My Great-Grandmother Hilda

I have now written about all of the siblings of my great-grandmother, Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal, as well as about her parents and some of her aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I still have more of the Katzenstein extended family to discuss, but first I want to look back at the life of my great-grandmother.  Her story has been covered only in bits and pieces through the stories of her husband and children and through the stories of her parents and siblings.  Isn’t that all too often the case with women—that their stories are seen only through the stories of those who surrounded them? Especially since this is Women’s History Month, I wanted to be sure to give my great-grandmother her own page, her own story.

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal, my great-grandmother

Hilda was the third daughter and sixth and youngest child of her parents, Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt.  She was the third of the six to be born in the United States—in Philadelphia on August 17, 1863.

When Hilda was three years old, her sibling closest in age, Hannah, died at age seven from scarlet fever. Hilda was seven years younger than her brother Perry, who was the second closest to her in age, and so there was a big gap between Hilda and her surviving older siblings. Joe was fifteen years older, Jacob thirteen years older, and Brendena was ten years older than Hilda. My great-grandmother was the baby of the family, and I would imagine that after losing their daughter Hannah, her parents must have been very protective of her.

gerson-katzenstein-1870-census-1

Gerson Katzenstein and family 1870 census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 16 Dist 48 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1429; Page: 708B; Image: 96949; Family History Library Film: 552928

Her sister Brendena married Jacob Schlesinger in 1871 when Hilda was just eight years old. By the time Hilda was ten years old in 1873, her oldest brother Joe had moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, and within a few years after that her other two brothers, Jacob and Perry, had also moved to western Pennsylvania.  Thus, Hilda was still quite young when her older siblings left home, leaving her to live with just her parents.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Family History Film: 1255173; Page: 274B; Enumeration District: 219; Image: 0561

Katzenstein family Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Family History Film: 1255173; Page: 274B; Enumeration District: 219; Image: 0561

But her brother Joe’s move to Washington, Pennsylvania proved fateful for Hilda and for my family as it was there that she met her future husband, my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal, who had only arrived in the US a few years earlier from Sielen, Germany.

The Daily Republican
(Monongahela, Pennsylvania)
11 Aug 1887, Thu • Page 4

Hilda married him in 1888 when she was 25 years old and settled with him in Little Washington where he was a china dealer.  Their first son, Lester, was born that same year.

Isidore Schoenthal

Isidore Schoenthal

Then a series of tragic events hit the Katzenstein family. In the spring 1889, Hilda’s brother Jacob lost his wife Ella and both of his sons, one before the Johnstown flood and two as a result of the flood. The following year, my great-grandfather Gerson died at age 75.  Hilda named her second child for her father; Gerson Katzenstein Schoenthal was born on January 20, 1892. A year later Hilda lost her mother, Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein, on September 6, 1893; she was 66.

Hilda did not have another child until August, 1901, when my great-uncle Harold was born—more than nine years after Gerson.  Just a few months after Harold’s birth, Hilda’s brother Joe died in December, 1901; just over a year and a half later, her brother Perry died in August, 1903.  Hilda was forty years old and had lost her parents and three of her five siblings.  Only Jacob and Brendena remained.

In March, 1904, my great-grandmother Hilda gave birth to her last child and only daughter, my grandmother Eva Schoenthal, named for Hilda’s mother Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein.

eva-schoenthal-cohen-watermarked

My grandmother, Eva Schoenthal

When my grandmother was just a small child, her parents decided to leave Washington, Pennsylvania, and move to Denver, Colorado, believing that the mountain air would be better for their son Gerson, who had developed asthma.

Thus, Hilda packed up her children and belongings and moved far away from her two remaining siblings: Brendena, who was living with her husband Jacob and family in Philadelphia, and Jacob, who by that time had remarried and was living with his second wife Bertha and their children in Johnstown.  I don’t believe Hilda or Isidore knew anyone in Denver, but somehow they started their lives over in this city far from their families back east.

They remained in Denver for at least twenty years, raising my grandmother and my great-uncles. During the many years that Hilda lived in Denver, her brother Jacob died, and her sister Brendena lost her husband as well as both of her daughters.  It must have been hard to live so far away from all of her family during those painful times.

Isidore, Hilda (Katzenstein), and Eva Schoenthal

Isidore, Hilda (Katzenstein), and Eva Schoenthal in Denver

After many years in Denver, Hilda and Isidore moved back east. Their son Harold had gone back east for college, and my grandmother had moved to Philadelphia after she married my grandfather, John Nusbaum Cohen, in 1923.  She had met him when, after graduating from high school, she’d gone to visit relatives in Philadelphia, probably Brendena’s family.

