Father: Thomas "Long Tom" Simmons
- Sex: M
- Born: 17 JAN 1804 in Franklin County, Virginia1
- Died: 20 SEP 1889 in Field Township, Jefferson County, Illinois1
- Buried: in Old Panther Fork Cemetery, Jefferson County, Illinois21
- Buried: in Tombstone states age 85 - 18891
- Census: 1860 in census of Jefferson County, Ill.1
- Census: 1870 in Census in Jefferson County, Illinois lists self and wife1
- Census: 1880 in Census of Marion County living with Mary Ann and husband Joel McDaniel1
- Reference: 825
Joel Simmons, born in Bedford County,Virginia on January 17, 1804, was the first Simmons to come to Jefferson County. He, his wife, Clarissa Meador Simmons, and their seven children migrated from Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee, and were the first permanent settler in Field Township. The family sustained themselves by hunting and fishing along the way. On one occasion while dressing a wild goose, they found in its digestive system a plum seed that the goose had swallowed. Thinking this unusual, they brought the seed to Illinois and planted it. The fruit proved delicious, and to the present day is known as the "wild goose plum."
After settling near what was later known as Divide, Illinois so named because of a land ridge nearby that separated the watershed of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Joel helped found the "Simmonstown" church, presently the Panther Fork Baptist Church and was the first teacher and helped found the Simmons school, later known as the Panther Fork School. Both the church and school were located on his property. Joel, a schoolmaster built a log schoolhouse on a portion of his land where he kept school without pay. In 1866 he organized the Panther Fork Baptist Church with 19 members, 11 of which were members of his family. He served as church clerk for 11 years while his son-in-law, Thomas Burton, served as pastor without pay. The church survived for 13 years before they has a "meeting house"; the meetings were held in homes during the winter; in a brush shed with split log seats during the summers. In 1867 he set aside three acres of his land as a gift to the church on which to build a meeting house. The church is one of the strong country churches in Jefferson County today.
The name "Panther Fork" originated some years later when his son-in-law, Joel McDaniel killed an attacking panther with a pitchfork. After the law required the naming of the counties and townships, the officials decided to name townships after the first settler whenever possible. When Joel Simmons learned of the decision to name Simmons Township, he walked the distance of twelve miles to Mt. Vernon to inform the officials that a man named Field had lived there temporarily; hence, the name was changed to Field Township.
During the Civil War, three of Joel's sons fought under General Thomas in the battles of Signal Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga, etc. in the same general area of Tennessee from which their father had come. During the fighting they became separated. Marcus and William were captured by the Confederates, imprisoned and died at the infamous Andersonville Military Prison in Georgia. The remaining brother, John, returned home safely from the war, and with other family members helped raise the five orphan children of Marcus. Another brother, Jefferson, also a Civil War Veteran, later became the first Postmaster at Divide, Illinois.
When the Union Armies had secured the area in Tennessee, Joel's brother Carroll, went back to the home place in Tennessee to return with their elderly father. Thomas Simmons, known as "Long Tom" because of his height of six feet and seven inches, after a fire in the family home had claimed the life of Tom's wife Lucy. Though Tom, in his nineties, looked forward to a reunion with his family in Illinois, he died and was buried near Henderson, Kentucky.
Joel, Carroll and Lucinda, with their families, came to Illinois in 1839 in a wagon train of six wagons. Lucinda and husband, Carroll Alvis, settled in Marion County where they raised a family of doctors and school teachers. Carroll Simmons, son of Thomas, married Martha Jacobs and settled for a time in Perry County where he reared 11 children. After the death of his wife and in his later life, he married a young widow, Susan Hill-Hall and was the father of two sons; Gilbert and Henderson Simmons, each of whom have descendants living in various states, also Nora Simmons Marteeny and Susan Simmons Storment of Jefferson County.
The four sons, Silas Jefferson, John, Marcus, and William were drafted into the Civil War and served in Company H 42nd Regiment of the Illinois Infantry Volunteers in the Union Army. William and Marcus were taken prisoners, and confirmed in Andersonville Prison, Georgia where both died of starvation in 1865. The grave numbers are 12-713 and 12-834.
Of the relatives in Tennessee who fought in the Confederacy were: Martin, Wash, Green, Matt, Cyrus, Joe, and Simeon Simmons, all volunteers in Company B 1st Tennessee Regiment of Cavalry of the Confederate Army, Simeon Simmons was captured and imprisoned at Rock Island, Ill prison where he contracted pneumonia. His release from prison was obtained by his two Illinois uncles, Joel and Carroll Simmons, who bound themselves to the U.S. Government to keep Simeon north of the Mason-Dixon line for the duration of the war. Later in 1864 Carroll went to Tennessee by horse-drawn wagon to move Simeon's family to Illinois, Thomas, 90 years old, insisted on coming along. The second night out, camped at Russellville, Kentucky, he suffered an attack of cardiac asthma and died. He was buried the next day in the Russellville Cemetery. A marble slab marks the grave.
(printed the Preserver, Jefferson County Genealogical Society, Volume IV, No. 1. August 1996)
1850 Census Jefferson County, Illinois lists
Joel 46 Va
Clarissa 48 Va
Martha J. 19 Tenn
Fanny P 18 Tenn
Marcus A. 17 Tenn
Wm D. 16 Tenn
Silas J. 15 Tenn
John G. 13 Tenn
Lucinda Meadow 11 Ill
Margaret 9 Ill
1860 Census, Field Township, Illinois -(printed the Preserver, Jefferson County Genealogical Society, Volume IV, No. 1, August 1996)
511 Simmons Joel 56 M VA
Clarissa 58 F VA
Tymma P 28 F Tenn
William D 26 M Tenn
1860 census lists Joel and Clarrissa, next door William D. age 26, next Marcus A. age 27 and wife and children, next Silas J and Prudence E. and 2 children, next John G. and Narcissa and children.
, b. 1774 in Franklin County, Virginia
Mother: Lucy Basham
, b. 1780 in Virginia
Family 1: Clarrissa "Clara" Meador
, b. 3 DEC 1801 in Franklin County, Virginia
- Married: 17 JUL 1829 in Smith County, or Galletin County, Tennessee1
- Mary Ann Simmons, b. 30 MAR 1830 in Tennessee
- Martha Jane Simmons, b. 1831 in Tennessee
- Frances Parradine Simmons, b. ABT. 1832 in Tennessee
- Marcus Andrew Simmons, b. 1833 in Tennessee
- William Deacon Simmons, b. 6 JUN 1834 in Tennessee
- Silas Jefferson Simmons, b. 28 MAY 1835 in Sumner County, Tennessee
- John Guild Simmons, b. 10 MAY 1837 in Tennessee
- Title: CharlesSimmons0199.FTW
Text: Date of Import: Apr 16, 1999
- Jefferson County Genealogical Society, Preserver, Vol. IV, No 2, August
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