Milton’s Family Album, Part XIV: Teasing His Little Brother

Having created pages about his grandparents, his parents, and himself, Milton Goldsmith turned to his siblings, starting with his brother Edwin.

Here is Edwin with his wife Jennie Friedberger:

And here is the biography that Milton wrote about Edwin:

A couple of observations about this biography:

First, I had to look up “caul” as I’d never heard of this before or the superstition associated with it, but this website confirmed what Milton said. A baby born with the amniotic sac on its head or even its whole body is said to have been born with a caul. Here’s a video showing such an occurrence:

 

As for Milton’s remarks about Edwin being registered as a girl at birth, I recalled that when I was researching Edwin, I saw on the Philadelphia birth index that he was identified as a girl. I assumed that that was just an indexing error, but apparently as Milton notes, Edwin was in fact registered as a girl at birth. Unfortunately, I cannot access the image of the actual birth record through FamilySearch; they are only viewable at a Family History Center, and I do not have easy access to one. If anyone lives near one and can retrieve it, please let me know.

I found Milton’s tone here that of the teasing older sibling as opposed to the serious, almost reverential tone of his other biographies. It is clear that Milton found it humorous that his little brother was registered as a girl.

But the remainder of this biography is obviously written with respect and admiration for his brother and all his accomplishments. This biography must have been written sometime after 1935 when Edwin retired, as mentioned in the essay, and before Edwin’s death on November 15, 1944, because Milton added that fact by the handwritten note above the biography. I think this also is a clue as to when Milton compiled the album—sometime between 1935 and 1944.

The only other article on this page is the obituary for Edwin’s wife Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith:

I won’t quote the entire obituary, but just this excerpt:

The death of Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith … after an illness of six weeks, brought sorrow to the family’s large circle of friends throughout the community. Mrs. Goldsmith, who was 67 years of age, was stricken with a heart ailment on June 5, while attending to some business matters at the offices of the Pennsylvania Company, and her condition became so serious that she was removed to the Jefferson Hospital.

…She was active in social and charitable work in Philadelphia and in Atlantic City….She possessed a wide circle of friends and was esteemed and beloved for her sterling qualities of heart and mind. Her abilities and energies were of an unusually high order. At her summer home in Longport as well as in her beautiful home in Philadelphia, she was a gracious hostess to her numerous friends for many years. Her passing is widely mourned….

The page following this contains a long article about Milton’s brother-in-law Felix Gerson, husband and widower of Emily Goldsmith and editor of The Jewish Exponent newspaper, on the occasion of his retirement. I won’t excerpt this one, but if you click on the image, you can zoom in and read it. I have already written about Felix elsewhere.

This is Part XIV of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX,  Part X, Part XI, Part XII and Part XIII at the links.

I will be taking a break for the next couple of weeks, so see you all in June! 

Henry Goldsmith’s Children, 1923-1930: Years of Change

After Henry Goldsmith’s death in 1923, there were a number of changes and relocations in the family. The first change was the opening of a second law office for S(amuel) R and Oliver Goldsmith in January, 1924.  According to this news article, Oliver Goldsmith, the younger brother, was to be in charge of the new office in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, while SR would remain in charge of the office in Connellsville. Uniontown is less than twelve miles from Connellsville.

“Goldsmiths Open Office in Uniontown,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, January 9, 1924, p. 1

But the Uniontown office must not have worked out because by July 1925, Oliver had relocated to Miami, Florida, where he continued to practice law.1  On May 18, 1926, Oliver married Sarah “Sally” Friedman in Miami.

“Oliver Goldsmith Weds Former Pittsburg Girl,” The Connellsville Daily Courier,” May 19, 1926, p. 2

According to this brief news item, Sally was also then residing in Miami, but had previously lived in Pittsburgh. She was in fact born in Pittsburgh on April 13, 1890, to Gershon and Libby Friedman,2 who were immigrants from Russia. Sally grew up in the Pittsburgh area where her father was a merchant.3

What I don’t know is how or why Sally and Oliver, two Pennsylvania natives and residents, ended up both living in Miami and getting married there. Did they both happen to move there to escape the cold Northern winters? Or had they planned to move there together? Both were mature adults by 1926—Oliver was 39, Sally was 36.

In any event, they stayed in Florida only until about 1930 (I cannot find them on the 1930 census), but in 1931, they were listed in the Reading, Pennsylvania directory,4 and  the August 25, 1930, Reading Times (p. 2) reported that Oliver had been appointed as a “master of divorce,” “an attorney appointed by the Court to make recommendations in contested divorce and annulment actions.” I don’t know what took them to Reading, which is 230 miles from Connellsville and 260 miles from Pittsburgh where their families were living. Perhaps there was some tension with their families that drove Sally and Oliver first to Miami and then to Reading.

Meanwhile, SR Goldsmith had taken in a new law partner not long after his brother Oliver left:

“S.R. Goldsmith and J. E. Horewitz Form Law Partnership,” The Connelllsville Daily Courier, November 30, 1925, p. 1

Reading between the lines, I imagine that something had happened between SR and Oliver that caused them to dissolve their partnership.

The other big business change that occurred in the years following Henry’s death was Benjamin Goldsmith’s retirement from the store he owned with his brother JW, as announced in this advertisement from the October 9, 1925, Connellsville Daily Courier (p. 18):

At the very top it says, “On November 1st, the partnership of the firm of Goldsmith Bros. will be dissolved. After 30 years of successful business career Mr. Benjamin J. Goldsmith will retire, and his brother and partner, J.W. Goldsmith will continue the store under the name Goldsmith’s.”

Although the ad stated that JW would continue to operate the store (he, after all still had a seventeen-year-old son, J. Edison, to support in 1925), by 1930 it appears that JW had retired as well because the 1930 census reported that he had no occupation. In this case there was no indication of any bad blood leading to the dissolution of JW and Benjamin’s partnership since the 1930 census revealed that Benjamin was living in JW’s home.

