Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

The devoted son.

Edward, the youngest of Montraville and Anna Henderson Simmons‘ children, died 11 April 1936, another victim of tuberculosis.

Koko Trib 4 13 1936 Ed SImmons obit

Kokomo Tribune, 13 April 1936.

A few observations:

  • Edward Simmons was born about 1883. His obituary states that he had “lived in Kokomo since seven years of age.” This was not literally true. He was listed in the 191o census of Eel township, Cass County, as a 20 year-old living with his father Montraville, 63. I take this actually to mean then that he and his family arrived in Kokomo (or Howard County) from Canada when he was 7, i.e. about 1890.
  • Second Baptist Church is a successor to Free Union Baptist Church in the Bassett settlement. From Second Baptist’s website: “In the year of 1887 the Freewill Baptist Church, meeting in the Bassett Settlement, under the leadership of Rev. Richard Bassett disbanded. Its members met with Rev. W. A. Stewart and members of the First Baptist Church of Kokomo. They organized the Second Missionary Baptist Church as we know it today. Services were held in the third ward school on the corner of North Lafountain and Richmond Streets. By the end of November of that year the Second Baptist Church, known as a Missionary Church, had been constitutionally established. The First Missionary Baptist Church made contributions to foreign missions on behalf of Second Baptist. Rev. Richard Bassett served as pastor of Second Baptist Church a short time and he was known throughout the state as an organizer of churches.  He was elected to the State Legislature in 1892, being only the third black to be elected to his position.”
  • Edward’s body lay for viewing in his home for almost a day before his burial at Crown Point cemetery. I assume that his headstone and plot were pre-purchased as his plot is nearly beside previous wife Belle’s grave and their stones are of identical make and engraving style.
  • Speaking of wives, this: “Mr. Simmons was devoted to his mother and father, and remained unmarried until both of them died.” … And then he married and married and married some more.
  • First wife: On 25 February 1915, Edward Simmons married Mary E. Jones in Kokomo. On 21 January 1919, Mary Simmons died of influenza in Kokomo. Her death certificate reports that she was born 2 August 1875 in North Carolina to George Taylor and an unknown mother and was married to Edward Simmons.
  • Second wife: On 28 July 1919, Edward Simmons married Cora White in Kokomo. In the 1920 census of Kokomo, Howard County, at 721 Waugh Street, Edward Simmons, 38, laborer at Globe Range Company; wife Cora, 40; and lodger Roger Jones, 17. On 18 February 1923, Martha Cora Simmons died of myocarditis in Kokomo. Her death certificate reports that she was born 26 April 1878 in Kentucky to Jacob Bushaw and Martha Heardin and buried in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
  • Third wife: In the 1930 census of Kokomo, at 800 E. Dixon Drive (owned and valued at $1150) were Edward Simmons, 42, janitor at Y.M.C.A., and wife Belle, 45. [Not to be mistaken in records for bank president Edward Simmons (1859-1945) and wife, Belle George Simmons, who were white.] Bell Simmons died 17 July 1933 at Sipe Theatre in Kokomo of chronic myocarditis. Her death certificate reports that she lived at the Y.M.C.A. at 200 E. Walnut and was born in Ohio to unknown parents. She was buried at Crown Point.

Koko Trib 7 18 1933

Kokomo Tribune, 18 July 1933.

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  • Fourth wife: I don’t know exactly when Edward married Cecilia Gilbreath, but it happened during the narrow window between Belle’s and Edward’s deaths in 1933 and 1936. She and Edward had no children. Per Celie’s son Joe L. Gilbreath’s death certificate, filed in Kokomo in 1979, her maiden name was Silvers. Joe was born in Texas, but I know nothing of his mother’s early years..

Koko Trib 4 10 1937 Ed Simmons memorial

Kokomo Tribune, 10 April 1937.

  • “Tenie” was the nickname of Susan Simmons Bassett.
  • How many ways was the other sister’s name spelled? Monsie, Moncy, Muncie, Muncey?
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Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Religion

Reverend Silver’s circle.

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  • This is the license for my great-great-great-uncle Joseph Aldridge‘s second marriage. I’ve written about Martha Carrie Hawkins Henderson Aldridge Silver here. What startled me was to see who performed the ceremony — Reverend Joseph Silver, whom Martha would marry almost 20 years later!
  • I still don’t know why the wedding was in Wilson, unless that’s where Martha lived. Reverend Silver lived near Enfield, so he was pretty far off his beaten path.
  • And how did Columbus “C.E.” Artis, brother of my great-great-grandmother Louvicey Artis Aldridge, get involved? Joseph was Vicey’s brother-in-law, but that hardly seems a reason for C.E. to apply for his and Martha’s license.

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  • Reverend Joseph Silver, Sarah Henderson Jacobs‘ second husband, was prominent in North Carolina’s Holiness Church movement. Until recently, I’d been unable to find their marriage license, though I knew when and where they were married. When I tracked it down I realized that its illegibility probably has resulted in its being misindexed.
  • That’s Joseph Sliver at the top.
  • Barely legible, Sarah Jacobs and her parents Louis [sic] Henderson and Margaret Henderson.
  • I haven’t been able to find anything about Reverend J.H. Scott. I assume he was head of a Holiness congregation in Wilson. Sarah herself was very active in the domination as an evangelist.
  • I knew they’d married on Elba Street. My grandmother told me this: “When Mama got married there on Elba Street, there at the house.  Yeah.  He come up there …”  It’s so funny to imagine my four and not-quite seven year-old uncles with my grandmother, squeezed in a corner of that tiny front room, fidgeting as Mama Sarah took her vows.

