Saturday, May 31, 2014

Libbeus, Lebbeus and Lebius

Three different men all named Lebbeus Simmons would surely be related, wouldn't they?  I believe these 3 men are Father, Son and Grandson, but I don't have a single document to tie any one of the three to another.  To keep them straight in my mind I spell each one's name the way I first found it, I'll add numbers here to make it less confusing. 

Looking for my Great Great Grandmother Rachel Simmons as a little girl in the 1850 Pennsylvania census, I found the family of Lebius3 Simmons.  That lead me to a Rootsweb World Connect Tree showing Libbeus1 Simmons, with a son Lebbeus2 Simmons, both born too early to be the Lebius3 from 1850.  My search has been continuing from there since 1999.  The 3 men never appear together by name on the same census record or any other record that I've found yet.  Several years ago I collaborated with a group of several researchers all possibly descendants of Libbeus1.  We shared information and ideas and with help from them, this is what I have.   

Libbeus1 SIMMONS (1749  - 1835) 

From Vital Records of Middleborough, Plymouth Co., MA, Vol. 11, Book 2, Part 2, p. 80: 
Middleborough January the 27th, 1774 Then Libbeus Simmons and Mary Douglas both of Middleborough were Joyned in Marriage by me Ebenezer Hinds Baptist Minister.
Libbeus1 fought in the Revolutionary War, I have his pension application documents. There isn't much information on his family, just an affidavit by his daughter Priscilla Mitchell declaring she was one of ten children of Libbeus and Mary.

The Rootsweb Tree lists his children as:  Elijah, Betsey, Thaddeus, Mary, Persilla, James, Sarah, Judath, Lydia, and Lebbeus.  The DAR application from one woman has his children listed as:  Libbeus, Abigail, Joshua, Priscilla, Polly, Dorcas, Judith, James, Mary and Lydia. 

Libbeus1 died on March 13, 1835 at age 85.  His burial location is unknown, he is probably buried on private land near Unity Pond, Maine.  The two lists of children both include a son named Lebbeus, but there is no identifying information to prove that that son is...

Lebbeus2 SIMMONS    (abt 1794  - after 1870)  

1820 Census records of Troy, Maine list both a Lebbeous Simmons, age over 45 and Lebbeous Jr, age between 26 & 45.  Of course the 1820 census only lists heads of household by name.  Land records in Maine show that Lebbeus and his wife Esther Kelsey sold land in 1827 and at that time they were located in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. That's the same county as Lebius3 in 1850.  The only other mention of Esther that I have is the marriage record of her daughter:   "Mary C. Simmons, dau of Lebus & Hester Simmons" to William Webb in 1854 in Ritchie County, Virginia (now West Virginia).  Children of Lebbeus2 and Esther are believed to be:  Jeremiah, David, William, Lebius3, Mary Catherine and Rosilla Douglas.  By 1850, Lebbeus2 had a new wife.  Esther must have died sometime between 1831 (birth of her last child) and 1850 or possibly 1840, I have no idea where.

The Illinois Marriage Index has 3 interesting listings: 
Libbens Simmons and Jane Hart, 3/29/1840  Fulton County
Lebeous Simmons and Mrs. Sarah Thorn, 7/2/1850 Fulton County
Lebbens Simmons and Maria Dunavon, 1/21/1865 Fulton County

Was Lebbeus2 the "Libbens" Simmons who married Jane Hart?  Jane Simmons (b. abt 1803 PA)  died in 1850 after a 1 day illness at age 47 (Mortality Index found online at Genealogy Trails History Group, -  She had been married 10 years, did she have any children?  

I believe Lebeous who married Sarah Thorn is Lebbeus2, son of Libbeus1.  In 1850 they lived in Canton, Illinois, with two of Sarah's sons and Lebbeus2's daughter Mary.  In the next few years they had 7 children together:  James, Charles, Lydia, Sarah, Delilah, Mariah Antoinette and Amos.  Sarah left Lebbeus2 and their children in 1864 and they divorced in 1866, I have the documents of the divorce case.   All of those children, except Charles, were living with other families in 1870, after the divorce of their parents.

