Our civil war researchers are still working! Almost 1400 biographies have been completed. What a project! We have learned so much about the individuals who fought in the Civl War from this county.Here is one of the biographies of a black soldier, researched and written by D. Scherer.
SIMS, EDWARD C. 1837-1885
28th United States Colored Infantry, Company D (4th Sergeant)
Pension Certificate #1,160,182
Edward C. Sims was born a free black child about 1837 in Knox County, IN. His mother’s name was Sarah Sims, but we were not able to find his father’s name. We do know that his father was born in Indiana and his mother in South Carolina. He had at least five siblings, but the only one identified is John Sims, who later testified in Edward’s pension case. Edward married Eliza E. Morris on March 18, 1858 in Lawrence County, IL.
Shortly after blacks were allowed to serve their county, Edward enlisted in Company D of the 28th U. S. Colored Infantry on January 4, 1864 at Indianapolis, IN. He enlisted as a Corporal for three years of service, but was soon promoted to 5th Sergeant, and then to 4th Sergeant later in 1864. When he was mustered in on January 7, 1864, he was listed as 27 years old, 5’8” tall, with black hair, eyes, and complexion. His occupation was listed as a mason. The 28th U. S. C. I. served well throughout the Civil War, mostly in Virginia. They marched and fought their way through the Chickahominy swamps and on to Petersburg, VA and marched proudly into Richmond on April 4, 1865 (much to the displeasure of local residents). Edward was one of the fortunate few who was not wounded or killed during his service. He was mustered out on November 5, 1865 at Corpus Christi, TX, having last been paid on August 31, 1865.
We do not know what happened to Edward’s first wife, Eliza, but Edward married Mary C. Jones in Lawrence County on June 17, 1868. The 1870 census found the couple living in Lawrence Township with Edward’s mother Sarah Sims and 18-year-old Ella I. Mills. In 1880, they were still living there, but had added four children to the family: William, Charles, Malinda, and Sarah. Another daughter, Dessa came a short time later. Edward Sims died on June 4, 1885 from pulmonary consumption (now called Tuberculosis). He was buried in Portee Cemetery north of Lawrenceville. Pension records show that Edward’s parents, at least 5 or 6 siblings, and three of his children also died of the same disease. Edward’s widow Mary married James M. Morris in Lawrence County on August 4, 1887.