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). 
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Rewriting the Biography: Sarah SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

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

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

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

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

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

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

…also the children of Sarah Foster, formerly Sarah Sims, to-wit, Jordan Hickson and Mariah his wife; James Foster, Peyton Foster, Charles Foster, and Milton Sims, the last three but one are infants…

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

Milton SIMS and Charles FOSTER

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

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

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

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

Peyton FOSTER

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

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

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

Mariah and James FOSTER

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

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

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

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

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

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

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

Mariah FOSTER

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

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

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

Milton SIMS

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

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

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

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

James and Peyton FOSTER

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

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

Johnson FOSTER (step-son)

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

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

Charles FOSTER

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

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

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

After The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 23, James Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029677, NARA Roll M19_198, Virginia, Nicholas, image 11+12 of 42, page 177A+B, line 24, Peyton Foster. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  4. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, image 26+27 of 67, page 10, line 8, James Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  5. Ibid., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, images 17+18 of 54, page 147A+B, line 22, Cyrus Wedge. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  6. Ibid., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_571, Virginia, Nicholas, image 24+25 of 67, page 9, line 30, Dryden Sims. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  7. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_179; Images: 498; Indiana, Wahington, Washington, image 31 of 52, Sheet No. 335A, Lines 5-9, HH #195-205, Jordan Hudson household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 July 2018). 
  8. Ibid., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll: M432_943; Image: 289; Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 25 of 91, Sheet No. 342A, Lines 25-28, HH #158-158, Milton Sims household. “.” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 July 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Lines 29-33, HH #159-159, Cyrus Wedge. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  10. Ibid., Lines 34-39, HH #160-160, Johnson Foster household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 July 2018). 
  11. 1850 U.S. Cesnsus, Virginia, Fayette, District 14, image 27+28 of 91, Sheets 343A+B, Lines 40-42 and 1-4, HH #174-174, Charles Sims household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 

Rewriting the Biography: Margaret 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.

Margaret, also known as Peggy, was the second daughter of James SIMS and his second wife Elizabeth COTTON. She was with her parents at the time of the 1810 and 1820 census. The family was in Kanawha in 1810 and Nicholas in 1820. They did not move – the county lines changed in 1818 with the formation of Nicholas County.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

In 1810 Margaret fell into the under 10 years of age range with two of her sisters, Sarah and Milly. This wide range puts her possible year of birth at between 1801-1810.

1810 U.S. Federal Census of Kanawha County, Virginia, for James Simms

1810 U.S. Federal Census1
Kanawha County, Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 23
Name: James Simms
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (James Jr.)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Margaret, Sarah, and Mildred)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Numbers of Slaves: 5 (Isaac, Black Jude, Black Fanny, Robert, and unknown)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 11

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

In 1820 Margaret fell into the 10 thru 15 years of age range with Sarah. This narrows the range of her possible year of birth from between 1801-1810 to between 1805-1810. I question this as only two daughters were 10 or older while in 1810 there were three daughters under 10 (including Milly).

Margaret and Sarah would not live long enough to be included on an 1850 or later census listing with more exact ages. I have always listed Margaret who married first as older than Sarah but this is only an assumption on my part. The four daughters of James SIMS were born after his oldest son James Jr. (b. abt. 1801) and before the three youngest sons (b.  abt. 1815, 1818, and 1821) were born. Of the four daughters, we know Milly was born about 1807 and Jane about 1810 (after the 1810 census) per census 1850 and later. This leaves the time period from 1802 to 1806 for the births of the two oldest daughters, Margaret and Sarah.

Can the 1820 census be considered accurate? It appears to have been prepared by one person, light writing, with corrections or additions added in darker writing. Was there a mix-up in the columns?

1820 U.S. Federal Census2
Nicholas County, Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 19
Enumeration Date: 7 August 1820
Name: James Sims
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (Dryden and Charles)
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Mildred and Jane)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Margaret and Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Slaves – Males – Under 14: 2
Slaves – Males – 14 thru 25: 2 (Isaac and Robert)
Slaves – Females – Under 14: 3
Slaves – Females – 14 thru 25: 2 (Black Jude and Black Fanny)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 16: 6
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total Slaves: 9
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 17

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Margaret SIMS and Matthew HUGHES were married on 21 November 1822 in Nicholas County, Virginia, by Isaac REYNOLDS. Per the 1820 census, she would have been between 12 and 17 years of age when she married. Could the age range in 1820 be incorrect? The range in 1830 is much larger placing her age at 20 thru 29, i.e. married between 12 and 21 years of age. By 1830 Margaret had given birth to a son and three daughters.

