Compiled by Linda Cunningham Fluharty

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     NEWTON G. SIMS served in Company "B" 9th West Virginia Infantry and then served in the 1st Veteran Infantry, formed by the consolidation of the 5th and 9th Infantries.

     In his government pension records, he stated he worked as a carpenter after the war. He stated he was 5 feet 11 inches (and slender) when he was in the service but was 6 feet and 1/4 inch later. He had a fair complexion, dark hair and hazel eyes.

     The War Department's statement of the service of Newton G. Sims:

Newton G. Simms, a Private of Company "B" 9th Regiment Va. (subsequently W. Va.) Volunteers, was enrolled on the 5th day of November, 1861, at Spencer, Va. for 3 years and is reported on Muster Roll of Co. dated Dec 9th 1861 and on Roll from enrollment to Feb 28th/62 & Roll for Mch & Apl/62 present. May & June/62 present (with remark) "absent on detached duty, and accidentally wounded when Company was paid." July & Aug/62 present. Sept & Oct, Nov & Dec/62, Jan & Feb & Mch & Apl/63, absent. "Missing in action at Charleston, Va., Sept 13th 1862." Subsequent Rolls to Aug 3/64, present. Sept & Oct/64 absent. "Detached duty." Reenlisted as a Vet. Vol. Jan 1/64. Return for May/63, absent. "Left sick at mouth of Sandy Elk River." Sept/64, absent. "Scouts since Aug 17/64." Rolls of Co. "I" 1st W. Va. Vet. Inf. (to which transferred)for Nov & Dec/64 & Feb & Mch & Apl & May & June/65, present. Mustered out with Co. July 21st 1865 at Cumberland, Md. as Corpl. The 9th W. Va. inf. was in action at Charleston, Va. Sept 13th 1862. Morning Reports of Companies not on file. Pris. of War records furnish no information.

     Sims stated he sustained a wound to a finger when his gun discharged accidentally at Elk River.

     The son of John Sims and Elizabeth Romine, Newton Gilbert Sims was born March 7, 1845 near the county line dividing Harrison and Lewis Counties in West Virginia.

     In addition to Newton G., John and Elizabeth's children were Margaret M. Sims, wife of Calvin Flesher; Mary E. Sims (twin of Newton), wife of David P. King; and Eli Sims.

     John Sims was previously married, spouse unknown, and their children were Martin Sims (lived on Reedy, Roane County); Frank Sims (Lewis County); Thomas Sims (Lewis County); Elizabeth Sims (Lewis County); Susan Sims, wife of David Jones (Gilmer County).

     Newton's mother, Elizabeth (Romine) Sims was previously married to --- Queen and had the following children: Hester Queen, wife of Joseph Rice (of near Weston, Lewis County); Mary Queen, wife of Sibley Henline (of near Weston, Lewis County); John Queen.

     Newton and his twin sister were raised by William Cookman. They lived first near Jane Lew, Lewis county, then moved to Newton, Roane County. In the 1860 census of Roane County, William and Susan Cookman's daughter, Nancy, and son, James A., were in the home, along with Newton and his sister.

     The first wife of Newton Gilbert Sims was Margaret Jane Hall, daughter of George and Eliza Hall, whom he married in Kanawha County, West Virginia about January 1864. Neither had been previously married. After discharge from the service, Newton and Margaret resided with Margaret's mother, who conveyed to Newton that Margaret was unfaithful to him. Newton left Margaret in August 1865 and went to live with his twin sister, Mary E.

     When Newton left Margaret, she was pregnant and he claimed the child as his. At the time of his declaration in 1899, he said he had never seen the daughter, Mary Susan Sims, born in early 1866. She married Joseph Conley.

     In March 1866, Newton was going to Charleston, Kanawha County. He said, "...on the way fell in with one Alexander White, and killed him, and I was tried for this in Charleston, W. Va., and sentenced to 18 years in Moundsville Penitentiary. I was pardoned out Feb 16, 1881." "I heard of Margaret's death before I was pardoned." They were NEVER officially divorced but he thinks that his being in prison was like being divorced. Margaret married -- Shaeffer.

