SIMON G. GARY GRAVESTONE PHOTO
The Winfield Tribune, Nov. 25, 1904
Died: Nov. 20, 1904
Capt. S. G. Gary,
Prominent in Business and
Politics Succumbs to
Who steals my purse steals trash;
But he that filches me of my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
These words of Shakespeare will always be associated with the memory of Captain S. G. Gary. It was his favorite quotation and most aptly illustrates the character of man who builded his life after its pattern. Following the Golden Rule as taught by Christ and translating the readings of Shakespeare to characterize his own personality he lived a life of humble activity, serving his country and his fellowmen, and he died mourned by every man, woman and child who had at any time come within the radius of his smile. Captain Gary was a peer among men. He was plain and unostentatious in dress. Beneath the outer garnishment there dwelt a mind rich in book lore, and a heart that beat true to the principles of honest manhood. He was a Christian, not of pomp and loud Amens, but quietly and intelligently, a faithful student of the Bible, living according to the precepts it taught him. He was a gentleman “after the manner born,” courtly, dignified and unaffected. He was a student, well informed in the history of the world, its political, commercial, and social status, and he was an honest man.
S. G. Gary was born in Ohio, February 5th, 1897, and would have been sixty-eight years old on his next birthday. He was educated at North Lewisburg, Champaign county. At the age of thirteen his father died and while yet a youth he moved to Iowa. On January 1st, 1861, he was married to Miss Mary E. Hunt at Peoria. On May 22nd, 1861, he enlisted as a private, and as such was mustered into Company “H”, Third Iowa Infantry, June 8th, 1861. In September he was made first sergeant; in February, 1862, he was commissioned second lieutenant; in October of the same year he was promoted to first lieutenant, and lastly to captain. All of these were in the same company in which he enlisted. During his career as a soldier he had many narrow escapes. In the battle of Shiloh he was wounded in the leg; then at Hatchie, October 5th, 1862, he was wounded in the arm, and again at Jackson, Mississippi, he was wounded in the thigh. He was discharged June 3rd, 1865, having served full four years.
Altogether he lived in Mabaska county, Iowa, twenty years, and served in several public capacities. He was successively constable, justice of the peace, county supervisor and member of the eleventh general assembly of the state, though himself a lifelong democrat.
He moved to Winfield in 1877, where he has since, resided, being at all times identified with the city’s growth and enterprise. For much of the time he engaged in the livery business. In 1883 Sheriff Shinneman was killed while attempting to arrest a man named Cobb. To the vacancy thus made Captain Gary was appointed by Governor Glick, who was a democrat. He made an excellent record but was defeated of election, the county being hopelessly republican at that time. He was office deputy under O. S. Gibson, sheriff in 1890-91. In 1898 he was appointed postmaster by President Cleveland, and filled the office with ability and credit for four years. He has since been engaged in the news and cigar business. He is a thirty-two degree Mason, a member of the G. A. R. and A. O. U. W., and a leading lodge worker. In the A. O. U. W. he carried $2000 life insurance.
Sunday, the 6th, he was at his place of business with his usual cheery smile, but suffered a heavy cold, which took him home early. To his family he suggested a mild treatment and it was administered. Monday morning he was worse and Dr. Emerson was summoned. The doctor described the trouble as due to pneumonia and prescribed treatment. Owing to Captain Gary’s advanced age he did not rally as a younger person would, and weak heart action hastened the end. Friday and Saturday he was conscious only at times, when he called for little Gary Olds, his only grandson, to whom he was devoted and who was devoted to him. The pain from which he suffered racked his body and he realized Saturday that the end was near. He passed away Sunday mourning surrounded by all his family. He was sick less than a week. God in his goodness had given him a life full of activity and at the age of three score years and eight called him home, sparing him a long illness and much suffering.
The funeral occurred Monday afternoon from the family residence, and was attended by representatives of nearly every family in Winfield. The banks of the city and many business houses closed during the hour of the funeral. In the living room the casket was placed and the arrangement of the flowers was unusually beautiful. Overhead hung the Captain’s sword with the floral wreath presented by his soldier comrades. The casket was unfolded and the Captain lay as though asleep in a bank of fragrant flowers. Forgetting the silence of the tomb it is a satisfaction to his friends to remember Captain Gary as he looked Monday.
A selected quartette sang the Captain’s favorite hymns and the family pastor, Rev. T. W. Scott, read a sketch of the man’s life and from it painted the lessons of truth and honor. At the conclusion of Rev. Scott’s eulogy the body was surrendered to the Masons, who laid it to rest in Union cemetery with Masonic honors. Winfield lodge, No. 110 A. F. & A. M., attended in a body and a special escort of Knights Templar accompanied the remains to the grave. The body was interred beside that of the late John Keck, who was a lifelong friend of Captain Gary. The pall bearers were J. B. Lynn, Charles L. Harter, W. C. Robinson, A. M. Jackson, W. C. Root and L. A. Millspaugh.
Besides the widow, who for over forty years has been a faithful and loving wife, he leaves three children, Leoti, and Grace, now Mrs. Henry Kibbe, wife of the vice president of the Winfield National Bank and Mrs. Wallace Olds, and George Gary, assistant cashier of the First National Bank. They have to comfort them the memory of a husband and parent who was loved by all who knew him, who had lived beyond the three score years allotted man and who went to his accounting with an honorable record with the tears of a mourning community fell over his bier.