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  • Five years after Mama Sarah died, Reverend Silver married Martha Aldridge. Astonishingly, he lived almost a decade and a half longer.
  • A Justice of the Peace performed the ceremony? That’s odd for such a prominent Holiness preacher.
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Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Elvira.

I knew Rebecca Colvert was my great-great-grandfather John W. Colvert‘s stepmother. Until now, though, I’d seen his mother Elvira Gray‘s name listed only on his death certificate.

On 30 January 1905, six days before his father Walker‘s death, John married Adeline Hampton, mother of his four daughters. I’d seen the marriage register entry for their union, but not the actual license. Here it is, and there is the second reference to Walker’s first wife.

42091_334850-01229

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Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

28 August 1866.

I’ve seen these cohabitation registrations many times, but I just noticed today that Vicey Artis, Sylvania Artis and Daniel Artis, whom I believe to be siblings, and their spouses all registered their marriages on the same day before the same justice of the peace, Henry J. Sauls.

williams cohab

lane cohab

dartis cohab

Did the six travel to Sauls’ home together, walking or, perhaps, in a wagon? August 28 was a Tuesday during the relative lull before fall harvesting began. Did the families celebrate?

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Births Deaths Marriages, Civil War, Enslaved People, Military, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

They would not have taken them in church.

Part II of Bailham and Hannah Sauls Speight’s pension application file arrived today, and here are some extracts from witnesses deposed 4 June 1904:

  • Hannah Speight – “I claim pension as the widow of Bailham Speight but who served during the Civil War in the U.S. Army under the name of Bailham Edwards.” His brother Lafayette Edwards “lives at Bull Head which is eight miles from Goldsboro.” “I was born on Appletree Swamp near the town of Stauntonberg, Greene County. N.C. and was a slave; was owned by Lawrence Brown. I am the daughter of Rosetta Sauls. My father was Sheppard Sauls. I was known as Hannah Sauls prior to my marriage to Bailham Speight. … [A]fter our marriage we lived as husband and wife till he died December the 21st 1902.” “My husband was born and raised in Greene County. He was about six years older than I was still I knew him before he was grown….” “After his discharge he went to Georgia and was there just twelve months I do not know in what part of Georgia he was. No, I guess it was South Carolina where he went for he went away with Capt. Bill Taylor to work turpentine. … I married my husband about four years after the close of the war and we were married in the month of November in Snow Hill….” Married at Rebecca Bess’ house. She is deceased, as are witnesses Martha Sheppard, Luke Sheppard, and Charles Moseley. Maria Lofton did not witness, but could testify to marriage. She lives on Dr. Parrott’s plantation near Falling Creek. Amos Ellis, Lafayette Edwards, and Violet Edwards would have heard of the marriage, as would Isaac Lynch. … “My husband was raised five miles from Snow Hill on the Betsey Edwards place.” “My husband had a woman before the war. She might be called a slave wife and her name was Jennie. My husband told me she died in Newbern about the close of the war.” “At date of death of my husband I had one child under 16, viz., George Speight and he was fourteen on the 26th of last September. I never had George’s age set down by I remembered it all the same and I have always celebrated the twenty sixth of September as being his birthday and I am absolutely sure that he is now fourteen going on fifteen.” Midwife Mariah Moore lived one mile from Kinston in Harveytown. “After my marriage I lived for twelve months on the place of Dr. John Harvey and then I moved down here; moved here in the Fall of 1870 and have been here ever since. Everybody both white and black know me around here.” Deposition A.
  • Hannah Speight — Sixty-one years of age and lives four miles from Kinston. “I have had eleven children – ten by Bailham Speight and one by Loderick Artist. I never lived with Loderick Artist for during the time he came to see me I was living in the house with my mother and father. We were engaged to be married but after he got me in trouble he went and married another woman. He married her before I married Bailham Speight. He married a woman named Mandy and lived with her till he died ten years ago. He died in the neighborhood of Speights Bridge. No, I never went under the name of Artist nor was I ever known as his wife and never lived with him a day. Our relations were all of a secret nature.” Deposition B.
  • Rosetta Sauls – “I think I am 85; I can do no work and live with my grandson.” “Hannah Speight is my daughter.” … “I did not see her married because she married in Snow Hill and I was living in the country but Bailham come and got her from her my house and took her to Snow Hill where they were married and then they came right back to my house where they lived some three or four months and then they moved in a house to themselves.” “No, my daughter was never married to Loderick Artist and they never did live together but he was the father of her oldest child. He deceived my daughter and got a child by her and then went and married Mandy. All the time he was keeping company with my daughter she was living with me. My daughter never went under the name of Artist nor did she ever go under any name except Sauls and Speight. …” “Bailham Speight and Hannah were both members of the Baptist Church and had they been living improperly and not regularly married they would not have taken them in church.”
  • Lemon Speight – “On the 27th of last April I was 37 years of age.” Farmer four miles from Kinston. “Hannah Speight is my mother. I am the son of Loderick Artist who died ten years go. He never married my mother and I am the only child she ever had except those belonging to Bailham Speight. My father had a wife and her name was Mandy.” “I was married December the 12th 1889 and my brother George was born September the 26th 1889.”

And a letter dictated by Bailham Speight himself:

February 11th 1896, Kinston N.C.

Mr. I.S. Kurtz       Dear Sir, Relative to my age and the way that my name has been spelled. Now I wished to informs you that I used to belong to the old man names Edwards before the war (white) Therefore I enlisted in the Military Services of the United states. I enlisted by the name of Bailham Edwards and I answered at roll call. Bailham Edwards. But the Yankees, they called the name some what like this. Balum Edwards. But however you is speaking to the same man after all. …” [The letter is written in a very florid hand, and the signature does not show his “X.” However, other documents reveal that Bailham Speight could not, in fact, read or write.]

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