Benjamin was born on 3 May 1860 in Brooksville, Hernando Cty, Florida, the son of Holman Felix Simmons and Theodora Mary Saxon.
He died on 1 May 1939 in Jackson County, Arkansas.
He had two marriages/partners. His first wife was Lucy James Rotenberry, who he married on 11 DEC 1883 in Tupelo, Jackson County, Arkansas. Their eight known children were James Felix (1885-1968), Eleanor Cornelia (1887-1967), Walter Saxon (1889-1959), William LaFayette (1890-1939), Mary Theodora (1892-1965), Lon Bowen (1895-1963), Arrah Neil (1896-<1900) and Ben Fletcher Jr (1899-1963).
His second wife was Lula Ellen Taylor, who he married on 31 DEC 1902 in Tupelo, Jackson County, Arkansas. Their three known children were Virgina Elizabeth (1903-1985), Stella (1910-1929) and Elsie Lou (1915-1919).
|Birth||3 MAY 1860||
|Death||1 MAY 1939||
Obit - Simmons, Ben F and Will L 1939
|Census||24 AUG 1870||
Census 1870 Arkansas, Jackson Cty, Breckenridge Twp
|See Note 5|
|Census||14 JUN 1880||
Census 1880 Arkansas, Jackson County, Breckenridge twp,
ED 131, page 19, stamp 438
|See Note 6|
|Census||1 JUN 1900||
Census 1900 Arkansas, Jackson County, Breckenridge,ED 53 Union ED 61
|See Note 7|
|Census||22 APR 1910||
Census 1910 Arkansas, Jackson Cty
Breckendridge ED 63 and Union ED 73
|Census||14 JAN 1920||
Census 1920 Arkansas, Jackson County ,
ED 71 Newport, ED 181 Breckendridge Twp
|See Note 8|
|Census||2 APR 1930||
Census 1930 Arkansas, Jackson Cty, Tupelo, Breckenridge Twp
ED 34 -6 and 34 -8
Cemeteries -Jackson County Arkansas
Walnut Grove, Lot description and burials, by Walter Heard
|See Note 9|
Obit - Simmons, Ben F and Will L 1939
Map of Tupelo Arkansas Area
|See Note 10|
|Other Event||14 FEB 1906||
Doc-Simmons,Ben shot on train
||See Note 11|
Ben and Lula...
Ben at home,...
Ben with Cor...
Chart of Des...
Ben and Ma P...
Other kids raised by Ben F Include:
Arthur Bowie who married Cora
Children of Martha Rottenberry Harris;
Martha Ellen Harris married Sam Hall
Maude Harris died young
Lula Harris died young
Ben Simmons Jones, aka Cooter--see 1930 census, his mother Stella died 1929, father Earl working in Batesville in 1930
Both Ben F and father Capt Felix were Surveyors in Jackson Co Arkansas
In later years, liked to show four letters to all, one was from President FDR and there handwritten letters from Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt.
Ben's first wife Lucy James Rotenberry was daughter of James A Rotenberry and Cornelia Jane McGuire. After James died, Cornelia married William L Taylor. After Cornelia died, William married Mary Elizabeth Lewis. Second child of William and Mary was Lula Ellen Taylor who became Ben's second wife after Lucy James died. Lula Ellen 20/23 years younger than Lucy/Ben and born year of their marriage. Lula Ellen and was a step sister to first wife, Lucy. All three are on the same grave stone in Walnut Grove Cemetary.
Ben Jones has story about grandfather Ben's annual bear hunts in Mississippi. He often hunted from horseback and one time while chasing a bear thru a thicket, his lever action rifle hung on something , throwing Ben to the ground. When he looked up, he was face to face with the bear. Immedately following this event, he cut his rifle barrel back as short as the forearm and tubular magazine would allow. basicly to match length of the forearm. Ben Jones remembers shotting the cut off rifle at maybe age 10...
In Dec 1850 Holman Felix Simmons at age 27 had left his family and was working as a clerk in Wetumpka Alabama for his future father in law Benjamin Saxon. Saxon was a Tavern Keeper and a wealthly man of influnence in the community, he apparently is the namesake of our Benjamine Fletcher Simmons. Mary Theodora was 16 and living with her parents in the tavern at the time. Holman Felix's parents and 6 or 7 of his siblings were still in Talladega, Alabama.
3 Simmons, childred of Holman Freeman married 3 Saxons, children of Ben W Saxon the tavernkeeper.
Holman Felix Simmons and Mary Theodora Saxon married 20 April 1852 by the pastor of the Wetumpka Baptist Church in Autauga County Alabama.
Susan Burns Simmons and Walter Terry Saxon
Henry Clay Simmons and Mable Antonette Saxon, 6 SEP 1870 probably Levy County, Florida
In August 1860, two brothers and a sister are in Cashe Township of Jackson County Arkansas - Henry Clay and Joseph Bibb Simmons and Mary Simmons Mallory. I'm not sure where Holman Felix was, but would assume he was either in Hernando County Florida or maybe in the 3rd Florida Infantry under brother in law Walter Terry Saxon. Ben F Simmons was born in Brooksville Florida in May 1860.
