Wilson Mirror, 5 October 1887.
Wilson Mirror, 5 October 1887.
Wilson Daily Times, 7 August 1954.
On 25 January 1911, Willie Simms, 21, of Black Creek, married Lucindy Barnes, 22, of Black Creek, at William Spells’ house in Black Creek.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Old Stantonsburg Road, farmer Will Simms, 34; wife Lucindy, 30; and daughters Emma, 16, Clara, 11, and Agnes, 3.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Black Creek Road, farmer Willie Simms, 49; wife Lucindy, 37; and daughters Clara, 19, Agnes, 13, Addie M., 6, and Elizabeth, 4.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1205 East Nash, rented for $6/month, carpenter Willie Simms, 50; wife Lucindy, 52; and children Clara, 33, Addie, 16, and Elizabeth Simms, 14; and daughter Emma Farmer, 37, widowed cook, and her children Turner Jr., 8, Emma C., 4, and Marie, 1. [The “sisters” named in the obituary were actually Simms’ daughters.]
Willie Simms died 6 August 1954 at his home in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 6 October 1890 in Wilson County to Benjamin and Beckie Simms; had worked as a laborer; and was a widower. Addie Jennifer was informant.
[For more re Elder Fate Melton, see here.]
In the summer of 1892, a Wilson County Superior Court grand jury took up the case in State vs. Henry Crutchfield and Dianna Simms, a matter alleging charges of fornication and adultery. Several prominent African-American townsmen were issued subpoenas commanding them to appear as witnesses at the next term of court.
The case file contains this summary of testimony:
State vs. Henry Crutchfield & Dianna Simms }
Chas. Barber – I know deft. They are not married to each other. A man claims Dianna as his wife. They lived together up to the time. I have seen Crutchfield at Simms almost every night I heard Simms & Crutchfield quarreling & Simms told C. to stay away from his house. Crutchfield lived only a short distance from Simms’s on same Street & Dianna would go to his house almost every day. I would see her when I was passing. They were fussing nearly all the time. One Sunday morning I came by Crutchfield’s house; Simms was standing at the door & was saying to Crutchfield you have my wife in your house & then say I can’t some in there or you will kill me. I looked in at the door & saw Crutchfield & Simms’s wife on a pallet together before the fire. This was in open day light on Sunday morning. Sims & his wife moved away from there & I did not see Crutchfield after that time.
G.W. Sugg – I know Crutchfield. He passed for a colored man. I also know Dianna. I saw them together in the woods together last April. I saw them having sexual intercourse with each other. I saw Crutchfield at her house frequently. Her husband was gone at that time. She rented house from Calvin Blount. Dianna is Frank Sims’s wife.
Edmond Pool – Know defts. Dianna is wife of Frank Sims. I have seen Sims order Crutchfield from his house. Sims & wife are not living together now.
Joseph Sims – I passed where Dianna lived about 9 o’clock & she & Crutchfield had a pallet made down on floor & were on it together. Have heard Frank Sims & Crutchfield quarreling about this woman.
Henry Crutchfield – I got this woman to work for me a year or so off & on & I went back & forth from my house to her house to get my clothes. Cross Ex.
Dianna Simms – I went in Crutchfield’s to see about some clothes.
Adultery Records, Miscellaneous Records, Records of Wilson County, North Carolina State Archives.
In late summer of 1945, lying abed at Duke Hospital, Clarence McCullers grew concerned enough about his prognosis that he wrote out a brief will. With his wife and son both dead, he left all his property to his sisters Bert Atkinson and Lucy Darden and appointed John Mack Barnes his administrator. His witnesses were Rev. W.A. Hilliard and Edwin Dortch Fisher.
In the 1900 census of Selma township, Wilson County: Jerry McCullers, 50; wife Lucinda, 50; and children Lucy, 24, Ma[illegible], 17, Cha[illegible], 15, Clarence, 15, Laura, 14, and Budina, 7; plus roomers Calvin, 24, and Stanchy Richardson, 22.
On 31 October 1905, Clarence McCullers, 21, son of Jerry McCullers, married Bessie Simms, 19, daughter of Lee and Mary Simms, at the bride’s residence in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of Mary J. Pender, Rosa Rountree, Boston Griffin and Will Bullock.