JW Goldsmith and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0006; FHL microfilm: 2341772
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Thus, the 1920s were years of loss, growth, and change for the children of Henry Goldsmith. They lost their father Henry and little Sarah Goldsmith. There were two marriages and a number of new babies born. And four of the brothers experienced career changes—JW, Benjamin, SR, and Oliver.

These were also years that saw some of Henry’s grandsons go away to college. More on that in the next post.


  1. Miami, Florida, City Directory, 1926, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Sally Friedman Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 083001-086000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  3. Gershon Friedman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 12, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0148; FHL microfilm: 1241359, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4. Reading, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1931, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 

Henry Goldsmith’s Family, 1920-1930: Losses and Heartbreak

Up through 1920, the family of Henry Goldsmith had had generally good fortune and much success. Henry’s eight surviving children were doing well in their chosen professions. All but two were married, and six of the surviving eight children had children of their own.

On the other hand, Henry had suffered some tragic losses—Henry’s little son Albert died as a young boy, his son Edison died in a horrific train accident, and his wife Sarah Jaffa died in 1907 when she was 56. In addition, Henry had suffered a stroke in 1911, but had recovered. And Henry’s unnamed grandson, the son of Walter Goldsmith and his wife Ella, had died in 1915 when he was just twenty-two days old.

Walter and his wife Ella had then been blessed a year later with a second child, Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith, named for her grandmother. But Walter and Ella suffered another heartbreaking loss on March 21, 1921, when four-year-old Sarah died from acute gastroenteritis.

Death certificate of Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 020501-023500, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Ella had just twenty days earlier on March 1, 1921, given birth to another child, a son Edison, named for Walter’s deceased brother.1

I can’t imagine how Walter and Ella coped with this tragedy. To lose a second child on the heels of the birth of third—did they worry that the new baby would also get sick and die? Did they worry that they had not been fast enough to notice little Sarah’s illness because of the chaos that always surrounds the birth of a new baby?

Walter and Ella somehow survived this loss. In fact, another child was born to them less than two years later. Stanley Goldsmith was born on December 16, 1922.2 And a daughter Edna was born on October 4, 1924.3 Fortunately, all three of these children survived and lived full lives.

The extended family also continued to grow when the first of Henry Goldsmith’s grandchildren married in 1921.  Eleanor Goldsmith, daughter of JW, married Julian F. Rosenbaum on August 16, 1921, in Connellsville.4 Julian was the son of Joseph and Toni (Frankel) Rosenbaum, German immigrants, and he was born on December 18, 1897, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, where his parents had settled after immigrating.5 His father was a dry goods merchant there, and in 1921, Julian was working as the assistant manager in his father’s department store, Rosenbaum Brothers.6

Eleanor and Julian settled in Uniontown where Julian continued to work at the family store.  They had three children born in the 1920s in Uniontown, Henry Goldsmith’s first great-grandchildren.7

But the extended family suffered another loss on June 19, 1923, when Henry Goldsmith died from edema of the lungs at the age of 76.  His funeral was attended by “[o]ver 200 of Fayette county’s prominent citizens, including judges of the common pleas and orphans’ courts.”8 Henry was survived by eight children and nine grandchildren.

Henry Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 067501-070500, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Henry Goldsmith had lived overall a good life, but not a life without tragedy and heartbreak. He had lost his mother when he was three and had outlived two of his children and two of his grandchildren. His wife had died fifteen years before he did. But despite those tragedies, he and his wife Sarah had raised an incredibly well-educated, intelligent, and successful family, all of whom were still living relatively close by in western Pennsylvania when Henry died in 1923.

That would start to change in the years after Henry’s death.


  1. SSN: 181120537, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. SSN: 201142857, Death Certificate Number: PA 2972985, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  3.  Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. “Hostess at Rehearsal Dinner,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, August 15, 1921, p. 2. 
  5. SSN: 550052846, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; Joseph Rosenbaum, passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 550; Volume #: Roll 550 – 07 May 1900-11 May 1900, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925; Rosenbaum family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Uniontown Ward 5, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1571; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 103, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  6. Uniontown, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1921, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. Julian Rosenbaum and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Uniontown, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0104; FHL microfilm: 2341775,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. “Henry Goldsmith,” The Pittsburgh Press, June 22, 1923, p. 28. 

Milton’s Family Album, Part XIII: The Creative Talent of Milton Goldsmith Himself

Milton Goldsmith devoted the next three pages of his family album to himself and to his wife Sophie. The first page includes photographs and two biographies of Milton.

I wonder how they made this photograph of Milton taken from numerous angles—anyone know how they did this?

UPDATE! According to Ava Cohn, aka Sherlock Cohn the Photo Genealogist, these photographs were done with a folding mirror and were quite common. In fact, Ava shared another one as did another Facebook reader who saw my post.

I don’t know where this biography of Milton was published or when, though it was written no earlier than 1891 as it refers to the publication of his book, Rabbi and Priest, in that year. The biography also appears to have been written while he was still living and working in Philadelphia and before he moved to New York City and married Sophie Hyman in 1899. So it was written some time in the 1890s.

I would think that this photograph of Milton was taken about the same time as the publication of that biography, sometime in the 1890s when he was in his thirties:

This entry about him in Who’s Who was written many years later as it references some of his later publications, including his play, The Little Brother, which was published in 1918.

What I really love about this Who’s Who entry are the insights into Milton’s appearance and personality—that he had blue eyes, a fair complexion, and graying hair, that he was cheerful and optimistic, and that he was a moderate drinker and did not smoke. Most of the other biographical and professional information I had already gleaned from other sources. (There are a fair number of blog posts about Milton’s life and career, e.g., here, and here and here and here and here.)

Speaking of The Little Brother, the next page in Milton’s album is a copy of the program from a performance of that play in 1918:

I had previously written about this play and Tyrone Power’s starring role in it.

