Rewriting the Biography: Nancy Ann 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.

Nancy Ann SIMS, my ancestress, was the youngest child of James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. She was born shortly before her mother’s tragic death in Bath County, Virginia. Nancy Ann was not yet married in 1810. She was not with her father James and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON and her half-siblings. As she was 17 years and not with her father and step-mother, it is probable she was living with one of her full siblings.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann’s brother William SIMS, the oldest of her siblings in the area, married Elizabeth WINDSOR before 1806. By 1810 they had two sons, William Jr. and Jeremiah, and a daughter Nancy. Also living in their household was a young female age 10 thru 15. This young lady may have been Nancy Ann who was born abt. 1793. If she was Nancy Ann then she should have been included in the same age bracket as her sister-in-law Elizabeth.

1810 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for William SIMMS

1810 U.S. Federal Census 1
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 25
Simms, William
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (William Jr. and Jeremiah)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (poss. sister Nancy Ann SIMS)
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

The census listings of all of her full siblings have been analyzed and William’s household is the only one she could have been living in. At this time only her father James owned land and his married sons William and Martin likely lived on this land or in the homeplace as they were enumerated one after the other. Nancy Ann’s future mother-in-law Amy NELSON, widow of William JOHNSON, also was a neighbor. Hence, it is my belief Nancy Ann was in the neighborhood and most likely with her older brother William.

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann SIMS married William JOHNSON, the son of William JOHNSON Sr. and Amy NELSON, in 1814. This was not the first marriage joining the SIMS and JOHNSON families. William’s sister Susannah was the wife of Martin SIMS and his brother John was the husband of Elizabeth SIMS.

Nancy Ann and William were the parents of three children by 1820: a son Nelson, a daughter Huldah (my 3rd great-grandmother) and a son Alexander. William was engaged in agriculture.

Also in the household were two young men aged 10 thru 15 years. Who were they? In 1810 when William was not yet married he was probably living with his mother Amy. At the time she had two young boys in her household under the age of 10. Were these the same boys? If they were then they would have been under 6 years old in 1810. Amy had been widowed in 1805 and family tradition does not mention any children born so late in the marriage. Could they have been grandchildren?

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

1820 U.S. Federal Census 2
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204B, Sheet 152, Line 31
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Name: William Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Nelson and Alexander)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2 (William’s nephews?)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Huldah)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Nancy Ann b. bet. 1794-1804)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 5
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 7

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann gave birth to Mary, John B., Amy, and Lewis during the 1820s. Her mother-in-law Amy lived with the family in 1830 and is the older woman seen in the household. From the writings of Laura Kincaid Blake (1875-1965), we know Amy lived among her children and her last days were at the home of her son William.

Nancy and William’s son John B. was born at the mouth of Rich Creek on Gauley in 1823. Some time after this and before the 1830 census the JOHNSON family moved to a place on Loop Creek (Loup Creek) in the area of what is known as Robson in present-day Fayette County, West Virginia. This is the reason they were found in Kanawha County in 1830. Fayette County would not be formed until 1831.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for William JOHNSTON (sic)

1830 U.S. Federal Census3
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 198A & 198B, Line 8
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: William Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Lewis b. 1828, John Brown b. 1823)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Alexander b. 1819)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Nelson b. ca. 1815)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William Jr. b. 1793)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Amy b. 1825)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mary b. 1820)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Huldah b. ca. 1818)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Nancy Ann Sims Johnson b. bet. 1791-1800)
Free White Persons – Females – 70 thru 79: 1 (Amy Nelson Johnson b. 1757)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 10

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann and William had four more children in the 1830s. A daughter Elizabeth was born about 1830, died at the age of 3 years, and was buried in the Nichols Cemetery on Loop Creek per the writings of Laura Blake. The three other children were William Hunter, Nancy, and Morris Houston.

Nancy Ann was incorrectly enumerated in the 30 thru 39 years range. Having married in 1814 it would be very unlikely she was born in 1801-1810.

Nancy Ann’s husband William and Alexander, the oldest son living at home, were employed in agriculture. Only one person over 20 years of age could not read and write. Later census listings would not indicate Alexander, Huldah, or Nancy could not read or write. If these can be trusted, then William may have been the person who was illiterate. This surprises me as his older brother John was a Methodist minister.

Two of William and Nancy Ann’s children had married before 1840 and had their own households.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for William JOHNSON

1840 U.S. Federal Census4
Fayette County, Virginia
Page 145, Sheet 2A & 2B
Name: William Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (William Hunter and Morris Houston)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Lewis)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (John Brown)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Alexander)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Amy)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Huldah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Nancy Ann; should be listed as 40 thru 49 yo)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 6
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 4
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 10

Nelson JOHNSON and Elizabeth HUGHES

Nancy Ann’s oldest son was the first of her children to marry. Nelson married his first cousin Elizabeth HUGHES, daughter of Thomas HUGHES Jr. and Mary “Polly” SIMS, in 1837. Their first child Irvin Nelson was born early in the 1840 census year and was enumerated with them. Nelson was engaged in agriculture. His wife Elizabeth is the person who could not read and write as will also be seen later in the 1850 census.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Nelson JOHNSON

1840 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Page 147, Sheet No. 4A & 4B
Name: Nelson Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Irvin)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 3

Mary JOHNSON and David Alexander MILLER

Nancy Ann’s second oldest daughter was the first of the girls to marry. Mary married David Alexander MILLER in December 1839. Mary was expecting her first child on 1 June 1840 when the census was enumerated. The child would be born in January 1841. David, a farmer, was incorrectly counted in the 30 thru 39 range. He was only about 18 years old as will be seen in later census years.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for David MILLER

1840 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, Virginia
Page 146, Sheet No. 3A & 3B
Name: David Miller
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (David)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Mary)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 2

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Laura Blake in her writings on the family stated, “William and Nancy died around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. Afterward, most of his family went to Kanawha County to an area called the Grapevine, near Charleston.”

