Volume 3, Number 1 - Winter 1967-68

The William Benjamin Sims Family
by Ruth Gillis Ryser

William Benjamin Sims was born Sept. 27, 1827 in Overton Co., Tenn. near Celina, in what is now Clay County. He was the 4th son and one of 8 children of John L. Sims, born July 4, 1794 and wife Elizabeth Scott Sims, born Sept. 5 1796. John L. Sims served in the War of 1812, his father Augustine Sims, born May 27, 1761 in Viriginia was a Revolutionary Soldier from Henry Co. Virginia and served at the Battle of Guilford Court House in North Carolina.

William Benjamin Sims married 1st - Mary Fleming and their children were: John Thomas, born Dec. 25, 1848 in Martinsburg, Ky. married Sarilda M. Turner; Bette Sims, who married William Barry; and James Sims.

William B. Sims second wife was Nancy Jefferson Gearheart, born August 1, 1835 at Celina, Tenn. Nancy's parents were William Jefferson Gearheart and her mother was Sarah Roberts. She was the great grand daughter of Peter Gearheart another Revolutionary soldier from Henry Co., Viriginia and a great grand daughter of Samuel Packwood who served from this same county.

William B. Sims with his second wife had the following children, all raised in Taney County:

Sarah A. Sims, Sarah A. Sims Snapp was my great grandmother born July 19, 1857 at Celina, Tenn. married Samuel Harrison Snapp at Forsyth, 1874-5; Mary Sims married Calvin V. Casey; Sheilds Sims, married Laura Coulter; Jefferson Sims, married Francis Price; Vol Sims born April 10, 1865 at Celina Tenn. married Catherine Bessie Henry who was born Jan. 22, 1870 at Taneyville; Vol Sims died Oct. 28, 1960 at age 95 yrs. at his home in Lawton, Okla; Abraham Sims, and William.

William B. Sims and his second wife Nancy Geaheart Sims and their large family left Tennessee in the fall of 1868 for Missouri. They went by boat all the way down the Cumberland to Paducah, Kentucky. Then down the Ohio to Cairo, Illinois, then down the Mississippi to the White River Junction, and up the White River, through Arkansas to Forsyth. Their youngest son often told how he learned to walk on the boat and he was just a baby when they started. It is assumed their trip lasted about 10 months. They just drifted down stream. With them on this trip to Missouri was the nephew of William B. Sims, John David Sims. William's two sisters, Elizabeth Fidella Whitesides, and Florentha, wife of William Savage made the journey a little later.

Just what prompted this family to settle in Taney County is unknown but it is assumed there were other Clay Co., Tenn. people living there and possibly they were related. Abe Gearheart who owned a farm on the White River was an uncle of Nancy Sims.

Nancy did not have long to enjoy her new found home, for within three years she was dead from thyphoid and her new born baby died too. She was buried on the Abe Gearheart farm.

After the death of his second wife, Nancy Gearheart Sims, William B. Sims married the widow Elvira Jane Cook Gimlin and three children were born to them - James M. Sims, born Feb. 23, 1873; Robert Louis Sims, born May 24, 1875; and Charles Sims, born 1877.

William B. Sims and his third wife, Elvira Jane Cook Gimlin Sims are buried in the Helphrey Cemetery at Taneyville.

Chilt Whitesides and his wife, sister of William B. Sims had children, Belle, Mat, and Bud. They eventually moved back to the old home place in Clay Co., Tenn.

The children of William Savage and Florentha were, Oliver H., John L., James A., Florentha, Chilton B. and two other boys unknown.

Descendants of this large Sims family are scattered far and wide. Many still live in Taney County. I am sure there are many who could relate interesting events in the lives of this family. Only a short sketch of genealogy has been attempted by me.

By Ruth Gillis Ryser

John L. Sims born July 4, 1794
died Aug. 12, 1879 Vernon, Ky.
Buried in Sims Cemetery
1 mile N. E. Vernon, Ky.
Married Feb. 14, 1817
Elizabeth Scott
born Sept. 5,1796
died Nov. 29, 1890
Vernon, Ky.
Buried in Sims Cemetery
1 mile N. E. Vernon, KY.
Patterson Sims
born Mar. 5,1818
died Feb. 7,1906

born Dec. 3,1819
died Nov. 10, 1888
Dallas Co., Texas

Jessie Franklin
born Nov. 9, 1824
William Benjamin born Sept. 27, 1827
died May 17, 1896
Taneyville, Mo.
Augustine born Jan. 28, 1831
James D. H. born Jan. 30, 1833
Elizabeth Fidella born July 26, 1837
Florentha born Feb. 27, 1840



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