Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Simmons Family: The Philippines

The Simmons Family: The Philippines

Family story: John W. Simmons served with the Rough Riders in Cuba, married a local girl and became police chief of Havana. The actual story? It follows....

First Generation
1.  John W. Simmons18 was born in Jun 1873 in Sharpsville, Tipton Co., Indiana.7,9 He died on 15 Sep 1909 at the age of 36 in The Philippine Islands.56 Family lore had John joining Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders and charging up San Juan Hill in Cuba with the future President of the United States. He then stayed in Cuba, married a local girl, and became a police chief of Havana. His father's obituary listed a son "W. Simmons, Manila, P.I." The details were essentially correct - the places and events were slightly askew.
John W. Simmons was the youngest child of John and Edith [Crousore] Simmons, born in Sharpsville, Tipton Co., Indiana in June of 1873. At some point, John left Sharpsville for the Northwest.
The Spanish-American War broke out in 1898 and President McKinley called for each state to provide 125,000 soldiers for the war effort. Colonel John H. Wholley was placed in command of the First Washington Volunteer Infantry. On 1 May 1898 John W. Simmons was mustered in as a private in Company C at Camp John R. Rogers near Tacoma. The First Battalion [companies A, B, D, and E] was sent to San Francisco on 10 May 1898 and the Second Battalion [companies F, G, I, and L] departed for San Francisco on 15 May. There they awaited further orders and drilled. The Third Battalion [companies C, H, K, and M] was stationed at Vancouver Barracks on 24 May and joined the rest of the regiment in San Francisco in late July. The First Washington Infantry boarded steamers in late October. Their destination was Manila, the Philippine Islands; they were to about to become involved in the "Philippine Insurrection." [Later renamed the Philippine-American War]

The First Washington Volunteers arrived at Manila and participated in several battles throughout the first half of 1899. Colonel Wholley received orders in late August to return to the states. The volunteers were met by Governor Roberts and a delegation of state officials to celebrate the regiment's victories and safe return. The regiment was mustered out on 31 October.

John must have re enlisted shortly thereafter.
  Private Simmons was stationed at Fort Vancouver, Washington as a member of the US Army Hospital Corps on 3 June 1900.
The Philippine-American War raged on into mid-1902. John would see additional military service in the Philippines.

During his first tour, John Simmons met a young Filipino girl, Antonina Del Rosario, at a fruit stand. Even though the relationship would be interrupted by the war and John's return to the US, it would not end there. John was on duty in the Philippines from 12 November 1900 until 1903. John and Antonina were reunited before war's end. Their first children, twin brothers, were born in September 1902. One of the boys died at birth. The couple married on 30 June 1903. John and Antonina had three more children; two daughters and another son.

According to great-granddaughter Nora James, John stayed in contact with one of his sisters, writing to her frequently. Unfortunately, the letters and other family memorabilia were lost during a flood in the Philippines many years later.

John died in 1909, a little over a month after his father. John had asked his best friend, Astison Southard to look after his family. Antonina married Southard in 1910. They moved to the United States, settling in Nebraska from 1912 - 1919. The move resulted in a rare family keepsake. A Nebraska classmate of the Simmons children managed to contact the family in the Philippines and send a copy of a 1914 class photograph to them. The picture featured and identified all four children.

The marriage did not last and Antonina took her children back to the Philippines. Son James wanted to stay in San Francisco, but as the eldest was compelled to stay with and provide for his family. Some of John's descendants eventually moved to the US in the 1977 and settled in Northern California.

