SIMONTON, WILLIAM, son of Dr. William Simonton and his wife Jean Wiggins, was born in 1788, in Hanover township, Dauphin county, Pa., and died May 17, 1846, in Hanover. At the death of his father he was only twelve years of age. His early education was received under the direction of his mother, and consisted of the branches usually taught in the country schools of that period. As he was inclined to the medical profession, he studied Latin under the tuition of the Rev. James R. Sharon, pastor of Derry and Paxtang churches. After the usual preliminary instruction under a private preceptor, he studied medicine with Dr. Samuel Meyrick, of Middletown, afterwards attending lectures of the Medical Department, University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, from which he received the degree of M. D. In the distribution of property resulting from his father's death, the farm "Antigua" was equally divided between him and his brother, John W. Simonton. The latter occupied the homestead until his death in 1824, which occurred a few days previous to the death of his mother. After the erection of the necessary buildings in 1818, he took possession of his new home, where the remainder of his life was spent. While his time was devoted to the practice of medicine, the farming operations were carried on under his superintendence. He always took an interest in political affairs, and was accustomed to act with the Whigs in opposition to the Democrats, who had retained possession of the National Government from the election of Andrew Jackson in 1824. He was elected county auditor in 1823, serving three years, and in 1838 he was nominated as a candidate for Congress from the district then composed of the counties of Dauphin and Lebanon, and was elected by a large majority. He was re-elected in 1840. During the extra session of Congress, held in the summer of 1841, Dr. Simonton's health gave way. Having been accustomed to an active life and to exercise on horseback, strict attention to public business, with confinement to the atmosphere of Washington during the heated term, so prostrated him physically that he was unable to attend regularly upon the sessions of 1842 and 1843. He never fully recovered his health, though he resumed his medical practice, which was continued nearly three years after the close of his congressional career. In person Dr. Simonton was five feet eleven inches in height, of good presence and proportions, with regular features and very black hair, which retained its color to the last. He was a modest, diffident man, but of a genial and friendly disposition. For some years previous to his death he was an elder of old Derry church, and while in Washington a member of the Congressional prayer-meeting. He was a decided Presbyterian in his faith, and ever took a deep interest in the affairs of the denomination to which he belonged. He was a strict observer of the Sabbath and of the services of the sanctuary. He maintained family worship, and was careful to give his children a religious training. He acquired a good reputation as a physician, and for many years lead an extensive country practice. Dr. Simonton married Martha, Davis Snodgrass, born 1790; died April, 1862; daughter of Rev. James Snodgrass, of Hanover.
Historical Review of Dauphin County
Transcribed by Robert Demyrdemy@earthlink.net for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project – http://maley.net/transcription.
Date of Transcription: 29 Oct 2000
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