The first part of thisnarrative was written by Loyal Firman Symmonds in
1890 and was later published in booklet form.
SYMMONDS FAMILY RECORD
Being in the seventieth year of my age, I thought to write a short
sketch of the Symmonds family which would perhaps be of interest to some
who may come after me. My grandfather John Henry Symmonds came from
England prior to the Revolutionary war, and on the breaking out of
hostilities between England and America in 1775, he volunteered in the
Colonial army for six months, and at the expiration of his term he
enlisted in the regular army, where he continued till the close of the
war, being in the service seven years, six months and fourteen days.
After peace was made he was married to Barbara Castleman and settled in
Pennsylvania. After living there a while he moved to Kentucky, but did
not stay there long till he moved to what was then called the Norwest
Territory, now the State of Ohio, and settled near where the town of
Marietta now stands, where he lived and raised his family. I don't know
the number of his children nor the order in which they were born, but
there was three sons, John, the father of the writer, and Solomon and
Joseph. These sons all reached the age of manhood and all served in the
second war with Great Britain. My grandfather on my mother's side was
what was called a Pennsylvania Dutchman, named Peter Hoffman. He was
married in an early day in the State of Virginia to Anna Lyon, and when
my mother and twin sister were infants they crossed over the mountains
on pack horses and settled in what is now Butler County, Ohio, near
where the city of Hamilton now stands. It was there that my father and
mother were married and lived till they had a large family of children.
In the year 1828 when the writer was the baby of the family they moved
to Marion County, Indiana, and settled near where the village of
Bridgeport now stands.
The country was all covered with heavy timber and being far from market
raising and but little to sell it was often very discouraging. There
are but few people now who know the drawbacks and disadvantages of
living in such a country. At that time we had to haul all our surplus
produce to the Ohio river, a distance of eighty miles to the nearest
point where we exchanged it for groceries and dry goods and a little
money with which to pay taxes. I have seen good wheat sell in our
market for twenty-five cents per bushel, while we would have to pay five
to six dollars a barrel for salt. A short time before moving from Ohio
my oldest sister Mary was married to John A. Wetzel, and they moved
with us and settled on land adjoining our home, so we still all lived
near each other. Not long after moving to Indiana my oldest brother
Peter was married to Susan Thompson and built a house and shop on thefarm, he being a blacksmith by trade. He did not live there more than
two years till he was taken with fever and died, leaving a widow and one
child, Franklin Symmonds, whose whereabouts I don't know, but who is now
an old man if living. After the marriage of my oldest brother there was
still left at home a large family of three girls and seven boys. The
girls were all grown and soon married off, Barbara to John Matthews,
Anna to John Poland, and Sarah to Llewellen Boles. This left my mother
with only a great family of boys and no help only such as the boys
could render, and some of them became quite handy about housework My mother had a daughter and two sons born after settling, in Indiana:
Delilah, Jacob and Benjamin. Jacob died in infancy and Benjamin was
killed by lightning in the twentieth year of his age. Sister Sarah did
not live long after her only child was born. Her son Wilson Boles is
now somewhere in Colorado if living,. Sisters Mary and Barbara both
raised large families and died at a good old age. Sister Anna also
lived to old age. She only raised two children, Margaret Fisher and
one son, William Poland.
I will now return to the seven brothers who were born in the following
order: Isaac, John, James, Samuel, Squire L, William and the writer, who
is the seventh son, without any girls between, which according to the
Dutch tradition makes me the doctor, by which name I have been called
since my earliest recollection. We grew to manhood, used to hard work,
were all large men, weighing on an average about 175 pounds, and in
such sport as running, jumping and wrestling there could always be found
a champion among the Symmonds boys.
Our parents were members of the Primitive Baptist Church and
maintained a very strict discipline in the family. There was no
profanity or roudyism [sic] allowed, for which I have always felt
thankful, for when there are so many boys together they are apt to
study out a good deal of mischief.
