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

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

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

The Livelihood of James SIMS (1754-1845)

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

The Kanawha Wilderness

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

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

Record Book of Kanawha County, Virginia

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

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

James SIMS gives a new rifle gun to a substitute

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

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

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

MRIN02312 James Sims RW 27 croppedJames Sims Pensioner Servd 9 mo. Receives $30 pension. I the undersigned James Sims in pursuance of the requisites of the Secretary of the War gives the following narrative of my services as a Soldier in the War of the Revolution & statement of my age to-wit. I am in my 79th year of age. I am a native of Culpepper County & lived in that county during the War of the Revolution. In my nieneteenth or twentieth year of age (I cant tell in what year) I was drafted for 3 mo. & marched from Cupepper Country under Capt. John Tutt (don’t recollect the names of his subaltern officers) Capt Tutts company was attached to a Regt commanded by Col Jno. Slaughter which went from Culpepper. The Regt. Marched to Norfolk. Can’t recollect the names of any towns through which we marched on going to Norfolk. We were discharged at Norfolk in time to get home before the three months expired. In less than one year after the preceding term, (I cant tell in what year) I was drafted again for 3 mo. And hired a substitute whose name was William Noll (?) gave him $500 in continental money and a new rifle gun. In the year in which Cornwallis was captured at Yorktown I was drafted again for 3 mo. Set out from Culpepper under a Capt. whose name I have forgotten. We were preparing to set out on the march for nearly one week, when the news of Cornwallis’ defeat was received & we were ordered to return home & done so, having been in service this latter term about one week – I was a Sergeant & they ended my services — Saml Price wrote my Declaration to whom I gave this same narrative of my service. That I now give. I agreed to give him $20 if he brought me my money In witness of all which I hereto subscribe my name. Jany 10, 1835
His
James      X      Sims
Mark

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

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

Memoirs of Col. Campbell

Col. Edward Campbell, the son of John Campbell and Nancy Hughes, was born in 1800 and acquired the basics of an education from his parents. Shortly after the formation of Nicholas County in 1818, he was appointed justice of the peace and traveled throughout the county performing legal services for many of the outlying settlers who found it inconvenient if not impossible to make the long trip into Summersville. Campbell possessed an extraordinary memory for names and facts about the earliest inhabitants of Nicholas County, and some sixty years following his days as a traveling justice, he wrote down his reminiscences of the early settlers and the way in which they lived. Campbell’s memoirs have always been held in high esteem by historians, and where validation is possible he has seldom been found in error in any of his remarks. They were published in the Chronicle in 1883.4

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

Going up Gauley River to the mouth of Little Elk, which empties into the river two miles above the ford, we come to the settlement made by J. Windsor. James Sims also made a small improvement at this place. He came from Jackson’s River in Bath County, Virginia. He was a gunsmith and blacksmith, and did but little farming. He had a large family of children, both male and female. Mr. Sims also brought the first darkies that were ever seen in these parts. He had two sons that were also gunsmiths and made the best of rifle guns. As these guns were much in demand with the increasing settlers they did a lucrative business. They both married young, and settled near their father and did some farming in addition to their work on guns. James lived to see his family settled here and elsewhere. His sons, William and Martin, remained here until they were old men and died leaving large families. James Sims was said to be 90 years old when he died.

An old plug horse and a muzzle-loading rifle

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

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

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

1800 Land Deed John and Frances Jones to James Sims

Descendants who owned Sims guns

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

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

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

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

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

Newspaperarchive.com : accessed 15 February 2006

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

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

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

Jeff Prechtel Art & Illustration – used with permission.

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

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

Sims rifle compared to Honaker and Carper rifles

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

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

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

A plug horse and a flintlock rifle

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

Following her death (Phebe), James Sims married Nancy (sic, Elizabeth) Cotton. Soon after this marriage, he went to Kanawha Valley to visit a cousin and also visited the Henry Morris home on Peter’s Creek. Henry tried to persuade him to buy near him, but James being a great hunter, said, “No, this section is too thickly settled.” So Henry took him on a hunting expedition down Peter’s Creek, out across the Little Elk Mountain and started down Little Elk Creek where they found signs of bear, deer and wild turkey. James Sims then said, “Henry, if I can buy land on this creek, I’ll be your neighbor soon.” The land belonged to John Jones who lived at what is now Pratt. He had married a Morris and had purchased thousands of acres of land. He at once went to see Mr. Jones and they soon agreed on a price for 500 acres on Little Elk Creek: a plug horse and a flint lock rifle. As soon as he could make arrangements, he moved his family there.”

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

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

Others who mentioned rifle making

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

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

Mountain rifle made by William SIMS

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

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

1993 photo courtesy of Rose Mary Sims Rudy

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

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

Occupations on the census

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

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

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

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

Tools of trade in an inventory?

