Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Cate, Jenney, Tom, Fanney, and Anthony

Following my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims I’ve made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors. Today I’m RELEASING Cate, Jenney, Tom, Fanney, and Anthony.

True's statementCate‘s name helped to link several documents and played an important role in proving the parentage of seven Sims brothers.

In 1981 Paul H. Arnot compiled 76 pages on the Sims of Hanover and Louisa Counties in Virginia. The initial objectives of Mr. Arnot’s research project was to develop the parents of Edward Sims, who died about 1790 in Warren County, North Carolina, and the parents of his wife Elizabeth. During his research he discovered errors in a 1940 publication by Henry Upson Sims, The Genealogy of the Sims Family of Virginia, the Carolinas and the Gulf States.

The errors Mr. Arnot found in H. U. Sims’ book were developed with logically presented circumstantial evidence however the conclusions made were wrong as he did not have a key legal document which established John, Matthew, Edward and George Sims of Hanover County Virginia,  as sons of William Symes of James City County, Virginia, as well as William, Robert and James Sims.

Cate and the Key Legal Document

Mr. Arnot found an unindexed document as the last item in Louisa County, Virginia, Deed Book A & B, 1742-1759. Later he also found an abstract of the document in the book Louisa County, Virginia Deed Books A & B, 1742-1759 by Rosalie Edith Davis, 1976.

Arnot “abridged” the important court document as follows:

Sims versus Sims, Detinue

Please before the Court of Louisa County on the 24 December, 1745 John Sims, Matthew Sims, Edward Sims and John Sims (the son of George Sims) with their lawyer William Waller brought into the court their bill against James Sims being in the custody of the sheriff a plea of Detinue to wit: John Sims, Matthew Sims, Edward Sims and John Sims (son of George Sims) complains of James Sims a plea that he renders them of four negroes named (viz.) Jenney, Tom, Fanney, and Anthony of the value of two hundred pounds current money and that on the fifth day of December, 1745 that the plaintiffs were possessd of the said negroes out of their hands.

On the 10 Jan., 1746 the said plaintiffs by their attorney and the said James Sims by his attorney Zackery Lewis, and defends the force and injury and that he doth not detain ye slaves and puts himself upon the Country; and the plaintiff did likewise. A jury was authorized, but the formation was delayed until the 20 August, 1746, when the said plaintiffs and their attorney and the defendant and his attorney appeared before the court and a jury was formed to wit: John Moss, Robert Anderson, John Hall, Thomas Kembrow, Thomas Paulet, Alexander Freeman, James Watson, Richard Brooks, Richard Palmer, Richard Yancey, Benjamin Arnold and (Lewis       ), who being duly elected tried sworn the truth to speak upon the issue joined, upon their oaths do say; that William Sims was seized and possessed of an estate consisting in lands and tenements, slaves, and personal estate and being seized and possessed made his last will and testament bearing the date of eighteenth day of December in the year of our Lord MDCCX (1710) and thereby among other things did bequeath to his four eldest sons (viz.) John, Matthew, Edward and George the offspring of his negro girl Cate and their heirs and by a latter clause did give and bequeath the rest of his personal property to his three youngest sons (viz.) William, Robert and James to be equally divided among them three when they come of age and appointed his son William Sims sole executor of the said will in these words In the Name of God Amen, I Wm. Sims of James City County being very sick and weak but of perfect sense and memory . . . (usual will introduction omitted) . . .  I give and bequeath as followeth (viz.) I give and bequeath to my son William and his heirs of his body male or female lawfully begotten my mannor (manor) plantation that I now live upon (viz.) from the White meadows to Domar’s line to Dismun along a deep bottom called Cooks Springs branch down to Wolf’s swamp: up thence to the South line so away Easterly it comes to road to Phillips path. 2ndly I give and bequeath to my son Robert and his heirs of his body male or female lawfully begotten all the land that is within the bounds of the following (viz.) beginning at the White meadows and so running . . . (balance illegible).

William Symes’ will was made on 18 December 1710. John, Matthew, Edward and John (son of George Sims, dec’d) did not institute the law suit against James Sims for the recovery of the four specific slaves until 35 years later. The death of George Sims before 12 June 1740 may have been a factor. Arnot read the court minutes for the year 1746 but the results of the trial were not recorded.

The rest of the will of William Symes was illegible. As only the offspring of Cate were bequeathed to John, Matthew, Edward and George it is possible that Cate was given to William, Robert or James. James mentioned in the plea of detinue is most likely the one who became her owner and had to assume responsibility for the raising of her offspring to a certain age although they were supposedly owned by the four older brothers.