On 5 June 1917, Clarence McCullers registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 15 August 1888 in Johnston County, North Carolina; resided at 425 Nash Street; and worked as a butler for D.S. Boykin.
In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Washington Street, Clarence McCullers, 42, hardware store laborer; wife Rosa E., 37, who did washing; and son Willie E., 17.
In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1008 Washington Street, Clarence McCullers, 45, born Johnston County, light plant employee; wife Rosa, 43, born Wilson County, a laundress; and roomer Ethel Alexander, 28, born Scotland Neck, North Carolina, a teacher at Darden High.
Rosa E. McCullers died 18 January 1944 at Mercy Hospital. Per her death certificate, she resided at 1008 Washington Street; was 50 years old; was born in Wilson to John Hardy and Lucinda Rountree; and was buried in Rountree cemetery. Clarence McCullers was informant.
North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.
State of North Carolina, Wilson County }
North Carolina, Wilson County }
The examination of Easter Pool, Gracie Pool, Mrs. E.E. Flora, Mrs. Wethly Flora, E.F. Flora, J.S. Flora, Mary Sims, Jane Sims, Will Artis, J.T. Corbett, taken before the undersigned, Coroner of said county this 16th of April 1901, at the house of J.S. Flora upon the body of Dempsey Pool then and there lying dead to wit: —
E.F. Flora being duly sworn says: —
The fussing commenced about 7 oclock, when Stephen Sims came into the yard and got the wagon, and Easter and Annie Pool, daughters of Dempsey Pool objected. Sims went on with the wagon & got a load of guano from an out house. Coming back to the yard, a boy was driving the wagon & Stephen had his gun on his shoulder. The daughters Easter & Annie went home & come back with their father, mother & brother. These were all at the front gate as the wagon come in. Pool’s crowd has cart-rounds, sticks & a pitchfork, this latter held by Pool’s wife. Sims did not come to the gate, but got over the fence before he got to them & went around the field coming into the yard by a back gate. I told him not to come in the ward with his gun. Pool had come into the yard, following Sims along the fence cursing Sims. When Sims got into the yard, he put his gun to his face & Pool kept advancing I never heard Sims say a word. Pool got about 5 or 6 steps from Sims when Sims shot Pool. Pool ran twenty steps or more after Sims, not saying anything, Sims running from Pool around the house. At the corner of the house Pool fell. Sims went around the house & out the same gate & all of Pool’s crowd were after Sims. Charles, a son of Pool & a grown man, was here shot by Sims. The Pool crowd then struck Sims as he jumped the ditch, and broke the gun. This gun (produced) is a single barrel breech loader. As he went out the gate, Sims daughter, said “Pap, don’t put no more shell in that gun,” but Sims loaded it again. After Sims was knocked down he run down the field & fell over the fence. Charles, who was also shot, was 18 years of age. I did not go out of the house at all. After Dempsey Pool was shot, I saw something in his hand as he ran toward Sims, holding it out straight. Could not tell what it was. Don’t know as to their being on friendly terms. When the shooting was going on in the yard Pool’s children & Sims children were fighting along with the wagon. E.F. (X) Flora
J.S. Flora being duly sworn says: —
Am a son of preceding witness. Pools girls come here this morning & Sims was hitching up to wagon. I heard them talking & went out there & found them quarreling over the wagon. I told the Pool crowd that they could use my wagon today. One wanted to come back & wanted to hitch up. The other went on & collect her sister who followed. This was about half an hour or more before the shooting, When I started to the field I met Pool, his wife, two girls, the boy, Charles. I said Dempsey, go & hitch up to my wagon & don’t have no fuss with Stephen Sims. He said, “no” & went out to the lot. I understood some of them to say that they were going to have that wagon and some one had to die. The wagon belonged to the place, none having a special right to it. I went on out to the field and heard Dempsey Pool cussing at Steven Sims, calling him to some on if he wanted to fight. I saw Stephen come down the road & get over the fence about 30 yards from the Pool crowd, who were at the gate, saw him when he come in the yard with the gun on his shoulder. In 5 minutes heard the gun fire next thing saw Pool run after Sims; did not know that Pool was hurt. Saw Sims go out same gate he come in & the Pool crowd were after him, about twenty yards behind him. The girls had sticks. Saw Charles Pool & Stephen Sims point weapons with Charles holding out hand as if presenting pistol & saw smoke when he fired. Both shot about the same time, pistol a short time before. Charles then came back to the yard & the women pursued Sims & knocked him down. Sims then run home & the Pool crowd come back in the yard. /s/ J.S. Flora
