Rewriting the Biography: The Livelihood of James SIMS (1754-1845)

After working on the census records of James SIMS and his sixteen children I’m taking a break from researching this family. But before we put them to bed for a while, I would like to share information from a post I wrote in 2015 as a guest blogger on Mark Smith’s blog Hampshire County Long Rifles. 

When Mark requested permission to re-post the biography of James SIMS I’d written in 2002 on his blog, I came up with a different idea. I suggested writing a shorter piece on James SIMS and his sons’ work as gunsmiths. It was a wonderful opportunity to focus on an aspect of my ancestor’s life which I knew little about. The original post can be found here: James Sims (1754-1845), Gunsmith of Nicholas County

The Livelihood of James SIMS (1754-1845)

Several articles written between 1883 and 1983 tell of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS being a gunsmith and blacksmith, however, I would like to begin with an interesting document found which gives another source of income.

The Kanawha Wilderness

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

In the early days when James SIMS lived in the wilderness of western Virginia, the county court of Kanawha offered a bounty for scalps of wolves. On 8 June 1802, James SIMS and his son William SIMS were seen on a list of men who received $2.50 for each wolf-scalp presented.1 These payments were part of the routine work of the Kanawha County court as seen in the record book of the period.

Record Book of Kanawha County, Virginia

There is no mention of how the wolves were killed – by using pits or snares or by gun or other methods. However, Mrs. Ruberta Malva “Bertie” SIMMS WICKER (1871-1971), a daughter of Miletus SIMMS (1832-1927), wrote a three-page letter to Rev. Shirley DONNELLY in 1969, which included the following:2

His (Miletus’) grandfather, William Sims, was a fine gunsmith and lived at the mouth of Little Elk, now Swiss, W. Va. There the family built a log cabin that was two stories high. It had a little ladder arrangement in one corner, where they could climb up to shoot at the wolves which prowled through there at that time. I remember the house very well as I am now 97 years old.

James SIMS gives a new rifle gun to a substitute

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

In 1835 James SIMS was 80 years old. He sent this statement (letter of reply) to the Pension Bureau following questions of the authenticity of his claim of being a veteran of the Revolution. James states he gave a new rifle gun and $500 in continental money to one William NOLL whom he hired as a substitute, most likely about 1775 as James was born in 1754 and was about twenty or twenty-one at the time.

Was NOLL the name he meant to give in the statement? Could the substitute have been a NALL or NALLE?  Perhaps his uncle William NALLE or a NALLE cousin? Was the new rifle given to the substitute one of the first James manufactured as a young man?3

MRIN02312 James Sims RW 27 croppedJames Sims Pensioner Servd 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 of my 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 Tutt (don’t recollect the names of his subaltern officers) Capt Tutts 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 witness of all which I hereto subscribe my name. Jany 10, 1835
His
James      X      Sims
Mark

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

Although James SIMS’ service during the Revolutionary War was not accepted as proof for a pension, the Daughters of the American Revolution have accepted his “providing supplies” and approved him as a Revolutionary War patriot. Were the supplies he provided arms of his own making?

Memoirs of Col. Campbell

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 justice of the peace and traveled 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 traveling 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. They were published in the Chronicle in 1883.4

As James SIMS had died only 35 years before Col. Campbell’s memoirs were published, one can imagine they had known each other well enough for the Colonel to write the following without embellishing.5

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.

An old plug horse and a muzzle-loading rifle

In 1926 J.T. Peters and H.B. Carden, authors of History of Fayette County, West Virginia, wrote that William SIMS, one of the older sons of James SIMS, was a gunsmith of wide fame. They also related a story likely heard from James’ great-grandson Miletus SIMS who was living at the time.6

James Sims, great-grandfather of Miletus Sims (who is now living at Swiss and is 94 years of age), came from Culpepper county, Virginia, in 1795, and bought a 600-acre tract of land from Morris and Jones for which he paid on (sic, one) old plug horse and a muzzle-loading rifle. This tract of land was partly in Nicholas and partly in Fayette county.

