Monday, March 21, 2016

The Simmons Family: Part 1

The Simmons Family:

The Simmons family story will be presented over several posts. The story begins in England and wraps up in central Indiana, with a detour to the Philippine Islands at the beginning of the 20th century. Part one wraps up with "Wall Street John", the Immigrant.
First Generation

1.  Richard Simmons1 was born (date unknown).

Richard Simmons and Sarah [Simmons] were married before 1655 in Hampshire, England.1 est. Sarah [Simmons]1 was born (date unknown).

Richard Simmons and Sarah [Simmons] had the following child:

              2              i.   John Simmons, born 24 Oct 1655, Hampshire, England; married Mary Kneller , 21 Apr 1690, St. Thomas, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England; died ca 4 Jan 1709/10, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.

Second Generation

2.  John Simmons2 (Richard-1) was born on 24 Oct 1655 in Hampshire, England.1 He was baptized on 11 Nov 1655 in Alverstoke, Hampshire, England.1 He was buried on 4 Jan 1709/10 in St. Thomas, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.3 John died circa 4 Jan 1709/10 at the age of 54 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.3 The following are probably children, in addition to John [b. 1691], of John Simmons and Mary Kneller/Nalor, all baptized at St. Thomas, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England:
Mary - bp. 28 July 1692
Peter - bp. 1 October 1693
Edith - b. c 1695; buried: 16 June 1695
William - bp. 6 September 1697
Anne - b. c 1698; buried 1 October 1698

John Simmons and Mary Kneller were married on 21 Apr 1690 in St. Thomas, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.2 Mary Kneller, daughter of James Kneller and Margaret Curtis, was born in 1669 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.4 She was baptized on 9 Jan 1669/70 in St. Thomas, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.4

John Simmons and Mary Kneller  had the following child:

              3              i.   John Simmons, born 1691, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England; married Catherine Cheesman, 2 Jan 1735, Wymering with Widley, Hampshire, England; died bef 11 Jul 1742, Portsea, Hampshire, England.

Third Generation

3.  John Simmons5 (John-2, Richard-1) was born in 1691 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.2 He was baptized on 9 Aug 1691 in St. Thomas, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.6 He died before 11 Jul 1742 at the age of 51 in Portsea, Hampshire, England.4 John was buried on 11 Jul 1742 in St. Mary's, Portsea, Hampshire, England.4 John Simmons and Catherine Cheesman are presented as the parents of "Wall Street John" Simmons based on the Roy Simmons research project. The dates given on the Simmons pedigree charts were cross-checked with the English parish registers of the towns given. Provided the Simmons research gave the correct parentage, the dates in the parish registers confirm the parentage. John had property in Portsea at the time of his death, so most likely had family there or was living there at the time of his departure for New York.
John Simmons and Catherine Cheesman were married on 2 Jan 1735 in Wymering with Widley, Hampshire, England.7 Catherine Cheesman, daughter of Edward Cheesman and Catherine Penford, was born in 1703 in Portchester, Hampshire, England.8

John Simmons and Catherine Cheesman had the following child:

              4              i.   John Simmons, born abt 1730, Hampshire, England; married Catherine Dally, 28 Dec 1758, Trinity Church, New York City, New York; died 12 Aug 1795, New York City, New York.

Fourth Generation

4.  John Simmons910 (John-3, John-2, Richard-1) was born about 1730 in Hampshire, England.3,9,11 He was baptized on 8 May 1736 in St. Mary's, Portsea, Hampshire, England.3,10 He died on 12 Aug 1795 at the age of 65 in New York City, New York.3,9 The exact date and place of birth of tavern keeper John Simmons is open to debate. 
At the time of his death, John held property in Hanover Row, Portsmouth Common [now Portsea], Hampshire, England. This would indicate that he probably lived there prior to emigration.
The Simmons Family website gives John's christening date as 8 May 1736 in St. Mary's, Portsea. That site also places John's ancestors in St. Thomas and Alverstoke,  both in Hampshire [Most of these records have been located in the Hampshire parish records].
David G. Chardavoyne, in
A Hanging in Detroit: Stephen Gifford Simmons and the Last Execution under Michigan Law [p. 9] states that "According to family stories, John Simmons, Sr., was born in Cuckfield, Sussex, England." [Two baptismal records have been located in Cuckfield records that fit the time frame for John's birth: (1) John Symonds - bp. 24 May 1733, parents: Joseph and Sarah. (FHL#2142086) and (2) John Symons - bp. 11 April 1731; parents: Walter and Sarah (FHL#2142086)]
John probably arrived in New York City during the early 1750s. He married widow Catherine Dally Salter as 1758 was drawing to a close. Their first son, William, was supposedly born in Newburgh [some 60 miles north of New York City on the west bank of the Hudson]. Whether John and Catherine started their life together in Newburgh, were there on business, or some other reason is not yet known. They were settled in New York City by 1761, when John, Jr. was born.

