Photo of Fannie Frances Lang Smith and Seldon Albert Lang

Fannie Frances Lang Smith and Seldon Albert Lang

“This is a photo of my dad, Seldon and his sister, Fannie L. Smith. Aunt Fannie and Daddy were the only ones still living when this photo was taken. Aunt Fannie lived into her 90’s and died just a year or so before Daddy. He was the baby and the last to die.”

Courtesy of Bob Ann Breland.

Youngest son and child of Albert Winston Lang and Narcissus Simmons, Seldon was born Jan 27 1912 and died May 8 1999. He married Beulah Mae Griffith.

The youngest daughter of Albert Winston Lang and Narcissus Simmons, Fannie was born FReb of 1906 and died Oct of 1997. She married Hubert Smith.

The Story of Will Smith

The Smith family history as descended through Narcissus “Narcis” Simmons Lang, daughter of Robert “Reuben” Simmons and Frances Smith, and Narcissus’ son Seldon Albert Lang. Related by Bob Ann Breland.

“Seldon Lang remembers that he was told by his mother that Ward Smith’s father (Will Smith) was an Indian fighter. He had been reared by the Indians and could speak their language, so he could talk with them and knew how to track them.

“When Indian marauders burned down the town of Roanoke, VA., there were only two people who survived. He became the tracker for a party of soldiers who tracked down the marauders. When the soldiers were in pursuit, they came upon the home of settlers burned by the same Indians, and the remains of the house still smoking.

“The story is told that a Cherokee Indian girl in her teens was out behind the place, standing on a stump picking green peaches. The soldiers and their tracker, who was Ward Smith’s father, took the girl with them when they left. Smith took her for his wife and they had a family, which included Ward Smith. This is where the Indian line of the family comes in.

“Apparently, this family ancestor was quite a character. He had a dog for years to help him in his tracking, and when the dog died he put him in a box and buried him in the human cemetery which was illegal. He evidently did many things which were unusual, which often caused him to get into trouble.”

SOURCE: Bob Ann Breland

An Alternate Smith history descended through Mary Ann Simmons, daughter of Reuben and Francis Simmons thru Mary Ann Simmons, daughter of Rueben and Francis SIMMONS, and was transmitted from Kermit Reeves to Bob Ann Breland.

John C. Smith and his family lived in Virginia where he was in the Cavalry. So was his son, Ward Smith. After one of the raids on the Indian camps, John thought all the Indians were dead, but he found an Indian girl under a pile of wood. She was young and he did not want to kill her. He carried her home and raised her.

When she grew up, his son Ward married her and they moved to Kentucky and raised a family of two sons and three daughters. One of the daughters married Robert Reuben Simmons, who moved to Alabama and then on to Pike County Miss where he raised a family, five sons and two daughters. Mary Ann married James “Jim” Lang and Narcis “Dink” married Albert Winston Lang. Both Albert and Jim after starting a family moved to Sheridan LA. Albert and Narcis had sons Iva, Leslie, Norman, Narvil and Seldon and daughters, Fannie, Evie and Lillian.

Jim and Mary Ann had two sons, Monroe and Esco, and their daughters were Fannie, who married and moved back to Kentucky, but the others, Mattie, Della, Marjorie and Maud all lived in Washington Parish, married and had large families.

We know that Ward Smith married Easter Everidge and that she wasn’t discovered under a wood pile but there are other details that are interesting. Such as the idea of “moving back to Kentucky”. Though the alternate story of Will Smith indicates the family coming from Virginia, and the census (not always correct) says South Carolina, the detail of “moving back to Kentucky” suggests someone had a tie with that state.

Simmons-Lang History on the Simmons

“William Simmons, thought to be William Seldon Simmons, although we have found no records to verify it, had at least two sons. Robert ‘Reuben’ Simmons and ‘Jim’ Simmons and probably several (maybe three) daughters.

“William apparently died before Robert ‘Reuben’ and his wife, Frances Smith Simmons, came to the Mississippi Territory via Alabama from North or South Carolina.

“My father, Seldon Albert Lang, was supposed to be named for his Grandfather Simmons. He was supposed to be William Seldon Lang, but through error, he was named Seldon Albert, after the grandfather and his own father, Albert Winston Lang. Whoever registered the birth made the mistake, and he was stuck with it. His mother told him about the mistake, and Seldon Albert named his first son William Seldon Lang for his mother’s Grandfather, William Seldon Simmons. That’s why we assume that was his name.

“The Langs and Simmons have always been great story tellers, and my father remembers this tale about Grandpa William Simmons and his son, Jim, which was told and re-told in the family many, many times as he was growing up, along with other tales of the past.

“It seems Grandpa William Simmons had bought three slaves from another plantation and shortly after arriving at his home with them they ran away, and it was assumed they had returned to the plantation where they were purchased.

“My father doesn’t remember where this plantation was, presumably in Alabama, only that it was far enough away that when William and his son went to retrieve their slaves they had to spend the night.

“At the end of a meal there, they were all served coffee. Jim hastily drank his, while his father was taking his time, waiting for his to cool.

“All of a sudden, Jim grabbed his chest with both hands and started screaming that a burning pain was searing his insides. He fell to the floor dead.