Nancy Ann was living in 1848 when the partition suit was filed for the sale of the land of her father James SIMS. This alone refutes her death taking place during the typhoid fever epidemic in 1845. Sons Morris Houston and Lewis both died in August 1845 and were followed by their father William JOHNSON in December 1845.

Which family members were found in the 1850 census and who was missing? Can the second part of Laura’s statement concerning the removal of the family to Kanawha be correct? As will be seen below, Nelson went to Missouri. Huldah and Alexander were in Fayette County. Mary, John, and Amy were in Kanawha County. Nancy Ann and her children William Hunter and Nancy have not been found in the 1850 census.

Nelson JOHNSON and Elizabeth HUGHES

Nelson and his wife Elizabeth were found in Madison County, Missouri. Four daughters had been born to them before they moved to Missouri. The youngest was two years old indicating the move was made around 1849. Nelson was a cabinet maker and his two oldest children attended school. Elizabeth could not read and write.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Madison County, Missouri for Nelson JOHNSON household.

1850 U.S. Federal Census7
Madison County, Missouri
54th District
Enumerated on 26 September 1850
Sheet 241A, Lines 16-23, HH #462-462
Nelson Johnson 35 M Cabinet Maker $30 Virginia
Elizabeth Johnson 33 F Virginia cannot read & write
Irvine L. Johnson 11 M Virginia attended school within year
Mary J. Johnson 9 F Virginia attended school within year
Nancy J. Johnson 7 F Virginia
Unus E. Johnson 5 F Virginia
Virginia A. Johnson 2 F Virginia
Monroe Marrow 25 M Carpenter Virginia

Huldah JOHNSON and Robert INGRAM

Huldah married Robert INGRAM about 1841. The marriage record has not been found. They had three sons by 1850. Robert was a farmer and owned land with his brother Matthew who lived next door with their mother and two of their sisters.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Robert INGRAM and his mother Margaret INGRAM

1850 U.S. Federal Census8
Fayette County, Virginia
Enumerated on 27 August 1850
Sheet No. 365B, Lines 41-42 and Sheet 366A, Lines 1-3, HH #461-461
Robert Ingram 31 M Farmer $100 Virginia
Huldah Ingram 32 F Virginia
Vincent Ingram 9 M Virginia
Irvin L. Ingram 4 M Virginia
Wm. P. Ingram 2 M Virginia

Alexander JOHNSON and Isabella HUGHES

Alexander and Isabella HUGHES, whose parentage is unknown to me, were married before 1850. Alexander was living in Fayette County six households away from his sister Huldah. He was a farmer. Alexander and Isabella were the parents of a four months old daughter.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Alexander Johnson

1850 U.S. Federal Census9
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 365B, Lines 7-9, HH #455-455
Alexander Johnson 30 M farmer $150 Virginia
Isabella Johnson 23 F Virginia
Lucinda Johnson 4/12 F Virginia

Mary JOHNSON and David Alexander MILLER

Mary and David who were newlyweds at the time of the 1840 census had two daughters and two sons by the time the 1850 census was enumerated. They were found in Kanawha County. David could not read and write.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for David MILLER household

1850 U.S. Federal Census10
Kanawha County, Virginia
District No. 29
Enumeration by me on the 13th day of November 1850. Andrew P. Fry, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 125A, Lines 12-17, HH #1790-1835
David Miller 28 M Laborer Virginia cannot read or write
Mary Miller 29 F Virginia
Vienna Miller 9 F Virginia
William R. Miller 7 M Virginia
James A. Miller 5 M Virginia
Mary W. J. Miller 3 F Virginia

John JOHNSON and Mary Ann SETTLE

John married Mary Ann SETTLE in 1846 in Fayette County. Their son Julian, seen here as a female named Julia, was born in what is today Clifton in Kanawha County placing their move to Kanawha at soon after their marriage. John was a laborer.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for John JOHNSON household

1850 U.S. Federal Census11
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated the 7th day of September 1850
Page 68A, Lines 34-36, HH #1013-1017
John Johnson 23 M W laborer Virginia
Mary 22 F W Virginia
Julia 3 F W Virginia (sic, son Julian)

Amy JOHNSON and Charles McClung HUFFMAN

Amy married Charles McClung HUFFMAN in 1849. They are listed in Kanawha as having married within the census year which would be from 1 June 1849 to 1 June 1850. As they have a one-month-old son I have given them the benefit of the doubt and estimated their marriage as having taken place in the first half of the census year. Charles was a farmer in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for Charles M. HUFFMAN household

1850 U.S. Federal Census12
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sheet 84B, Lines 29-31, HH# 1239-1256
Charles Huffman 23 M Farmer Virginia married within the year cannot read & write
Amy 23 F Virginia married within the year
Franklin W. 1/12 M Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Nancy Ann who was missing in 1850 along with her son William and daughter Nancy reappeared in the census in 1860. They were found in the Sissonville area where Grapevine, the place mentioned by Laura Blake, lies.

Nancy Ann SIMS, the widow of William JOHNSON Jr., was living with her youngest son William in 1860. Her relationship to the head of household is not noted in the listing however her age is correct for her being born about 1793-1794 just before her mother died. Her son William had married Louisa Lavinia SAMUELS in 1856. She was 17 years old at the time of the marriage and by 1860 had given William a daughter and a son.

