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 

Final Chapter for Joel Basch and His Family: Tragedy and Generosity

In 1930, Joel Basch was still in the tobacco business and living with his wife Jeanette and sons Sidney and Gustavus in Columbus, Ohio. Sidney was working as a clerk in a finance company and Gustavus as a salesman in a furniture store.

Joel Basch, 1930 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0042; FHL microfilm: 2341530
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

In the 1930s, Gustavus moved to Miami. In 1940, he was still living in Miami, where he was the manager of a tourist camp.1 I wondered what that meant and searched for Gustavus in the newspaper databases and found this advertisement from the December 6, 1936, Miami Herald (p. 72):

Apparently a “tourist camp” was a place for tourists to stay while vacationing in Miami—a place to park a trailer or rent a cottage. As indicated in the advertisement as well as on Gustavus’ World War II draft registration, this was his own business.

His parents, Joel and Jeanette, were listed right above him on the 1940 census, but they were enumerated twice in 1940—once in Columbus living with their older son Sidney, once in Miami with their younger son Gustavus. The Columbus enumeration was done on April 11, 1940, and the Miami enumeration was done on April 30, 1940. The Columbus enumeration reported that Joel, now 73, was retired, and that Sidney, 43, was a clerk at an insurance company.

Joel and Jeanette Basch, 1940 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03243; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 93-77
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Joel and Jeanette Basch and Gustavus Basch, 1940 US census, Census Place: Dade, Florida; Roll: m-t0627-00580; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 13-22
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Gustavus enlisted into the US Army on August 11, 1942,2 when he was 38 years old. He was serving as the “chief of the radio nets for his fighter squadron in 1943.” According to Wikipedia, a radio net is “essentially a moderated conference call conducted over two-way radio…. A net manager is the person who supervises the creation and operation of a net over multiple sessions. This person will specify the format, date, time, participants, and the net control script.”

“Visits Parents,” Columbus (OH) Dispatch, October 8, 1943, p. 14

The family suffered a terrible loss on January 10, 1945, when Sidney Basch had a cerebral hemorrhage and died in the family’s garage in Columbus.  According to his death certificate, his body was not discovered until ten hours later. The newspaper reported that a neighbor found Sidney’s body, lying between the garage door and the rear bumper of his car; the paper also reported that Sidney had a history of heart attacks. He was 48 years old when he died.3

Sidney Basch, death certificate, Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DH64-VL8?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-DTP%3A287601701%2C287601302 : 21 May 2014), 1945 > 00001-03300 > image 1423 of 3510.

His brother Gustavus was serving in Europe at the time of Sidney’s death, but must have been discharged not long afterwards. He spent several months with his parents in Columbus after his discharge before returning to Florida in October of 1945.4

Two years later Jeanette Mendel Basch died on December 26, 1947. According to her obituary, she had been ill for a year. Jeanette had outlived two of her sons—Robert, who’d died as a young child, and Sidney. She was survived by her husband Joel and son Gustavus.5

But Joel only outlived Jeanette by three years. He died on December 8, 1950, from a heart attack and arteriosclerosis. He was 87.

Joel Basch, death certificate, Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6Q67-VC2?cc=1307272&wc=MD9N-9P8%3A287599801%2C294723701 : 21 May 2014), 1950 > 74601-76700 > image 303 of 2329.

Gustavus, who according to Joel’s obituary 6 was the secretary-treasurer of Tourist City Corporation in Miami when his father died in 1950, continued to live in Florida for the rest of his life. He died on November 13, 1989, in Miami, at age 85. Gustavus had not married or had children.7

An article that ran in numerous Florida newspapers revealed that Gustavus had died a wealthy man. In his early years he had invested in real estate in Miami that he sold after World War II; he had successfully invested his profits in the stock market and died with an estate worth five million dollars. He left two million dollars to the Miami Metrozoo and smaller amounts to his alma mater, Ohio State University, the United Negro College Fund, and South Miami Hospital. I found it ironic that Gustavus had done so well “gambling” on the stock market, given that his father Joel had lost his business as a young man due to gambling debts.8

As neither of Joel and Jeanette’s sons had children, there are no living descendants of Joel and Jeanette (Mendel) Basch. But their stories are not forgotten.