No court record of the above transaction has been found. The only land James acquired and retained until his death was the 123 acres of land on Gauley conveyed to him by John JONES for the sum of five shilling on 8 April 1800.7

1800 Land Deed John and Frances Jones to James Sims

Descendants who owned Sims guns

After Indians were driven away from the Kanawha valley about 1794, gunsmiths and hunters were still in demand in this region because of the abundance of wolves, bears and other wild beasts.

Among the gunsmiths and hunters of the period were James Sims of Gauley river and his son, William. 

And so begins newspaper reporter William H. Maginnis’ article written for The Charleston Gazette in 1947.8 Several descendants of James SIMS who owned rifles were interviewed by the reporter.

No known gun made by James had preserved according to Maginnis although several made by his son William, who learned the trade and took over the business from his father, were known to exist and were owned by the following descendants. [Note: Near the turn of the twentieth century several lines down from James SIMS began using SIMMS, with a double M, instead of SIMS for their surname.]

Agnes Eugenia “Jean” SIMMS (1897-1965), the 2nd great-granddaughter of James through his son Charles and the 3rd great-granddaughter of James through his son William, is seen here holding a rifle and a toothpuller made by her ancestor William.

Newspaperarchive.com : accessed 15 February 2006

Mayme Hazel SIMMS (1897-1984), a great-granddaughter of James through his son Charles, got her gun from her father Aaron Floyd SIMMS (1862-1940).

Cecil Ray SIMMS (1897-1979) also owned a Sims gun. Like Mrs. WHITE he was descended twice from James SIMS, a great-grandson through son Charles and a 3rd great-grandson through son William.

The Hughes family on Bell Creek near Swiss also owned one of these family treasures. James SIMS had two daughters who married HUGHES men but only the male descendants of Peggy who married Matthew HUGHES remained in the Swiss area.

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

Mr. Maginnis thought it probable that James SIMS, a native of Culpeper County, may have learned the blacksmith and gunsmith trades before 1780 in Falmouth or Fredericksburg, both in Stafford County, Virginia. Fredericksburg was a center of the iron industry in colonial times.

The reporter also spoke with Eugene Norton SIMMS (1864-?) before his death. Eugene’s father Miletus SIMS (1831-1927), who was about 14 years old when his great-grandfather James SIMS died, described him as “a physical giant, fair of complexion, a great hunter and woodsman and inclined to thrift. He built the best house on Gauley in those days – two story, hewn oak logs and a massive chimney.” 

Sims rifle compared to Honaker and Carper rifles

Rev. Clarence Shirley Donnelly (1895-1982) wrote a well-known column in the Beckley Post-Herald titled “Yesterday and Today.” Several of his columns mentioned James SIMS, his descendants, and his enslaved people.  One of these compared the SIMS rifle with several other fine rifles produced by well-known gunmakers in the area.

His rifles became noted and won an enviable reputation. Some years ago, one of these guns was shown to me but they now have all but disappeared from local circles. The Simms rifle ranked with the fine rifles produced in Raleigh County by James A. Honaker, J. B. Honaker, Joseph Carper, and Samuel Carper, as well as the Henderson rifles of Summers County and the Miller rifles of Monroe County.

Rev. Donnelly wrote of Nicolas County being the early stomping ground of the SIMS family and that James brought enslaved persons and the tools of his blacksmith and gunsmith trades with him when he came with his large family to the area before the county was formed from Kanawha County.9

A plug horse and a flintlock rifle

Lela Wolfe Prewitt who compiled genealogy information on the SIMS families of Culpeper County, Virginia, included an interesting family tradition in her work. It tells of James SIMS, learning of the illness of his dear cousin Frances SIMS, wife of Joshua MORRIS, going to Kanawha Valley about 1796.10

Following her death (Phebe), James Sims married Nancy (sic, 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.”

Frances SIMS was the daughter of Thomas SIMS Jr. and Mary NALLE. The statement of Frances and James being cousins should not be misconstrued as they were not cousins through their paternal SIMS side. Frances and James were first cousins through their maternal lines – Mary NALLE being a sister of James’ mother Agatha NALLE. After proper analysis, this part of the story appears believable.

