaving only son James Wesley SIMS in (West) Virginia. This would mean the eight children seen in the 1850 census went to Texas with James and Elizabeth. Texas is a huge state. If the story is true, where in Texas did they settle?

Four of the children were found in two households in Colorado County, Texas. Nancy Jane, the youngest daughter who was seen as deaf in 1850, married John A. PIERCE in Colorado County in 1857. She was listed in 1860 as deaf & dumb. Next door are her brother John E., seen as Everete, her oldest sister Susan, and her brother Charles W.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Colorado County, Texas for John A. Pierce and Everete Sims households

1860 U.S. Federal Census7, 8
Colorado County, Texas
Columbus Post Office
Enumerated by me on the 9th day of July, 1860. George W. Breeding, Ass’t Marshall.
Sheet No. 146B, Lines 31-33, HH #412-391
John A. Pierce 32 M Gunright $1000 $450 Tennessee
Nancy Pierce 21 F Virginia deaf & dumb
Charles Pierce 10/12 Texas
Sheet No. 146B, Lines 34-36, HH #413-392
Everete Sims 20 M Farmer Virginia
Susan Sims 40 F Virginia
Charles Sims 19 M Virginia

Another SIMS marriage had taken place in Colorado County in 1852 placing the move from Kanawha to Texas at between 1850-1852. Rachel E. SIMS married James W. ALLEN on 11 September 1852. By 1860 they were living in Houston County, Texas, and had three children.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Houston County, Texas for the James W. Allen household

1860 U.S. Federal Census9
Houston County, Texas
Elkhart Post Office
Page No. 135, Lines 15-19, HH #960-886
James W. Allen 31 M Brickmason $250 $0 Tennessee
R. E. Allen 28 F Housewife Virginia
James W. Allen 7 M Texas
Mary Allen 3 F Texas
Julia Allen 1 F Texas

Three of the children of James SIMS Jr. were not located in 1860 or later census years: Seneth, William H. and Daniel S. Did they marry? Do they have descendants?

Where were James SIMS Jr. and his wife?

Where were James SIMS Jr. and his wife Elizabeth STANLEY? From the two marriages found in Colorado County, it can be assumed the family was in the county as early as 11 September 1852 when Rachel married. Unfortunately, the marriage records of both girls do not include the names of the parents or if they were living.

1860 Mortality Schedule of Colorado County, Texas (top of page)
1860 Mortality Schedule of Colorado County, Texas (bottom of page)

1860 U.S. Federal Census10
Colorado County, Texas
Schedule 3: Persons Who Died During the Year Ending June 1, 1860
Page 5, Line 32
Elizabeth Sims (59, female, widowed, born in Virginia, died in May of “rising in the head” after an illness of six months)

On Schedule 3, also known as the mortality schedule, of the 1860 census for Colorado County a widowed Elizabeth SIMS age 59 and born in Virginia was found. She died in May of “rising in the head” after an illness of six months. The dreadful “rising in the head” is also known as an ear abscess.11

As the children were found in this county it is possible this woman was James SIMS’ wife Elizabeth STANLEY. Her age is off by two years compared to the 1850 census but Virginia as her place of birth is correct. James SIMS likely died before her as she was listed as a widow.

The names found in Colorado County in 1860 match the names found in the SIMS family in 1850. Four of the children were found living together and/or next door. The daughter Nancy was seen as deaf in 1850 and deaf and dumb in 1860. Nancy and Rachel married in Colorado County.  Is this conclusive evidence that these SIMS in Texas were the James SIMS family formerly of Kanawha County in old Virginia?

