There are documented records of two distinct lines of Simmons' families whom settled in south Mississippi during the early 1800's, one being the Simmons family who settled in Pike County and the other being the Simmons family who came from South Carolina and settled in Perry County. It is the latter Simmons family that I am a descendant of and have focused my genealogical research on.
James Simmons Sr, my maternal 4th great-grandfather, was born August 14, 1764 in South Carolina. He petitioned for lands in the Mississippi Territory in 1800 and again in 1802. He was listed as a resident of Washington County in the Mississippi Territory by 1805. Washington County was a huge mass of land that extended from east of the Pearl River in southern Mississippi to the mid-south region of what is now Alabama.
By 1816, James Simmons was listed on the state census in Greene County, Mississippi. His household then consisted of two white males over age 21, one white male under age 21 and two slaves. The members of this household were James Simmons (Sr) and his two sons- Silas and James (Jr).
James Sr was married to Ellenor Lee. She died on May 20, 1801 at the age of 32 years. It is believed that after Ellenor's untimely death, James Sr. and his two young sons left the Carolinas and moved south into the newly opened settlements of the Mississippi Territory. James Sr. is listed on the Perry County tax rolls from years 1823 through 1840. These records show him as owning two slaves and eventually eighty acres on the Black Creek in Perry County. Silas and James Jr. are also listed on the tax rolls for Perry County for a number of years. James Sr. served as a Justice of the Peace during the first year of Perry County's existence in 1820. He was a resident of Perry County until his death on January 10, 1843. It is believed that he is buried in a family cemetery in Black Creek but the exact location remains unknown.
Public Official: 1820, Perry County, Mississippi, Justice of the Peace
Residence: 1830, Perry County, Mississippi, Federal Census
Residence: 1840, Perry County, Mississippi, Federal Census