However, once again the old plug horse and rifle are seen as part of the land deal.  Since the 1926 telling, the acreage has decreased from 600 to 500 acres in this version but is still four times the amount of land seen on the 1800 deed. Did the story originate in 1800 when James bought the land? Did he offer a horse and rifle instead of hard cash for the land he bought from JONES? Or did Melitus SIMS elaborate on stories told by his father William Jr. or his grandfather William Sr.?

Others who mentioned rifle making

In the late 1970s, George R. Penick Jr. noted that James SIMS moved to Bath County, Virginia, about 1787 where he engaged in rifle making.11

In 1983 James P. Whisker, author of several books on gunsmiths, wrote he had never seen a Sims rifle but heard of them through Rev. Donnelly’s writings.12

Mountain rifle made by William SIMS

Rose Mary Sims Rudy related the following to me in 2002 about a gun known to be in the possession of a descendant in 1993.

I used to correspond with a “relative” who has since died (1998). He sent me this photograph of the “Mountain Rifle that William (Billy Gunsmith) Sims made.” It was in his possession at the time the photo was made in 1993. We talked just before he died and he was giving it to his son!! He was responsible for securing a grave marker for our ancestor James – the date was assumed to be 1838. In correspondence he stated “his great uncle Eugene Simms reported that James was still drawing his RW pension when he died.” He says that the Mountain Rifle has been in the family for many years passed to him by his grandfather and father. William Sims is written on the barrel. His father once told him of a wild hog chasing him up a tree and his brother coming to his rescue with this gun.

1993 photo courtesy of Rose Mary Sims Rudy

Once again a story passed down in the family is in error. James SIMS was not drawing a pension for military service during the Revolutionary War. However much the stories differ from the records found, the rifle theme seems to be consistent from as early as 1883 when Col. Campbell wrote:

He was a gunsmith and blacksmith, and did but little farming.

Occupations on the census

Col. Campbell was a witness from the time James SIMS and his son William SIMS lived while the other persons who wrote about them were not and relied on information passed on to them.

Another source which comes to mind which includes occupations would be the census.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for William Sims, a gunsmith

William SIMS Sr. lived long enough to be enumerated on the 1850 census where his occupation was listed as Gun Smith.13 Previously in 1820 and 1840 when professions were included on the census, he was seen as engaging in manufacturing. His brother Martin SIMS supposedly set up a gun and blacksmith shop with him in Summersville. I have not found the source of this statement or been able to confirm it. In 1820 Martin was seen as engaging in manufacturing on the census while in 1840 and 1850 his employment was farming. Their father James probably turned the business over to William, and perhaps Martin, by 1820 as James was seen employed in agriculture in 1820 and 1840.

Tools of trade in an inventory?

What other documentation would possibly prove the occupations of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS? An inventory of his estate might include the tools of his trade.

In the Order Book 1844-1871 of Nicholas County, I found entries concerning the appraisers of the estate of the deceased James SIMS as well as an entry made when the appraisement and bill of sale of his estate were presented to the court and ordered to be recorded. Where were they recorded? They were not found in Will Book 1. The book is incomplete. There is a gap between the terms of April 1844 and November 1865 with only one entry for October 1856. Two decades of records which should have been recorded in the will book are missing.

I questioned other researchers familiar with Nicholas County earlier this year. One person who had visited the courthouse said at least two will books are missing and the clerks are unsure of what happened to these books.

James SIMS earned his living as a blacksmith, gunsmith, and farmer as seen in the records, the memoirs of a witness from his time period, and the stories passed down through the family. He also supplemented his income by collecting a bounty for a wolf-scalp. Was this the only time he collected a bounty? Being a great hunter, he likely also secured the necessities of life by hunting game and selling hides.

Regarding the artwork featured in this post

After I wrote the original post for Mark Smith in 2015, he gifted me the original sketches he had commissioned from his artist friend Jeff Prechtel to illustrate the article. Written permission was obtained earlier this year from Jeff Prechtel to use the images of the original sketches.

