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Benedict Joseph Semmes (b. Abt. 1753, d. 1824)Benedict Joseph Semmes (son of James Semmes and Mary Simpson) was born Abt. 1753 in Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland, and died 1824 in Charles County, Maryland.He married Henrietta Thompson in Charles County, Maryland, daughter of Richard Matthews Thompson and Henrietta Boarman.
Notes for Benedict Joseph Semmes:
Benedict Joseph Semmes (Representative), -, MD
of the 21st United States Congress
" The Semmes family of Southern Maryland is considered to be of Norman
origin with the name appearing in England after the Conquest in various
forms such as Sim, Sims, Simms, Syms, Simme, and the like. The
progenitor (Marmaduke) wrote his name as Semme and like wise his widow
(Fortune)when she signed her last will and testament. By the third
generation distinct differences in orthography occurred with the
descendants of Anthony Semmes, though not always, adopting the shorter
form of Simms and using it today, while the descendants of James, the
second Son, consistently used Semmes.
An English writer stated that the family appears to be of Scottish or
border origin and the blazonry of the family coat-armour indicates some
connection with Norway. In 1221 one Riccard de Syme was granted land at
Handboville, Normandy, by Philippe Augustus, and as Normandy was
conquered by the Norsemen or tribes from the region which is now
Norway, the Norman tradition fits into the historic pattern. In the
sixteenth century, however, the name was found among the county
families of Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire."
Of course, Harry doesn't say _which_English writer and there's no
bibliography in the book.
I recently received a copy of SEMMES and Allied Families by Raphael T.
Semmes, 1918, 381pp. Photocopy; Flex. Vinyl Covers.
In it is a letter from Benedict Joseph Semmes of Memphis to his nephew.
Since this volume is not generally available, I thought I'd publish
the full-text hereS.and you can draw your own conclusions about his
telling of the family's origins.
Biloxi, Miss., February 19, 1895.
A few days since Malcolm  forwarded me your letter of 7th inst.,
[sic] with regard to the records of the Semmes family. I am sorry that
during the war many valuable papers were destroyed or disappeared, and
the old family Bible of my grandfather as well. I have my father's
Bible only. A most valuable paper, the deed from Lord Baltimore to the
first Joseph,  was destroyed by a bad companion of my lost brother
Raphael.  That boy, Bob Wilson, tore off the great leaden seal of
the "Lord Proprietor of Maryland" to make bullets of, and as my little
brother told us, also destroyed the "skin paper' as he called it, or
parchment. I have at home a deed to my father  from him for a
portion of the Effton Hills estate.  Three separate parcels are
conveyed in the deed, and one in particular called "Adams Choice,"
another "Evu's Delight," and both, when I was there in childhood, were
known by these names, and as the best tobacco lands in the county.
With regard to the order in which my father's brother and sisters were
born, I cannot remember accurately; they were all down in the Semmes
Bible lost in years past, with other relics, one of which was a piece
of the old Jersey prison ship in which my grandfather, Capt. Jenkins,
 was long a prisoner of the English. Clara  holds that the first
Joseph was English; I know better, for Judge Middleton Semmes,  the
Admiral's  brother, when a Judge of the Supreme Court of Maryland
(the Court of Appeals) told us in Georgetown that he came across an act
of the Provisional Council of that State, which he found in the old
archives at Annapolis while investigating some old case, naturalizing
Joseph Semmes from Normandy, in France, dated, I think, in 1664 or
1646; he could not hold land before that act. Two Normandy gentlemen
named Semmes, visited the Admiral at Cherbourg, before the fight with
the "Kearsage,"  and claimed kinship, and said theirs was one of
the oldest families of Normandy and there was no .other of the same
name in France. He told us in Memphis after the war about this visit.
Another gentleman, whose middle name, Spanish fashion with Spanish
sirname [sic] attached to it, called upon him when in Cadiz,in
command of the ship "Sumpter," his first cruiser, he told the Admiral
that his grandfather was a French soldier from Normandy, who fell in
love with a Spanish lady, and after the war returned to Spain and
I remember an old lady, and a fine one at that, who had a pretty estate
in Maryland, which I have visited, and who was called by my father and
mother "Aunt Middleton." She was my father's own aunt and was of Semmes
blood.  The Admiral's brother, the Judge, was named Middleton.
You know, I suppose, that I have the deed of Lord Baltimore for "Effton
Hills" estate; it is not to our ancestor, for at that time he could not
hold real estate, but to another person, though really for him, which
accounts for the subsequent deed, of which I told you, made after the
naturalization, and was destroyed by that Wilson boy.
I used to know much more of the family history than I can now remember.
The later events of my stirring life seem to have covered up in my
memory many things of which I sometimes recall the incidents. The names
of my two great-uncles, Semmes, I can not, with certainty recall, who
were killed in the battle of Long Island and belonged to the "Maryland
Line." Their names are recorded at Annapolis and perhaps in Washington.
Should I recall anything useful I will write you.
I have been here since 1st December with my wife and youngest grand
child, LaValette, the son Maude  left last April a year ago. My
health was very wretched, in fact I was near death; I have improved
much, but I am still feeble and cannot get strength. The winter has
surpassed anything ever known on the Gulf and has retarded my
improvement. The houses here are not built for cold weather. Up to the
27th December we had flowers, tropical plants, all in bloom, but all
are killed, even the water cresses.