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

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

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

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

Regarding the artwork featured in this post

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

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

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

  1.  Kanawha County, West Virginia, County Court Record Book, 1788-1803 (images), FamilySearch (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1967), FHL Film 530753, DGS 8218841, image 218 of 291, p 395. 1802 James Sims and William Sims on wolf-scalp bounty list. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSG6-X9SZ-Q?i=217&cat=55519 : accessed 13 September 2018). 
  2. Rev. Shirley Donnelly, “Yesterday And Today – Hinton Woman, 97, Writes Well, Spells,” Beckley Post-Herald, Thursday, 9 January 1969, p 4. 
  3.  U.S. Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900 (index and images), Ancestry (Original data: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls. National Archives, Washington, D.C.), image 243 of 1164. Pension Application File SR19464 for James Sims. (www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 October 2011). 
  4. Edward Campbell, “Early Settlers of Nicholas County, Virginia,” Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers 1818-1860, Upper Glade, West Virginia, Webster County Historical Society, Inc., 1985., p 54. 
  5. Ibid., p 63. 
  6. J.T. Peters and H.B. Carden, History of Fayette County, published by the Fayette County Historical Society, Inc., 1926, p 610. 
  7.  Kanawha County (West Virginia), County Clerk, Record of deeds, 1790-1946 (images), FamilySearch, (126 microfilm reels of original records at the Kanawha County courthouse, Charleston, West Virginia), Deed books, v. A-B 1790-1804, image 206 of 468, Deed Book A, p 91. 1800 Land Deed John and Frances Jones to James Sims. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSG6-FSQG-6?i=205&cat=56556 : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  8. William H. Maginnis, “Guns Made by Pioneer on Gauley River, Mute Testimonials of Settlers’ Lives” (The Charleston Gazette, Sunday, 10 August 1947 p. 20). (Newspaperarchive.com : accessed 15 February 2006). 
  9. Rev. Shirley Donnelly, “Nicholas County Had Fine Gunsmith, Too,” Beckley Post Herald, 24 September 1965, page 4. 
  10. Lela Wolfe Prewitt, “James Sims of Culpeper, Fayette & Nicholas Cos., (West) Virginia,” Ancestors & Descendants of Thomas Sims of Culpeper County, Virgina Edmund Butler of Virginia and Kentucky with Allied Families & Other Culpeper Data, compiled and published by Lela Wolfe Prewitt, Fairfield, Iowa, 1972, p. 156. 
  11. George R. Penick Jr., comp., The Penick Papers (a Sims family compilation) (compiled in 1978-1980). 
  12. James P. Whisker, Gunsmiths of West Virginia, 1983, page 105. 
  13.  1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_963, Virginia, Nicholas County, District 43, sheet 360A, lines 33-35, HH #272-272, William Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 April 2018). 
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Rewriting the Biography: George Washington “Wash” 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.

George Washington SIMS was the youngest of James SIMS’ sixteen children, the baby of the family he had with his second wife Elizabeth COTTON. George, also known as Wash, was born about 1821 in Nicholas County.

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

By 1830 his four oldest full siblings were married and living on their own. He was living at home with a sister Jane who would marry the following year and two brothers, Charles and Dryden. Also in the household were five slaves. Isaac SIMS (ca. 1793-1875) who would be manumitted by George’s father James in 1836 was likely the male age 24 thru 35.

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

1830 U.S. Federal Census 1
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)
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

George was about 19 years old when the 1840 census was enumerated. As the youngest of James’ children, he may have still been living at home. His parents had taken in two children, likely their deceased daughter Sarah’s children.

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

1840 U.S. Federal Census2
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. James, son 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

Another possible location for George at the time of the census was the household of his brother Charles who was just across the county line in Fayette County. As James SIMS’ property spanned both Nicholas and Fayette at that time, Charles was probably living on his father’s land. Being young and unmarried George could have been helping both his aged father and his brother Charles who was also unmarried.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Charles SIMS

1840 U.S. Federal Census3
Fayette County, Virginia
Sheet 147, Line 6
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Charles Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (Charles and George?)
Slaves – Males – Under 10: 1
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total Slaves: 2
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

On 28 November 1845 George W. SIMS applied for a bond to marry Margaret J. DORSEY in Nicholas County. He went the bond with James DORSEY Jr. who made oath the bride was of age.4

Although they married in Nicholas County, their residence was in Fayette County in 1850 when they had two children, a son George W. and a daughter Edna P. M., in the home.

There are several discrepancies on the census sheet. Margaret is seen as Mary J., their oldest child George W. is incorrectly listed as 29 years old, and no occupation or value of real estate owned was given.