My father and aunt were born in the 1920s, and they were my great-grandparents’ only grandchildren at that time.  I assume that they were part of the reason that by 1930, my great-grandparents returned to the east and settled in Montclair, New Jersey, where their son Harold lived and not far from my grandmother and my aunt and father.

HIlda (Katzenstein) Schoenthal, Eva (Schoenthal) Cohen, Eva HIlda Cohen, and Harold Schoenthal

HIlda (Katzenstein) Schoenthal, Eva (Schoenthal) Cohen, Eva Hilda Cohen, and Harold Schoenthal

Hilda and Isidore lived in Montclair until 1941 when they moved to Philadelphia so that my grandmother could take care of them, both being elderly and in poor health by that time. Hilda died from pneumonia  on August 17, 1941, just seven months after the move to Philadelphia; she died on her 78th birthday. Her husband Isidore died eleven months later on July 10, 1942.  They were buried at Restland Memorial Park in East Hanover, New Jersey.

Looking back over my great-grandmother’s life, I have several thoughts.  Although she was the baby of the family, she was also the only one who ventured far from where her family lived.  Her brothers left Philadelphia, but never left Pennsylvania; her sister lived in Philadelphia for her entire life after arriving as a child from Germany. Hilda moved across the state to marry Isidore Schoenthal, and Hilda was the only Katzenstein sibling to leave the east, moving with her husband and four children all the way to Colorado.

Her life was also marked by many losses, some quite tragic: a sister died as a young child, her parents died before Hilda was thirty years old, and two of her brothers died before Hilda was forty.  Several nieces and nephews also died prematurely.  Her brother Jacob also predeceased her; she was 52 when he died. So many losses must have had an effect on her perspective on life.

On the other hand, she had a long marriage and four children who grew to adulthood.  She lived to see two of her grandchildren, my father and aunt, grow to be teenagers. My father remembers her as a loving, affectionate, and sweet woman; she loved to cook, and when for a period of time he lived near her in Montclair, she would make lunch for him on school days.

Hilda saw more of America than her parents and siblings, and she lived longer than any of them except for her sister Brendena, who survived her. She endured many losses in her life, but the love she received from her family must have outweighed all that sadness, for my father recalls her as a very loving and positive woman.

From Katzenstein to Kay: America, the Land of Immigrants

This is the story of how the grandchildren of my great-great-grandparents became assimilated into American society. Their father, S. J. Katzenstein, was born in Germany and came to the US as a young boy; he became a successful business man in Washington, Pennsylvania, where his sister, my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein, had also lived after marrying my great-grandfather, Isidore Schoenthal.  His children, born in Washington, Pennsylvania, like my grandmother, grew up to become full-fledged Americans.

S.J. Katzenstein had died in 1901 when he was only 53 years old. He and his wife Henrietta Sigmund had six children: Moynelle (1879), Milton (1881), Howard (1882), Ivan (1884), Earl (1885), and Vernon (1892).  Moynelle, the oldest child, had married Bert Spanye on October 10, 1900, in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Moynelle Katzenstein and Bert Spanye marriage record Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

Moynelle Katzenstein and Bert Spanye marriage record
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, UT.

Bert was born September 24, 1868, in what was then a town in Hungary called Giralt. (Today it is known as Giraltovce and is in Slovakia).  According to a family genealogy website, Bert came to the US in 1887 with his uncle, CK Sunshine.  His parents, Emanuel and Rose Sonnenschein, did not emigrate.  Bert changed his surname from Sonnenschein to Spanye, unlike much of the rest of his extended family in the US who changed it to Sunshine.

According to an article written in the December 20, 1924 Cleveland Plain Dealer (p.15), when he first came to the US, Bert taught Latin, Greek, and German at Farmington College in Hiram, Ohio.  Then his uncle started him in business in a small Ohio town, and a few years later in February, 1899, Bert along with his uncle and another partner, Louis Black, started the Bailey & Company department store in Cleveland.  It became very successful.

