Simeon Van Winkle Aden


Simeon Van Winkle Aden was born November 19, 1795 in Pendleton County, South Carolina.  Pendleton County was created in 1789 from former Cherokee land. His parents were Bennett Aden and Martha Dickey.  He would have two wives.  They were New Jersey Williams and Lydia Williams.  Although they shared the same last name, the ladies were not related.  Simeon Aden would also have eighteen children who lived into adulthood. The American Revolution had ended in 1783 and the U.S. Constitution was six years old. George Washington was President of the United States and the 11th amendment had been added in February.

Map of the United States when Simeon was born:


The country, even though a nation, was still a frontier and it would take a strong and hardy lot to tame that frontier.  Into this adventure walked Simeon Van Winkle Aden and his family.

Bennett S. Aden was born November 28, 1771 in Virginia.  He was the first of his family to be born in the new world and had arrived in Pendleton County, South Carolina in the early 1790s after the Revolution.  Bennett would become involved in several battles with the Cherokee Indians, but never served in the regular military. He soon met Martha Dickey and they were married December 3, 1793. Their first child named John would die as a child, but the second would be stronger.  His name was Simeon Van Winkle, the main subject of this story. The couple would have nine more children, but two would die young. About 1810 or 1811, the Aden family left South Carolina and moved to Warren County, Kentucky.  They remained there until about 1827 when much of the Aden kin moved to District One of Williamson County, Tennessee. Simeon had already settled there.  Bennett remained in Williamson County for the rest of his life.  He was briefly a constable in 1837, but mainly farmed.  Martha, his wife, was the daughter of Captain George Dickey and Martha Johnson.  She had been born December 11, 1773 in Georgia. Martha would pass away first on August 4, 1850.  Bennett would die on January 1, 1858.  They are buried at Cunningham Cemetery in Williamson County.

Simeon Van Winkle Aden moved from South Carolina to Kentucky about 1811 or 1812.

The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812. On October 14, 1814, Kentucky Governor Isaac Shelby issued a call for men to join General Andrew Jackson’s command for the New Orleans campaign, and under that call three regiments of Kentucky Detached Militia are brought into the field and organized. They were Slaughter’s Regiment commanded by Colonel Gabriel Slaughter, Gray’s Regiment commanded by Colonel John Davis, and Mitchusson’s Regiment commanded by Colonel Samuel Parker.  These troops were commanded by Major General John Thomas and Brigadier General John Adair

Simeon was a sergeant in the 14th Regiment Kentucky Militia known as Mitchusson’s Regiment. Sergeant Aden was a member of Captain Thomas Griffin’s Company  He enlisted November 20, 1814 and was discharged on May 20, 1815.

The Kentuckians gathered along the Ohio River, built rafts or flatboats and floated down the river to New Orleans. They took up defensive positions along a canal on Prevost’s Plantation.  Many of the men had no weapons though,  since they were required to bring their own arms. The men didn’t even have blankets or supplies. General Adair requested arms on January 7, 1815 from the city of New Orleans and these weapons were delivered to camp that night.  His militia men from Kentucky were placed in reserve, to be located behind the Tennessee militiamen under William Carroll.  On January 8th, Jackson’s army were placed in line of battle.  Carroll’s men were stationed from 50 yards north of Battery #6 to a point 30 yards north of Battery #6 to end near the barricade in a swamp.  Lt. Colonel Slaughter’s Kentuckians ( 526 men ) were placed on the right  of Carroll.  Parker’s Regiment of Kentuckians ( 471 men ) were placed in double ranks behind Carroll’s left.  The rest of the army were also behind breastworks waiting for a British advance. British Lieutenant General Parkenham formed his army believing the Americans would run.  Five thousand men would charge forward in two columns and crush the Americans. The battle turned into a disaster for the British though as Jackson held his line and blew deep holes into the advancing British. Parkenham was killed and the British retreated .  This American victory marked the end of the War of 1812.  With  war over, many of the Kentucky men returned home via the Natchez Trace.