The only child to remain in western Virginia was the oldest son James Wesley SIMS. In 1850 he had a daughter Elizabeth, likely named after his mother. She was no longer with the family in 1860. Although no record of death has been found in Kanawha or Putnam, it is assumed she died between 1850-1860. Two sons were born to Sarah Jane during the decade prior to the 1860 census. William James was born while they were living in Kanawha and Thomas was born in Buffalo in Putnam County where the family settled in the mid-1850s. James Wesley was working as a laborer at this time.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Putnam County, Virginia for the J. W. Sims household

1860 U.S. Federal census12
Putnam County, (West) Virginia
Buffalo Post Office (790)
Enumerated the 5th day of July 1860, W. E. Herndon, Ass’t Marshal
HH #630-553
J. W. Sims 33 M Laborer Virginia
S. Sims 29 F Virginia
W. J. Sims 7 M Virginia
T. Sims 2 M Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

James SIMS and his wife Elizabeth STANLEY died in Texas before the enumeration of the 1860 census. Three of their children have, up to now, not been located in 1860 or later: Seneth, William H., and Charles W.

Susan and her brothers, John Everete and Charles W., who had been living together in 1860 have not been found in the 1870 census or later. Charles W. SIMS was one of the 517 Colorado County men who were identified as Confederate soldiers.

Simms, Charles W. (private) age 19 in 1860; enrolled in Company A, 5th Texas Cavalry, on August 17, 1861 at Columbus; discharged for medical reasons, about October 1861; enlisted in Company F, 35th Texas Cavalry, on April 10, 1862; left with illness, April 24, 1863; returned to company; arrested by civil authorities in Brazoria County, May 1864; hospitalized in Tyler, October 15, 1864.13

Nancy Jane SIMS likely died following the birth of a daughter seen as Sallie age 2 in 1870 or in the period between the birth and the 1870 census. No death record has been found for Nancy Jane. She left a widower, two sons, and a daughter.

The only child of James and Elizabeth known to be living in Texas in 1870 was their daughter Rachel E. (SIMS) PIERCE. She was widowed and living in Nacogdoches County, Texas. Rachel was a challenge to research and without the help of one of her descendants, it may have never been known she was married 3 (proven) or 4 times and died in 1918 in Waelder, Gonzales County, Texas.

James Wesley SIMS who remained in old Virginia was a riverboat pilot who ferried soldiers and supplies from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Charlestown, Virginia, during the Civil War. Supplies were stored in Gallipolis, Ohio, just across from Putnam County were he lived.

A daughter Caroline had been born soon after the 1860 census. In 1864 his second son Thomas died of scarlet fever. After the war, James W. moved his family across the Ohio River to Gallia County, Ohio. Another daughter Melinda, named after the maternal grandmother, was born just before the 1870 census in Gallia. James and Sarah Jane would remain in the county until his death in 1897. The three living children married in Gallia County: James William in 1875, Caroline in 1879, and Melinda, who was known as Linnie, in 1896. James W.’s widow Sarah Jane lived with her youngest daughter until her death in 1910 in Coshocton County, Ohio.

Like Jeremiah, the oldest son of James SIMS (1754-1845), James Jr., the oldest son from James’ second marriage, left the family he grew up with. Jeremiah moved to Ohio while James moved to Texas. None of their descendants remained in the area the elder James SIMS chose for his family when he moved to the Kanawha area (later Nicholas County) at the turn of the 19th century.

Coming next, Margaret SIMS. She was my 4th great-grandaunt and the mother of my great-granduncle. How could that be?

