In my last post about the family of Ernst Nusbaum, I brought his family up to 1900 and the beginning of the 20th century. The family had lost both Ernst and his son Myer in 1894, but the family had survived these tragedies and continued their lives. The early years of the 20th century also had their challenges. For the family of Ernst and Clarissa’s oldest child, Arthur Nusbaum and his wife Henrietta Hilbronner, the first three decades of the 20th century brought far too many premature deaths. Arthur was my first cousin, four times removed, the nephew of my three-times great-grandfather, John Nusbaum.
Arthur was the second of Ernst and Clarissa’s children to die, fourteen years after his brother Myer took his own life. Arthur died on August 15, 1909, of phthisis pulmonalis, a form of tuberculosis that causes wasting of the body. He was only 52 years old when he died and was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery. Tuberculosis had taken another member of the extended Nusbaum family.
Just two months later, Arthur and Henrietta’s daughter Florence married Lewis Pierce Hoopes in New York City on October 19, 1909. It is interesting that Florence and Lewis were married in New York, as both were Pennsylvania natives. Lewis was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, a town about 20 miles south of Philadelphia, and the couple in fact resided in Chester with Lewis’ mother after the wedding and for many years afterwards. Lewis was the son of B. Tevis and Sara P. Hoopes, and in 1880, his father had owned a “furnishings” store, i.e., most likely a clothing store, in Chester. B. Tevis Hoopes died in 1894.
In 1900 Lewis’ mother, Sara P. Hoopes owned the “furnishings” store in Chester, and Lewis was working as a clerk in a bank. In 1910, Lewis is listed on the census as clerk in a notions store. In 1920 he and Florence were still living with Sara Hoopes, and Sara was listed as the owner of a dry goods store with her son Lewis listed as a clerk. On September 7, 1928, Lewis died from cerebral apoloxy; he was 56 years old. Four years later Florence died from cancer; she was 54. Florence and Lewis did not have any children. Thus, there are no direct descendants.The second oldest of the children of Arthur and Henrietta, their son Sidney, married Emma Kleinsmith in 1903. Emma was also a Philadelphia native, born June 28, 1869. Emma and Sidney had a son Sidney, Jr., born March 31, 1904. The family was living at 3851 North Park Avenue in 1905, and Sidney was a salesman. In 1910, he listed his occupation as the manager of a department store, but later records including his World War I draft registration and the 1920 census list his occupation as a clothing salesman. In 1920, Sidney, Emma, and their son were living on Erie Avenue in Philadelphia.
Sidney, Sr., died three years later on January 16, 1923, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while “temporarily deranged,” according to his death certificate. Yet another family member had succumbed to suicide. Sidney was 42 years old.
His son, Sidney, Jr., was only nineteen years old at the time of his father’s death. He and his mother continued to live in the same residence on Erie Avenue in Philadelphia, and Sidney, Jr., was working as an electrician in 1930. Sidney, Jr., also died young; on August 12, 1932, he accidentally drowned while swimming near a dam in Greene, Pennsylvania; he was 28 years old.
In 1909, not only did Florence Nusbaum marry Lewis Hoopes, Arthur and Henrietta’s third child Horace Nusbaum married Florence Crawford, the daughter of Jonathan Crawford, a widower from Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he was employed as a watchman. On April 5, 1910, Horace and Florence had a son, Arthur, obviously named in memory of Horace’s recently deceased father. Tragically, little Arthur died just three months later on July 5, 1910, from acute gastroenteritis and malnutrition. He was buried at Mt. Peace cemetery in Philadelphia.
Although Horace and his family (including the infant Arthur) were listed in the 1900 census as living in Philadelphia, sometime thereafter Horace and Florence relocated to Chester, where his sister Florence and her husband Lewis Hoopes were also living. On the 1910 census, Horace had listed his occupation as a solicitor for the electric company, and I had not known what that meant, but this article from the Delaware County Times from Chester, dated April 25, 1913, provided a clear picture:
Horace M. Nusbaum, a special representative of the Beacon Light Company, has been in the borough several days securing contracts for the change in rates of the company. He reports meeting with great success, the plan being approved by nearly all the light consumers in the town, and as there are but a few left to sign the new contract he will soon complete his labors here.
(Delaware County Times, April 25, 1913, p. 9)
In addition, Horace took on a role as spokesperson, educator, and salesperson for the company, as this article reveals. I also found it interesting for what it reveals about the role that electricity was beginning to play in the homes of ordinary citizens by 1914:
Although the first report seemed to indicate Horace was not yet living in the Chester area, there were a number of later news reports revealing that he and Florence had relocated to that area. A 1916 news item about their vacation described them as residents of Norwood, Pennsylvania, a town about five miles from Chester. (Delaware County Times, July 31, 1916, p. 3) A 1917 issue reports their attendance at a masquerade ball in Norwood. (Delaware County Times, November 6, 1917, p. 2)
On his World War I draft registration dated September 12, 1918, Horace listed his occupation as the commercial representative for the Delaware County Electric Company, and he and Florence were residing in Norwood.
Just a few weeks later, his wife Florence would die during the Spanish flu epidemic on October 5, 1918, when she was only thirty years old. The number of death notices listing pneumonia or influenza as the cause of death in the week Florence died was staggering.Horace had lost his infant son and then his wife in the space of eight years. But like his sister-in-law Emma, Horace survived, and a year later he married again, marrying Edna M. Ephlin in 1919. Edna was the daughter of Oscar and Julia Ephlin of Philadelphia; her father was a shipping clerk for a paper company. After they married, in 1920 Horace and Edna lived at 1935 Park Avenue in Philadelphia with Horace’s mother Henrietta and his sister Clair as well as his youngest sister Helen and her husband William Stroup. Horace continued to work as a salesman for the electric company. He and Edna did not have any children.
As for the remaining three children of Arthur and Henrietta Nusbaum, Stella (20) and Clair (17) were both living at home and working at a department store in 1910. The youngest child, Helen, now 15, was not employed. In 1914, Stella married Roy Service, born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to James and Ella Service. In 1920 Stella and Roy were living at 1229 Broad Street in Philadelphia, and Roy was a clerk. (In earlier and later city directories, Roy’s occupation was listed as a printer.) Stella and Roy never had children, and Stella died on January 27, 1929, from chronic myocarditis and multiple sclerosis. She was 39 years old.
In 1920, Stella’s younger sister Clair was living with her mother Henrietta as well as her brother Horace and his wife Edna and her sister Helen and her husband William Stroup. Clair, her mother, and her sisters had no occupations. Only the two men were working outside the home, Horace as a salesman for the electric company and William as an advertising salesman for a newspaper. (See the snip from the 1920 census above.)
In 1930, Clair, her widowed sister Florence Hoopes, and her mother Henrietta were all living together at 774 Spruce Street; only Clair was employed, working as a hairdresser.
[Notice how Clair’s surname is spelled—would you think that says Nusbaum? It’s a miracle that I found this census report.]
Helen, the youngest of Arthur and Henrietta’s children, had only been fourteen when her father died in 1909. Helen married William Valentine Stroup, Jr., in 1919. William was a native Philadelphian and an advertising salesman. In 1920, as noted above Helen and William were living with her mother Henrietta, her sister Clair, her brother Horace, and Horace’s second wife Edna. In 1930, Helen and William were living at 4741 13th Street; Helen’s mother Henrietta is also listed with them, though she was also listed in 1930 as living with her other two daughters Clair and Florence on Spruce Street.
Thus, as of 1932, Arthur Nusbaum’s wife Henrietta had lost her husband and three of her six children: Florence, Sidney, and Stella. She had also lost her only two grandchildren: Arthur H. Nusbaum, Horace’s son, and Sidney Nusbaum, Jr., Sidney’s son. Florence and Stella had not had any children, nor did Clair or Helen, so there are no possible living descendants of Arthur Nusbaum and Henrietta Hilbronner.
Henrietta died on August 24, 1935. She was seventy years old and died of heart disease and kidney disease. She was buried with her husband Arthur at Mt. Sinai cemetery.
Her surviving children were Horace, Clair, and Helen. In 1940, Horace and his second wife Edna were living in Upper Darby, where Horace worked as an insecticide salesman. Edna sold women’s clothing. Edna died six years later from heart failure. She was only fifty-five years old. Horace lived until January 23, 1962 (I have not yet located a death record for him, but found his burial entry on FindAGrave) and is buried with Edna at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.
The two youngest sisters, Clair and Helen, were living together in 1940. Helen was divorced from William Stroup and working in lingerie sales (if I am reading the census correctly), and Clair was single and continuing to work as a hairdresser.
The last record I have for either of them is a listing for Clair in the 1950 Philadelphia telephone directory. I cannot find a death record or obituary or burial record for them, but I assume that they both survived past 1963, the last year of death certificates now publicly available. I am continuing to see if I can find some other record for Clair and Helen as well as their brother Horace.
Thus, the history of the family of Arthur Nusbaum is a rather heart-breaking one, filled with premature deaths and no descendants to carry on the family name. Fortunately, some of the other children of Ernst and Clarissa have happier stories and more enduring family lines, though not all.