     The second wife of Newton G. Sims was Ruth Elizabeth Jane White. They were married in Pennsylvania, near Cameron, Marshall County, West Virginia, by Monroe White, J.P. on April 21, 1881. They had two children: William A. Sims, born March 13, 1882; Bernice Sims, born Nov 4, 1883. Newton left his wife in January 1898 (or September 8, 1897). Later on she tried to have him arrested for desertion and non-support. He said he had gone to Littleton, Wetzel County, to build a house for someone and he sent money home on a regualr basis. He also visited his family until a warrant was issued for him on September 9, 1897.

     Newton had received a government pension (Certificate #674.444) but after he left his wife, he failed to receive his monthly check. His wife had filed a claim on April 17, 1899, under the Act of 1899, stating he had deserted her; she received half of his pension (approved January 23, 1900), including back to December 4, 1897. The government had given her his pension based on her claim that he had deserted her. Although the Pension Act included a provision for desertion, the wife's claim was deemed unlawful in 1904 and after receiving about $300, she was dropped from the pension rolls to date November 28, 1902. According to the investigation by the pension office, she was never entitled to the pension. Newton, a resident of Eden, Calhoun County, and Ruth E. J. White were divorced in Calhoun County on October 11, 1902. It is unclear if Mrs. Sims paid the money back but Newton Sims was paid the money that was owed to him.

     Meanwhile, Mary S. (Sims) Conley, daughter of Newton and his first wife, Margaret Jane Hall, filed a claim for a minor's pension on September 27, 1898. She said she was the only child of the soldier, Newton G. Sims, who had died on November 10, 1884. She claimed she was under the age of 16 but was, in fact, about 32. She provided numerous sworn affidavits from acquaintances in support of her claim. For example, in Braxton County, Angeline Parsons stated she was present at the time of the death of Newton G. Sims on November 10, 1884.

     The claim of Mary S. (Sims) Conley was submitted to Special Examiners for the purpose of finding out if Newton Sims was dead and to secure the conviction of guilty parties if the claim was found to be fraudulent.

     Mary S. Conley was found by the Special Examiner to be "a woman of bad repute and has has never been considered very truthful." She implicated Hiram M. Harris in an incident of forgery related to an affidavit in the name of S. G. Harris. Eventually Mary confessed to the fraud.

     About deponent Angeline Parsons, the Special Examiner said, "Angeline Parsons an original witness is also a woman of ill repute and at time of making said affidavit was the kept mistress of one Andrew J. Cottrell who also figures in the case and is referred to in the evidence as Jack and Jackson Cottrell. She is wholly unreliable and guilty of perjury. She was once indicted for the murder of her own child but acquitted of the charge though generally believed to have been guilty..." "Andrew J. Cottrell, otherwise Jack and Jackson Cottrell, is an old man who has always born a bad reputation. He will swear to anything and is not above procuring others to do likewise. I have run across him in other cases and have known his real character for a long time. He served in the Penitentiary for murder prior to his army service. Most of his pension money is spent on women of ill repute and he has run store accounts, which he has evidently never intended to pay, at all the stores where it was possible to obtain credit for miles around. He is rather a shrewd old mountaineer and a smoothe talker."

     The third wife of Newton G. Sims was Arizona C. Schoolcraft, daughter of Reuben Schoolcraft and Mary Jane Seabolt. They were married January 25, 1903 and had one son, Freddie Martin Sims, born November 16, 1903 (Per Soc. Sec. Death Index) and a daughter, Icy Lurinia Sims born about 1908 (Mar 29, 1905 per Soc. Sec. Death Index). Newton and Arizona divorced in Calhoun County on April 20, 1915. Freddie married Mandie Parsons on November 15, 1936 in Calhoun County. Icie/Icy married Clarence Davis. - Arizona later married Floyd Bailey.

     The Special Examiner stated, "Newton G. Sims is an intelligent, almost an intellectual looking man, and he talks as he looks." He went on to say that due to Sims' history he "would not want to rate him a good man."

     For more than a year before his death, Newton apparently went to live with his oldest child, Mary S. Conley. He died November 30, 1919 and is buried at Carpenter Cemetery, Orma, Calhoun County.

(To Civil War Soldiers)