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Biographies Q-S

Simmons, C.H.

“The 10 years succeeding the war period witnessed a very great change locally.  Values shot rapidly upward.  Many business men of energy, intelligence and honesty became citizens.  Among them was C.H. SIMMONS, who came in April, 1864 from Oswayo, Pa., where he had been in business.  His goods came via. The Erie to Wellsville and thence by the old plank road to Oswayo.  For 15 years this road had been in use, extending down the present Plank-road street (better called West Main) and up the river.  It was of immense benefit to Wellsville.  In ’64, however, it was getting out of repair and Simmons, who always acted on impulse, decided one day that there was no use carting goods over a bad road when he could do more business by moving to Wellsville.  He came and conquered.  The volume of his trade became remarkable.  The first day’s business aggregated $400, and it was not long before he had made a $3,000 sale in one day.  In April, 1874, the month’s business was $25,000, and in the year $200,000 worth of goods were sold by him.  “Charlie” Simmons, as he was familiarly known, did more for the town than any other man who has ever lived here.  Though his career was short, only 10 years in length, for he died in April, 1875, his business influence and his name will live forever.  As public-spirited as he was shrewd and sharp in business, he made the interests of the municipality his own.  After the great fires of ’67, which swept away at least 40 buildings, in fact almost the entire Main street, Simmons was the first to begin to build.  He erected Pioneer block, a two story brick building.  This was not completed however so soon as the York and Barnes block (the Beever meat market), which was the first brick store finished in the village.  Simmons built the 3-story Opera House block in 1871, and several other brick buildings about the same time.  He purchased considerable property at Riverside and began a systematic “boom” of that locality, erecting a splendid residence and other dwellings, and contemplated building a street railway to Riverside from Wellsville.  He was the founder of Riverside Collegiate Institute, which had a prosperous and useful existence for many years.  Simmons was certainly a man of extraordinary business ability.  He amassed a large fortune, which after his death disappeared as rapidly as he had made it.  But the marks his career left in this community will never disappear.  His energetic life erected his monument.”

 

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