John H. Mims1,2,3,4

ID# 1148, (1806 - 1850)
FatherLinah Mims5,6,7 (14 Nov 1772 - btn 1847 - 1850)
MotherRebeccah Davis5 (abt 1786 - btn 1828 - Jun 1830)

Key Events:

Birth: 6 Jun 1806, Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., Virginia8,9,10
Marriage: 5 Oct 1831, Eddyville, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, Caroline Hanson Cresap (6 Jul 1811 - 25 Feb 1904)11,12,8
Death: 11 Apr 1850, Eddyville, Caldwell Co., Kentucky13,14
Burial: Riverview Cemetery, Eddyville, Kentucky15
ChartsDescendants of Linah and Rebeccah (Davis) Mims
AncestryThe Linah Mims - Rebecca Davis Family

Copyright Notice


     John H. Mims was born on 6 Jun 1806 in Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., Virginia.8,9,10
     He moved to Christian Co., Kentucky, with his parents, Linah Mims and Rebeccah Davis, about 1817 or 1818.16,17 He was probably one of the two males age 10 to 16 listed in the household of his father in the 1820 Federal Census of Hopkinsville, Christian Co., Kentucky.18

The Move to Caldwell Co. --- Text Stolen from !! ---

     John appears to have moved to Caldwell Co., Kentucky, by 1830, when he first appears in the tax records there. At that time he reported no taxable property.19
     John married Caroline Hanson Cresap, daughter of Edward Otho Cresap and Sarah Story Briscoe, on 5 Oct 1831 in Eddyville, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, with Rev. John Johnson officating.11,12,8
     John purchased 30 acres in Christian Co.from Achelles Calloway and his wife Elizabeth on 1 Aug 1830, paying $180. The property was about three miles west of Hopkinsville and half a mile south of the Saline Road (now Kentucky route 91). Apparently he intented it for the use of his father, who was living there in 1834.20,21 On 24 Apr 1834 John sold the 30-acre parcel in Christian Co. where his father was living, for $100, to James C. Anderson.22,23
     After the death of their mother, it seems likely that John's sisters Julia, Cornelia, Sarah and Rebecca, ages about 4 to 21, moved to Caldwell Co. to live with him and his new wife, as they all later married there. His brothers Davis and Rufus appeared in Caldwell Co. records when they became adults, and they may also have joined his household, especially Rufus who was about 12 years old at the time.24,25
     By 1837 John reported owing 15 slaves, 4 horses, 50 cattle, and 700 acres of land, worth in total $6,750.26 That would seem to be the property John purchased from Isham E. Osborn in a transaction not yet found. We know of it from a 29 Jan 1837 deed for a sale of 117 acres on the south side of the Cumberland River from John to Osborn, for one dollar. That tract was described as a reservation Osborn had made when he earlier transferred Joseph R. Underwood's title bond to 750 acres to Mims. The one-dollar sale would appear to be to clear title to the reserved parcel.27
     John seems to have been interested in only rural property until 1842. The tax lists from 1838 until 1842 show him as reporting first 600 acres then 500 acres on the Cumberland River. The number of slaves decreased from 14 to six over that period. The number of horses increased from 6 to 13 while the number cattle remained generally about 100. The total valuation fluctuated from $6,400 to $9,400, then returned to $6,300. Almost all that value was attributed to the land and slaves, with the slaves being valued at twice the value of the land.28
     John seems to have been little involved in public service in Caldwell Co. His name has been found only once in the records of the County Court, on 17 Apr 1837, when he was appointed clerk for the election of trustees of the town of Eddyville.29
     He appeared on the 1840 Federal Census of Caldwell Co., Kentucky, with a household consisting of one white male under age 5 (son Hanson), one between 20 and 30 (apparently John, though he was actually 34), one between 60 and 70 (his father, Linah), and one female under 5 (Victoria), two between 5 and 10 (Eudorah and Georgina), one between 10 and 15 (his sister Rebecca), and one between 20 and 30 (his wife, Caroline). There were also seven male and seven female slaves reported, and seven persons employed in agriculture.30

