The death of William Harvey Simons removes a preeminent figure in Mercer County's contemporary history.
He not only lived to the unusual age of 92, but he was alert and a keen business man up to that high age. Rounding out 63 years in the mercantile business he made out his bank deposit slips almost up to his last days.
All this career was spent in one locale — the Clarks Mills general store. For many years it was known as Beal and Simons and for many of those years this firm bought everything a customer offered. This included, of course, butter, and a tremendous amount was taken in, worked over and shipped to large markets. This was fairly common in general stores in Mercer County though Beal and Simons lead in quantity.
Then the firm didn't confine its purchases to butter, it bought everything a farmer raised and thereby established a market, the prices being quoted all over Mercer County. Those other products required much more handling and skill in disposing of them, in fact we don't recall any firm in Mercer County accepting all these commodities.
Mr Simons, more than 20 years ago, was told by his physicians that his time on earth was in jeopardy but, like Ol' Man River, Mr. Simons just kept rolling right along years after most men would have retired.
While Mr. Simons always kept his general store business as his anchorage, he spent a lot of time in politics. He had an impressive figure and knew his politics. Mention was made of his election as county treasurer. That was only an incident. His partner,
James W. Beal, was not cut out for a political canvasser but, "handled" by Mr. Simons, he made the important county office of clerk of courts.
The office of county treasurer is not hereditary but his son, Malcom
Simons, also served as county treasurer and several terms as chairmen of the Republican County Committee in some important campaigns.
Mr Simons, Sr., represented the county Republicans at a state convention, and was credited with enough political influence to designate the rout of the Greenville-Sandy Lake highway.
He had 92 active and full years.