William Edgar Simonds (1842-1903) is the only man from Canton to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, to be speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives (1885), or to be elected to Congress (1888). He also served as U.S. Commissioner of Patents (1891-1893).
Simonds was born and raised in Collinsville and started working for the Collins Company at age 17. He attended the Connecticut Normal School at New Britain, now Central Connecticut State University. He’d begun work as a schoolteacher when at age 19 he enlisted to serve in the Civil War. At the battle of Irish Bend Louisiana he risked his life when he crawled through a cane field while under heavy fire to rescue men from his unit who had become isolated in a no-man’s land between opposing forces.
After discharge from the military in 1863, Simonds attended Yale Law School. Two years later he opened a practice in Hartford and became an expert in patent and trademark law. In 1871 and again in 1874 he published influential books on patent law https://archive.org/stream/practicalsuggest00simoiala#page/n3/mode/2up . After service as patent commissioner, he returned to private law practice in Hartford in 1893. Simonds is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.
For more about Simonds go to http://connecticuthistory.org/william-edgar-simonds-a-schoolteacher-turned-civil-war-hero/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_E._Simonds
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.