Sunday, October 25, 2015

Vizilla (Sims) Dinwiddie

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

Vizilla Sims, daughter of Rev. James and Dolly (Spillers) Sims, was born 30 May 1811 and died 11 April 1890. She is buried in the Arcadia Cemetery, Arcadia, Morgan County, Illinois.

Vizilla Sims [daughter of Rev. James and Dolly (Spillers) Sims, married Thomas C. Dinwiddie on 25 May 1830 in Morgan County, Illinois.
[Source: Vol. A pg. 8 Morgan County, Illinois marriages]

Thomas C. Dinwiddie was born 1806 and died 2 Sept 1858. He is buried in the Arcadia Cemetery, Arcadia, Morgan County Illinois.

Biographical information of son James Dinwiddie:

James Dinwiddie, the son of a pioneer of Morgan County...Mr. Dinwiddie's paternal grandfather, William Dinwiddie, was a native of Ireland...His son [William Dinwiddie's], Thomas C. [Dinwiddie], came to Illinois from the old Kentucky home about the year 1826, and was engaged in blacksmithing in Galena the ensuing nine months. At the expiration of that time he came to this county, and located on the farm where our subject is living. He established himself in the tannery business and conducted it several years. In the spring of 1830 he took unto himself a wife in the person of Miss Vizilla Sims, and she was of great help to him in the founding of a pleasant home, and aided him in making his life a success during the years that they walked its paths together. Her parents, the Rev. James and Dolly (Spillars) Sims, brought her from Kentucky, where she was born in 1811, to Illinois, then a territory, in 1815. They located first in Madison County; two years later removed to Sangamon County, and six years after that, in 1823, came to this county, and were among its earliest settlers. Jacksonville, now the county seat, was then only a small hamlet, with a few small log houses and one little store. Mr. Sims, who was an earnest Methodist and a fervent expounder of the Gospel, became the first preacher in this part of the county. He also engaged in farming, and had a farm north of the centre of township 16, range 10 west, on section 18, and there his wife died. He later sold that place and lived some years with his children, and died at the home of his daughter Mrs. Elizabeth Black, in Sangamon County.

The farm belonging to the father [Thomas Dinwiddie] of our subject joined his father-in-law's [James Sims] on the west, and he and his young wife began housekeeping in a log cabin 16 x 16 feet, with a clapboard roof, a clapboard door on the south side, and a window of six panes of glass, 8 x 10 on the north side. They lived there several years, and in that humble abode our subject was born. Later his father bought an interest in a tanyard owned by his brother-in-law, Wesley Sims and then removed to a farm house which he had built near the yard. He and his family lived in that many years, but in 1857 he erected and took possession of the house where our subject now lives. He [Thomas Dinwiddie] was not spared to enjoy his new home many months, for in 1858 he was gathered to his fathers, having rounded out a good life that was useful to himself and beneficial to others. He was a man of influence in this community, and was greatly beloved by his neighbors. He had been Justice of the Peace of the township many years, and in that capacity always sought to promote amity among those about him. To him and his wife came nine children, as follows: William, deceased; James; Andrew, deceased; Samuel; Helen married W. K. Richardson, and died in this county; Martha A. married Mr. Thomas Richards; Thomas; Isabelle and David, deceased. The mother is a cherished member of the household of our subject, and, although she has reached the advanced age of seventy-eight years, she is still hale and active. She is a firm Christian, and an esteemed member of the Protestant Methodist Church. Her daughter, Mrs. Richards, accompanied her husband to California soon after her marriage, and on their return they staid at Salt Lake City more than a year, and their first child was born in that Mormon stronghold.
[Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Morgan and Scott Counties, Illinois]

DINWIDDIE, JAMES, one of the veteran agriculturists of Morgan County, Ill., was born on the farm where he now lives, in Section 18, Town 16, Range 10, a mile and a half west of Arcadia, on February 16, 1833, the son of Thomas C. and Vizilla (Sims) Dinwiddie - the former born in Bourbon County, Ky., October 6, 1806, and the latter in North Carolina May 30, 1811. The mother's parents removed to Kentucky when she was quite young.