Cate and the 1774 Will of James Sims of York County, Virginia

The disposition of the slave girl Cate and her offspring were covered by the 1774 will of James Sims presented in detail as follows:

York Co., Va., Will Book No. 22, page 243, James Sims’s will. County of York, Virginia and Parish of Bruton – (the opening phrase omitted) – I give and dispose in the following manner: item, I give and bequeath to Francis Booth of the County of James City and Elizabther Pierce daughter of John Pierce  twenty pound each, item, I give to Mickings Green, William Sims son of Bruster Sims and Mary Green the sum of twenty five pounds each. My further desire that my negro woman Cate and all her children shall be left to her free choice to be sold on my plantation to the person she shall choose to be her master or go up country and be sold there and I do earnestly request my executor which I have after named that he will truely and faithfully fulfill this part of my will and I desire further that my lands and the rest of my slaves with all the rest of my estate may be sold to the best advantage and the money arising from the sale after the above mentioned legacies are paid I give and bequeath to my beloved John Hawkins of Hanover County. Lastly, I do consitute my beloved friend John Hawkins my whole and sole executor . . . signed 16 Sept., 1774 by James Sims. Signed and sealed in the presence of William Eaton, Thomas Bates and Henry Brown. Probated 21 Nov., 1774, York County, Va.

James Sims of York County, Virginia, had possession of a slave named Cate and her children. His special compassion for the future of Cate and her children as clearly expressed in his will as well as his plea that his desires for their future be faithfully fulfilled. Arnot believed that this was unusual treatment for Cate who must have been an old woman by 1774.

Source:
Paul H. Arnot, compiler, Notes on the Sims of Hanover-Louisa Counties Virginia, 1981. Mr. Arnot donated a copy of the compilation to the North Carolina State Library in Raleigh to assist Sims researchers.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: James SIMS
Parents: William SYMES
Spouse: Elizabeth [maiden name unknown] PARRISH
Children: Edward (stepson), Jeremiah, John, Robert, Bartlett, George
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: 7th great-grandfather

  1. James SIMS
  2. Jeremiah SIMS
  3. James SIMS
  4. Nancy Ann SIMS
  5. Huldah JOHSON
  6. Irvin Lewis INGRAM
  7. Laura Belle INGRAM
  8. Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY
  9. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
  10. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Note: A 5th great-grandson of Jeremiah SIMS had his Y-DNA tested in 2013 (Kit#314849). Results indicate a close match (possibly brothers) to John SIMS of Culpeper, a son of James SIMS of Hanover-Louisa and York.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning

Following my three part series on the slaves of my 5th grand-father James Sims I’ve made a commitment to write a post on a monthly basis until I’ve RELEASED all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors. Today I’m RELEASING Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning.

In 2014 I wrote about the ancestors in my paternal line from my father to my 4th great-grandparents. None owned slaves – or to be more specific, I have not found documents showing they held slaves. Going back one or two generations further I do find ancestors who left wills with names of slaves. One of these was Edward NIX lastly of Camden District in South Carolina.

I believe that it may be of importance to the slaves’ descendants to know where my ancestor, the slave owner, Edward NIX spent his long life. This is a quick rundown of information Libbie Griffin shared in the article “The Lineage of Frances Nix Doss” in The Doss Connection, Volume 2, No. 1, July 1996. The article was based on information compiled by Wanda Gregory who researched the Nix family for many years.

Edward NIX 1686-1776

Edward NIX was christened on 7 November 1686 in St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, Virginia. His father John (seen as James on the christening record) had recently come to Virginia from Barbados. Edward was very likely an only child and his father died about the time of his birth. His mother Elizabeth married Abraham VENABLE Sr. in 1687.

Hanover County was formed in 1721 from part of New Kent County. In 1731, Edward NIX received a patent for 400 acres in Hanover County. In 1734 he was named executor of his father-in-law Thomas Gibson’s will.

In 1745 Edward received a grant for 2977 acres of land in Amelia County. In 1746-1747 Edward was 60 years old and living in Amelia when he sold his land in Hanover. By 1750 numerous deeds can be found in Amelia County showing he transferred ownership of tracts of about 200 acres. Many of these were to his sons and sons-in-law who in the early 1750s moved with their families to Lunenburg County in the area that is now the north east corner of Pittsylvania County. In 1754 Prince Edward County was formed from part of Amelia County. In 1756 Edward NIX began selling his land now in Prince Edward County.

At the age of 70 he was planning to move to South Carolina. He appears in both Prince Edward and South Carolina records until 1762. In 1763 he received a 400 acres grant in South Carolina and lived in the Camden District from 1763 through 1776. He died in 1776 leaving a will.