1830 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Matthew Hughes

1830 U.S. Federal Census3
Nicholas County,  Virginia
Sheets 181A and 181B, line
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: Matthew Hughes
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (unknown, died bet. 1840-1848)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Matthew)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Susan & unknown, died bef. 1848)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (unknown, died bet. 1830-1840)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Margaret)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 6

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

Margaret and Matthew had a total of eight children by 1840. The census listing shows only seven were living in 1840. Margaret, as well as her oldest daughter, had died before the census. Matthew and the oldest son were engaged in agriculture. Part of the county of Nicholas became Fayette County in 1831 and it was in this new county that we find the widowed Matthew with his children.

1840 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for Matthew Hughes with his brothers Francis and Robert as well as his brother-in-law Francis Kincaid.

1840 U.S. Federal Census4
Fayette County, Virginia
Sheet 147A+B, Line 15
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1840
Name: Mathew Hughes
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Robert & John)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (unknown, died bet. 1840-1848)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Matthew)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Sarah)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Ann & unknown, died bef. 1848)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Susan)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8
Note: Matthew is listed between his brother Francis T. and his father Robert Sr.

Three of the eight children of Margaret SIMS and her husband Matthew HUGHES remain unknown and died before 1848. They are only reflected in the 1830 and 1840 census listings as numbers in columns.

In 1848 the partition suit for James SIMS lists “the children of Margaret Hughes, formerly Margaret Sims, to-wit, Matthew Kincaid and Susan his wife; Ann Hughes, Robert Hughes, John Hughes, the last three are infants.

Missing in the above is Sarah HUGHES, the youngest daughter of Matthew HUGHES and Margaret SIMS. In the partition suit, Sarah HYPHY is listed in the section for Elizabeth SIMS’ children. I have always thought HYPHY could be a transcription error for HUGHES and wondered if the person transcribing the record may have lost track of the line he/she was working on. I still have not found the original record to confirm this. However, I found a record created during the August 1851 chancery term in the order books which names the infants under the age of 21 years involved in the suit. I plan to write about this at a later date.

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Matthew HUGHES did not remarry. He was in Nicholas County with three of the four children who were not of age: Ann, Robert, and John. Sarah, the youngest born between 1835-1840 was living in August 1851 and mentioned in the above document but she has yet to be found in the census, marriage or death records. Robert was listed as dumb on the census. Matthew and his younger son John were farming.

Matthew is the first person listed in the household but he did not own land. Also in the household was Isaac SIMS, the only free black person in the county. Isaac had been a slave of James SIMS and was manumitted in 1836. Isaac had acquired 17 1/2 acres in Nicholas County in 1837 and on this census listing the land was valued at $87. This could mean Matthew and his children were living with Isaac and not the other way around.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Matthew Hughes household

1850 U.S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
The Western District
Enumerated on 26 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet No. 370B, Lines 36-40, HH #407-407
Mathew Hughes 54 M W Farmer Virginia
Anna Hughes 17 F W Virginia
Robert Hughes 16 M W None Virginia Dumb
John Hughes 15 M W Farmer Virginia
Isaac Sims (Free) 56 M B Farmer $87 Virginia

The oldest living child of Matthew and Margaret was their daughter Susan. She married Mathew KINCAID before the partition suit in 1848. Although a marriage record has not been found, the partition suit clearly states Susan was the wife of Mathew KINCAID.

1850 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Mathew Kincaid household

1850 U.S. Federal Census6
Nicholas County, Virginia
The Western District
Enumerated on 26 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet No. 370B, Lines 23-24, HH #405-405
Mathew Kincaid 51 M W Farmer Virginia
Susanna Kincaid 24 F W Virginia

The 1860 U.S. Federal Census

By 1860 the households of Matthew HUGHES and Mathew KINCAID were next door to each other. Matthew’s daughter Ann was living at home. There was a Martha HUGHES in the household who may have been a relative living with the father and daughter. Seven other women on the same census page were identified as wife while Martha is seen as domestic. None of the three in the household could read and write.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, Virginia for Mathew Kincaid and Matthew Hughes households

1860 U.S. Federal Census7
Nicholas County, West Virginia
District of Nicholas
Page No. 96, Lines 35-37, HH #873-650
Matthew Hughes 65 M Old Virginia cannot read and write
Martha Hughes 40 F Domestic Virginia cannot read and write
Ann Hughes 26 F Domestic Virginia cannot read and write
Note: unknown who Martha was??