Next door to William is his brother Alexander. Two households separate Alexander from his sister Amy.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for Charles HUFFMAN, Alexander JOHNSON, and William JOHNSON with Nancy Ann SIMS

1860 U.S. Federal Census13
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sissonville Post Office
Page No. 113, Lines 21-25, HH #788-788
William Johnson 28 M Farmer $0 $250 Virginia
Louisa L. Johnson 20 F Virginia over 20 yo who cannot read & write
Mary G. Johnson 2 F Virginia
James N. Johnson 1 M Virginia
Nancy Johnson 66 F Virginia

Nelson JOHNSON (dec’d) and Elizabeth HUGHES

Nancy’s oldest son Nelson died about 1855. He had returned to the Kanawha area from Missouri by September 1854 when he was the informant for the death of his daughter Joanna, a twin who had been born in Missouri in 1851. Joanna’s twin sister Josephine died in November 1856. Another daughter Virginia died in January 1857 leaving Nelson’s widow Elizabeth with four children living at home.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for Elizabeth JOHNSON household

1860 U.S. Federal Census14
Kanawha County, Virginia
Enumerated by me on the 16th day of June, 1860. Wm C Blain, Ass’t Marshal
Upper Falls Coal Post Office
Page 44, lines 9-13, HH #302-302
Elizabeth Johnson 42 F $0 $150 Virginia
Warren 20 M Laborer Virginia
Mary A.  18 F Virginia
Nancy J. 15 F Virginia
Venus E. 13 F Virginia

Huldah JOHNSON and Robert INGRAM

Huldah was the mother of six children by 1860 when the family was enumerated as INGRUM instead of INGRAM. Her husband Robert was still farming the land he’d patented with his brother Matthew in 1843. Robert bought out Matthew’s share in the land when he moved to Sissonville in 1852.

Also in the household of Robert and Huldah was Amanda BLAKE, daughter of John BLAKE and Malinda JOHNSON, with her son John. It is unknown if or how Malinda JOHNSON and Huldah were related.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Robert INGRUM (sic) household

1860 U.S. Federal Census15
Fayette County, Virginia
District No. 1
Enumerated the 20th day of June 1860, P. Morton, Ass’t Marshall
Gauley Bridge Post Office
Page No. 25, Sheet No. 335, lines 12-21, HH #183-161
Robert Ingrum 41 M Farmer $1000 $200 Virginia
Huldah Ingrum 42 F Virginia
Vincent Ingrum 19 M Farm Laborer Virginia
Ervin L. Ingrum 14 M Virginia
William P. Ingrum 12 M Virginia
Amy Ingrum 8 F Virginia
Nancy M. Ingrum 7 F Virginia
Mary E. Ingrum 3 F Virginia
Amanda Blake 20 F day laborer Virginia
John A. Blake 1 M illegitimate Virginia

Alexander JOHNSON and Isabella HUGHES

Alexander and Isabella’s oldest child Lucinda lived to see three siblings born. She died in 1859. Alexander, a farmer, had moved to the Sissonville area by 1852. (see image of census page with Alexander above under Nancy Ann and her son William)

1860 U.S. Federal Census16
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sissonville District
Page No. 113, lines 16-20 HH #787-787
Alexander Johnson 39 M Farmer $0 $150 Virginia
Isabella 33 F Virginia
Harland P. 7 M Virginia
Andrew D. 2 M Virginia
Vianna C. 2/12 F Virginia

Mary JOHNSON and David Alexander MILLER

Mary and David had lost their oldest son before the 1860 census. Five children had been born since the 1850 census was enumerated. Their oldest daughter Vienna was incorrectly listed as Susannah. David was still working as a farmer. In this listing, both David and Mary were marked as not being able to read and write.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for David MILLER household

1860 U.S. Federal Census17
Kanawha County, Virginia
Enumerated by me on the 10th day of July 1860. Wm. C. Blaine, Ass’t Marshal.
Sissonville Post Office
Page No. 118, lines 30-39, HH #826-826
David Miller 38 M Farmer $200 $150 Virginia cannot read & write
Mary Miller 37 F Virginia cannot read & write
Susannah Miller 19 Virginia
James A. Miller 15 Virginia attended school within year
Margaret W. Miller 13 Virginia attended school within year
Ann P. Miller 9 Virginia attended school within year
Silas M. Miller 7 Virginia
Irvin W. Miller 5 Virginia
Mary E. Miller 4 Virginia
Joseph H. Miller 10/12 Virginia

John JOHNSON and Mary Ann SETTLE

John and Mary Ann had two daughters born in the 1850s however they both died before the 1860 census. Elizabeth Clifton JOHNSON was born in 1851 and died in 1858. Mary Susan JOHNSON was born in 1852 and died in 1853. Julian remained an only child. John was working as a carpenter. Elizabeth Elkins, the young lady in their household may have been live-in help.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for John B. JOHNSON household

1860 U.S. Federal Census18
Kanawha County, Virginia
Enumerated the day of August 1850 by William C. Blaine
Cannelton
Page 319, lines 16-19, HH #2190-2190
John B. Johnson 36 M Carpenter $1000 $400 Virginia
Mary A. Johnson 37 F Virginia
Julian M. Johnson 13 M Virginia
Elizabeth Elkins 22 F Virginia

Amy JOHNSON and Charles McClung HUFFMAN

Amy and Charles’ family increased by three with the births of their daughter Margaret and sons Perry and Charles Jr. Charles was working as a farmer. (see image of census page with the HUFFMAN household above under Nancy Ann and her son William)

1860 U.S. Federal Census19
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sissonville District
Page No. 113, lines 3-8, HH #784-784
Charles Huffman 34 M Farmer $1000 $1500 Virginia
Amy 34 F Virginia
Franklin W. 9 M Virginia attended school
Margaret K. 8 F Virginia
Perry 5 M Virginia
Charles M. 2 M Virginia

