James Madison Simmons and Mary Elizabeth Phelps

James Madison and Mary Simmons


James Madison and Mary Simmons

James Madison SIMMONS (1845-1913) and Mary Elizabeth PHELPS (1841-1925).

A multiple generations xerox that has been “cleaned up”.

James Madison was a son of Robert Reuben SIMMONS.

James M. Simmons, also known as “Red Jim” was born in Alabama
July 20, 1845 and died in Pike County, Miss. Feb. 18, 1913. He
married Mary E. Phelps, born Nov. 9, 1841 in Coffee County, Ala.
and died Dec. 8, 1925 in Mississippi. She was the daughter of
Marshall and Caroline (Parker) Phelps. (See reference to Phelps
family in Lang family history) James and Mary were married Dec.
22, 1864 and James is buried in the Union Baptist Church
Cemetery. Mary’s burial site is not known for sure.

James M.
Simmons served in the Civil War in Forrest Calvary, 4th
Mississippi Regiment.

Children of Mary E. and James M. Simmons include the
A. – James Simmons, born 1865, according to census.
It could be that this James died before 1880 and later another
child was named James. This happened in many families.
B. – John Simmons, born 1868, according to census data. No information as
to this one in 1870 census.
C. – William F. Simmons was born
Dec. 19, 1865 according to descendants. Census gives his birth
as 1886. This William F. was known in Pike County as “Blow Gun
Bill” to distinguish him from all the other Bills and because he
was always ready to talk on any subject. William F. Simmons died
Oct. 30, 1930 and is buried in Union Cemetery, in Pike County,
where he and his wife, Julia A. Brown Simmons always lived.
Julia, born April 15, 1871, died Dec. 4, 1923, was a sister to
the wife of her husband’s Uncle, John B. Simmons.


The internet provides information on these two following 4th Cavalries in Mississippi:

4th Cav. Bn. Organized fall 1861, Lt. Col. Charles Baskerville; also known as 2nd Cav. Bn.; probably disbanded spring 1862.

4th Cav. Regt. Organized by consolidation Nov. 1863 of Hughes’s Cav. Bn., Partisan Rangers and Stockdale’s Cav. Bn., Col. Christopher C. Wilbourn; surrendered May 4, 1865.

Mary applied for a pension in 1923 when she was 81 years old. In the archives at Jackson, Mississippi is the following data on the pension application by Mary E. Simmons:

“Mary E. Simmons, Pike County, Miss. Wife of J. M. Simmons made application for pension on her husband’s Civil War record. She and J.M. Simmons were married in Pike County on Dec. 22, 1864. Her husband enlisted in Pike County in Forrest’s Calvary, Miss. Regiment.”

This was a follow-up of an earlier application, as shown below.

Application filed in 1916. “At the time, Mary E. Simmons was 64 years old. She says she was born in Mississippi and now lives in Pike County; is the widow of J.M. Simmons whom she married Dec. 22, 1864. He resided in Newton County, Miss. When he enlisted in Forrest’s 4th Mississippi Regiment. He died in Magnolia, Miss., Pike County on February 18, 1913. He was living with his youngest son when he died.”

James M. and Mary Simmons were members of the Bala Chitto Baptist Church, uniting with that church in 1873.

1870 Census, Pike County:
James Simmons, 26, born Alabama
Mary E., 22, born Alabama
James, 5, born Miss.
John, 2, born Miss.

1880 Census Pike County
James Simmons, 36, born Alabama; father born North Carolina, mother born Ala.
Mary E., wife, 38, born Ala.; father born Ala.; mother born La.?
William F., 14, born Miss.
Andrew A., 11, born Miss.
Robert T., 8 born Miss. (Babe)
James M., 6, born Miss.
David, 4, born Miss.
Dudley J., 2, born Miss.

Note that the above census gives a John born 1868 and no John in the 1880 census. Note also that the above gives one James born 1865 and in 1880 there was a James M. born 1874. Since James M and Mary were married Dec. 22, 1864 the confusion is difficult to work out.

