Simon Kerl

Simon Kerl

Death 10 Feb 1876 (aged 46)
Cole County, Missouri, USA
Burial Jefferson City, Cole County, Missouri, USA
Plot Row 1-b, Lot x, #36
Memorial ID 134457403 · View Source
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The State Journal
Jefferson City, Missouri
18 Feb 1876

Died at his residence on the Moreau, in Cole County, Thursday, February 10, at 5 o'clock pm, Simon Kerl, A.M., in the 47th year of his age.

In the death of Prof. Kerl we realize that the county, State and nation have lost a citizen whose place is not easily refilled.

Honored as his memory is by the works which he has left behind him, we cannot but feel that few appreciated the worth of such a man to the community.

Prof. Kerl was perhaps better known and appreciated in New York and Boston than here, where he spent much of his youth and after life.

His history has been an eventful one. Born in the Kingdom of Bavaria, September 10th, 1829, he accompanied his father and mother and their other children to this country, settling in Cole County about the year 1837. His father located his home in Liberty township, where a brother, John Kerl, now resides.

Simon attended school at the Forest Hill Academy, as it was called, Jacob Steininger, Clay Ewing, Ben Winston (now dead), and others of our citizens, many of whom have gone before, being his comrades.

About the year 1843 he accompanied his teacher, John Johnson, to Texas, remaining there till the summer of 1848, when he returned and taught school at Liberty, the Union School House, Centertown, and so forth, using the wages earned in paying his tuition at the State University, through which he passed with high honors, graduating about the year 1851, depriving himself of many comforts to succeed in his efforts.

After graduating, he taught school in this city, W.G. McCarty, Dr. A.C. Davison, and many others in our midst attending school to him in the old Baptist Church.

About 1856-7 he commenced the publication of a series of grammars which at once attracted the attention of educationists, and attained great popularity in some localities, yet being the text-books used in some of the best schools of the East.

Of the series of grammars published was "First Lessons in Grammar," "Common School Grammar," and "Comprehensive Grammar." He also published Kerl's Arithmetic, Kerl's Rhetoric, etc. In 1868 he published the "Alamo" and other poems original and selected, which attracted favorable notice, though not generally read. We make the following extracts from this book, evincing his style and thought as a poet:

"And life - O, what is life,
So full of care and strife
And anxious bustling all around this earth;
So full of smiles and tears,
So full of hopes and fears,
So full of changes and trials from its birth?"

"A brief fantastic dream;
A ne'er returning stream;
A feast that charms at first, but satiates soon;
A varying year or day;
A weary, perilous way;
A radiant dew that vanishes ere noon."

"Sweet, blooming Health; propitious maid!
From the blissful skies descend;
And, in all youthful charms arrayed,
Be thou my constant friend.

Without thee, every blessing is
But mockery and disgust;
With thee, mere life itself is bliss,
Though living on a crust."

The publication of his books calling him east, Prof. Kerl resided for several years in New York State. In 1862 he was appointed as a clerk in the Interior Department, living in Washington for a while.

In 1867 he married Miss Summerer, of this county, and about 1869 returned here with his family, wife and son, and has since resided on the Moreau, except at such times as he was called to Nebraska and elsewhere, on private business.

He became somewhat interested in politics after his return, and ran for sheriff in 1872 against Green Berry. He was not cut out for a politician, however, and was easily disgusted with the acts of such.

Some two weeks ago he returned with his aged father from Nebraska. He had contracted a cold on the trip, however, which settled upon his lungs, and though naturally hearty and rugged, could not survive the attack, which, as indicated a few days ago, eluded with his death, as stated above.

His funeral will take place at ten o'clock AM today from the residence, six miles from town.

As illustrative of the high and noble precepts of the man whose life we have thus briefly sketched, we subjoin the following extract from the preface to one of his publications:

"He who travels over our extensive country can easily observe that wherever the people have a limited and obscure knowledge of language, there all the other elements of civilization and refinement are in a correspondingly undeveloped state, but that wherever a home is surrounded by the beauties of nature and art, there is also generally heard such language as reveals the presence of literature and cultivation of thought and sensibility.

Language is at once the most useful, powerful, delicate, and durable instrument wielded by men. It materializes thought, so as to make it tangible, permanent and transmissible, and it thus carried civilization into every noon and corner of the world. It receives the intellect, heart and achievements of every generation, and bears forward the responsible burden to be judged by future generation. While the marble crumbles, and the canvas fades, and embodiment of great thoughts in glorious language lives through all time; renewing its youth, like the phoenix, with every edition from the printing press, and, like the sun, spreading its light and beneficence round the whole Globe."


Married Katherina Maria "Mary" Sommerer on Sept. 4, 1868 in Cole County, Missouri

Age 46 years and 5 months

Family Members



For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him



  • Created by: A Jones Girl
  • Added: 17 Aug 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 134457403
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Simon Kerl (10 Sep 1829–10 Feb 1876), Find a Grave Memorial no. 134457403, citing Woodland-Old City Cemetery, Jefferson City, Cole County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by A Jones Girl (contributor 47504107) .