We did all our clearing of logs ourselves, rolled our logs ourselves,
and I used to think it was a pretty big log that my father and his seven
sons could not take up on handspikes and carry. About the year 1843 or
1844 my brother-in-laws, John Wetzel, John Poland, and my brother Isaac
came west and settled in Adams County, Illinois, near Marceline. This
was some 300 miles from where we lived, and there being no railroads
across the country the traveling all had to be done by private
conveyance. Our friends wrote back glowing, accounts of the
productiveness of the country, which give us all the "West fever," so
the family, came out, one family, at a time. John Matthews and
brothers John, James and Samuel, so that a majority of the family, were
in the west. After so many, of the brothers and sisters had come west
my parents became dissatisfied and wanted to follow their children and
get their family all in reach of them again, so in the spring of 1853 my
father sold his farm and in the following October we all moved to this
country. My father bought a small farm with what was then considered a
good house, where we often met in friendly visits, but when a family
becomes divided into several independent families it is a hard matter to
keep them together. Brothers John, James and Samuel moved to Missouri
and Brother William back to Indiana, so we were worse scattered than
ever. About the year 1861 my mother got a fall, disabling one of her
hips, from which hurt she never recovered so as to be able to walk. She
lived about five years after being hurt and died on the 9th day of June
1866, being about 78 years old. Some time after the death of my mother
my youngest sister Delilah was married to Elder B. R. Warren, and they
continued to live with father. She became the mother of a daughter and
a son. The son died in infancy and the daughter is now Mrs. John
Leppla. In the month of August 1875 Delilah was thrown out of a buggy
and badly hurt, from which hurt she never recovered, but died on the
26th of October following. My father continued to live in his own
house till his death, which occurred on the 27th day of May, 1872, in
the eighty-ninth year of his age. I have now written of the death of
all my brothers and sisters and parents, leaving the seven brothers
still living. Brother Squire died on the 4th of November, 1895, from
kidney and heart trouble, and Brother John died on the 5th of February following, from a complication of diseases. Brother Samuel died on the
15th of July, 1902, from cancer, and Brother James on the 25th of
August, 1902, and Brother William on the 30th of April, 1903, so that of
all this numerous family they are all gone but myself and Brother Isaac.
I will now give just a short sketch of my own life and close this
narrative. As I said, my parents settled in the wilds of Indiana when I
was but a small child. The days of my childhood and boyhood was spent
like other backwoods boys. There were but few schools in the country
and what there was were of a very inferior grade. In looking back to
that time now I cannot say now that the little schooling that I got ever
done me any good, as we were so situated that I could not attend school
but a few days at a time. My mother, who was one of the best of women
and whose memory I shall ever cherish, taught me to read. She also
taught me many good moral lessons which I have tried to keep through
life. And so I grew to manhood with but little knowledge of the ways of
the world. I was a fair reader and could write a legible hand, but did
not know the first rules of arithmetic. This was something that I had
to do afterwards in order to be able to do business.
In the month of August 1848, 1 went away from home and hired to work on
a brickyard for $13.50 a month. I worked seventeen and a half days when
I was taken down with fever and had a long spell of sickness. After
getting the fever broke I mended very rapidly for about three weeks,
when I was caught out in a rain and took the chills, which stayed with
me off and on for six months. By this time my system was so run down
that it was eleven months from the time I was first taken sick before I
was able to do a day's work. In the month of October 1849, Brother Samuel moved West and I came with him. He came in a two-horse wagon
with his wife and two children, and I rode on horseback. We were on
the road fourteen days. Our trip was without incident worth naming,
only at one time we ran out of bread and had a good deal of trouble to
get something to eat. We had fallen in company with several families of
movers from Virginia and they were all in the same condition for
something to eat as ourselves. At length we heard of a "horse mill"
about three miles off the road and one man took a horse out of one of
their teams and he and I started to mill. When we got there the miller
told us he had no flour, but that a man had just left there with a
large sack full, so we followed and overtook the man and prevailed in
getting him to divide with us. I think I got about fifteen pounds of
flour, but the other man went deeper into his sack, he having a larger
company to provide for. I spent seven months in Adams and Hancock
counties at that time working in the timber making rails. I also helped
my brother-in-laws Matthews and Wetzel move their stock from Adams to
Hancock County. In the spring I began to make preparations to farm when
I received a letter from home stating that my Brother William was down
with typhoid fever and they wished me to come home and take charge of
the farm. So on the 25th of April 1850 I started on horseback to make
the trip of 300 miles to Indianapolis. This was a long lonesome trip.
