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

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

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

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

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

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

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

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

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

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Years After the 1880 Census

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah SIMS was the third child of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON. The order of birth cannot be proven as noted in my previous post on her sister Margaret.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

Sarah’s year of birth is not known and I estimate it at between 1804-1806 due to the fact that she married in 1825. In 1810 she fit into the under 10 years of age category placing her birth at between 1801-1810. She was found in her father’s household with her mother and siblings James, Margaret, and Mildred as well as five slaves.

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

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

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

As mentioned in the previous post for Margaret SIMS, the two oldest daughters’ of James SIMS from his second marriage to Elizabeth COTTON did not live long enough to be included on the 1850 census which would give a more accurate estimate for their births. Also discussed in the previous post was the possible unreliability of the 1820 census due to its appearance. Light and dark writing suggest it was worked over after the original information was gathered. By 1820 the household of James SIMS had grown to include four daughters and two sons. Sarah’s oldest brother was not living at home. There were more slaves in the household than family members.

1820 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James Sims (highlighted)

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

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Sarah gave birth to an illegitimate son Milton SIMS about 1824. The following year on 6 September 1825 she married Peyton FOSTER, a widower, in Nicholas County.

Peyton’s first wife Nancy JOHNSON, daughter of my 5th great-grandparents William JOHNSON and Amy NELSON, had given him two sons per the 1820 census. She may have also given birth to another son after the 1820 census and before her death. This is reflected in there being two males in the 5 thru 9 years age group in 1830. One of these was Sarah’s son Milton SIMS while the other could have been a son from Peyton’s previous marriage. The only known child of Peyton FOSTER and Nancy JOHNSON was Johnson FOSTER, whose given name was his mother’s maiden name. As an aside, Nancy was a sister of my 4th great-grandfather William JOHNSON Jr. who married Nancy Ann SIMS, Sarah’s half-sister.

Sarah and Peyton had a daughter Mariah born about 1828. There was also an unknown male in the household. We will get to him later.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Peyton Foster

1830 U.S. Federal Census3
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Name: Peyton Foster
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (marked out and not included in total)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Sarah’s son Milton and unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (son Johnson from Peyton’s first marriage)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (marked out and not included in total)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 2 (Peyton Foster and unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Mariah)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 5
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 7
Note: There were two columns on the census which were marked out and not included in the total.

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

No trace of Peyton FOSTER was found in the 1840 census. Was he deceased? Was Sarah living with her children in the household of another relative? I suspect both Peyton and Sarah were deceased by 1840. But can this be proven?

Peyton FOSTER did not leave a will in Nicholas or Fayette counties which might include the names of his children or which might infer his wife Sarah pre-deceased him. It is known that she died before 1848 when the partition suit was filed for James SIMS’ land and her children were named:

…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…

There are several factors which make finding the FOSTER children in 1840 difficult. The most obvious being the pre-1850 census did not include names of persons other than the head of household. Changing county border lines also cause a problem. Sarah lived in an area of Nicholas County which became Fayette County in 1831 and family was on both sides of the county line. The size of the family Sarah came from also makes it difficult to figure out who her children may have been living with in 1840.

Milton SIMS and Charles FOSTER

Milton SIMS was the one son who was no longer an infant in 1848. James, Peyton, and Charles were infants in 1848. From later census years it is known that James was born about 1830, Peyton about 1833, and Charles about 1837. There are three households in 1840 in which I believe Sarah’s three infant sons may be found. As I have already worked through the pre-1850 census listings for the SIMS families I have an idea of which families have people living in the household who did not fit into the family group.

Sarah’s father James SIMS was still living in 1840 and had two unknown young males in his home. It is likely they were the 3 years old Charles and one of the two older sons, Milton SIMS about 15 or James about 9. As the age range is 10 thru 14, I am leaning more to this being Milton.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for James Sims Sr. (highlighted)

1840 U.S. Federal Census4
Nicholas County, Virginia
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: James Sims Sr.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (poss. Charles, son of Sarah)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (poss. Milton or James, sons of Sarah)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (George W.)
Free White Persons – Males – 80 thru 89: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – 10 thru 23: 1 (unknown)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 4
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total Slaves: 1
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6

Peyton FOSTER

I suspect young Peyton who was about 7 was living with Cyrus WEDGE as he was with him in 1850 as will be seen below. Cyrus WEDGE is a piece of the puzzle which appears to fit due to his location and the persons in his 1850 household however how he fits into the story of the FOSTER and SIMS family is still a mystery.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Cyrus Wedge

1840 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Page 147, Line
Name: Cyrus Wedge
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (poss. Peyton, son of Sarah)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Cyrus)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Jane)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 3

Mariah and James FOSTER

Dryden SIMS, the 7th child of James SIMS and his second wife, had in his household in 1840 three children who did not fit into his known family group. Dryden will be discussed in a later post.

