Biography of Jesse Simon
Mahoning County, OH Biographies

JESSE SIMON, owning 151 acres of valuable farming land which is situated in Boardman township, about four miles south of Youngstown, is one of the old and prominent residents of this section, having been born on this place, February 15, 1830, in a log cabin which is still standing. His parents were Jacob and Elizabeth (Stemple) Simon.

Jacob Simon was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, to which his father, Michael Simon, had moved from Maryland. As early as 1803, Michael Simon came to the Western Reserve and before he returned for his family, he invested in 6oo acres of land. The farm of Jesse Simon is a part of the original purchase made by his grandfather and he has the old deed in his possession.

The country was wild indeed when Michael Simon ventured out into the wilderness. Here and there a few hardy settlers had made a little clearing and erected a log cabin, but between this point and the Ohio River there were no roads, only cow paths. Neither were there any roads between the homestead and Canfield. Michael Simon died in Ohio, in advanced age. It is thought by his family that he was a native of Switzerland.

Jacob Simon journeyed on horseback to the land which his father had purchased, and came into possession of the farm now owned by his son Jesse. He had received some educational training in his native state, and being one of the first school teachers in Boardman township, was designated schoolmaster Jacob, in order to separate him from another Jacob Simon, who was known as Mill Creek Jacob. He built a log cabin on his land and January 13, 1811, he was married to Elizabeth Stemple. This remarkable woman, who bore her many trials and hardships with cheerfulness and fortitude, came to Ohio on the back of a three year old horse. At that time few streams had yet been bridged, and most of them had, to be forded, a matter made more difficult on account of the burdens she carried, consisting of all that she could bring from her old home and including a set of pewter plates. She became the mother of nine children and survived until April, 1879, dying at the age of 89 years.

In the year following his marriage, Jacob Simon was drafted for service in the War of 1812, but he secured his release by going to Youngstown and paying $90 for a substitute. In order to secure this sum, a large one for those clays, he was obliged to sell all his household possessions, except the beloved pewter plates which had been brought with so much care from the old Pennsylvania home. The land, however, was left, and a new beginning was made, although under hard conditions. At that time salt, an absolute necessity, was selling for $24 a barrel and even then the settler had to make a trip of forty miles to Georgetown and bring it back on horseback, over Indian trails. The land had to be cleared before it could be made productive, and hard and incessant labor was everyone's daily portion. Fortunately game was abundant and when there was time for hunting. deer and turkey filled the larder. The streams also were full of fish; wild honey could often be fotind in the forest, the sugar maples were full of sap, and when the season came around for making sugar, the older members of the family took turns sleeping and boiling the syrup at night. All the corn was ground in a hand mill and often Jacob Simon came home from a hard day's work in the field and grotind the corn for his evening meal of mush.

Jacob Simon lived to be 75 years old, dying September 12, 1861. He and his wife had nine children, five sons and four daughters, a son and daughter still surviving, the two youngest members of the family. These childrén were as follows: David, who was once auditor of Mahoning County; Levi, who was a well known teacher; Lydia, who married Elias Rupert; Delilah, who married George Wormley; Stilling, who was named for a noted German author; Gideon, of whom there is no special mention; Salome, who married Moses Webber; Salinda, who married John Shaffer; and Jesse, the youngest member of the nine children and the only survivor except his elder sister, Salinda.

Jesse Simon was born after many of the early hardships of pioneer life had been overcome, but he can recall many disadvantages that still remained, among them lack of educational opportunities and want of. farm machinery, as well as the still unsettled state of the surrounding country. Not far from his home, in the woods, had been built a log school house and there he secured a fair training in the elements of knowledge. He has in his possession an old account book which is interesting in. that it shows the expense of running a district school in those days, the largest item being the teacher's salary of $8 per month. Mr. Simon has spent his life on this farm and still can do a good day's work although he acknowledges the valuable assistance given him by his eldest son, who manages the greater part of the farm labor.

Mr. Simon, in young manhood, was married to Betsey Williamson, a daughter of Pratt Williamson, who at one time owned a large farm situated in what is now the center of Youngstown. Mr. and Mrs. Simon have had six children: Wilber C., Wade, Eben N., Edith, Fitch; and Della. Wilber C., who married Anna Harding, resides in a tenant house on the farm, which he assists in operating. He has five children, namely: Clyde H., Emma, Horace, Alma and Bessie. Wade, residing on Flint Hill, Youngstown, married Mary Gilby, and has two children - Walter and Ethel. Eben N., residing in Washington, married Laura Hood and they have eight children - Jessie, Edith, Gail, Roger, Harold, Eben, Jr., Gladys and Laura Joy. Edith, now deceased, was the wife of Prof. W. H. Wagner, of Findlay College, at Findlay, Ohio. Fitch and Della, are also both deceased, the former dying at the age of three, and the latter at the age of two years.

The comfortable family home of the Simons is a commodious eight room frame dwelling, which Mr. Simon erected himself. His land he bought from his father's estate and since purchasing he has kept on making improvements. Politically he is a Republican and has served as township trustee. With his family he belongs to the Christian Church. Mr. Simon has an excellent memory and is an interesting story teller. There are few families in this section of whose history he is ignorant, and scarcely any event of importance in Boardman township has occurred that he has not taken an interest in. His life has covered a period of many changes in this vicinity, and in his day he has seen much of the cotintry redeemed from the wilderness, happy home established, farms put tinder cultivation, and public utilities, like the telephone, the rural mail, and the electric car, changing for the better the former conditions of life. Instead of the old log school house his grandchildren are afforded all the advantages that are the result of modern ideas, and almost at the doors of their homes can acquire the collegiate training that once would have entailed the expenditure of great capital and long absences from the home circle. The Simons, with other pioneer families, cut the first paths of civilization through Boardmari township and are entitled to due credit.

20th Century History of Youngstown
and Mahoning County, Ohio and
Representative Citizens,
Edited and compiled by Gen. Thos. W. Sanderson
Youngstown, Ohio
Biographical Publishing Company
Chicago, Illinois 1897

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