Sims Family Generations

The Sims family story is described by generation, starting with our "Brickwall"; the parents of Robert Sims, of Dover, in Kent, England.

Robert Sims is the first generation of which we have clear evdence. He died in Dover in 1789 and left a widow, Sarah (nee Baker).

Robert and Sarah had three children; James, Elizabeth and Robert.  A James Sims married Jane Castleman and lived in Plumstead. We think this is the same James Sims, but proof is elusive. They had three boys;  Ebenezer William, Henry and James John.

Ebenezer William married Francis Warren and they moved to Van Dieman's Land, now Tasmania.

James John Sims married Elizabeth Chammings. The couple had seven children before he died prematuely at age 38. Elizabeth returned to Devon where she grew up.

James John and Elizabeth's oldest son was Ebenezer Edwin Sims. He married twice and had a total of eight children.

Their fifth child Montague Sydney Sims married Emma Lucy Cullen and they had four boys; Leonard, Donald, Jack and Sydney.

Jack had a son, Andrew and he is this site's editor.

Ebenezer Edwin Sims

Ebenezer Edwin Sims was born on July 13th, 1843. His birth certificate lists his place of birth as Samuel Street in the Woolwich Dockyard area.  However, on some census returns he is shown as having been born in his mother's home town of Broadwood Kelly, Devon.

His father, James John Sims, died in 1850 when Ebanezer was only seven. Ebanezer died, aged 59, on September 19th, 1902 in Hastings, Sussex.  His life thus spanned vitually the entire Victorian era.

Ebanezer married twice.  His first wife, Constance Willes, died at a young age.  He then married Mary Ann Montague,the daughter of neighbours. She survived him by many years.

St. Pancras Old Church

Marriage to Constance Willis

Ebanezer Sims married Constance Willis, the daughter of George and Sophia Willes of 16 Plumstead Place, Plumstead, Kent, at St. Pancras Old Church in London on August 10th, 1864.

Ebanezer is recorded as a Government Clerk living in Euston Square and Constance lived on Grafton Street, Euston.

The marriage of Ebanezer Sims to Constance Willis

Ebanezer and Constance had two children, Emily Constance, born in Welling, Kent in 1868 and George T. A., born in Woolwich, Kent in 1871.

By 1869, Constance had developed a heart condition. Two years later, on November 18, 1871, at age 28, she died. Her death certificate lists the cause of death as dilation and hypertrophy of the heart (2 years) plus anemia (one month). She died at 1 Osborne Villas, Witworth Place, West Plumstead. She was buried at Plumstead Parish Church on November 24th, 1871.

Constance left a simple will leaving her property to her husband, which included a fifth of her late father's estate and some shares, in her name, in the Woolwich, Plumstead and Charlton Gas Company.

Marriage to Mary Ann Montague

On April 10th, 1873, Ebanezer remarried. The bride, Mary Ann Montague was 26 years old and lived just a few doors away at 34 Brewer Street, Woolwich,the daughter of Henry Montague and Mary Ann Pallet. Mary Ann was born in 1847 and grew up in Woolwich. Father Henry was a publican.

Ebanezer and Mary Ann had five children. First, there was Fred Leonard Montague Sims, born in 1875. Next came Amy Alice Montague Sims born November 10th, 1877. Next came Montague Sydney Sims, born May 17th, 1880. Monty was followed by brother Harry Montague Sims, born in 1882 who passed away the next year in 1883. The next child was Nellie Montague Sims, born in 1886. The youngest child was Emma Winifred Montague Sims, born in 1888.

Three of the children, Emily Constance, Amy Montague and Montague Sidney, were all christened at the same time at the Plumpstead Parish Church.  Emily by that point was 22, and the younger two, Amy and Monty, 12 and 10. This suggests that, while Constance and Ebanezer were non-conformists, Mary Ann was not.

Woolwich Arsenal

Entrance to the Royal Woolwich Arsenal; circa 1880

The census records document Ebenazer's career at the Woolwich Arsenal. He was a civilian, employed in successively more senior positions in the munitions factory. He was a clerk writer in 1871, a clerk foreman in 1881 and a principal foreman in 1891. Ebanezer retired from the Woolwich Arsenal in 1896, at age 53.


Ebanezer's Pension Record
ARMY SUPERANNUATION ALLOWANCES - Pension Record for Ebenezer Sims from the Woolwich Arsenal.

Ebanezer's Army Superannuation Records show that he earned £273. 17/6 per year upon retirement, entitling him to a pension of £164. 5/- per year, paid quarterly. His last payment was on October 28th, 1902, just after his death.

Will and Death

Ebanezer left a very simple will dated February 9th, 1900 witnessed by his next door neighbour and by his daughter Amy.  It listed his address as 13 Linton Crescent, Hastings, Suffolk. It appointed Mary Ann as his executrix and left all his property to her. He died two years later on September 19th, 1902. The gross value of his estate amounted to £412. 3/-.

Census Records

We have an almost complete census record of Ebanezer's life, with the exception of 1861. Part of that census for the Woolwich area was destroyed, so this may explain why the family cannot be found.


1851 Census -Ebanezer is living with his widowed mother, four sisters and his younger brother at.3 Chapel Street, Woolwich, Kent
Elizabeth Sims Head Widow 36   Devon, Broadwood
Mary Jane Sims Daughter 14 Scholar Devon, Broadwood
Elizabeth Sims Daughter   11 Scholar Devon, Broadwood
Ebanezer Sims Daughter (error:Son) 7 Scholar Devon, Broadwood
Emily Sims Daughter   5 Scholar Kent, Woolwich
James John Son   14m Inft. Kent, Woolwich
Rebecca Lever Servant   25 General Servant Kent, Woolwich
Ellen Sims Daughter 3 Scholar Kent, Woolwich
1861 Census- No information; census records believed destroyed
1871 Census - Ebanezer is living with wife Constance and young children Emily and George at 31 Brewer Street, Woolwich, Kent
Ebanezer Sims Head Married 27 Clerk employed as writer in War Dept. Kent, Woolwich
Constance Sims Wife Married 27   Kent, Woolwich
Emily Sims Daughter   3   Kent, East Wickham
George T Sims Son   9m   Kent, Woolwich
Francis Booker Visitor     Nurse Middlesex, Southall
1881 Census - Ebanezer is living with his second wife, Mary Anne and five children at 6 Tavistock Place, Plumstead, Kent
Ebanezer Sims Head Married 37 Clerk Foreman of Writers War Dept. (C S Off) Kent, Woolwich
Mary A Sims Wife Married 34   Kent, Woolwich
Emily C Sims Daughter Single 13 Scholar Kent, Welling
George T A Sims Son Single 10 Scholar Kent, Woolwich
Fred L M Sims Son Single 6 Scholar Kent, Plumstead
Amy A M Sims Daughter Single 3   Kent, Greenwich
Montague S Sims Son   0   Kent, Greenwich
Jessy Hussey Servant Single 17 General Servant (Domestic) Kent New Charlton
1891 Census - 105 Herbert Road, Plumstead, Kent
Ebanezer E Sims Head Married 47 Principal Foreman Royal Ordinance Factories Kent Woolwich
Mary Ann Sims Wife Married 43   Kent Woolwich
Emily C Sims Daughter Single 23   Kent East Wickham
George T Sims Son Single 20   Kent Woolwich
Fred L M Sims Son Single 16   Kent Plumstead
Amy A M Sims Daughter   13   Kent Greenwich
Montage S Sims Son   10   Kent Greenwich
Nellie M Sims Daughter   5   Kent Plumstead
Winifred M Sims Daughter   3   Kent Plumstead
Elanor Sams Servant   16   Kent Blackheath
1901 Census - Ebanezer and Mary Ann are now retired and only the daughters remain at home.
Ebenezer E. Sims Head Married 57 Clerk Royal Ordinance Factories Retired Kent, Woolwich
Mary A Sims Wife Married 54   Kent, Woolwich
Emily C Sims Daughter Single 33   Kent, Welling
Amy M Sims Daughter Single 23 Telephone Clerk Kent, Greenwich
Nellie M Sims Daughter Single 15   Kent, Plumstead
Emma W M Sims Daughter   13   Kent, Plumstead