MUSCATINE COUNTY IOWA|
Source: REGISTER OF OLD SETTLERS , BOOK One, page 336 & 341
submitted by Jo Ann Carlson, October 21, 2007
SIMON G. STEIN
Jan. 12, 1892 (handwritten)
Muscatine has never been called to mourn for one who occupied a larger or more important place in her history than Simon G. Stein, who died at his home in this city, yesterday, at 11:45 a.m.
The city was prepared in a measure to hear of its sad bereavement. Mr. Stein had been confined at home, with a slight interval of fair weather improvement, from early in December, and in the last two weeks the news from his chamber has alternated with hope and fear. His complaint was lagrippe with serious complications, and accustomed as the city has been to the long mortuary list appearing daily in the press, and from the same fearful disease, the gravest apprehensions have been felt for this old citizen whose seventy-five years seemed to offer little of recuperative resources for his recovery.
Mr. Stein came to Muscatine in 1849 and from that year to the hour of his demise his name may almost be said to have been synonymous with that of our city. He was born in east Hanover, Lebanon county, Pa., March 17, 1817. He came of good, patriotic stock, his sire being Capt. Abraham Stein, an officer in the war of 1812. On completing his common school education, at the age of 17 the boy, Simon, began business for himself, and soon obeying the tide of emigration was carried into Ohio and later to Illinois and in 1846 became interested in the manufacture of flour and lumber in Moline. Three years afterwards he became a citizen of Muscatine and from that time to this, his career has been a household word in our city.
The story of this career may be almost told in the interests he represented at the hour of his death. He was president of the First National bank, stockholder and trustee of the Muscatine Savings Bank, president of the Muscatine Oat Meal Co., senior member of the Stein Furniture Co., conducting a large lumber business of his own, and vice president of the Hershey Lumber Manufacturing Co., a director of the Muscatine Water Works Co., vice president of the Muscatine Fair Grounds and Park Association, a director of the Citizens’ Electric Light Co., besides being a large stockholder and director in the Great Western Type Foundry of Chicago, and possessing valuable landed interests in Muscatine county and at many points in the west.
Though having little taste for public life, Mr. Stein took pleasure in his early residence in Muscatine in serving his ward on the board of alderman, and was elected to two terms of the mayoralty. The only state office held by him was that of Capitol Commissioner. Mr. Stein was married in 1841 to Miss Anna Catherine Berntheisel who survives. He leaves two children, Angie S., wife of A.M. Barnhart of the firm of Barnhart Brothers & Spindler of Chicago, and Dr. Simon G. Stein of this city.
Deceased appeared in his busy life to have little time or taste for indulging in positive recreation, but if there was one place, away from his fireside, where he indulged in perfect freedom from worldly care, it was in the lodgeroom of his beloved Muscatine Lodge No. 5, I.O.O.F., of which he was a member from its infancy. Though not a communicant or professor of any denominational creed, he was a regular attendant of the First Presbyterian church and one of the strongest pillars of the society.
Mr. Stein will be best remembered for his connection with the railroad enterprises projected by Muscatine, and for the interest and zeal with which he labored to promote their success. But he will be as pleasantly remembered for his affable address and the courtesy which marked his intercourse with his fellow men. His life was a great success in respect to the accumulation of wealth, and to those who have this end prominently in view, his industrious career and exact business methods and thrift are valuable examples to follow.
Coming to the small town of Muscatine a poor young man, and making this little place the base of his operations, he dies, a millionare. This could only have been accomplished by a sober life, of severe application and with much self denial. And yet with his many great burdens resting upon him, how lightly he seemed to carry their weight and the infirmities of age! The writer first saw him in 1855, and there was scarcely a shade of difference between the face and figure and eleastic step of that day and what we have all seen in his appearance and walk the last year. He seemed to carry the secret of perennial youth, and but for his exposure to the disease which is to-day slaying its thousands in our land, he could have looked forward with trust to many years of vigorous activity in the future.
And so we think that our friend possessed something better than his wealth. Whatever might have been the furrowing cares of life, he did not let them penetrate to his heart. This he kept young. No man showed a more genial, sunny, spring-like side to his friends, and to his family circle, this rugged financier exhibited a nature as full of beauty and affection as a woman’s. We remember a night last year when Mr. Stein came to depot to welcome home his daughter and son and Mr. Barnhart from their long absence in Europe and Asia.
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It was a stormy night, and Muscatine presented nothing in its depot surrounds that betokened a joyful greeting to homesick exiles. There was one exception. Mr. Stein stood on the platform in his best attire, with a beautiful red rose adorning his lapel. What other business man of 74 in our city, or any of us, would have thought of paying so fine and tender a compliment of his expected guests to his own children? How often that scene has revived with us, and we know of no more beautiful token to lay upon this bier, or one that he would more highly prize, than the memory of that flower.
Old Settlers’ Meeting.
Pursuant to call, there was a meeting of old settlers in the City Hall, at 9 a.m., Jan. 12, 1892. President Walton and Secretary Jackson filled their respective offices. There were all together eight of the old settlers present.
On motion, a committee was appointed to report resolutions expressive of the sentments of the old settlers on the death of S.G. Stein and also other old settlers as named by the president, who have recently died.
After some informal talk, the meeting adjourned.
The committee on resolutions have reported as follows:
ON THE DEATH OF S.G. STEIN.
In the death of Simon G. Stein, the old settlers as well as the people of Muscatine in general lose a valuable citizen. That he was a potent factor in the community’s business interests there can be no question; that his death has left a vacancy not easily filled is without dispute. But yesterday, as it seems, he stood among us in the full flush of robust manhood. A giant in strength and endurance, with a will of iron, and a constitution as tough as the sturdy oak, he seemed to hold within his grasp much more than the three score and ten allotted to man. Yet, in a moment, almost in the twinkling of an eye, while loving friends were hoping for his recovery from what seemed to be a malady that could be mastered, “God’s finger touched him, and he slept.” We can only mingle our tears with others of his friends and bow submissively to this afflicting decree of Providence.
On the recent deaths of OTHER OLD SETTLERS.
Resolved, that in the recent deaths of Mrs. Isabella Ogilvie, Mrs. T. Schoonover, Mrs. S.O. Butler, Capt. A Kennedy and wife, Eli Drury, wife and son and daughter. Andrew Drugg and wife, and Robert Kirk and wife, we were again reminded how rapidly the ranks of the old settlers are being thinned. We will cherish the many excellent traits of character developed by these deceased persons in their intercourse with us, and will place this resolution upon the records of our society in memory thereof.
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