When he and Moynelle were engaged,  the news was was written up in the June 17, 1900 Cleveland Plain Dealer (p. 10):

to-wed-pennsylvania-girl-mr-b-a-spanye-page-002

to-wed-pennsylvania-girl-mr-b-a-spanye-page-003

 

Then the company threw a surprise reception in his honor as described in the October 5, 1900 Cleveland Plain Dealer (p. 8):

an-employer-surprised-mr-bert-a-spanye-of-the-bailey-co-page-002

an-employer-surprised-mr-bert-a-spanye-of-the-bailey-co-page-003

After they married, they settled in Cleveland; their first child, Edward, was born on September 19, 1902. On the 1910 census, Bert, Moynelle, and their son Edward were living at 11338 Belleflower Road and Bert’s uncle Charles (CK) and Moynelle’s mother (listed as Hattie here) were living with them as well as two servants.

Bert and Moynelle (Katzenstein) Spanye 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 26, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T624_1176; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0388; FHL microfilm: 1375189

Bert and Moynelle (Katzenstein) Spanye 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 26, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T624_1176; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0388; FHL microfilm: 1375189

By that time at least three of Moynelle’s brothers had also relocated to Cleveland. Her brother Earl appears in the 1907 Cleveland directory, listing his occupation as a salesman (perhaps for his brother-in-law’s store).  Ivan Katzenstein is listed in the 1909 Cleveland directory as a department manager, and Earl as a clerk.  They and their mother Henrietta were all living at 11338 Belleflower Road, the home of Moynelle and Bert Spanye.

Katzensteins in 1909 Cleveland directory Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1909 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Katzensteins in 1909 Cleveland directory
Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1909
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

In 1910, Vernon, the youngest brother, and Ivan were living together as boarders. According to the 1910 census report, Vernon had no occupation listed (he was 18), and Ivan reported that he was a manager in a department store, again presumably the one owned in part by his brother-in-law Bert.

On June 26, 1911, Moynelle and Bert had their second child, Margaret.

Moynelle’s brother Howard had moved to Cleveland by 1912.  In the 1912 Cleveland directory, Howard is listed as a buyer for Bailey & Company, Earl as a department manager for Bailey & Company, and Ivan as a commercial traveler. They were all living together at 1946 East 71st Street NE in Cleveland.

Katzensteins in 1912 Cleveland directory Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1912 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

Katzensteins in 1912 Cleveland directory
Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1912
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

At that time, the youngest brother, Vernon, was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Class of 1913. I was able to find this class photo and a legend that helped me find Vernon in the photo:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Class of 1913 Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Class of 1913
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

vernon-katzenstein-in-mit-photo

Vernon Katzenstein, MIT Class of 1913

The only brother who did not move to Cleveland was the oldest, Milton. Milton was a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and a member of the class of 1905 at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

Milton Boyd Katzenstein, 1904 yearbook for the UPenn Medical School Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

Milton Boyd Katzenstein, 1904 yearbook for the UPenn Medical School
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Various school yearbooks from across the United States.

In 1910, he was practicing medicine in Pittsburgh and boarding with a family there.

Milton enlisted in the US Army in May, 1917, as a first lieutenant.  He served in the medical division from June 5, 1917 until March 28, 1919, including almost two years overseas in France during World War I.  He was promoted twice—to captain on November 24, 1917 and to major on November 19, 1918.

Milton Boyd Katzenstein military record Box Title : Kapp, Edward B - Kauffman, Frank (221) Source Information Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

Milton Boyd Katzenstein military record
Box Title : Kapp, Edward B – Kauffman, Frank (221)
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

Box Title : Kapp, Edward B - Kauffman, Frank (221) Source Information Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

Box Title : Kapp, Edward B – Kauffman, Frank (221)
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, WWI Veterans Service and Compensation Files, 1917-1919, 1934-1948 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: World War I Veterans Service and Compensation File, 1934–1948. RG 19, Series 19.91. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

He was not the only Katzenstein brother to serve in World War I.  According to The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War (Volume 9), Ivan Katzenstein joined the Ohio National Guard on August 13, 1917. He served in the field artillery in the Guard until August 31, 1918.  He then was sent to France where he served in the 135th Field Artillery, Company C, until July 5, 1919, and fought in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.  He was honorably discharged on July 11, 1919.

Title : The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War Volume 9 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Title : The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War Volume 9
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (A) General Files, Army and Navy (Boxes 2-4); Box #: 3; Folder #: 9; Box Info: (Box 3) Cleveland: Privates, H-P Description Folder Content Description : (Box 3) Cleveland: Privates, H-P

Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (A) General Files, Army and Navy (Boxes 2-4); Box #: 3; Folder #: 9; Box Info: (Box 3) Cleveland: Privates, H-P
Description
Folder Content Description : (Box 3) Cleveland: Privates, H-P

Vernon also served during World War I.  He was a first lieutenant in the Officers’ Reserve Corps beginning July 6, 1917, serving in the Ordnance Corps. He served in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I from December 3, 1917 until June 17, 1919, and was honorably discharged on June 25, 1919.

