Another news item from the Watson Grade community, near Ray City, GA was the death of J. E. Sirmans, which occurred on March 12, 1904.
March 25, 1904
Mr. J. E. Sirmans Dead.
Mr. J. E. Sirmans died last Saturday night at 11:45. He had been sick only about four days, and was not thought to be dangerously ill until a few hours before his death. Mr. Sirmans has been suffering with heart trouble for several years and Dr. Askew, of Nashville, says it was pleurisy complicated with heart trouble that caused his death. He leaves a wife and ten children to mourn his loss. His remains were interred in the Fender cemetery.
Of course, the name of Sirmans itself variously appears in historical records as Sirmons, Sermans, Simmons, and in other forms. In this case there has been some mystery over the given name as well.
It seems that this son of Benjamin E. Sirmans and Francenia Carroll is known in many family genealogies as Jesse Carroll Sirmans. But his census, tax, and marriage records, as well as the obituary above, indicate that his name was actually Jesse E. Sirmans.
Who was J. E. Sirmans? The census records of 1900 show that Jessie E. Sirmans owned a farm in the 1300 Georgia Militia District in the neighborhood of the Patten and Watson families a few miles northeast of Ray City.
At the time of his death in 1904, Jessie E. Sirmans had ten children, matching the obituary above. Jessie Sirmans’ eleventh child, Eugene Sirmans, was born eight months after his death.
Children of Jesse E. Sirmans and Malinda King:
- Henrietta Sirmans (1883 – )
- Maggie E Sirmans (1885 – )
- Ezekiel Sirmans (1887 – 1941)
- Mary Alice Sirmans (1890 – )
- Ben Sirmans (1892 – )
- Ruth M Sirmans (1892 – )
- Charlie L Sirmans 1893 –
- Neddie Sirmans 1895 –
- Joseph I Sirmans 1900 –
- Edna Sirmans 1903 –
- Eugene Sirmans (November 8 , 1904 – July 5, 1989)
Jesse’s father, Benjamin E. Sirmans was a farmer in Clinch County, GA. “Records show in 1854 he purchased land in lot 436 of the tenth district of Clinch County from Martin Mattox.” Jesse was born about 1859, and first appears in census records in 1860, at age 1.
In 1860, the Sirmans were neighbors of General David Johnson, who fought in the Indian Wars of 1836, and who was an uncle of Benjamin E. Sirmans.
In 1861 Jesse’s father “purchased 490 acres of lot 393, in the tenth district of Clinch County from Jared Irwin.”
When Jesse was about 18 years of age his father died , expiring on November 22, 1877. Benjamin E Sirmans was buried in Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA. He left an estate of ” approximately 400 head of cattle and land in Lots 437 and 438 in the seventh district of Clinch County, GA. Jesse’s uncles, Ezekiel Johnson Sirmans and David J. Sirmans, acted as executors for the estate and sold off the cattle to pay his father’s debts.
According to tax records of 1880 Jesse’s mother, Francenia Carroll Sirmans, owned 264 acres on parts of lots 437 and 438 in the 7th Land District,(GMD 586, Mud Creek District) this land valued at $400. On November 4, 1880, Francenia sold her portion of the estate to Jesse’s uncle, Senator Franklin B. Sirmans. A few months later, on April 3, 1881, Francenia married Henry Mainor.
The 1880 enumeration of Jesse E. Sirmans has not been located, but it appears that he continued to reside in Clinch County, GA.
On December 21, 1882, Jesse E. Sirmans married Malinda King in Clinch County, GA.
Tax records show by 1886 Jesse Sirmans owned 405 acres on Lot 484 in the 7th Land District,(GMD 586, Mud Creek District) this land valued at $150. By 1887 it appears he had disposed of some of the less valuable acreage, retaining 210 acres on Lot 484 in the 7th Land District,(GMD 586, Mud Creek District) this land valued at $150. In 1890 he owned 410 acres on lot 484 in the 7th Land District,(GMD 586, Mud Creek District) this land valued at $200.
Some time before 1900, Jesse E. Sirmans relocated his family to Berrien County where he farmed in the Watson Grade community, just northeast of Ray City, GA. His aunt Lucretia Sirmans Cook resided at Watson Grade with her husband John Jasper Cook, and children (Charlotte Cook, Melvina Cook, Aaron Cook, Sarah Ann Cook, James Cook, and Mary Ellen Cook) as did others of the Sirmans and Cook family connections.
- Watson Grade News Feb 12, 1904
- Watson Grade News, January 22, 1904
- The Samuel Irvin Watson Highway
- From the King’s Tree to Ray City: Family of JHP Johnson
- Wed under the Great Comet of 1882