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

Rewriting the Biography: The Livelihood of James SIMS (1754-1845)

  1.  Kanawha County, West Virginia, County Court Record Book, 1788-1803 (images), FamilySearch (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1967), FHL Film 530753, DGS 8218841, image 218 of 291, p 395. 1802 James Sims and William Sims on wolf-scalp bounty list. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSG6-X9SZ-Q?i=217&cat=55519 : accessed 13 September 2018). 
  2. Rev. Shirley Donnelly, “Yesterday And Today – Hinton Woman, 97, Writes Well, Spells,” Beckley Post-Herald, Thursday, 9 January 1969, p 4. 
  3.  U.S. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900 (index and images), Ancestry (Original data: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls. National Archives, Washington, D.C.), image 243 of 1164. Pension Application File SR19464 for James Sims. (www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 October 2011). 
  4. Edward Campbell, “Early Settlers of Nicholas County, Virginia,” Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers 1818-1860, Upper Glade, West Virginia, Webster County Historical Society, Inc., 1985., p 54. 
  5. Ibid., p 63. 
  6. J.T. Peters and H.B. Carden, History of Fayette County, published by the Fayette County Historical Society, Inc., 1926, p 610. 
  7.  Kanawha County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Record of deeds, 1790-1946 (images), FamilySearch, (126 microfilm reels of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia), Deed books, v. A-B 1790-1804, image 206 of 468, Deed Book A, p 91. 1800 Land Deed John and Frances Jones to James Sims. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSG6-FSQG-6?i=205&cat=56556 : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  8. William H. Maginnis, “Guns Made by Pioneer on Gauley River, Mute Testimonials of Settlers’ Lives” (The Charleston Gazette, Sunday, 10 August 1947 p. 20). (Newspaperarchive.com : accessed 15 February 2006). 
  9. Rev. Shirley Donnelly, “Nicholas County Had Fine Gunsmith, Too,” Beckley Post Herald, 24 September 1965, page 4. 
  10. Lela Wolfe Prewitt, “James Sims of Culpeper, Fayette & Nicholas Cos., (West) Virginia,” Ancestors & Descendants of Thomas Sims of Culpeper County, Virgina Edmund Butler of Virginia and Kentucky with Allied Families & Other Culpeper Data, compiled and published by Lela Wolfe Prewitt, Fairfield, Iowa, 1972, p. 156. 
  11. George R. Penick Jr., comp., The Penick Papers (a Sims family compilation) (compiled in 1978-1980). 
  12. James P. Whisker, Gunsmiths of West Virginia, 1983, page 105. 
  13.  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, Virginia, Nicholas County, District 43, sheet 360A, lines 33-35, HH #272-272, William Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 April 2018). 

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 3

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

If you missed the first installments, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Isaac Sims, a Free Man

As seen in the petition drawn up and signed by the residents of Nicholas County, Isaac Sims was considered trustworthy and industrious. He was allowed to reside in Nicholas County where he remained until his death.

Several newspaper articles have been written about Isaac Sims. Some of the information in these articles may have been word of mouth or the storyteller laid it on thick.

Isaac Place On Gauley Settled By Old Slave, a newspaper clipping that was shared with me, does not have a date or name of the newspaper. I believed that it was written before 1951 as it was clipped by Edward Sims (1878-1953), a great-great-grandson of James Sims.  Similar information was found in several articles written by Clarence Shirley Donnelly (1895-1982) in his daily column “Yesterday and Today” for the Beckley Post-Herald.

As the wording of the first article was so similar to Mr. Donnelly’s later writings I searched again for the original source of the information. And I found the same article with a slightly different title, History of “Isaac Place” – A Bit of Pioneer History Relating to Slavery. It was contributed (unknown date) to the Nicholas Republican by A. J. Legg and reprinted in the Raleigh Herald on 4 February 1916. The Nicholas Republican was a weekly paper which started up in 1903. I could not find it on the Newspaper Archives or Chronicling America.

Yesterday Amy from Brotmanblog: A Family Journey wrote this comment:

I do wonder how Isaac managed to obtain the money necessary for emancipation. Did James pay him wages?

I haven’t found documentation to prove this but the pioneer history by A. J. Legg gives a good account of how Isaac (may have) earned the money to buy his freedom.