I finally have their children as:

  • William F. Simmons b. 1865 Dec 19 in Mississippi, died 1930 Oct 30 in Pike County, Mississippi married on 1888 Jan 24 to Julia A. Brown b. 1871 April 15, died 1923 Dec 4.
  • Austin (Andrew A.) Simmons b. 1869 Jan 9, died 1915 May 27 at Pike County, Mississippi, married 1911 May 3 to Luise Richtor.
  • Robert T. “Babe” Simmons b. 1871 July 16, died 1924 Sep 15 in Pike County, Mississippi, married 1892 Dec 1 to Lula Simmons b. 1872 Oct 15, died 1960.
  • James Marshall Simmons b. 1873 Sep 6 in Magnolia, Pike, Mississippi, died 1932 March 3 in Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi, married 1909 Dec 19 in Pike County, Mississippi to Lucy Eliza Page.
  • David M. Simmons b. 1876 June 16 in Mississippi, died 1943 April 12, Magnolia, Pike, Mississippi, married 1894 Dec 13 to Ophelia (Feelie) Simmons.
  • Dudley Simmons b. 1878 May 19, die, 1962 Dec 31, married 1899 Dec 31 to Sophie Reabold then 1933 Nov 28 to Mamie Robinson Price
  • Samuel Tildon Simmons b. 1880 Jan 22 in Mississippi, died 1962 Feb 2, married 1910 April 17 to Vert Lang
  • Emma Simmons b. 1882 Sep 11, died 1958 Nov 27, married 1901 Dec 15 to Amon Lang
  • Mary Elizabeth Simmons b. 1885 Jan 24, died 1966 Nov 12, married 1916 April 25 to Barney Page

The photo is from about 1905 to 1911.

Photo of Sheridan, Washington Parish, Louisiana Elders

Sheridan Elders

This picture was taken by a professional photographer at Albert Winston Lang’s 80th birthday celebration. The date would be 1949.

Front left to right: Warren McNeese, Norman Lang, Marshall Richardson, Albert W. Lang, John “Red John” Thomas and Willis Q. McKenzie.
Back row left to right: John Simmons, the Rev. Guy Barkdull, Frank Douglas, Lucious (Lucius) Simmons and Wyman Lang.

Bob Ann Breland comments (also saying not everyone was of Sheridan):

“Warren McNeese was a very respected head of the McNeese clan at Sheridan. He had a great big old house that sat at the top of a hill that was fun to go and visit. He and most of his children are buried in the McNeese Cemetery at Sheridan, which was close to his home.

“Norman Lang, one of my Dad’s brothers, lived at Varnado.

“Marshall Richardson was from a very distinguished family, early settlers of the Bogalusa area. He has a street in Bogalusa named for him. His wife was named Maggie and I think she was an Ard, another large parish family, also early settlers. Their daughter, Hebe Yarborough, just died this past week (Dec. 2001) in her late 90’s.

“John “Red John” Thomas, so called because he had a red face and very pale skin, was a very good friend of my grandfathers’.

“Willie Quitman McKenzie was my mother’s step-father, and was also a very stern man. He was the only father my mother ever knew and he raised her from about the age of 10. Her father died in the great flu epidemic of 1918 when she was only a year old.

“In back, John B. Simmons, brother to Lucious. He and Aunt Daisy (Bookter) were some of my favorite people. We called all these cousins aunt and uncle because they were all so much older than we, and my mother had a dim view of calling them “Cousin John” etc. She thought aunt and uncle was more respectful for children.

“The Rev. Guy Barkdull was a Pentecostal preacher who often preached at the little church Lucious established in Sheridan. He was the father of Louree Barkdull Lang, who was married to Iva’s oldest son, Alton Lang.

“Frank Douglas was our neighborhood curiosity (character). Frank lived in a little one-room shack on an abandoned highway right-away near the store at Sheridan. He was sort-of a handyman in the community, but was noted for being slow…not slow-witted, just slow moving. My dad had dozens of stories about Frank Douglas and his mother, Mag Douglas, who was also very slow, but alas, most of them died with him.

“Next is Lucious Simmons, and this is really a good picture of him.

“The last person, Wyman Lang, wasn’t old, but just got on the picture. He is the son of Iva, my Dad’s brother.”

Images courtesy of Bob Ann Breland.