This is a DRAFT. Its purpose is to record the evidence/sources for each of the relationships and for each of the dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. Please send additions/corrections to Mr. Jay B. Wright, 416 Brooklea Drive, Fayetteville, New York 13066­1404. This version of the draft was printed on Tuesday August 25, 1998.



Lela Wolfe Prewitt's carefully documented 1972 Sims genealogy 2 deals with Thomas Sim(m)s of Culpeper Co., VA, (generation 7 of the lineage below) and such subsequent generations as she knew about. As Mrs. Prewitt pointed out on page 1, the name Sims, with numerous spelling variants, appears in old records of Scotland, England, and Ireland. Although she cited the published work of earlier genealogists, including William H. Maginnis, Henry Upson Sims, 3 and William Everett Brockman, with regard to the possible ancestors (both in America and overseas) of the Sim(m)s family of Culpeper Co., she did not say which theory of descent she was inclined to believe. Instead, she said simply on page 2:

Although there are indications that some of these early colonists were connected with the Sim(m)s family under consideration in this book, no definite proof has been established.

Some genealogists have been bolder than Mrs. Prewitt in speculating about the descent. This document is an effort to set forth the descent from the Somerset, England, Symes (Sims) family--believed by a number of genealogists to be the most probable ancestors of Thomas Sim(m)s of Culpeper. I absolutely agree with Mrs. Prewitt, however, that no definite proof has been established.

The Symes family in Somerset was documented as early as 1623 in the Visitation of Somerset, and that Symes pedigree was published in 1876 in Harleian Society Publications, volume XI, 4 p. 110. The family is also documented in the History of the Island of Antigua, coincidentally also on p. 110 (and continuing on page 111). Generations 1 4 of the lineage detailed in this document are shown clearly in the chart on pp. 110 111 of Antigua, although it must be noted that the line connecting John Symes of Barwick (Gen. 1) and William Symes of Chard (Gen. 2) is a dotted line, obviously implying lack of proof. 5 It is understatement to say that the reference to Gen. 5 is minimal in Antigua: it says on p. 111 only "William Symes, living 1675" on the chart (but the 1675 will of his spinster sister Elizabeth, on which that "living 1675" statement is based, is abstracted in Antigua, p. 112).

Understandably, many of the 20th century genealogists have repeated the findings of one another, but it appears that the names, dates, and places, almost inevitably came from Harleian or Antigua or Somerset Wills, First Series, by Brown. The frequent repetition of the names, dates, and places from those few sources, of course, does not necessarily mean that they are correct, although they certainly may be.

1. JOHN SYMES, of Barwick,6 Somerset, England, d. before 1 Sep. 1563.7 His wife was Jane.8 Petty (p. 3) says,

The visitation of Somerset, when the Herald for the crown, the official in charge of determining the records and make up of the English hierarchy, came to Somerset and recorded the families that had recorded pedigrees with the College of Heralds in London, in 1675 recorded the lineage of the Sims family, showing Thomas Symms as Great Grandson of John Symes of Barwick, through his son William Symms of Chard, and his son John Symms of Poundisford.9

, was b. c. 1550-1555, England. He m. (when?) (where?) ELIZABETH HILL.10 He lived at Chard,11 Somerset, Eng.12 He was granted arms in 1591.13 Owens (p. 3) says he, "was a merchant of Poundesford [Poundisford14], Somerset, England. He owned a mill in West Coker and lands in Taunton. According to his will he owned manors of Barwick,15 Boure,16 Stoford,17 Somerset, and [Frankham],18 Dorset, and the one he lived in in Charde. Obviously he was a man of means. His coat of arms was given him in 1591. ..." He d. before 27 July 1597 19 at Pound[i]sford, 20 Somerset, Eng. His will was dated 4 June and proved 27 July 1597.21

William Symes of Poundsford (in Pitminster22), co. Somerset, merchant. Will dated 4 June and proved 27 July 1597 by Elizabeth Symes the relict. (66 Cobham.) Poor 23 of Chard & Pitminster. Rt Hon. Sir Ed. Seymour, Knt. Lord Seymour of Pomeroy, Devon, by deed of 29 Nov. 31 Eliz. hath granted me an annuity of 100 marks out of the demesne of Bury Pomeroy for 99 years, if Eliz. my wife & Hen. & James my sons shall so long live. To my s. John Symes £2000 according to the covenants betw. me & Sir John Popham, Knt., Chief Justice, & Tho. Horner, Esq. To my s. Hen. 1000 marks. My s. Robt £500. My s. Wm. £500 at 21. My d. Eliz. 1000 marks. My dau. Margt 1000 marks at 21 or marriage. My dau. Margery Pyne 1000 marks. Jasper Pyne my s.-in-l. living in Charde. My Manors of Barwick, Bowre, 24 & Stoford, co. Som., & Frankham, co. Dorset. Mill in West Coker & lands in Taunton. My manor house in Charde to Eliz. my wife for her life, & she to be Ex'trix. John Pyne, Esq., Roger Hill, Gent., & my bro. in l. Hugh Hill, Gent., to be Supervisors.25

He was presumably the man mentioned on p. 115 of Antigua: "1588. Armada list of subscribers. `Maye William Symes of Chard, tercio Maii, £50.'" He was the father 26 of

3. JOHN SYMES, D.L., J.P.,27, was b. 4 March 1572 28 or 1581 29 or 1586 30 or 14 Mar 1573 31 at Charde,32 Somerset, Eng. He matriculated from 33 Exeter College, Oxford, 23 Feb 1587 8, æt. 14.34 B.A. 9 July 1591.35 Student of Lincoln's Inn 1589; M.P. for Somerset; High Sheriff.36 He m. about 1605 37 (where?) Amy Horner.38 He d. 21 39 or 23 40 Oct. 1661 at Winterbourne, Gloucestershire.41 Owens (p. 3) says, "A monument to memory of John Symes was erected in Church of Bishop Hull"42 and gives a shorter version of his "epitaph." His will was dated 5 Oct. 1658 43; proved 19 Dec 1661.44

John Symes of Poundsford, co. Somerset. Will dated 5 Oct. 1658; proved 19 Dec. 1661 (206 May.) To be bur. at Frampton Cotterell, co. Glouc. To my neph. Arthur Symes £100 at the end of his apprenticeship. I am possessed of many years to come & undetermined of the Mansion of Poundsford, my Ex'ors shall convey it to Wm Symes, 1st s. of Jno Symes, decd, he not to vex or prosecute any suit against Hen. & Tho. Symes. To my 2 nieces Eliz. & Grace Symes £800 to be pd out of Poundsford. John & Ed. Symes, sons of my s. Tho. Symes. All residue to my sons Hen. & Tho. Symes, Ex'ors.45

He is presumably the John Syms mentioned on p. 115 46 of Antigua:

1649. John Syms of Poundford. Sequestration of an annuity of £80 taken off, he having assigned it for his sons Henry and Thomas, and the farm. He is accused of having omitted £3000 from his composition at Goldsmith's Hall. (Calendar of Committee for Compounding Royalist Estates, p. 993.)