1916 History of Isaac Place A Bit of Pioneer History Relating to Slavery
The Raleigh Herald (Beckley, West Virginia), Friday February 4, 1916, page 2, column 1 (bottom) and 2 (top). [http://newspaperarchive.com/ : accessed 26 Feb 2015]
I did find one record that confirms that Isaac, when he was still a slave, was allowed to have business dealings. When the storekeeper Mr. Landcraft died his store inventory and appraisal were received and recorded by the Fayette County court at the September 1834 term. Isaac’s account is included on this list, two years before he was emancipated.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-57447-29?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 26 February 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 26 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

On 20 October 1837 Isaac Sims was granted 17 1/2 acres of land in Nicholas County on both sides of the Gauley River.

By 1850 Isaac was seen on the census in the household of James Sims’ son-in-law Mathew Hughes, widower of Margaret Sims. Next to Isaac’s name in parenthesis is the word Free. His real estate, the 17 1/2 acres he was granted in 1837, are valued at $87.

1850census
1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > 43rd District > Sheet No. 371A > HH #407-407 [ancestry.com]
In 1855 Isaac bought several items at the estate sale of Joseph McNutt. Sadly, also on McNutt’s inventory were Isaac’s children George Addison and Harriett Jane. The estate items sold are found following the inventory however the fate of Isaac’s children is not mentioned. Tradition is (also seen in article above) that they were bought by Robert L. Neil, husband of Jenetta McNutt, a daughter of Joseph McNutt.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-57923-52?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 26 February 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 273 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

In 1860 and in 1870 Isaac Sims was listed on the census in his own household. He did not have anyone living with him. In 1870 he was listed as a mulatto instead of a black person as seen in 1850 and 1860. His real estate was valued at $1000 in 1860 and $500 in 1870; his personal estate was valued at $200 in 1860 and $400 in 1870.

Isaac Sims died before 9 Jun 1875 leaving a last will and testament in which he lists more land that he acquired after the 17 1/2 acres in 1837. He left the land to Robert L. Neil in exchange for his supporting Isaac’s granddaughter Rebecca Jane (Sims) Johnson. He also named Mr. Neil his executor. I have not transcribed or extracted all facts from the will.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-22175-57?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5MS:179686001,179686002 : accessed 26 February 2015), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 90 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia. and
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-22099-66?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5MS:179686001,179686002 : accessed 26 February 2015), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 91 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

Rebecca Jane Sims, daughter of one of Isaac’s two children, was raised in the Robert L. Neil family. She was listed as a mulatto on the 1870 census in his household. She married David Johnson on 1 May 1874. It is possible that the 5 year old mulatto child named Myrta E. Johnson, living in the Robert L. Neil household in 1880, was the daughter of Rebecca Jane who died in childbirth on 1 November 1878 as reported by her neighbor Robert L. Neil.

I have not been able to locate Rebecca’s husband in 1880 or later. No trace of Myrta E. Johnson, who I believe was Isaac’s great-granddaughter, has been found.

Hopefully, if Tom, Juda, George, Jinncy, Jude, Fanny, July Hulen, Robert and Isaac Sims’ lines did not die out, a descendant will find this and be able to fill in the missing pieces in their family tree.

My blog sister True A. Lewis of NoTe’s To MySeLf… commented on my post:

“It’s Honorable to do… You’re RELEASING their Names and their Souls for their Descendants to hopefully find them one day. Every time this Happens they are Rejoicing. They have been in a book or what have you for so long.”

True’s statement about this being honorable may change people’s minds about sharing what they might be ashamed of.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 2

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

If you missed the first installment, go here.

Isaac Sims, a Slave

James Sims to Isaac Sims Deed

By March 1836 James Sims had disposed of all his real and personal estate including his slave property except for his Negro man Isaac who he intended to emancipate and set free. The steps he took were not as easy as one would think.

James had a deed drawn up detailing the conditions. Isaac had to pay James $150 in three instalments of $50 for his freedom. This sounds like a lot however he continues to note that if he (James) should die before all three instalments were paid Isaac would not have to pay the rest. Further if Isaac should die before him then James would use the monies received for Isaac’s children who were mentioned in this document as was their deceased mother Emily.

MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 1MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 2MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 3 cropped“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”

Isaac Sims Manumission Letter

Below the “Information” sign at the Nicholas County Courthouse in Summersville, West Virginia, there is a framed letter written by James Sims freeing his slave named Isaac.