John W. Simmons and Antonina Del Rosario were married about 30 Jun 1903 in The Philippine Islands.56 Antonina Del Rosario5 was born about 1874 in The Philippine Islands.6 She died in 1943 at the age of 69 in The Philippine Islands.6 She was also known as Antonina Simmons.56 Antonina was also known as Antonina Southard.6
John W. Simmons and Antonina Del Rosario had the following children:
              2              i.   James W. Simmons, born 9 Sep 1902, The Philippine Islands; married Sergia Beltrano, abt 1921; died 8 Mar 1941, The Philippine Islands.
                             ii.   Goldie Simmons6 was born on 5 Feb 1904 in The Philippine Islands.6 She died between 1985 and 1993 at the age of 81.6 [died in her 80s]
                            iii.   Idadel Simmons6 was born on 17 Feb 1906 in The Philippine Islands.6
                            iv.   John W. Simmons Jr.5 was born on 13 Jul 1908 in The Philippine Islands.56 He died in 1943 at the age of 35 in The Philippine Islands.5 John Jr. was killed by the Japanese during their invasion of the Philippine Islands early in World War II. John's Anglo features made him a target for the invaders. He was not serving with the Allied Forces at the time of his death.
Second Generation
2.  James W. Simmons5,8 (John W.-1) was born on 9 Sep 1902 in The Philippine Islands.56 He died heart attack on 8 Mar 1941 at the age of 38 in The Philippine Islands.5 James was one of a set of twin boys born to John W. and Antonina before their marriage. The other baby died during childbirth.
James came to the US with his mother, siblings, and step-father about 1912. He had designs on remaining in the States after his mother decided to return to the Philippines, but being the eldest, was obligated to stay with and help support his family.

Shortly after returning home, James married Sergia Beltrano, a school teacher, and fathered six children. [Sergia also had a daughter Lily from her second marriage.]

Either James, or his father, at one time worked for a German gentleman who molded small figures from metal.

James died from a heart attack in 1941.
James W. Simmons and Sergia Beltrano were married about 1921.5 [based on birth of 1st child] Sergia Beltrano5 was born on 9 Sep 1901 in The Philippine Islands.6 She died on 12 Dec 1987 at the age of 86.6 She was also known as Sergia Simmons.5
James W. Simmons and Sergia Beltrano had the following children:
              3              i.   Magdalena Simmons, born 22 Jul 1922, The Philippine Islands; married Andy Bella.
              4             ii.   Reynalda Simmons, born 25 Dec 1925, The Philippine Islands; married _______ Bautista; died 8 Aug 1995.
                            iii.   Sinesio "Sam, Mario" Simmons6 was born on 21 May 1928 in The Philippine Islands.6 He died on 12 Jun 2002 at the age of 74.6
              5            iv.   Pablo [Paul] Simmons, born 25 Jan 1931, The Philippine Islands; married Lolita [Simmons].
              6             v.   Irene Simmons, born 18 Sep 1933, The Philippine Islands; married Benjamin Balagot, 23 Feb 1952, The Philippine Islands.
                            vi.   Rudolfo [Rudy] Simmons6 was born on 16 Jan 1936 in The Philippine Islands.6

        1. Tipton Daily Tribune: Obituary [John T. Simmons], Location: Sharpsville, Tipton Co., IN, Page: ?? (4 August 1909).

        2. Charles McHugh, Notes, Letters, and Interviews from "Uncle Mutt" Charles McHugh, Interviewer: Terry Prall, Informant Address: Augusta, GA, Recipient Address: Arcadia, FL (1991-????).

        3. 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Sharpsville, Tipton Co., IN, Record Type: Census, Household: John Simmons / James Simmons, Record Info: p. 33A, Film: T9-0315 / 1254315 (1880).

        4. First Washington Infantry, USV File (Cage 619), Guide to the First Washington Infantry, USV, Records 1899, 1994 (: Washington State University Libraries),

        5. Ann Marie Zepponi, John W. Simmons, Recipient: Terry D. Prall, Address: California, Author E-mail: (21 March 2006).

        6. Ann Marie Zepponi, Simmons Update and New Info, Recipient: Terry D. Prall, Address: Arcadia, FL, Author E-mail: (12 April 2006).

        7. 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Vancouver Barracks [US Army], Clark Co., Washington [John W. Simmons], Record Type: census, Household: US Army base: John W. Simmons, Record Info: District 259, p. 1A, Film: T623_1742 (3 June 1900).

        8. Nora  James, "Simmons Family Tree," e-mail message from (San Francisco, California) to Terry Prall, 30 January 2006 - 21 March 2007.

        9. 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Liberty Township, Tipton County, Indiana, Record Type: census, Household: John Simmons, Location: Tipton Co., IN, Record Info: Federal Archives - SE, Film: T-9_363 (21 July 1870).

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