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

Rewriting the Biography: James SIMS Jr. in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 23, James Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 17, William Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 67+68 of 84, page 213A+B, line 17, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  4. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029689, NARA Roll M704_566, Virginia, Kanawha, page 51A+B, line 13, James Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  5. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_954; image 207; Virginia, Kanawha, image 181 of 271, sheet 102A, lines 39-42, sheet 102B, lines 1-6, HH #1476-1510, James Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2018). 
  6.  Ibid., Virginia, Kanawha, image 179 of 271, sheet 101A, lines 39-41, HH #1462-1495, James W. Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 June 2018). 
  7.  1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_1291; FHL Film: 805291; Texas, Colorado, image 58 of 102, page 146, lines 31-33, HH #412-391, John Pierce household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2018). 
  8.  Ibid., Roll: M653_1291; FHL Film: 805291; Texas, Colorado, image 58 of 102, page 146, lines 34-36, HH #413-392, Everete Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2018). 
  9.  Ibid., Roll: M653_1297; FHL Film: 805297; Texas, Houston, Beat 12, image 9 of 9, page 276, lines 15-19, HH #960-886, James W. Allen household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2018). 
  10.  Mortality schedules of Texas (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880); mortality schedules of Utah (1870), (database with images), FamilySearch, Mortality schedules, 1850; 1860, Anderson County – Titus County (continued) (NARA Series T1134, Roll 54), Film 1421044, DGS 4206503, image 344 of 717, Texas, Colorado, page 5, line 32, Elizabeth Sims. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XXX3-WZ8?cat=343874 : accessed 27 June 2018). 
  11. Francis Marion Walters, The principles of health control, Revised edition, Boston: D.C. Heath & Co. (1920), pg. 329. (https://archive.org/stream/cu31924003704388#page/n343/mode/2up/search/rising+in+the+head : accessed 29 June 2018) 
  12.  1860 Census, Roll: M653_1373; FHL Film: 805373; Page: 790; Virginia, Putnam, Buffalo, image 2 of 8, page no. 86, lines 2-5, HH #630-553, J. W. Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 June 2018). 
  13.  Bill Stein, Dorothy Albrecht, Ernest Mae Seaholm, and Tracey Wegenhoft (compilers), Colorado County Confederate Soldiers, Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus, Texas; Originally appeared in Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 111-142; (http://www.columbustexaslibrary.net/local-history-and-genealogy-material/military-history/colorado-county-confederate-soldiers.html : accessed 28 June 2018) 

Rewriting the Biography: The Tragic Death of Phebe Sims

hebe was up earlier than usual to finish the daily chores before packing up half of the meal she’d prepared the night before. Barely forty years old and mother of eight children she wondered how she found the time to do all the things she needed to do during a day.

Sons William, just thirteen, and Martin, twelve, were already outside helping their father James. Elizabeth, eleven, was keeping the younger ones busy and would be caring for them while Phebe was away. Edward and John, eight and six, had been sent out, each with a bucket, to get water. Their mother knew as soon as she was gone they would slip out to the barn to play or to pester their father to let them help with the outside chores. They didn’t like to be cooped up in the house with their older sister and the babies.

Elizabeth could be trusted to keep Polly, three, out of mischief. Since the new baby’s birth, she was no longer the youngest and missed the attention she was used to getting.

Phebe sat in the rocking chair James had made her with the baby in her arms. She freed her breast from her bodice to feed Nancy Ann. While the baby suckled, her mother’s gaze took in the largest room of the tiny cabin. All seemed in order and as soon as Nancy Ann was finished she would be able to get on her way. After settling the baby in her crib, she wrapped a small triangular shawl around her shoulders and neck, tucking the ends into the low neckline of her bodice.

From a peg on the wall, she took her thick woolen hooded cloak. Her oldest child Jeremiah, sixteen, took it from her and draped it over her shoulders as she grabbed her riding gloves from the sideboard. Jeremiah was accompanying her on her visit to her neighbor and friend who was laid up with the same illness which had plagued the children of the family.

It was still early when they left the Sims cabin. Phebe’s horse carried her as well as the package with the stew for the family of her sick friend. Herbs she thought her friend would probably be running low on since the children had taken sick were bundled up in handkerchiefs and stashed away in the pockets hidden under her skirt.

Phebe and Jeremiah had decided to take the longer route crossing Jackson’s River at it’s narrowest and more shallow point. In the early morning hours, the lofty hills on both sides of the waterway were hidden by a rising mist.

As they approached the small cabin Phebe saw a man was busy hanging out the wash. Although the day promised to be sunny she knew the wash would be frozen stiff by the time he took it down later in the day. Her friend must not be doing well if her husband was doing the woman’s chores. Young Jeremiah would help the man with the barnyard chores while Phebe took care of the rest of the household tasks.

A fire was burning in the fireplace and the main room of the cabin was cozily warm. Loud noises were coming from the young ones being shushed by their sick mother.