Simeon Van Winkle married New Jersey Williams on November 4, 1816 in Warren County, Kentucky.  In 1819, the home that Simeon Aden had built was placed in a new county. Simpson County was established from parts of Allen, Logan and Warren. On the 1820 U.S. Census, Simeon is living in Petersburg, Simpson County, Kentucky.  Household inhabitants included five free white persons and one female slave under 14. There were three white males under 10, one white male 26 thru 44 and one white female 26 thru 44. One person was engaged in agriculture. In the mid 1820s Simeon moved his family southward to Williamson County, Tennessee. He was soon joined by his Father and much of the family. The life of Simeon Van Winkle had enlarged to include eight children by the 1830 census. They soon moved further west and settled in Benton County. On March 20, 1837 Jersey died and is buried in Camden, Benton County, Tennessee.  Simeon and Jersey would have twelve children before her death. Their names were Ira, Albert, Winston, Melvina, Alfred, Harvey, Matilda, Lucinda, Emily, Sidney, William and Delilah.

Simeon is listed as living in Benton County on the 1840 census.  With Jersey’s death weighing on his mind, Simeon sold his farm, loaded household goods and children in two wagons and moved to Kentucky where his brothers were.  After farming a year, the moving bug hit again, so Simeon headed back to Tennessee.  One son, Alfred, decided to stay in Kentucky with his Uncle. S.V. Aden soon met a new lady and they were married on June 4, 1844.  Her name was Lydia Williams Perkins.  She had married in 1841 a D.C. Perkins, but he had passed away in 1843.  In 1845, Lydia had a son named Tolbert.  She also lost another son in 1848 named John. With a new wife and child, Simeon moved part of his family south to Mississippi. Some would remain in Benton County, Tennessee.

The family appeared on the 1850 U.S. Census for Marshall County, Mississippi.

  • Simeon V. Aden.       South Carolina               wagon wright.   $1,100 in real estate
  • Lydia.                         Virginia
  • Lucinda E.                  Tennessee
  • Emily                           Tennessee
  • Sidney                         Tennessee
  • Delilah.                        Tennessee
  • William.                       Tennessee
  • Talbot                           Tennessee

Simeon and Lydia would have three more children in Marshall County named Castillian, Martha and Mary.  Emily married John Shoffner in Marshall County on May 11, 1853.  Sadly she would die in 1855. Her sister Lucinda would then marry Shoffner on October 8, 1857. Sometime between 1857 and 1858 Simeon once again moves his family. They cross the Mississippi River and end up in  Jefferson County, Arkansas. In 1859, he writes a letter to his brother and Lydia’s family in Kentucky describing their life in Arkansas.

Dear Mother, Brother and Sister.                       June 5, 1859

I will write a few lines in Lydia’s letter to you.  It being some days since she wrote.  I will say we are all tolerable well, except our little boy Castillian.  He was quite sick last night.  I hope nothing serious. Hope these lines will find you all in good health.  I don’t know what I have anything to interest you with more than what Lydia has written you.

I expect during this summer or fall to move some 15 or 20 miles from Pine Bluff on or near a water course called Bartholomew, a south East direction from here. Since we have been living in Pine Bluff we have had some affliction in the family, but have enjoyed a good health generally in the family as we have for years and as for myself I have enjoyed better health than I have for years past.  Yet there is a great deal of sickness and deaths here.  If you receive this letter, answer, and perhaps by the time we write again, we will have something to interest you with.  We are making out tolerable well here.  I am getting two dollars per day when I work by the day and when I take a job I have made over four dollars a day generally, from two to three dollars per day.  I work at the house carpentry business.  Lydia has raised and is raising a good many chickens and has sold a good many about the size of partridges for 15 cents each.  This is a considerable place for marketing.  If we live I intend to fix for her a market, to a greater extent by another year.  A few days since, I received a letter from my son living in Benton.  He informed me that the connections there are all well.  When he writes he always speaks of the connection and gives us all the news or information that we receive from there. I will close.  My love to you all.  write soon. 

To Elizabeth Williams, A.C and E.D. Price, and S.V. Aden

Elizabeth Williams was the mother of Lydia. E.D. (Elizabeth) was the sister of Lydia and A.C. Price was her husband.  S.V. Aden was the brother of Simeon, who was living in Kentucky.

Arkansas 1860

On the 1860 U.S. Census, Simeon Van Winkle Aden and his wife Lydia are living in the Bartholomew township of Jefferson County.  His personal value was worth about $700 and their children Tolbert, Castillian, Mary and Martha were living with them. His daughter Delilah was also there. Young Castillian, the little boy named above in the letter, would die in 1860 not long after the census was taken.   They lived next to his son Harvey Simeon.  Harvey’s real estate holdings were valued at $1,272 and personal value at $400. Harvey was living with his wife Martha and daughter Mary.  Matilda was living with her husband William J. Lowery in Pine Bluff.  William Elbert Aden would join the family soon from Tennessee.