He is the John Symes described in the following "Extract from `Barwick and its Church,' by John Batten, F.S.A.," reprinted on pp. 116-117 of Antigua:

The family of Roger, or Rogers, whose chief seat was at Bryanston, Dorset (see Hutchins's `Dorset,' i., 250), held Barwick for six generations, extending to the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when Sir Richard Rogers, knight, sold the manor and advowson 47 to William Symes, of Chard, merchant.

This gentleman married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Hill of Poundisford, near Taunton, a very old Somersetshire family, and he was succeeded at his death by his son and heir, John Symes, who at the close of his life left Poundisford for the residence of his son, at Winterborne, in the parish of Frampton Cotterell, Gloucestershire, where he died, and was buried. The remarkable career of this "Somersetshire worthy" is minutely detailed in the monumental inscription to his memory in Frampton Church. It is engraved on a brass plate surmounted with the arms of Symes: Azure, three escallops in pale or; impaling those of Horner: Sable, three talbots passant argent, two and one.

"Here lyeth the body of John Symes of Poundisford, in the Parish of Pitminster in the county of Somerset, Esquire, he was born on the 4th day of March, 1572 (in the 12th year of Queen Elizabeth). He lived soberly, righteously, and godly, and died on the 21st day of October 1661.

"Reader, thou treadest on the sacred ashes of John Symes, Esq., who in the late unhappy times of rebellion was forced (for his signal loyalty to his Prince) to leave his former habitation at Poundisford, in the parish of Pitminster, in the county of Somerset, and to seek a repose for his old age in this parish. He was a man greatly renowned for wisdom, justice, integrity, and sobriety, which talents he did to hide in a napkin, but religiously exercised in the whole conduct of his life, especially in the government of that county, wherein he bore all the honourable offices incident to a country gentleman (as Knight of the shire, elected nem. con.48), for the Parliaments held at Westminster in the 21st year of King James, High Sheriff, Deputy Lieutenant for many years, and Justice of the Peace for 40 years and upwards, and as he was careful and solicitous to discharge his duties to God, his soverigne 49 and his country, so God was pleased to bestow on him several badges (also) of his special favour, as length of days, accompaned 50 with a most healthy constitution of body for above 80 years, and of his mind to the last, as also a numerous posterity even of children and children's children, to the number of 100 and upwards, descended from his loynes 51 (by his only wife Amy, the daughter of Thomas Horner, of Cloford, 52 in the county of Somerset, Esquire).

"And when he was full of days and honor, having lived 88 years 7 months and 7 days, and seen the safe return of his Prince to his crown and kingdom, after a long and horrible exile, and thereby the flourishing condition of both Church and State. Having finished his work on earth, he cheerfully resigned his soul to God that gave it, the 21st day of October, anno domini 1661, in full assurance of a joyful resurrection."53

Page 177 of Antigua also includes the Latin inscription on the south wall of the south aisle of Exeter College Chapel [at Oxford] about this same John ("Joannes") Symes. He was the father 54 of

4. THOMAS SYMES, b. c. 1615-1620 at Somerset, 55 Eng. He m. 3 June 1640 56 at the Parish of Keynsham,57 Somerset,58 Eng., Amy Bridges. 59 He was "of Winterbourne,60 co. Gloucester, later of Poundsford."61 He d. (when?) at Somerset, 62 Eng. Petty (p. 3) says, "Thomas Symms was part of the Symms family of Somerset. This was a large landed family with many estates and manors. He was born in the area of Poundisford, which is the name of an estate in the Parish of Pitminster, just south of Taunton, Somerset, England." He was the father 63 of

5. WILLIAM SIMES, b. c. 1646 64 at Somerset,65 Eng. He m. (when?) (where?) Mary.66 He is apparently the "William Symes, living 1675" 67 mentioned in the History of Antigua, p. 111. Petty (pp. 2 3) says

William Sims Sr. was from the Island of Antigua, and was the son of Thomas and Amy Bridges. William and several of his siblings had moved to Antigua 68 from Poundi[s]ford, Somerset, England, and are identified in the church and probate records of both Antigua and Somerset.69 In the 1670's and 1680's William and his brothers George and Richard went into the American Colonies. Richard returned home to England where an estate had been set up for him, but George and William settled in southeastern Virginia in the area of the Isle of Wight [County],70 and Nansemond County71 area. William moved north from there, and received a land grant in New Kent County72 where he settled with his family. William died there in 1726.

He d. 17 Feb. 1725/6 73 at New Kent Co.,74 VA. He was the father 75 of
Whether this William is the father of the Thomas Sim(m)s of Gen. 7 is open to question. The 1716 will written by this William and mentioning his son Thomas is the principal piece of evidence offered by Prewitt, pp. 3-4, as proof of the father-son relationship. See, however, Appendices A and B to this document for alternative possibilities.