Hours later Phebe reflected on the day as she once again wrapped the warm woolen cape around her old work dress of home-spun flax fiber and wool. Her skirt was full-flowing. She was glad to no longer have to wear hoops and had made the skirt with gathers around the waist instead of a bustle in the back. This made it much easier to ride horseback. She usually wore a wide sash around her waist but with all the work having to be done she’d worn an apron which covered the bodice and skirt. She’d lost much weight since the birth of Nancy Ann and the once tight long sleeves hung loosely to her wrists. She needed to take in the seams she’d let out during her pregnancy.

Jeremiah had fed and watered their horses in readiness for the ride home. Days were short and there had been more to do than expected. But her friend was on the mend and the rambunctious children didn’t appear sickly. Hopefully, their mother was the last of the household to be laid up. Phebe knew she would not have to come back to help and prayed her friend’s husband was immune to the illness. Men were never easy patients.

Phebe and Jeremiah mounted their horses. It was growing colder and both she and her son wanted to get home quickly. Nancy Ann would be fussing as she did not like to be fed by Elizabeth, enjoying the closeness to her mother in the evening hours.

Jeremiah slowly guided his horse into the river looking back to see his mother waiting on the bank. They were careful when fording the river. When her son was in the middle Phebe prodded her horse to enter the water. She walked it slowly and had barely reached the middle when the horse reared. Phebe held tight to the reins. The horse plunged forward kicking up its hind legs throwing Phebe into the icy water. Jeremiah had just arrived at the other bank and upon hearing the ruckus looked back. He saw his mother being pulled down under water by her heavy clothing. By the time he reached her, she had drowned.

John Dean, Sheriff of Bath County, called jurors to assist him in determining the cause of death of Phebe Sims. The twelve jurors were well-known in the county, several even being neighbors of the Sims family. William McClintic, although not known at the time, was the grandfather of Jeremiah’s future wife.

Sheriff Dean, who was also the coroner, met with the jurors in Widow Lewis’ two-roomed house on Wednesday, 22 January 1794. The seventy-two years old sheriff was grateful for the forethought of the court to have a warm room for the inquest proceedings. Bath County being young did not yet have a courthouse. During the first summer after formation of the county in December 1790 court proceedings were held under the large shade tree at the home of Margaret Lewis, the widow of Capt. John Lewis. Later in the year, they voted to pay Mrs. Lewis seven pounds for the use of her two-roomed house.1

John Dean and the jurors viewed the dead body of Phebe Sims. The jurors were charged to inquire on the part of the Commonwealth as to the manner in which she had come to her death. Obviously, they were satisfied with the when, where, how, and after what manner the death occurred as related to them by the only witness, her son Jeremiah. After hearing his testimony, the jurors delivered their conclusion concerning the cause of death to the coroner. “Phebe was accidently drowned occasioned by the horse whereon she rode rearing and plunging and throwing her into the water.

The above narrative is my depiction of my 5th great-grandmother Phebe’s last day. The coroner’s inquest took place in Bath County and I have taken the liberty to assume it may have been in the two-roomed house of Margaret Lewis.

The Coroner’s Inquisition

Closeup of the writing on the cover of the coroner’s inquisition report from Bath County, Virginia (photocopy of original)

Phebe Simms
Inquisition Taken
the 22nd of January
1794 Before John
Dean Gent. Coroner

Photocopy of original coroner’s inquisition from Bath County, Virginia, obtained before August 1995 through a professional genealogy researcher by Rose Mary Sims Rudy.

Bath County to wit

Inquisition indented taken at [place omitted] 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 [sheriff and coroner]

[Jurors]
Robt. Armstrong

William Morris
John Scott
John Bird
Andr. Baurland
Thomas Barber
Jas. Armstrong
Robert McClintic
William McClintic
Johannes Zumqualt
Paul Harpole
Adam Kimberlan

A Son Accused

But the story would not end here. A few months later John SCOTT, one of the jurors who signed the coroner’s report, accused the sixteen years old Jeremiah of causing the death of his mother.

Photocopy of original record

A scrap of paper with Jeremiah written in the upper right corner includes the following written by James SIMS to Col. Charles CAMERON:

Sir Please to Issue a Writ vs John Scott for saying my son was the Dam son of a Bitch that Drowned his Mother
[signed] Jas Sims
[to] Col C. Cameron

James defended his son and requested damages of one hundred pounds. Charles CAMERON issued an order for the sheriff to bring in John SCOTT on the second Tuesday of May in 1794 to hear the charges.

