Saturday, May 30, 2020

2020 Prompt - Tombstone - Henry Simmons III

Henry Simmons III                                   
My 1st Cousin 4x remove

Nancy Simmons to Paul Simmons to Water Simmons to Andrew Simmons to Aaron Simmons to Peter Simmons to Captain Henry Simmons to his son Henry Simmons II to his son Henry Simmons III

Henry SIMMONS III  1835-1921

In my last blog I wrote about traveling to Pendleton County, West Virginia to see the Simmons homestead built in 1812.[1]  I also visited the family cemetery sitting in front of the home up by highway 220.  As we strolled through the cemetery checking all the Simmons tombstones one of them caught my eye. Henry Simmons born 1835 died 1921 and his wife Mary.

Simmons Home on highway 220  -    Simmons Cemetery northwest of the house - Henry & Mary SIMMONS tombstone

I knew our German immigrant was Leonard Simmons who had a son Henry Simmons who built the brick two-story Simmons home in 1812. Henry had a son, Henry Simmons II, born in 1798 who died in 1869[2] but this tombstone had a Henry Simmons who died in 1921[3].  Who was this Henry Simmons?

We took pictures of the headstones and transcribed the information. Then after I returned home, I dug into census records to find Henry and Mary Simmons and hopefully find a story about their family. I was in for a great story!

Henry III was born September 9, 1835[4] to Henry and Rachel Simmons in the two-story brick house built in 1812 by his grandfather. He was the 10th of eleven children, one of six boys.  Henry grew up in the anti-bellum era living his entire life in this home in Pendleton County. It seems like every generation produced many Simmons males. Henry had five brothers and produced eight sons!

When the call to arms came in 1861, he responded, casting his lot with the Southland and entered the services of the Confederacy, a member of the Company E, Twenty-fifth Virginia Infantry Regiment (Heck's Regiment).[5] 

He took special delight in telling guests in his home that "during the Civil War, Stonewall Jackson spent some time there resting his troops and established his headquarters in the home." Company E was known as the Pendleton Rifles under Captain George H. Smith.[6] 

The Confederates bombarded Fort Sumpter on April 12, 1861 igniting the Civil War and eleven days later, April 23, 1861 Henry married Mary Elizabeth Mauzy in neighboring Monterey, Highland County, Virginia[7] just 12 miles south of the Simmons homestead. Henry enlisted on May 14, 1861 in the near-by town of Franklin as a private and fought in the 25th Virginia Regiment Company E[8] along with at least three of his brothers.

                       Union General Robert Milroy        Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

The 25th Virginia Regiment was attached to Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign and on May 8, 1862 they were involved in the Battle of McDowell[9] that occurred seven miles from the town of Monterey where Henry was married the year before. In May 1862 Henry's wife Mary was pregnant with their first child and was probably living with her parents in the Mauzy home 17 miles from the Battle of McDowell. As a young woman pregnant and living only miles from the battlefield where 12,500 men were engaged in battle, had to be stressful for Mary and her family. The union troops were composed of men from Ohio and West Virginia and were led by General Milroy and General Schenck.[10] They were advancing from what is now West Virginia toward the Shenandoah Valley and had encamped in McDowell. Stonewall Jackson along with the 25th Virginia were marching west coming from the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley and advanced toward McDowell to engage Milroy and Schenck and their Union troops.

The troops engaged in battle all day on May 8th until 10 pm when the outnumbered union forces broke off the assault. The Union forces burned their supplies, dumped their extra ammunition in the Bull Pasture River and began a general retreat. By the time Jackson pursued the Union forces they were in Franklin 13 miles away. Stonewall Jackson halted his troops and held up near Cave, Virginia (West Virginia) staying at Henry's father home[11] (the two-story brick home built in 1812) on the south branch of the Potomac river along highway 220.  Here Stonewall stayed for two days and eventually pulled his troops back to McDowell as the Union forces withdrew from the Shenandoah Valley.

Henry continued to fight with the 25th Regiment until July 4, 1862 when he was discharged.[12] He returned home and was with Mary for the birth of their first child, Charles W. Simmons on September 21, 1862.[13] I am not sure where Henry and Mary lived for the next six years as their family grew with two more sons and a daughter but in 1868 when Henry's father died August 17, 1869[14], he was willed the Simmons' family home.

Henry and Mary proceeded to have five more sons and two more daughters for a total of eleven children, 8 boys and 3 girls.  Their youngest son was Glen Kinkade Simmons born 1883.  Glen married and had two children Annie Simmons and Edwin Simmons.  In 1997, when Howard and I visited Pendleton County, West Virginia to see the Simmons' homestead and visit the family cemetery, it was Edwin Simmons and his wife Margaret who lived across the street from the Simmons homestead who invited us into their home and showed us the bed and the china that Stonewall Jackson used when he stayed at the Simmons home after the Battle of McDowell.

Henry & Mary Mauzy SIMMONS Family 1902
Glenn 19, Arthur 21, Dice 24, Harry 26, Kenny 30, William 37, Edward 38, Charles 40
Alice 35, Florence 32, HENRY 67, MARY 61, Sarah 28

Little did I realize that July in 1997 when I took a picture of a tombstone in the Simmons Cemetery that I would research a Simmons cousin and discover another amazing family story of the family’s involvement in the Civil War. On a side note, Henry's uncle, Peter Simmons, brother of his father, Henry II, left Pendleton County in the mid-1850's moving to Ritchie County, West Virginia. Family oral history tends to believe Peter and his younger brother, Abraham were anti-slavery and moved west where Abraham’s sons fought in West Virginia Union Regiments. Peter is my direct descendent and my 3rd great grandfather. 

[4] Ancestry, 1900 Federal Census, Franklin, Pendleton, West Virginia, ED 0095, page 14,>
[5] Armstrong, Richard L., 25th Virginia Infantry and 9th Battalion Virginia Infantry, H. E. Howard, Inc., Lynchburg, VA / 1990, page 232.
[6], 25th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Heck’s) (Confederate),,_Virginia_Infantry_(Heck%27s)_(Confederate)
[7]Ancestry, Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940
[8] Fold3, Twenty-fifth Infantry (Heck’s Regiment), Simmons, Henry 1862,
[9] Wikipedia, Battle of McDowell
[10] Ibid
[11] West Virginia History Onview, West Virginia University,
[12] Fold3, Twenty-fifth Infantry (Heck’s Regiment), Simmons, Henry 1862,
[13], Dept of Arts, Culture & History, Death Certificate: Chas Simmons, Greenbrier Co., WV,
[14] Find A Grave, Memorial # 31684395,; Pendleton County Historical Society, Grave Register Pendleton County West Virginia, 1977, page 13.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Nancy,

    Very interesting story you have here. I too am a descendant of the Simmons family of Pendleton County. I live in Ritchie County and am a descendant of the Peter (John Peter) Simmons who left Pendleton in the 1850s for Gilmer County. Not to question family history or your wonderful research but I was under the impression that Peter (John Peter) Simmons, born in 1818, was the eldest son of Henry Simmons II and brother of Henry Simmons III and not his uncle. I got this information from the book "A History of Pendleton County, West Virginia" The National Archives website has a full copy of the book for you to read online. Here is the link:

    See pages 290 and 291.

    I have found very little information on Peter (John Peter) so your information may be correct. If you have any, I would love to see more information you have regarding John Peter and his family. I also have done quite a bit of research into the civil war service of Henry's brother, Emanuel, Jerimiah,and Timothy if you would be interested in see that as well.

    Hope to hear from You soon,

    Dylan skidmore