Mathew KINCAID and Susan HUGHES had been married over a dozen years by 1860 and did not have children. Mathew was a farmer and owned land. Neither Susan nor Mathew could read and write.

1860 U.S. Federal Census8
Nicholas County, West Virginia
District of Nicholas
Nicholas Court House
Page No. 96, Sheet 1015, Lines 33-34, HH #872-649
Mathew Kincaid 57 M Farmer $200 $300 Virginia cannot read & write
Susanna Kincaid 37 F wife Virginia cannot read & write

Robert HUGHES married Nancy SIMS on 28 March 1858 in Nicholas County. They were first cousins once removed. Nancy was the granddaughter of Martin SIMS, half-brother of Robert’s mother Margaret SIMS. According to the county birth register, Robert and Nancy had a son George Washington HUGHES born on 8 January 1858. Unfortunately, no census record was found for Robert in 1860 and his wife Nancy was enumerated in her father’s household with her maiden name and without the young son.

This is new information. I had previously attached John W. Hughes who married Minerva A. O’Dell in 1873 as the son of Matthew HUGHES and Margaret SIMS. While analyzing the census and comparing records, I found an 1860 marriage record for John HUGHES and Octavia YOUNG which names the parents of the groom as Matthew and Peggy HUGHES. Further analysis of the census had me pruning the branch in the family tree. Pruning is unlinking but keeping all the names and research – just in case!

John HUGHES married Octavia YOUNG on 12 May 1860 in Fayette County.    John and Octavia were found with the widowed Mary FOSTER and her children. John and Mary were half first cousins as Mary was the daughter of Mary “Polly” SIMS and Thomas HUGHES Jr. They were also first cousins once removed through their HUGHES side. John and Octavia’s ages were not recorded correctly (33 and 23). Only a month earlier when they married their ages were seen as 23 and 21.

As the widowed Mary FOSTER was the person in the household with land it is more likely that John and Octavia were living with the FOSTER family and John was not the head of household.

1860 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, Virginia for John Hughes (seen as Hews) household

1860 U.S. Federal Census9
Fayette County, Virginia
District No. 1
Page No. 106, Lines 27-35, HH #788-722
John Hews 33 M farm laborer $0 $25 Virginia
Octava Hews 23 F Virginia
Mary Foster 37 F widow farmer $500 $50 Virginia cannot read & write
Thomas Foster 16 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
James P. Foster 15 M Farm Laborer Virginia attended school
Nelson J. Foster 12 M Virginia attended school
Mary E. Foster 10 F Virginia
Nannie J. Foster 8 F Virginia
Rebecca J. Foster 6 F Virginia

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census

By 1870 Matthew had moved across the county line (again) to Fayette County and was living in the household of his sister Ann, the widow of Francis T. KINCAID. Three other persons were in the household. Their connection to either Matthew or his sister is unknown. Living next door was Matthew and Ann’s brother Francis Tincher HUGHES.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia for Ann Kincaid with her brother Matthew Hughes

1870 U.S. Federal Census10
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls of Kanawha Township
Page No. 18, Sheet No. 103B, Lines 30-34, HH #120-116
Kincaid, Ann 60 F W housekeeper $0 $40 Virginia
Hugs, M. 74 M W Farm Laborer Virginia cannot read & write male cit. over 21 yo
Nicholas, F. 24 M W Farmer $0 $288 Virginia male cit. over 21 yo
Nicholas, Mary 63 F W housekeeper Virginia
Nicholas, Charles 6 M W West Virginia
(Note: Ann and Matthew are brother and sister and are living next door to brother Francis T. Hughes. The last three persons’ surname may not be Nicholas!)

Susan HUGHES and her husband Mathew KINCAID had Susan’s sister Ann living with them in 1870. There was another young HUGHES girl with them who I have not been able to identify or follow up on. The ages of both Susan and Ann are off but this is a recurring problem for them throughout the census. Susan was: 1850 age 24, 1860 age 37, 1870 age 35, 1880 age 62. Ann was: 1850 age 17, 1860 age 26, 1870 age 28, 1880 age 54. If their ages were off, could the age of the young Mary A. HUGHES also be wrong? Was she possibly Ann’s daughter? All persons in the household could not read and write.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia, for Mathew Kincaid household

1870 U.S. Federal Census11
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township
Nicholas Courthouse
Page No. 4, Sheet No. 164B, Lines 31-34, HH #28-28
Kincaid, Mathew 70 M W Farmer $400 $500 Virginia cannot write US cit. over 21 yo
Kincaid, Susan 35 F W Virginia cannot read & write
Hughes, Anna 28 F Virginia cannot read & write
Hughes, Mary A. 12 F Virginia cannot read & write

Robert HUGHES was widowed in 1866 after his wife Nancy SIMS gave him three children. In 1870 his sons George and John M., from his first marriage, are in his household. Missing is daughter Rebecca J. who died in 1867 at the age of 3 years. Robert remarried nearly a year and a half after he was widowed to Elizabeth Rachel “Lizzie” DEMPSEY on 8 April 1868 in Fayette County. Robert, my first cousin 5 times removed, married my great-grandaunt Lizzie, making him my great-granduncle (by marriage).