By 8 October 1770, Simmons had opened a tavern at 63 Wall Street, at the corner of Nassau Street, where he hung out the 'Sign of Sir Peter Warren" [the former name of Brock's Tavern across the street]. (Warren was a British naval hero at the capture of Louisbourg from the French in 1746. He was a popular resident of New York City from 1730-1747.)

The Simmons tavern was a two-story, clapboard building with a steep roof and attic dormers directly across Nassau Street from City/Federal Hall and next to the Wall Street Presbyterian Church. The tavern was a popular place for civic meetings.

The Common Council [lawmaking body] of New York City met at the tavern from 1773-1776, then took up there again in 1784. On 22 August 1775 the Council met to divide the city into 24 fresh water districts [Beats]. The Simmons tavern marked the start of Beat # 20. Simmons and Gifford Dally were given leave by the Council on 29 August 1775 to negotiate with Capt. Vandeput of the "Asia Man of War" over hostilities between the barge and the townspeople. Town soldiers had begun taking cannons away from the Battery and were fired upon by Vandeput. This resulted in an exchange of fire that caused damage to several houses. Families were evacuating the town.

The public reading of the Declaration of Independence was ordered for 18 July 1776 in front of City Hall; the reading before the American troops had taken place nine days earlier, After the public reading, the Royal Coats of Arms was taken from the court room and burned.

The British occupation of New York began in September 1776. The Simmons family must have left shortly after the occupation began. Their first stop may have been Orange County, where John, Jr. enlisted in the militia. Most of the war years must have been spent in or around Philadelphia. John may have had a brother, Thomas, living in Burlington Co., New Jersey. Youngest son, Stephen was baptized at Christ Church in Philadelphia, but his birthplace was given as New Jersey. There was a John Simmons who witnessed the marriage of Thomas and Bathsheba Simmons in 1746 [although John, Sr. would have been only 10-16 at the time.] Stephen named one of his daughters Bathsheba.

John, Sr. enlisted in Captain Daniel Roe's Company, 2nd Regiment of New York Troops commanded by Col. James Clinton in the spring off 1776. The regiment was a provisional Patriot organization formed in March and disbanded in May. [Chardavoyne, p. 9-10] (
The DAR Patriot Lookup Index lists John's service with the 5th & 6th NY Regiments under Col. William Humfrey and the Dutchess Co. Militia.)
On 18 November 1783, a group of recently returned New York exiles named a committee to meet on the 19th at the Simmons Tavern to plan security
  and protocol for they reception for the return of Gov. George Clinton with the leading American troops on the 25th. John had to have returned to the city by that time. The neighborhood bore signs of the British occupation. The Presbyterian Church still showed signs of its use as a military barracks and the Trinity Church had been burned in the fire that broke out as the British entered the city in 1776.[Chardavoyne, p.10-11] It was said that General Washigton attended the Evacuation Day banquet held at the Simmons Tavern on the evening of the 25th.
In February 1784 the installation of James Duane as the first American Mayor of New York City was held at the tavern. [City Hall had been used as a prison during the war and was not fit for occupancy.]

The remodeling of City Hall had been completed by 4 March 1789 when the First US Senate convened in a second-floor chamber. City Hall was rechristened Federal Hall as the seat of US Government. John Adams took his oath of office on 21 April. George Washington was sworn in as the first President on the 30th. Gifford Dally was the assistant doorkeeper for the House during the 1st Congress and doorkeeper during the 2nd. A Stephen Gifford was doorkeeper for Federal Hall. [The doorkeeper controlled access to the Congressional chambers.]

The spring of 1789 must have been an adventure for Stephen and Catherine Simmons; likewise, their elder brothers and father must have felt their patriotic efforts worthwhile.

The 1790 census for the West Ward of New York City showed John Simmons with 1 free white male over 16, 2 free white males 16 or under and 3 free white females. [John, David, Stephen, Catherine, Sarah? & Catherine.]

John went into partnership with John Taylor, John I. Morgan and William Boyd in 1793 and invested in a state auction for 43000 acres of land on the west bank of the Unadilla River in Montgomery [Tioga?] Co., New York. Simmons' share was 4850 acres [19 lots] that cost £1200 Sterling. He sent John, Jr. to serve as sales agent for the lots. John, Jr. settled on lot #75. Stephen later moved to what became Chenango Co. and occupied lot #78.

