In my last post, I covered four of the five children of Paula Dinkelspiel and Moses Simon. The remaining child was their fourth child, Flora, born in 1868. Flora Simon married Charles Mayer in 1889. Charles was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1857, the son of Jacob Mayer and Mathilde Shoyer. The family had moved to Philadelphia by the time Charles was three. His father was a merchant on the 1860 census and in the wholesale liquor business on the 1870 census, but by 1880 and thereafter, he listed his occupation as a dentist. He was a man with eleven children, and that made me wonder how he became a dentist while raising such a large family.
Most early “dentists” were actually barbers, blacksmiths, or apothecaries. Sometimes physicians would do extractions. Infection control was minimal, as was anesthesia. According to the American Dental Association website, the first dental school in the world was established in 1841 in Baltimore. Alabama enacted the first law to regulate the practice of dentistry also in 1841, but it was never enforced. The American Dental Association was founded in 1857. Pennsylvania had three dental schools by 1880, the newest being that established by the University of Pennsylvania.
Perhaps Jacob Mayer attended one of these, although I do not know when he would have had the time. The earliest reference I could find to a Pennsylvania law regulating the practice of dentistry was this April, 16, 1879 article from the Harrisburg Telegraph, describing a bill being considered by the state legislature.
The bill was passed on a second reading, according to a May 16, 1879, article in the same paper (p.1). Here is a description of that bill as reported the next day:
Thus, by the time Jacob Mayer was practicing dentistry, there was some state regulation of the practice.
At any rate, his son Charles did not follow him in to this practice. By 1875 when he was eighteen, Charles was working as a salesman, though still living at home. In the 1879 Philadelphia directory, he is listed as a bookkeeper, and on the 1880 census, he is a clerk, but in the 1880 directory, his occupation is salesman. He was still living at home with his parents at this time.
After marrying Flora Simon in 1889, Charles and Flora remained in Philadelphia for a few more years and Charles continued to work as a salesman. Their first child Jerome was born in 1890, and their second child Madeline was born in 1892. A third child, Evelyn, was born in October, 1895 according to the 1900 census (although her headstone says 1894), but I am not sure whether she was born in Philadelphia or in Lancaster because by 1896, the family had relocated to Lancaster, where Charles had been born almost forty years earlier. He is listed in the 1896 Lancaster directory as the proprietor of the Parisian Cloak and Suit Company. The family remained in Lancaster until at least 1901, when Charles is still listed as the proprietor of the same company.
By 1904, however, the family had returned to Philadelphia, and Charles is listed as affiliated with the A.J.S. Bowers Company, also known as the Philadelphia Cloak and Suit Company. He listed his occupation on the 1910 census as a clothing manufacturer and continued to be associated with A.J.S. Bowers. By 1914, however, he had started his own business, Charles S. Mayer & Co, and on the 1920 census described his business as a manufacturer of ladies’ dresses.
The three children of Flora and Charles Mayer, all now in their twenties, were still living at home with their parents in 1920. Jerome was working as a salesman of ladies’ dresses, presumably in his father’s business. Madeline was a primary school teacher, and so was her sister Evelyn.
Madeline married Gustave Winelander in 1925. Gustave was a 1914 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Chemistry. He served in the US military forces during World War I and then was working as a chemist in 1918 according to the 1918 Philadelphia directory. The 1920 census records that he and his father Max had their own extract business, and from later census and directory listings I determined that he was selling flavoring extracts used in baking. Gustave and Madeline would have one daughter, Joan.
Flora and Charles Mayer’s youngest child, Evelyn, married Irving Frank sometime in or before 1922, as their son Irving was born in York, Pennsylvania, in January, 1922. Irving, Senior, was born in New York City in 1893, but by 1903 he and his parents and siblings had relocated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where his younger sister Mildred was born. In 1910, his father was a milliner, like Flora’s uncle, Joseph Simon. Since York was only 26 miles from Lancaster, perhaps the two hat merchants knew each other.
Irving attended Lehigh University in 1912 and 1913, as a civil engineering major. On his World War I draft registration, he listed his occupation as a manager at M. Frank in Lancaster, but by 1920 he was living in York with his aunt and uncle, working as a clerk in a department store. Maybe he met Evelyn while working there when she was visiting her aunt and uncle, Joseph and Emilie Simon. After marrying sometime thereafter, Irving and Evelyn settled in York, as Irving is listed a buyer there in the 1925 York directory. By 1927, however, he was the proprietor of the Fashion Millinery in Lancaster, joining the same trade as his father and Evelyn’s uncle Joseph Simon.
Jerome, Madeline, and Evelyn’s mother Flora Simon Mayer died August 20, 1927, and was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia. She died of bronchial pneumonia. She was only 59 years old.After Flora died, her husband Charles and her son Jerome continued to live together and work together in the women’s clothing business at least until 1930. Sometime between 1930 and 1940, Jerome married Mabel Bamberger Sichel, who had a daughter Marion from an earlier marriage. On the 1940 census, Jerome, Mabel, and Marion are living in the same house on Diamond Street that Jerome had lived in with his parents and sisters, and his father Charles and Mabel’s mother Rose Bamberger were living with them as well. Jerome was working in the cheese business.
Irving Frank remained a milliner in Lancaster for many years, at least until the early 1940s. He died November 14, 1946, and was residing in York at that time. He was only 53 years old. He was buried at Prospect Hill cemetery in York where Joseph, Emilie, and Moses Joseph Simon were buried.
Charles Mayer outlived his wife Flora by almost thirty years, dying at the age of 98 on July 7, 1955. He was buried with her at Mt. Sinai cemetery. His son Jerome died in December 1966 and is also buried at Mt. Sinai with his wife Mabel, who died in 1973. Jerome’s sister Madeline died in 1968; her husband Gustave lived until 1989 when he was 95 years old; they also are buried at Mt. Sinai in Philadelphia.
For longevity, however, the prize goes to Evelyn Mayer Frank, who died in 2002 at the age of 107. She is buried with her husband Irving in the Prospect Hill cemetery in York, Pennsylvania. Imagine the changes she saw in her world between her birth in 1894 and her death in 2002. I hope that her descendants and her siblings’ descendants had many opportunities to learn from her experiences and to hear her stories.
Wow! I do hope that Evelyn’s relatives took an interest in her stories and captured them. You’re right that she must have seen an amazing amount of history in her long lifetime. And those early dentistry practices…brrrrrrr.
As far as I have been able to determine, she had one child, and I have not found anything yet as to whether he married or had children. But perhaps her nieces, nephews and cousins benefited from her long years.
Oh, i hope so. Someone who hangs in there that long should not go unremembered..
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Can you imagine going to the dentist in those days? I love antique dental chairs. Great work again, Amy.
I don’t like going to the dentist THESE days! No wonder George Washington had wooden teeth.
Thanks for your kind words, Luanne! I also wanted to email you to let you know that my books arrived from LuLu Press, and I am thrilled! Email me if you want more information.