Photocopy of original record

Cover sheet:
Issued for Saying that Jeremiah Simms was the Damd Son of a Bitch that Drowned his Mother

Photocopy of original record

Inside:
The Commonwealth of Virginia, to the Sheriff of Bath County, Virginia:
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 next friend 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.
Signed: Chas Cameron

It is not known if James SIMS or his son Jeremiah ever received damages from John SCOTT.

The case in Judgment – Simms vs Scott was located in a file of old law cases for 1795 by Constance Corley Metheney, a professional genealogist. Mrs. Metheney sent photocopies of the original records to Rose Mary Sims Rudy in August 1995. She had previously found the coroner’s report for Rose Mary and wrote, “This does verify that the wife of James Simms had drowned and in this case it seems that John Scott had accused the son, Jeremiah Simms.”

The Years After Phebe’s Death

James, who was left with eight children aged between 16 and a few months, waited over two years to marry again. His young bride, Elizabeth COTTON, was likely only about 15 when they married in October 1796. She did not bear him a child who lived until around 1801, five years after they married. Was she too young or did she miscarry or lose babies before giving James eight children? Or did James leave his children from his first marriage in her care for a longer period of time while he went to Kanawha County to look into purchasing land and readying for the move to the area in 1800?

In the next installment, I will analyze the census records found for James SIMS Jr., the oldest child of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON.

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

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


  1. Morton, Oren F. Annals of Bath County. Staunton, Va., The McClure co., inc, 1917. (https://archive.org/stream/annalsofbathcoun00mort#page/108/mode/2up/search/lewis : accessed 13 June 2018) 

52 Ancestors: #37 Nancy Ann SIMS abt. 1793-bet. 1860-1870

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #37 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #37 Nancy Ann SIMS abt. 1793-bet. 1860-1870

My fourth great-grandmother Nancy Ann SIMS (1793-1860s) was the youngest child of James SIMS (1754-1840)  and his first wife Phebe (1755-1794). Their marriage record, which would show Phebe’s maiden name, has not been found. Old family lore, which has not been substantiated, tells of James marrying his cousin. This has led many on a wild goose chase as they only considered that she may have been a SIMS. It is believed that they married before 1777 in Culpeper County, Virginia, as this is where James was known to have been living.

On the 18th day of February 1834, James SIMS personally appeared before the Justice of the Peace of Nicholas County (who happened to be his son William) and gave an oath and made his declaration to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed 7 June 1832 for service rendered during the Revolutionary War. In the statement, he told of his living in Culpeper County in June 1777 when he was drafted.

declaration
James Sims Revolutionary War papers (ancestry.com accessed 7 Oct 2011)

James SIMS and his wife Phebe had seven children before their youngest, Nancy Ann was born about 1793 in Bath County, Virginia.

  • Sib 1: Jeremiah SIMS (1777-1824) born 24 May 1777 in Culpeper County, Virginia
  • Sib 2: William SIMS (1780-1854) born 6 November 1780 in Culpeper County, Virginia
  • Sib 3: Elizabeth SIMS (1782-1845) born 1782 in Culpeper County, Virginia
  • Sib 4: Martin SIMS (1783-1853) born about 1783 in Virginia
  • Sib 5: Edward “Ned” SIMS (1785-1852) born 7 June 1785 in Virginia
  • Sib 6: John SIMS (1787-1869) born 15 May 1787 in Virginia
  • Sib 7: Mary “Polly” SIMS (1788-1824) born between 1788-1792 in Virginia

On 17 December 1779[1] James and Phebe sold 118 acres of land in Bromfield parish, in the Great Fork of the Rappahannock River in Culpeper County, Virginia. The land had been acquired 30 October 1762[2] by Jeremiah SIMS and left to his only child James. It is not known if James and Phebe left Culpeper immediately for the area which would become Bath County, in 1790, where their youngest was born, or if they lived in different locations between 1780 and 1793.