WILL of Edward NIX

South Carolina, Camden District. In the name of God Amen on this Eighth day of October 1776 I Edward Nix of the Province & Dist aforesaid being sick & weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be to God, therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make & ordain this my last Will and Testament, that is to say principally & first of all. I give and recommend my Soul unto the hands of Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in a decent Christian Manner at the discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting but at the general Resassection (sic, Resurrection) I shall receive the same by the mighty power of God, and as touching such worldly Estate where with it hath pleased God to Blefs (sic, Bless) me in this life I give demise & dispose of the same in the following manner & form.

Item: I give & bequeath to my grandson James Nix son of James Nix one shilling sterling.

Item: I give & bequeath to my son Volintine (sic, Valentine) Nix one Shilling Sterling.

Item: I give & bequeath to my son George Nix one Shilling Sterling.

Item: I give & bequeath to my daughter Sabra Lax (sic, Lox) one Shilling Sterling.

Item: I give & bequeath to my daughter Francis Dafs (sic, Doss), one Shilling Sterling.

Item: I give and bequeath to my grand son Ambrose Nix one hundred & twenty five acres of Land lying on the north side of Santee River in Camden District begining (sic) on a Mark’d Hickory & running down the Sd (sic, Santee) River, for the compliment of one hundred & twenty acres be the same more or lefs (sic, less), it being part of a large tract of Land granted By His Excellency Thomas Boone to Edward Nix.

Item: I give & bequeath to my grand son John Lyon & his heirs, after the death of my beloved wife my Plantation whereon, I now live, on the South side of Sandy River with all the Remaining part of my Land it being part of a larger Tract of Land granted by his Excellency Thomas Bonne Esq., the 18th day of August 1763 to Edward Nix.

Item: I give & bequeath to my grandson Jno (sic, John) Lyon to him and his Heirs the following negroes, Judy, Beck, Dick, and mourning (sic, Mourning) after the decease of my wife during her natural Life, & after his decease, to be equally divided between his two sons Elijah and Elisha.

Item: I give to my grandson Jno Lyon all the remaining part of my Stock of Horses, Hogs, and Black Cattle, House hold Furniture, and plantation Tools after paying my just debts Funeral Expenses, and Legacies.

Item: I likewise constitute make & ordain my loving wife Unice Nix and Jno Lyon Executors of this my Present Last Will and Testament, & I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke, and dis annul, all and every other Former Testament Wills Legacies and bequests, & Executors by me in any ways before mentioned Will’d or bequeathed, rectifying & confirming this & no other to be my Last Will & Testament. In witness whereof I have here unto set my hand & seal the day & year first above written.

Edward Nix His X Mark (LS).

Signed, Sealed, published pronounced & declared by the I Edward Nix as his last Will & Testament in presence of us the subscribers.

Wm. Farr, Richard Crosby, William Crosby

Recorded in Will Book 1774-1779 page 418

Source of transcript of will:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19387-5488-91?cc=1919417&wc=M6N4-F68:210905601,211749101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Wills, 1774-1779, Vol. 017 > image 171 of 424; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.

The original will can be found on p. 418 of the Charleston County Will Book 1774-1779 per the will index found here:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19387-6863-0?cc=1919417&wc=M6N4-F68:210905601,211749101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Wills, 1774-1779, Vol. 017 > image 12 of 424; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.

The inventory of Edward NIX’s estate may help with the ages of Judy, Beck, Dick, and Mourning:

1 old Negroe Wench & a boy about 9 or 10 year old
1 ditto and a Girl about 7 year old

Judy and Beck may have been the older women and Dick and Mourning the two young children.

inventory
Source: “South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19424-81785-20?cc=1919417&wc=M6NW-Y3D:210905601,211110101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Inventories, 1774-1785, Vol. 098 > image 365 of 425; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.

The original inventory is on p. 229 of the Charleston County 1774-1785 A-A Inventories book per the index found on:
“South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-19424-88508-35?cc=1919417&wc=M6NW-Y3D:210905601,211110101 : accessed 30 April 2015), Charleston > Inventories, 1774-1785, Vol. 098 > image 14 of 425; citing Department of Archives and History, Columbia.

John Lyon, the grandson

I have not researched the descendants of Edward NIX. A quick look at the South Carolina Probate Records in Charleston turns up the will of one John LYON who died in 1781 leaving a wife Elizabeth and three children John, Thomas and Margaret. In the will he names one slave, his negro boy Dick. This may be a coincidence and requires further research.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Edward NIX
Parents: John NIX and his wife Elizabeth
Spouse: Eunice “Nice” GIBSON
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey:
7th great-grandfather

  1. Edward NIX
  2. Francis NIX
  3. James DOSS Jr.
  4. Levina DOSS
  5. Mary E. “Polly” DOSS
  6. Alexander CLONCH
  7. Rebecca Jane CLONCH
  8. Myrtle Hazel ROOP
  9. Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY
  10. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey