BEN SIMSON was born in Middletown, New York, February 20, 1874, and
began business in mercantile lines in Suffern, New York, when he was seventeen years old. In 1898 he and his brother Abe started for Dawson. They
had a narrow escape from the great snow-slide at Sheep Camp, and subsequently
lost most of their outfit in a tent fire.
Not meeting with success at mining in the Klondike gold fields, he turned his
attention to merchandising. He went outside in the fall of 1898 to buy goods, and
got back to Skagway in January with a three thousand-dollar stock, which he took
to Dawson. In the summer of 1899 he bought two claims in the Forty-Mile country,
and nearly froze to death the following winter while doing assessment work. He got
a letter from his brother Abe, who had gone to Nome, telling him to go to the states
and buy a stock of goods, and get it to Nome at the earliest possible date. In the
spring of 1900 he was "Johnny on the spot." The firm of Simson Bros, made money
in Nome, and is now one of the largest mercantile institutions in Northwestern Alaska.
Ben Simson is a broad-gauge merchant, with a spirit for big undertakings.
Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by
E. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.