This spring I decided to finally take a trip to the North Carolina State Archives, in Raleigh, to research my husband’s Barnes line. I had one main objective – to find something new about Jacob Barnes (1759-1840). He died in Johnston County, NC in May 1840, after having lived in Wayne County for many years. His estate was settled in Johnston County in 1842. I had previously posted about Jacob’s estate here.
First, I looked at the books about Wayne and Johnston counties. In a book called, Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Bastardy Records of Wayne Co, NC, I found an intriguing entry with the surnames Barnes and Simms. Since you are allowed to take a camera (without flash) into the archives I took a photograph.
From information at the Johnston County Heritage Center, Smithfield, NC, in the Barnes surname file, I had previously seen records that had been copied from the Johnston County, NC Deeds – T2, Page 289-290, that showed Garry Sims had been appointed the guardian of the children of Mary Sims Burnnum, after her death. Heirs of Joseph Simms, Feb. 1842, was registered in Johnston County on 28 March, 1842. Garry Sims was from Greene County, Alabama. From researching the family, I found that Mary Sims Burnham had died in that county in 1836, and her husband, Louis Burnham had remarried in 1837 to Catherine Sumrel. Johnston County records for Jacob Barnes’ estate had listed Simms heirs, through his granddaughter, Mary, and I had thought they were the only Simms heirs.
Looking through the Wayne County book under the surname Simms, I found another reference listing Martha Simms and James Pope, two new names. This had the added information that Martha Simms Pope was the granddaughter of Jacob Barnes, and that she had lived in Houston County, Georgia.
Cross-referencing the page with the Pope surname confirmed that all three entries were in the Wayne County Record of Deeds, Volume 19, page 57.
After that find, I took the book up to the reference desk to make copies, and asked how to locate the deed book. One of the staff took me over to the microfilm room, and pulled Wayne County Record of Deeds, C.103.40008, 1838-1848, Vols 18, 19, 20. She said to forward the microfilm to Volume 19, and then to start looking for page 57.
Pages 57 and 58 showed that James Cook, a planter from Houston County, Georgia, was asking to be included in the estate of Jacob Barnes of Johnston County, through his wife, Martha, who was a granddaughter. He applied the 6th day of December 1841. James Cook wanted an advance of $528.78. Printing off of the machine, I couldn’t get a good copy of page 57 even with the staff helping. Page 58 came out much nicer. You can click on the images to enlarge them.
With this new information it shows that there were at least two grandchildren from Jacob Barnes’ daughter (first name unknown), who married a Simms or Sims, most likely in Wayne County, NC. It is possible that his name was Joseph Simms. From researching census, marriage, and death records for Houston County, Georgia, Martha Simms Pope had died on 23 July 1848, after the birth of her last child, Josephine, who had been born on the 20th of July. James Pope had remarried to Nancy Wimberly on 27 December 1848 in Houston County, Georgia [Source: Dodd, Jordan. Georgia Marriages to 1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997].
From the Find A Grave website, James Pope died in 1853 and was buried in the Wimberly Cemetery in Hayneville, Houston County, Georgia. [Source; http://www.findagrave.com Find A Grave Memorial# 116865177]. It is probable that Martha (Simms) Pope was also buried there, but it looks like her dates on the gravestone must have been hard to read, because the date of her death is listed as 1818, instead of 1848. This could also have been a different Martha Pope. Only six internments are known in this cemetery [Source; http://www.findagrave.com – Find A Grave Memorial# 116865261].
This research has hopefully given the Simms/Sims and Pope families some needed information about their ancestry, through Jacob Barnes. It is sometimes so hard to research female lines in family trees, when maiden names are unknown.
I’m looking forward to going back to the archives to spend more time in the both the search room and the library. I went on a Saturday, and it was only open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Giving thanks that so many records for genealogy have been stored in this great building for the public to use. Good luck researching your family names!