George’s immediate neighbors were his brother Charles, several of his nephews (sons of his half-brothers William and Martin), and his half-brother Martin.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for the George W. SIMS household

1850 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated by me on the 1st day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet No. 343A, Lines 36-39, HH #173-173
George W. Sims 29 M Virginia
Mary (sic) J. Sims 29 F Virginia
G. W. Sims 29 (sic, 3) M Virginia
Edny P. M. Sims 1 F Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

During the 1850s Margaret had another four or five children. Victoria (9) and Elizabeth (7) are seen in the household. An unnamed male child was born on 3 September 1855 and likely died before 1860 as he is not reflected in this listing. Another son John L. N. was born about December 1856 and died on 13 April 1858. A one-year-old female is seen without a name, only ditto marks on the sheet. The census was enumerated on August 4, two weeks after a daughter named Margaret Jane was born. Maggie, as she would be known, was born on 22 July 1860. Is she the unnamed child in the 1860 census? Or did the enumerator follow directions to not include any children born after June 1? Or was there another unnamed female child born about 1859?

George who was farming had no real estate of value and his personal estate was valued at $200.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for the Washington SIMS household

1860 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, Virginia
District No. 1
Enumerated by me on the 4th day of August, 1860. P. Morton, Ass’t Marshal.
Gauley Bridge Post Office, Sheet No. 290
Page No. 108, Lines 20-26, HH #800-734
Washington Sims 38 M Farmer $0 $200 Virginia
Margaret Sims 40 F Virginia
George W. Sims 13 M Virginia
Edna Sims 11 F Virginia
Victoria Sims 9 F Virginia
Elizabeth Sims 7 F Virginia
” (ditto) ” (ditto) 1 F Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

George’s wife Margaret died between 22 July 1860 (after Maggie’s birth) and 29 January 1863 when George married Mary Jane JOHNSON in Nicholas County. He was the only child of James SIMS to have his parents’ names mentioned on a marriage record although the maiden name of his mother was not included, only James & Elizabeth. The names of the parents of Mary Jane who was 23 were not stated on the marriage record.7

George R. Penick, Jr. wrote in his compilation on James SIMS and his descendants that George Washington SIMS’ second wife, Mary Jane JOHNSON, was a sister to the brothers John and William JOHNSON who married George’s half-sisters Elizabeth and Nancy Ann SIMS. This cannot be correct as Mary Jane was born between 1840-1843 which was long after the 1805 death of William JOHNSON Sr., father of these men. Neither John nor William could be the father of Mary Jane as their daughters are accounted for. John’s son Harrison had a daughter Mary b. ca. 1842 and William’s son Joseph Nelson had a daughter Mary A. b. ca. 1841. Marriages have been found for both of these girls and they are listed with their families in 1860. John and William had a brother James who died in 1834 but none of his sons’ daughters are matches. I do not see the possibility of Mary Jane being closely related to John and William JOHNSON. There were other Johnson families in the Kanawha-Nicholas-Fayette area as well as in Greenbrier which bordered on Fayette.

The candidate remaining was Mary J. JOHNSON age 18 in the household of Elizabeth McVEY (maiden name KOONTZ) in the Mountain Cove district of Fayette County in 1860. Further research would be necessary to prove or disprove this as well as to find her parents.

By 1870 Mary Jane had given birth to three children. The youngest, only one month old, was mistakenly noted as a female. In 1880 the child would be seen as William T. age 10 and, later in 1900, his month and year of birth would be May 1870 which fell within the census year, i.e. he would be the “female” child on the 1870 census. Only three of George’s children from his first marriage were still at home: Victoria, Elizabeth, and Margaret. His two oldest children George W. and Edna P. M. have not been found in 1870 or any later census. No marriage or death records have been found and I suspect they may have died in the 1860s.

The family was now in Nicholas County. George was farming and his real estate was valued at $600 and his personal property at $450. Living next door was Isaac SIMS, the first black man to own property in Nicholas County. The tract he owned bordered on the land originally owned by James SIMS.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia for the George W. SIMS household

1870 U.S. Federal Census8
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township, Page No. 1
Enumerated by me on the 22nd day of July, 1870. Patrick D. Horan, Ass’t Marshal.
Nicholas Court House Post Office
Sheet No. 163A, Lines 5-12, HH #2-2
Sims, George W. 49 M W Farmer $600 $450 West Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Sims, Mary J. 27 F W West Virginia
Sims, Victoria 18 F W At Home West Virginia
Sims, Elizabeth H. 15 F W At Home West Virginia attended school
Sims, Margaret J. 9 F W West Virginia
Sims, Ulysses G. 6 M W West Virginia
Sims, Minna 4 F W West Virginia
Sims, Not named 1/12 F W West Virginia
Sheet No. 163A, Line 13, HH #3-3
Sims, Isaac 72 M Mulatto Farmer $500 $400 cannot read & write West Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Note: Isaac Sims, the freed slave of James Sims, father of George W. Sims.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

During the 1870s George’s three daughters from his first marriage were married. Victoria Veazy SIMS married William Henry SUMMERS soon after the 1870 census and they had four children by 1880. Margaret Jane SIMS married John Wesley MARTIN on 9 January 1878. They had one daughter and were living with his parents in 1880. Elizabeth Honor SIMS married William Henry MARTIN on 19 April 1878 and they were the parents of a son and daughter by 1880. The MARTIN men were not brothers and I have not done research on the line to determine if or how they may have been related.