Nancy JOHNSON and William B. MARTIN

Nancy, the youngest of Nancy Ann and William’s children, married William B. MARTIN in 1853. Nancy gave birth to three daughters during their first seven years of marriage. William was a farmer.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia for William B. MARTIN household

1860 U.S. Federal Census20
Kanawha County, Virginia
Sissonville
Page 105, lines 36-40, HH #735-735
William B. Martin 28 M Farmer $400 $200 Virginia
Nancy 24 F Virginia
Clarissa A. 6 F Virginia
Nancy C. 3 F Virginia
Isarbinda 5/12 F Virginia

After the 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Nelson’s widow Elizabeth who had lost her three youngest children and was left with four children in 1860 had seen the three oldest marry during the decade. In 1870 only her youngest Eunice was still living at home but not for long as she died in the fall. Elizabeth was with her oldest son in 1880 and with her youngest living daughter in 1900. She died before 1910.

Huldah and her husband Robert INGRAM had their four youngest children living at home in 1870. Richard Edward was born in March 1862. Their oldest son Vincent died between 1862-1870. Their son Irvin Lewis, my second great-grandfather, married in 1867 and their son William Preston married in 1869. Both had their own households in 1870 however my ancestor Irvin managed with his wife and children to not be enumerated. By 1880 two daughters had married: Nancy Margaret in 1872 and Mary Elizabeth in 1874. Amy, the oldest daughter, and Richard, the youngest son, were still at home. Richard married in 1883. Huldah died sometime between 1880 and 1900. Amy married in 1895 at the age of 43 and remained childless. Huldah’s widower Robert boarded with a Hamilton family in 1900 and according to family tradition he died about 1902 at the home of his cousin Preston KINCAID.

Alexander and his wife Isabella had three more children during the 1860s. They lost two sons before 1870 when they had their four living children, two daughters and two sons, in their household. Both daughters married in 1879 but, although in their husbands’ households, they were also listed with their parents in 1880 with their maiden names. Alexander and Louisa’s oldest son Harlin married in 1881. Alexander died in 1887. His youngest son Alexander married in 1889 and the following year his widow Louisa remarried. She was widowed again in 1899 and not found in the 1900 census. It is not known when she may have died.

Mary and David Alexander MILLER’s three oldest children married in 1864. By 1870 their five youngest were still at home but the oldest, a daughter would marry before the end of the year. David died in 1871 and Mary was left with three sons and a daughter. The daughter would marry in 1876, the two youngest sons in 1879, and the oldest in 1880. Mary lived with her son Irvin who had married his first cousin Louisa J. JOHNSON, daughter of Alexander, in 1880. Mary died in 1898.

John and his wife Mary Ann had in their household in 1870 their son Julian, his wife, and their two children. They had married in 1867. Julian, the only living child, still made his home with his parents in 1880. His family had grown by six children born before the 1880 census was enumerated. However the two oldest children born before the 1870 census died in 1873 and 1872. One last child was born in 1882. Mary Ann died in 1896 and John in 1902.

Amy gave her husband Charles McClung HUFFMANN five more sons in the 1860s. By 1870 they had eight sons and a daughter, all living at home. By 1880 the six youngest sons were still at home. In 1900 Amy and Charles, married 50 years, were on their own with only a servant helping in the household. Amy died in 1904 and her widower Charles in 1913. This family group has not been researched by me and I have very little information on their children and descendants.

William and his wife has six more children by 1870 and three more by 1880. Louisa died of heart disease at the age of 44 years in 1884. William died 6 January 1899. Thirteen children were attributed to them by persons who contributed to the publication, Sissonville A Time To Remember. The death records of two of these children, both males, were found. The names and the ages given does not correspond with any of the sons found in the census. Smith who died on 29 April 1885 at the age of 18 years (born abt. 1867) and John B. who died on 6 March 1871 at the age of 11 years and 6 months (b. abt. Sept 1868) were not with the family in 1870.

Nancy gave birth to four children during the decade and only one of them survived to the 1870 census. Her oldest was only 15 years old when she married in January before the census. Nancy, her husband William B. MARTIN, their three unmarried daughters and their married daughter and her husband were in the 1870 household. Three sons and a daughter were born in the 1870s and none of the older girls married. Seven of the eight children lived at home in 1880. The two youngest children died in 1881, a son and a daughter. By the end of the year the second oldest daughter was married. Two daughters and two sons were still unmarried. The girls married in 1885 and 1888 and the boys in 1892 and 1895. Nancy and Martin’s children were all married by 1900 when they were found together along with a granddaughter named Effie B. MARTIN age 12 years. As the sons had only been married 8 and 5 years, the daughters were looked into. Effie was their granddaughter through their daughter Mary S. and her husband John F. FISHER. In 1910 Nancy and Martin were last seen together in the census. Nancy died in 1915 and her widower was living with their oldest daughter in 1920. His death record has not been located.

All of the living children of Nancy Ann SIMS and William JOHNSON were located in the 1870 census. She was not found with any of them and I assume she died between 1860 and 1870 when she was 66 to 76 years old. Previous conjecture had been that she died during the 1840s, likely at the same time as her husband. However, with the 1848 partition suit and her being found in the 1860 census with her youngest son and his family, this family lore was rejected. Several family trees show her death as taking place in April 1870 in Fayette County per the 1870 Mortality Schedule of Fayette County. This death record is that of Nancy KELLY, widow of Israel JOHNSON. My ancestress’ death likely took place during the 1860s, a decade in which many records were misplaced or destroyed due to the Civil War. And as more records become available online at FamilySearch, I will continue to search for any and all documentation which will help to pinpoint her time of death.