Robert and Lizzie had their first child, a son William F., likely named after his maternal grandfather William A. W. DEMPSEY (my 2nd great-grandfather) in 1869. Robert, Lizzie, and George could not read and write. Robert did not own land and worked as a farm laborer. Robert was living next door to James J. SIMS, his deceased first wife’s father.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia, for Robert Hughes with his father-in-law James J. Sims living next door

1870 U. S. Federal Census12
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls of Kanawha Township
Martin Hill, Assistant Marshall, enumerator.
Page No. 33, Sheet No. 111A, Lines 16-20, HH #220-215
Robert Hughes 35 M W farm laborer $0 $180 Virginia Virginia cannot read & write male US citizen over 21
Lizzie Hughes 23 F W housekeeper Virginia cannot read & write
George Hughes 13 M W Virginia cannot read & write (son from 1st marriage)
John M. Hughes 6 M W West Virginia (son from 1st marriage)
Willie Hughes 1 M W West Virginia

By 1870 John, like his brother Robert, did not own land and worked as a farm laborer. He’d started a family with Octavia very soon after the 1860 census and it had grown to include three daughters and a son.

1870 U.S. Federal Census of Nicholas County, West Virginia for John Hughes household

1870 U.S. Federal Census13
Nicholas County, West Virginia
Jefferson Township, Nicholas Courthouse
Page No. 5, Sheet 165A, Lines 8-13, HH #32-32
John Hughes 30 M W Farm laborer $0 $350 West Virginia
Octavia Hughes 28 F W West Virginia
Susan Hughes 10 F W West Virginia
Sarah Hughes 11 F W West Virginia
Franklin Hughes 6 M W West Virginia
Rebecca Hughes 2 F W West Virginia

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census

Matthew HUGHES died after the 1870 and before the 1880 census. His children Susan, Ann, and John were practically next door to each other in households 18, 19, and 21. Robert was found on the previous page in household 15. Next door to Susan was her uncle Charles SIMS, a younger brother of her mother Margaret.

Susan was widowed during the 1870s and lived by herself.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia, for John, Ann, and Susan HUGHES

1880 U.S. Federal Census14
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Enumerated the 10th day of June 1880
Page 4, Sheet 2D, Line 23, HH #21-21
Kincaid, Susan W F 62 self widowed Keeping house cannot read & write WV WV WV

Ann had waited to marry, perhaps until after her father’s death. In 1872 [no date was given in the county register of marriages] she married the widowed William LOYD. The entry is lacking in information. The ages of the bride and groom are not given nor are the names of their parents. Ann was correctly noted as single. Without the 1880 census listing showing the HUGHES siblings living so close together, I would not have been able to attribute this marriage to Ann. [John L. FOSTER may be John Miletus “Lettie” FOSTER, a 1C1R of Ann HUGHES. I need to look into this.]

1880 U.S. Federal Census15
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Enumerated the 10th day of June 1880
Page No. 4, Sheet 2D, Lines 16-18, HH #19-19
Loyd, William W M 70 self married Farmer VA VA VA
Loyd, Ann G. W F 54 wife married Keeping house WV WV WV
Foster, John L. W M 21 laborer single Laborer WV WV WV

Robert HUGHES was seen as Robin in the 1880 census. His second family had grown to include two daughters and another son. Robert, Lizzie [seen here as Rachael E.], and William F. could not read and write. Robert was a farmer. I have not been able to trace his two sons from his first marriage after the 1870 census.

1880 U.S. Federal Census of Fayette County, West Virginia, for Robert (Robin) Hughes household

1880 U.S. Federal Census16
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Enumerated the 9th day of June 1880
Page No. 3, Sheet No. 2C, Lines 5-10, HH #15-15
Hughes, Robin W M 41 self married Farmer cannot read & write WV VA VA
Hughes, Rachael E. W F 31 wife married Keeping House cannot read & write WV VA WV
Hughes, William F. W M 11 son single cannot read & write WV WV WV
Hughes, Sarah M. W F 8 daughter single WV WV WV
Hughes, Nancy W F 5 daughter single WV WV WV
Hughes, James E. W M 1 son single WV WV WV

John HUGHES and his wife Octavia had three more sons in the 1870s. John was working as a laborer and all persons in the household 10 and older could not read and write.