Mary Jane and George had four more children by 1880. Irvin Evermont, Joseph Wyatt, Cora Anna, and Oleona G. who was also known as Ola. They were still in the Jefferson district of Nicholas County where George was farming.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for the George W. SIMS household

1880 U.S. Federal Census9
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township
Enumeration District No. 105
Enumerated by me on the 10th day of June, 1880. W. M. Walker, enumerator.
Page No. 11, Sheet No. 101C, Lines 8-16, HH #79-79
Sims, George W. W M 59 married Farmer WV VA VA
Sims, Mary J. W F 40 wife married Keeping house WV WV VA
Sims, Ulyssius S. W M 15 son single Works on farm attended school WV WV WV
Sims, Minnie M. W F 12 daughter single At home attended school cannot write WV WV WV
Sims, William T. W M 10 son single attended school cannot write WV WV WV
Sims, Irvin E. W M 8 son single attended school WV WV WV
Sims, Joseph W. W M 6 son single WV WV WV
Sims, Anna W F 3 daughter single WV WV WV
Sims, Oleona W F 2 daughter single WV WV WV

The Widow in the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Federal Census

When the 1900 census was enumerated, Mary J. SIMMS was seen as widowed. George had died between 1880 and 1900. No records have been found to more precisely date his death. Mary Jane was now living in the town of Ansted in the Mountain Cove district of Fayette County, the same area a younger Mary J. JOHNSON had been found in 1860 in the McVEY household. Mary Jane was 65 years old, about 5 to 6 years older than seen earlier. She had in her household her youngest son Joseph Wyatt a coal miner who had been out of work for three months during the year.

1900 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for the Mary J. SIMMS household

1900 U.S. Federal Census10
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove District, Ansted
Enumeration District No. 17
Enumerated by me on the 1 day of June 1900. Geo M. Koontz, enumerator.
Sheet No. 1A, Lines 44-45, HH #7-7
Simms, Mary J. head W F May 1835 65 widowed mother of 7, 7 living WV WV WV can read cannot write speaks English rents house
Simms, Joseph son W M Oct 1875 24 single WV VA WV coal miner unemployed 3 months in 1899 can read & write speaks English

Mary Jane was still in Ansted in 1910 but now alone and living off her own income. Her age was now 69 and agrees with earlier census listings. As in 1900, the seven children she had were still living. Mary Jane was not found in the 1920 census and it is assumed she died between 1910 and 1920. No record of death has been found.

1910 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for Mary J. SIMS

1910 U.S. Federal Census11
Fayette County, West Virginia
Mountain Cove District, Precinct 1, Ansted Town
Enumeration District No. 19
Enumerated by me on the 10th day of May, 1910. Wm. T. Hamilton
Sheet No. 28A, Line 9, HH #500-505
Sims, Mary J. head F W 69 widowed mother of 7, 7 living WV WV VA speaks English own income can read & write rents house

George’s Children from 1900 to 1961

Only three of the children George had with his first wife Margaret Jane DORSEY were found to have survived to adulthood, marry, and have children. If his two oldest children George W. and Edna P. M. moved to other parts, married, and had descendants, I would be happy to hear about them.

Victoria Veazy SIMS (1852-1928) had five more children after 1880 bringing the total children to nine. In 1900 she had eight children living as one of her children had died at the age of 2 years in 1894. By 1910 the number of living children went down by one as her oldest child died in 1905. She lost her husband in 1927 and died the following year in Huntington, Cabell County, West Virginia.

Elizabeth Honor SIMS (1853-bef. 1920) had four more children after 1880 bringing the total children to six. Her oldest child died before 1900. She likely died between 1910 and 1920 as her husband was listed as widowed on the 1920 census. He died in 1933 in Montgomery (Fayette County) where he had been living.