This is the last post for the census work of the children of James SIMS and his first wife Phebe. Before continuing with the children from his second marriage, I would like to share in my next post the tragic story of the demise of Phebe SIMS.

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

Rewriting the Biography: Nancy Ann 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 25, William 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 204B, line 31, William Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 37+38 of 84, page 198A+B, line 7, William Johnston. (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 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, image 13&14 of 54, sheet 145, line 23, William Johnson Sr. household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 June 2018). 
  5. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette, image 17 & 18 of 54, sheet 147, line 30, Nelson Johnson household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  6. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette, image 15 & 16 of 54, sheet 146, line 2, David Miller household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 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_405; image 491; Missouri, Madison, image 89 of 124, sheet 241A, lines 16-23, HH #462-462, Nelson Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  8. Ibid., Roll: M432_943; image 336 and 337; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 72 and 73 of 91, Sheet 365B lines 41-42 and Sheet 366A lines 1-3, HH #461-461, Robert Ingram household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 72 of 91, Sheet 365B, Lines 7-9, HH #455-455, Alexander Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Virginia, Kanawha, District 29, image image 227 of 271, sheet 125A, lines 12-17, HH #1790-1835, David Miller household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Virginia, Kanawha, District 29, image 113 of 271, sheet 68A, lines 34-36, HH #1013-1017, John Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  12. Ibid., Virginia, Kanawha, District 29, image 146 of 271, sheet 84B, lines 29-31, HH #1239-1254, Charles Huffman household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 June 2018). 
  13. 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_1356; Page: 113; FHL Film 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 114 of 54, page 321, lines 21-25, HH #788-788, William Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 June 2018). 
  14. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; FHL Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 45 of 321, page 44, lines 9-13, HH #302-302, Elizabeth Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  15. Ibid., Roll: M653_1344; FHL Film: 805344; Virginia, Fayette, District 1, image 23 of 26, page 25, sheet 335, lines 12-21, HH #183-161, Robert Ingrum household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  16. Ibid., M653_1356; Page: 113; FHL Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 114 of 321, page 113, lines 16-20, HH #787-787, Alexander Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  17. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; Page: 118; Family History Library Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 120 of 321, page 118, lines 30-39, HH #826-826, David Miller household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  18. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; FHL Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 290 of 321, page 319, lines 16-19, HH #2190-2190, John B. Johnson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  19. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; FHL Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 114 of 321, page 113, lines 3-8, HH #784-784, Charles Huffman household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 
  20. Ibid., Roll: M653_1356; Family History Library Film: 805356; Virginia, Kanawha, image 106 of 321, page 105, lines 3–40, HH #735-735, WIlliam B. Martin household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 June 2018). 

Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #68 Portrait of a Man with Beard

In the collection my cousin Joe Rooney sent to me there were two copies of the photograph I am sharing today of a bearded man. It took me a while to identify him. Bear with me while I work through this.

UNKGlassRoyaltyGBLTillie Rooney collectiontinyThe photographer Theodore C. Marceau per Wikipedia “pioneered the creation of a national chain of photographic studios in the United States in the 1880s.” I found an interesting biography of the photographer Marceau on Broadway Photographs. He lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1885-1886 and first went into a partnership with another photographer named Bellsmith around this time. Cabinet cards found online for the the studio in Cincinnati had Marceau Bellsmith as the photographer’s logo. I believe this photograph was one of Marceau’s early works and likely taken around 1885 before he partnered with Bellsmith.

The bearded man in this photograph was not a very young man and yet not old. The beard does not show any graying. The thinning of his hair would suggest he might have been in his 30s or 40s.

The backs of the photographs read:

Theo C. Marceau
The Leading Fotografer
Successor to Van Loo
148 West Fourth St.
Cincinnati

Also on the backs are dedications. The first reads, “To Uncle Sam – R.G.L.”

UNKPortraitmanbeardback Rooney collectionThe second, “To cousin Tillie R.G.L.” and a number “77030R” which could be for ordering duplicates.

UNKGlassRoyaltyGBLTillieback Rooney collectionBoth dedications were written by the same person, likely an adult. But who was R.G.L.?

Uncle Sam and cousin Tillie are a perfect fit for Samuel L. ROYALTY (1829-1902) and his daughter Mathilda J. “Tillie” (Royalty) WELLS (1859-1939). My problem is I don’t have a niece or nephew for Samuel with the initials R.G.L. The dedication on the back of the cabinet card to Uncle Sam would have to have been written before his death in 1902.

I slowly went through all the digital images of the fronts and backs of all photographs in the collection searching for the same handwriting. There are 250 items in the digital file.

carrieback2carrieback

These are the backs of two identical photographs of Caroline “Carrie” ENOCH, daughter of Ellen ROYALTY, oldest sister of Samuel L. ROYALTY. Sam’s niece and Tilly’s cousin.

When I shared Carrie’s portrait I had little information on her and was unable to locate her in any census after 1870. The backs of her photos suggested a marriage to a LANGLEY or LANGSTON. After writing about her photograph last November my cousin Joe posted several comments about her having been married at least three times. This led to the census enumerations in 1900, 1910, 1920 with her 2nd husband and in 1930 with her 3rd husband. I have not gone back to check on the 1940. All three of her marriages took place  in Hamilton County, Ohio:

Robert G. LANGSDALE 1851-1920

Carrie’s first husband’s initials were R.G.L. Here is a biographical sketch from the History of Dearborn and Ohio Counties, Indiana, 1885.

