The Pittsburgh Schoenthals, Part I: Hannah Schoenthal and Her Descendants

During the years that my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal and his brother Henry were living in Washington, PA, a number of their siblings and cousins were living in Pittsburgh about thirty miles away.  I wrote about these family members and their lives up to 1890 here, but now want to catch up with what they were doing in the years that followed.

I will start with the oldest sibling, Hannah, who was the last sibling to arrive, coming to Pittsburgh in 1888 as a widow with her three children from her marriage to Solomon Stern: Jennie, Edith, and Louis.  (I’ve already written about Hannah’s first born child, Sarah, and her life story here.) When they arrived, Jennie was thirteen, Edith was eleven, and Louis was nine.  I have no idea how Hannah supported herself and three growing children, but there is no occupation listed for her in the several listings included in Pittsburgh directories during the 1890s.  Perhaps her brothers and sisters helped her; perhaps her husband Solomon had left her enough money to support her family.  I don’t know.  But obviously her children were too young to be working, and there is no indication that Hannah was working outside the home.

In 1896, Hannah’s daughter Jennie, then 21, was engaged to marry Max Arnold.

As you can see, it was quite an elaborate affair, and Jennie’s uncles Henry and Simon were there as were her cousins Lionel (Leon here), Meyer (Mayer here) and Hilda.  I wonder why my great-grandparents were not in attendance or at least not mentioned.

Jennie’s husband Max was also a recent immigrant from Germany; according to the 1900 census, he arrived in 1884.  He was ten years older than Jennie.  Within the first two years of their marriage, they had two children: Jerome, born October 20, 1897, and Hattie, born October 3, 1899.  Max was employed as a drover, like his brother-in-law Elias Wolfe.

Hannah was living with her two youngest children, Edith and Louis, in 1900, as well as with her stepson Morris Stern, who must have been Solomon Stern’s son from an earlier marriage; he was 44 years old in 1900.  Perhaps he had been a source of income for Hannah during the 1890s.  Morris was working as an oil merchant, Edith as a saleswoman, and Louis as a bookkeeper.  Interestingly, Hannah reported that she had had seven children, but only four were still living, meaning that sometime before emigrating, she had lost three children.

The first decade of the 20th century was one of growth for Hannah’s adult children.  Jennie (Stern) and Max Arnold had two more children in addition to Jerome and Hattie: Bernice, October 3, 1901 (same birthday as Hattie and third child born in October), and Sylvan, December 25, 1903.

Jennie’s sister Edith married Leo Good on October 24, 1904.

The wedding took place at her sister Sarah’s home, and this time the guest list did include my great-grandparents as well as Henry Schoenthal and his wife and daughter Hilda.

Edith’s husband Leo was four years younger than she and was a recent immigrant from Switzerland.  Their son Bernard was born on November 24, 1907.  Although the wedding article stated that Edith and Leo would be living in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, by 1910 they were living in Pittsburgh.  According to the 1910 census, Leo was a commercial traveler in dry goods, which I interpret to mean a traveling salesman.  Living with Edith, Leo, and their son Bernard in 1910 was Edith’s mother Hannah and Edith’s brother Louis, who was also working as a commercial traveler, but in bronze goods.  Leo’s cousin Sam Jacobs was also living with them.

In 1910 Jennie and Max Arnold and their children were still living in Pittsburgh, and Max continued to work as a cattle dealer.  On April 5, 1911, they would have one more child, Max, Jr., bringing the total number of children in their family to five.

Sometime shortly after the 1910 census, Edith and Leo Good and their son Bernard left Pittsburgh and moved to Chicago.  This article in The Jewish Criterion, dated September 8, 1911, reports that Edith had come to Pittsburgh to visit her sister Sarah (Mrs. Gus Oestreicher) and returned to home in Chicago.  There is also a 1914 article reporting that Hannah Stern, Edith’s mother, had gone to Chicago to visit Edith.

 

Hannah Schoenthal Stern died the following year in Pittsburgh on May 20, 1915.  She was 73 years old and died from arteriosclerosis and diabetes.  The informant on the death certificate was G. Oestreicher, the husband of Hannah’s first born child, Sarah.

Hannah Schoenthal Stern death certificate Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Hannah Schoenthal Stern death certificate
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Although I could not find an obituary for Hannah, the Jewish Criterion did report that her brother Julius had come from Washington, DC, and her daughter Edith and her family from Chicago when she died.

Hannah’s story is one of resilience.  She had a child out of wedlock when she was quite young; then she married a much older man with whom she had three more children.   When he died in 1888 and those children were still young, Hannah brought them to Pittsburgh where they could grow up near their aunts, uncles, and cousins.   She raised them as a single mother in a new country.  That must have taken a lot of strength and a lot of courage.

Now to follow up with Hannah’s three children with Solomon Stern and their lives after the death of their mother:

Jennie Stern Arnold and Her Children

After losing her mother Hannah in 1915, Jennie would soon suffer another loss, her husband Max.  On the 1920 census, Max listed his occupation as “stock yards,” so he was still in the cattle business. From this ad in the March 12, 1915 Jewish Criterion, it would appear that Max was not only a livestock broker, but also the owner of a meat market:

Their children were all still living at home; Jerome was now 22, Hattie 20, Bernice 18, Sylvan 16, and Max, Jr. was eight years old.  Although the census does not list an occupation for Jerome, according to his World War I draft registration, he was working for his father in the meat market.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1909238; Draft Board: 11

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1909238; Draft Board: 11

Ten months after the census was taken, Max died at age 55 on October 25, 1920, from diabetes.  His death certificate listed his occupation as livestock broker.  Like her mother, Jennie was a young widow, only 45 when Max died, and still housing and supporting four children, including little Max, Jr.

Max Arnold, Sr. death certificate Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Max Arnold, Sr. death certificate
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Soon, however, her older children would marry and move on.  Her daughter Hattie married Martin Schulherr, on May 10, 1921.

Martin was a German immigrant who had arrived just ten years before and who had become a naturalized citizen just a month before their marriage, according to his passport application.  On the 1920 census, he had been living with his uncle in Pittsburgh and working as a jewelry salesman.  Martin and Hattie would have one child, a daughter born in 1929.

Martin Schulherr passport application, p 2 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 1582; Volume #: Roll 1582 - Certificates: 24750-25125, 26 Apr 1921-27 Apr 1921

Martin Schulherr passport application, p 2
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 1582; Volume #: Roll 1582 – Certificates: 24750-25125, 26 Apr 1921-27 Apr 1921

 

Hattie’s older brother Jerome also married in the 1920s.  In May, 1924, he married Ellen Schwabrow, with whom he had his first child in 1925 with two more to follow in the next ten years.  Ellen was born in upstate New York to German immigrant parents and had moved to Pittsburgh by the time she was twelve years old.

Bernice Arnold, Jennie’s second daughter, married Julius Averbach on September 5, 1926, according to this news item:

Pittsburgh Post Gazette August 29, 1926 p. 44

Pittsburgh Post Gazette August 29, 1926 p. 44

 

Julius was the youngest and only American-born child of Russian immigrants.  His father Meyer was a traveling dry goods salesman, living in Pittsburgh.

In August, 1927, the fourth of Jennie’s five children married.  Sylvan Arnold married Ada Feigenbaum, who was also born and raised in Pittsburgh.  Her father Morris was in the produce business, and Ada was the youngest of their ten children.  Sylvan and Ada would have two children born in 1929 and 1932.

Thus, by 1930 Jennie’s four oldest children were married, and she was living with just nineteen year old Max, Jr., who was working at what had been his father’s butcher shop.  His older brother Jerome was also working in the meat market and living with his wife Ellen, her parents, and their two sons in Pittsburgh.  Sylvan was also working in the family meat business and living with his wife Ada and their son in Pittsburgh.  Obviously Max Arnold, Sr., had established a very successful business that it could support his three sons and their families.

As for Jennie and Max Arnold’s daughters, in 1930, Hattie and her husband Martin Schulherr and their daughter were also living in Pittsburgh, and Martin was a jewelry importer.  The 1930 census reports that Bernice and her husband Julius Averbach were living in Beaver Falls; Julius was in the men’s furnishings business.

On November 24, 1932, Max Arnold, Jr., married Cecilia Lefkowitz, another Pittsburgh native.

 

Her parents were Hungarian immigrants, and her father Morris was a tailor.  By 1935, Max and Cecilia had moved to Morgantown, West Virginia, where Max was working as the manager of the Morgan Theater.  By 1937, however, Max is no longer listed in the Morgantown directory, and in 1940, he and Cecilia were living back in Pittsburgh where Max was now the owner of a beauty supply equipment business.  Their first child was born later that year. A second child was born in 1947.

In 1940, Jennie and four of her five children were still living in Pittsburgh.  Jennie was living with her daughter Hattie and her husband Martin, who was still in the jewelry business.  Jerome was still working as a butcher in the family grocery business, and two of his children were also working in the store.  Sylvan was also working as a butcher in the business.  Bernice was still married to Julius Averbach and living in Beaver Falls.

Bernice and Julius appear together on the 1930 and 1940 census reports; there are no children listed.  Sometime after 1940, Bernice married a second time.  Her second husband, Abe Sultanov, was a widower with two children, and Bernice is mentioned in various wedding and birth announcement as the grandmother of Abe’s grandchildren.

Jennie Stern Arnold, my first cousin twice removed, died on June 25, 1945.  She was seventy years old and died from coronary occlusion and other heart related ailments.

Jennie Stern Arnold death certificate Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Jennie Stern Arnold death certificate
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

She had been a widow for 25 years, but was fortunate enough to have all five of her children plus many of her other relatives living close by in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. Jennie was survived by all five of her children and ten grandchildren.

Edith Stern Good and Her Family

Unlike her sister Jennie, who remained in Pittsburgh her whole life after emigrating from Germany as a child, Edith Stern had left Pittsburgh by 1911 with her husband Leo Good and son Bernard to move to Chicago, where she lived for the rest of her life.  According to several Chicago directories between 1912 and 1920, Leo was a manufacturer’s agent, but I don’t know for which or what type of manufacturer.  I could not find Leo and Edith on the 1920 census, but on the 1930 census Leo described his occupation as a salesman of ladies’ clothing, so perhaps he had been engaged in that field all along.  By 1930 their son Bernard was 22 and working as a stationery salesman.

Leo, Edith, and Bernard Good 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 425; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0283; Image: 561.0; FHL microfilm: 2340160

Leo, Edith, and Bernard Good 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 425; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0283; Image: 561.0; FHL microfilm: 2340160

Bernard Good married Fannie Dorothy Herzfeld in Dade County, Florida, in 1935.  Fannie Dorothy was born in Alabama and had been living with her parents in Miami in 1935. By 1939 (if not before) Bernard and Dorothy were living in Chicago where their one child was born that year.  In 1940 Bernard was working in sportswear sales, according to the 1940 census.

In 1940, Leo and Edith (Stern) Good were still living in Chicago, and Leo was a traveling salesman selling ladies’ ready-to-wear lingerie.  Four years later Edith died in Chicago on September 7, 1944; she was 66 years old.  Her husband Leo died five years later on April 19, 1949; he was 67.  Leo died in Los Angeles, where I assume his son Bernard had moved since Bernard died in Los Angeles also; he died on May 15, 1973.

Louis Wolf Stern

Hannah Schoenthal Stern’s youngest child was her only son, Louis.  In 1910 Louis had been living with his mother and his sister Edith and her family; he’d been working as a traveling salesman in bronze goods.  By 1918, Louis had moved to Newark, New Jersey, according to his World War I draft registration.  He was then working as a bookkeeper for H.H. Garfunkle.  He listed his sister Sarah (Mrs. G. Oestreicher) as his next of kin and also reported that he had filed his first papers for naturalization as a US citizen.  He was then 38 years old.

After that Louis disappears for a while.  I cannot find him on the 1920 census in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, or anywhere else.  But in 1930 he resurfaced in New York City, working as a process server.  He was living as a lodger in the home of someone named Morris Cohn.  His marital status was single.  As far as I can tell, Louis never married.

According to the 1940 census, Louis was still living in New York in 1935, but by 1940 he had returned to Pittsburgh where he was working as a bookkeeper for a beauty supply equipment company, perhaps that owned by his nephew, Max Arnold, Jr.  As he had in New York, Louis was living as a lodger in someone’s home.

Louis died in Pittsburgh from a cerebral hemorrhage on January 29, 1942.  He was only 61 years old.  His sister Jennie was the informant on the death certificate.  Despite being Hannah’s youngest child, he was the second to die, two years after his oldest sister Sarah.

Louis W. Stern death certificate Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Louis W. Stern death certificate
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Thus, all of Hannah Schoenthal Stern’s children died within four years of each other: Sarah in 1940, Louis in 1942, Edith in 1944, and Jennie in 1945.  Only Jennie made it to seventy years old.   Hannah had had nine grandchildren,  Sarah’s three children, Jennie’s five children, and Edith’s one.  Because their grandmother had had the courage to bring her children to the US from Germany after her husband died in 1888, Hannah’s grandchildren were saved from the fate of their cousins and relatives who stayed in Germany.  Had Hannah’s husband not died and had she and her children stayed in Germany, those children might not have been able to continue the line of Levi Schoenthal and Henrietta Hamberg’s oldest child, Hannah.

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “The Pittsburgh Schoenthals, Part I: Hannah Schoenthal and Her Descendants

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  4. My name is Maxine Schulherr and I am the widow of Alan Stein and daughter of Martin Schulherr and Hattie Stern Arnold. I was born Aug.20,1928. FYI, On “Hannah’s” gravestone her name is Johanna. Max Arnold, (my Grandfather) had a dairy around Evergreen Road, on what we call the North Side. It was called Old Allegheny then, as I was told. The dairy was named “Sweet Home Dairy” and was the first home delivery of milk in the Pittsburgh area.
    Lee and Meyer Schoenthal,brothers lived in Washington, Pa. and never married. Lee had a made to measure men’s suit store, where you picked the fabric, he measured and sent it away, then altered it needed. This was in the 1930’s and 40’s. Hilda Schoenthal lived in Washington, D.C. and never married. She was about 4 ft 9 inches tall… very small.
    My father, Martin Schulherr, on arriving here, lived with his Uncle and Aunt, Ben and Flora Biggard. Ben owned a wholesale jewelry business “Biggard & Co.” and Martin worked for him until he retired. His cousins, Lawrence and Bertram Biggard also worked there. Ben was the brother of Mina Schulherr. My husband, Alan, died in the Dead Sea, Israel, Apr.27.2007 of a heart attack. We were on a tour. I have three children, David, Joyce and Mona and 5 grandchildren.
    My email address is maxalstein@comcast,net

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Maxine! Thank you for writing. We are third cousins—both being the great-great-grandchildren of Levi Schoenthal. Thank you for this information. I will email you separately.

      Like

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