  1. Gustavus Basch, 1940 US census, Census Place: Dade, Florida; Roll: m-t0627-00580; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 13-22, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. 
  3. “Solicitor’s Body Found in Garage,” Columbus (OH) Dispatch, January 10, 1945, p. 1. 
  4. “To Miami,” Columbus (OH) Dispatch, October 2, 1945, p. 12. 
  5. “Mrs. Jeannette Basch,” Columbus (OH) Dispatch, December 27, 1947, p. 3. 
  6. “Joel Basch,” Columbus (OH) Dispatch, December 9, 1950, p. 11. 
  7. SSN: 265019585, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. “Frugal Man Leaves $2 Million to Zoo,” The Tampa Tribune, 25 Nov 1990, p. 29. 

The Paul Metz Story: The Brick Wall Tumbles Down

Finally, the brick wall hiding Paul Metz came (mostly) down.

One of the newspaper articles about the disappearance of George B. Metz in 1923 had revealed an important bit of information about the mysterious disappearance of George’s father, Paul Metz, 23 years before. According to statements made by the family quoted in that article, Paul (referred to as Joseph Metz in the news story) had disappeared with his son Elwood around the time that George Metz was born in 1900. According to that same article, no one in the family had heard from either of them since.1

I decided to focus my next search on Elwood. The first name is unusual enough that I thought I had a better chance of finding him than his father Paul Metz/Joseph Raymond. But I also worried that Paul might have changed Elwood’s name to avoid being found.

Fortunately, Paul Metz was not that devious. After much searching, I found an obituary for an Elwood Raymond who died at age 82 on June 26, 1980, in Florida.2 Why did I think this might be the right person? Well, not only did the age match up (my Elwood was born in 1898), this Elwood had come to Florida 65 years earlier from his “native New York City,” meaning he was born in New York, just as my Elwood had been. And Paul Metz had once used the alias Joseph Raymond.

That led me to search for more information about Elwood Raymond in Florida. What I learned was that by 1916, Elwood had attained a degree of fame in Florida—he was reputedly the roller skating champion of the South, according to this article from the Orlando Sentinel of October 20, 1916 (p. 6):

Conrad located this photograph of Elwood as a skater:

Elwood Raymond

Elwood also served as a sergeant in the US Army in World War I and was seriously injured in June, 1918, at the Battle of Chateau Thievry in France, as reported in this article about his bravery and his injury; the article also revealed that Elwood Raymond had a father still living in Ocala, Florida.:

The Ocala Evening Star, 15 Oct 1918, Tue, Page 4

And this article revealed the name of that father:

The Ocala Evening Star, 04 Sep 1919, Thu, Page 3

George Raymond! So Paul Metz had gone from Joseph Raymond to George Raymond! Did he select the name George in some way to connect to the son he had abandoned as an infant, Conrad’s father George? Was it just coincidence that the man who next partnered with Gertrude was also named George—George W. Keller? It all seemed just a bit strange.

On September 1, 1919, the Ocala Evening Star reported that Elwood Raymond was returning home and intending to stay in Ocala:

The Ocala Evening Star, 01 Sep 1919, Mon, Page 3

In 1920, Elwood was lodging with two other men in Ocala, working as a skater at the fire station. I am not sure what that means, but the other two men were also working at the fire station, one as an electrician and one as a laborer.

Elwood Raymond’s occupation (in yellow) on the 1920 US census, Census Place: Ocala Ward 2, Marion, Florida; Roll: T625_226; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 116
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

On April 20, 1921, the Ocala Evening Star published this little news item (p.4):

The Ocala Evening Star, 20 Apr 1921, Wed, Page 4

So Elwood was now the chief of the fire department (not just a skater!). And his father George Raymond was staying with him in Ocala and making it his headquarters while traveling—for work? What kind of work?

On January 26, 1922, the Ocala paper reported on Elwood Raymond’s marriage to Ethelyn Adams:

The Ocala Evening Star, 26 Jan 1922, Thu, Page 1

Ethelyn was the daughter of George and Rosa Adam; she was born on January 27, 1904, in Oklahoma, and was living with her parents in Alma, Kansas, in 1910 where her father was a farmer; in 1920, they were living in Kansas City, Missouri, and her father was retired.  According to the wedding announcement, they had moved to Ocala during 1921, having previously lived in Orlando, Florida.3

The wedding announcement is also interesting in that it describes Elwood as “the only son of Mr. George Raymond.” It would thus appear that at least as of 1922, Elwood was unaware of his brother George B. Metz.

There were a number of other articles in the Ocala newspaper about Elwood in his role as fire chief, and then on March 8, 1922 the Ocala Evening Star reported that Elwood had resigned as chief of the fire department. 4 And this news item revealed why—Elwood and Ethelyn were moving to Orlando:

The Ocala Evening Star, 27 Apr 1922, Thu, Page 4

On September 4, 1922, the Ocala Evening Star reported that Ethelyn and Elwood had a new baby, a son.5 Two years later they had a daughter.

