My Double-Cousin Henry Goldsmith, Part I

Having completed the stories of my four times great-uncle Simon Goldsmith’s two oldest children, Jacob and Lena, I will now turn to the stories of his two youngest children, Henry and Hannah, who were born to Simon’s second wife, Fradchen Schoenthal, the sister of my great-great-grandfather Levi Schoenthal.

As I’ve discussed earlier, Henry (1847) and Hannah (1848), who were thus my double cousins, were born in Baltimore after Simon and Fradchen had immigrated to the US.  They lost their mother Fradchen (also known as Fanny) in 1850 when they were both very young—Henry was three, Hannah was two. Simon then lived with his oldest child Jacob in Washington, Pennsylvania, so that he would have support to raise these two young motherless children. This set of posts will focus on Henry and his adulthood.

By 1870 when he was 23, Henry had moved to Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where his older half-sister Lena had been living, and in 1871, he married Sarah Jaffe, whose brother Solomon would later marry Henry’s niece Leonora. Henry was a clothing merchant. Between 1871 and 1889, Sarah gave birth to ten children: Jacob W. Goldsmith (1871), Benjamin (1873), Milton (1877), Samuel (1879), Edison (1880), Walter (1881), Florence (1883), Albert (1884), Oliver (1887), and Helen (1889). In total, Henry and Sarah had eight boys and two girls. All were born in Connellsville.

The family suffered a tragic loss when little Albert, just six years old, died on June 4, 1891, from spinal meningitis.

The surviving nine children were growing up in the 1890s. The oldest child, Jacob, known as J.W. (perhaps to prevent confusion with his uncle Jacob Goldsmith and cousin Jacob Goldsmith) at one point went to Trinidad, Colorado, to work for Sol Jaffa,  his mother’s brother.

The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, September 9, 1892, p. 5

But J.W. returned to Connellsville, and on August 16, 1899, he married Jennie Clark Grant, the daughter of Scottish immigrants, William Grant and Jessy Russell.1 Jennie was born in Pittsburgh on May 17, 1873, and in 1880, she and her parents were living in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, where her father was an iron peddler.2 According to their marriage record, Jennie was residing in Connellsville at the time of their marriage, and J.W. was working as a merchant:

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1899; Roll Number: 549736
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963

They settled in Connellsville where J.W. continued to work as a merchant.3

Milton Goldsmith, the third oldest child of Henry and Sarah (Jaffa) Goldsmith, was a star student. (This Milton Goldsmith, born in 1877, should not be confused with the Milton Goldsmith, the author, who was his older cousin and the son of Abraham Goldsmith, not Henry Goldsmith.) He was tied for number one in his class at the Connellsville high school in 1895 with a 98 2/5 grade point average4 and was praised in the local paper for his speech at commencement. The words the newspaper quoted from his speech hold just as true today and are needed even more so- that they were in 1895:

“Just so surely as the Press demands some needed reform, so certainly will it expose some proposed fraud. Take its freedom and our doom is certain. Foster and maintain it, and we move onward, ever onward.”

"Commencement Last Night," The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, May 24, 1895, p. 1.

“Commencement Last Night,” The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, May 24, 1895, p. 1.

Milton then studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated seventh in his class in 1899. He then commenced a residency at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.5

Milton’s younger brother Samuel also must have been a good student. In 1899 he was studying law at the University of Michigan.6

Meanwhile, Henry Goldsmith had changed careers by the 1890s. As seen in numerous ads that ran regularly in the Connellsville newspaper, The Weekly Courier, Henry Goldsmith had gone into the business of selling fire insurance in the 1890s:

The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, October 15, 1897, p. 4

The 1900 census found eight of Henry and Sarah’s surviving nine children living at home. Benjamin (27) was working as a clothing merchant, Milton (23) was a physician, Samuel (21) was in school, Edison (20) was a clerk in the insurance office, and Walter (18) was a shoe salesman. The youngest three children were still in school: Florence (17), Oliver (13), and Helen (9). In addition, Sarah’s niece Lena Katz, daughter of her sister Juetel Jaffa Katz, was also living with Henry and Sarah and their children.  The only child not still living at home was J.W., but he and his wife Jennie were living close by in Connellsville, where J.W. was working as a merchant.7

Henry Goldsmith and family, 1900 US census,Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0007; FHL microfilm: 1241409
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

The first decade of the 20th century would bring some terrible heartache to the family, but also some great joy.


  1. Jessy Russell and William Grant, 1870 census, Census Place: Allegheny Ward 4, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1291; Page: 398A; Family History Library Film: 552790, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  2. Grant family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1087; Page: 409C; Enumeration District: 015, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  3. JW Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0008; FHL microfilm: 1241409,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4. “Commencement Last Night,” The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, May 24, 1895, p. 1. 
  5. The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, June 30, 1899, p. 7; The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, August 24, 1900, p. 6. 
  6. The Connellsville (PA) Weekly Courier, December 15, 1899, p. 28.# 
  7. JW Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0008; FHL microfilm: 1241409, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 

20 thoughts on “My Double-Cousin Henry Goldsmith, Part I

  1. Milton Goldsmith’s speech would be interesting to read in its entirety. But it is most likely lost. In times of increasing corruption and hidden government agendas the final words of his inspiring speech read like a prophecy today.

    Liked by 3 people

    • People really had big families back then!!

      I am sure Milton would have been horrified by Trump’s attacks on the press. And on the way the Russians manipulated the news to influence our election so Trump would win. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting bit of trivia with respect to the Russian aspect: Milton eventually married a Ukrainian woman: Luba Robin.

        I should also introduce myself. I am Milton’s great-grandson.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes—I wrote about Luba and her own accomplishments in other posts. She was way ahead of her time!

        And thank you for connecting with me. I am always delighted to meet a new cousin! I am heading out now, but I will email you tomorrow, Chris. Thanks!!

        Like

  2. Pingback: Over Sixty Killed in Train Wreck in 1903, including My Cousin Edison Goldsmith | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  3. If things weren’t complicated enough you have to have more than one Milton Goldsmith in your family. Do you ever feel like banging your head against your computer screen, Amy? You do such amazing work, but the difficulty is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Henry Goldsmith’s Family, 1920-1930: Losses and Heartbreak | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  5. Pingback: Henry Goldsmith’s Grandsons: College Men | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  6. Pingback: Family Portraits: The Artists Behind the Portraits Discovered | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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