Title : The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War Volume 9 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Title : The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the World War Volume 9
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

When the US entered World War I, Howard Katzenstein was working as the assistant field director for the American Red Cross at Camp Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, according to his draft registration card:

Howard Katzenstein World War I draft registration Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831766; Draft Board: 07

Howard Katzenstein World War I draft registration
Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831766; Draft Board: 07

Earl Katzenstein was living in Cleveland and working as a traveling salesman for the S & S Shirt Company of Phillipsburg Center, Pennsylvania, according to his draft registration:

Earl Katzenstein World War I draft registration Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831766; Draft Board: 07

Earl Katzenstein World War I draft registration
Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Cuyahoga; Roll: 1831766; Draft Board: 07

By 1920, all of the Katzenstein brothers had adopted the surname Kay instead of Katzenstein.  Had they all decided that Katzenstein was too Jewish? Too German sounding after World War I? Too long? I don’t know. But like so many other children of immigrants, they changed their name and shedded part of their original identity.

Three of the Kay brothers were living in Cleveland.  According to the 1920 census, Howard and Vernon were living together in a boarding house at 1946 71st Street; Howard was working as a buyer in a dry goods store, and Vernon was a manager in an electric washing machine manufacturing business.

Howard and Vernon Katzenstein 1920 US census Year: 1920; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 22, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T625_1371; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 433; Image: 988

Howard and Vernon Katzenstein 1920 US census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 22, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T625_1371; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 433; Image: 988

Interestingly, the 1920 Cleveland directory shows both Ivan and Vernon living at 1943 East 107th Street, but Howard is not listed; the 1921 directory lists all three brothers. Ivan and Vernon were both still living at 1943 East 107th Street; Ivan had no occupation listed, and Vernon was the vice-president of the Bell Washer & Wringer Company (a laundry business, I’d assume). Howard was living at 7100 Euclid Avenue; he had no occupation listed. I cannot find Ivan on the 1920 census.

Howard, Ivan, and Vernon Kay 1921 Cleveland directory Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1921 Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

Howard, Ivan, and Vernon Kay 1921 Cleveland directory
Title : Cleveland, Ohio, City Directory, 1921
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Original sources vary according to directory.

Meanwhile, in 1920 Earl was living in a boarding house in St. Louis, working as a traveling salesman.

By 1920, Milton was again boarding with a family in Pittsburgh and practicing medicine. Here is his listing from the UPenn alumni magazine for 1922:

1922 Catalog of the University of Pennsylvania Ancestry.com. U.S., College Student Lists, 1763-1924 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: College Student Lists. Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society.

1922 Catalog of the University of Pennsylvania
Ancestry.com. U.S., College Student Lists, 1763-1924 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: College Student Lists. Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society.

 As for Moynelle Katzenstein and Bert Spanye, in 1920 they and their children were living with Moynelle’s mother Henrietta and four servants in their home at 11338 Belleflower Road.  Then in 1924, Bert retired from Bailey & Company after 25 years, as reported in the December 20, 1924 Cleveland Plain Dealer (p. 15):

bert-spanye-retires-page-002 bert-spanye-retires-page-003 bert-spanye-retires-page-004

Thus, by 1925, the children of S.J. Katzenstein and Henrietta Sigmund had in many ways achieved and perhaps exceeded the dreams their grandparents Gerson and Eva must have had when they left Germany in the 1850s. Moynelle had married an immigrant who had quickly become a highly successful businessman.   Two of the Kay/Katzenstein sons were graduates of two of America’s elite universities, one an engineer, the other a doctor.  Three had served their country in World War I, fighting against the country where their parents and grandparents were born.

All of them were giving back to America whatever America had given them. As immigrants have always done and will continue to do.

Continued in my next post.

My Grandmother’s Cologne Cousins: More New Records

Aaron Knappstein, our Cologne guide, really pulled the rabbit out of the hat when he found the Schopfloch death records for my four-times great-grandparents, Amson Nussbaum and Voegele Welsch, but his magic tricks did not end there.  He also was able to locate birth records for a number of the children of Jakob Schoenthal and Charlotte Lilienfeld.

My great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal had two siblings who did not immigrate to America, and his older brother Jakob was one of them.  Jakob married Charlotte Lilienfeld and was a merchant in Cologne.  He and Charlotte had five children: Johanna, Lee, Meyer, Henriette, and Erna. They were my grandmother Eva’s first cousins.