Finally, the third page compiled three reviews of a play (undated) in which Milton’s wife Sophie had an important role. The play, The Flight of the Duchess, by Henry Hanby Hay, was an adaptation of a “poetic romance” by Robert Browning and performed by the local Browning Society, a amateur group.

In the article on the left side of the page, the reviewer did not like either the play or the performers, but did praise Sophie’s acting, saying, “Mrs. Goldsmith’s reading of her lines was marked by a distinction and sense that had been welcomed in her associates….”

The second review, at the middle bottom of the page, was overall much kinder and also praised Sophie’s performance as “a striking piece of work.” And the third review, on the right side of the page, was more mixed, but again praised Sophie, saying that “The chief individual honors of performance fell to Mrs. Milton Goldsmith.”

These three pages about Milton and his wife Sophie are appropriate reminders of their many talents. Here is one final photograph of Milton, taken in 1941 when he was eighty years old:

This is Part XIII of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX,  Part X, Part XI and Part XII at the links.

Another Lawyer in Henry Goldsmith’s Family

As seen in my prior post, the years between 1910 and 1920 were busy and productive ones for three of Henry Goldsmith’s children; Helen, Walter, and Florence all married in that decade and also engaged in meaningful work (teaching, dentistry, and music, respectively) and Walter and Helen also had children.

This post will focus on the other five children of Henry Goldsmith: Jacob (JW), Benjamin, Milton, Samuel (SR), and Oliver, and their lives during the second decade of the twentieth century.

JW, as we saw, was living in Connellsville in 1910 with his wife Jennie and two children, Eleanor and J. Edison. He was a clothing merchant in business with his brother Benjamin. He continued this work in the 1910s. By 1918, his daughter Eleanor, then seventeen, was a student at Wellesley College.

“Personal,” The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, June 19, 1918, p. 2

In 1920 they were all still living in Connellsville, and JW was still a clothing merchant.

Jacob W. Goldsmith and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 5, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1568; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 13
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

On November 10, 1917, Benjamin Goldsmith was involved in a terrible accident in which his car struck a three-year-old child, fatally injuring him.  Benjamin, however, was found not to be at fault and was completely exonerated of any criminal culpability:

“Driver Exonerated,” The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, November 16, 1917, p, 3

In 1920, Benjamin was still living with his father Henry, his sister Florence, brother Oliver and cousin Lena Katz in Connellsville. Henry was still in the insurance business, Benjamin continued to work as a clothing merchant with JW, Florence was teaching music and soon to be married, and Oliver—well, his story is still to come below.

Henry Goldsmith and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 1, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1568; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 7
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Milton, the third Goldsmith sibling, and his wife Luba were both practicing medicine in Pittsburgh in  1910. They had a second child, Albert Robin Goldsmith, born on April 10, 1915, in Pittsburgh.1 Henry volunteered to provide medical services in 1918 to the mining town of Cool Run located in McIntyre, Pennsylvania, where the Spanish flu epidemic had affected one hundred of the 125 homes.

“Dr. Milton Goldsmith,” The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, October 11, 1918, p, 2

In 1920, Milton, Luba, and their sons Norman and Albert were living in Pittsburgh where both Milton and Luba continued to practice medicine.2

SR (Samuel) Goldsmith continued to practice law and live in Connellsville with his wife Rae and son Jack in the 1910s.3 During this decade he was joined by another member of the family as a member of the profession. His younger brother Oliver graduated from Dickinson Law School in Pennsylvania and became a member of the Pennsylvania bar in August, 1917.4 The newspaper reported on his first case:

The Connellsville Daily Courier, August 6, 1917, p. 1

But Oliver did not have much time to use his license to practice law before he was inducted into the army on September 22, 1917 and sent to Fort Lee, Virginia, where he became a training sergeant. He was ultimately promoted to a corporal and then quartermaster sergeant and was stationed at Fort Lee until his discharge on April 11, 1919.5

“Well Known Connellsvile Boy at Camp Lee,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, March 7, 1918, p. 1

Once he returned from his time in the service, Oliver joined his brother SR in his law practice in Connellsville:

“New Law Firm,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, April 30, 1919. p. 2

As noted above, in 1920 Oliver was living with his father Henry, brother Benjamin, and sister Florence in Connellsville.

Thus, by 1920, all of Henry Goldsmith’s children were adults. All but Benjamin and Oliver were married, and Henry had eight grandchildren. What is perhaps most remarkable is how educated and successful Henry’s children were: a doctor, a dentist, and two lawyers among his sons (with the other two working together as clothing merchants) and two daughters who were both educated, one a teacher, the other a music teacher and composer.

That is quite impressive for the children of a German immigrant mother and a father who was born in the US shortly after his parents immigrated from Germany and who lost his mother when he was only three years old. I wonder who or what inspired them to seek higher education.

And what would the 1920s bring for Henry and his children and grandchildren? Unfortunately, it was not all good news.

 


  1. Albert Goldsmith, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 914, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  2. Milton Goldsmith, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 550, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  3. Samuel R Goldsmith, 1920 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 1, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1568; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 7, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  4. The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, June 5, 1916, p. 2, and August 6, 1917, p. 1 
  5. Olilver Goldsmith, World War I draft registrations, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948;. 

Henry Goldsmith,1910-1920: Obstacles Faced and Overcome

On August 10, 1911, Henry Goldsmith, then 64 years old, suffered a stroke, rendering him paralyzed and unable to speak.  His condition was reported in the Connellsville paper, as was his continuing improvement.

“Henry Goldsmith Suffers a Stroke,” The Daily Courier, 12 Aug 1911, Sat, Page 1

But Henry had a full recovery. A week later the paper reported that he was able to sit up in bed,1 and by September 18, 1911, he was able to go out and was reported as “recovered” by the newspaper.2 In October, he was re-elected to be president of the board of the People’s Building and Loan Association,3 and the following June he traveled with members of his family to Europe.

