Zouave Jacket - Matthias Simon
8th MO Infantry (US)
Company B
Zouave jacket worn by Matthias Simon

The obituary of Mattias Simon says that he was born in Prussia on September 20, 1839, and came to Dover, Ohio, when he was 4.   However, his Army discharge papers say he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1845.   Since his daughter remembers him saying he was in the Army when he was 14 or 15, it is most likely that the place of birth on the obituary (Prussia) is correct, while the year of birth on the discharge (1845) is correct.
At the time he enlisted in the 8th Missouri on June 12, 1861, in St. Louis, he described himself as a painter.   He supposedly enlisted as a drummer boy, and family legend has it that Simon would march on tiptoe when the unit passed a reviewing stand; so that he would appear older and bigger.   He was promoted to Corporal on either April 1 or May 1, 1862
Matthias Simon was wounded at Russell House, Mississippi on May 17, 1862.   The US Army Assitant Surgeon, P.F. Pope, described Simon as "wounded through the mouth and right cheek by a musket ball."   The Simon family story is that the shot passed through the right side of his cheek, took out 2 teeth on the right side and 2 teeth on the left side, and exited out the left side of his cheek.   (Simon later grew a mustache to cover the scars).   He was sent to the New House of Refuge Hospital in St. Louis to recover from his wounds (5/29/1862 to 8/14/1862).
Upon returning to duty, he was promoted to Sergeant in the Fall of 1863 (either 10/16/1863 or 11/01/1963).   He was discharged on July 1, 1864, from Capt. William Hill's Company B, having served 3 years.   At the time of discharge, Matthias Simon described himself as 18 years of age, 5 feet 6 inches tall, having a dark complexion, hazel eyes, and brown hair.
Matthias Simon returned to Ohio, married Josephine Hamm in Cleveland (on October 26, 1866), raised a family, and died on March 3, 1911 in Erhart, Ohio.
He applied for a pension at age 40 ($2/month) because of his war wound, and at age 48 asked for an increase ($6/month) because of increased disability.   "In damp weather his face swells, and it causes him a great deal of inconvenience and pain in eating."   Matthias Simon applied again for a pension on May 26, 1903 - claiming he was unable to perform manual labor.   He applied once more on December 9, 1909.   At the time of his death, he was receiving $12/month.
His widow, Josephine, applied for a widow's pension on March 10, 1911; and applied for an increase in 1917, when she was 70 years old.


Here are some stories about Matthias Simon passed down by his youngest daughter (Anne Simon Grabenstetter):
--- He told her about the guns of the time: you had to be close enough to see anyone you shot, and to see the results of your actions.
--- He told her how the soldiers were so hungry while marching thru the South, they would dig up sweet potatoes and eat them raw.
--- He told her that corn passes undigested thru horses; so, they would search thru any horse dung they came across, looking for corn kernels to cook.
--- He also told her how women and children would watch from the upper windows of the big houses they'd pass in the South, "wondering if they were to be burned out".   She said that bothered her father, as he wasn't the kind of man to do that to women and children.

The above information comes to us from Mathias Simon's great-granddaughter: Jane Dinse.