Baby Nancy’s Mother Phebe Dies in a Tragic Accident

Nancy’s mother Phebe died shortly before 22 January 1794 in Clifton Forge, Bath County, Virginia. Nancy, who was seen as 66 years old in the 1860 census, was born in 1794 or earlier. It is more likely that she was born in 1793 and not during the early part of January 1794. 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. I cannot imagine the mother of a newly born baby leaving home to visit a sick friend. The story of the drowning has been verified 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.” There is no mention of who was traveling with Phebe when this happened.

MRIN02312 1794-01-22 Phebe Simms Inquisition 3
Bath County, Virginia records, Coroner’s Inquest Report. Photocopy of original courtesy of Rose Mary Sims Rudy, a descendant of James SIMS and Elizabeth COTTON through their son James SIMS Jr. (received per email 9 October 2001)
MRIN02312 1794-01-22 Phebe Simms Inquisition 4
Bath County, Virginia records, Coroner’s Inquest Report. Photocopy of original courtesy of Rose Mary Sims Rudy, a descendant of James SIMS and Elizabeth COTTON through their son James SIMS Jr. (received per email 9 October 2001)

Transcript of the Coroner’s Inquest

Phebe Simms
Inquisition Taken
the 22nd of January
1794 Before John
Dean Gent. Coroner

Bath County to wit

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Inquisition indented taken [illegible]
[illegible] 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

Nancy’s Brother Jeremiah is Accused of Causing Phebe’s Death

This was not the last that would be heard of Phebe’s death. Her oldest son Jeremiah SIMS was accused by John SCOTT of causing his mother’s death. His father James defended him and brought suit against Scott demanding damages of 100 pounds.

writ

Sir Please to Issue a Writ vs John Scott for saying my son
was the Dam son of a Bitch that Drowned his Mother
Col. C. Cameron                                              Jas. Sims

MRIN02311 1794-04-16 Jeremiah Simms court case 3MRIN02311 1794-04-16 Jeremiah Simms court case 4

A Stepmother for Nancy Ann

James SIMS married Elizabeth COTTON on 25 October 1796 in Bath County, Virginia. During the first 4 or 5 years of their marriage, they did not have any known children. James was making plans to move to Kanawha County where, in 1800, he bought land “lying & being in the County of Kanawha Containing one hundred & twenty three acres on Gauley River above the Ferry.” This would later be the location of Swiss, Nicholas County, West Virginia, where all of the children of the second marriage were born.

  • Half-Sib 1: James SIMS (1801-1860) born about 1801 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 2: Margaret SIMS (1801-1840) born between 1801-1804 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 3: Sarah SIMS (1804-1837) born between 1804-1806 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 4: Mildred “Milly” SIMS (1806-1882) born about 1806 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 5: Jane L. SIMS (1810-1880) born about 1810 in Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 6: Charles Fulton SIMS (1815-1891) born 13 August 1815 Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 7: Dryden SIMS (1818-1880) born about 1818 Kanawha County
  • Half-Sib 8: George Washington “Wash” SIMS (1821-1880) born about 1821 in Nicholas County

Nancy’s Siblings Marry Within Eight Years of Each Other

When Nancy’s father James and her stepmother Elizabeth were beginning to have children, her older siblings were marrying:

  • Martin SIMS married Susannah JOHNSON (1784-1840) on 28 March 1800 in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia[3]
  • Jeremiah SIMS married Sarah MILHOLLEN (1777-1838) on 26 November 1800 in Bath County, Virginia[4]. Jeremiah had not made the move with the rest of the family and would later move to Ohio.
  • Elizabeth SIMS married John Brown JOHNSON (1777-1861) on 2 June 1802 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
  • Edward “Ned” SIMS married Hannah Mary ROBINSON (1786-1858) on 8 August 1805 in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio
  • William SIMS married Elizabeth WINDSOR (1784-1852) before 1806 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia [William Sims was the son-in-law of Jonathan Windsor]
  • Mary “Polly” SIMS married John FOWLER ( -1808) on 28 February 1808 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia. She was widowed during the year and then married Thomas HUGHES (1778-1853) on 25 August 1809 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia

By the time that the enumerator came around visiting the families all of Nancy siblings except for John were married. Her father James did not have a young lady of her age in his household. I’ve studied all of her siblings’ census listings and only her brother William, the oldest of James’ children living in the area, had a female of the correct age group.