Lebbeus2 could not be "Lebbens" who married Maria Dunavon in 1865 when he was in the middle of divorce proceedings.  Was there another Lebbeus Simmons in Fulton County at that time and just who was he and do some of these records belong to him?

Land records don't give a persons age which would really help.  If there is no mention of a wife, does that mean for sure that there isn't one?  As best as I can understand, on 27 OCT 1838, Lebbeus Simmons bought from David Nillum (?) Lots 9, 10 & 11 in Canton for $300.  Then on 6 JAN 1840, he sold those lots to Samuel Miller for $450.  Also on 6 JAN 1840, Lebbeus bought 40 acres from Ptolomy and Sarah Ann Stone (wife's name is included because she relinquished dower).  The legal description is E 1/2 SE 13 7N R4E.  He paid $110.  And still on 6 JAN 1840, Lebbeus bought 40 acres from Joel & Emily Wright for $91.  Description is SE SE 13 T7N R4E, same Section (13), same Township (7N) and same Range (4E).  No mention of a wife of Lebbeus in any of those deeds.  Can I be sure these were all Lebbeus2?

In the 1870 census there is a Lebeus Simmons age 73 back in Mercer County, Pennsylvania living with Phebe Bearse and her son Isaac, and his son Charles Simmons who is 16.  The column is marked to say that Charles' father is of foreign birth for some reason.  It is believed that Phebe is a niece of Lebbeus2.    

Lebbeus2 died sometime after 1870, but where?  Mercer County has no death record.  I've also tried Fulton County and Ritchie County.  Although I have nothing that confirms Lebbeus2's children from his marriage with Esther, I believe he is the father of...

Lebius3 Simmons   (1820 - between 1852-54)  

1850 Cool Spring township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania lists the family of Lebius3 - Lebius, wife Ruth, daughters Rachel, Rosilla and Louisa and son William.  All of the children were born in Pennsylvania.  

This is a deed from Fulton County, Illinois dated March 7, 1846 that has the name as Lebbeus Simmons "Jr." as opposed to the other deeds with Lebbeus Simmons.  [7 MAR 1846 Parkis & Margaret Corey sold to Lebbeus Simmons Jr NE NE 13 7N R4 40 acres $150]  Could this be Lebius3  Again there is no mention of a wife.  In 1846 daughter Louisa was born in Pennsylvania, did he travel back and forth that much?   

And if he bought land in Illinois in 1846, and lived in Pennsylvania in 1850, how or why was his wife widow in Ritchie County, Virginia in 1854.  In July, 1854, Ruth Simmons, widow, married Cyrus Webb in Ritchie County, Virginia.  As I mentioned before, Mary C. Simmons married William Webb also in July, 1854 in Ritchie County.  Mary was the sister of Lebius3 and William Webb the brother of Cyrus.   Then in 1860, Cyrus and Ruth are listed in the Fulton County census with Simmons children Rosilla, William and Ruth (born 1852).   So what happened to Lebius3 between 1852 and 1854 and where - Pennsylvania?  Illinois? Virginia?  Was he the victim of an accident while traveling?  I always think of the scene in the movie "How The West Was Won" where the Prescott parents were lost rafting down a river. 

These are the disconnected links in the chain.  One more disconnected link is my Great Great Grandmother Rachel McGrath to the little girl in 1850.   It has to be more than coincidence that these people lived in the same places.   And there are several name connections.  There may not be any documents that will identify the relations between them all, but this is how I believe these 3 men to be my direct ancestors (with a lot of unanswered questions).


  1. My head is spinning. Who knew there would be so many Libbeus, Lebbeus and Lebius -- no idea what the plural form would be. ;) Your research is impressive, though. I have said more than one bad word at the pre-1880 census records that don't include family relationships or the fact that wives were chattel for so many years and not included in many records.

    1. I had never heard the name Lebius before this. And there are SOOOO many ways it gets spelled which just makes it that much harder to be sure it's the same man. Thanks for reading Schalene!