Margaret Jane “Maggie” SIMS (1860-1949) had four more daughters after 1880 bringing the total to five daughters born to her and her husband John Wesley MARTIN. He died between 1891-1899. Maggie then married Patrick BEIRNE on 4 January 1900 in Montgomery, Fayette County. The marriage was recorded in Kanawha County. Patrick was from Northern Ireland and Catholic. The SIMS family members attended the Methodist Episcopal church and were not Catholic. Maggie and Patrick were found in Fayette County in 1900 (after much searching!) with two of his children from his first marriage and her four youngest daughters. The couple was incorrectly listed as having been married 29 years and Maggie’s age was seen as 59 instead of 40. Maggie’s daughters were listed with their step-father’s surname which was indexed as Burns. In 1904 Maggie had a son Meredith James BEIRNE. By 1910 Maggie and Patrick were both listed as having been married 10 years and second marriages for both of them. The three oldest living MARTIN daughters (Nancy born in 1880 may have died before 1900) married in 1904-1906. Patrick died in 1914. Maggie lived in Charleston with her daughter Virgie Lee’s family in 1920 and 1940 and with her daughter Edith’s family in 1930. She died in 1949 in Charleston (Kanawha County).

All of the seven children George had with Mary Jane JOHNSON survived into adulthood.

Anthony Ulysses Grant SIMS (1865-1931) was found under this name in the 1900 through 1930 census. He used the alias James G. SYMMES when he enlisted the U.S. Army on 11 June 1888 in Ohio. He was a real estate agent at the time and 23 years old. He had blue eyes, light hair, fair complexion, and was 5 foot 8 inches tall. He served with Company A & K of the 7th Calvary. He was discharged 10 June 1893 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He re-enlisted on 11 June 1893 and was discharged on 10 May 1895. He apparently had a medical background as in 1900 he was an attendant at the Illinois Northern Hospital for the Insane in Kane County, Illinois; an attendant at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Chicago in 1910; and an orderly at the same in 1920. In 1927 he applied for a pension under his alias for his service during the Indian wars. In 1930 he was lodging at a hotel in Chicago and working as a guard at the U.S.V. Bureau. In 1931 he was back in West Virginia living with his sister Cora Anna who was the informant on his death record. She gave his occupation as a chemist. The 1931 death certificate included his alias which led to the military and pension records. He was never married per George R. Penick Jr. (compiler of a family history) and, although seen as single on his death record and most census records, he was listed as widowed in 1920.

Minna M. SIMS (1866-1934) married Frank E. FELTON and likely never had children. She has not been found in 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 census but was listed in the city directory of Huntington (Cabell County, West Virginia) in 1932 (widow Carsile) and 1934 (widow F. E.), living at the same address as her sister Cora Anna. It was this sister who was the informant on her death record in 1934. According to Penick, Minnie may have married or lived in Pennsylvania.

William T. SIMS (1870-aft. Apr 1940) married Virginia YOUNG in 1895 in Fayette County where William lived from 1900 to 1940. Jennie, as she was also known, gave him four daughters and a son. She died before 1920. Two of the girls have not been located in 1920 or later and may have also died in the 1910s. The other two daughters married but died in 1922 and 1925. The son died in an automobile accident at the age of 18 in 1927. In 1930 William was found with his sister-in-law Ethel CLAYPOOL, widow of his brother Irvin, and by himself in 1940. His death record has not been located.

Irvin Evermont SIMS (1872-1929) married Ethel CLAYPOOL in 1899. They were the parents of one daughter Lillian Eleanor (1899-1993) who never married or had children. Irvin and Ethel lived in Fayette County where Irvin died in 1929. In 1940 Ethel and her daughter were living in Charleston where Ethel died in 1961.

Joseph Wyatt SIMMS (1874-1942) was living with his mother Mary Jane JOHNSON in 1900. In 1905 he married Rosa MULLINS with whom he had a son in 1908. The marriage did not last. Rosa and their son were living with her parents in 1910. She married two more times. Joseph Wyatt was not found in 1910, 1920, or 1930. His son who never married died in 1938 at the age of 30. In 1940 Joseph was living in Nicholas County with the family of his double cousin (1C1R and 1C2R) Homer Holt SIMMS. Joseph died in 1942 in Huntington (Cabell County) of injuries sustained when he, a pedestrian, was hit by an automobile. Once again Cora Anna was the informant on the death certificate of a sibling.

Cora Anna SIMS (1876-1951) married Hugh T. PRIBBLE in 1900 in Fayette County. They were the parents of three children. They lived in Fayette County in 1900 and 1910. By 1920 they had moved to Huntington. The marriage ended in divorce and Cora Anna was found with her two single sons and her married daughter in 1930. In 1940 Cora Anna was the head of household. Her daughter and her second husband, as well as the daughter’s son from her first marriage, were living with her. Cora Anna died in 1951 at the same address in Huntington as she had been living since 1930. She had been the informant on three of her six siblings’ death certificates which would suggest a close connection to them.

Oleona G. “Ola” SIMS (1878-1961) married Weston Edward STEVENS in 1902 in Fayetteville. They were the parents of eight children, one of whom died at the age of nearly 1 1/2 years. They lived in the Falls district of Fayette County in 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940. Weston died the end of 1940. Ola was living in Huntington in 1961 when she died.