Taking on the Marshalls' Businesses --- Text Stolen from !! ---

     On 24 May 1842 John made a major business transaction. John W. and Samuel P. L. Marshall, substantial merchants in Eddyville, seem to have overextended themselves, and John agreed to assume some $18,421 of their debts. That included $5,512.77 owed to Union Bank of Tennessee, $4,971.38 to Planters Bank of Tennessee, $2,886 to Bank of Kentucky, $1,322.50 to Thomas G. Pettel, $1,000 to Henry Machen, and lessor sums to five other individuals. In return, he received:
  • A lot on the Cumberland River in Eddyville where the Marshalls' store and ware house were located, and an adjacent strip of land
  • Lot no. 10 in Eddyville, where John Marshall lived
  • 2,000 acres on the south side of the Cumberland River
  • Lot no. 8 in Eddyville
  • A lot on the river side of Water St., with a brick house where Samuel Marshall lived and also a white frame house where John Mims lived
  • The southwest half of lot no. 68 in Eddyville
  • Ferry privileges, boat, and landing in Eddyville
  • Slaves Daniel age about 40; Louisa, 20; David, 35; John, 16; Alice, 20; Phebe, 12; Jack, 33; Mahala, 27, and her 4 children Sam, Mary, William & Charles; and Helda aged about 10
  • Their whole stock in trade consisting of goods, wares, and merchandise now on hand.31
     On 13 Nov 1842 John posted security for a $750 bill of exchange to be accepted by the counting house of R. K. Price & Co. in New Orleans. A bill of exchange is a financial instrument used in international trading, suggesting that John, as would be expected of a merchant in Eddyville, was engaged in trade through New Orleans. In this case, the security was four slaves: a girl Roena about 13 yrs., Desdeinonia about 10 yrs., a woman Selly about 24 yrs; yellow boy Sam about 13 yrs, and their increase.32
     On 14 Nov 1842 John borrowed $2,412 from the Hopkinsville branch of the Bank of Kentucky, in exchange giving a mortgage on the lot on the river with the store and ware house.33 On 21 Mar 1843 he sold the half lot to William Henderson, John G. Gains, Chas. C. Gains and Stephen L. Relf of New Orleans, "merchants & traders under the name and style of Henderson & Gains" for $531.78. While the deed does not say so, the strange amount strongly suggests this was in settlement of a debt owed the New Orleans firm. At this time much of the trade between points along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and the outside world was through New Orleans, so as a merchant he may well have had trade with the New Orleans firm.34 John borrowed $1,360, to be repaid 1 Dec 1845, from the Planters Bank of Tennessee, mortgaging lot no. 10 in Eddyville.35

Continued Land Transactions --- Text Stolen from !! ---

     He purchased another parcel from Samuel P. S. Marshall on 13 Oct 1843, 100 acres on Flynn Fork, for $300. Then on 10 Nov 1843 he purchased 150 Acres on Eddy Creek, opposite Prest's Mill, from Terry D. King and William Brooks for $700. That property had previously been owned by John W. and Samuel P. L. Marshall, though there is no indication that their prior ownership had any connection with the purchase. John sold that property two months later, for the same price, to Robert R. Sevick of Philadelphia. On 5 Sep 1845 he purchased yet another parcel from Samuel P. L. Marshall, 1,140 acres on the north bank of the Tennessee River, for $1,357.14. Again there is no explanation in the deed for the strange amount, which suggests the settlement of a debt.36
     On 19 Apr 1845 he sold what seems to be the 2,000-acre parcel on the Cumberland River that he obtained from the Marshalls to John Stacker of St. Louis for $3,000. While the deed does not identify him as such, this seems likely to be the same John Stacker who was heavily engaged in the iron business in the Eddyville area.37 Three more land transactions have been found before John's death. On 15 Sep 1845 he bought 260 acres on Lick Creek from James S. Stephens for $150. On 8 Dec 1845 be bought 150 acres on Lick Creek from Edward J. Smith for $125. Then, on 16 Oct 1847 he sold 650 acres on the south side of the Cumberland River to John Stacker (presumably the same John Stacker as in the earlier transaction, but now identified as from Caldwell Co.) for $4,000.38
     His holdings as reported on tax records seem to only roughly reflect these transactions. From 1843 until 1845 he is shown as having one parcel of 700 acres, another of 2,000 acres on the Cumberland River, and 100 acres near Bells Branch, and 4 town lots. He also reported 15 to 23 slaves and 8 horses, and a varying number of cattle during this period. His holdings were valued at $20,000, with the slaves making up about $8,000, the town lots $7,500, and the land $4,300. In 1846 through 1848 he is shown with only 150 acres, now near Lick Creek, and the 4 town lots. The number of slaves reduced from 23 to 20, but he had only one horse and no cattle. By the end of that his holdings were valued at $14,640, about equally divided between the slaves and the town lots.39
     About 1844 John became a partner in the firm of Mims and Jennings, which operated a store in Caldwell Co. until about 1846. The firm appears on the tax lists in 1845 through 1847 with one store, valued at $1,500. John's partner has not been identified, and apparently died about that time, as John identifed himself as the surviving partner in his will.40

