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Upper Tatnalls

Land Grants

D-163 (220 acres, 1828)

Benjamin Sims. Origin: Old Inhabitant

Benjamin Sim(m)s was granted land in 1828, so the grant from the Crown was much later than the original round, and properly does not belong in this list at all, but we believe he represents a much earlier Sims family member who did reside on Long Island and perhaps had difficulty obtaining a formal land grant.

The Sims family was likely descended from one of the Eleutheran Adventurers, having arrived in the Bahamas from Bermuda in the mid-17th century. Benjamin Simms Jr. married Deborah Wells 16 December 1775 on New Providence. John and Jennie Sims were free blacks, and it is likely that most or all of the Simms family were persons of color.

Aaron Sims and Moses Sims are both listed in the 1734 Census as “Free negroes or mulattos” living with a white woman and mulatto or free negro children. Benjamin and Joseph Sims were listed as boys living in the household of William and Mary Fitzgerald in the 1740 Census, and Moses lived with his son James in that census, too. Aaron, Benjamin, and Joseph Sims are all listed in the 1736 Poll Tax.

The Simms are believed to be one of the earliest families on Long Island, with Knowles, Majors, Darvilles, and Foxes. In fact, there had been Simms in the Bahamas since at least 1704, in which year a “James Simes” was listed as a signatory in a petition to the Royal Customs Officer for New Providence, documenting the dire circumstances the inhabitants found themselves in after a series of degradations by Spaniards.

References: HB, Craton & Saunders, 1734 Census, 1736 Poll Tax, 1740 Census.

Benjamin Simms

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