“Although it is possible Jim died with a heart attack, the family story goes that it was planned for the two men to be poisoned to keep them from retrieving the slaves, as they were very valuable and worth killing for. William didn’t drink his coffee and Jim did. It was assumed that the poison was in the coffee. With no help to return the slaves, William returned home without them. It isn’t known if he ever went back for them.

“The only other story my father remembers being told about William and his son, Jim, was a deer hunting story that stayed in his mind because he is also a deer hunter.

“It was not a memorable story except to a deer hunter, of a hunt in the snow, when Jim came across a huge buck standing in the snow. His father, William, gave him specific instructions on how to shoot the deer from the distance they were away–where to aim for a correct shot. They only gone one shot as their gun was a muzzle loader. Jim dropped the deer in the snow with one shot.”

Supplied by Bob Ann Breland

According to Bob Ann Breland’s father, Seldon Albert LANG, William SIMMONS was a Master Mason and was almost surely from North Carolina. Her father also said that William SIMMONS had slaves who were accomplished workmen, and that he often took them to Charleston, S.C. to work at the port there. He said said also that William SIMMONS was some sort of official, such as a senator or a legislator or at least an attorney, because his mother often said that “he went to make the law”. However, Bob Ann Breland’s mother, who also heard Narcis SIMMONS (daughter of Robert “Reuben”) say these same things, thought she was referring to either a brother or an uncle, not her grandfather.

Bob Ann’s grandmother (Narcis) always said that her grandfather, her father’s father, had a plantation on the Pea River, and that it was where the town of Elba was created.

She had a copy of the deed for her father’s property for many years, and finally turned it over to an attorney to investigate as to her rights. The lawyer disappeared and was never heard from again, along with her deed. I don’t know if there was any connection, but she grieved about it until she died. She said her father only had one brother, and that he was ‘educated’. His parents tried to get Reuben to go to school, too, but he would play hooky and go hunting and fishing. As a result, he didn’t get an education. But as I say, these family stories have a way of getting distorted in the telling.

Grandmother was always high on her family, as they apparently had some standing in the community in Alabama and Mississippi. She always thought she married considerably beneath her family, although she loved my grandfather very much.

She had a brother who was very wealthy, according to the standards of that day. He had a store in neighboring Mississippi, and his family was quite well to do. His name was John Benjamin Simmons.

My father recalls vividly being told about Grandpa Reuben’s nephew who was his same age. His name was Alfred Simmons, called “Alf”, both were 29 in 1850 and the two were inseparable as children, and were hunting and fishing buddies. They were both also married in 1844. It would be interesting to learn if he followed his uncle to the Mississippi Territory.

Supplied by Bob Ann Breland

Minutes of the 34th annual session of the Bogue Chitto Baptist Association, Pike County, Miss., list the death of Reuben SIMMONS in the Sept. 23, 24 and 25, 1903 edition. He was a member of Union Baptist Church (located about seven miles from Magnolia, Miss.)

In the 30th annual session of the Bogue Chitto Baptist Association, the death of Francis (Smith) SIMMMONS is listed. This was printed Sept. 23, 24, 25, 1899 for the session. It was also printed in the semi-weekly Gazette.

Francis SIMMONS, born Aug. 1, 1824 in Lowndes County, Ala. She married Reuben SIMMONS in 1844. She joined the Methodist Church at 18, but connected herself with the Baptist Church at Line Creek, Amite County, Miss. and finally moved her membership to Union Church in Pike County, Miss. She died Oct. 18, 1898. Funeral services conducted by Elder J.M. Hutson. She leaves an aged and afflicted husband, four sons and two daughters.

In this same 30th annual session, Sept. 23-25, 1899, is listed the death of I.M. (Marshall) PHELPS. I.M. PHELPS died February 24, 1899. He was born in Alabama January, 1821, moved to Mississppi and married Miss Caroline PARKER. After she died, he married Mrs. Annie Land (Lang) in Feb., 1865. He was baptized in fellowship with the Bala Chitto Church by Elder E.M. Schillling in 1873. In 1892, he drew his letter and organized with Union Baptist Church. He leaves an aged and broken-hearted companion and seven children.

Minutes of the 32nd session of the Bogue Chitto Baptist Association, meeting Sept 21-23, 1901, lists the death of Sarah Phelps LANG.

Sarah LANG, whose maiden name was PHELPS, was born in Newton County, Miss. Nov. 30, 1853 and died July 30, 1901. She married W.P. (William Perry) LANG on Sept. 20, 1868. She united with Bala Chitto Baptist Church in 1872, was baptized by Rev. E.M. Schilling, drew a letter from Bala Chitto and came in the constitution of Union Church. She leaves a husband, 6 children and 3 sisters.

William Seldon SIMMONS had at least 2 sons, Robert “Reuben” born about 1820 in NC or AL, and “Jim”, and maybe 3) daughters. One daughter may have married a man named Barber.

Census data
Bob Ann Breland
Delores Tousineau

Entire Albert Winston Lang Family

Albert Winston Lang family

Bob Ann Breland didn’t know the occasion for this photo but says this is the entire family except for Clyde, who died as a child. Front row, left to right: Narvil, Seldon, Norman, Fannie Lang Smith; back row, left to right: Iva, Evie Lang Knight, Lillian Lang Lowe, Leslie, Narcis and Albert. (Narvil and Norman were twins, as were Lillian and Leslie.)

I’m going to guess a date somewhere around 1942 based on styles and a 1938 reunion photo.