JAMES SIMS, a retired farmer and teacher of Cazenovia, now one of its oldest inhabitants, was born in this town, July 9, 1802. He comes of a long-lived race, said to be of Scotch origin. So far as known, the first of the family in America was John Sims, born September 14, 1675, at Jamestown, Va., whence he migrated to Andover, Conn., where he died March 6, 1763. The next in line, William Sims, son of John, was born in Connecticut in February, 1706, and died in 1796. Edward, son of William, also a native and a lifelong resident of that State, was born June 19, 1745, and died March 20, 1844. He married Mary S. Clark. She was born in 1744, and died in 1771.
William Sims, the second of that name, born in Andover, Conn., January 9, 1770, son of Edward and Mary S. (Clark) Sims, came to New York, when a young man, in 1793, and was one of the first settlers in Madison County. Buying of Colonel Lincklaen in Cazenovia, at one dollar and fifty cents per acre, a tract of land, much of it covered with forests, and abounding with game, as deer and
bears --wolves also being objectionably near and numerous-- he felled trees, put up a log house, and proceeded to clear and cultivate the soil. Here was his home till his death, December 13, 1864, at the venerable age of ninety-five years, lacking twenty-seven days. His wife, Deborah Weaver, was born in Pownal, Vt., April 26, 1779, and died February 19, 1859. She was the mother of four children, of whom James, the subject of this sketch, was the first-born, his brother John W. the latest. The others were daughters, Louisa and Phebe.
The pioneer schools in which James Sims received his primary education were taught in log houses, the furniture of which was of the most primitive kind, and the course of study limited to a few branches. Happily, his school privileges went beyond these. He attended an academy at Pompey Hill, and later one at Hamilton, and at the age of eighteen assumed the functions of a teacher. For the next ten years his time was divided between the school-room and his father's farm, on which he worked during planting and harvesting. He taught two years in Onondaga County, and afterward in Cazenovia and Nelson. During his youth and young manhood, in the early part of the century, Albany, one hundred miles distant, was the market for farm produce and the place to buy household supplies, the round trip requiring eight or nine days. There being many hotels along the route, the farmers used to carry their provisions with them, and only pay for their lodging and feed for their teams. James Sims made frequent trips to Albany while helping on his father's farm. The children were clothed in homespun of the mother's own spinning and weaving.
James Sims was married March 22, 1829, to Sabra Blodgett, of Penfield, Monroe County, where she was born December 28, 1803. She died March 9, 1859, leaving eight children--Caroline, Louisa, Daniel, Elizabeth, Sarah, Harriet, Helen, and Josephine. Mr. Sims has one grandson living bearing his name--James Edward, son of Daniel. At the time of his marriage Mr. Sims bought a farm in School District No. 9, town of Cazenovia. A practical farmer, he was here actively engaged in various branches of agriculture till 1860, when he moved into the village, where he has since lived in well-earned, leisurely retirement. He cast his first vote for John Quincy Adams. His political principles are those of the Republican party, which he joined at the time of its formation. The family attend the Baptist church.
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