Hannah Goldsmith Benedict 1900-1920: Gains, Losses, and Laws

As of 1900, Hannah and Joseph Benedict’s three sons were all adults, and Joseph had retired from his rag and paper business. Their two older sons, Jacob and Herschel, were still living with their parents in Pittsburgh, and the youngest son, C. Harry, was living in Michigan and working as an engineer after graduating from Cornell University. Soon all three would be married.

Joseph Benedict, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1241359
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

Not long after the 1900 census was taken, the middle brother, Herschel, married Mary Ullman on August 7, 1900, in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Mary was born on December 25, 1876, in Titusville to Jacob Ullman and Henrietta Rothschild.1 Jacob was born in the Alsace region of France, and Henrietta in Wurttemberg, Germany. Jacob was in the dry goods business.2

Herschel Benedict and Mary Ullman marriage record, Film Number: 000878594
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968

A year after Herschel’s marriage, the youngest Benedict brother, C. Harry, was engaged to Lena Manson:

Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 21 Jul 1901, Sun • Page 15

As the article reports, Lena was from Syracuse, New York, where she was born on July 21, 1876.3 Her parents, Lewis and Jennie Manson, were immigrants from Russia-Poland, and her father was in the jewelry business in Syracuse.4 Lena, like Harry, had studied at Cornell, she for two years as a special student of English literature, and in 1897 she was working as a teacher in Syracuse. She also taught for three years at a high school in Erie, Pennsylvania.5

Harry and Lena were married on February 7, 1902, in Syracuse, New York.6

The last of the three sons of Hannah and Joseph to marry was their oldest son, Jacob or Jake. He married Clara R. Kaufman on February 14, 1905, in Pittsburgh. Like Jacob, Clara was a native of Pittsburgh, born on September 13, 1874, to Solomon Kaufman and Helena Marks, who were German immigrants. Clara’s father was a livestock dealer.7

Jacob Benedict and Clara Kaufman marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1905; Roll Number: 549855, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963

In 1910, Hannah and Joseph were living with their son, Herschel and his wife Mary. Joseph was retired, and Herschel was in the wholesale liquor business. By 1912, Herschel had formed his own liquor distribution business, Benedict & Eberle, of which he was the president.8

Herschel Benedict and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1304; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0465; FHL microfilm: 1375317
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

By that time, Hannah and Joseph  had four grandchildren, but all were living quite a distance from Pittsburgh where Hannah and Joseph continued to live. The first was Jacob and Clara’s daughter, Helen, who was born on January 18, 1907, in Paducah, Kentucky,9 where Jacob and Clara had relocated from Pittsburgh sometime in the prior year and where Jacob was working for Dreyfuss Weil, a liquor distributor.10 Jacob and Clara’s second child, Marian, was also born in Paducah; she was born April 14, 1908.11

Meanwhile, Jacob’s brother C. Harry and his wife Lena also had two children during these years. Their first child, Manson, was born on October 9, 1907, in Lake Linden, Michigan,12 with a second son, William, arriving on July 4, 1909, also in Lake Linden. 13 C. Harry continued to work as a metallurgical engineer in Michigan for a company called Calumet & Hecla, a copper mining company.14

Sometime after the 1910 census, Hannah and Joseph must have decided that they did not want to live so far from all their grandchildren because by December 1912, they had left Pittsburgh and were living in Lake Linden, Michigan, where Harry and his family were residing.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 14 Dec 1912, Page 12

Then just two years after Hannah and Joseph left Pittsburgh, their son Jacob returned to Pittsburgh with his family after the company where Jacob worked in Paducah, Kentucky was sold, as reported in the February 4, 1914, edition of the Paducah Sun-Democrat (p. 5):

“Jacob Benedict Leaves for His New Home,” The Paducah Sun-Democrat, 04 Feb 1914, Page 5

Sadly, just three years after their move to Pittsburgh, Jacob suffered a terrible loss when his wife Clara died on September 17, 1917, from left parotid gland cancer. She had turned 43 just three days earlier, and she left behind her two young daughters, Helen (10) and Marian (9), as well as her husband Jacob.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 101201-104500
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967

The family was soon dealt another blow when Joseph Benedict died on December 23, 1917, at Harry’s home in Lake Linden, Michigan. Joseph was 83 and died from fibroid myocarditis. He was buried back in Pittsburgh, his long-time home.

Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1952

Hannah remained in Lake Linden, Michigan, and was living with her son Harry and his family in 1920, where Harry continued to work for Calumet & Hecla as a metallurgical engineer.15

Hannah’s other two sons were living in Pittsburgh in 1920. Jacob was living with his daughters as well as a live-in caretaker for the children; he was employed as a salesman for a food company, though just two years earlier he’d been working for a bottling company.16 Herschel was living with his wife Mary as well as a servant, and he had no employment listed on the 1920 census record.17

At first I was puzzled by the changes in both Jacob’s and Herschel’s occupations, but then the lightbulb went on.

Both Jacob and Herschel had been in the liquor business. By 1920, liquor sales were prohibited throughout the US after the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment on January 29, 1919. In fact, liquor sales had been under severe restrictions even earlier, as discussed on this website:

In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson instituted a temporary wartime prohibition in order to save grain for producing food. That same year, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors, for state ratification. Though Congress had stipulated a seven-year time limit for the process, the amendment received the support of the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states in just 11 months. Ratified on January 29, 1919, the 18th Amendment went into effect a year later, by which time no fewer than 33 states had already enacted their own prohibition legislation.

The_Pittsburgh_Press, January 16, 1919, p. 1

So Herschel was forced out of business and Jacob had to change industries as a result of Prohibition. That must have been a difficult transition for both of them.

The first two decades of the 20th century were thus exciting and challenging ones for Hannah and her family. There were marriages and children but also deaths as well as the business challenges created by Prohibition.

 

 


  1. Film Number: 000878594, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968; Year: 1928; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4263; Line: 13; Page Number: 29, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957; Jacob Ullman and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Titusville, Crawford, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1121; Page: 220D; Enumeration District: 122, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census; Marriage Registers, Extracts from Manhattan (1869-1880) and Brooklyn (1895-1897), Publisher: Dept. of Health, Division of Vital Statistics, New York, Ancestry.com. New York City, Compiled Marriage Index, 1600s-1800s. 
  2. Flora Ullman death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 103201-105750, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967. Jacob Ullman and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Titusville, Crawford, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1121; Page: 220D; Enumeration District: 122, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census. 
  3.  The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: U.S. Citizen Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Miami, Florida; NAI Number: 2774842; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Ancestry.com. Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963 
  4. Lewis Manson and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Syracuse, Onondaga, New York; Roll: 908; Page: 439A; Enumeration District: 219, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  5.  “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornellian; Year: 1902,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990. Lena Manson Benedict obituary,
    The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, 04 Oct 1965, Page 23. 
  6.  New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index, Ancestry.com. New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 
  7. Clara Kaufman Benedict death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 101201-104500, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967. Solomon Kaufman and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Allegheny, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1086; Page: 158A; Enumeration District: 006,
    Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  8.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  9.  Year: 1927; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4101; Line: 1; Page Number: 187, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957; SSN: 182329199, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  10. Paducah, Kentucky, City Directory, 1906, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  11. Marian Benedict death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Box Number: 2424; Certificate Number Range: 020251-023100, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967; Year: 1927; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4101; Line: 1; Page Number: 187, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  12. “Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GBZD-ZS1?cc=1923472&wc=4VWM-MT6%3A218907401%2C219048301 : 8 June 2018), Houghton > Births 1906-1908 > image 229 of 493; various county courts, Michigan. 
  13. “Michigan, County Births, 1867-1917,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-LBZC-55L?cc=1923472&wc=4VWM-MT1%3A218907401%2C219072901 : 7 September 2018), Houghton > Births 1908-1910 > image 169 of 438; various county courts, Michigan. 
  14. C Harry Benedict and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Torch Lake, Houghton, Michigan; Roll: T624_647;Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0135;FHL microfilm: 1374660, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. Title: Calumet, Michigan, City Directory, 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  15. C. Harry Benedict, 1920 US census, Census Place: Torch Lake, Houghton, Michigan; Roll: T625_769; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 173, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census.  I found it interesting that Hannah chose to stay in Michigan rather than return to Pittsburgh. Joseph was buried there, and two of her sons, Jacob and Herschel, were living there, and Jacob must have needed extra help with his daughters. But Hannah must have been very happy where she was living in Michigan and thus stayed put rather than going back to Pittsburgh. She remained in Lake Linden, Michigan, for the rest of her life. 
  16. Jacob Benedict, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 550,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  17. Herschel Benedict, 1920 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1522; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 546, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 

