Since ancestry.com was still not fully functional and I thus could not get access to many of the documents I need to complete the story of the children of Reuben and Sallie Cohen, I spent time looking for news articles about the family on genealogybank.com, a site that has remained untouched by the attack on ancestry. Here are a few interesting additional little peeks into their lives.
First, I was excited to find the picture above of Reuben Cohen published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on April 1, 1917, in honor of his birthday. (Sunday, April 1, 1917, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) Volume: 176 Issue: 91 Section: News Page: 2) It’s always good to be able to visualize what someone looked like, and since I have not been able to locate many photographs of any of these relatives, this was an exciting find.
Reuben and Sallie were also at least twice the victims of crimes. In 1885 Reuben was the victim of an assault and battery while trying to stop a thief. He was commended by the judge for his conduct. The accused was sentenced to eighteen months in prison for stealing a $7 roll of cloth. It’s not clear whether he stole it from Reuben’s store or whether Reuben was just trying to aid in his arrest. I also found it disturbing that the defendant’s race was mentioned for no possible relevant reason other than the blatant racism of those times. (” Civil and Criminal. Suits and Prosecutions from the Court Reports,” Wednesday, November 11, 1885 Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) Volume: CXIII Page: 3 )
Then in 1903 Reuben and Sallie were themselves the victims of theft when a household employee of theirs stole a diamond ring in a “grip” belonging to Sallie when she asked him to carry it for her when she returned to Philadelphia from Cape May. The accused admitted the theft and also admitted that he had been stealing from the Cohens for some time. (“Says He Stole Jewelry,” Sunday, August 30, 1903, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) Volume: 149 Issue: 61 Section: First Page: 6)
Finally, I was puzzled by this news item, describing a donation by Reuben to the Episcopal Church in Cape May of a silver plate to be used for communion.
Why was Reuben making a gift to the church? Although Sallie may not have been Jewish, it does seem that they raised their children as Jews for here is an article announcing the confirmation of their son Arthur at Mickve Israel synagogue. (“A Minute’s Chat,” Wednesday, February 25, 1903, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) Volume: 148 Issue: 56 Page: 8 )
In addition, Reuben, Sallie, and all of the ten children who predeceased them are all buried in Mickve Israel cemetery. Was this just a generous gift to an important institution in Cape May? Or were the Cohens also church members? Perhaps I can do some research of the church records to find out more.
There were also other articles about anniversary parties, trips to Cape May, and other family events and celebrations. This series of news stories reveals a little more of Reuben’s character and of his social and financial standing in the Philadelphia and Cape May communities. It also reveals that despite all the heartbreak his family endured, they also continued to prosper socially and economically and apparently to enjoy life.