The country was new and what settlers there was were around the edges of
the timber, while the roads were just traces across the prairies from
one point of timber to another and but few of the streams were bridged.
On the morning of the fourth day I passed through Springfield, then but
a small town. It commenced raining about the time I got into town, but
I rode on to the village of Rochester, eight miles east of Springfield,
when I stopped at a hotel thinking I would wait for better weather.
This was Sunday, and the place seemed to be a gathering place for all
the roughs in the neighborhood. Some were drinking, some were gambling
and swearing and some were so drunk that they hardly knew what they were
doing. I stayed there till about three o'clock in the afternoon and
still it rained. By this time I was getting very tired of the company,
so I told the landlord to get my horse and I would travel on. He
insisted that I should stay as it was not a fit day to travel, but I was
anxious to get away as I did not think I could find a worse place.
Directly I got clear of the town and I commenced trying to find a place
to stop, but everyone seemed to have some excuse for not keeping me.
So I rode on through the rain for nine miles, when I rode up to a little
cabin and asked the man if he could keep me. He said he guessed not as
they were not fixed to entertain people. His wife, a large fleshy
woman, stood looking over his shoulder. She said, "Let him stay; don't
you see that he is as wet as he can be." The man said that if I could
put up with their fare he would try to keep me. I told him I could put
up with anything if I could get shelter. So I went in while the boys
took charge of my horse. He soon had a roaring fire and I took off my
heavy overcoat, which was pretty water soaked, and I soon felt
comfortable. I look back yet with feelings of gratitude to those people
for their kindness to me in my time of need. After leaving this place I
traveled on till I came to the west branch of the Okaw river, which was
bank full. There was a company of men who were on their way to
California. They had succeeded in getting across by using their wagon
bed for a boat and swimming their horses. One of the men told me that
there was some place up the stream where a footman could cross, as he
had seen a man go up on one side and come down on another. So I went
up the stream a short distance and found where two trees had fallen
together with their tops in the stream, so I took off my saddle and
carried it across. I then took my horse back to the ford and left him
with the men while I went up and came down on the other side. The men
then started my horse in to swim to me. He swam in twice to the middle
of the stream and turned around and went back to the same side. I
called to the men to take him higher up the stream where it was not so
wide. They did so and when I called him he jumped into the river and
swam to me. I went on from there without any incident worth naming,
reaching home about eight o'clock the ninth day, very tired.
I found my Brother William almost well and was glad to be at home
again. I find I am making this story too long, and I will hasten it to
a close. I stayed at home that summer and the next and on the 28th of
September, 1851, I was married to Miss Charlotte Tyner, daughter of
Captain Harris Tyner, one of the pioneers of Indiana. We lived happily
together for over two years, when we moved to Hancock County, Illinois.
We had not been in the West but a short time when my wife and I were
both taken down with fever and she only lived twelve days till she
died. This was the severest trial I ever had to bear. I was left in a
strange country with no home that I could call my own with two little
children, the youngest but little over three months old. I went to my
father's and commenced living a very lonesome life. My little children
were about all the company I could enjoy. I had plenty of friends who
were willing to do all they could for me, but no one could fill the
vacant place of wife and mother. So on the 9th day of January, 1855, I
was married to Nancy Tyner, a sister to my first wife, and she and I
have come down the hill of life together and are now nearing the end of
the journey. We have had our seasons of prosperity and adversity, of
sunlight and shadow, and in looking back over life I don't know that we
have anything more to be sorry for than usually falls to the lot of
mortals. We have raised three sons and three daughters to be men and
women grown. Four of them are married and have homes of their own, and
two of them are still with us. The foregoing was written expressly for
my children. Written partly from tradition and partly from memory, and
I believe is correct.
LOYAL F. SYMMONDS.
