John James Simons




John James Simons

John James Simons was born 31 Dec 1842 in Dyer County, Tennessee, and died from pneumonia 31 Dec 1869 in Tyler, Smith County, Texas.  He was buried in an unmarked grave in the old cemetery in Tyler on January 1, 1870.  He married Jane Eliza Shelby 24 Oct 1867 in Perry County, Alabama, daughter of James Shelby and Amanda Henderson.  She was born 12 Dec 1846 in North Carolina, and died 09 Oct 1902 in Henderson, Texas.

John James Simons was an active participant in the Civil War.  He enlisted in Company F of the 44th Mississippi Infantry on 8 August 1861 and saw active service throughout the entire war.  In 1862 and 1863, his company participated in the battles of Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga and they were at Missionary Ridge during the battle of Chattanooga on 25 November 1863.  On 27 July 1864, during the Battle of Atlanta, John's company was ordered to drive the Union troops from the Lickskillet road west of the city.  They moved out and attacked the enemy in a strong position on the road but were shot to pieces. "The Forty-fourth, which was on the extreme right, lost within two of half of its entire company."  John was wounded during this engagement.  We do not know the extent of his injuries but they must not have been too severe as he rejoined his company only to be taken as a prisoner of war on 27 April 1865 outside Memphis, Tennessee.  Lee had surrendered at Appomattox on April 7th and so, as a prisoner of war, John James Simons took the Oath of Allegiance to the northern United States government on the same day that he was taken prisoner, thus ending his Civil War career.  The remainder of the Confederate Army had surrendered by May 15th.

Following the war John and his family moved to Perry County, Alabama where they had relatives.  There he met and married his wife, Jane Eliza Shelby, and his oldest son was born.  The Civil war had decimated Alabama’s economy and the Reconstruction that followed did little to promote economic growth.  Many ex-Confederates whose life and livelihood had been tied to the now destroyed agricultural based economy soon left Alabama for the west.  Among them was John James Simons, his wife and their young son.  They traveled with Jane Eliza’s parents, all of her siblings, with the exception of James Adams who had recently married and chose to stay in Alabama, and Jane Eliza’s uncle’s family.    They left from Selma, Alabama on June 9, 1869 and arrived in Tyler, Smith County Texas, sometime in August. Her uncle, William Lee Henderson, maintained a diary during part of the trip.

Monday the ninth - I left Perry Co. Ala. for Texas Smith Co. 5 wagons of us we came 8 miles and campt.


Tuesday 11 - 1 mile from Greensbrough Cousin D Moor came to camp

Wednesday 12 - We left camp went 2 miles and missed a chair & sachel I got on parmer(?) And went back but did not find it I searched one Negro house but it was in vane we crossed the War. (Warrior?) river and gave the dog I had taken from John Moore to par ferrage & $1.00 we campt 2 miles from Forkland.

Thursday 13 - We came though Forkland. I bout 50 ct. of flour we cross the Tombigby river and campt one mile from it.

Friday 14 - We pass through Livingston. I bought some cream tarter and a pocket com we camp at Un (Uniontown) after dark came 25 miles today

Saturday 15 - We did not travel today it rained a big rain and is still cloudy.
Sunday 16 - It is a pretty day and how I wish I was back at my old home.

Monday 17 - We came 18 miles today we are in 21 miles of Merian Miss. It is threaten rain

Tuesday 18 - It rain lass night and it is cold now. We traveled within 1 miles of Merioa. U.B., Jessy and My Self and we bought $18.30 of flour, meat, cheese, crackers, shot and molasses.

Wednesday 19 - We pass through M traveled 16 and campt on the Chunky river.

Thursday 20 - We left camp I kill 2 sqrils we pass through Clinton I bought 40 ct. gun powder and put a postal card in the P O we campt 1 Newton

Friday 21 - We left camp Henry and myself taken the railroad and went 2 miles and Jim Murry, Luse and Vroos (?) Came to us and we pass through a station and went wrong road and had to walk 5 miles to get with the wagons We pass through Lake and we are camp 9 miles from L in the piney woods.

Saturday 22 - we are 40 miles from Jackson and we stopt at dinner and we are campt 1 mile from Web Gadlock's Henry and me went squrle hunting and we killed 4 one fox sq.