Mary Simms being duly sworn says: —
Am daughter of Steffen Simms. Came on from home with wagon to the main house. My brothers, James Billie & Willie with me. I will be 21 in August. James is 17 years old. I opened the gate, was walking I come on in behind the wagon. The Pool crowd, Easter, Annie, and Gracie, Ella & May, met me at the gate. Dempsey Pool was with them but walked out to meet Pap Easter was standing in the road & told James not to run over her. She hit me on the arm with a plough-bench. I did not hit her. Dempsey went out to the fence & asked Pap why did you strike at my daughter for Pap said I did not strike at her. Pool then called Pap a lie & a s__ of a b___. The fence was then between them, Dempsey followed Pap down the fence, had a pistol & shot at him once before they got to the gate. While Pool was shooting at Pap, the Pool crowd was following after us to fight, but we did not fight. When Pap says don’t come on me Pool kept coming & Pap shot him. When Pap shot, the Pool crowd went near their father & all making toward my father. Pool certainly had pistol & shot at Pa across the fence.
Don’t know where he got it. After the shooting, Pap ran around the house & out same gate & put another shell in his gun, with the Pool crowd following, Charles with pistol. Some of the Pool crowd said shoot him Charlie & Charlie shot & then Pa shot. Charles did not fall but followed Pa a little way & then came back into the yard. The rest of the Pool crowd followed Pa. When I went to get over the fence, Easter Pool hit me. When I saw Pap, he was down then got up & went home one followed us nearly home. There were seven in the Pool crowd. /s/ Mary Simmes
James Simms being duly sworn says: —
Me & my brother Bill went & caught mules. Pa was in the yard, we come together when we were currying Easter Pool was taking our traces off the wagon. Pa says let them traces alone. He started toward the wagon. Easter then run to another wagon flat & pulled a round out she thought Pa was after her. He told her to wait until he carried the load of guano to the field & then she could have the wagon. She called him a ___ rascal & said that her father had sent her after the wagon & she was going to have it. We hitched the wagon & went after the guano & then went by home for breakfast. Then I saw Easter her mother & sister father & brother Charles coming up to the house. We did not wait for breakfast but come on Heard Dempsey call my father & curse him & tell him he was going to have wagon or be killed or kill some body. Pa come down with gun & got over the fence before he got to Pool, Pool went up to the yard fence, had pistol in hand & shot one fence at Pa. Pa come in gate & Dempsey kept coming on him & Pa shot Dempsey & then run around house & back out of same gate.
Charles was on edge first & had pistol, all the Pools were behind Pa & some one of them told Charles to shoot & he shot & then Pa shot. Then Charles walked on a little way, then turned back & come into yard.
Aunt Grace, Easter & Annie followed Pa to the road & struck him as he went over the fence. Aunt Grace had pitchfork. The other girls had sticks. One little girl, Mary, followed us nearly home, other behind. James (X) Simms
Grace Pool being duly sworn says: —
