Ernst Nusbaum and Family in the 1880s: Years of Growth and Movement

There is one more line of the Nusbaum clan to complete, that of John’s younger brother Ernst.  Since it’s been two months since I last wrote about Ernst and his family, I thought I would first summarize what he and his family were doing in 1880 and where they had been before then.  Then we can bring Ernst and his family up to the 20th century.  Today I will discuss the 1880s.  I’ve included a series of Google Maps to show how much this family moved around in the 1880s.

Ernst is the Nusbaum sibling who may have lived in Philadelphia first and never lived anywhere else after settling there by 1851 when his first child Arthur was born.  Ernst was married to Clarissa Arnold, and in the 1850s he was a clothing merchant in Philadelphia with his firm,  Nusbaum, Arnold, and Nirdlinger.  Between 1851 and 1861, he and Clarissa had six children: Arthur, Myer, Fanny, Edgar, Henrietta, and Frank.  During the 1860s, Ernst continued to work in the clothing business with Nusbaum, Arnold, and Nirdlinger, and his children continued to grow.

The next decade presented serious financial challenges for Ernst and his family.  His company declared bankruptcy in 1870, and for much of the decade I could not find a listing that showed what Ernst was doing for a living.  Meanwhile, his oldest children were entering the workforce and getting married.  Between 1876 and 1879, Arthur married Henrietta Hilbronner, Fannie married Jacob Hano, Myer married Rosalie Aub, and Edgar married Viola Barritt.  Several grandchildren were born as well.  By 1880, only Henrietta and Frank, the two youngest children, were still living at home.

In 1880, Ernst was 64 and working as a cloak manufacturer, according to the 1880 census.  Until 1884, he and Clarissa continued to live in the same home where they had lived for many years and raised their children at 2105 Green Street.  In 1884 they were now listed as living at 2028 Mt. Vernon Street where they would remain throughout the decade.  Ernst was also continuing to work in the cloaks business throughout these years.

After his brother John died in 1889, Ernst was the only Nusbaum sibling left in the United States.  He and Clarissa continued to live in the same home, and he continued to work in the cloaks business into the 1890s when he was in his seventies.

As for the children of Ernst and Clarissa in the 1880s, their oldest child Arthur and his wife Henrietta had four children between 1877 and 1895: Florence (1877), Sidney (1879), Horace (1885), and Stella (1889).  In 1880 Arthur, Clarissa, and the two oldest children were living with Henrietta’s parents at 938 North 7th Street, and Arthur was working as a clothing cutter, presumably for his father-in-law, who was a clothing manufacturer.  In 1883 and 1884, Arthur is listed as a tailor, still living at his in-laws residence at 938 North 7th Street.  In 1885, he is listed at 1338 Franklin Avenue as he is in 1887, working as a salesman, and in 1888 he is living at 1814 Franklin with no occupation specified.  In 1890 they had moved again, now living at 1732 Gratz Street, and Arthur was working as a cutter.

Myer, the second child of Ernst and Clarissa, and his wife Rosalie Aub had two children, Corinne (1878) and Jacob (1879).  In 1880 Myer was working as a bookkeeper for a clothing company.  The family was living at 979 North 7th Street.  In 1885 his residence as listed as 1825 North 8th Street; Myer continued to work as a bookkeeper.  But in the 1889 and 1890 directories his residence is again 979 North 7th Street, as it was also in 1891.  In each, his occupation is bookkeeping.

Fanny, the third child, and her husband Jacob Hano had six children between 1877 and 1891: Louis (1877), Ernest (1880), Samuel (1883), Myer (1885), Alfred (1890), and Clarence (1891).  Six boys.  Wow.  Although I am no longer surprised to see a Jewish child named for someone living, the fact that Fanny gave a son not only the same name as her father while he was still alive (his middle name was even Nusbaum), but also gave another son the same name as her brother did surprise me.

