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.
In my last post Rewriting the Biography: William SIMS Sr. in the U.S. Federal Census, I left a doubt I had concerning the wife of William SIMS Sr.:
William married Elizabeth WINDSOR around 1805 or earlier. No record of the marriage has been found nor any record confirming her maiden name.
I questioned her maiden name being WINDSOR as I have not found a marriage record nor did I have any records which include her maiden name. Also, the fact that her son Jonathan married Elizabeth WINDSOR, daughter of Benjamin “Benijah” WINDSOR and Mary “Polly” CHILDRESS, had me wondering if there may be a case of mistaken identity.
I did not expect to find the answer in the near future. Over the years my group of SIMS researchers has gotten smaller. Several members are now deceased while others are not as actively working on their genealogies. We’ve kept in touch but in recent years little new information has been exchanged.
In 2002 David Fridley, one of my original SIMS researchers, was the first person to read my draft of the biography of James SIMS and made a dozen or so comments, mostly editorial, which were very helpful. He also encouraged me to share it by offering to post it on his website. I admire David and his influence has made me a better genealogist. He is amazingly meticulous about citing his sources and re-evaluating information in his family tree.
In 2014 during my first year blogging, David wrote to me following my post 52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845 about a correction he felt I should know about:
At the time you were posting this, I was trying to tie some Phillips lines together, and one in question was a woman who had married Charles C. Windsor (b. c. 1830), son of Charles and Elizabeth Windsor. I hadn’t worked on the early Fayette Co. Johnsons in quite some time, but I decided to flesh out the census information on Charles C.’s early years, since I had in my database that Elizabeth (or as I had it “Mary Elizabeth ‘Polly’ Childress Windsor”) was the second wife of John Brown Johnson. I found, though, that Charles and Elizabeth (Childress) Windsor appeared in the Fayette Co. censuses up through 1860, so I was a bit confused as to how she could have been John Brown Johnson’s second wife. I have a number of other Windsors intermarried into the Sims, Johnsons, Blakes, Treadways, etc., so I spent a bit of time trying to figure out their relationships so I might determine where this discrepancy over John Brown Johnson’s second wife came from.
What I found was that my information was wrong: Charles Windsor married Elizabeth Childress, while his brother Benjamin Windsor married Mary ‘Polly’ Childress, sister of Elizabeth. Benjamin died in 1829 in Kanawha Co. (probate material available) and it was his widow who remarried to John Brown Johnson. Although I can’t find her or John in 1860, she is listed as Mary Johnson, age 82, b. VA, with her daughter Emeretta Windsor Brown in Gallipolis, Gallia Co, OH in 1870.
I’d filed away this email without following up on the correction. David had also included two attachments to support his corrections. One was a post by James Windsor to the Windsor Family Genealogy Forum on the old Genealogy.com website. James Windsor’s information helped David correct the errors he (we) had concerning Polly WINDSOR who had married John Brown JOHNSON after the death of his wife Elizabeth SIMS, a daughter of James SIMS. Mr. Windsor also noted in his post that William “Billy the Gunsmith” SIMS married Elizabeth WINDSOR, daughter of Jonathan and Mary WINDSOR. Benjamin, Elizabeth, and Charles were all children of Jonathan WINDSOR, born 1750 in Charles County, Maryland, and died after 1837 in Kanawha County.
The second attachment was even more interesting. David wrote:
I’m also attaching a transcript of Jonathan’s Revolutionary War application, which has some interesting items as well, including mention of “William Sims, the Son in Law of Windsor,” establishing that Elizabeth was his daughter. It also notes that James Sims was familiar with him and his service in the Revolution.
How could I have overlooked inputting this important information into my genealogy database? How did I happen to find it so quickly after writing my last post?
Amy Cohen of Brotmanblog: A Family Journey gets the credit for my checking David’s emails. She has the most interesting questions when commenting on my posts. I wanted to mention David Fridley in my reply to her and went into his email folder to be sure I remembered all my dates correctly. That’s when I found his email with the subject line: Windsor-Sims-Johnson.
As the information concerning William SIMS being the son-in-law of Jonathan WINDSOR was found in a transcript of the pension file, I wanted to confirm this by finding the original record.
On Ancestry, I found the entire Revolutionary War Pension Application File for Jonathan WINDSOR (Service Number R.11703). Forty-two images for a pension which in the end was rejected. His claim was not allowed as he did not render six months military service in a regularly organized corps as was required by the pension laws.
Even though the pension was rejected the file holds the answer to the parentage of William SIMS Sr.’s wife Elizabeth WINDSOR.
Jonathan WINDSOR’s pension application begins as follows:
On this eighteenth day of February 1834 personally appeared before me William Sims a justice of the peace in and for the county of Nicholas in the state of Virginia and as such a member of the County Court of Nicholas which is a court of record, Jonathan Winsor aged eighty four years on the 8 day of October next who being first duly sworn according to Law doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.
The declaration continues with his service during the war, his birth date and place, and how he came to live in Nicholas County. He gave character witnesses:
He is known to James Sims and Isaac Collins of his neighbourhood, there being no clergyman of his neighbourhood who can testify to his character for veracity and their general belief of his services as a soldier of the revolution.
Jonathan WINDSOR’s statement and signature are followed by my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS and Isaac COLLINS’ sworn statement:
We James Sims and Isaac Collins residing in the neighbourhood of the aforesaid Jonathan Windsor hereby certify that we are well acquainted with the said Jonathan Windson who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration that we believe him to be about eighty four years of age that he is reputed and believed in the neighbourhood where he resides to have been a soldier of the revolution and that we concur in that opinion. Sworn to and subscribed the day & year aforesaid.
James Sims Isaac Collins
Also in the file is this statement concerning Jonathan WINDSOR’s son-in-law William SIMS:
I called at the Home of William Sims, the Son in Law of Windsor – haveing understood that the Windsor was to be found there. Windsor however was from home distant 40 or 50 miles and not expected to return soon – Sims informed me that he had frequently heard his father in Law Windsor detail his services as a soldier. the detail in substance was that during the war of the Revolution he was forted at different forts in Greenbrier county – at the several forts at which he was stationed the inhabitants cult their families land – the people of the Forts excludeing himself were clearing lands & cultivateing corn and would beat off the Indians when assailed by them which attacks of Indians were frequent. Sims never heard his father in Law say he was in regular service or under any regular officer — the neighbourhood opinion so far as I could collect it is decidedly against Windsor –
W. G Singleton
Jany 15, 1835
The WINDSOR Connection
James SIMS and Jonathan WINDSOR knew each other. Their children, William SIMS and Elizabeth WINDSOR married. Jonathan also had a son Benjamin who was the father of the younger Elizabeth WINDSOR. Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin, and Jonathan, son of Elizabeth, were first cousins and married on 30 December 1832 in Kanawha County.
It is interesting to note that on the same day Jonathan WINDSOR came before William SIMS, Justice of the Peace, to make his declaration for his Revolutionary War pension, my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS did the same. Jonathan WINDSOR testified on James’ behalf along with Isaac COLLINS.
© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.