Establishing a Ferry Across the Tennesse River --- Text Stolen from !! ---

     He obtained approval from the Caldwell Co. court to establish a ferry across the Tennessee River on 16 Nov 1847. The court noted that John owned the land on the east side of the river, apparently the 1140-acre parcel he had purchased from Samuel Marshall two years before. It appointed him keeper of the ferry, and set the following rates:
man and horse $0.25
four wheeled waggon or carriage 1.00
two wheeled vehicle or buggy .50
each head of horses or mules .10
each head of cattle, sheep or swine .05
each footman .10
     On John's motion, the court also appointed seven commissioners to view and mark a road from Eddyville to the new ferry and report on the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed road.41 On 21 Feb 1848 the commissioners filed their report with the court. They had laid out a road from the ferry landing on the south side of the Cumberland River, opposite Eddyville, running some nine or ten miles to the new ferry on the Tennessee River. They reported that "great convenience will result...if said road is established because there is no public road between said points and the citizens of the county labor under inconvenience for the want of a road." They also filed a certificate from the owners of all the lands the road would pass through authorizing the county to establish the road with no claims for damages. The court then ordered that the road be established and appointed three men to be overseers of each three sections of the new road to maintain it with the assistance of those living along it. They were to "keep it clear and smooth 20 feet wide, according to law."42
     It would seem that John was not satisfied with progress on the new road. On 20 Mar 1848 the three overseers were dismissed, and John was made overseer of the entire road. He was to maintain it at 30 feet wide, "together with all his own hands," relieving those living along the way of the responsibility to supply labor for its maintenance.43

The Debts Build --- Text Stolen from !! ---

     John apparently made some progress in paying off the debts he had assumed from the Marshalls. We know he had paid off $4,190 of the $5,512.77 owed the Union Bank of Tennessee by Apr 1845. But apparently further payments were not forthcoming, so on 20 Mar 1848, Rueben R. Marshall, James N. Gracey, William O'Hara and Ruben R. O'Hara obtained a mortgage from John on the river-side lot with the store and ware house. It seems they, together with John, had acted as sureties on the Marshalls' loan from the bank.44
     John Marshall was married at the time of the 1842 transaction, and no release of dower rights was obtained from his wife. On 15 Apr 1848 John obtained that release from her, Marshall having died in the meantime, at the cost of conveying to her lot no. 10 in Eddyville, where she still lived. However, that transfer seems to have not been successful, as we see below.45
     John seems to have taken on even more debt for the Marshalls. On 21 Apr 1848 he signed a bond for Samuel P. L. Marshall to secure a $5,000 loan to Marshall by Edward & Emma Wilkenson. In exchange, he took a mortgage on Marshall's household goods:
4 beds, bed steads and furniture, dozen mahogany rush bottom chairs, ½ dozen Windsor chairs, sofa, settee, two imported carpets about 125 yards, two other carpets homemade, mahogany sectary desk, cherry desk, press, two falling leaf tables, two wash stands, two small side tables, large looking glass, great variety of small furniture, picture frames, household and kitchen furniture, piano fort, two cows and calves, yoke of oxen, side bord and glass & earthen ware, waggon, two horses kept for riding & working, and a rocking chair [spelling from original].46
Col. John H. Mims Tombstone
photo by author

     Evidently John was not able to pay off his loan from Union Bank of Tennessee. The bank won a judgement against the estate of S. P. L. Marshall, surviving partner of S. & J. Marshall, Ruben R. Marshall, John H. Mims, James N. Gracey, Reuben O'Hara, & William A. O'Hara, trading under style of Gracey O'Hara & Co., and H. B. Creasp for $512.77 less certain (unstated) credits. John's 1140-acre tract on the north bank of the Tennessee river, which he had purchased from Marshall three years before for $1,357.14, was sold on the courthouse steps on 16 May 1849 for $400. The buyer was R. R. O'Hara, who transferred title to Hanson Briscoe Cresap, brother of John's wife.47
     For further details on John's land transactions see Caldwell Co. Deeds - Mims Family and Caldwell Co. Mortgages.