The following portion appears to be written by Clara B. Johnson. I
don't know what her connection to the family is but she obviously had a
strong interest to do the research that she did. (Arlene Peil)
SYMMONDS -- FAMILY RECORD
A brief outline of the Symmonds Family History f rom Henry Symmonds
Revolutionary soldier, down through his son, John Henry and the latter's
This effort is respectfully, dedicated to all of the descendants of
John Henry Symmonds, Jr., who fought in the War of 1812, the second war
Among the various numerous representatives of the Symmonds family, the
ties of kinship have been so augmented by the ties of congeniality, good
will and unselfishness that they have clung together as few families on
record have found it possible. They have recently established the custom
of meeting on August 14th every year for a family reunion that the
family ties may be preserved intact and that the memory of their noble
ancestors shall not perish in oblivion.
We are indebted to L. F. Symmonds for a partial history of the Symmonds
family and it is the object of the writer to merely add to his
information some things he omitted which may be of interest to our
posterity and which will enable those wanting to join a society of the
S. A. R. or of the D. A. R. to gather their data without the labor and
delay which I encountered in accumulating my evidence.
Henry Symmonds, was born in London, England, in 1740, and received his
education there. Dr. Wesley Symmonds great grandson of Henry Symmonds,
gives the information that he was a silk weaver by trade before he left
London. While yet a young man he came to the United States and enlisted
as a private soldier in the Revolutionary war in 1776. His entire name
was John Henry, but since he dropped the name John when he enlisted and
was known in the war only as Henry Symmonds, it is necessary for us to
mention him only in that way.
His residence during the war was at Bedford, Pennsylvania, and it was
there that he enlisted. He served under captains Huffnagle, Carnahan,
Brady and Finley with Daniel Broadhead as Colonel and was in MacIntosh's
expedition to Pittsburgh. He was engaged in the battles of Brandywine
and Germantown. The American flag was first carried in battle at
Brandywine, September 11, 1777, so he was among the first to fight under
the American flag. The documentary records are from Revolutionary War
Records, Section I. S. C.-S. File 40550, Revolutionary War. The other
data are, from the Symmonds family history written by L. F. Symmonds,
grandson of Henry Symmonds, and the family records preserved by Eliza
Matthews Browning, great granddaughter of Henry Symmonds.
Henry Symmonds married Barbara Castleman in 1783. She was born in 1752
and died in 1815. Henry Symmonds died in 1826. He drew his pension
from Madison Township, Butler County, Ohio.
Henry Symmonds had three sons, John Henry, Solomon and Joseph, all
soldiers in the War of 1812. He had one or more daughters whose names
are not recorded. The latter part of his life was spent living with a
daughter and her two children.
John Henry, the oldest son, was born April 7, 1784. He married
Margaret Huffman, daughter of Peter and Anna Lyon Huffman, March 11,
1806. She was born May 5, 1788. They had a large family. One son,
Benjamin, was killed by lightning at the age of twenty, and another,
while still an infant, sat down in a skillet of hot grease on the
fireplace where they did their cooking and was burned to death. John
Henry Symmonds died May 27, 1872. His wife died June 9, 1866.
He and his wife were great Bible students and he had almost the entire
book "by heart." He was a deeply religious man and donated the ground
for the old Bethel church and cemetery and almost all the materials used
in the construction of the church. He resided in a residence, large for
that time, near the church. His lively family contributed much mirth
and enjoyment to the home.
William, one of the younger sons, told an amusing story of looking out
one night and all of the stars seemed to be falling. He cried out
"Lordy Mercy, all of the stars are falling down." He soon had plenty of
company at the door. That was the wonderful meteoric shower of 1833.
Respectfully submitted by
CLARA B. JOHNSON.
I am not certain who contributed the following, but since Loyal Firman
Symmonds date of death is cited, I would assume he did not write it.
Also, It would appear to me that the birth date of Benjamin Symmonds is
incorrect, if his date of death is correct. Several sources say that he
was killed by lightning at age 20. There are only 14 years between the
birth and death dates in this narrative. It looks to me like they have
Jacob and Benjamin's birthdates transposed. I am also not sure about
Isaac dying in 1917. I think he may have died earlier than that.