This post concludes the census study of the children of James SIMS (1754-1845). The census research has been a great amount of work since the first post in March. I’ll be taking a break from this project for a few months. I have no fixed plans or schedule for upcoming posts but hope to bring a bit of variety to the blog.

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

Rewriting the Biography: George Washington

  1. 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). 
  2. 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). 
  3. Ibid., FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette page 147A+B, line 6, Charles Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  4. Neva Jane Stout Bryant, (abstracted and compiled by), SIMMS/SIMS Marriages, Nicholas County, West Virginia 1817-1933, (abstracted from James S. & Evelyn E., Early Nicholas County (West) Virginia Marriage Bonds (& Records) 1818-1864; Cochran, Nicholas Co WV Marriages 1817-1903; Cochran, Nicholas Co. WV Marriages 1903-1933). George W. Sims, applied for a bond to marry Margaret J. Dorsey, 11-28-1845 in Nicholas Co. (W)VA. George W. Sims and James Dorsey Jr. went the bond. James Dorsey made oath that the bride was of age. 
  5. 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_943; Images: 291; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 27 of 91, Sheet No. 343A, Lines 36-39, HH #173-173, George W. 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_1344; FHL Film: 805344; West Virginia, Fayette County, District 1; image 2 of 26, Sheet No. 290, Page No. 108, Lines 20-26, HH #800-734, Washington Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  7. Abstracts of marriage records by Neva Bryant. Simms, Washington, Widow, 39, b. Nicholas, res. Fayette, s/o James & Elizabeth to Johnson, Mary Jane, 23, Fayette, parents not stated — 29 Jan 1863. 
  8. 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_1695; FHL Film: 553194; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 1 of 17, Page No. 1, Sheet No. 163A, Lines 5-12, HH #2-2, George W. Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed accessed 29 April 2018). 
  9. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, 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: 1410; West Virginia, Nicholas County, Jefferson, image 11 of 17, Enumeration District No. 105, Page No. 11, Sheet No. 101C, Lines 8-16, HH #79-79, George W. Sims household. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 December 2016). 
  10. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication T623, 1854 rolls, FHL microfilm: 1241758; West Virginia, Fayette County, Mountain Cove, image 1 of 50, Enumeration District No. 17, Sheet No. 1A, Lines 44-45, HH #7-7, Mary J. Simms household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 September 2018). 
  11.  1910 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C., NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls, Roll: T624_1680; FHL microfilm: 1375693; West Virginia, Fayette, Mountain Cove, image 53 of 53, Enumeration District No. 19, Sheet No. 28A, Line 9, HH #500-505 Mary J. Sims household. (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 September 2018). 

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. 

Rewriting the Biography: Charles 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.

The three youngest children of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON were boys. The oldest of these was Charles SIMS (1815-1891), born two months before his father turned 61 years old. His mother was about 35 years old.

Courtesy of Paul Guttman (1 January 2002)

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

As with all of the youngest children of James SIMS, Charles was seen in his father’s household in 1820. He was five years old and one of two males under the age of 10 years. The other was the baby of the family, at that time, Dryden age two.

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 Charles was 15 years old and seen in the 15 thru 19 category. The second male in the same category is obviously an error as Dryden would have been only 12 years old. Occupations were not listed on the 1830 census. James was 75 years old and likely relied on Charles to help with much of the work on the farm.

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 & 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)
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

When Fayette County was formed in 1831  the Gauley River became the borderline between Fayette and Nicholas County from Belva to the point where the Meadow River joins the Gauley.

The land owned by James SIMS was “on the Gauley River” and the lines crossed the river twice placing part of his tract in Fayette County:

Beginning at a Lynn & bank of the South Side of Gauley River at Deer Lick. East of two Lynns to a Corner in the Pattent, Running East thirty five poles to a Buckeye Thence South Sixty Degrees East 198 poles to three bushes on bank of the River north two hundred poles crossing the river to two White Oaks on a Hill, South seventy five degrees North one hundred & fifty four poles to a Stake in the open line thence South seventy six poles crossing the river to the Beginning…

When Charles SIMS was first seen on the census with his own household in 1840 he was likely living on the part of his father’s land which was now in Fayette County. Two males were in his household. The second was likely his youngest brother George who was not with their father.

Charles and George were both unmarried at this time. Charles had two enslaved persons in his household: a young male under 10 and a female 10 thru 23. By 1836 James SIMS had disposed of all of his slaves. Of all of the SIMS households in 1840, this was the only one with slaves.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Charles SIMS

1840 U.S. Federal Census3
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 147, Line 6
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Charles Sims
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 2 (Charles and George?)
Slaves – Males – Under 10: 1
Slaves – Females – 10 thru 23: 1
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total Slaves: 2
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 4

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

 

Courtesy of Paul Guttman (1 January 2002)

In May 1842 Charles SIMS and Minerva J. SUMMERS went to Gallia County, Ohio, where they were married on the 17th. What a story this would make if only the details were known. Both the groom and bride’s parents lived in Nicholas County. By 1850 Charles and Minerva were the parents of four daughters. Also in their household was Charles FOSTER, the orphaned son of Charles’ sister Sarah.

