Simeon Hart was born on March 28, 1816, in Highland, New York. Hart’s family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he was trained as a Civil Engineer. During the Mexican War he was made Adjutant of the Missouri Horse under the command of Colonel John Ralls. During his time in Mexico, he married Jesusita Siqueiros, daughter of a wealthy flour miller.
In El Paso, Hart built the first industrial plant on the American side of the river. The mill was known as “El Molino”. His home was described as a luxurious residence built in the Mexican style and was a place of great hospitality. Hart was the wealthiest man during the 1860s and in large part attributed to his contract with the U.S. Army.
Hart supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. He received a Presidential pardon thereafter. Hart joined and enabled insurgents by providing them with food, supplies and transportation. In order to facilitate the invasion of New Mexico. In doing so, Hart’s estate sued and tried to recover $50,391.52 for flour and corn delivered in 1861. The case reached the United States Supreme Court, and the high court affirmed the lower court’s decision, “the pardon did not authorize the payment of the claim, nor did the joint resolution take away anything which the pardon had conferred.” *Hart v. United States (April 26, 1886)
Hart was a proud mason and member of El Paso Lodge # 130 A.F. & A.M. Masons originally met in his Hacienda, but suspended meetings during the Civil War. William Wallace Mills a fellow-mason of (El Paso Lodge # 130 A.F. & A.M.) almost succeeded in seizing Hart’s properties due to a court order. During a meeting of the lodge, both men, along with Benjamin S. Dowell got into a heated debate. The meeting was closed in peace and harmony. Simeon Hart served as the first Secretary and Treasurer of the lodge for years. Hart’s son, Juan Hart also became a mason and was the editor and proprietor of the El Paso Sentinel.
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