Writing His Will --- Text Stolen from !! ---

     John left a will dated 3 Mar 1850, in which left his entire estate to his wife, Caroline, for the common benefit of her and their children. She was also named executrix, with his "highly esteemed friend" (and son-in-law) Willis Benson Machen as co-executor. He was also named executor of the firm of Mims and Jennings, of which John was the surviving partner.48
     John died on 11 Apr 1850 in Eddyville, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, at age 43.13,14 He was buried in Riverview Cemetery, Eddyville, Kentucky.15
     His will was proved on 19 Aug 1850 in Caldwell Co., Kentucky.48
     John apparently left other debts unpaid. After his death, Bryan, Rodman & Heylin, Planters Bank of Tennessee, William D. Tinsley, John E. Newman administrator of Richard Olive, and the Bank of Kentucky filed suits in chancery against Samuel P. L. Marshall, and the heirs of John W. Marshall, dec'd., and John H. Mims, dec'd. In its Mar 1853 term the Caldwell Circuit Court rendered a decree in the consolidated suits ordering that various properties be sold at the courthouse door. On 20 Jun 1853 Martha Marshall, John Marshall's widow, paid $1,350 to retain title to lot no. 10 and her home there.49
     Samuel P. L. Marshall was issued a summons by the Caldwell Co. County Court at its May 1853 term to show cause why he had failed to keep a "good and sufficient ferry boat" and post a bond for the ferry John had established in 1847 across the Tennessee River, opposite Birmingham, in Marshall Co. At the 20 Jun 1853 meeting of the court Marshall denied the ferry was established in his name or was under his control. The Court dismissed the prosecution against him, but then summoned John's widow and children, as his heirs, to show cause why the ferry should not be discontinued. When they failed to appear at the 18 Jul 1853 meeting the Court ordered that ferry be discontinued.50

     Children with Caroline Hanson Cresap:


  1. [S49] Freeman, Family File "David and Deborah.GED," 31 Jul 1998, shows name as John Harrison Mims.
  2. [S726] Caldwell Co. Marriage Bonds, Book A, John H. Mimms to Miss C. Cressop, 4 Oct 1831.
  3. [S500], online, memorial #6656709, John Harrison Mims, [source of middle name unknown, as the stone says Col. John H. Mims].
  4. [S2003] John Mims Family Bible, shows name as John H Mims.
  5. [S49] Freeman, Family File "David and Deborah.GED," 31 Jul 1998.
  6. [S2030] Perrin, County of Christian, Kentucky, vol 1, pg 281, shows Mr. Mimms was the father of John Mimms.
  7. [S736] Cresap and Cresap, History of the Cresaps, pg 321.
  8. [S2003] John Mims Family Bible, shows date.
  9. [S2082] John H. Mims grave marker, Eddyville Cemetery, shows month, year, town, and state.
  10. [S1287] Georgia Mimms Smith, Certificate of Death, shows city, as Richmond, and state.
  11. [S732] Caldwell Co. Marriage Records, loose papers, bond of John H. Mims and Jno W Marshall, 4 Oct 1831; license, 4 Oct 1861, includes return of minister on reverse showing date.
  12. [S726] Caldwell Co. Marriage Bonds, Book A, John H. Mimms to Miss C. Cressop, 4 Oct 1831, return shows date, as 5th.
  13. [S2003] John Mims Family Bible, shows date, as 11th.
  14. [S2082] John H. Mims grave marker, Eddyville Cemetery, shows date, as 12th, and town.
  15. [S2082] John H. Mims grave marker, Eddyville Cemetery.
  16. [S2532] Christian Co. tax lists,, 1817, Linah not found; 1818, book not found; 1819, pg 67 Linah Mims; he also shown on may following years.
  17. [S2030] Perrin, County of Christian, Kentucky, vol 1, pg 281, shows Mr. Mimms came from Virginia about 1816-17, and settled about one mile west of Means' Spring; pp 277-8 describe location and settlement of that place.
  18. [S584] Linah Mimms household, 1820 U.S. Census, Christian Co., Kentucky.
  19. [S4057] Caldwell Co. tax lists,, 1830, pg 39.
  20. [S7768] Deeds, Christian Co., Kentucky, S:214-5, Achilles Calloway to John H. Mims, 4 Oct 1830.
  21. [S7768] Deeds, Christian Co., Kentucky, U:382-4, James Anderson to Malcom McNeill, 10 May 1834, shows location, and that Linah Mims was living on the property.
  22. [S7768] Deeds, Christian Co., Kentucky, U:438-9, John H. Mims to James C. Anderson, 25 Jul 1834.
  23. [S7768] Deeds, Christian Co., Kentucky, U:382-4, James Anderson to Malcom McNeill, 10 May 1834, shows Linah was still living on the property.
  24. [S585] Linah Mims household, 1830 U.S. Census, Christian Co., Kentucky.
  25. [S4057] Caldwell Co. tax lists,, 1830, pg 39, shows John in Caldwell Co.
  26. [S4057] Caldwell Co. tax lists,, 1837, pg 37.
  27. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, H:336-7,      John H. Mims to Isham E. Osborn dated 29 Jan 1837.
  28. [S4057] Caldwell Co. tax lists,, 1838, pg 39; 1839, pg 39; 1840, pg 10; 1841, pg 13; and 1842, pg 11.
  29. [S1971] Caldwell Co. Order Book, E1:505.
  30. [S1798] Jns. H. Mims household, 1840 U.S. Census, Caldwell Co., Kentucky.
  31. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, K:440-1, John W. Marshall & Samuel P. L. Marshall to John H. Mims dated 24 May 1842.
  32. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, K:570, John H. Mims to William Gray dated 13 Nov 1842.
  33. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, K:568, John H. Mims mortgage to President, Directors & Company of Bank of Kentucky dated 14 Nov 1842 and K:588, Caroline Mims waver of right of dower 20 Dec 1842.
  34. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, L:36-7, John H. Mims to William Henderson, John G. Gains, Chas. C. Gains & Stephen L. Relf of New Orleans, Louisiana dated 21 Mar 1843.
  35. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, L:82-3, John H. Mims mortgage to Planters Bank of Tennessee dated 15 Jun 1843.
  36. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, L:162-3, dated 13 Oct 1843; L:185, Terry D. King & wife Eleanor & William Brooks & wife Emily to John H. Mims dated 10 Nov 1843; L:306-7, John H. Mims & wife Caroline to Robert R. Sevick of Philadelphia "formerly of the House of Sevick & Jenkins" dated 15 Jan 1844; and M:252-3 Samuel P. S. Marshall to John H. Mims dated 5 Sep 1845.
  37. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, M:114-5, Jno. H. Mims to John Stacker of city & county of St. Louis dated 19 Apr 1845.
  38. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, M:253-4, James S. Stephens to John H. Mims dated 15 Sep 1845; M:332-3, Edward J. Smith to same dated 8 Dec 1845; and N:285-6, John H. Mims to John Stacker dated 16 Oct 1847.
  39. [S4057] Caldwell Co. tax lists,, 1843, pg 56; 1844, pg 3:10; 1845, pg 3:10; 1846, pg 3:12; 1847, pg 57; and 1848, pg 30.
  40. [S4057] Caldwell Co. tax lists,, 1844, pg 3:10; 1845, pg 3:10; and 1846, pg 3:12.
  41. [S1971] Caldwell Co. Order Book, G:243-4.
  42. [S1971] Caldwell Co. Order Book, G:260-1.
  43. [S1971] Caldwell Co. Order Book, G:367.
  44. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, N:374, John H. Mims mortgage to Rueben R. Marshall and James N. Gracey, William O'Hara & Ruben R. O'Hara, late merchants & copartners trading under the name & style of Gracey OHara & Co., dated 20 Mar 1848.
  45. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, N:375, Martha Marshall, widow of John N. Marshal, dec'd. to John H. Mims dated 11 Jul 1853, release of right of dower to all real estate sold by her late husband to Mims in consideration of conveyance of house & lot #10.
  46. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, N:383-4, Samuel P. L. Marshall mortgage to John H. Mims dated 21 Apr 1848.
  47. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, Q:150-2, Edward N. Owen, Deputy Sheriff, to Hanson B. Cresap of New Orleans dated 25 Jan 1853 and assignment by R. R. OHarra to H. B. Cresap dated 9 Aug 1850.
  48. [S875] Wills, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, B:118, John H. Mims Will, 19 Aug 1850.
  49. [S1975] Deeds, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, Q:456-7, Edward P. Watkins, master commissioner in chancery, to Martha Marshall dated 11 Jul 1853.
  50. [S1971] Caldwell Co. Order Book, H:208, 215, 223.
  51. [S2003] John Mims Family Bible.
  52. [S1287] Georgia Mimms Smith, Certificate of Death.
  53. [S1933] Eudorah H. Lyon, Certificate of Death.
  54. [S736] Cresap and Cresap, History of the Cresaps, pg 322.
  55. [S1289] Register of Deaths, Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1855, Lyon Co., Sarah B. Mims.
  56. [S1939] Mary M. Sublette, Certificate of Death.