In order to follow my reasoning, the reader needs to know he married in 1837 and had only a son Alfred by 1840. As no other full siblings of Sarah had individuals in their household who would fit, I would like to deduce that the children in Dryden’s household may be Sarah’s son James about 9 and her daughter Mariah about 13.

This leaves a young girl 5 thru 9 in the Dryden SIMS household who could have been a child of Sarah but who would have died by 1848 as no other child is mentioned in the partition suit. These unknown persons in Dryden’s household were not seen with him in 1850.

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

1840 U.S. Federal Census6
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 9, Line 30
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Dryden Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Alfred)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (not a son, could this be Sarah’s son James?)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Dryden)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (not a daughter)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (not a daughter, could this be Sarah’s daughter Mariah?)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Rebecca)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

All of Sarah’s five children were found in the 1850 census.

Mariah FOSTER

Mariah had married Jordan HUDSON in 1846. His name was incorrectly seen (or transcribed) as HICKSON in the partition suit. Jordan and Mariah went to Washington County, Indiana, sometime before the 1850 census. Three of Jordan’s siblings were with them in 1850. Jordan and Mariah did not have children at this time.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Washington Township, Washington County, Indiana for Jordan Hudson household

1850 U.S. Federal Census7
Washington County, Indiana
Washington Township
Enumerated the 17th day of September 1850
Sheet No. 335A, Lines 5-9, HH #195-205
Jordan Hudson 28 male Farmer born in Virginia
Maria Hudson 22 female born in Virginia
Calvin B. Hudson 23 male Farmer born in Virginia
Creptha Hudson 21 female born in Virginia
Rebecca Hudson 12 female born in Virginia

Milton SIMS

Milton SIMS, Sarah’s son from a relationship prior to her marriage to Peyton FOSTER, had married Selina L. STEELE in 1847. They had a son Samuel B. born about 1849. His wife Selina may have brought a child into the marriage. Victoria STEELE age 9 was living with them. She was too young to be her sister (as will be seen in the section following the 1850 census) but could have been a daughter or niece.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Milton Sims, Cyrus Wedge with James and Peyton Foster, and Johnson Foster (half-brother)

1850 U.S. Federal Census8
Fayette County, Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 1st day of August 1850
Sheet No. 342A, Lines 25-28, HH #158-158
Milton Sims 26 M Farmer Virginia
S. L. Sims 31 F Virginia
Victoria Steele 9 F Virginia
Saml B. Sims 1 M Virginia

In the household following Milton’s, we find Cyrus WEDGE, the mystery man who was born in Vermont per the 1850 census or in Connecticut per the 1860 and 1870 census. Cyrus married Anna PETTIT in Kanawha County in 1824. Was he widowed by 1830 and was he the other adult male in the household of Peyton FOSTER in 1830? Cyrus married Jane HALEY in 1838 in Fayette County. The age range for the female in the 1840 census for Cyrus WEDGE (above) does not fit the age seen (below) for his wife Jane. The first name of the wife in 1850 matches the name on the 1838 marriage record. No other marriage has been found for him after 1840 and before 1850.

James and Peyton FOSTER

The FOSTER boys, James and Peyton, are in the WEDGE household in 1850 as well as a third child, Octavia YOUNG. Octavia would marry John HUGHES in 1860 and they would be living next door to the WEDGE couple in 1860. John was discovered to be the son of Matthew HUGHES and Margaret SIMS (Sarah’s sister) in my last post.

1850 U.S. Federal Census9 (See image above)
Fayette County, Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 1st day of August 1850
Sheet No. 342A, Lines 29-33, HH #159-159
Cyrus Wedge 60 M Farmer Vermont
Jane Wedge 66 F Ireland cannot read & write
James Foster 19 M Laborer Virginia
Peyton Foster 17 M Virginia
Octava Young 11 F Virginia

Johnson FOSTER (step-son)

Johnson FOSTER, Sarah’s step-son remained close to his half-brothers. He married Mary “Polly” HUGHES, daughter of Thomas HUGHES Jr. and Mary “Polly” SIMS (half-sister of Sarah) before 1844. He was found in the household following Cyrus WEDGE in 1850. Johnson would die in 1855 and his widow Mary would remain on the land along with the newlyweds Octavia YOUNG and John HUGHES in 1860.