Fanny and Jacob had been living in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1880, where Jacob had declared bankruptcy in 1878, but Jacob was working once again as a clothier in 1880 in Youngstown.  By 1884, however, Fanny and Jacob and their children had moved back to Philadelphia to 1823 Poplar Street, and Jacob was working as a salesman.  By 1889, however, the Hano family had relocated again, this time to New York City, where Jacob was a book dealer.  The family was living at 967 Park Avenue in Manhattan in 1889.  Fanny and Jacob never again returned to live in the Philadelphia area, but stayed in greater New York.

Although Edgar Nusbaum and his wife Viola Barritt had not been living together according to the 1880 census, they had a daughter named Selena, born in 1881.  On the 1881 Philadelphia directory, Edgar is still listed at his parents’ residence at 2105 Green Street, working as a salesman, but by 1882 he had moved out to 1331 Girard Avenue and was working as a clerk. A year later he is listed as a bookkeeper living at 1922 Van Pelt, in 1884 as a clerk living at 1318 South Broad Street, and he is missing from the 1885 and 1887 directories.  Edgar reappears in 1888, living at yet another address (2029 North 11th Street), where they finally seemed to settle down for a number of years.

(I cannot imagine moving as often as these people seemed to move.  I’ve lived in only two places in the last 30 years and in only five places total my whole adult life (and only three places as a child).  These people seemed to move every year or so.  I guess they had less “stuff” so moving was easier.)

Henrietta, the fifth of the children of Ernst and Clarissa, married Frank Newhouse in 1883 in Philadelphia.  Frank was from Philadelphia, one of eleven children, and in 1860 when he was six years old, his household included a governess and three domestic servants as well as the nine children then alive and two adults.  His father Joseph Newhouse, a German native, gave his occupation as “gentleman” on the 1860 census.  He had real estate worth $40,000 as well as personal property also worth $40,000.

Frank and Henrietta (Nusbaum) Newhouse were living at 2028 Mt. Vernon Street in 1884, the same address where Henrietta’s parents were living at that time.  Frank and Henrietta would live with Ernst and Clarissa at that address for many years.  Although Frank’s occupation was given as salesman in some of the directories and as late as 1889, in 1890 he is listed as part of the firm of Rice and Newhouse, tailors. Since all the other entries said he was a salesman, I thought the 1890 listing seems anomalous and perhaps wrong. But I checked the 1892 directory, and it still has Frank working at Rice and Newhouse and still identifies the business as tailoring.  Frank and Henrietta did not have any children.

Finally, the youngest of Ernst and Clarissa’s children was Frank Nusbaum, born in 1861. He’d been living at home in 1880, working as a clerk, and was still living with his parents in 1884 and 1885.  By 1885 his occupation had changed to bookkeeper. He married Dolly Hills in Philadelphia in 1887 when he was 26.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out anything about Dolly’s background.  The closest match was a Dollie Hill living on a farm in Pennsvylania with her family in 1870, but I could not find that Dollie on a later record.  Frank and Dolly had one child, Loraine, born in 1889. Frank and Dolly lived at 2017 Vine Street in 1888 and 1889.  Frank was at first working as a clerk and then as a salesman.

Here is one last map showing where each member of the family was living in the late 1880s (other than Fanny,  who was in New York):

Thus, the 1880s were a fruitful time for the family of Ernst and Clarissa (Arnold) Nusbaum.  Their children were all married, and there were a number of grandchildren born.  All but one of their children were living in Philadelphia, and most of the men were involved in the clothing trade, either as manufacturers, tailors, or salesmen.  After the hardships of the 1870s, life must have seemed pretty good for Ernst, Clarissa, and their children.  Unfortunately, the 1890s would not be as easy a decade.






2 thoughts on “Ernst Nusbaum and Family in the 1880s: Years of Growth and Movement

  1. They certainly moved around! My family and I had moved 5 times by the time I was 14 years old, and another three times before I was eighteen. It never seemed such a chore – I guess I must just have been used to it. Strange though how all the memories are associated with one or two of those addresses, and the rest have become lost to memory.


    • Wow, that is a lot of moving. Was that typical of people in your community? Were you moving from town to town or within one location? I am exhausted thinking about it!


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