He formed is own company, in 1862 I'm told. We have his letter resigning his commission because of a gunshot wound to the foot dated Sept 1862 that stated that his residence was in Hernando Florida.
The notes on the photo of Ben's family on the front porch were done by my uncle Bobby Bowie. He said that house was built by Capt Holman Felix in 1867. I don't know where he found the 1867 date, but land records would be the place to start.
The census in August 1870 has Felix, Theodora and 5 children in that house. His mother Eliza Simmons is next door with his sister Mary Mallory, and bother Dr Joseph B Simmons is in the Bowen Ridge area. I haven't traced rest of the family yet, but have that on my to do list.
In June 1880 Ben is still with both parents in that house and apparently worked with father Holman Felix both on the farm and as a suveryor. Holman Felix was Suveryor for Jackson County from 1878 to 1888. My dad, Billy Bowie, told story about his grandfather or great grandfather surveying Walnut Grove Cemetary in Newport when first train came in.
The first document I have showing Ben owned things himself is the census of June 1900. Then he owned a house and farm and did not have a mortgage
My notes on 1910 census are incomplete, but by 1920 he had a mortgage on the home and farm and apparently still had one, maybe two servants.
In 1930 he is in a home owned by son Sax, and with and grandson Ben S Jones is age 2 years and 6 months and is living with grandparents Ben and Lula.
could there be connection between JW Bowie leaving northern mississippi for Ben Simmons land in NE Arkansas in mid to late 1880s and Ben Simmons bear hunting at a camp in NE Mississippi in that same time frame?
William Faulkner, writer, Oxford Mississippi
9/25/1897 to 9/6/1962
less than 5' tall, Nobel prize winner
1915 bearhunting at "General" James Stone Camp
1922 grandfather JWT Faulkner, Jr dies
Murry Cuthbert Faulkner 1870-1932
married Nov 8, 1896 Maud Bulter 1871-1960
compare these times with Ben F Simmons bear hunting Sept 27, 1890
his son Lon Simmons apparently also hunted with him , probably at same camp. It is possible that son Sax Simmons also went on some of those hunts..
HF Simmons 1824-1893 was Capt of Floridia volunteers , is there a connection with either James Stone or elder Faulkner?
Grandson Ben S Jones has story of Ben hunting from horseback and getting knocked off in a chase, then coming up face to face with bear. He cut his lever action hunting rife barrel down to minimum possible length afterward...
Returns to school to play football, and breaks his nose; quits school for good that fall
Goes bear-hunting at “General”James Stone’s camp
William Faulkner published a short story "The Bear Hunt" in The Saturday Evening Post, Feb 10, 1934. He had several short stories about hunting including "The Bear' published as a collection in "The Big Woods, The Hunting Stories" There a several interesting parallels to our Ben Simmons and his family ---including introduction memo to "Saxe Commins" and hunter knocked from his horse---. If nothing else, reading "The Big Woods" gives a pretty good idea of what Ben's bear hunting trips were.
de Spain, Lula: The wife of Major Cassius de Spain whose expensive imported rug was ruined by Ab Snopes in "Barn Burning" and The Hamlet.
de Spain, Major Cassius, I: A perennial, yet peripheral, figure in Yoknapatawpha County. Father of Manfred de Spain, he served as a major in the Confederate Army. In Absalom, Absalom!, he was sheriff in 1869 when Wash Jones killed Thomas Sutpen along with Jones' own granddaughter and great-granddaughter. Soon after, he bought and restored the fishing camp along the Tallahatchie River where Jones had been living. In Go Down, Moses, he was the host for the annual hunting trips, including the one in which Old Ben, the bear, is killed. He later sold most of the property to a lumber company. In "Barn Burning" and The Hamlet, a disagreement with tenant farmer Ab Snopes over a soiled rug led to his barn being burned down. He appears also in Intruder in the Dust, The Town, The Mansion, The Reivers, and "A Bear Hunt." In addition, a Major de Spain who is grieving over the wartime death of his son is depicted in "Shall Not Perish."
de Spain, Major Cassius, II: Apparently, the son of old Major de Spain in "A Bear Hunt" and the present host of the hunting camp who helped support the family of Lucius Hogganbeck. He may also be the Major de Spain who was grieving over the wartime death of his son in "Shall Not Perish."
Old Ben: A large, old, two-toed bear which had eluded hunters for years at Major de Spain's hunting grounds along the Tallahatchie River in northern Yoknapatawpha County. When he was finally killed, by Boon Hogganbeck in 1883, fifty-two old bullets were found embedded in his skin. He is a potent symbol of the vanishing wilderness in "The Bear" section of Go Down, Moses.