Simmons wrote his will on 3 August 1794. Catherine, James and William were named executors. The will was proved after his death in 1795. The estate was settled in April 1820.

William, the sole surviving executor, summoned the heirs to Washington, DC on 20 April 1820. In attendance were William Simmons, Stephen Gifford Simmons, David P. Simmons, William S. Simmons [James' son] and Condy Raguet [James' son-in-law]. John, Jr. did not make it to the meeting, but received his full share of the estate. (James had died in 1809, but was represented, Sarah, if a daughter of John, had also.died. Evedently both Catherine and her husband had died by this time as well.]
John Simmons and Catherine Dally were married on 28 Dec 1758 in Trinity Church, New York City, New York.3,9 Catherine Dally9, daughter of Henry / Hendrick Dally and Sarah Gifford, was born about 1741 in Perth Amboy, Middlesex Co., New Jersey.3 She died on 15 Jul 1818 at the age of 77 in Washington, D.C..3 Catherine Dally was married twice; first to William Salter, a ship's surgeon, in 1756 and second to John Simmons in 1758.
She was named heir to the estate of John Brady, mariner, in his will dated 1 Sep 1757 [proved 26 July 1758]. Brady specified prize money and merchandise due him from the privateer
Sturdy Beggar [Richard Troop, commander]. Catherine was also named executor.
Her marriage to Salter was a brief one, probably lasting no more than a year before he died. Catherine then marriered John Simmons. She bore him either six or seven childrren and outlived him by nearly 23 years.

Two of Catherine's siblings achieved noteriety. Gifford Dally, born about 1740 in Middlesex Co., NJ, served as House Doorkeeper for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd US Congress. He married Anna Pettit on 4 July 1767 in New York City. Gifford also managed the City Tavern and London Coffee House, both in Philadelphia. Elizabeth Dally married Samuel Fraunces, a tavern keeper like Catherine's husband. It was at Fraunces Tavern in New York City that Gen. Washington gave his farewell address to his officers. Fraunces cared for
  American prisoners during the war, spied on the British and later served as steward for President Washington's household.
Catherine's sister Mary died in Philadelphia wrote her will on 4 May 1811. She named her sister Catherine Simmons, niece Catherine C. McDaniel, grandnieces and nephews Catherine O. Simmons, Catherine S. Raguet, John B. Simmons and William S. Simmons, among others as heirs. [proved 26 June 1811]

Mary Dally and her grandnephew John B. Simmons are buried in the same plot in the Christ Church Cemetery.

Catherine spent her last years living with her eldest son William. She died at William's home in Washington on 15 July 1818 at age 76.

John Simmons and Catherine Dally had the following children:

              5              i.   William Simmons, born 1759, Newburgh, Orange Co., New York; married Elizabeth [Simmons], bef 1785, New York City, New York; married Josephine Bertrand Lapointe, 18 Nov 1799, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania; died 20 May 1825, Simmons Mill near Warsaw, Coshocton Co., Ohio.

              6             ii.   John Simmons Jr., born 24 Oct 1761, New York City, New York; married Mary Nelson?, abt 1780, New York; married Lucinda Morris, 8 Jan 1792, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; married Margaret Harbison, 12 Feb 1824, Wheeling, Ohio Co., [West] Virginia; died 19 May 1843, East Wheeling, Ohio Co., [W] Virginia.

              7            iii.   James Simmons, born abt 1763, New York City, New York; married Margaret Bringhurst, abt 1785, Germantown, Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania; died 1809, Germantown, Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania.

              8            iv.   Sarah Simmons, born abt 1765, New York City, New York; married _______ Clarke; died bef 1794, New York City, New York.

              9             v.   David Simmons, born abt 1770, New York City, New York; married Margaret Chambers, 14 Aug 1792, Trinity Church, New York City, New York; married Ellen [Simmons], bef 1822, probably Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania; died 1858, Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania.

           10            vi.   Stephen Gifford Simmons, born Jan 1780, Burlington Co., New Jersey; married Levana Elliot?, 2 Dec 1806, Chenango Co., New York; died 24 Sep 1830, Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan.

           11           vii.   Catherine C. Simmons, born abt 1784, New York City, New York; married George McDaniel, 7 Nov 1805, Washington, D.C.; died bef 1820, possibly Washington, D.C..

POST #600!!!

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