Eight consecutive households with SIMS families were listed in the 1850 census including Charles, his brother George W., their half-brother Martin and three of his married sons, as well as two married sons of their half-brother William. In 1816 Charles’ half-brothers Martin and William had acquired 260 acres which joined the land of their father James SIMS which explains why so many SIMS households were enumerated one after the other on the census.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Charles SIMS household

1850 U.S. Federal Census4
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

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

Minerva gave Charles three more children during the 1850s, a son William L. and two daughters Mary F. and Ellen M. The four daughters who were born during the 1840s were still living at home. Charles was a farmer and his land was valued at $3000.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for the Charles SIMS household

1860 U.S. Federal Census5
Fayette County, Virginia
Gauley Bridge Post Office
Sheet 290, Page No. 108, Lines 11-19, HH #799-733
Charles Sims 45 M W Farmer $3000 $500 Virginia
Minerva Sims 39 F W Virginia
Jane Sims 18 F W Virginia
Eliza C. Sims 15 F W Virginia
Elizabeth A. Sims 13 F W Virginia
Lydia Sims 10 F W Virginia
William L. Sims 7 M W Virginia
Mary F. Sims 3 F W Virginia
Ellen M. Sims 9/12 F W Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

The 1860s brought two more children into the SIMS household as well as two marriages, and eight grandchildren.

Charles and Minerva’s oldest daughter Margaret Jane married George Washington NICHOLS in 1861. She gave him three sons before dying in 1867.

Their second oldest daughter Eliza C. was 15 when she married her first cousin once removed Franklin Pilcher SIMS, grandson of William SIMS (Charles’ half-brother) about 1861. He was fourteen years older. Eliza gave birth to five children before the 1870 census.

Minerva gave Charles another son Aaron Floyd in 1862 and a daughter Sallie Tyree in 1867. Seven children were living at home in 1870.

1870 U.S. Federal Census6
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls of Kanawha Township
Martin Hill, Assistant Marshall, enumerator.
Sheet No. 110B+111A, Page No. 32+33, Lines 36-40 and 1-4, HH #217-212
Sims, Charles 54 M W farmer $1500 $310 Virginia male US citizen over 21 yo
Sims, Minerva 48 F W housekeeper Virginia
Sims, Sarah 3 F W Virginia
Sims, Elizabeth 22 F W at home Virginia
Sims, Liddy 20 F W at home Virginia
Sims, William 16 M W Virginia
Sims, Mary 13 F W Virginia
Sims, Ellen 10 F W Virginia
Sims, Floyd 8 M W Virginia

Daughter Eliza was in Nicholas County with her husband and five children. Son-in-law George W. NICHOLS was living in Kanawha County with his three sons, a new wife and their six months old daughter.

George R. Penick Jr. (1921-1986), a great-grandson of Charles, compiled a family history in 1978-1980.  The compilation did not have a name – I call it The Penick Papers. Mr. Penick tells an interesting story recounted to him by two persons.

According to Mrs. Mary Ann Smith, Webster Springs, WV and to Mrs. Helen Nichols Kelley, Earth, Texas, they had 3 sons, William, Bernard??, and Charles Lee. Sometime after Margaret died Mr. Nichols took William and Bernard?? and went west. On the way his horses bolted and Bernard??, age 5, fell out of the wagon and was killed when run over by a wagon wheel. Mr. Nichols left Charles in West Virginia (with his grandparents in Swiss according to Mrs. Kelley – and with his Uncle Frank Nichols in Dixie according to Mary Ann Smith). His paternal grandparents probably lived in Dixie.

There appears to be a question in this story of the name of the son who was killed. The 1870 census listing shows William age 8, Charles age 6, and Irvin age 4. In 1880 William was found with his father in Missouri and Charles was with his uncle Franklin M. NICKOLS in Fayette County, West Virginia. The youngest son Irvin born about 1866 per the 1870 census may likely be the son who was killed at the age of 5. A marriage record for George and his second wife Elizabeth ESTES has not been found. On the 1870 census, she was listed as born in Missouri. Their daughter Mary C. was born in December 1869 in West Virginia. The column for married within the census year is not checked therefore they likely married before June 1869. George may have gone out to Missouri after he was widowed in October 1867, married Miss Estes, and returned with her to West Virginia. The trip west when the tragic death of the son took place must have been after the 1870 census. If in 1871, Irvin would have been 5 and likely the son who was killed which would match the story. The 1880 census shows George and his family were in Missouri by 1873, in the Indian Territory around 1875 and back in Missouri around 1878.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Charles SIMS with his youngest daughter Sallie Tyree SIMS. Courtesy of Paul Guttman (1 January 2002)