The Civil War came to Arkansas next and the Aden family would be dragged into the conflict. Although too old to serve, Simeon had three sons involved in the conflict.

William E. Aden first joined the Pine Bluff Artillery on June 16, 1861. The battery was disbanded on July 26, 1861 though.  He later joined Company D of the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Battalion on March 1, 1862 as a private at Pine Bluff. The battalion was organized officially at Memphis in late April after the Battle of Shiloh. On May 15, 1862 the 2nd battalion was merged with the 6th Arkansas battalion to form the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment under Colonel W.F. Slemmons.  William’s company became Company F in this new organization.  The regiment was again reorganized on August 18, 1862. Throughout this part of 1862 and 1863, the regiment was involved in a number of small fights in western Tennessee and Mississippi. However many of the men were unhappy. They began to desert in large numbers across the river and back home. By August 24, 1863 the 2nd Arkansas was down to 42 men. On September 22, 1863, Colonel Slemmons sent officers west of the river to gather up his men. However instead of returning, they reformed the regiment and joined the Trans-Mississippi Department. The 2nd Arkansas under Captain Tebbs participated in the Battle of Poison Springs and Marks Mills.  Although the 2nd Arkansas had been officially transferred back to the Trans-Mississippi on January 25, 1864 it would take a little while for Colonel Slemmons to rejoin his men. The regiment under Colonel Slemmons was involved in Price’s Missouri Raid in late 1864.  As General Price retreated back into Arkansas, many of his men simply left the army.  The Battle of Newtonia, Missouri was the last major engagement of the 2nd Arkansas. William E. Aden was captured in Jefferson County on November 11, 1864 and confined November 24, 1864 at the military prison in Little Rock.  William was released May 7, 1865 upon taking the oath.

Tolbert Aden was confined November 23, 1863 by the Provost Guard at Pine Bluff, Arkansas and listed as a prisoner December 9, 1863.  He was identified as being a member of Company G of the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry.  Apparently he had joined the regrouped 2nd Arkansas after many of it’s men had came home in late 1863. Not much else is known about Tolbert.

Harvey S. Aden enlisted March 7, 1863 in Newton’s Regiment Arkansas Cavalry at Pine Bluff.  Harvey was detached at Pine Bluff on April 8, 1863. The regiment’s designation was changed to the 2nd , Morgan’s Cavalry effective December 24, 1863. The next card has him present in Company B of Morgan’s Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry. The regiment participated in the battles of Poison Spring and Mark’s Mill. At Mark’s Mill on April 25, 1864, the regiment lost 18 % of the 130 engaged. Harvey was captured during these battles and took the oath of allegiance at Pine Bluff on May 4, 1864. His regiment was sometimes called the 5th Arkansas Cavalry or the 8th Arkansas Cavalry.

At the end of the war, Simeon decided to leave Jefferson County, Arkansas and returned back to Mississippi.  Once again, he would leave his family who had followed him. This had become a pattern.  Simeon would get in the mood to move, then move,  once again get in the mood to move and leave family members who followed him.  This time, he and his wife Lydia would return to Mississippi with only two of their children. On the 1870 U.S. Census, Simeon listed his occupation as wagon maker. Real estate was valued at $175.  The family was living in Mount Pleasant located in Marshall County, Mississippi.  Household members included Lydia, Martha and Mary.

Mississippi 1852

Simeon Van Winkle Aden passed away August 31, 1870 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.  After his death, Lydia and her two daughters moved north to Weakley County, Tennessee.  As a widow she would apply for a War of 1812 pension. She would join her husband on May 20, 1890 and is buried in Concord Cemetery in Weakley County.

In closing, the life of Simeon Van Winkle is difficult to sum up.  He was born to a pioneer father who had moved from Virginia into the Carolinas and finally Tennessee.  Coming from that stock, Simeon also had the wander lust in his heart.  He moved often and pushed his family further into the frontier each time.  Along the way he lost loved ones and left family members to start a new life. Simeon experienced the War of 1812 and saw his sons participate in the Civil War. He witnessed the loss of a dear wife and several children along the way. All of these things shaped him. Although several brothers became successful he never did. He was educated though, as can be learned from his letters.  He belonged to the Primitive Baptist Church and was a religious man by the way he referred to God and Heaven in his writing. In the end one can just say Simeon Van Winkle Aden was an American frontiersmen who saw much tragedy, but saw much joy as well.

“Every trail has its end, and every calamity brings its lesson”. James Fenimore Cooper. 


Kentucky troops in the War of 1812



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