24 thoughts on “Hannah Goldsmith Benedict 1900-1920: Gains, Losses, and Laws

  1. It is interesting to find out through your blog how many of your ancestors had their roots in Germany, Amy. In this connection it may be noteworthy to mention that Jacob Ullman came from Alsace, which is now part of France, but once was part of Germany with the majority of the people speaking German. Albert Schweitzer came from the same region. Also Ullman is a typical German sounding last name.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Peter. Yes, I knew that Alsace was a region that went back and forth between France and Germany. Some of my Schoenfeld relatives who came from a town not too far from there have records in French because during the Napoleonic era, France controlled that area. But they always considered themselves German. Thanks for your insights!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In my US research, I haven’t noticed Prohibition having any effect on my families. Most of my father’s family were Baptists who opposed drinking alcohol. Your question, however, had me wondering about Prohibition in West Virginia. My search reminded me that West Virginia is today one of the few states which prohibit the Sunday sale of distilled spirits. I love how you often are able to sneak a little history session into your posts, Amy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • History was my academic passion and something that fascinated me even as a child—I read lots of biographies of famous people when I was 8 and 9 years old. So I am always interested in how external events affected my family. All too often I forget, however, to think about that, as here where I was so puzzled by why the brothers were no longer in the liquor business in 1920. Then, DUH! I remembered to think about the big picture.

      Lots of Jews ended up in the wine and liquor business in Europe and the US because it was a business shunned by many Christians. And so the Christians permitted Jews to sell liquor so they didn’t have to (but could still imbibe….).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you had that flash of insight and located the info on Prohibition. It is the last piece you needed to tie this complete presentation of events together. Don’t you just love when all the pieces fit so well? Enjoyed this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Amy, interesting how the Benedict brothers changed their careers, we are all at the mercy of history aren’t we. I wonder if Henrietta Rothschild was related to the Four Percent Industrial Dwellings UK Rothschild’s who were philanthropic in 19th century London?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I doubt there was a connection, though I haven’t researched Henrietta’s background. Rothschild is not that uncommon a name. But who knows! Maybe there was some distant connection. We’ve certainly learned not to discount anything, haven’t we?

      Like

  5. It always punches me in the stomach when I hear about people 100+ years ago moving away from their family, perhaps to never be seen again. These days we all have instant communication with social media, face time, etc. – I can’t imagine what it was like back then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So much was different—even 40 years ago—from what it’s like now. My view of those who moved far away was that they were the children or grandchildren of immigrants and had inherited or learned their immigrant (grand)parent’s spirit of adventure.

      Like

  6. Pingback: Hannah Goldsmith Part III: Her Grandsons | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

    • I’ve been wondering that myself, Frederick. When I posted this on Facebook, many people shared how their relatives became bootleggers. I am thinking that Herschel did the same! Thanks for your thought!

      Liked by 1 person

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