CHILDREN OF JOHN HENRY SYMMONDS
Peter, born December 25, 1806. Died September 12, 1830. Married Susan
Thompson and died about two years later, leaving a widow and one son,
Franklin Symmonds. Peter Symmonds was a blacksmith by trade.
John Symmonds, Jr. No. 1, was born July 14, 1808, and died July 22,
Mary Symmonds, born August 11, 1909. Died July 22, 1897. Married John
Wetzel, July 31, 1828. He was born October 19, 1806, and died November
12, 1858. To them were born six sons and one daughter. She was a woman
of untiring industry and reared her children from infancy with little
assistance. Her cheerful disposition and optimistic nature were her
Barbara Symmonds, born March 4, 1811. Died June 2, 1868. Married John
Matthews January 14, 1830. He was born November 4, 1799. Died
September 4, 1893. To them were born six sons and three daughters. She
was noted as a woman of great ambition and intelligence and a fine cook.
Anna Symmonds, born March 8, 1813. Died September 13, 1881. Married
John Poland November 12, 1835. He was born February 3, 1812. Died
October 2, 1886. She was a woman of great generosity and spent her
efforts in caring for the needy and unfortunate. She was also a fine
cook, housekeeper and good manager.
Sarah Symmonds, born February 16, 1815. Married Llewellen Boles
September 15, 1836. She had one son, Wilson Boles. She died about
1838, soon after giving birth to her son.
Isaac Symmonds, born January 19, 1817. Died in 1917. Married Martha
Walker. To them were born three sons and four daughters. He was a
religious man, lively, witty and kind to his family.
John Symmonds, No. 2 by the same name as John Jr. Born October 11,
1818. Died February 5, 1896. Married Zeruah Symmonds. To them were
born two sons and three daughters. He was a deeply religious man of a
refined nature, very sympathetic, with a place for everything and
everything in its place. Everything around his habitation indicated
care and order.
James Harvey Symmonds, born September 21, 1820. Died August 25, 1902.
Married Cassander Newman March 4, 1844. To them were born three sons
and five daughters. After Cassander's death he married Louisa Clapper.
To them were born one son and one daughter. After Louisa's death he
married Elizabeth Thompson.
Samuel Symmonds, born April 19, 1822. Died July 15, 1902, from
cancer. Married Hannah Pendergast April 26, 1846. She died about
1870. To them were born four sons and three daughters. He was
industrious, honest and upright in all his dealings. He had a cheerful,
contented disposition and always looked upon the bright side of life.
Squire Little Symmonds, born February 13, 1824. Died November 4,
1895. Married Martha Cox February 8, 1848. To them were born three
sons and five daughters. He was always lively and cheerful and
preserved a youthful personality till he passed his three score years
and ten. William Symmonds, born September 17, 1825. Died April 30,
1903. Married Kiziah Cauffman. She died April 30, 1902. To them were
born two sons and two daughters. He was witty, a good story teller and
a fine entertainer. He was very industrious and energetic.
Loyal Firman Symmonds, born April 12, 1827. Died November 18, 1904.
Married Charlotte Tyner September 28, 1851. She was born August 19,
1833. Died November 24, 1853. To them were born one son and one
daughter. Later he married Nancy Tyner, a sister to his former wife.
They were married January 19, 1855. She was born April 25, 1836. Died
December 14, 1921. To them were born two sons and three daughters. He
was just and honest in all of his dealings and was a man of good
business judgment. He was well versed in the Scriptures, a good
conversationalist and well read.
Delilah Symmonds, born March 15, 1829. Died October 26, 1895. Married
Elder B. R. Warren. He was born January 10, 1816. Died April 16,
1900. To them were born one son and one daughter. She was a woman of
large physique and with a heart correspondingly large. Her life was
spent in service to the unfortunate and needy and her kindness to orphan
children was one of her distinct virtues.
Jacob Symmonds, born December 13, 1830. Died in infancy. He stumbled
into a skillet of hot grease which was on the fireplace where the
cooking was done.
Benjamin Symmonds, born March 1, 1836. He was killed by lightning,
while working in the harvest field in July 1850.
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