Moses Simmons was born probably in England ca 1605, assuming he arrived at Plymouth as a young servant. He moved to Leiden, Holland, with his parents who were Separatists. His parents aren’t known, but there was a William Symonson at Leiden, who had a younger son named Moses, a subject which Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs wrote an article about (see sources). His last name is also seen as Symonson, Symons and Simonson. He is my 10th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.
Moses came to Plymouth on the ship Fortune in 1621. He settled in Duxbury and is referred to in records as a yeoman (a farmer who owns his land).
That Moses was at Leiden is shown through Edward Winslow’s writing: "Moses Symonson, because a child of one that was in communion with the Dutch church at Leyden, is admitted into church fellowship at Plymouth in New England, and his children also to baptism, as well as our own." (Hipocrisie Unmasked)). He was a freeman in Plymouth and later in the Duxbury section of freeman (1639, 1658, 1670 and 1683/4)
|Circa 1910 postcard of Duxbury. Imagine how beautiful and unspoiled it was in the 17th century?|
Moses married Sarah, whose maiden name is unknown, circa 1635. Older sources give her maiden name was Chandler, but no modern evidence supports this.
Moses and Sarah had at least seven children. Their births are not recorded, but all but Rebecca and Moses are mentioned in Moses’ will. Rebecca was already deceased, but in 1674 deeded land to John Soule and his eldest daughter Rebecca of Duxbury. Moses Jr. mentions his father Moses of Duxbury in a land transaction.
Rebecca born about 1635, m. John Soule
Moses born about 1639, m. Patience Barstow
Mary born about 1641, m. Joseph Alden (son of John and Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower)
John born about 1644, m. Mercy Pabodie
Sarah born about 1649, m. James Nash
Elizabeth born about 1651, m. Richard Dwelly
Aaron born about 1653, m. Mary Woodworth
I descend from Rebecca who married John Soule, son of Mayflower passenger George Soule.
|Plymouth Colony map showing Duxbury's location|
Moses is listed in a number of deeds, which he signed up until 1678 when he used a mark. He served on juries, as a highway surveyor and was on the 1643 list of men able to bear arms.
In the 1623 Plymouth land division "Moyses Simonson & Philipe de la Noye" jointly received two acres (PCR 12:5). In the 1627 Plymouth cattle division Moses Simonson was the 8th person in the first company headed by Francis Cooke (PCR 12:9). On 26 March 1628 Moses Simonson sold one acre to Robert Hicks (PCR 12:7). "Moses Symons" assessed 9s in Plymouth tax lists of 25 March 1633 and 27 March 1634 (PCR 1:11,28). On 3 June 1662 Moses Simonson was 25th on the list of those granted land "as being the first born children of the government," receiving two tracts of land (PCR 4:19). On 13 December 1660 Moses Symons of Scituate sold to Joseph Coleman Sr of Scituate, shoemaker, half of 40 acres of land at Coaksett which was sometimes the land of my father Moses Symons of Duxburrow; acknowledged by Patience, wife of Moses Symons Jr (PCLR 3:183). On 20 April 1669 "Moses Simons" of Duxbury, planter, deeded to "John Simons his true and natural son all that his dwelling house, outhouses and buildings, land, meadow and upland, orchards and garden" in Duxbury, containing 40 acres of upland and 3 acres of meadow "with two acres of meadow...at little wood island in the great marsh" (PCLR 3:139). On 30 Dec 1674 Moses Simons of Duxbury, yeoman "in consideration of a marriage heretofore consummated between John Soule of Duxburrow and my eldest daughter Rebeckah" deeded to them "all my purchased lands at Namaskett" (MD 19:96, citing PCLR 4:43). On 4 Dec 1678 Moses Simmons Senior of Duxbury, yeoman, deeded to "my son Aron Simmons of Scituate" all that my one-half share of land, with upland and meadow lands divided and undivided...that I have as a purchaser or old comer" in Dartmouth (PCLR 4:219).
Sarah died after 3 June 1673 when she is mentioned in a court record, but before 17 June 1689, when Moses does not mention her in his will.
Moses died between 17 June 1689 (will written) and 10 September 1691 (will proved). In his will, Moses Simmons called himself "aged and full of decay.” He bequeathed to "my daughter Mary the wife of Joseph Alden" 4 pounds; to "my son Aaron" 4 pounds; to "my daughter Elizabeth now the wife of Richard Dwelley" 5 shillings; to "my daughter Sarah now the wife of James Nash" 2 lb 10s; to "my son John" 4 lb, he to be executor (MD 31:60, citing PPR 1:106). The inventory of the estate of Moses Simmons was taken 10 September 1691 and totaled 33 pounds 11 shillings, with no real estate included as he had already deeded it to his children (MD 31:60, citing PPR 1:107).
Sources Not Listed Above:
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, 1995
Eugene Stratton, History of Plymouth Colony It's History and People, 1986
Jeremy Dupertuis Bangs, Moses Simons of Leiden, Summer 2004 issue of New England Ancestors