Henry Goldsmith’s Children, 1923-1930: Years of Change

After Henry Goldsmith’s death in 1923, there were a number of changes and relocations in the family. The first change was the opening of a second law office for S(amuel) R and Oliver Goldsmith in January, 1924.  According to this news article, Oliver Goldsmith, the younger brother, was to be in charge of the new office in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, while SR would remain in charge of the office in Connellsville. Uniontown is less than twelve miles from Connellsville.

“Goldsmiths Open Office in Uniontown,” The Connellsville Daily Courier, January 9, 1924, p. 1

But the Uniontown office must not have worked out because by July 1925, Oliver had relocated to Miami, Florida, where he continued to practice law.1  On May 18, 1926, Oliver married Sarah “Sally” Friedman in Miami.

“Oliver Goldsmith Weds Former Pittsburg Girl,” The Connellsville Daily Courier,” May 19, 1926, p. 2

According to this brief news item, Sally was also then residing in Miami, but had previously lived in Pittsburgh. She was in fact born in Pittsburgh on April 13, 1890, to Gershon and Libby Friedman,2 who were immigrants from Russia. Sally grew up in the Pittsburgh area where her father was a merchant.3

What I don’t know is how or why Sally and Oliver, two Pennsylvania natives and residents, ended up both living in Miami and getting married there. Did they both happen to move there to escape the cold Northern winters? Or had they planned to move there together? Both were mature adults by 1926—Oliver was 39, Sally was 36.

In any event, they stayed in Florida only until about 1930 (I cannot find them on the 1930 census), but in 1931, they were listed in the Reading, Pennsylvania directory,4 and  the August 25, 1930, Reading Times (p. 2) reported that Oliver had been appointed as a “master of divorce,” “an attorney appointed by the Court to make recommendations in contested divorce and annulment actions.” I don’t know what took them to Reading, which is 230 miles from Connellsville and 260 miles from Pittsburgh where their families were living. Perhaps there was some tension with their families that drove Sally and Oliver first to Miami and then to Reading.

Meanwhile, SR Goldsmith had taken in a new law partner not long after his brother Oliver left:

“S.R. Goldsmith and J. E. Horewitz Form Law Partnership,” The Connelllsville Daily Courier, November 30, 1925, p. 1

Reading between the lines, I imagine that something had happened between SR and Oliver that caused them to dissolve their partnership.

The other big business change that occurred in the years following Henry’s death was Benjamin Goldsmith’s retirement from the store he owned with his brother JW, as announced in this advertisement from the October 9, 1925, Connellsville Daily Courier (p. 18):

At the very top it says, “On November 1st, the partnership of the firm of Goldsmith Bros. will be dissolved. After 30 years of successful business career Mr. Benjamin J. Goldsmith will retire, and his brother and partner, J.W. Goldsmith will continue the store under the name Goldsmith’s.”

Although the ad stated that JW would continue to operate the store (he, after all still had a seventeen-year-old son, J. Edison, to support in 1925), by 1930 it appears that JW had retired as well because the 1930 census reported that he had no occupation. In this case there was no indication of any bad blood leading to the dissolution of JW and Benjamin’s partnership since the 1930 census revealed that Benjamin was living in JW’s home.

JW Goldsmith and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0006; FHL microfilm: 2341772
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Thus, the 1920s were years of loss, growth, and change for the children of Henry Goldsmith. They lost their father Henry and little Sarah Goldsmith. There were two marriages and a number of new babies born. And four of the brothers experienced career changes—JW, Benjamin, SR, and Oliver.

These were also years that saw some of Henry’s grandsons go away to college. More on that in the next post.


  1. Miami, Florida, City Directory, 1926, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Sally Friedman Goldsmith death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 083001-086000, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  3. Gershon Friedman and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 12, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 5; Enumeration District: 0148; FHL microfilm: 1241359, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  4. Reading, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1931, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 

12 thoughts on “Henry Goldsmith’s Children, 1923-1930: Years of Change

  1. It is often hard to find the true motives for moving from one place to another based on newspaper clippings alone, especially when there are no personal records like letters or family albums to lean on. Eagerly awaiting your next post, Amy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Peter—whatever I would think is just speculation. I do have my thoughts. Perhaps the family did not approve of Oliver’s wife Sally because she was of a Russian Jewish background, not a German Jewish background. There was a certain snobbery about those differences that still existed when my parents married in 1951. In fact, an assimilated German Jewish family might have been happier if a child married someone not Jewish rather than someone who came from the countries of Eastern Europe and who were not as “American.” But that’s just a guess on my part.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is something I’ve wondered about when reading your posts – how the families felt about a child who married a non-Jewish person. I never thought of “a certain snobbery.” I guess I was wrong to think the Jewish people coming to America would not look down on other Jewish people because of where they came from and why they came to America.

        Liked by 1 person

      • As with most things, there were lots of variables and variations. Some Jews definitely did (and do) not like their children marrying someone of a different faith, and until the last 50 years, it was pretty rare. Other Jews became very secular and Americanized and didn’t care. There were a fair number of members of my father’s family who married non-Jews in his generation. They were not religious and had no strong feelings about their identity.

        And yes, German Jews—especially those who came in the first wave of Jewish immigration in the mid-19th century—often looked down on the Eastern European Jews who arrived at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. They saw them as poor, uneducated, and backwards compared to their own communities. And those attitudes still existed when my father married my mother in 1951. He was from a German family (as you know) that had been here for a hundred years. My mother was the daughter of a Romanian immigrant who delivered milk and a mother whose parents were immigrants from Poland and who had not gone past fifth grade.

        And ironically, my grandfather’s Romanian family also looked down on my grandmother’s Polish-Galitzianer family for reasons I’ve not yet discovered, but having to do with where they’d lived in Europe.

        So prejudice finds it way in all different forms.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I believe the snobbery comes from ‘refined and cultured’ people who have adopted a city life style and look down on people who have come from a ‘primitive’ rural setting. We need to have respect for all people, especially for those who make sure we have food on the table.

        Liked by 1 person

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