William B. Sims, planter, merchant, and Confederate cavalry officer, was born on December 19, 1829, in Arkansas. Before the Civil War, Sims was a prosperous merchant in Clarksville, Texas, the county seat of Red River County. On November 3, 1852, he married Jane Ann Brooks of Tennessee. The couple had four children by 1860.
When the Civil War began Sims elected to raise his own regiment of men, the Ninth Texas Cavalry, and served as the unit’s colonel. On October 16, 1861, Sims advertised in the Clarksville Standard that there was room left in his volunteer company for "ten or fifteen recruits, and any one wishing to take the campaign through Missouri under Gen. McCulloch will report to [Sims] in Clarksville, and be ready to march by the first of November." Although the Ninth was supposed to report to Gen. Ben McCulloch in Missouri, McCulloch retracted those orders, and Sims and his men stayed in Indian Territory combating pro-Union Creek Indians.
At the battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), the Ninth, Sixth and Eleventh Texas cavalries led a fearsome charge against the Union forces. Their charge came to an end when the Union sent in reinforcements. Despite a light casualty list for the Confederate forces, Colonel Sims was badly wounded. This debilitating injury disabled him for the rest of his life and ended his military service.
After the Civil War, Sims and his family moved to Jefferson, Texas, where he worked as a dry goods merchant and cotton broker. Following the death of his wife Jane on October 25, 1869, William B. Sims lived nearly two decades. He died on February 28, 1889, and was buried next to his wife in Oakwood Cemetery in Jefferson.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
James A. Mundie, Jr., with Bruce S. Allardice, Dean E. Letzring, and John H. Luckey, Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables: A Biographical and Pictorial Field Guide. (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill College Press, 2002). The Standard [Clarksville, TX] 1861 (http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/clarksville_standard_1861.htm), accessed April 6, 2011. Ralph A. Wooster, Lone Star Regiments in Gray. (Austin: Eakin Press, 2002).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Stephanie P. Niemeyer,
“Sims, William B.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 29, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 31, 2011
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: