Free People of Color, Migration, Newspaper Articles

Rubbing a little too close.

1 9 03 Logansport Pharos Times

Logansport Pharos Times, 8 January 1903.

Montraville (or Montreville) Simmons was, of course, the irascible husband of Anna J. Henderson Simmons. After many years in Ontario, the family settled in rural Cass County, Indiana, near the community of Kenneth. Not far away was an African-American settlement dating back to the mid-1800s, when southern free people of color began migrating to the Midwest. The Bassett family, originally from North Carolina, anchored that community, and two of Annie and Montraville’s daughters married into the family.

Montraville, occasionally his sons Dock and Edward, Annie (once), and Montraville’s second wife Eliza (often and dramatically) popped up in the pages of nearby Logansport’s newspaper much more regularly than one might expect. He had a penchant for clashing with his neighbors, for lawsuits, and for violence, and local reporters gleefully recounted his mayhem and mishaps.