Give my kindest regards to your wife, who I hope some day to meet.
Your aunt joins me in love to you both.
(Signed) B. J. SEMMES.
See THE MARYLAND SEMMES AND KINDRED FAMILIES by Newman, on pps 55- 6:
"JOSEPH SEMMES, son of James and Mary (Simpson) Semmes, was born about 1753 in Port Tobacco Hundred, Charles County. By the will of hi sfather of 1787, he received the dwelling plantation which consiste d of"Amendment" and "Semmes' Amendment." He married Henrietta, daug hter ofRichard and Henrietta (Boarman) Thompson, born January 18, 17 55, inCharles Charles County.
Children of Joseph and Henrietta (Thompson) Semmes
1. Henrietta Semmes married John Kennedy.
2. Alexander Semmes married Eleanor Beatty q.v.
3. Samuel Milburn Semmes.
4. Richard Thompson Semmes, born 1784, married Catherine Middleton.q.v.
5. Raphael Semmes, born Aug. 21, 1786, married Matilda Jenkins .q.v.
6. Benedict Joseph Semmes, born Nov. 1, 1789, married Elily Elizabeth Edelen. q.v.
7. Mary Charlotte Semmes, born 1790, married Richard H. Winter.
8. Thomas Felix Semmes, born 1793, married Mary Olivia Edelen . q.v.
"In 1778 he subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance in Charles Count ybefore Magistrate Warren Dent. During the war he served as a priva te inthe militia company of Captain Sinnett of Charles County. (Mili tia List,p. 59, Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore.)
"At the first census he, as Joseph Semmes of James, was domicile d inCharles County with four males under 16 years of age, three fema les, and12 slaves.
"On August 3, 1808, he purchased of George W. Grayson, of Fauquie rCounty, Virginia, for 397 pounds, "Fagg's Adventure" of 143 acres ,"Adams' Delight," "Enlargement," "Patterson's Chance," and "St. David's," including all buildings and other improvements. The conveyanc ewas confirmed on November 7, 1809, by Robert Harrison Grayson, of M asonCounty, Kentucky.
"On February 7, 1818, he made a deed of gift of the above-named tracts to his son, Richard Thompson Semmes, for natural love and affect ionand the additional consideration of one dollar, the tracts all ly ing inDurham Parish. On February 2, 1819, his son, Richard T. Semme s, then ofGeorgetown, reconveyed the identical tracts to him for a c onsiderationof $3,300. On January 7, 1822, he deeded the same tract s to his son,Raphael Semmes, of Georgetown, and to his son, Benedic t Joseph Semmes,of Prince George's County. In all indentures he sig ned his name "JosSemmes," but no wife waived dower rights.
"No court administration can be found in Charles County for the administration of his estate, but family records state that he died i n1824.
"On April 20, 1833, Raphael Semmes, Sr., Thomas F. Semmes, Raphae lSemmes, Jr., of Washington County, District of Columbia, and Benedi ct J.Semmes and Samuel M. Semmes, of Prince George's County, Marylan d,conveyed to Benjamin Burgess of Charles County, for a consideratio n of$1,250 all those several tracts of land in Charles County of whi chJoseph Semmes died seized and which constituted the dwelling-plant ationof the late Joseph Semmes, they being entitled to four-sixths o f theestate. Mary Matilda Semmes, wife of Raphael Semmes, and Emil y Semmes,wife of Benedict J. Semmes, waived all dower rights.
"His widow lived until 1833 and was buried in the old Catholic cemetery between Georgetown College and the Convent of the Visitation . Herheadstone reads "Mrs. Henrietta Semmes, relict of Joseph Semme s ofCharles County, Maryland, died 27 May 1833 in the 73 year of he r age."Nearby is the headstone of her daughter "Mrs. Mary C. Winte r relict ofRichard H. Winter, of Charles County, Maryland, died 28 D ec 1831, in the42 year of her age."
"Her last will and testament, dated May 31, 1833, was probated i n theDistrict of Columbia, on August 17, 1833. Negroes, silver plat e, andhousehold furniture were bequeathed to her children -- Benedic t JosephSemmes, Thomas F. Semmes, and Raphael Semmes. Personalty in cludingNegroes were left to her grandchildren -- John H. Semmes, ale xander A.Semmes, and Mary V. Semmes. Mourning rings were willed t o CatherineWinter, Emily Semmes, and Matilda Semmes. The residuar y estate wasbequeathed to Mrs. Servilla Carberry in trust for the po or. Sheappointed her son, Benedict Semmes, the executor, but in th e event hecould not serve, then her son Raphael Semmes."
More About Benedict Joseph Semmes:
Record Change: June 04, 2004
More About Benedict Joseph Semmes and Henrietta Thompson:
Marriage: Charles County, Maryland.
Children of Benedict Joseph Semmes and Henrietta Thompson are:
- +Samuel Simms, b. October 09, 1781, Charles County, Maryland, d. June 29, 1833, Washington County, Kentucky.