, b. c. 1660-1670 76 at Somerset,77 Eng. He m. c. 1665 78 (where?) Amy Clark.79 [Petty, in referring to the wife of this William Sims, calls her "Amy (or Anne) Sims."] He had land in old Rappahannock 80 Co., VA, (now Essex Co., VA) on 14 May 1686.81 He was constable in 1686.82 He was living in Sittenbourn Parish, Richmond Co., VA, by 83 1707.84 He d. between 28 Apr. and 1 Aug. 1716 85 apparently at Richmond Co., VA.86 Petty (p. 2) says about this William,

William Simms first appears in the records of Richmond County, Virginia, in 1705, when he sold land that had previously been granted to John Weire.87 William was the son of William and Mary Sims of New Kent County.88 This is the weak link in the chain, and is support[ed] largely by circumstantial evidence. In 1711 William Jr. filed a deed89 in Richmond County, granting a large piece of land to Mathew Beane, his son in law. Mathew was married to Mary Simms in 1710.90 This deed indicates then that William had children born about 1690. He mentioned another Son in Law Thomas Scott in the same deed. Thomas Sims was evidently the baby in the family. In that same deed Thomas Paty was a witness, fully 10 years prior to his daughter being married to Thomas Simms. William Jr. was then born about 1668. William Sims Sr. by all accounts was married about 1665 and had sons Thomas, William, Richard, and a daughter Amy or Anne whose christening was entered in the minutes of St. Peter's Church in New Kent County.91 William Sr.'s sister Elizabeth Langdon, referred to Amy, daughter of her brother William in her will, and Richard Sims, of Lewisham in Kent, referred 92 to the sons of his brother William as Thomas, William, and Richard. Richard of Lewisham was mistaken in his will in 1723, and referred to his brother William as deceased, and to William's son William as living, when it was just the other way around. But then in those days when communications were so bad, and long apart, it wouldn't be [surprising] in an old man thinking that it was William Sr. who died in 1716 instead of William Jr.

He was the father 93 of

7. THOMAS SIM(M)S, 94 b. c. 1702 95 possibly at Richmond Co., VA.96 He m. before 30 Nov. 1725,97 probably at Richmond Co., VA, Rebecca Petty/Patty/Paty.98 He and Rebecca moved c. 1733 to a tract on the south side of the Rapidan River then in St. Mark's parish, Spotsylvania Co. VA (part of the Spotswood tract." 99 That tract became part of Orange Co., VA, when Orange Co. was formed from the western part of Spotsylvania Co. in 1734.100 In 1748 the land became part of Brumfield Parish in the newly created Culpeper County.101 He d. between 21 Apr. 1784 and 18 July 1785 102 probably 103 at Culpeper Co., VA.


Antigua = The History of The Island of Antigua, One of the Leeward Caribbees in the West Indies, From the First Settlement in 1636 to the Present Time, by Vere Langford Oliver, 1899, Volume III. [Available from Salt Lake City and also at the New York Public Library (rare book and on film).] On pages 110-111, there is a "Pedigree of Symes" that must be based on the visitation of Somerset in 1675. (See Petty, p. 3.) [Listed as no. 4927 in American & British Genealogy & Heraldry, 2nd edition, by P. William Filby (1975).]

Barwick = "Barwick and its Church," by John Batten, F.S.A., quoted extensively from in Antigua, pp. 116-117 (so it is obviously dated 1899 or earlier). Nothing more is known about this source.

Brockman = Orange County Virginia Families, vol. III, by William Everett Brockman, 1959 -- particularly pages 66-83, which include the "English Lineage" "Courtesy of Mrs. R. M. Anderson, Chatham, Virginia." (Received from Marilyn Mees).

Brown = See "Somerset Wills," below. Cited in letter of James W. Petty to Phil Sims.

Burke's Colonial Gentry = Burke's Colonial Gentry, 104 1939 edition, cited by Sims (H. U.), p. 2, as the basis for the "rumor" about Sir Jack Horner's being the "Little Jack Horner" of Mother Goose fame.

Cobham = Unknown source cited as "66 Cobham" in Antigua, p. 110.

Cochran = "Sims Family History" (title page + 5 pp.) compiled by Mrs. Mazie Sims Cochran, 1971 (enclosure with March 29, 1978, letter from Mrs. Barbara Thompson).

Daniels = Sims and Allied Families, compiled by Jeanette K. B. Daniels, A.G., 2142 Lambourne Avenue, Salt Lake City, UT 84109. (Available from Salt Lake City with the call letters 929.273, SL58dj. See enclosures with Kay Edwards' letter of 17 June 1993).

Darcy = Unknown source cited as "26 Darcy" in Antigua, p. 110.

Dunning = A History of Somerset, by R. W. Dunning (Bridgwater (sic), Somerset: Somerset County Library, 1978).

Harleian = Vol. XI 105 of the Publications of the Harleian Society.106 The Visitation of the County of Somerset in the Year 1623, edited by Frederic Thomas Colby, D.D. (London: 1876).

Harvey = Unknown source cited as "143 Harvey" in Antigua, p. 110 or 111.

Little = Portrait of Somerset, 3rd edition, by Bryan Little (London: Robert Hale, 1974).

Maginnis = The Sims Family in Kanawha County,107 by William H. Maginnis, [in] West Virginia History, a Quarterly Magazine, vol. VIII, no. 3, April 1947, pp. 283 304, and vol. IX, October 1947, pp. 26 36.

May = Unknown source cited as "206 May" in Antigua, p. 110.

Morris = Adam Symes and His Descendants,108 by Jane Morris (Philadelphia: Dorrance and Co., 1938), particularly the "appendix" titled "English Lineage," on pp. 366 376.

Nugent = Cavaliers and Pioneers by Nell M. Nugent. (P. 268 cited in Cochran, p. 4, re a William Symes brought to Virginia in 1658).

Owens = Sims Kin History and Genealogy: The Descendants of Wm. Symes of Pound[i]sford and Related Families 109 by Billie Louise Owens and Robert James Owens, 1982 film 1033986 item 6, 929.273/Si580 at Salt Lake City.

Petty = Letter from James W. Petty to Phil Sims dated Nov. 15, 1988. (See enclosures with letter of 17 June 1993 from Kay Edwards.)

Prewitt = Prewitt, Lela Wolfe, Ancestors & Descendants of Thomas Sims of Culpeper County, Virginia, Edmund Butler of Virginia and Kentucky, with Allied Families & Other Culpeper Data. (Fairfield, Iowa, 1972).

Sims (H. U.) = Sims, Henry Upson, Genealogy of the Sims Family (Kansas City: E. L. Mendenhall, Inc., 1940). Described as about the immigrant Benjamin Sims (1580-1635) who emigrated to James City, VA, before 1635. Available from Salt Lake City and at New York Public Library. Cited by Cochran with regard to William (born c. 1660-70) Sims' having land in old Rappahannock County on 14 May 1686.

Somerset Records Society = Somerset Records Society, Vol. 23, p. XXV, cited in Brockman, vol. III, p. 68, for "Quarter Session Records, for the Co. of Somerset - James I" relating to John Symes who m. Amy Horner.

