Monday, December 12, 2011

Silas Simmons, c.1794-1856, SC>MS

Silas Simmons

My maternal 3rd Great-Grandfather, Silas Simmons, was the eldest son of James Simmons, Sr. and Ellenor Lee. He was born circa 1794 in South Carolina, possibly the Pendleton District. He married Janet "Jenny" Freeman (last name speculative) abt. 1818. She was born c. 1795 in SC. Little is known of Janet or "Jenny" at this time but family tradition states that she was a Choctaw Indian and she was possibly raised by a family with the surname Brown. 

Silas enlisted for service in the War of 1812 on December 25, 1814 at Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. He fought in the Battle of New Orleans under Capt. Thomas Neasom, 10th and 20th Consolidated Regiment. He was honorably discharged on March 22, 1815 when peace was declared.

Mr. Howard Simmons (now deceased) of Columbia, Mississippi was a descendant of Silas Simmons and had done research on the Simmons family since the late 1940's. He stated that he had met and interviewed Mr. George Simmons on several occasions about Silas and his children. George was a grandson of Silas and Jenny and reportedly remembered them both well. George informed Howard Simmons that "Silas was a cabinetmaker by trade and a farmer on the side". Cabinetmaker in those days is what we now know as a furniture builder. Silas also owned considerable range cattle and sheep at his Perry County farm on the Leaf River. 

Silas Simmons applied for bounty land with the federal government on November 06, 1851. In his application, Silas appeared before the Justice of Peace in Perry County asking that his application be notarized and also stated that he had lost his discharge papers and had not yet received any bounty lands under any prior act. Apparently he had not yet received approval of bounty lands in 1855 because he made another application for the same request. In his research notes, Howard Simmons had written, "The getting of bounty lands must have been quite a task, for there are further photostat copies dated 1856 indicating he was still in the process of getting a clear title to the bounty land. In one copy, the Chancery Clerk of Perry County swore that 'The applicant Silas Simmons is an old soldier, a good honest citizen of our country who is able to be relied upon'. This was dated August 31, 1856". 

Silas Simmons- Application for Bounty Lands

Silas and Janet Simmons settled in Perry County, Mississippi as indicated by the census records from 1820 through 1850. The had 9 known children. Silas died abt. 1856 in Perry County. The date of Jenny's death is unknown. Silas and Janet are both buried in the Old Enon Baptist Church Cemetery in New Augusta, Mississippi (now part of Forrest County). A new grave marker was made for their grave site by some of the Simmons descendants. A dedication ceremony was held at the Old Enon Baptist Church on May 23, 1999 to honor their memory. Many of their descendants attended the ceremony and exchanged information about family lines and histories. Some of the descendants had met for the first time that day.

Children:  Sons- William, Abner, James C. "Jim", John J., Benjamin Franklin and Thomas; Daughters- Mary Angarone, Malinda Elizabeth and Matilda Elizabeth "Lizzie" (there is some confusion regarding Malinda and Matilda- were they the same person?)

Military Service:  War of 1812, Private, Enlisted in Feliciana Parish, Louisiana

Residence:  1820, Perry County, Mississippi, Federal Census
Residence:  1830, Perry County, Mississippi, Federal Census
Residence:  1840, Perry County, Mississippi, Federal Census
Residence:  1850, Perry County, Mississippi, Federal Census

See also:

Blog Post- Simmons Dedication Ceremony
Blog Post- Simmons Dedication Ceremony, Newspaper Article
Blog Post- Simmons Dedication Ceremony, Perry County GenWeb

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