1885historyofdearbornandohiocountiesp808-809R. G. LANGSDALE, M.D., a popular druggist and pharmacist, Rising Sun, is a native of Kentucky, born in 1851. He was educated at Moore’s Hill College, and for seven years was engaged in teaching “the young idea how to shoot.” In 1879 he entered the Ohio Medical College, of Cincinnati, and took a thorough course in the study of medicine, graduating March 4, 1881. He then sold out his interest in the drug business at Florence, Ind., and located in the same year in Rising Sun. In January, 1882, he purchased a stock of drugs of B.F. Buchanan, and, since that date, has done a good business in the drug line, keeping a full stock of goods peculiar to the trade. Dr. Langsdale began the study of medicine with Drs. Fairhurst & Mantle, of Vincennes, Ind., and later, with Dr. J.M.W. Langsdale, of Florence, Ind.  He now confines his professional services to city practice exclusively. In the fall of 1885 Dr. LANGSDALE was married to Miss Carrie Enochs, one of the most prepossessing young ladies of Rising Sun.
[Source: History of Dearborn and Ohio Counties, Indiana, 1885 online https://archive.org/stream/historyofdearbor00chic#page/n5/mode/2up]

Carrie and Robert’s marriage did not last. Carrie remarried in 1900 and Robert in 1906. Neither had children.

Before you leave, please take a moment to scroll back up to the top and meet Dr. Robert G. Langsdale.

RGLsignature
bestwishescathy1

More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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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

52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845

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 #36 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

I’m a bit behind on this week’s entry. Setting up my new laptop is taking me longer than I thought. And there are other things in my life that have priority – spending time with my husband and children, keeping myself healthy (310 kilometers/11+ hours on my bike since the 1st of the month), and creating memories.

52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) married about 1774. Most family trees have their place of marriage as Bath County in Virginia but I cannot agree with this.

As is the case with all research in old Virginia, the county formations need to be considered. Bath County was created in 1790 from parts of Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier counties. Greenbrier was formed in 1778 from Botetourt and Montgomery counties. Botetourt County was established in 1770 from Augusta County. The marriage of William and Amy most likely took place in the area of Botetourt County that later went to Greenbrier or in Augusta County where the Johnston families lived. As this is a portrait of William JOHNSON Jr., I will go into the Johnston connection in Augusta County in a later post.

William and Amy were the parents of at least 8 known children, one of them being my fourth great-grandfather William JOHNSON (1793-1845) born about 1793 on Lick Run, Greenbrier County in old Virginia, now West Virginia.

William’s oldest brother Rev. John Brown JOHNSON was born in 1777 in Botetourt or Augusta County. Their father may have been away from home for long periods of time due to his military service during the Revolutionary War (1775-1784). In any case, the next child Nelson JOHNSON was born about 1782. In Laidley’s 1911 History1 Nelson is named as one of the four sons of William JOHNSON Sr. Other sources2 have him listed as the son of Benjamin JOHNSON.

In a biography of Julian M. Johnson, grandson of William Jr., William Sr. moved to what is now Monroe County, West Virginia, after the end of the Revolutionary War and lived there a number of years.

New records brought to light by Wayne L. Johnson, a direct descendant of William Jr., may prove that William Sr. was actually in the area when Greenbrier County was formed in 1778.3 This would mean that John B. and Nelson were born “in the Sinks” as the JOHNSONs were there in 1784:4

“Among the people who were living in the Sinks at the close of the Revolution were several Methodist families. Among these were the Blantons, the Christys, the Johnsons, and the Warrens. They held religious meetings at their homes, and as their membership was growing, they organized a regular society late in the summer of 1784. This date, it will be observed, is also that of the independence of the Methodist Church.”

James M. (1783-1834), Susannah* (1784-1840), Mary “Polly” (1790-1850), my 4th great-grandfather William (1793-1845), and Nancy (1794-1825) were born on Lick Run then part of Greenbrier County.

Between 1795 and 1798 the JOHNSON family moved to Peters Creek, at the time in Kanawha County, where William Sr. patented 500 acres. He settled and remained there for the rest of his life. Amy (1795-1859) may have been the first child to be born on Peters Creek which would become part of Nicholas County when the county was formed in 1818.5

“The murder of one individual or a dozen families did not deter the sturdy pioneer from his onward march in the conquest of the wilderness, and accordingly, before a year has passed after the destruction of Kelly’s settlement, we find Leonard and William Morris both residing almost in sight of the fatal spot. Their settlement is elsewhere noticed [pg. 58, Kelly was killed in early 1773]. Among those who here found homes and become actual settlers in the next few years were John Hansford, Sr., Thomas Foster, Ransom Gatewood, Robert Perry, John Jarrett, John D. Massey, Gallatin G. Hansford, William Johnson, John Wheeler, Shadrach Childers, Peter Likens, Spencer Hill, William Pryor, Barney Green, Thomas Trigg and Shadrach Hariman.”

Two land records extracted from the deed books of Greenbrier County many years ago by David Fridley (who did not note the book or page on these). They would indicate that William and Amy left for Kanawha around 1798 selling a total of 238 acres:

  • 25 June 1798. William Johnson and Amy deeded out 150 acres Lick Run. Witn: John Johnston
  • 26 June 1798. William Johnson and Amy sold 88 acres Lick Run. Witn: John Johnston, et al.

This matches a statement in the biography of Julian M. Johnson by Laidley:6

“Then he and his sons, William, John, Nelson and James, moved to Gauley River in what is now Nicholas County, WV, near and below the mouth of Little Elk about 1798.”

William’s youngest sister Elizabeth (1799-1840) was born the year after the family moved to Kanawha County.

