History of the Simmons Family


Moses Simmons, 1st. (Moyses Symonson)
Ship Fortune 1621

Lorenzo Albert Simmons

Lincoln, Nebraska

The Simmons Family in America

MOSES SIMMONS (Moyses Symonson) the father of the family in America, came to Plymouth in the ship "Fortune" from Lyden, Holland, in 1621, landing on the ninth day of November of that year. Several years previous to the sailing of the Mayflower for America, Brewster went to Lyden, Holland, where the Reform Church was organized by the English refugees.

From what we read in the story of the Pilgrim Fathers by E. Arber, pages 155, 156 and 159, we believe that Moyses Symonson was a son of William Simonzoon (Symonson) who lived near the Church at Leyden. He says:


We, PIETER ARENTSZOON DEYMAN and AMELIS VAN HOGEVEEN, Schepens (Aldermen Or Town Magistrates) in Lyden, make known that before us came Johan de Lalaing, declaring, for himself and his heirs, that he has sold, and by these presents does sell, to Jan Robinszoon Minister of God's Word of the English Congregation in this City, Willem Jepson, Henry Wood, and Raynulph (Ralph) Tickens, who has married Jane White; Jointly and each for himself an equal fourth part; a house and ground, with a garden situated on the west side thereof, standing and being in this city on, the south side of the Pieter's Kerckhoff (grounds of Pieters Church) near the belfry: formerly called the Groene Port (Green Gate).

Bounded and having situated on the one side, eastwardly a certain small room, which the comparent (the Appearer or Grantor) reserves to himself: being over the door of the house hereby sold; next thereto is Willem Simonszoon (William Symonson) Van Der Wilde; and next to him, the residence of the Commandarije And on the other side, westwarlly having the Widow and Heirs of Huyck Van Alekemade; and next to him, the Comparant himself; and next to him is the Donekers Graft (the dark canal), which is also situated on the west of the aforesaid garden; and next to it, is the Falide Bagynhoff (Veiled Nuns Cloister) ertending from the street of the Kerckhoff aforesaid, to the rear of the Falide Bagynhoff before named,

All, and so, as the aforesaid house is at present built and made, used and occupied; with everything thereto attached (aertennagelvast, fastened to the ground or nailed), to him, the comparant, belonging; subject to a yearly rent charge of eleven stivers and twelve pence (say 20 English pence then) payable to the Heer Van Poelgeest.

And he the Comparent, promises the aforesaid, house and ground, upon the conditions aforesaid, to warrant and defend from all other incumberances with which the same may be charged, for a year and a day, and for ever, as is just; hereby binding thereto all his property, moveable and immoveable, now owned, or hereafter to be owned by him, without any exceptions.

Further making known that he, the Comparant, is paid for the aforesaid purchase, and fully satisfied therewith, the sum of eight thousand guilders (equals £1,400 English then), the last penny with the first; and that with a purchase money lien—two thousand guilders (equals £350 English then), being paid down; and five hundred guilders (£87, 10s English then) to be paid in May 1612, and annually thereafter, until all be paid.

And all this in good faith, and without fraud.

In witness of these presents, we have set our seals, the 5th day of May 1611.

(Signed) J. Swanenburch

(From the story of the Pilgrim Fathers, by E. Arber, pp 156-7)

"But, on the 5th of May 1611, a Transport Brief or deed, was made to him, in conjunction with three others of his Congregation, of the house and piece of ground in question, nearly opposite the Belfry which stood in the rear of St. Peter's Church, and fronting on Pieter's Kerchhoff, or Clock Steech (literally translated Bell Alley) a street between twenty and thirty feet wide." - (From the story of the Pilgrim Fathers, by E. Arber, p. 155)

"The other record to which we refered as showing that Robinson alone resided in the house, excepting, of course, the room over the door, reserved by Johan de Lalaing, is a list of those rated for a poll Tax, on the 15th. of October 1622, in the Bon or Wyk (that is a small district set off for municipal purposes), called The Seven Houses. Mention made of Robinson's family." (From the story of the Pilgrim Fathers, by E. Arber, p. 159) See page 358, Vol. 3, Historical Magazine 1859. Article by Henry C. Murphy

"We have already given the different trades persued by those of Robinson's congregation who were married at Leyden. and emigrated in the first four ships." See November and December 1859, pages 261, 263, 330, 335. 357, 359, Census of Leyden in 1622, record of which is still in the Stadt House (State House) page 333 says "This land (Robinson's) was bounded on one side by land owned by William Symonds a good old colony name."

The William Symonson mentioned in the above deed is probably the father of Moyses Symonson who came the Fortune, and likely he was one of the English refugees, which would account for the name being changed to Simmons in America. Cushman, commander of the "Fortune" makes mention of Moses Simmons, one of the Pilgrims on his ship. Winslow also says, "He was a child of one that was in communion with the dutch church at Lyden, and being admitted into church fellowship at Plymouth, New England, and his children also admitted to baptism, as well as our own."

The "Fortune" sailed for America early in July, 1621, and landed at Plymouth November 9th, 1621. Cushman returned to England soon after landing the Pilgrims who came with him to make a report to his principals, who financed the expedition, and died soon after without returning to America, therefore we have no further record of his passengers.

