Early Days of Greenbush


Rowland Simmons

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Rowland Simmons was born in Virginia, in 1794. He removed with his parents in early life to Warren county, Kentucky. After living there several years, he moved to Morgan county, Illinois. In 1830, he moved to what is now known as Greenbush, Warren county, Illinois, and settled on section five. He was the first settler in Greenbush township. His brother James followed him in 1833, and after living in the township a short time, settled on lands now adjoining the village of Greenbush on the east, where he died, in 1873.

William Simmons, another brother, came later and located in the northeast part of the township. He afterwards moved to Galena, where he was engaged in hauling mineral ore; and later he moved to Iowa where he died. This William Simmons was the father of James Simmons, who died at the residence of his son James Edmond Simmons, on section two, September 25. 1900. William was also the father of Sarah, who married David Young.

Charles Simmons, who was also a brother of Rowland, resided in Stoddard county, Missouri, in 1845. During that year James and Rowland made him a visit and induced him to move to Illinois. His family, household goods and one sorrel mare were placed on board a boat at Cape Girardeau, and they all started for Copperas Creek, Illinois. Some place on the route the boat landed and James took the mare and rode home across the country. When he arrived, he sent some of his and Rowland’s boys to Copperas Creek after the party. So they came across the country in wagons, arriving at Greenbush, April 27, 1845. John W. Nance and family were members of this party, he having married Nancy, a daughter of Charles Simmons.

Charles Simmons was married two or three times, his last wife being Miss Levicy Boydston. He was the father of the following-named children:

  • James D., (sometimes called “Pumpkin-Hook Jim”) who married Clarrissa Morris After his death, she married Robert M. Snapp.
  • John R., who married Nancy Strain; and after her death, was married to the widow of James Taylor.
  • Madison, who died while in service in the Union army during the civil war.
  • Sarah, who married Benjamin Gray.
  • Mary, who married Philip Davis Hedges.
  • Jane, who was never married.
  • Joanna, who married David Edie.
  • Harriet, who married a Mr. Kidoo of Iowa.
  • Rowland Simmons, the subject of this sketch, was married to Miss Julia A. Jones. To them were born the following-named children:

  • William, born April 16, 1826, married Margaret Morris, in October, 1849. She died June 15, 1873, at the age of 46 years.
  • Francis Marion, (better known as Tim), married a daughter of James D. Smith. They moved to Oregon.
  • James H., married Lucinda Moulton. She died April 17, 1874, at the age of 43 years.
  • Jasper, born in 1842, was thrown from a wagon and killed November 3, 1851.
  • Mary, married Thomas Joiner Willard. Both died in Kansas.
  • Harriet, married Joshua Rhodes. Emily, married Alexander Willard.
  • John W., an infant, died in 1832, and was buried in the Greenbush graveyard, it being the first grave in this yard.

  • Some time during the early ‘30’s, Rowland Simmons planted some apple seed with the intention of grafting the trees after they had grown to sufficient size. One of the trees, when it came to bearing, produced a large yellow apple of the fall variety. This tree sprouted and the sprouts, when dug up and set out, produced the same kind of apple. James Simmons was among the first to procure sprouts from this tree, having quite an orchard of them at one time. They are known as the “Simmons Pippin,” and are generally considered the best fall apple in this country. During the last days of Rowland Simmons, he suffered with a cancer on his face from which he died May 23, 1858. His wife Julia Ann died January 8, 1845.

    Sarah Simmons, mother of Rowland Simmons, died at the residence of Rowland, December 31, 1842. She was about 90 years old.

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