Rev. James Edward Sims, a Baptist minister, also a successful agriculturist of Moreau Township, was born in Morgan County, February 28, 1839. His parents, James and Rachel (MnGarity) Sims, were natives of South Carolina and their sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Rev. Sims was reared to farm labor, and in the days when the means and appliances for farming were crude and imperfect -- when the people worked oxen, covered their corn with a hoe, cut their wheat with a sickle or cradle, and bound it in sheaves by hand. He received his education in the district schools and finished with one term in the school at Versailles,but has improved his scholastic education much by individual study. Being a native Missourian he belongs to one of the best known pioneer families. In his early boyhood much of the great State of Missouri was a wilderness. He belongs to that class of men who have witnessed not only the growth of his county and State, and the advance of civilization in the West, but has been one of the active promoters of commercial growth and of the moral, social and religious development of the people. The subject of this sketch was but twenty-one years old when his father died, at which time he took charge of the home farm and conducted it for three years. He was married in 1861 to Miss Ann E. Williams, daughter of Josiah B. Williams, a native of Simpson County, Ky. After marriage Mr. Sims bought a partially improved farm in Morgan County, on which he lived a short time, and then went to Nebraska, where he remained eighteen months, engaged in farming and attending to his ministerial duties; for he had joined the Baptist Church in September, 1856, was licensed to preach in 1864, and was ordained a minister March 12 of the following year. He then returned to Morgan and began farming on a part of the old Sims estate, where he remained fifteen years. He then purchased the farm on which he now lives, six miles east of Versailles, consisting of 315 acres, all cultivated land except eighty acres of timber. Mr. Sims has been pastor of a number of churches in this and adjoining counties; has been an evangelist for both the Concord and LaMine Associations, and it may with truth be said that his earnest speaking and pathetic appeals have stirred the hearts of many, and under his ministry many have entered the church. Being a man of affairs and associated as he is with the people in their every-day life, he enjoys opportunities for instruction and moral upbuilding not enjoyed by the clergyman who is constantly immured in the study of the city church. To being intensely practical in his religion, and believing as much in the example as in the precept, may be attributed much of his success as a minister. Six children have been born to this marriage: Clarence D.; Mary V., who died in infancy; Dora E., now the wife of John T. Steel, a teacher of Pilot Grove, Mo.; James E. Sims, Jr., Penola Grace and Josiah B. All are members of the Baptist Church and joined at an early age. Through his ministerial work Mr. Sims is well known in Moniteau, Miller, Benton and Cooper Counties, and has been present at the organization of a great many churches. His ministry is characterized by liberality and charity for all Christian workers of whatever denomination. During the war he served as orderly sergeant of Company K, Forty-third Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia, in the Union service, and also during that time, while at home, acted as a magistrate of his county. He is an active worker in the cause of education, both public and private, and has for years labored earnestly to utilize all the educational means within reach to facilitate tho intellectual and moral development of the youth of the country. Politically he is and always has been a Democrat. On the question of the manufacture and sale of intoxicants he may be said to be a prohibitionist, taking as he does no uncertain ground in opposition to the rum traffic. Rev. Sims is yet in the full vigor of life, active, energetic and industrious in whatever he undertakes, and is one of Morgan County's most useful citizens.
History of Cole, Moniteau, Morgan, Benton, Miller, Maries and Osage Counties, Missouri, Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.