The Daily Courier, 02 May 1912, Thu, Page 1

By this time even Henry’s youngest child, Helen, was earning a living. Just days after her father’s stroke, she was appointed to be a primary teacher in Connellsville, selected from a field of eight candidates. Like her older siblings, Helen had been an excellent student, graduating from the Connellsville school as valedictorian as had her brother Milton.

The Daily Courier, 22 Aug 1911, Tue, Page 6

I could not post this article without commenting on the paragraph that follows the one about Helen. It so clearly reflects the discriminatory social attitudes of those times by referring to the teacher by his race and to the class by their ethnic background.

Helen’s teaching career in Connellsville did not last very long. On January 20, 1914, she married Edwin Tanzer Meyer; she was 24, he was 23. Edwin was born in Piedmont, West Virginia, on February 28, 1890, to Sigmund Meyer and Anna Tanzer, who were German immigrants. After living for some time in Lonaconing, Maryland, the family moved to Pittsburgh, where in 1910, Sigmund was a salesman in a department store and Edwin was a floor manager in a department store.4

Helen Goldsmith marriage record, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 
Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Press – 25 Jan 1914 – Page 45

Helen and Edwin settled in Pittsburgh, where they had two children: Edgar J. Meyer, born on March 31, 1915,5 and Malcolm G. Meyer, born January 17, 1918.6 Edwin had become an optometrist in the years between the 1910 census and his registration for the World War I draft. On that registration he reported that he had already served in the ambulance corps in the DC militia. In 1920 Helen, Edwin, and their two young sons were living in Pittsburgh, and Edwin was practicing optometry.7

Edwin T Meyer, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1909239; Draft Board: 11
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

Helen was not the only one of Henry’s children to marry in 1914. Her brother Walter married Ella Rosenberg six months after Helen married Edwin—on June 17, 1914. Ella was the daughter of Herman Rosenberg and Bertha Moskovics. She was born on January 13, 1887, in Csorgo, Hungary. 8 Her family had immigrated to the US in 1890, and in 1900 they were living in Pittsburgh where her father was a liquor salesman. Ella was still living in Pittsburgh in 1910.9

“Rosenberg-Goldsmith,” The Daily Courier, 18 Jun 1914, Thu, Page 2

She and Walter settled in Connellsville, where Walter had a dentistry practice. On May 25, 1915 their first child was born; he only lived for 22 days, dying on June 16, 1915, from acute bronchitis and septicemia from a skin infection. Since there was no name given for this child on his death certificate, I imagine he was either premature or very sick right from birth:

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 054101-057320
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Walter and Ella’s second child was born on October 2, 1916. She was named Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith in memory of Walter’s mother.10

At the time of his registration for the World War I draft in 1918, Walter and his family were still living in Connellsvile,11 but by 1920, Walter, Ella and their daughter Sarah were living in Pittsburgh where Walter had a general dentistry practice.12

1914 was also a big year for Florence Goldsmith, though for different reasons. That year she debuted her operetta, “The Pilot of Tadousac,” for which she had written the book, the lyrics, and the music. Unfortunately, I do not know anything about this operetta. Tadoussac is a village in Quebec. I did find this story on a CBC Canadian history website, so perhaps this is the “pilot” that inspired Florence’s operetta:

In the spring of 1608, two vessels crossed the Atlantic, the Lévrier, under the command of Dupont-Gravé, and the Don de Dieu, under the command of Champlain.

On June 3, when Champlain arrived in Tadoussac, Dupont-Gravé’s pilot came to greet him in a rowboat. The pilot informed him that Dupont-Gravé had tried to impose his monopoly on the Basque and Spanish captains who were already there, but they had answered him with their muskets and cannons. He took Champlain to the bedside of Dupont-Gravé, who was still alive but seriously wounded.

Together, they negotiated a truce with Darache, the leader of the Spaniards, which allowed Dupont-Gravé’s men to start trading with the Montagnais.

Aside from this reference, I found nothing that revealed the story behind Florence’s operetta. The operetta itself was generally well-reviewed by the local newspaper as seen in this excerpt from a longer article (I excluded the parts describing the cast):

“Pilot of Tadousac is Quite A Clever Operatta [sic],” The Daily Courier, 29 May 1914, Fri, Page 2

It also was performed in two other locations in Pennsylvania over the next several years. 13 Florence also continued to teach music.14

The Pittsburgh Press, 29 Oct 1916, Sun, Page 10

Then on March 11, 1920, she married Lester Bernstein in New York City.15 He was 38, she was 36. Lester was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, on May 14, 1881, to Sigmund Bernstein and Marie Omann, who were both immigrants from Germany.16 In 1900, Lester’s father Sigmund was working as a jeweler in Philadelphia, and Lester was a “rodman.”17 According to this website, a rodman was a surveyor’s assistant.

Lester was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lehigh University. In 1910, he was living on his own as a lodger in Baltimore and working as a civil engineer for the railroad. He was still living in Baltimore and working for the railroad when he registered for the World War I draft in 1918, although now he reported his title as statistician. The article about his marriage to Florence reported that he had at one time worked for the railroad in Connellsville as a field engineer, which is probably when he met Florence.

The Daily Courier, 11 Mar 1920, Thu, Page 2

After marrying, Florence and Lester settled in Pittsburgh.  I could not find them on the 1920 census, perhaps because they were still on their “extended honeymoon trip” when the enumeration was done.

Thus, Walter, Helen, and Florence all married between 1910 and 1920. Their other siblings—JW, Benjamin, Milton, Samuel and Oliver—were also busy in those years. More on that in my next post.