1850 U.S. Federal Census10 (See image above)
The 14th District
Fayette County, Virginia
Enumerated on the 1st day of August 1850
Sheet No. 342A, Lines 34-39, HH #160-160
Johnson Foster 33 M Farmer Virginia
Mary Foster 26 F Virginia cannot read & write
Thomas Foster 6 M Virginia
James Foster 5 M Virginia
Johnson Foster 2 M Virginia
Mary E. Foster 2/12 F Virginia

Charles FOSTER

The youngest son of Sarah SIMS and Peyton FOSTER, Charles was living with his uncle Charles SIMS. He was the 6th child of James SIMS and his second wife and will be discussed in a later post.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Charles Sims household including Charles Foster

1850 U.S. Federal Census11
Fayette County, Virginia
The 14th District
Sheets 343A+B, Lines 40-42 and 1-4, HH #174-174
Charles Sims 37 M Farmer $500 Virginia
Manerva J. Sims 26 F Virginia
Mary J. Sims 7 F Virginia
E. K. Sims 5 F Virginia
E. L. Sims 3 F Virginia
Lydia Sims 1/12 F Virginia
Charles Foster 13 M Virginia

After The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Milton SIMS and his wife Selina L. STEELE had three more sons by 1860. Victoria STEELE was still in the household. Milton was widowed after the 1870 census and remarried in 1876 to Mary Salinas WOOD, a daughter of my 3rd great-grandparents Elijah WOOD and Rachel HONAKER. She was widowed twice and had McGRAW and ARBAUGH children. Milton died after the 1880 census and did not have children with his second wife who wrote her last will and testament in 1897. It was recorded in 1901 following her death.

Mariah FOSTER returned with her husband Jordan HUDSON to Fayette County soon after the 1850 census. They had two children born in 1851 and 1854 before Jordan died, likely between 1854-1857. Mariah, seen as widowed in the marriage register, then married her first cousin Alfred Hansford SIMS, son of Dryden SIMS and Rebecca BAYS, on 5 January 1858 in Fayette. They had seven children by 1874 before Alfred disappeared. Mariah was listed as widowed in 1880, missed in 1900 and 1910, and found with her youngest daughter in 1920. She was enumerated as widowed and 95 years old in 1920. A death record has not been found. What happened to her second husband A. H. SIMS? The answer will have to wait until Dryden SIMS’ census records are analyzed.

James FOSTER married a young lady named Eliza Jane before 1853. They had four sons in the 1850s and three daughters in the 1860s. James and Eliza Jane likely died by 1880 when the children were found spread around in different households. Birth, marriage, and deaths records of the children were searched for any record with the maiden name of Eliza Jane. Only one death record was found with the name of the mother, Eliza Jane SEAL. This is a very unusual surname for the area. It’s possible she was Eliza Jane STEELE, seen in 1850 age 14 with the family of Selina L. STEELE. In 1965 Alexander Napoleon Rippetoe STEELE (91 years old at the time), recounted to Allen STEELE and Kitty Steele BARRERA that his father Jeffrey Oliver STEELE Jr. was the youngest child of Jeffrey Oliver STEELE Sr., father of Selina. Jeffrey Jr. was 18 on the 1850 census. Could this mean Victoria was a grandchild of one of the older STEELE children?

Peyton FOSTER married Margaret HARRAH, daughter of Daniel HARRAH and Rachel Ann SMITH, in 1855. Their entry in the marriage register of Fayette County has her maiden name spelled O’HARROW. They had five known children. They named one son Cyrus, after Cyrus WEDGE and a daughter Rachel Ann after Margaret’s mother. Margaret died before 1880 and Peyton was last seen in 1900 in Kanawha County with his son Cyrus’ family.

Charles FOSTER married Antonietta E. COPELAND on 25 December 1857 in Fayette County. They had five known children born between 1859 and 1872. Charles died sometime after 1872 and before 1877. His widow remarried on 27 December 1877 to William KINCAID. By 1880 she was seen as widowed. Antonietta lived with her youngest daughter Mary Ann in 1920 and died in August that year at the age of 83.

Remaining to be analyzed are the census listings of two daughters and three sons of James SIMS and Elizabeth COTTON. All five lived at least until the 1880 census which will make them a bit easier and more interesting to study, research, and write about. Next up is Mildred “Milly” SIMS, the wife of Joel Dixon SETTLE Jr.

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

Rewriting the Biography: Sarah Sims in the U.S. Federal Census

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 23, James Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029677, NARA Roll M19_198, Virginia, Nicholas, image 11+12 of 42, page 177A+B, line 24, Peyton Foster. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  4. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, image 26+27 of 67, page 10, line 8, James Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  5. Ibid., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, images 17+18 of 54, page 147A+B, line 22, Cyrus Wedge. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  6. Ibid., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, image 24+25 of 67, page 9, line 30, Dryden Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  7. 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_179; Images: 498; Indiana, Wahington, Washington, image 31 of 52, Sheet No. 335A, Lines 5-9, HH #195-205, Jordan Hudson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 July 2018). 
  8. Ibid., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_943; Image: 289; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 25 of 91, Sheet No. 342A, Lines 25-28, HH #158-158, Milton Sims household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 July 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Lines 29-33, HH #159-159, Cyrus Wedge. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Lines 34-39, HH #160-160, Johnson Foster household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 July 2018). 
  11. 1850 U.S. Cesnsus, Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 27+28 of 91, Sheets 343A+B, Lines 40-42 and 1-4, HH #174-174, Charles Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018).