Thomas and Mary Jane Sammons Notes

(Son of Edmund Sammons)
  Thomas Sammons was born in Morgan County, Illinois in 1838.  He moved with his 
parents to St. Marys City, Hancock County, Illinois around 1839 and then accompanied 
them to Schuyler County, Missouri in 1855.  On 1 April 1859, he married Mary Jane 
Owings in Keosauqua, Iowa.  He seems to have had more ties to Iowa than his brothers 
and, in fact, enlisted in September 1862 in Company G, 3rd Regiment, Iowa Cavalry 
Volunteers with his father-in-law, Douglas Creath Owings, and his brother-in-law, 
John William Owings, this probably because he was living with the Owings family in 
Van Buren County, Iowa.  He was discharged on 9 August 1865.

     During his service, he received an injury which apparently troubled him for 
the remainder of his life.  Because of this injury, in December 1887, while living 
in Wanetto, Chase County, Nebraska, he applied for an invalid pension stating that 
he had contracted a rupture from being thrown from his horse.  Details of this are 
contained in an affidavit from a fellow soldier contained in his pension file as 
follows: "On or about the 20th of December 1861 while on a Scout from Jefferson 
City up into Howard  County Mo we capture 171 Kegs of powder and on our return to 
the boats which were left at or near Boonville we made a night march passing through 
the town of Glasgow about dark the claimant Thomas Sammons was along Said Sammons & 
myself with about twenty others were detailed as rear guard under command of 
Lieutenant McCrary and in that night march the horse of Said Thomas Sammons stumbled 
into a ditch throwing him forward on the pommel of the Saddle and injuring him so as 
to cause permanent rupture ever after this by permission of the commanding officer 
he was permitted to carry his carbine & Saber attached to the front of his saddle as 
a relief from downward pressure."
     He seems to have been associated with the Legrand brothers (Thomas' brothers-in
-law) and possibly worked for Henderson Legrand.  In fact Thomas may have been the 
first Sammons in Kansas as he witnessed the pension application of Henderson Legrand 
in Wyandotte County, Kansas in 1875.
Henderson Legrand was reputed to have been the first settler in western Rooks County, 
probably in late 1877 or early 1878, and Thomas may have accompanied him.  Certainly 
Thomas applied for a homestead in Rooks County, and his wife applied for one in 
Phillips County.
    Nonetheless, Thomas does not appear to have settled in one place for too long.  
It is possible that his war injury made it difficult to be on his own and he may have 
spent much of his life working for others.  
In 1883 he was reportedly living in Reedsville, Washington County, Kansas, probably 
in company with his brothers-in-law, Richard and James Owings.  As noted above, he 
applied for a pension from Chase County Nebraska.  In 1889, he filed an affidavit 
from Redington, Cheyenne County, Nebraska, followed by another in 1891 from the same 
place.  The latter affidavit cited his desperate circumstances and urged action on 
his pension.  Finally, his widow applied for a pension, noting that her husband, 
Thomas Sammons, had died in Redfern, Pennington County, South Dakota on 15 October 
According to Mary (Stewart) Tucker of Denver, CO, a descendent of the Thomas Sammons/
Owings line who has researched the line thoroughly, she did not know if Thomas ever 
owned land or if he just lived on and helped with the work on land owned by relatives.  
It must have been a hard life for the family with the father disabled.  His mother-
in-law,  Martha Owings, appears to have traveled from one family to another nursing 
the sick or helping with the birth of the babies.  She homesteaded a claim  in 
Arcadia Township, Phillips County, Kansas, at the same time the Sammons' were 
settling in Rooks County,  Later, Thomas appears to have been in Washington County, 
Kansas, presumably with Richard Owings, his brother-in-law.  Some of the family seems 
to have bounced back and forth between Nebraska and Kansas and then moved north with 
Thomas dying in South Dakota and some of his children and descendants moving on to 
Wyoming, Montana, and the coast states. 


Mary J. Sammons appeared before a notary public for Pennington County, South Dakota 
on 26 November 1897 to complete the form for a "Declaration For Widow's Pension."  
She gave her address as Redfern, Pennington County, South Dakota.  She stated that 
her husband, Thomas Sammons, who had been drawing a pension, had died 15 October 
1897.  She affirmed that she had been  married under the name Mary J. Owings to Said 
Thomas Sammons on 18 April 1859 by Justice of the Peace Shafer at Keosauqua, Iowa.

This was followed by different affidavits confirming the above marriage.  On 22 Dec 
1897, the office of the clerk of the district court of Van Buren County, Iowa 
certified that a wedding license had been issued on 1 April 1859 authorizing the 
marriage of Thomas Sammons and Mary Owings though the record contained no return 
showing the said parties were married.

John W. Owings signed (by mark) an affidavit on 22 December 1897 in Van Buren County, 
Iowa.  He stated that he was a brother of the claimant, Mary J. Sammons, and was 
present at her wedding to Thomas Sammons "which occurred near Mt. Sterling in Vernon 
Township, Van Buren County, Iowa.  He couldn't remember the exact date of the wedding 
but did recall that it took place two or three years before the war of the rebellion.

An affidavit was filled out in Webster, Rooks County, Kansas on 5 February 1898 by 
John T. and Ruth Ann Wort.  They certified that they were both acquainted with Mary 
J. Owings and Thomas Sammons prior to their marriage in 1859, that they knew of no 
previous marriages by either, that from long acquaintance they knew that they had 
lived together until his death, and that Mary J. Owings (Sammons) had not remarried 
since Thomas Sammons' death.

E.W. Legrand, who gave his age as 46 and Post Office address as Redfern, So. Dak., 
stated in an affidavit on 22 February 1898 that he had known both the late Thomas 
Sammons and his wife, Mary J. Sammons, from boyhood up and that they cohabited as 
man and wife at the time of his death and that they were so recognized in the 
community in which I lived.

One J.W. Young of Redfern, Pennington County, South Dakota, stated in an affidavit 
on 22 February 1898 that he had been present soon after the life of Thomas Sammons 
had been extinguished and he had seen his body on the 15th of October 1897.  He 
stated that the "Deceased's widow. Mary J. Sammons, in 1897 had only a log house 
in Redfern, So. Dak., wherein she now lives and has not acquired any property since 
then, the value of which is to best knowledge about ($50.00) fifty dollars.  She has 
no income and has no way of making a living and know that her two grown children a 
boy and girl respectively and 19 or 20 years, are supporting her and that no one is 
legally bound to support her."

Richard N. Owings, who gave his residence as Dyke, Oklahoma, completed an affidavit 
before the County Clerk of Blaine County, Oklahoma on 29 March 1898.  He stated 
therein that he was well acquainted with the applicant and knew the deceased, Thos 
Sammons, before and after his marriage with the applicant.  He noted that he was 
well acquainted with them both before and after the war and saw deceased at different 
times during the war.

The last entry in the file was the usual "Pensioner Dropped" form for Mary Sammons 
stating the "name of the above-described pensioner who was last paid at $12, to Oct 
4, 1914 has this day been dropped from the roll because of death, December 16th 

Compiled by Charlotte Curlee Ramsey from notes submitted by William G. Stewart.

Charlotte Curlee Ramsey

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