In 1880 the four youngest children of Charles and Minerva were living at home. Charles was still working as a farmer. Also in their household was Minerva’s widowed brother-in-law John McNUTT. His two children were living with their SUMMERS grandparents.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for the Charles SIMS household and Franklin SIMS household

1880 U.S. Federal Census7
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Sheet No. 2D, Page No. 4, Lines 24-30, HH #22-22
Sims, Charles W M 64 married Farmer WV VA VA
Sims, Minerva J. W F 58 married Wife Keeping house WV VA VA
Sims, Mary J. W F 23 single Dau At home WV WV WV
Sims, Ella M. W F 22 single Dau At home WV WV WV
Sims, Floyd W M 17 single Son Laborer WV WV WV
Sims, Sallie W F 13 single Dau At home WV WV WV
McNutt, John W M 62 widowed Boarder Civil Engineer WV VA ?

Charles and Minerva’s daughter Lydia had married Ezra Walker MORRIS on Christmas Day 1871 and had three sons.

Their son William Lancaster SIMS never married and died in 1875 in Louisburg, Miami County, Kansas.

Eliza and her husband Franklin Pilcher SIMS were living next door to Charles and Minerva with their six children, Franklin’s father William SIMS Jr., and his brother William V. SIMS.

Elizabeth Ann had married Johnson Reynolds HEDRICK in February 1880 and was living with him in Putnam County. He was a widower with six children still at home in 1880.

Before the 1900 U.S. Federal Census

In February 1882 Charles and Minerva’s son Aaron Floyd married Nancy Ellen “Nannie E.” CARPER. The following month their daughter Mary F. married her first cousin Joseph Andrew Dixon DARLINGTON, son of Jane L. SIMS and Joseph DARLINGTON. Their daughter Ellen also known as Ella Mae married Charles E. SMAILES in April 1883.

Following these marriages, only young Sallie was living at home with her parents. In January 1886, according to Mr. Penick, Sallie and John Samuel SIMMS took a steamboot from Montgomery, Fayette County, West Virginia to Catlettsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky to be married. I have not been able to find a marriage record to corraborate this story. John, a great-great-grandson of James SIMS, was Sallie’s first cousin twice removed.

Courtesy of Paul Guttman (1 January 2002)

Charles SIMS died 26 April 1891 and his wife Minerva J. SUMMERS died 9 August 1899. They are both buried in the Sims Memorial Church Cemetery in Swiss, Nicholas County, behind the Sims Memorial M.(Methodist) E.(Episcopalian) Church. The church was built in 1922 on land donated by the Sims family and stands on the spot of James SIMS’ original 2-story log house.8

All census records and the marriage record for Charles SIMS give his name as Charles without a middle initial or name. Mr. Penick listed him as Charles Fulton SIMS and wrote “Birth & Marriage dates from Simms Family Bible. All of the handwritten Bible entries spell the name Sims.” It is not known if the middle name Fulton came from the Bible and Mr. Penick did not mention who owned it. As he is the only source for this middle name and I cannot substantiate it, I will continue to list him as Charles SIMS as seen on his grave marker.

The Remaining Children

Mary F. died at the age of 30 in 1887; Lydia Emmaretta died at the age of 65 in 1915; Ella Mae died at the age of 65 in 1924; Elizabeth Ann at the age of 90 in 1937; and Aaron Floyd died at the age of 78 in 1940.

Charles and Minerva’s youngest daughter Sallie Tyree SIMMS died at the age of 97 on 23 March 1964. The informant on her death certificate was her daughter Mae, mother of Mr. Penick. Sallie was the last living grandchild of James SIMS (1754-1845) and died 210 years after his birth.

The next installment will be for Dryden SIMS, the second youngest son of James SIMS and his second wife.

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

Rewriting the Biography: Charles 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. 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 page 147A+B, line 6, Charles Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  4. 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_943; Images: 291+292; 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). 
  5. 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_1344; FHL Film: 805344; West Virginia, Fayette County, District 1; image 94 of 118, Sheet No. 290, Page No. 108, Lines 11-19, HH #799-733, Charles Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  6. 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_1686; FHL Film: 553185; West Virginia, Fayette County, Falls of Kanawha; image 32+33 of 36; Sheet No. 110B+111A, Page No. 32+33, Lines 36-40 and 1-4, HH #217-212, Charles Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 August 2018). 
  7. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, 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: 1402; West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 4 of 24, page 19, sheet 3A, lines 24-30, HH #22-22, Charles Sims household. “.” (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-94Y1?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 2 July 2018). 
  8. George R. Penick Jr., The Penick Papers (a Sims family history compiled in 1978-1980), pg. 13.