Lion: A dog, found by Sam Fathers, which eventually took on Old Ben, the bear, and won, though at great cost. Major de Spain at first believed the dog was too wild to tame, but Sam Fathers conditioned the dog to tolerate humans through starvation methods. Later, Boon Hogganbeck took over care and feeding of Lion from Sam, even allowing Lion to sleep with him in the cabin at Major de Spain's hunting camp. When Lion attacked Old Ben and refused to let go, Boon finished the job started by Lion by killing the bear with his knife. Afterwards, Boon's first concern was to get Lion to a doctor; though a doctor did tend to Lion's wounds, it was too late: the dog died at sundown the next day.
Simmons: The man from whom Jason Compson got the key to the old opera house in Jefferson where records from the failed Merchant and Farmers Bank were being stored in The Sound and the Fury. Jason was searching for a blank check which he could fill out and fool his mother into thinking was sent by Caddy (which Mrs. Compson burned) so he could pocket the money from the real check for himself.
Lon Bowen, age 83 is with Uncle Robert and Margery Simmons in 1930 census. probably namesake?
Facebook Feb 2012:
Jim Simmons @Arthur. I said in one of the posts above that Lon moved in the "late" 40's. I meant "early" 40's. The mind does play tricks in our old age. I remember when they lived there the little girls had a tricycle. They had page-boy haircuts and their hair was the same color as mine. We called it white back then, but now we call it platinum blonde. After they moved, the Clyde Henderson family moved into that house. The Overcup school house was on the south side of the road just a little west of there.
June Jackson Simmons We used to say it was called Simmons switch because the girls switched from one Simmons to another. Lol. Back in the day?
Jim Simmons On your map. When I was born, and growing up, Lon and Dollie lived on the west side of hiway 17 right on the Jackson county side of the Jackson/Woodruff county line. They moved south of Tupelo where you have them marked sometimes in the late 40's.
When I was a kid, we used to go pick up pecans in the orchard over at the place you marked Ben and Lula's. I think Lula still lived there then.18 hours ago · Like Jim Simmons Another interesting thing I remember about Ben. When I was about 4 or 5, I was walking down the county road in front of our house and old Ben came up behind me and hooked my ankle with his cane. At that time we lived just south of his house at the place known as "The Big Barn". My dad was the farm foreman for Alcorn Ferguson.
Family #13 is William and Mary E Mallory with
Mother Eliza Simmons 72, F W no occupation, born Georgia
see alsoRichwoods Twp family #24
Simmons, James 39 MW physician, $400 real estate, born Georgia
no family listed
with parents, one sister, and 3 brothers
white male, widowed, after 16 yrs marriage, farmer
with wife, married son , d-in-law, and daughter
Ben Simmons, w 59 b Flordia, father b Georgia, Mother b Alabama, farmer.
Lula Simmons, w 34, b Ark, father born Alabama, mother b Alabama,
Lon, son, 24, married b Ark
Dortha, Dau in law, married 18, b Ark
Stella, Dau 10, single b Ark
Tomb Stone shared with both wifes. 5 foot tall stone, NE from HF Simmons
2 daughters and one granddaughter share plot, no markers see Walter Heard letter to BBB 19 Aug 1991
see also http://arkansasgravestones.org/ Find A Grave Memorial# 32412766
Goodrich per the Obit is a couple of miles futher south of his home was. Not on Jackson & Woodruff cty line, but about 1 1/2 miles south of the line. This house and 40 acres were owned by son Sax, Ben and Ma Pete moved there after Ben's home was lost to load default in 1933. The house was torn down (1950s?) to salvage the large cypress beams and posts in it. The barn remained in place for a longer time, maybe into 1950s per Ben S Jones. Randy and Jane Simmons Hayden took the hinges from front door just before the house was torn down.
from Lon on 3/15/09:
I do remember Goodrich. I'm not sure where it was but I know exactly where the house was. We used to ride over on Sunday afternoon horse rides. The house was abandoned and we used to take refuge in the barn when it would rain. When the boys were under 10 I took them to see it but all roads had disappeared going in to it. From Overcup by the post office a gravel road went west about a mile, then north about 1/2 mile to the house. This road then connected back into Hwy 17 close to my house.
3y 1m 12d after marriage to Lula Taylor
after birth of Virgina Elizabeth 1903 and before birth of Stella 1910
Ben was shot on train
|Source:||Census 1870 Arkansas, Jackson Cty, Breckenridge Twp|
|Authors:||US Federal Census|
|Date:||21 AUG 1870|
|Source:||Census 1880 Arkansas, Jackson County, Breckenridge twp, ED 131, page 19, stamp 438|
|Source:||Census 1900 Arkansas, Jackson County, Breckenridge,ED 53 Union ED 61|
|Publisher:||Twelfth Census of the US|
|Source:||Census 1910 Arkansas, Jackson Cty Breckendridge ED 63 and Union ED 73|
|Publisher:||US Department of Commerence|
|Source:||Census 1920 Arkansas, Jackson County , ED 71 Newport, ED 181 Breckendridge Twp|
|Publisher:||US Deptartment of Commerence|
|Source:||Census 1930 Arkansas, Jackson Cty, Tupelo, Breckenridge Twp ED 34 -6 and 34 -8|