1880 U.S. Federal Census17
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District
Enumerated the 10th day of June 1880
Page No. 4, Sheet 2D, Lines 7-15, HH #18-18
John Hughs W M 40 self married Laborer cannot read & write WV WV WV
Octavia Hughs W F 38 wife married Keeping house cannot write WV WV WV
Susanna Hughs W F 18 daughter single At home cannot read & write WV WV WV
Sarah M. Hughs W F 16 daughter single At home cannot read & write WV WV WV
George F. Hughs W M 13 son single At home disabled cannot read & write WV WV WV
Rebecca J. Hughs W F 10 daughter single cannot read & write WV WV WV
William J. Hughs W M 9 son single WV WV WV
John T. Hughs W M 3 son single WV WV WV
George W. Hughs W M 8/12 July son single WV WV WV

Normally I would have stopped the census analysis after the death of Margaret SIMS. I would have stopped with the 1850 census and only mentioned where the children were found in later years. However the new information found while I was working on this census analysis included the major correction regarding Margaret’s son John as well as the discovery of her youngest child Sarah. Robert was found on the 1890 Veteran’s schedule; John may have died in 1895 (but this could also be the other John); and no trace as been found of Susan and Ann after 1880.

The census listings of Sarah SIMS, another one of James’ daughters who was deceased at the time of the partition suit, will be discussed in the next instalment.

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

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

  1. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 23, James Simms (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  2. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204A, line 19, James Sims. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  3. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL FIlm 0029677, NARA Roll M19_198, Virginia, Nicholas, image 19+20 of 42, page 181A+B, line 17, Matthew Hughes. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  4. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, images 17+18 of 54, page 147A+B, line 15, Mathew Hughes. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  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_963, image: 303; Virginia, Nicholas, image 62 of 93, Sheet No. 370B, lines 36-40, HH #407-407, Mathew Hughes household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 April 2018). 
  6. Ibid., lines 23-24, HH #405-405, Mathew Kincaid household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 April 2018). 
  7. 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, page 1014, FHL Film: 805365; Virginia, Nicholas, District of Nicholas, image 90 of 118, Page No. 96, lines 35-37, HH #873-650, Matthew Hughes household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 June 2018). 
  8. Ibid., Virginia, Nicholas, District of Nicholas, image 90 of 118, Page No. 96, lines 33-34, HH #872-649, Mathew Kincaid household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 June 2018). 
  9. Ibid., Roll: M653_1344; Page: 298; FHL Film: 805344; Virginia, Fayette, District 1, image 10 of 26, page no. 106, lines 27-35, HH #788-722, John Hews household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  10. 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, Falls of Kanawha, page 103B, lines 30-34, HH #120-116, Ann Kincaid household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 July 2018). 
  11. Ibid., Roll: M593_1695; Page: 164B; FHL Film: 553194; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 4 of 17, page 4, sheet no. 164B, lines 31-34, HH #28-28, Mathew Kincaid household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 July 2018). 
  12. Ibid., Roll: M593_1686; Page: 111A; FHL Film: 553185; West Virginia, Fayette, Falls of Kanawha, image 33 of 36, Page No. 33, Sheet No. 111A, Lines 16-20, HH #220-215, Robert Hughes household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  13. Ibid., Roll: M593_1695; FHL Film: 553194; West Virginia, Nicholas, Jefferson, image 5 of 17, Sheet 165A; lines 8-13, HH #32-32, John Hughes household. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  14. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), FamilySearch, 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, West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 4 of 24, page 4, sheet 2D, lines 23, HH #22-22, Susan Kincaid household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-94Y1?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  15. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 4 of 24, page 4, sheet 2D, lines16-18, HH #19-19, William Loyd household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-94Y1?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  16. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 3 of 24, page 3, sheet 2C, lines 5-10, HH #15-15, Robin Hughes household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-9HML?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 3 July 2018). 
  17. Ibid., West Virginia, Fayette, Falls, ED 27, image 4 of 24, page 4, sheet 2D, lines 7-15, HH #18-18, John Hughs household. (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9YBF-94Y1?cc=1417683&wc=QZ2W-5DS%3A1589415848%2C1589394995%2C1589403370%2C1589394804 : accessed 3 July 2018).