 

 

 

 


  1. “Henry Goldsmith Improved,” The Daily Courier – 14 Aug 1911 – Page 1 
  2. “Henry Goldsmith Well Again,” The Daily Courier, 18 Sep 1911, Mon, Page 1 
  3. “Peoples B&L Elects Officers,” The Daily Courier, 11 Oct 1911, Wed, Page 1 
  4. Sigmund Meyer family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Lonaconing, Allegany, Maryland; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0110; FHL microfilm: 1240604, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Sigmund Meyer family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 13, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1303; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0446; FHL microfilm: 1375316, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  5. Edgar Meyer, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1695, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  6. Malcolm Meyer, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1695, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  7. Edwin T. Meyer, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 13, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 521, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  8. Ella Rosenberg birth record, Source: LDS 642954, Page # – Item #: 301-014, JewishGen Hungarian Special Interest Group volunteers, comp. Hungary, Birth Records collected by Rabbis in Various Counties, 1789-1921 
  9. Rosenberg family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Allegheny Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 10; Enumeration District: 0048; FHL microfilm: 1241355,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census; Rosenberg family, 1910 US census,Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1302; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0422; FHL microfilm: 1375315, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  10. Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith death certificate, Certificate Number: 22703
    Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 020501-023500,
    Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  11. Walter Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  12. Walter Goldsmith and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 550,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  13. “The Pilot of Tadousac,” The Uniontown (PA) Morning Herald, 16 Sep 1915, Thu, Page 5; “Amateurs Will Stage Benefit Play,” The Pittsburgh Press, 29 Oct 1916, Sun, Page 10; 
  14. “Students Give Recitals,” The Daily Courier, 11 Jun 1919, Wed, Page 5 
  15.  License Number: 7069, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 3, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  16. Lester Bernstein, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (4th Registration) for the State of California; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942. Lester Bernstein death certificate, Certificate Number: 121500-65, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906-1963; Box Number: 2459; Certificate Number Range: 121201-124000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  17. Sigmund Bernstein and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 17, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0327; FHL microfilm: 1241459, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XII: The Mystery of His Stepmother Francis

Will you help me solve a mystery?

The next page in Milton Goldsmith’s family album was devoted to his stepmother, Francis (sometimes spelled Frances) Spanier Goldsmith. But his story about her background and childhood left me with quite a mystery.

Milton was fifteen when his father remarried, and from this tribute to Francis, it is clear that he was extremely fond of and grateful to her.

Francis Spanier Goldsmith, the second wife of Father, Abraham Goldsmith, was born in Germany in 1854. Left an orphan at an early age, she was brought up in the home of Rabbi Krimke of Hanover, Germany. At the age of 20 she came to America, and having an Uncle, Louis Spanier, living in Washington, D.C. she went there for a while but soon settled in Baltimore, and became friends with our cousins, the Siegmunds. It was there that father met her, having been introduced by Mr. S. Father had been a widower for two years with five young children to bring up, and was looking for a wife, a lady with no relatives. He fell in love with Miss Spanier, proposed after two days and married within two months. She was 22 and he past forty. She was an attractive girl, dark-eyed, brunette, speaking a cultivated German but very little English;- of an amiable disposition. Father’s greatest mistake was to keep the parents of his first wife in the house. This naturally led to friction. A brother, Julius Spanier soon came in our home and lived there for a while. Later a sister, Rose, came from Hanover and also lived with us for several years. She eventually married and lived in Birmingham, Ala, where her brother also made his home. Within a year the oldest son, Alfred was born, and within five years there came Bertha, Alice and Louis. The later years of father’s life were embittered by sickness, loss of money and finally a stroke, rendering him helpless. He suffered for 12 years before he passed away in 1902. During that time Francis was an untireing [sic] nurse and faithful companion. She died of a stroke in Philada, 1908.

[handwritten underneath] She was distantly related to Heinrich Heine.]

I found this essay heartwarming, but also sad. Francis was orphaned, married a man  with five children who was more than twenty years older than she was, had to put up with his first wife’s parents, raise five stepchildren plus four of her own, and tend to Abraham when he suffered financial and medical problems. What a hard life! But how much of Milton’s essay was true?

When I first wrote about Francis over a year ago, I noted that I’d been able to find very little about her background, so finding this essay was very exciting because it provided many clues about Francis’ background. I’ve placed in bold above the many hints in Milton’s essay about people and places that I thought might reveal more about Francis.1

For example, who was Rabbi Krimke who allegedly brought up Francis? Was he just some rabbi from Hanover, or did Milton provide such a specific name because he was a well-known rabbi? It turns out that it was the latter. In Die Rabbiner der Emanzipationszeit in den deutschen, böhmischen und großpolnischen Ländern 1781-1871 (Michael Brocke, Julius Carlebach, Carsten Wilke, Walter de Gruyte, eds. 2010)( p. 549), there was this short biography of Rabbi Isaac Jakob Krimke of Hanover:

Here is a partial translation:

Rabbi Isaak Jakob Krimke, born in Hamburg in 24 June 1824, died in Hannover 20 Nov 1886. From orthodox school, 1857 third foundation rabbi at the Michael Davidschen Foundation School in Hannover, at the same time teacher at the Meyer Michael Foundation School and lecturer at the Jewish Teacher seminary, around 1869 first Foundation Rabbi. at the Michael Davidschen Foundation. Married to Rosa Blogg (died 1889), daughter of the Hebrew scholar Salomon Ephraim B.  ….  Was buried in the Jewish cemetery An der Strangriede. The tombstone for the foundation rabbi Isaac Jakob Krimke is preserved; it is adorned with a Magen David and also decorated with strong oak leaves….

I then fell into a very deep rabbit hole when I tried to track down Louis, Julius, and Rose Spanier, Francis’ uncle, brother, and sister, respectively. I was able to find a Joseph Spanier living with his wife and family in Birmingham, Alabama, on the 1910, 1920 and 1930 census reports.2  But Joseph Spanier was born in England, according to all three census records. I was skeptical as to whether this was Julius Spanier, the brother of Francis Spanier Goldsmith living in Birmingham, as mentioned in Milton’s essay.

Jos. Spanier and family, 1910, US census, Census Place: Birmingham Ward 2, Jefferson, Alabama; Roll: T624_18; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0047; FHL microfilm: 1374031
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

But when I searched further for Julius Spanier, I found this page from the 1861 English census:

Spanier family, 1861 English census, Class: RG 9; Piece: 243; Folio: 61; Page: 28; GSU roll: 542598
Enumeration District: 20, Ancestry.com. 1861 England Census

This certainly appears to be the same man described in Milton’s essay and found on the census records for Birmingham, Alabama, as he was the right age, born in England, and had two sisters, one named Frances, one named Rose. Could it just be coincidence? Also, my Francis was the same age as the Frances on the 1861 English census. This certainly appeared to be the same family as the Spanier family described in Milton’s essay about his stepmother.

What really sealed the deal for me were the names of Joseph Spanier’s children in Birmingham, Alabama. His first child was Adolph; Julius Spanier’s father on the 1861 census was Adolphus. Julius Spanier’s mother was Bertha. Joseph Spanier also had a daughter named Bertha.

And consider the names of the first two children Francis Spanier had with Abraham Goldsmith: a son named Alfred, a daughter named Bertha. It all could not simply be coincidence. I hypothesized that Joseph Spanier was born Julius Spanier in England to Adolphus and Bertha Spanier and that Francis Spanier Goldsmith was his sister.

But then things got murky. Look again at the 1861 English census. It shows that Frances was not born in Germany, but in Boston—in the US. Every American record I had for Francis indicated that she was born in Germany, not the United States. How could I square that with the 1861 English census and the connection to the siblings mentioned in Milton’s essay—Julius and Rose?

And if Frances was born in Boston and living in England in 1861, is it really possible that she did not speak much English when she met Abraham in 1876, as Milton claimed in his essay?

Spanier family, 1861 English census, Class: RG 9; Piece: 243; Folio: 61; Page: 28; GSU roll: 542598
Enumeration District: 20, Ancestry.com. 1861 England Census

Then I found a birth record for Frances Spanier born in Boston to “Radolph” and Bertha Spanier on September 10, 1854. “Radolph” was clearly a misspelling of Adolph, and this had to be the same Frances Spanier who appeared on the 1861 English census.  Francis Spanier Goldsmith had a birth date of September 13, 1855, on her death certificate, so just a year and few days different from this Boston birth record (though the death certificate said she was born in Germany.)

“Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-XHB7-DJH?cc=1536925&wc=M61J-KNL%3A73565601 : 1 March 2016), 004023162 > image 102 of 857; Massachusetts Archives, Boston.

Frances Spanier Goldsmith death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 006001-010000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

I also found records showing that Francis Spanier Goldsmith’s uncle Louis was living in Boston in the 1850s.3 It certainly seemed more and more like Francis Spanier Goldsmith was born in Boston, not Germany, as Milton had written and American records reported.

What about the story that she was an orphan and raised by Rabbi Krimke? Francis’ mother Bertha died in England in 1862,4 when Francis was seven or eight years old, so she was partially orphaned as a child. But her father Adolphus died in England in 1873, so Francis was eighteen or nineteen when he died.5 But when Francis immigrated to the US in 1876, the ship manifest stated that she was a resident of Germany, not England.

Franziska Spanier, Year: 1876; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 403; Line: 1; List Number: 344, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Was Milton’s story just a family myth, or was there some way to reconcile it with these records?

Here is my working hypothesis:

After Bertha Spanier died in 1862, Adolphus was left with five  young children. Francis (then seven or eight) and at least some of her siblings were sent to Hanover, Germany, to live with Rabbi Isaak Jakob Krimke, as the family story goes. By the time Francis immigrated to the US fourteen years later, she might have forgotten most of the English she once knew, so she was speaking only German, and the Goldsmith family only knew that she was an orphan who had come from Germany so assumed she was born there, and the family myth grew and stuck.

How ironic would it be if Francis was, like Milton and his siblings, a child whose mother died, leaving her father with five young children? After all, Francis also ended up marrying a man whose first wife died, leaving him with five young children. Francis may have saved her stepchildren from the fate she might have suffered—being taken away from her father after her mother died and sent to live in a foreign country  with a stranger, who happened to be a well-known rabbi.

What do you think? Am I missing something here? Where else can I look to try and solve this mystery?

This is Part XII of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX,  Part X and Part XI at the links.

 


  1. I also spent far too much time trying to track down the Siegmund family of Washington, DC, whom Milton described as his cousins. I had no luck figuring this one out and finally forced myself to stop looking. I also resisted the temptation to try and track down the distant connection between Francis Spanier and Heinrich Heine, the great nineteenth century German-Jewish poet. 
  2. Jos. Spanier, 1910 US census, Census Place: Birmingham Ward 2, Jefferson, Alabama; Roll: T624_18; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0047; FHL microfilm: 1374031, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census; Joe Spanier, 1920 US census, Census Place: Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama; Roll: T625_25; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 99, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census; Joseph E. Spanier, 1930 US census, Census Place: Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama; Page: 32B; Enumeration District: 0071; FHL microfilm: 2339762, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  3. Birth record for Clara Spanier, daughter of Louis Spanier, Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FXDT-91R : 11 March 2018), Clara Spanier, 01 Oct 1855, Boston, Massachusetts; citing reference ID #p72 #3222, Massachusetts Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1,428,236. 
  4. Bertha Spanier death record, Inferred County: London, Volume: 1c, Page: 147, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915 
  5. Adolphe Spanier death record, Inferred County: London, Volume: 1d, Page: 577, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915 

Henry Goldsmith’s Growing and Successful Family, 1900-1910

As we saw in the last post, Henry Goldsmith and his family suffered two terrible losses in the early years of the 20th century. First, his son Edison was killed in a horrendous train accident in 1903. Then Henry’s wife Sarah died from heart failure in 1907.