Somerset Wills = Somerset Wills, First Series, 110 by Rev. Frederick Brown, pp. 52-53 [cited in Brockman, pp. 68-69]. Also p. 48 (cited in Brockman, vol. III, p. 69) with regard to descendants of Edward Bridges.

Southern Kith and Kin = Sims, Roberta Stuart, Southern Kith and Kin. Unknown source cited by Cochran. This is not available at the New York Public Library; nor have I been able to find any other references to it.

Symmes History = Sims, Henry G.111, The Symmes History. (date?) This source, available on microfilm at Salt Lake City, is cited by James W. Petty in his letter to Phil Sims. This is not available at the New York Public Library; nor have I been able to find any other references to it. Could Mr. Petty have been referring to Henry Upson Sims' book?


Mrs. Marilyn Mees in 1991 sent me a typewritten page which she had received from a Mrs Ruth Knott (no address noted) in 1975. It isn't clear who typed the page or when it was typed. It says, "The following data concerning the Sims Family was given me by Miss Edith Sims, daughter of Thomas Whitelaw Sims, Dr.,112 deceased, who was a descendant of Frances Walker (b) 113 6 20 1778 and Alexander Hunton. Frances was a daughter of Captain William Walker, son of our Edward Walker." There are other references on that page that indicate that the person who put this sheet together was apparently descended from a Reuben C. Sims (1793 1847) 114 who had married Frances Graves (1792 1871).

The page in question attributes ancestors to Thomas Sim(m)s (who married Rebecca Petty) who are entirely different from those listed in the body of "Purported Descent...." The lineage, as shown on the typed sheet is:


I. Marmaduke Sims (b) _____ died 1692/3 St. Mary's Co., Maryland, married in 1668 Mrs. Fortune Medfern (or Mitford) from England 1664, died 1701.

II. Issue of Marmaduke Sims and Mrs. Fortune Medfern:
Anthony (b) 1669
James (b) 1671, died 1727
John (b) 1673, died 1724, married Mary Rice in 1700, daughter of Thomas Rice & Mary
Marmaduke (b) 1675 married Elizabeth Clarkson

[Note from Lisa Simms--Marmaduke's son John m. Mary Higdon]

III. Issue of John Syms and Mary Rice. John Syms of St. Paul's, Hanover Co., Virginia, owner of several thousand acres incl. the Sims Grant 1718, granted in 1727.
Thomas (b) 1702, died 1784 (m) Rebecca Petty @ 1730

The rest of the page lists later generations, but there is nothing about sources for the generations listed above. I presume we can dismiss this, but I wanted to include it here in the interest of completeness.


The very first source cited by Prewitt, p. 1, is The Sims Family in Kanawha County, by William H. Maginnis, [in] West Virginia History, a Quarterly Magazine, vol. VIII, no. 3, April 1947, pp. 283-304, and vol. IX, October 1947, pp. 26-36. I have not seen that article in its published form, but I have a typewritten carbon copy of it sent by Mrs. Marilyn Mees. (As noted in a footnote to the text of this document, the carbon copy I have consistently spells the name Simms in the title of the article.)

Maginnis offers "Evidence of English Origin" -- reviewing, in part, what Sims (H. U.) had said about it -- and then offers "Evidence of Scotch Origin":

Nevertheless, there is evidence to indicate that the family originated in Scotland. As previously mentioned Sims is listed among the Scotch names of Culpeper County. A tradition of Scotch descent is current in several branches of the Culpeper Sims-Simms families.

H. U. Sims overlooked one Rappahannock County record which might link William Sims of Richmond County to the Sims families of Northumberland of County at the mouth of the Potomac River, those of Somerset County, Maryland, on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay, and those of Accomac and Northampton Counties on Virginia's Eastern Shore. The last two counties were originally one, named Accomac, in 1634, but the name was changed in 1643 to Northampton. In 1663 that county was divided and the northern half again became known as Accomac.

In Rappahannock County on February 17, 1664, Walter Sims and Katherine Sims witnessed the assignment of a servant maid (Rebecca Summerland) from Richard Lawrence to Michael Hugall. Walter and Katherine Sims may have lived in that part of Rappahannock that later became Richmond County, and it is quite possible that Walter may have been a brother, if not the father of William Sims (father of Thomas Sims, Sr., of Culpeper).

Possibly, too, Walter may have been the same Walter Sims, who in 1679 became the father of John Sims, whose birth was recorded in parish records in Northumberland County, Virginia, and possibly the same Walter Sims who witnessed the will of William Wildhame in Somerset County, Maryland, January 26, 1703.

In the records of both Northumberland County, Virginia, and Somerset County, Maryland, we find the names Walter Sims, Thomas Sims and Samuel Sims (also spelled Simes).

. . .

[Maginnis then listed births and wills and land records from several Virginia and Maryland counties.]

. . .

Greer's Early Virginia Immigrants lists Andrew Sims as having been brought to Accomac County, Virginia, in 1635 by William Andrews.

Also sailing for Virginia in 1635 was Alexander Syms, 19 years old, listed by Hotten on the ship Abraham, and Symon Simes, 15 years old, listed by Hotten on the ship Paule from London. (Symon was recorded as having conformed to the Church of England.)

H. U. Sims said he had no further records of either Alexander or Symon, but this was probably the same Alexander who moved to the head waters of the Chesapeake Bay and died in Cecil County, Maryland (bordering on Pennsylvania and Delaware) in 1699, leaving his widow, Sarah, and son, John. Sarah later married Owen O'Neal and in her will in Kent County, Maryland, adjoining Cecil County, mentioned her son, John Sims, who himself died in 1710 in Kent County, apparently without issue, as he left his property to persons with other surnames. With his death the line of Alexander became extinct, unless Alexander had been married prior to this marriage to Sarah.

That leaves Andrew Sims of Accomac as a possible ancestor of Robert of Accomac, Thomas of Northampton and Somerset, Walter of Somerset, Northumberland and Old Rappahannock, and William of Richmond County.

Andrew is certainly a favorite name in Scotland and Simon a favorite name in the Scottish clan Fraser of which Sima an Syme families were septs. [Maginnis continues with a recitation of records relating to William Sims and his wife Amy of Richmond County.]