1810censussims
1810 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha (ancestry.com)

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

Nancy’s absence her in father’s household lead earlier researchers to assume that she married in 1810. This was not the case. Before she would marry it was her brother John’s turn. John SIMS and Mildred HUNTER (1790-1850) were married by Edw. R. HUGHES on 13 April 1811 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia.

Nancy Marries at about 21 Years of Age

Close to the end of the War of 1812 (18 Jun 1812-24 Dec 1814), Nancy Ann SIMS married William JOHNSON Jr. in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia, on 15 October 1814.  They soon started a family and by 1839 had eleven children:

  1. Nelson JOHNSON (1815-1855) born about 1815
  2. Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) born about 1817
  3. Alexander JOHNSON (1819-1887) born 10 June 1819
  4. Mary JOHNSON (1820-1898) born 20 August 1820
  5. John Brown JOHNSON (1823-1902) born 23 December 1823
  6. Amy JOHNSON (1825-1904) born 4 November 1825
  7. Lewis JOHNSON (1828-1845) born 6 March 1828. He died 31 August 1845 of typhoid fever.
  8. Elizabeth JOHNSON (1829-1833) born about 1829. She died at the age of 4 years of flux.
  9. William Hunter JOHNSON (1832-1899) born 27 July 1832
  10. Nancy JOHNSON (1835-1915) born August 1835
  11. Morris Houston JOHNSON (1839-1845) born 21 January 1839. He died 11 August 1845 of typhoid fever.

In 1824, Nancy lost two of her siblings. Her oldest brother Jeremiah, who had gone to Ohio soon after his marriage, died on 12 January 1824 in German Township, Clark County, Ohio, and was buried in Callison Cemetery in that township. Her youngest sister Polly, who had married Thomas HUGHES, died leaving 4 young children. It is very likely that she died in childbirth as her youngest was born about the time that she died.

After the birth in August 1835 of their tenth child Nancy, named after her mother, William and Nancy’s children began to marry. At the time they had only nine living children as four-year-old Elizabeth had died of flux about 1833.

  • Ch 1: Nelson JOHNSON married Elizabeth HUGHES (1817-1900) on 14 September 1837 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia
  • Mary JOHNSON married David Alexander MILLER (1820-1871) on 13 December 1839 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia[5]
  • Huldah JOHNSON married Robert INGRAM (1819-1902) about 1841 in Fayette County (West) Virginia

Another marriage that took place around this time was that of Nancy’s brother Martin who was recently widowed. Martin SIMS married Margaret “Peggy” HUGHES (1801- ) on 6 June 1840 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia

Typhoid Fever Epidemic in 1845

Nancy’s sister Elizabeth, wife of John Brown JOHNSON, died 1 June 1845 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia and was buried in Johnson Cemetery in Kincaid. Their father James SIMS died between 1840-1848 in Swiss, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

A typhoid fever epidemic is said to have been raging in 1845. This infectious, often fatal, febrile disease caused by the typhoid bacillus which is usually introduced with food or drink came to plague the JOHNSON family. The disease usually seen in the summer months, characterized by intestinal inflammation and ulceration, quickly took two of Nancy’s youngest boys. Morris Houston died on 11 August and Lewis followed him 20 days later on 31 August.

Nancy’s husband William JOHNSON died 18 December 1845 in Loup Creek, Fayette County, (West) Virginia and was buried in Nichols Cemetery on Loop Creek, also seen as Nichols Hollow Cemetery, Robson.

Following these deaths, the family moved on and there were several more marriages:

  • John Brown JOHNSON married Mary Ann SETTLE (1821-1896) on 14 July 1846 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia
  • Amy JOHNSON married Charles McClung HUFFMAN (1826-1913) in 1849 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
  • Alexander JOHNSON married Isabella HUGHES (1827- ) before 1850. He was living in Fayette County at the time of the 1850 census with his wife Isabella and their daughter Lucinda.

