Zalmon G. Simmons
Born in Montgomery County, New York, Simmons came to Kenosha in 1849. In 1870, Simmons founded the Simmons Bedding Company. He was also Mayor of Kenosha, Wisconsin. In 1865, Simmons was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly.
In the late 1880s, it took Simmons two days to get to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado to inspect some telegraph wire insulators he had invented. He was instrumental in stringing telegraph lines alongside railroads and had earlier purchased a fifty percent interest in a telegraph company. He had such a miserable time climbing to the top on a mule that he financed the building of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway in 1889. The railway itself was built by Italian laborers and was operational by 1891. It can still ridden to the top.
Simmons married Emma E. Robeson from Illinois and they had four sons and two daughters. The youngest surviving son, Zalmon Jr., took over the mattress business. Simmons Sr. served as bank president to Kenosha, Wisconsin's First National Bank from 1871 to 1909. Although he seemed like a man with a golden touch, Simmons had an ailing wife and survived a massive factory fire in his manufacturing plant in 1892. He was involved in many philanthropic activities and is buried in Kenosha.
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