Maginnis and his wife (the former Emma Simms) were obviously knowledgeable and careful researchers, and his suggestion of a possible Scotch origin cannot be dismissed -- particularly in view of the difficulty of offering anything more than circumstantial evidence for one link of the chain that forms the lineage that is the basis of "Purported Descent...." The two-part article by Maginnis may, as much as anything, have been the principal reason for Prewitt's unwillingness to express a preference for one theory over another.

WP51\SIMS.DES printed Tuesday August 25, 1998


1Given that the purpose of recording this information and sources is to see whether the proofs seems adequate, it would be premature to title this as "The Descent of..." at this point.

2For bibliographic information on this and other sources, see the Key to Sources at the end.

3So far as I have been able to determine, Mrs. Prewitt did not cite the earlier work of Jane Sims Morris, on which Henry Upson and some others subsequently relied.

4Volume 11 has sometimes been misread to be volume II, but XI is the correct number.

5This must be the reason that Morris, p. 366, begins the lineage with William Symes of Charde. She seems not to offer any reason for rejecting John Symes of Barwick. Sims (H. U.), p. 55, says, "The Antigua genealogy begins with John Symes, of Barwick, and his wife Jane, believed by the family to have been the father and mother of William of Chard; but the line from them is a dotted line, showing that there is no record that John of Barwick was the father of William Symes of Chard, and as John evidently did not attain the importance of William, either in position or wealth, the Harleian Manuscripts did not show William's descent from John."

6Barwick is about 2 miles south of Yeovil on a 1990 map. West Coker is nearby.

7On that date administration of his estate was granted. (Antigua, pp. 110 111.)

8Antigua, p. 110.

9What is Petty's source? It seems to be a later "visitations of Somerset" than the one published in Harleian, vol. XI, but I cannot find it. The Genealogist's Encyclopedia by L. G. Pine (New York: Collier Books, 1969), p. 351, describing another family's pedigree as recorded in visitations in another county (Gloucestershire) says, "The family ... was recorded in every one of the Heralds' Visitations of Gloucestershire, in 1583, 1623 and 1683," so I realize that it makes sense that there would have been Visitation in 1675 in Somerset, but I just cannot find the source listed anywhere. American & British Genealogy & Heraldry, 2nd edition, by P. William Filby (Chicago: American Library Association, 1975), says, p. 306, "Visitations were tours of England and Wales by heralds of the College of Arms for the purpose of recording pedigrees and arms. Most works concerning the visitations in the 16th and 17th centuries were issued in the Harleian series. The Harleian can in no way be described as authentic, as the copies were taken from the `improved' records in the British Museum, and not from the more authentic records in the College of Arms. Several were issued outside of this series, but most are out of print, as is the Harleian series." Obviously Mr. Petty somehow has access, possibly to microfilm of the Visitation in 1675, in Salt Lake City.

10Cochran, p. 1. She was the daughter of Robert Hill of Yarde and Alice Clark. (Cochran, p. 1.) Cochran cites Southern Kith and Kin, by Roberta Stuart Sims, p. 117, but it is unclear how much of this might appear in that source. The same parents are listed for Elizabeth in the Symes mss., p. 3, except that there the spelling for the father's home is Yard. Antigua, p. 110, includes the same information and spells the father's residence as Yard. Antigua, p. 110, says Robert Hill's will was dated 21 April and proved 15 June 1581; it cites (apparently a source) -- "26 Darcy." Brockman, p. 67, says with regard to Robert Hill, that his "arms in same Vol. II" (by which he actually means volume XI of the Harleian Society publications.

11It's spelled Chard on a 1990 map but as Charde in Morris, p. 366. Dunning, p. 25, says Chard was among the number of places described as boroughs by 1327. Little, pp. 169-170, says, "Chard is an ancient town, of Saxon origin, a borough since the thirteenth century, and still with a Mayor and Corporation to administer rather over 6,000 people who live there. ... The old church ... is Chard's only building still standing from so distant a date. For in 1577 the town was almost wholly burnt to the ground.... Mullioned houses, such as the charming Manor House ... were put up in the years shortly following the fire."

12He is referred to as "of Charde" in Morris, p. 366, Cochran, p. 1, and Antigua, p. 110.

13Morris, p. 366, and Cochran, p. 1. Cochran describes the arms.

14Poundsford is the spelling in Morris, p. 366, but Poundisford is the spelling in the Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales. Little, p. 182, says, "South of Taunton, past the early Tudor mansion of Poundisford Park, past Pitminster church with a good octagonal top to its tower, or through Somerset's more westerly village of Blagdon, an explorer soon comes to the dramatic, well wooded escarpment of the Staple and Blackdown Hills." Dunning, p. 45, says, "There was no significant wave of building in the county until the 1580s and 1590s and two important houses, Poundisford Park and Barrington Court, stand out not only for their architectural merits but also for their origins. Poundisford was the work of William Hill, a Taunton merchant who had done well in business and invested in monastic land...."

15Barwick is immediately south of Yeovil, Somerset. The map in the Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales, p. 75, appears to show a house, presumably a manor house, named Barwick, in or near the village.

16I haven't identified where the manors of Boure/Bowre and "Frankham, Dorset," were or are, and I can't confirm the spelling. Page 111 of Antigua uses the spelling Bowre. I do not know which spelling is correct.

17John D. Sims of Dallas Center, IA, found Stoford in a "1991 English Motoring Atlas of Great Britain." It seems to be about a mile or two east of Barwick. I don't find it in the map on p. 75 of the Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales or on the map on p. 8 of my own Michelin Motoring Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland (1990).

18Owens clearly says Franklin, but Antigua, pp. 110 111, just as clearly says Frankham. Until we find one or the other on a map, there is perhaps no way to be certain which is correct, but I suspect that the Owenses were relying on Antigua, so I am inclined to think that Frankham is correct.

19The date his will was probated, as reported in Cochran, p. 2, citing Somerset Wills, First Series (Brown), p. 52.

20Daniels. What is her source? I suspect that she simply concluded from the fact that he lived there that he died there, but that is, of course, not necessarily accurate.

21Antigua, p. 110, citing as a source "66 Cobham." Brockman, p. 67, for William Symes' will, cites "Somerset Wills First Series (Brown) P. 52, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C." Brockman, p. 67, says his "pedigree in 1623, Vol. II, Pub. of Harleian Society, p. 110," but the page number seems too much to be coincidental unless the History of the Island of Antigua was part of a Harleian Society publication. The title page of the History of the Island of Antigua gives no indication that it was a publication of the Harleian Society, but possibly the Harleian Society subsequently reprinted it as a Harleian Society publication with the same page numbering?