*At the turn of the century William’s sister Susannah JOHNSON was the first to marry. She married Martin SIMS (1783-1853) on 28 March 18007 in Greenbrier County. The permission slip for Susannah’s marriage was signed by her father William JOHNSON. I don’t have a copy of this document however Tim Spradling has put it on his list for his trip to the courthouse this fall. A comparison of the signature on the permission slip with other signatures found for William Sr. will help to determine if this young lady was the daughter of our William JOHNSON Sr. or the William JOHNSTON who died and left a will in 1803 in Greenbrier County. The will mentions his four oldest children James, Polly, Samuel and Sally, and his younger sons William, George, John, and Andrew. There is no mention of a daughter Susannah.

Photo courtesy of Carl L. Johnson.

William’s brother John Brown JOHNSON married Elizabeth SIMS (1782-1845), sister of the above mentioned Martin SIMS, on 2 June 18028 in Kanawha County.

These would be the only two marriages of his children that William JOHNSON Sr. would live to see. William died 22 December 1805 and was buried near Swiss in present-day Nicholas County, West Virginia.

Following their father’s death, the children lived with their mother Amy until one by one they married and started their own families. Mary “Polly” married Benjamin DARLINGTON (1775-1853) on 23 April 1810 in Kanawha County and was with her new husband when the 1810 census was enumerated. Amy was with her single children and close to son John and daughter Susannah who had married SIMS siblings.

1810censusjohnson
1810 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha > Kanawha > image 4 of 16 [ancestry.com]
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Johnston, Anne (sic, Amy; listed just above her son John)
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (James & Alexander)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 2 (Amy & Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Amy)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 8

During the time our nation was at war (War of 1812), William and his two unmarried brothers married.

    • James M. JOHNSON married Elizabeth MILLER ( -1823) on 29 April 1813 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
    • Nelson JOHNSON married Nancy MURPHY in 1813 in Kanawha County
    • William JOHNSON married Nancy Ann SIMS on 15 October 1814 in Kanawha County.

Soon after William married my 4th great-grandmother Nancy Ann SIMS, sister of Martin and Elizabeth SIMS mentioned earlier, their first child Nelson JOHNSON (1815-1855) was born about 1815 in Kanawha County. In all records found for Nelson, I have only seen “Nelson” as his first name. Denise Jackson of “Our Family Heritage” is a great-great-granddaughter of this son. Family lore is that his full name was Joseph Nelson JOHNSON and his grandson Joseph Nelson “JN” JOHNSON was named after him. On 9 May 2014 she wrote “It is only word of mouth about JN’s grandfather being Joseph Nelson Johnson and he (JN) being named for him” in response to my email to her about the full name. Before replying she checked with two of her cousins, sons of her father’s sister, and her two brothers as she said, “I wanted to check with all of them to make sure I had heard (and remembered) correctly.” They confirmed that she was right about the family lore.

William JOHNSON Jr. and his family originally lived at the mouth of Laurel Creek, a tributary of the Gauley River which empties about one mile above Swiss. In 1810 the JOHNSON and SIMS families were neighbors and it is known that James SIMS, father of Nancy Ann SIMS, made his home at Swiss. William’s son John Brown JOHNSON was born at the mouth of Rich Creek on Gauley in 1823 per the 1911 biography of his son Julian M. JOHNSON. This would have been in the area of Swiss. Later, most likely after 1823, the JOHNSON family moved to a place on Loop Creek (Loup Creek) in the area of what is known as Robson in present-day Fayette County, West Virginia.

“Loop Creek flows for its entire length in western Fayette County. It rises in the city of Oak Hill and flows initially west-northwestward through the unincorporated communities of Lick Fork, Wriston, Ingram Branch, and Hamilton; then northward through the unincorporated communities of Kincaid, Page, North Page, and Robson, to Deep Water, where it flows into the Kanawha River.” [Source: Wikipedia]

Before William and Nancy’s next child was born two of his sisters married brothers in Kanawha County: Nancy JOHNSON married Peyton FOSTER (1793- ) on 11 January 1815 and Amy JOHNSON married Turley FOSTER (1794-1859) on 16 November / 18 November 1816.

And William’s family continued to grow with the birth of my third great-grandmother Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) about 1817 and Alexander JOHNSON (1819-1887) on 10 June 1819.

The 1820 and 1830 census were enumerated in alphabetical order rather than in order of household visitation. This makes it less useful for locating the actual place that the family lived.

The family was in Nicholas County in 1820 and then next seen in Kanawha County in the 1830 census which supports the theory that their move to Loop Creek was in the 1820s, most likely between 1824-1830. Robson is 10 miles south of present-day Gauley Bridge. Fayette County was created on 28 February 1831 from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Logan counties. From then on William’s children were born on Loop Creek in Fayette County where they were seen in the 1840 census.

1820censusjohnson
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nicholas [https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18200130unit#page/n388/mode/1up : accessed 10 May 2014]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No: 204B
Enumerated by: Hedgman Triplett on the 26th day of December 1820
William Johnson
2 males under 10 yo (Nelson and Alexander)
2 males 10 & under 16 yo (not sons of Wm and Nancy who were married only 6 yrs)
1 male 16 & under 26 yo (William)
1 female under 10 yo (Huldah)
1 female 16 & under 26 yo (Nancy Ann b. bet. 1794-1804)
1 person engaged in agriculture
7 persons in household

Following the enumeration of the 1820 census, William’s fourth child Mary JOHNSON (1820-1898) was born on 20 August 1820.

William’s sister Elizabeth JOHNSON married Presley FOSTER (1798-1873), a brother of Turley and Peyton FOSTER, on 12 March 1822 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, and his brother James M. JOHNSON, recently widowed, married(2) Sarah LEGG (1795- ) on 6 March 1823 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

Shortly before Christmas in 1823 another son, John Brown JOHNSON (1823-1902), was born on 23 December 1823. The family was very fond of this name!