But not all the news was bad for the family in the first decade of the new century. Henry’s oldest child, J.W. Goldsmith and his wife Jennie had two children in this decade, Eleanor, born August 20, 1901,1 and J. Edison, obviously named in memory of J.W.’s brother Edison, born March 15, 1908. In 1910, J.W. and his family were living in Connellsville where J.W. had a retail clothing store.2

J Edison Goldsmith birth record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1910; Box Number: 146; Certificate Number Range: 037775-040473, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1911

There were also two marriages in the family in the 1900s decade. Milton Goldsmith married Luba Natalia Robin on March 25, 1905, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

Milton Goldsmith marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1905; Roll Number: 549855, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963

Luba was born in Russia on January 17, 1879, and had immigrated with three younger siblings, arriving in the US on July 23, 1895, when she was sixteen.3 Just seven years later in May, 1902, Luba graduated from Western Pennsylvania Medical College (now University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)—the only woman in a class of 48.4 She pursued a career in public health, working in the “vaccination corps” of the Pittsburgh Board of Health and then as a tenement house inspector for the Board of Health. She is mentioned in newspapers as a speaker on public health issues beginning as early as 1903.

Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, October 25, 1903. p.2

Milton and Luba were engaged in December 1904,5 and married March 25, 1905, in Pittsburgh.

Robin-Goldsmith, The Weekly Courier, 25 Mar 1905, Sat, Page 1

Reading this article about the wedding, you would have no idea how accomplished Luba was. How could they discuss Milton’s education and profession but not that of his wife? And if you look back at the marriage license above, you will see that it asks for the groom’s occupation, but not the bride’s—a clear reflection of the sexism of those times.

Their honeymoon to Europe was not merely a pleasure trip; they also took post-graduate medical courses.

“Dr Goldsmith Home,” The Weekly Courier, 13 Oct 1905, Fri, Page 13

Milton and Luba had their first child, Norman Robin Goldsmith, on June 15, 1907, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. In 1910, Luba and Milton were both practicing medicine and living in Pittsburgh.6

Norman Robin Goldsmith birth record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906–1910; Box Number: 88; Certificate Number Range: 067051-070050
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1911

Milton’s younger brother Samuel also was married during the first decade of the century. On April 26, 1906, he married Rae Tumpson, the daughter of Max and Sophie Tumpsen. (Interestingly, the application for a marriage license did ask for the bride’s occupation.)

Samuel R Goldsmith marriage record, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968

Rae was born Recha Tumpowski in Belgard, Germany, on March 27, 1883. She and her parents immigrated to the US when Rae was just a year old.7 In 1900 they were living in Gouverneur, New York, where her father Max was in the retail clothing business.8 But later that year, they relocated to Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where Max opened a new store. 9

After marrying, Samuel and Rae stayed in Connellsville.  Their son Jack Tumpson Goldsmith was born there on January 28, 1909.10 In 1910, they were living in Connellsville where Samuel (known as S.R.) was engaged in the general practice of law.11

Also in this decade, Henry’s son Walter graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Dental School in 1905, graduating with high honors and ranked third in his class:

“Graduated in Dentistry,” The Weekly Courier, 14 Jun 1905, Wed, Page 4

In 1910, Henry Goldsmith, now a widower, was living with five of his adult children and his niece Lena Katz. Henry continued to work in the insurance business; his son Benjamin was in the clothing business with his brother J.W., Walter was a dentist, Henry’s daughter Florence was a music teacher, Oliver a clerk in the insurance business, and Helen was not working outside the home, but still in school.

Henry Goldsmith, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Connellsville Ward 1, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1344; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0006; FHL microfilm: 1375357
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Thus, in the first decade of the 20th century, there were two weddings and four grandchildren born. Four of Henry Goldsmith’s children had become professionals: Milton was a doctor, Samuel was a lawyer,  Walter was a dentist, and Florence was a music teacher. Henry must have been very proud and likely missed having his wife Sarah to share in all these weddings, births, and accomplishments.

More accomplishments and more weddings and births were to come in the next decade. But first Henry had another obstacle to overcome.


  1. SSN: 573546121, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. Jacob W. Goldsmith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 5, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1344; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0012; FHL microfilm: 1375357, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  3. Luba Rabinowicz, passenger manifest, Year: 1895; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 645; Line: 6, Source Information
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  4. “Forty-Eight Young Medical Students Will Soon Begin Practicing,” The Pittsburgh Press, May 25, 1902, p. 4. 
  5. “Engagement Announced,” The Connellsville (PA) Daily Courier, 03 Dec 1904, Sat, Page 8. 
  6. Milton and Luba Robin Goldsmith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1302; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0422; FHL microfilm: 1375315, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  7. Recha Tumpowski, passenger manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1731, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  8. Max Tumpowsky and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Gouverneur, Saint Lawrence, New York; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0093; FHL microfilm: 1241156,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  9. “New Clothing Store,” The Weekly Courier, 05 Oct 1900, Fri, Page 6. 
  10. Jack Tumpson Goldsmith, passenger manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Miami, Florida; NAI Number: 2774842; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85,
    Ancestry.com. Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963 
  11. Samuel R Goldsmith and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Connellsville Ward 5, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1344; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0012; FHL microfilm: 1375357, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 

Over Sixty Killed in Train Wreck in 1903, including My Cousin Edison Goldsmith

In 1900, Henry Goldsmith and his wife Sarah Jaffa were living with eight of their nine surviving children in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where Henry was in the insurance business.  Their oldest child, JW, was already married and working as a merchant in Connellsville. Two of their sons were professionals: Milton was a doctor and Samuel was in law school. Henry and Sarah had lost one child, Albert, as a young boy, in 1891, but otherwise life must have seemed very good.

Then on December 23, 1903, their son Edison Goldsmith, just 23 years old, was one of over sixty people killed in a horrendous train accident.