Isaac Simms emancipation
Photo © Rock Foster. Used with permission.

Sims Manumission Letter-1836

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”

Petition to Grant Residence to Isaac Sims

Nicholas County residents signed a petition to the Legislature of Virginia to grant permanent residence to Isaac Sims. The original can be found in the archives division of the Virginia State Library. It reads as follows:

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

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
[Source: Webster County Historical Society, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers, 1818-1860. Upper Glade, West Virginia, Webster County Historical Society, Inc., 1985. 929.3 N597w.]

Isaac Sims, a Free Man

continued in Part 3…..

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 1

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

My 5th great-grandfather James Sims (1754-1845) of Nicholas County, (West) Virginia was a former slaveholder at the time of his death. Over a dozen years ago I had the privilege to work with several other researchers who shared their information and documentation that I used to write a detailed biography for James SIMS in 2002.

James, born in Culpeper County, reportedly brought eighteen slaves with him to Nicholas County (then Kanawha County) when he moved there from Bath County, Virginia, sometime around 1798-1800. The number may be exaggerated as he had 5 slaves in 1810, 9 slaves in 1820, 5 slaves in 1830, and 1 in 1840.

The known names of nine slaves owned by James SIMS are:

Tom, Juda and George

Jeremiah SIMS, the father of James SIMS, wrote his will on 4 March 1768, it was probated on 18 August 1768 in Culpeper County, Virginia. In his will he left one half of his estate to his wife Agatha and the other half to his son James. There was no mention of slaves in the will however the inventory returned to the court on 19 October 1769 listed:

One Negro man Tom £60. One negro Woman Juda & her child George £70

The slaves were valued at £130. The entire inventory totaled £195 making Tom, Juda, and George the most valuable part of Jeremiah’s estate.

Jinncy

John Nalle, the maternal grandfather of James Sims, wrote his will on 16 September 1780. It was probated in Culpeper County, Virginia, on 19 August 1782, and mentions amongst his legatees his daughter Agatha Hill, wife of Russell Hill and widow of Jeremiah Sims, and mother of James Sims.

“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.”
[Source: Culpeper County, Virginia Will Book B, pg. 519.]

Jude and Fanny

William Griffee Brown in his History of Nicholas County, West Virginia (Dietz Press, 1954, 425 pages) mentions on pgs. 165-166 while discussing the Bethel Methodist church that he owned an old class-book dated 1821 which includes the names of members of the class in 1821 including black Jude and black Fanny, slaves of the Sims family. James Sims “brought the first negro slaves to Nicholas County” according to Mr. Brown on pg. 30. Note: Jude and Fanny were “slaves belonging to William Simms,” a son of James Sims.

July Hulen and her mother

Lawrence M. Huddleston, 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 in 1990. 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.”

MRIN02312 1833 Sims bill of sale for slave

Robert Sims

Clarence Shirley Donnelly (1895-1982) wrote in his column “Yesterday and Today” in the Beckley-Post Herald:

“Isaac’s brother, Robert Simms, ‘flew the coop,’ as a saying of that day had it. Keeping his eye on the north star as he traveled at night, he reached Canada and freedom.”

Isaac Sims, a Slave

continued in Part 2….

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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.

Jeremiah SIMS 1730-1768 Culpeper County, Virginia

Door 7The door in this brick wall isn’t budging!

The parents and siblings of Jeremiah SIMS are unknown. Jeremiah, the father of James SIMS 1754-1845 of Nicholas County, Virginia (now West Virginia), was born about 1730 and died in 1768 in Culpeper County, Virginia. In his will he mentioned his nephews Thomas GRAVES and Jonathan SIMS and his loving friend Edward SIMS. Further research is needed to determine the parents of these nephews.

It is believed by some that Thomas SIMS and Rebecca PETTY were the parents of Jeremiah but this has not been proven. For research purposes I’ve attached two sets of parents to Jeremiah: an [–?–] SIMS and Thomas SIMS & Rebecca PETTY.

RMSR, a researcher who spent years researching the SIMS line and searching for the parents of Jeremiah, passed the torch on to me this past summer when she sent me her entire “Sims Library”, weighing in at nearly 40 lbs.

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