I am wife of Dempsey Pool. I came in the yard this morning & I went to the kitchen & asked why they allowed so much fussing here, & asked Mr. Flora whose wagon it was. Mr. Flora did not seem to talk much said Dempsey could have his wagon about this time Dempsey come in & said carry team back & [illegible] going to do nothing. I says “yes lets put up fence.” He says “no, Steve Sims wants to fight let him come on out in the road.” He hollowed to Steve who was at home to come on & he would fight. This was after Steve had carried wagon after guano. About this time the wagon come in, we all met, Steve’s crowd & my crowd met in the yard. Steve got over field fence & Dempsey stayed in yard, Steven coming around fence & into gate & Dempsey following him. Dempsey was going toward Steven, & Steven was stepping back & said Don’t come here. Dempsey kept on & Steve shot him. Steve then went on around house & Dempsey following until he fell. Steven went out same gate & all of us after him. Charles was back of us. I says “Charles, he has shot your daddie.” Charles then went for Steve & Steve shot him. Charles had no pistol and was half turned when Steve shot him. If Charles had a pistol I don’t know it. Dempsey did not have a pistol at home of abroad & did not have a pistol when he was shot. Grace (X) Pool
Will Artis being duly sworn says: —
Don’t know anything about the fight. Took Charles Pool home. Heard him say that after Stefen Sims shot his father that he, Charles Pool, shot at Steffen. Will (X) Artis
J.T. Corbett being duly sworn says: —
Know nothing of fight. Saw Charles Pool since fight. I was sent down to get his pistol & he said he did not know where it was unless his mother had it. He did not tell me he used it, but said his crowd had one. /s/ J.T. Corbett
Easter Pool being duly sworn says: —
Am daughter of Dempsey Pool. Pa sent me & Annie to catch mules to haul rails to swamp. Stephen was up here. About 5,30 oclock. When I went to take off traces Steve says “don’t do that I am going to use wagon. I said “we want to use wagon.” He says “you are not going to use it. He was coming toward me with lines in his hand. He struck at me with lines & I jumped back. I got me a wagon round & Annie says lets go home we went home & told Pa. Annie told him that Steven had struck at me. Pa told me to come back & “let Steve whip me. Then all of us, mother, sister & brother, came up to the house. Charlie went & caught mule Ma asked Mr Flora what was matter. He said he did not know, then Pa came in the gate & Mr Flora met him & told him to take his wagon. Pa refused to take Mr Floras wagon. He went down to front gate & called me & told me to go & have Steve arrested. I said that [illegible] suit was no use, to get & get wagon & go to field. Pa then got on fence & called Steve & said “You have been messing with my children all the year, now come on to whip them.” Steve took his gun & come on up here. When he got to corner of fence got over on field side & Pa come on up to back gate in yard & met at back gate. Pa was going toward Steve & Steve said “don’t come on me.” Steve then pointed his gun at Pa & Pa said “Don’t shoot here” I then heard the gun fire. Next thing I saw was Steve running around house & then followed fight in field. I have never seen Pa with a pistol. Easter (X) Pool
On 24 December 1874, Dempsey Pool, 23, married Grace Bynum, 23, in Edgecombe County.
In the 1900 census of Wilson Town, Wilson County: farmer Dempsey Pool, 50; wife Gracey, 45; and children Easter, 22, Elizabeth, 20, Dempsey Jr., 18, Charlie, 17, Annie, 14, Ella, 13, Mary, 11, Alice, 9, Haley, 8, Minnie, 5, and Richard, 2.
In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Stephen Simms, 46; wife Zanie, 40; and children Mary, 19, Lizzie, 16, James, 14, Billie, 12, Willie, 9, and Rommie, 6.
Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.
Wilson Daily Times, 10 October 1911.
State of North Carolina, Wilson County }
Be it remembered, that on this the 8 day of May 1904, I Dr E.T. Dickinson Coroner of the County of Wilson attended by a Jury of six good and lawful men viz Geo Amerson L.E. Moore J.S. Walston W.E. Millinder P.P. Williams & J.D. Barnes, by me summoned for that purpose according to law, after being duly sworn and impaneled by me at W.W. Graves place in Wilson County did hold an inquest over the dead body of Fate Thomas and after examination into the facts and circumstances of the death of the deceased from the view of the corpse and all the testimony to be procured the said jury finds the following that is to say,
That Fate Thomas came to his death from a blow delivered with an ax in the hands of Bud or Jim Simms and that Bill Simms to be held as accessory to the crime. J.D. Barnes, J.S. (X) Walston, Geo. (X) Amerson, P.P. (X) Williams, L.E. Moore, W.E. Millinder
Inquest had, and signed and sealed in the presents of E.T. Dickinson, Acting Coroner of Wilson Co.