The first of William’s siblings, Nancy (Johnson) FOSTER died before 6 September 1825 leaving only one known child, a son she named Johnson FOSTER.

Nancy gave William three more children before the 1830 census: Amy JOHNSON (1825-1904) on 4 November 1825, Lewis JOHNSON (1828-1845) on 6 March 1828, and Elizabeth JOHNSON (1829-1833) about 1829.

1830censusjohnson
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Kanawha [https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300191unit#page/n397/mode/1up : accessed 11 May 2014]
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Johnston, William
2 males under 5 yo (Lewis b. 1828, John Brown b. 1823)
1 male 5 & under 10 yo (Alexander b. 1819)
1 male 10 & under 15 yo (Nelson b. ca. 1815)
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (William Jr. b. 1793)
1 female under 5 yo (Amy b. 1825)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Mary b. 1820)
1 female 10 & under 15 yo (Huldah b. ca. 1818)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Nancy Ann Sims Johnson b. bet. 1791-1800)
1 female 70 & under 80 yo (Amy Nelson Johnson b. 1757)
7 free white persons under 20
2 free white person 20 thru 9
10 total free white persons
10 total – all persons

In William’s household, we see an older woman in his household. This must be his mother as family tradition is that she lived among her children until her death.

William’s family was not yet complete: William Hunter JOHNSON (1832-1899) was born 27 July 1832, Nancy JOHNSON (1835-1915) was born in August 1835. Sadly, young Elizabeth, about 4 years old, died about 1833 of the flux.

A year later William’s brother James M. JOHNSON died in 1834 on Loop Creek, Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s oldest child Nelson JOHNSON married Elizabeth HUGHES (1817-1900) on 14 September 1837 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

Sadly there would be another death in the family during the 1830s. William’s elderly mother Amy NELSON died on 23 December 1837 in Robson, Fayette County, (West) Virginia, and was buried in Nichols Cemetery on Loop Creek also seen as Nichols Hollow Cemetery, Robson. From the writings of Laura Blake, a local historian:

Courtesy of Gary Johnston (Facebook message dated 1 May 2013)

“Amie Nelson Johnson lived among her children after coming to Loup Creek but her last days were at the home of her son William, whose home was near that of Mutt Ellis. This was very close to the cemetery known then as the Kelly grave yard but now called the Nuchils cemetery. This is a beautiful location for a cemetery. In a row in this cemetery is the grave of William and Nancy Simms Johnson, two children, and the mother Amie Nelson Johnson. William and Nancy died around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. Afterwards, most of his family went to Kanawha County to an area called the Grape Vine, near Charleston.”

Unfortunately, Laura Blake did not get all the fact correct in the above statement. William’s wife Nancy SIMS did not die around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. She was seen living with her son William Hunter JOHNSON in Kanawha County in 1860.

After his mother’s death, William’s wife Nancy gave him his last child Morris Houston JOHNSON (1839-1845) on 21 January 1839 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s daughter Mary JOHNSON married David Alexander MILLER (1820-1871) on 13 December 18399 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s sisters Elizabeth FOSTER and Susannah SIMS died before the 1840 census.

1840censusjohnson
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayette > page 145 [https://archive.org/stream/populationsch1840555unit#page/n298/mode/1up : accessed 11 May 2014]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Johnson, William Sr. (page 145)
2 males under 5 yo (William Hunter and Morris Houston)
1 male 5  & under 10 yo (Lewis)
1 male 15 & under 20 yo (John Brown)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Alexander)
1 male 40 & under 50 yo (William)
1 female under 5 yo (Nancy)
1 female 15 & under 20 yo (Amy)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Huldah)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Nancy Ann; should be listed as 40 & under 50 yo)
10 persons in household
2 persons engaged in agriculture

William and Nancy’s oldest daughter Huldah JOHNSON married Robert INGRAM (1819-1902) about 1841 in Fayette County (West) Virginia.

Courtesy of Gary Johnston (Facebook message dated 1 May 2013)

In 1845 during an epidemic of typhoid fever, three members of the family died.

William’s sons died within three weeks of each other: Morris Houston JOHNSON died 11 August 1845 and Lewis JOHNSON died 31 August 1845.

William JOHNSON followed his sons on 18 December 1845. They are all buried in the Nichols Cemetery in Fayette County.

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Laidley, William Sydney, History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens, Richmond Arnold Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1911; pg. 979 (https://archive.org/stream/historyofcharles00laid#page/n5/mode/2up : accessed September 2014). 
  2. Christine Beckelheimer, submitter; “Benjamin Johnson”; The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993; sponsored and published by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, page 32. 
  3. Wayne L. Johnson and Carl L. Johnson; These Lost Children of the Marquis of Annandale, Johnstone-Johnston-Johnson, Notes & Compilations in three volumes, Vol. II First Americans, Charleston, West Virginia. A copy of this draft (a work in progress) received in the mail on 16 July 2014 from Wayne via Tim Spradling. 
  4. Oren F. Morton, The History of Monroe County, West Virginia, published by McClure Company, Inc., Staunton, Va. 1916; online https://archive.org/stream/historyofmonroec00mort#page/n5/mode/2up 
  5. Laidley’s History; pg. 235 
  6. Laidley’s History; pg. 979 
  7. Larry Heffner, email dated 10 August 2004 in reply to my request for information on marriage papers of Martin Sims and Susanna Johnson in the archives of the Greenbrier Historical Society. 
  8. The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993; sponsored and published by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. 
  9. Sissonville A Time to Remember, The Sissonville Historical Awareness Committee, pg. 108; online http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvkanawh/Sissonville/index.html