“Sixty Dead in Railway Wreck,” The New York Times, December 24, 1903, p. 1

One of the worst wrecks in the history of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad occurred at 7:45 o’clock to-night at Laurel Run, eight miles west of Connellsville, on the Pittsburg Division of the Baltimore and Ohio.  The “Duquesne Limited,” the fastest train on the road, was wrecked, killing sixty-outright, fatally injuring eighteen, and slightly injuring more than fifty.

The wreck was caused by the breaking of the castings on a carload of bridge timbers on a freight train that passed Laurel Run not more than fifteen minutes before the arrival of the limited. The freight proceeded without noticing the accident, and the express train, running at a speed of more than sixty miles an hour, crashed into the timbers before the engineer even had time to apply the emergency brakes.

The baggage car was thrown over the embankment into the Youghiogheny River, and the smoker, which contained more than forty passengers, was thrown over the engine. The steam dome of the engine was broken, and the escaping steam and water filled the car, scalding the passengers.

Every occupant of the car was dead before the rescuers reached the scene of the wreck. The train contained six cars, one baggage, one smoker, one sleeper, and a dining car, all of which were badly wrecked. Engineer William Thornley and Fireman Cook were caught under the wrecked engine and cannot be extricated for several hours.  The tracks are completely torn up, and traffic over the road cannot be entirely resumed for at least a day.

Nearly all the passengers in the smoker were bound for Philadelphia. Many of them were to take passage on an ocean liner on Saturday for the old country. Not one of these escaped alive.

[Lists of the known dead and injured followed the text of the article, with Edison Goldsmith being among those listed as dead.]

Edison’s funeral was held on December 25, 1903. The newspaper described him as “a popular young man” and said that “an immense concourse attended the services.”1

Edison’s parents, Henry and Sarah, sued the railroad for $20,000 for negligently causing the death of their son. A jury awarded them $3,345, after being instructed by the judge that they should put a reasonable limit on the award. The judge told the jury, “The young man might or might not come up to the expectations of his parents had he not been killed. That should be determined by you in fixing a value on his life.” The news article also noted that an appeal would probably be taken from the verdict, but I could not find any reports of further legal proceedings.2

Losing another son must have broken Henry and Sarah’s hearts. In Sarah’s case, perhaps in a more literal way. She died of heart failure on October 25, 1907, just six days after her 56th birthday.

Sarah Jaffa Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 093741-097660, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

But fortunately, there was also some good news for Henry and his eight surviving children in the first decade of the 20th century. More on that in my next post.

 


  1. “Railroad to Aid City in Giving All A Burial,” The Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle, December 26, 1903, p. 1. 
  2. “Verdict of $3,345 In Goldsmith Case,” The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, November 30, 1905, p, 5. 

Milton Goldsmith’s Family Album, Part XI: Tributes to His Father Abraham

This is Part X of an ongoing series of posts based on the family album of Milton Goldsmith, so generously shared with me by his granddaughter Sue. See Part I, Part II, Part IIIPart IVPart V,  Part VI, Part VII , Part VIII,  Part IX and Part X at the links.

The next two pages in Milton Goldsmith’s family album focus on his father Abraham. The first of those two pages consists of newspaper articles about Abraham.

Unfortunately I do not know the actual papers from which these articles were clipped, but this obituary was dated within the week after Abraham’s death on January 27, 1902, in Philadelphia:

Abraham was certainly active in his community.  How he had the time while raising all those children and earning a living is bewildering.

The next article that appears on this page relates to a tribute paid to Abraham by United Hebrew Charities at the time of his death:

The next article must have been published while Abraham was still alive. It relates to a resolution adopted by United Hebrew Charities to honor Abraham at the time he resigned from his position as secretary of that organization. Unfortunately the clipping is not in good condition and some of the words are not legible.

The second page of Milton’s tributes to his father Abraham has some items that are more personal.

This biography appears on that page. Again, Milton did not indicate where or when this was published:

This note written by Abraham when his wife Cecelia died seems almost journalistic in tone except for the opening and the last sentence:

My dear Cecilia died on Nov 8th 1874 after a short illness.

She complained of not feeling well on Monday evening the 2nd [?] but did not get [?] sick until the 5th in the PM. 

She was buried on Thursday the 12th November 11 o’clk am at Mount Sinai Cemetery.

Peace to her asked.

To the left and under Abraham’s note about his wife’s death, there is a poem by Milton written sometime in the 1890s, long after his mother died:

I assume this poem was somehow inspired by Milton’s experience losing his mother when he was just thirteen.

Under the poem he pasted this note written by his father Abraham in 1877:

My son Milton left from New York for Europe on the City of Richmond on Saturday morning Sept [?] 11:25

I do wonder whether there is some connection between the poem and the note. Anyone have any ideas?

The remaining two notes are in German.  I turned to the German Genealogy group for help.

The first note is dated around the same time as the note about Milton’s trip to Europe, September 1877:

The members of the German Genealogy group transcribed this as follows, “Gott sei mit dir! Der liebe Gott behüte und beschütze dich und gebe dir seinen Segen. Amen”

And translated it as, “May God be with you! May the good God keep and protect you and give you His blessing. From your father, Abr(aham) Goldsmith.”

Alfred, Abraham’s first child with Francis, his second wife, was born on August 11, 1877, just 20 days before Abraham wrote this note. I assume this was a prayer for his newborn son. I wonder where it had been kept that Milton found it and preserved it for posterity.

And then finally there is this note:

This one was transcribed by a German Genealogy group member as, “Auf Alle deiner Wegen, bleib Tugendhaft und rein; dann wird der himmlische Segen, stets deine Begleiter sein. Dein Papa, Abr. Goldsmith”

That translates to, “In all your ways, remain virtuous and pure, then heavenly blessings will always be your companions. Your papa, Abr. Goldsmith.”

As this one is dated 1880, I think Abraham wrote this blessing for his daughter Alice, who was born on August 29, 1880.

I wonder whether Abraham wrote these notes of blessing for each of his many children and if so, why only these two have survived. And where did he keep them that Milton found them and preserved them so that they could be read on the internet almost 140 years later?