The paternal grandfather was William Dinwiddie. Thomas C. Dinwiddie, his son and the father of James, was raised on a farm in Bourbon County, Ky., and in 1827 migrated (it is said, afoot) to Morgan County, Ill. He located on a part of the farm which his son James now occupies. He and his brother-in-law, Wesley Sims, started a tan-yard on this farm in 1828 or 1829. He walked from the farm to Galena, Ill., where his uncle, James Dinwiddie, lived, and, with the latter, worked for about a year at the blacksmith trade. He returned to the farm, on foot, in 1830. IN that year he built a log cabin adjoining the tanyard, containing one room, 16x18 feet in dimensions. After his marriage he operated a tanyard for about twelve years. In 1857 he built the main portion of the large residence now standing on the premises. Thomas C. Dinwiddie died September 8, 1858, and was buried in the Arcadia Cemetery. The deceased was especially active in laying out roads and organizing schools, but was a useful citizen in every way. At tone one he served as Justice of the Peace. His wife, whom he married in 1830, died April 9, 1890. They were the parents of nine children, namely: William, who died at the age of fourteen years; James; Andrew; Samuel, who lives three miles east of Literberry, Ill.; Helen M., who married William K. Richardson; Martha A., wife of Thomas Thomas, who resides in the vicinity of Franklin, Ill.; Isabel E., who died at the age of nineteen years; and David, who died in infancy. In religious faith, the father of this family was a Presbyterian and the mother a zealous Methodist.

James Dinwiddie was reared on the homestead farm which was his birthplace. The first school which he attended was a mile and a half from his present residence. Like all the primitive schoolhouses in this region, it was a log house, with slab benches for seats, fireplaces for heating with wood as fuel, and one precious glass window. Mr. Dinwiddie has often attended school barefooted until frost covered the ground. His first teacher was Elias Hammer.

Mr. Dinwiddie remained on this farm with his father until the latter's death, and then conducted it for his mother; so that his entire life has been passed on the homestead. He is the owner of 300 acres of land, on which he has conducted general farming and stock-raising. The land, when his father settled on it, was covered with heavy timber, mostly oak. In early days he used oxen for heavy work, almost exclusively.

On January 5, 1865, Mr. Dinwiddie was united in marriage with Annie H. Richardson, who was born in Newtown, Hamilton County, Ohio, and whose brother first came to Morgan County, and married Mr. Dinwiddie's sister. Four sons resulted from Mr. Dinwiddie's union with Miss Richardson; the first born died in infancy; Owen G., Horace W. and James G. Owen G. lives on the homestead farm. He married Mary Blackburn, and they have two children - James E. and Helen. Horace W. lives with his father. His wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Hunter, has borne him one child, Anna. He served as a musician in the Fifty-first Iowa Regiment during the Spanish-American war, being stationed for six months at San Francisco and serving for twelve months in the Philippines. On the outbreak of the war, he was a college student at Des Moines, Ia. James G. lives in Jacksonville, where he is the bookkeeper in the Hockenhull-Elliott Bank and Trust Company. He married Lillian Campbell, and their union has resulted in two children - James H. and Ruth.

In politics Mr. Dinwiddie is an ardent and active Republican, and has held the office of Township School Treasurer since 1871. Fraternally, he is affiliated with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Mrs. Dinwiddie is a member of the Methodist Church. Mr. Dinwiddie is one of the few survivors of the pioneer period in Morgan County, and has led a very busy and useful career. Careful, energetic and successful as a farmer, upright and scrupulous as a man, and public spirited and serviceable as a citizen, his record is beyond reproach.
[Source: Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois & History of Morgan County, Munsell Publishing Co., Pub., 1906]

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