Author: John Outcalt (1925)
JOHN H. SIMONSON
In political and financial circles in Merced County, John H. Simonson has wielded a wide influence for many years and as a public-spirited and broad-minded citizen has helped to make it the Merced County of today. He was born near Hamburg, Germany, on November 6, 1850, the son of Jasper and Anna Maria (Clausen) Simonson. Jasper Simonson was a cabinet-maker and he immigrated to America in 1857. Purchasing land in Minnesota, near Ulen, he farmed one year, then he moved into Marine Mills, Minn., and followed his trade until his death. This worthy couple had six children, John H. being the youngest.
Obtaining his early education in the public schools of Marine Mills, Minn., John H. Simonson became a wage-earner at the age of thirteen, becoming a clerk in a general store; he was promoted to be bookkeeper and remained with the same firm until 1876. The fall of that year he came to Merced and accepted a position with the house of Simon, Jacobs & Company, and here he continued as bookkeeper two and one-half years. He was asked to become the nominee on the Republican ticket for county clerk, was elected and served from March 1880, until January 1883, the term having been extended by legislative action. Mr. Simonson was reelected twice, serving until January 1887, to the satisfaction of nearly everybody. He then engaged in the real estate and abstract business, compiling a complete set of abstract books. In 1890 he was nominated on the Republican ticket for county assessor and, being elected, served for four years, and was reelected for a second term, serving until January, 1899. He refused to again become a candidate and returned to his former business and as the senior partner in the firm of Simonson-Harrell Abstract Company carries on a thriving business in real estate and abstracting, handling both city and country properties. He is also a live-wire insurance agent and broker.
John H. Simonson was united in marriage in Merced, to Miss Jessie B. Stoddard, who was born in Calaveras County, a daughter of that early settler, E.
M. Stoddard. They have a son, Stanley S. Simonson, who is in business with his father. There is one grandchild, Stanley S. Jr., to brighten the Simonson home circle.
Mr. Simonson is prominent in fraternal circles and is a member of the various Masonic bodies. He was made a Mason in St. John's Lodge No. 1, A. F. & A. M. at Stillwater, Minn., and after being a member for fifty years, demitted to Yosemite Lodge No. 99; he demitted to Merced Chapter No. 12, R. A. M., in which he is a Past High Priest; he belongs to Fresno Commandery No. 29, K. T.; and to Islam Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S. in San Francisco. He is a member and a Past Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias. He has always been a stanch Republican and has served on the county central committee for many years. As one of the best-known and among the most active citizens of the county John H. Simonson holds a recognized position here and throughout the San Joaquin Valley.
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