Ernst Simonsen was born in Sweden on November 30, 1858. He received an education in engineering from the University of Stockholm, and traveled around Europe practicing his trade. He ended up in New York for nine years, where he met and befriended Henry Walthers. Together, the two traveled to Jefferson City in 1888.
After settling in central Missouri, Simonsen purchased a company that manufactured farm machinery. Unfortunately, despite the factory’s success, an accident cost him an eye, and he sold the business a few years after purchasing it. Simonsen’s next endeavor was a steam heating company, which turned out to be very prosperous.
Simonsen was very invested in Jefferson City. He worked to erect the first public library, and wished to create a scholarship fund for underprivileged students. After his death, his wife, Frederica DeWyl Simonsen, gave the city a large grant to erect a school in his name. His funeral was the first automobile funeral in Jefferson City. It was said that he “hated to die because he loved to live here.”← Simonsen, Frederica DeWyl Lohman, Charles F. →