So I still don't know if my great grandfather bought it new or not.
I have learned that Ralph (my ggf, pictured) was a carpenter for the D&H railroad before he bought our farm, from his sister in law, in 1920. And that he, at least once, traveled out west, when this picture was taken in Los Angeles. He was born in 1880 so this trip must have occurred somewhere around the turn of the century.
I can't help but wonder if there's a chance he picked up this 1899C on that trip, but it seems like it will be hard to determine.
I've been trying to find out what I can about Simmon's Hardware in St. Louis and have learned that they were a large retailer back in the day, but so far I can find no links that may lead to their old sales records.
Anyhow, here's another letter on another fine old rifle to add to the (impressive) knowledge base you all have here.
I've got guns listed to Simmons as well and I live in Canada. I believe Simmons was an outlet or something and that the guns were shipped there and from there out to retailers. Just to many guns are listed to them and i doubt that many people drove or took a horse all across North America to buy a Savage from them.
Simmons Hardware: "The company is wholesale and retail dealer in hardware, cutlery, sporting goods, harness, etc. and also manufacturers of harness, saddlery, athletic goods, pocket cutlery, etc."
Looks to have been a very large company, saw mention of offices in New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis. Might have received all goods at their main warehouse in St. Louis and then sent them off to side offices elsewhere.
I don't know Joe. St. Louis was a BIG city and a thriving metropolis at the turn of the century. They hosted the World's Fair in 1904. It was still the gateway to the west. Simon's may have been filling orders for shops further west but I would not be surprised if they were selling them in St. Louis. (maybe to travelers headed west)
Simon's does not show up as often as a few others from what I can recall... E.K. Tyrons (sp??) and what was that shop out west that stamped their name on the bottom of every barrel. I have seen a few pages of ledger and they seem to show up a lot.