In 1930 Elwood, Ethelyn, and their two children were living in Oneco, Florida, where Elwood was employed as a letter carrier for the US Post Office.  Ethelyn’s mother Rosa was also living with them and operating a fruit farm.

Elwood Raymond, 1930 US census, Census Place: Oneco, Manatee, Florida; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0031; FHL microfilm: 2340059
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Where was Elwood’s father “George Raymond” in the 1920s? Or for that matter any time between 1900 and 1930? In 1905 he was in Augusta, Georgia:

Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle of December 12, 1905 (p. 10)

So in 1905 George was still a piano tuner and possibly still conning—a graduate of a Boston conservatory? Eight years with Steinway & Sons in New York? I’ve seen no evidence of that, but I suppose it is possible. It looks like George and Elwood had been heading south and eventually ended up in Florida.

Conrad found this 1916 article, which also seems of doubtful truth:

“Skater Inherits Big Fortune; Show is Off,” The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) · 27 Jan 1916, Thu · Page 13

Who is this “uncle” who left George Raymond (or is it Elwood Raymond) a fortune? None of George’s known uncles or Elwood’s known uncles died in 1915; Bernhard Metz died in 1914, however. Was Paul/George somehow trying to claim a share of the estate? Or was this just an excuse to get out of the Clearwater performance?

And this advertisement reveals that George was still tuning pianos in 1920 in Florida:

The Ocala Evening Star (Ocala, Florida) · 10 Mar 1920, Wed · Page 1

Aside from the mentions in the news clippings above, I have no other information about Paul Metz/George Raymond’s whereabouts, his job, his life. He was living in Georgia in 1905 and in Florida at least from 1915 until 1922, given the newspaper articles. But before or after? I don’t know. I found no other trace of him as Paul Metz or Joseph Raymond or George Raymond. If he used another name, I have no idea what that might have been. And I have no idea why he had kidnapped his son Elwood and abandoned his wife and newborn son George in 1900.

But what I did find was this obituary dated June 26, 1934:

 

The Tampa Tribune, 27 Jun 1934, Wed, Page 2

The obituary states that George Raymond had been living in Manatee County, Florida, for six years, and had previously been in Philadelphia. My guess is that the reporter confused the birth place with his prior residence. I found no evidence that Paul/George had returned to Philadelphia in the 1920s.

More importantly, the obituary reveals that by the time Paul Metz/George Raymond died in 1934, he had either revealed to Elwood that he had another son, or Elwood had discovered it on his own. Interestingly, the obituary refers to this son as “George Raymond,” as if he were his father’s namesake. And as if they had an actual relationship.

When I shared all this with Conrad, he revealed to me for the first time that Elwood had contacted George B. Metz sometime after 1934. We don’t know how Elwood learned about his brother George—did his father have a deathbed confession? How did Elwood even find him if he thought his brother’s name was George Raymond? Neither Conrad nor I know the answers, but Conrad shared this photograph of Elwood Raymond and George Metz together, showing that after their father died, the two brothers who had been separated since George Metz’s birth in 1900 had eventually gotten together many years later:

Elwood Raymond and George Metz

Conrad also learned from a cousin that Paul Metz/George Raymond died in the state hospital in Chattahoochee, Florida, in Gadsden County; this is consistent with the listing in the Florida Death Index. The cousin also told him that George Raymond (Paul Metz) had been in the state hospital for several years for psychiatric treatment and for drug and alcohol abuse. That seems credible, given Paul’s earlier history as an opium user and his long history of lying and stealing.

Thus, together Conrad and I had pieced together the long and twisting path of his grandfather’s life, the man who was born Paul Metz and died as George Raymond. There are still gaps in the story, but at least we know the beginning, a bigger part of the middle, and the end. It was one wild roller coaster ride, and I never could have done it without Conrad’s collaboration.

 

 

 

 


  1. “Metz in California, Denver Police Think,” The New York Times, September 14, 1923, p. 22. 
  2. Tampa Bay Times, 28 Jun 1980, Sat, Main Edition, Page 29. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Indexes, 1908-2004. George Adam and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Alma, Wabaunsee, Kansas; Roll: T624_459; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0132; FHL microfilm: 1374472. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. George Adam and family 1920 US census, Census Place: Kansas City Ward 16, Jackson, Missouri; Roll: T625_928; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 264. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. 
  4.  The Ocala Evening Star, 08 Mar 1922, Wed, Page 1. 
  5. The Ocala Evening Star, 04 Sep 1922, Mon, Page 4.