We find the history of Moses Simmons since his arrival in America to be well connected by the different local histories, court records, and vital statistics, kept by the different towns and churches in New England. Barry's history says "Moses Simmons (formerly written Moyses Symonson) came to Plymouth in the ship "Fortune" in 1621, and is usually recorded as one of the Pilgrims, being among the earliest settlers of Plymouth,''

We find in the history of New England (1633 to 1672) frequent mention of Moses Simmons, showing that he was very prominent and active in civic affairs in Plymouth and Duxbury.

In the division of land made in 1623, he, with Phillip De La Noyes, (now Delano), received each an acre ''beyond the first brooke, to the woods westward'' and in 1628, March 26, he amid Edward Bompass sold each one acre of ground to Robert Hicks "Laying on time north side of town'' probably being time acre granted him in 1623.

In the division of cattle made May the 22nd 1627, the first lot consisting of "four black heifers'' that came in the ship ''Jacob,'' and two she goats, fell to Francis Cooke and his company, among whom was MOSES SIMMONS.

He was unmarried in 1627, as he then only received a single man's share. He was in Duxbury before 1637, and in that year was one of time jury of twelve to set forth highways about Plymouth, "Ducksburrow," and the Eele River. ln 1638-9 he received a grant of forty acres.

We find this family name sometimes spelled "Symons," sometimes ''Symonds,'' and sometimes ''Simonds" but mostly the original way of "SIMMONS,'' and the family itself is numerous, respectable and of quite ancient date.

Proof of the relationship of Moses (2) and Aaron (2) to Moses of the Fortune will be found in the following deeds of Moses, Sr., of Duckbury:

Old colony deeds, vol. IV page 64
"Moses Simons of Duxburrow, Yeoman, for a marriage heretofore consumated between John Soule, of Duxburrow and my eldest daughter Rebeckah, have given, land at Namasmett and places adjacent granted by the Court of New Plymouth, unto the first comers, whereof I, the said Moses Simmons ame one, as by the records appeer.'' Deed dated, Dec. 30th, 1674.

Old colony deeds, Vol. IV page 274.
''Moses Simmons Senir, of Duxburrow, Yoeman, for love I bear to my Son, Aaron Simmons, of Scituate, my one half share of land'' etc., also land is mentioned at Dartmouth. I the said Moses Simmons senir have set my hand Dee. 4, 1678'' acknowledged by Moses Simmons Senir and Sarah Iris wife, this 4th, of the 10th. (78) before Mr John Alden assistant.

Old colony deeds. Vol. IV page 276.
''Aaron Simmons of Scituate to Zachariah Jenkens of Sandwich. All try one half share of lands which are given unto me by ray Father Moses Simmons sen'r of Duxburrow, as doth appear his deed 4th. 1678. (the deed is dated Dec. 4, 1678) to wit: One half share of land I have as a purchaser or old comer in tract purchased by Wm. Bradford Capt. Myles Standish, and others of and from the Indian sachemms called Wosamequin and Wamsutta, from a flat rock on the west side of Accoaksett river, to the E side Ac coaksett river 3 miles, as by deed under said Sachems hands, dated Nov. 29th, 1652. My ½ share is 1-70 part of said town of Dartmouth. Aaron Simmons & Seal. Aaron's wife, Mary, surrendered her dower in these lands, Dcc. 5th. 1678.

Old colony deeds, Vol. 111, part 2, page 5. (copy at state house Boston.)
Moses Symons of Scituate sells to Joseph Coleman sr., of Scituate, one half of forty acres of up land Coaksett, ''sometime the land of my father, Moses Symons of Duxburrow" etc.

Moses Symons and seal. This deed was acknowledged by Patience, the wife of Moses Symonds jr. this 4th of the 9th. 64, before me John Alden, assistant.

Also the recording of probate of will of Moses Jr.

Vol. 5, page 220 of printed Plymouth colony records, Mar. 6th, 1676-7, letters of administration are granted unto the wife of Moses Simmons Jr., to administer on his estate. The will of Moses Simmons Jr., was probated March 7th. 1676-7, and widow Patience deposed.

We also find that Moses, who married Sarah, was the Moses who came on the "Fortune" as he would certainly be the only one to have first property rights at Bridgewater, and it is known that the first Moses early sold his rights there; the following is an excerpt of deed record kept at Plymouth, and copy at the State house, Boston:

"I Moses Simmons of Duxburrow, in New Plymouth Colonic, with the consent of my wife Sarah, for valuable consideration have bargained sold to Nicholas Byram of Weymouth, my whole right of land in Bridgewater town."

Moses Simmons, who married Sarah, also signs himself as Moses Simmons sr., in acknowledging his gift of deed to his son, John Simmons, who married Mercy Pabody Feb. 27th, 1669.

N. E. H., Vol. 5, 116.
Moses Simmons sr., on June 3rd, 1673, paid Rice Sutter £3 damage in breach of promise for daughter Elizabeth.

N. E. H., Vol. I, page 28.
Nine bushels of corn collected front Moses Simmons for taxes.

On to Moses Simmons genealogy.

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