Nancy Moves to Sissonville with her Single Children

The 1850 census was enumerated as of 1 June 1850. Nancy, her son William Hunter and her daughter Nancy were missed on this census. Family tradition is that they moved about 1849 from Nancy’s farm in Fayette County to Grapevine in Kanawha County after the death of Nancy’s husband and their father. Nancy’s oldest son Nelson, a cabinet maker, had moved to Madison County, Missouri, before the 1850 census but would return to Kanawha County where he died in 1855.

Once Nancy was settled in Kanawha County the last of her children married:

  • Nancy JOHNSON married William B. MARTIN (1831-1920) on 7 September 1853 in  Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
  • William Hunter JOHNSON married Louisa Lavinia SAMUELS (1839-1884)  on 26 October 1856 in Sissonville, Kanawha County, (West) Virginia

Nancy’s brother John SIMS, whose wife had died after the 1850 census was enumerated, married(2) Elizabeth NEAL, a widow, (1794-1861) in Sept/Oct 1850 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia.

In the years that followed Nancy lost three more of her siblings: Edward “Ned” SIMS died 31 March 1852 in Cass County, Missouri and was buried in Orient Cemetery in Harrisonville; Martin SIMS died after 1853; and William SIMS died on 15 October 1854 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia. Only Nancy and her brother John remained.

Nancy lived with her youngest living son, William Hunter JOHNSON, and was seen in his household in 1860. Next door was her son Alexander and a few households away was her daughter Amy HUFFMAN.

1860censusjohnson1
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha > Sissonville > HH #787 and #788
1860censusjohnson2
1860 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha > Sissonville > HH #784

By 1870 we no longer find Nancy Ann SIMS with any of her children and it has been said that she died in the 1860s in the Poca District, Kanawha County, West Virginia. She may have predeceased her last living sibling, John SIMS who died 15 October 1869 in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Nancy Ann (SIMS) JOHNSON was survived by her children Huldah INGRAM (died between 1880-1900); Alexander JOHNSON (died 8 Apr 1887 in Sissonville); Mary MILLER (died 4 Mar 1898 in Legg District, Kanawha County); William Hunter JOHNSON (died 6 January 1899 in Sissonville); John Brown JOHNSON (died 30 Jul 1902 in Clifton, Kanawha County); Amy HUFFMAN (died 28 Feb 1904 in Sycamore, Clay County); and Nancy MARTIN (died 1 December 1915 in Sissonville). She was also survived by five of her eight half-siblings: Milly SETTLE, Jane DARLINGTON, Charles Fulton SIMS, Dryden SIMS, and Wash SIMS.

Sources:
[1] Culpeper County, Virginia, Land Records, Deed Book H, 1775 – 1778, pages 475-477
[2] Culpeper County, Virginia, Land Records, Deed Book D, 1762 – 1765 c, pages 547-550 (digital copies of photocopies)
[3] Larry Heffner, email dated 10 August 2004 in reply for request of information on marriage papers of Martin Sims and Susanna Johnson in the archives of the Greenbrier Historical Society
[4] Eliza Warwick Wise,  Bath County Marriage Bonds and Ministers Returns 1791-1853, (Bath County Historical Society, Inc. 1978)
[5] Sissonville A Time to Remember, The Sissonville Historical Awareness Committee of The Sissonville Village Association, 1988, pg. 108  (http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvkanawh/Sissonville/index.html)

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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
Botetourt
Examined
& 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
                                                                             her
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
His
James      X      Sims
Mark

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
Pensioner
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
Witness
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
Witness
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:

A PETITION FROM NICHOLAS COUNTY, VIRGINIA
TO GRANT PERMANENT RESIDENCE TO ISAAC SIMS
1836[40]

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.

Children of JAMES SIMS and ELIZABETH COTTON are:
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 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). Information transferred to http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohclark/cemetery/callison.htm
[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.