Lane Street Project: James “Sunny” Simms.

Sunny Simms‘ grave marker bears the three links symbolizing Odd Fellows membership. 

In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Ceasar Simms, 61; wife Adline, 41; and children Elizthesbeth, 16, James, 14, Mack, 12, and Tamar, 4.

On 28 January 1908, James Simms, 21, of Taylors township, son of C. and Adline Simms, married Victoria Joyner, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Reubin and Millie Joyner, at “the old Simms [illegible].” Missionary Baptist minister Jeremiah Scarborough performed the ceremony in the presence of Orlando Williams, Schaird [Sherrod] Ellis, and Mary Jane Simms.

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Sonnie factory hd h Stantonsburg rd extd

Sunnie Simms registered for the World War I draft in 1918. Per his registration card, he was born 3 June 1885; lived at Route 4, Wilson; worked as a farmer on Fred Washington’s farm; and his nearest relative was Adeline Simms Barnes. As a disqualification, the registrar noted: “Left Foot been cut very near off.”

In the 1920 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Sunny Simms, 34; wife Victoria, 29; and children Fannie B., 9, James C., 7, Willie A., 5, Mary G., 3.

James Sims died 18 August 1924 at the Colored Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 August 1905 in Wilson County to Sonny Sims and Mariah Harris; worked as a farmer for John Drones; and Rhodie Strickland was informant. Sims was stabbed in the shoulder in a homicide.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: public service laborer Sunny Simms, 58; wife Victoria, 50; and children Matthew, 19, tobacco factory laborer, Annie and Nannie, 17, and William, 13. 

William Harold David Simms registered for the World War II draft in 1945. Per his registration card, he was born 9 July 1927 in Wilson County, N.C.; lived at 1015 Stantonsburg Street, Wilson; was unemployed; and his contact was Sonny Simms, 1015 Stantonsburg.

Pfc. William Simms, son of Sunny and Victoria Simms. Wilson Daily Times, 23 March 1953.

Victoria Simms died 23 September 1947 at her home at Stantonsburg Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 9 June 1893 in Edgecombe County, N.C., to Ruebin Joyner; was married to Sonnie Simms; and was buried to Rountree [Odd Fellows?] Cemetery. [Her grave marker has not been found.]

Wilson Daily Times, 27 September 1947.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, December 2021.


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