John Barnes being duly sworn says:
Bud Simms brought Geo Farmer out of the house and Fate Thomas got mad and cussed Bud Simms and Bill cussed Fate and Fate told Bill not to cuss him any moore and Bill cussed Fate again and then Fate hit Bill and Bud Simms hit Fate with something don’t know what it was but think it was a stick and when Bud hit Fate he knocked him down. I think he lived about ½ hours he asked for his hat. John (X) Barnes
George Farmer being duly sworn says:
I don’t know what it was first started about I heard Bill Simms call Fate Thomas a S of B and Fate said not call me another S of B and Bill said you is a S of B and then Fate hit him with his fist and then there was a general fight and Bud Simms walked up and hit Fate with some thing don’t know where it was an ax or stick but the lick knocked him down. Geo. (X) Farmer
Dave Ruffin being duly sworn says
All I know about it I heard Fate tell Bill Simms not to call him a nother S of B and Bill said you are a S of B and Fate hit Bill Simms with his fist and then there was a general fight and Bud Simms steps up and hit Fate Thomas with the ax twice I think he hit him the first time in the shoulder and the last time on the back of the head. Dave (X) Ruffin
Tom Farmer being duly sworn says:
Heard Bill Simms call Fate Thomas a S of B and Fate told him not to call him a S of B any moore and he called him one again and they went to fighting then Bud Simms came up and struck Fate Thomas twice with the ax and the second lick he knocked him down. The last lick he hit him on the head. Don’t know where he hit him first but think it was on his sholder. Tom (X) Farmer
I cannot positively identify Jim “Bud” Simms, Bill Simms, John Barnes, George Farmer, Dave Ruffin or Tom Farmer.
Coroner’s Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wilson County Records, North Carolina State Archives.
From “The Graded School Bill: An Act to Establish a Graded School in Wilson township, Wilson County,” as published in the Wilson Advance. The North Carolina legislature ratified the bill on 27 February 1883.
Wilson Advance, 23 March 1883.
Gertrude Simms Hoskins (1904-1988), Hannah Malinda Smith Simms (1876-1961), John Leslie Simms Jr. (1910-1982), Marcellus Simms (1900-1946), Jeanette Simms Bonner (1907-1999), John Leslie Simms (1867-1942), Rosetta Simms Campbell (1909-2001), Ashley Augustus Simms (1898-1977), Benjamin Frank Simms (1903-1980), circa 1910.
In the 1870 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Caroline Simms, 38, and children Harriet, 14, and John, 4.
Caroline Smith Simms (1832-1928).
On 25 January 1872, Warren Simms, son of Jack Anderson and Rebecca Simms, married Caroline Smith, daughter of Morton Smith and Charlotte Smith, at the Wilson County courthouse. [Note: Not uncommonly, Caroline used both Simms and Smith as maiden names. Her brother, Simon Simms, married Emeline Brooks on 16 January 1869 in Wilson County. His license lists his parents as Martin Simms and Charlotte Simms.]
In the 1880 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: Warren Simms, 25, wife Caroline, 47, step-daughter Harriet, 20, step-son John, 12, and children Zanah Ann, 9, and Lucy, 1, plus [Caroline’s] grandsons Ellis, 4, and Amanuel, 2.
On 7 February 1894, John L. Smith [alias Simms] married Lyndy Smith in Wayne County.
In the 1900 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Simms, 33, wife Malinda, 23, and son Ashley, 1.
In the 1910 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer John Simms, 43, wife Melinda, 37, and children Ashley, 10, Marcellus, 8, Frank, 7, Gertrude, 6, Jennette, 4, and Rosettie, 1.
On 4 December 1928, Carolina Simms died in Pine Level township, Johnston County. Her death certificate reports that she was born in 1822 to unknown parents in Johnston County.
In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: John Simms, 63, wife Milindy, 54, and children Jenette, 23, Rosetta, 20, Johnnie, 18, Paul, 16, Julia, 13, and Mary, 12.
In the 1940 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: John Simms, 78, wife Melanie, 65, and children and grandchildren John Simms, 29, Paul Simms, 26, Mary L. Simms, 21, Cleo Bonner, 8, and Jesse, 6, Willie, 5, and Else Simms, 5.
John Simms died 15 December 1942 in Wilson township, Wilson County. His death certificate indicates that he was born 9 October 1867 in Wilson County to Curtis Simms and Caroline (last name unknown), that he was married to Malinda Simms; and that he was buried in Rountree cemetery near Wilson. Marcellus Simms was the informant.
Hannah Malinda Simms died 28 March 1961 in Wilson, North Carolina. Her death certificate indicates that she was born 15 August 1880 in Wayne County to Minerva Smith and an unknown father. She was buried in Rest Haven cemetery. Jeanette Bonner was informant.
Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com member brianandrewbonner.