22Pitminster appears on p. 74 of the Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales, just south of Taunton. It also appears on p. 7 of the Michelin Motoring Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland.

23Kay Edwards (letter of September 1994) suggests that this probably means a bequest to the poor of the area. I don't know for sure, but that makes sense to me.

24Here the spelling is clearly Bowre even though it is Boure on the preceding page.

25Antigua, p. 111.

26Will, quoted above from Antigua, p. 111.

27Antigua, p. 110.

28Antigua, p. 110.

29Morris, p. 367, and Cochran, p. 2.

30Owens, p. 4.

31When I use the date calculator in the computer program "Personal Ancestral File" to subtract his age at death (88 years, 7 months, 7 days) from his date of death (21 Oct 1661), I get 14 March 1573. The latter date would fit with his having been age 14 in 1587 8, when he went to Exeter College.

32Owens, page 3 (found by Kay Edwards, letter of September 1994).

33Is that grammatically correct? It seems like a strange preposition to use with that verb.

34Antigua, p. 110. This would appear to make the 1581 and 1586 dates of birth impossible.


36Ibid, for this entire sentence.

37Daniels' pedigree sheet and her family group sheet #160 (found by Kay Edwards, letter of September 1994).

38There appear to be conflicting views of Amy's parentage. The chart on pp. 110 111 of Antigua identifies her as "dau. of Thomas Horner of Mells, Esq.," and Morris, p. 367, and Cochran, p. 2, both citing Brown's Somerset Wills, p. 52, also identify Amy's father as Thomas Horner. However, Harleian XI, p. 57, charts the Horner ancestry, showing Sir John Horner of Mells as a son of Thomas Horner and showing an Amy (presumably the one who married John Symes, but the chart does not show a husband for her) as a daughter of Sir John. To add some confusion as to place names, whereas Antigua identifies Thomas Horner as "of Mells," Morris and Cochran say he was from "Mill County, Somerset"; that makes no sense, because Somerset (or Somersetshire) is itself a county or shire. Perhaps Morris made the error and it was repeated by Cochran. Harleian XI, p. 57, on the other hand, identifies Sir John as being "of Mells" but his father, Thomas, as being "of Cloford. Mells is west of Frome on p. 62 of the Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales. Cloford is near Mells, almost due south. Adding a bit more to the confusion, there was more than one Symes-Horner marriage: Antigua, p. 113, refers to Meriell Symes of Barwick, a widow in 1717, who was one of the daughters of Sir John Horner of Mells (thus Horner was her maiden name and Symes was her married name). In a lawsuit in 1712 (Antigua, p. 114), she was referred to as "Meriell Horner, Spinster." Antigua, p. 117, quoting from Barwick, refers to a "Thomas Symes, who resided at Barwick" as having "renewed the alliance with the Horner family by his marriage with Marilla, younger daughter of Sir John Horner, of Mells." I readily admit to further confusion here, however, because that same sentence says that the Thomas who married Merilla died at Barwick in 1681, so how could Merriel Horner have been a spinster in 1712? Were there two Horners named Meriell? The copy of Harleian XI at the New York Public Library is too fragile to photocopy, and I was unaware of the confusion at the time I was copying it by hand. Regrettably, I did not copy the list of Amy's siblings, and I do not know if Meriell was on the chart (either once or twice)at. The Horner ancestry in general, and p. 57 of Harleian XI in particular, clearly need to be revisited. It seems quite possible that Thomas Horner's will may mention a daughter Amy Horner Symes, which would eliminate any doubt, if I could see a copy of Somerset Wills, First Series; if that is so, it would prove the chart in Harleian XI to be in error in listing Amy as the daughter of Sir John. Little, p. 44, says, "In 1535...Glastonbury's agent, or bailiff at Mells [where the Downside Abbey was until 1539] was a yeoman of Cloford, John Horner; Thomas Horner became the buyer, after the abbey's fall, of the middling rich Mells property. This family's rise in local society lay behind Jack Horner of the nursery rhyme. Thomas Horner's descendants have remained at Mells to this day...." Dunning, p. 40, lists Sir John Horner as one of the men whose "acquisition of lands brought them from outside the county into a position of social importance, with consequent obligations of public service. ... Glastonbury's rich manor of Mells was the plum which Sir John Horner extracted from the Crown, the cornerstone of his family's influence in the county for four centuries...." Sims (H. U.), p. 2, says, that John Symes married "the daughter of Thomas Horner, also a member of parliament, and a sheriff of Somersetshire; and the son of Thomas Horner, who became a knight, as Sir John Horner, was probably the `Little Jack Horner' of Mother Goose fame, the rhyme being a sarcasm referring to the family having obtained lands formerly held by the Abbot of Glastonbury." To the latter statement, Sims (H. U.) adds this footnote: "The author obtained this rumor from the editors of Burke's Colonial Gentry, 1939 edition." Dunning, p. 44, says that, "On the Glastonbury abbey estate abbot John Selwood (1456-92) built ... the `pretty manor place of stone' at Mells...."

39Antigua, p. 110. The same date appears in Antigua, p. 116, quoting from the brass pate at his burial site.

40Cochran, p. 2, but Cochran must be wrong.

41Antigua, p. 116. Another source [Owens and Daniels on the AA John Symes sheet #3 (found by Kay Edwards, letter of September 1994)] said he died at Poundisford, but that must be incorrect.

42Bishops Hull is immediately east of Taunton on p. 74 of the Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales. Today it is sometimes referred to as Bishops Hull and sometimes as Bishop's Hull.

43In earlier drafts of this document, I had listed the year as 1656; thanks to Kay Edwards' obtaining of a clearer copy of the page from Antigua, I now can see that it should be 1658.

44Antigua, p. 110, citing as a source "206 May." Brockman, p. 68, cites both 206 May and Somerset Wills, First Series (Brown), p. 53. (Something caused me to believe that there may be six volumes of Somerset Wills, First Series. If that's so, I don't know which volume lists this date.

45Antigua, p. 112.


47The right to preserve a vacant benefice (landed estate).


49Sic. 50Sic. 51Sic.