Sunday 23 - Henry Will U.B. and myself went to preaching and went to Gadlock's for dinner I came back and roat a letter Perry Co

Monday 24 - We traveled 20 miles camped in creak swamp

Tuesday 25 - We came 20 miles today passed though Brandon I bought a tin cup 5 ct. a pocket knife for Jim 50 ct and had to run 1 mile to kech up with the wagons campt 1 miles of Jackson on the Perl River

Wednesday 26 - We passed through J (Jackson) and went 8 miles and passed through Clinton 8 more miles and pass through Raimon and campt 1 miles from it

Thursday 27 - We traveled 20 miles pass through Edward cross big black I have toothache I sent to Stasion (?) And bought 2 apples it threating rain we are 13 miles from Victburg

Friday 28 - We are campt 2 miles from V I saw more hills in one hour than I saw in the rest of my life it is cold and the wind blows so hard we don't turn our hats luse.

The diary ends abruptly right here. It is a pity he did not keep up his entries until the end of the journey, at Tyler, Texas.

Unfortunately, John James Simons wasn’t able to enjoy his new home.  Four months after arriving, on 31 December 1869, his 26th birthday, he died from pneumonia.  His second son, James Elmo Simons, was born two months later.

Children of John James Simons and Jane Eliza Shelby were:

1.  Cicero Felix Simons was born 23 Jan 1869 in Marion, Perry County, Alabama.  He married Francis Braziel Knight 31 Oct 1889 in New York, Henderson County, Texas.  She was born Jan 1868 in Texas.  They raised three daughters, Bertha Ann, Lottie Earle, and Cleota Azile.

2.  James Elmo Simons was born 09 Feb 1870 in Smith County, Texas and died 30 Jun 1935 in Bay City, Matagorda County Texas, Texas.  He married Annie Elizabeth Duffy 11 Nov 1896 in Matagorda, Matagorda County, Texas, daughter of Peter J. Duffy and Margaret Vogg.  She was born 18 Jun 1877 in Matagorda, Texas and died 30 Jun 1935 in Bay City.  James Elmo is the subject of the next generation.



Nicholaus von Beckenbach (1705 - ca 1750)

Johann Christian Beckenbach (1739 - ca 1790)

Johann George Beckenbach (1772 - 1834)

Johann Jacob Beckenbach (1797 - ca 1850)

Peter Beckenbach (1836 - 1878)

Charlie Geiger Beckenbach (1869 - 1932)

Edwin Ford Beckenbach (1906 - 1982)


John Simons (1715 - 1780)

Shadrach Simons (1758 - 1801)

John Joseph Simons (1793 - ca 1858)

Henry James Simons (1818 - ca 1870)

John James Simons (1842 - 1969)

James Elmo Simons (1870 - 1935)

Madelene Shelby Simons (1913 - 1985)


Heinrich Dufe (ca 1760 - ca 1810)

Peter Joseph Dufe (1784 - 1846)

Peter Duffy (1815 - 1883)

Peter J Duffy (1851 - 1924)

Annie Elizabeth Duffy (1877 - 1935)


William Peake (ca 1800 - ca 1832)

Joseph Peake (1826 - 1876)

Lucy Charlotte Peake (1851 - 1883)


Francis Bradley (ca 1660 - 1737)

James Bradley (1720 - 1788)

Francis Bradley (1743 - 1780)

James Alexander Bradley (1768 - 1839)

Margaret Weir Bradley (1813 - ca 1880)


Shelby Phillip (ca 1650 - 1731)

Evan Shelby (ca 1690 - 1751)

Moses Shelby (1728 - 1776)

Evan Shelby (1748 - 1825)

Moses Shelby (1784 - 1826)

James Madison Shelby (1814 - 1889)

Jane Eliza Shelby (1846 - 1902)


Michael Vogg (ca 1800 - ca 1845)

John Frederick Vogg (1824 - 1901)

Margaret Vogg (1856 - 1878)


Alexander Coachman (ca 1640 - 1671)

Tilney Coachman (ca 1660 - 1716)

John Coachman (1700 - 1750)

James Coachman (1732 - 1789)

Joseph Coachman (1761 - 1814)

Mary Lynch Coachman (1792 - ca 1857)

updated 05 August 2010