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SEMON, Henry - 1890 Bio (1820-1890)


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 8/24/2007 at 21:48:39

Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa, Printed 1890 by Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Pages 245-246

Henry SEMON, deceased, was one of the men who has taken an active part in the upbuilding of Fairfield, Jefferson County, where his family still resides. He was of German birth, his parents being John and Dorathea (RAPP) SEMON. Both were natives of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, where on the 20th of April, 1820, our subject was also born. His father was a Captain in the German army and served for fourteen years under Napoleon. In pursuit of fortune he followed farming and stock-dealing, and socially he ranked high in the community, being a man of sterling worth whose excellencies of character won him the high regard of all with whom he came in contact. Of the family of seven children, consisting of four sons and three daughters, three came to the United States. John is now living in Quincy, Ill, and George and Henry in Fairfield.

Our subject was the third child of the family. He received a good education in his mother tongue which thus enabled him to sooner master the English language. In early life he learned the butcher's trade which he followed successfully some thirty-eight years. It was in December, 1848, that he sailed for New York and for seven years after his arrival in this country he traveled over different States for the purpose of seeing something of the land which he had heard so much about, working at his trade the while. On the 19th of July, 1856, in Galesburg, Ill., he was united in marriage with Miss Francesca ACKERMAN, a native of Bavaria, born July 31, 1833. She is descended from one of the old wealthy families on the Rhine, and being an only daughter was therefore given the best opportunities for an education and literary culture. Her father was the last of the family to cross the ocean and his last days were spent with his daughter in Fairfield, where he died at the age of seventy-five years. Three of her brothers also found homes in this country. Wolfgang served his adopted country nobly in the late war and died soon after he was discharged; Jacob is living in Wisconsin and Matthew resides in Fairfield.

Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. SEMON started for Fairfield and since 1856, have been residents of this city. Soon after their arrival he established a meat market which he operated until 1875. His long experience in that business made him familiar with the desires of the public and he soon built up an excellent trade, reaping a good income therefrom. Since disposing of his market in 1875, he devoted the greater part of his time to his real-estate interests. Not a little has he aided in the advancement of the city's interests by his improvement of residential property. He also built the first opera house in Fairfield in 1875, and has always been a liberal supporter of such enterprises as were calculated to advance the interests of the community. He never took an active part in politics but always unhesitatingly voted his sentiments, suppporting (sic) the men of his choice. Religiously he was a member of the Lutheran Church and socially of the Knights of Pythias and V. A. S. fraternities. His wife is a member of the Catholic Church.

By the union of Mr. and Mrs. SEMON seven children were born as follows: Henry W., who died in his sixteenth year; Elizabeth, who became the wife of B. T. HOWELL of Chicago, by whom she has one daughter, Maud, the only grandchild; Marie D., wife of Dr. H. T. NELSON of Chicago; John J., who died at the age of eighteen years; Sara, Anna and Cora who are at home. Mr. SEMON was a successful business man and an estimable citizen who was always prompt in the discharge of his duties of citizenship, was ever ready to meet an obligation and treat all with that upright and courteous conduct which won in return the confidence and respect of those with whom he had dealings. After a sickness of nearly a year's duration he passed away on the 29th of June, 1890.

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.


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