52Cloford is southwest of Frome (and almost due south of Mells) on p. 62 of the Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales.

53There follow seven more paragraphs about the grandson Thomas Symes (not in the direct line that is the subject of this document) who married "Merilla, younger daughter of Sir John Horner, of Mells" and his descendants.

54The will abstracted in Antigua, p. 112, lists Henry and Thomas as sons, but I do not see a William listed as a son. Cochran, p. 2, lists William, Henry, and Thomas as sons of John, but she cites no source. Nor does she present any evidence that John's son Thomas is the same Thomas who married Amy Bridges.

55Owens, p. 6.

56Owens, p. 3, gives the year only. Petty, p. 3, gives the full date.

57Petty, p. 3. Petty says that "Keynesham" is a parish 50 miles from Poundisford, on the northern end of Somerset bordering Gloucestershire. Petty says that was Amy's home, but that Thomas at that time was residing in a manor in "Winterborne" in Gloucester. Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales and Antigua, p. 100, both spell the names as Keynsham and Winterbourne. Little, p. 54, says, "Now, however, the commuter tide, most of it from Bristol, has more than trebled Keynsham's size as thousands who work in Bristol have made their homes in what one may now call the semi-countryside. South Gloucestershire, in such places as Winterbourne, Patchway, and Frampton Cotterell, has borne the brunt of an architecturally unlovely permeation." What a polite way to say ugly! On the same page, Little writes, "Bar its church and the Brydges Almshouses on the Bristol road, Keynsham lacks old buildings of real distinction. Yet it is a place of some historic note."

58Symes mss., p. 6.

59Owens, p. 3. She was the daughter of Edward Bridges and Phillippa Spoke [Speke], daughter of Sir George Spoke. (Symes mss., p. 6.) Amy was buried in the Chancel of Parish Church of Winterbourne. (Symes mss., p. 6.) This information also appears in Antigua, p. 100, which says that Edward Bridges' will was dated 7 Nov. 1638; proved 22 Aug. 1689 and citing "143 Harvey" as a source. Brockman, p. 69, says, "In Brown's Somerset Wills, p. 48, there can be found the tabulated descendants of Edw. Bridges, showing that he md. Phillippa, dau. of Sir Geo. Speke, and that his fifth child, Amy, md. Thomas Symes in 1640." Harleian XI, p. 103 shows a chart of the Speke/Speake family. Curiously, it uses the spelling Speke at the top of the chart and the spelling Speake consistently thereafter. As noted in an earlier footnote, the copy of Harleian XI at the New York Public Library is too fragile to photocopy. As with the Horner chart mentioned in a previous footnote, I copied part of the Speke/Speake chart by hand, but I was unaware here too of confusion. This much is clear: "Sir Geo. Speake Knt. of the Bath of Whitelackington co. Som. living 1623" is shown as having married "Phill. d. of Will. Rowswell of Ford, co. Devon." That Sir Geo. Speake is shown as the son of Sir Geo. Speake Knt. of the Bath" by the latter's first wife, "Eliz. d. of Sir Antho. Luttrell." The latter Sir Geo. Speake is shown as the son of "Sir Tho. Speake Knt." by "Anne d. of Rich. Barkley of Stoke." I saw on the chart that among the children of Sir George Speake and Phillipa was an Anne who married Sir John Horner of Mells, and, having just been reading about Sir John Horner, I mistakenly believed that Anne was the child I was looking for. I neglected to copy the names of her siblings from that chart on p. 103, so I will need to look at that page again. I should have been looking for the marriage of Edward Bridges to Phillippa Speke rather than for the marriage of Anne Speake to Sir John Horner. I have nothing in my notes about there being a Brydges/Bridges chart in Harleian XI; that possibility should be checked. Little, p. 54, says, "The Brydges family, with a large mansion on the site of some of the Canons' buildings, were the successors to the Augustinians as Keynsham's chief landlords...." Denning, p. 62, says, James, duke of Monmouth, was hailed in the House of Commons in 1680 as the Protestant heir, and what was little less than a royal progress in the West Country including Somerset suggested wide support for him. ...[W]hen he approached the Spekes' home at Whitelackington, the road was not wide enough for the throng, who broke down the pales and spilled over into the park....

60Winterbourne appears in the Genealogical Atlas of England and Wales, p. 62, a few miles north of Bristol. It also appears on p. 17 of the Michelin Motoring Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland (1990), in which it appears that the city of Bristol has spread north almost to Winterbourne.

61Antigua, p. 111. 62Owens, p. 6.

63Owens, p. 6, says Thomas was the father of (among others) "William Symes, migrated directly to New Kent, Virginia." (Regrettably, NO EVIDENCE IS PROVIDED TO SUPPORT THAT ASSERTION another weak link.) The chart in Antigua, p. 111, appears to support this assertion, but because the reference to William is so brief on the latter "living 1673" it's impossible to tell if this is the correct William. TO THE CONTRARY, Orange County Virginia Families, Vol. III, by Wm. Everett Brockman (1959) includes an English lineage of the Symes family "courtesy of Mrs. R. M. Anderson, Chatham, Virginia" (Brockman, p. 67) that lists (Brockman, p. 70) seven children of the Thomas Symes who married Amy Bridges: George, Richard, John, Edward, Charles, Henry "of Island of Antigua," and Thomas. Conspicuously absent from the list is William, but the list was apparently not intended to be complete (perhaps it was intended only to be a list of children about whom more was known), because William is mentioned in the 1675 will of his spinster sister Elizabeth (Somerset Wills - First Series - Brown, p. 53) abstracted on p. 69 of Brockman. The chart (pp. 110-111) in Antigua lists the children as Thomas, John, Edward, Charles, George, Henry, William, Richard, Amy, Catherine, Mary, and Elizabeth. That's 8 sons and 4 daughters. Brockman does not cite Antigua as a source, so it is impossible to know if William's name was accidentally or deliberately omitted.

64Daniels. 65Daniels.

66Petty (letter to Phil Sims) says, "William was the son of William and Mary Sims of New Kent County." WAS HIS SOURCE THE SYMMES HISTORY?

67Antigua, p. 111. On earlier drafts of this document, I had this date as 1673, but, thanks to Kay Edwards' obtaining of a more clear photocopy of the pages, I have now corrected it. The source of this assertion must be the will of his spinster sister Elizabeth, written 22 Nov. 1675 (Antigua, p. 112), mentioning the brother William.

68Morris, p. 373, says that, "In Hotten's `List of Emigrants,' it is stated that there were seventy-two rebels sent by the Crown in 1682 to Barbadoes [sic] (instead of being beheaded), among whom were Henry Symes and John Sams." [Emphasis in the original. Also, Morris, used an asterisk after the Sams name to refer to a footnote that added, "They were engaged in the Monmouth Rebellion."]




73Daniels. HER SOURCE? 74Daniels. HER SOURCE?

75Daniels. HER SOURCE? Petty calls this "the weak link in the[ed] largely by circumstantial evidence." See Appendix B to this document.

76Daniels. HER SOURCE? Petty (p. 2) says he was born about 1668. HIS SOURCE?

77Daniels. HER SOURCE?


79Wills of Richmond County, Virginia 1699 1800, by Robert K. Headley, Jr., 1983, according to Barbara Martin Thompson (enclosures with letter of Nov. 13, 1991), on p. 13, lists the will of Robert Clark of Farnham Parish. That will names William Simms. Amy Simms was a witness. Barbara notes that Amy was "also the daughter of Robert Clark." Daniels lists the wife only as Amy with no surname; did Daniels have reason to doubt the name Clark, or did she not know it?

80There have been two Virginia counties named Rappahannock. The first ("old") one was created from Lancaster in 1656 and became extinct in 1692 when it was divided into Essex and Richmond Counties. The present Rappahannock County was created from Culpeper County in 1833. LAND RECORDS?

81Cochran, p. 4, citing "his genealogy" by Henry Upson Sims of Birmingham, AL, former president of the American Bar Assn. H.U.S. apparently had noted that a William Symes was brought to Virginia in 1658, apparently citing p. 268 of Nell M. Nugent's Cavaliers and Pioneers. Kay Edwards (25 July 1994) says the H.U.S. genealogy is titled Genealogy of the Sims Family, and that it is described as about the immigrant Benjamin Sims (1580-1635) who emigrated to James City, VA, before 1635.

82Cochran, p. 4, citing Henry Upson Sims. One or more earlier drafts of this document said 1786 a typographical error.

83Prewitt, p. 3, says before 1707.

84He and his wife, Amy, conveyed 100 acres to Cornelius Edmond on 3 Feb. 1707, Richmond Co. Deed Book 4, pp. 134a, 135, as reported in Prewitt, p. 3.

85These are the dates his will was written and proved. Richmond Co. Va. Wills & Inventories, 1709 1717, p. 279, as reported by Prewitt, pp. 4 5.

86Assumed from the fact that his will was written and proved there. The will is apparently abstracted on p. 33 of Wills of Richmond County, Virginia 1699 1800 by Robert K. Headley, Jr., 1983. (Barbara Martin Thompson, enclosures with letter of Nov. 13, 1991.)


88It's dangerous to read this sentence out of context. Note the sentence that follows. Also, Sims (H. U.), p. 12, refers to the William Sims who had land in Rappahannock County on Mary 14, 1686 and says, "Who this William Sims was, it is impossible to say. He was not the William Symes who appeared in Virginia in New Kent County in 1698, with his four children...." [But I don't think that necessarily precludes a father son relationship.]


91Source for these minutes? Why the ambiguity about her given name? Do the minutes say Amy or Anne or both?

92Where? In his will?

93So stated in the father's will. See, however, Appendix A to this document for an alternative possibility.

94He is the "title character" of Lela Wolfe Prewitt's Ancestors & Descendants of Thomas Sims of Culpeper County, Virginia....

95Prewitt (p. 5) makes this estimate. When he wrote his will on 28 Apr 1716, William Sims referred to his son Thomas "untill he come to the age of twenty years" (Prewitt, p. 4), so Thomas has to have been born after 28 Apr 1696.

96His father is proved in Richmond County in 1707 but may have been their a few years earlier when Thomas was born.

97On 30 Nov. 1725, he and his wife, Rebecca, sold 112 acres. Richmond Co. VA Deed Book 8, pp. 303 304, as reported by Prewitt, p. 5.

98Daughter of Thomas Petty and Catherine Garten, as reported by Prewitt, p. 5.

99Prewitt, p. 5. 100Prewitt, p. 6. 101Prewitt, p. 6.

102The dates his will was written and proved. Prewitt, p. 8. Will Book C, p. 129, Culpeper Co., VA.

103Assumed from the fact that his will was written and proved there.

104I haven't looked for this. We should do so, in order to get a page number and to get an exact quote.

105Sometimes erroneously referred to as volume II (apparently because of confusion between 11 and II).

106The copy at the New York Public Library is too fragile to photocopy.

107Prewitt, pp. 1 and 143, spells the name Sims in the name of the article. The typewritten carbon I have consistently spells it as Simms in the title of the article.

108This book, and presumably subsequent help from Jane Morris, seem to have been heavily relied upon by Henry Upson Sims, and his book, in turn, seems to have been heavily relied upon by subsequent writers.

109This is a 323 page book. (See enclosures with letter of 17 June 1993 from Kay Edwards, list of sources included with her 15 Jan 1994 letter, and her letter of 25 July 1994 correcting my error on the film number.) Kay Edwards, letter of 16 Aug 1994, says some of the Owens' pages appear in Daniels' book.)

110I have some reason to believe that there are six volumes, in which case we need a volume number here.

111Petty refers to the author just as "Henry Sims" on p. 1 but as "Henry G. Sims" on p. 3.

112An odd usage. Presumably this means M.D.?

113It is evident from the rest of the page that this was the typist's way of indicating "born."

114The typewritten sheet indicates that this Reuben supposedly 1793 1847 was a son of Thomas Sims and Mary and a grandson of Thomas Sims and Rebecca Petty. However, according to Petty, p. 10, the Reuben who was the son of Thomas Sims and Mary Nalle and the grandson of Thomas Sims and Rebecca Petty was born in 1755 and married Sarah Tatum. Petty is obviously far more reliable than the typewritten sheet. Someone has written on the typewritten sheet (apparently intending it as a correction) that the Reuben born in 1793 was a son of "James Simms" and "Mildred Durette." There is no one with the surname Durette in Petty; there are many men named James Sim(m)s in the Petty index, and I have not looked up each one in an attempt to unravel this. ?? Page 9