I’ve told their stories in prior posts.  Four of the children survived the Holocaust.  The two sons, Lee and Meyer, immigrated to the US long before Hitler came to power, and Erna escaped with her son Werner during the 1930s.  Johanna and her husband spent time in the Gurs concentration camp and came to the US after the war.  Tragically, Henriette and her husband were murdered by the Nazis.

Thus far Aaron has located birth records for four of the children: Johanna, Lee, Meyer, and Erna.  I hope that he is able to find the record for Henriette as it would indeed be tragic if her record was the only one that did not survive, just as she was the only sibling who did not survive.

Here are the records that Aaron has thus far located:

Birth record of Johanna Schoenthal (Nr. 3030/1880)

father: Jakob Schönthal (tradesman)
mother: Charlotte Lilienfeld
both jewish religion
Köln, Breitestraße 113

June 5, 1880

 

birth-record-johanna-schoenthal

Birth record of Lee (Leo) Schoenthal (Nr. 5717/1881)

father: Jakob Schönthal (tradesman)
mother: Charlotte Lilienfeld
both jewish religion
Köln, Breitestraße 113

December 6, 1881

 

birth-record-of-lee-schoenthal

Birth record Meier Schönthal (no. 606/1883)

father: Jakob Schönthal (tradesman)
mother: Charlotte Lilienfeld
both jewish religion
Köln, Breitestraße 113
February 7, 1883
05.15 in the morning

 

meyer-schoenthal-birth-recod

Birth Record Erna Schönthal (no. 577/1898)

father: Jakob Schönthal (tradesman)
mother: Charlotte Lilienfeld
both jewish religion
Köln, Breitestraße 85
March 27, 1898
08.15 in the morning

erna-schoenthal-birth-record

After the Flood, More Tears

In my last two posts I wrote about the tragedies the Katzenstein family endured in 1889 when Jacob Katzenstein, my great-grandmother Hilda’s brother, lost his son Edwin and his wife Ella (who may also have been related to me through my Goldschmidt line) in the devastating Johnstown flood of May 31, 1889. This post will follow up with the rest of my great-great-grandparents’ family.

Here is a family group sheet for the family of my great-great-grandparents, Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt and their six children, five of whom survived to adulthood.

family-group-sheet-for-gerson-katzenstein

A little over a year after the flood, on July 22, 1890, my great-great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein died of dropsy at age 75 in Philadelphia. According to several sources, “dropsy” is an old-fashioned term for edema or swelling of body tissues, whether it’s the brain, the heart, or some other body part or organ.  I don’t know what type of edema afflicted Gerson or why it killed him.  He was buried at Adath Jeshrun cemetery in Philadelphia.

gerson-katzenstein-death-cert

Gerson Katzenstein death certificate “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-68NW-375?cc=1320976&wc=9FR3-SP8%3A1073244201 : 16 May 2014), > image 340 of 1712; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

In March, 1891, his son Jacob remarried two years after losing his wife and son in the Johnstown flood.  Jacob married Bertha Miller, the daughter of Samuel Miller and Eliza Leopold, whom I mentioned here.  (As I described, Jacob’s first father-in-law, Marcus Bohm, would later be living with Jacob’s second wife Bertha Miller’s aunt, Minnie Leopold Reineman, in 1910 in Johnstown.)  Bertha’s parents were both born in Germany, and her father Samuel was a “merchant tailor” in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, in 1880.

Jacob Katzenstein wedding to Bertha Miller PHiladelphia Times March 12 1891 p. 3

Jacob Katzenstein wedding to Bertha Miller
PHiladelphia Times March 12 1891 p. 3

Bertha and Jacob had a child Helen in 1892, and they had a second child on June 8, 1893, whom they named Gerald, presumably for Gerson Katzenstein, Jacob’s father, my great-great-grandfather.  He was not the only grandson named for Gerson.  On January 20, 1892, my great-uncle Gerson Schoenthal was born, son of my great-grandparents Hilda Katzenstein and Isidore Schoenthal. In addition, SJ Katzenstein and his wife Henrietta also had a child possibly named for Gerson: Vernon Glyde, born on February 8, 1892.

My great-great-grandmother, Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein, died on September 6, 1893.  She was 66 years old and died of “carcinoma ventric omentum.”  According to my medical consultant, today that is called “carcinoma of the ventral omentum, which is a part of the lining of the abdomen near the stomach.”

Eva also had grandchildren named for her, including my grandmother, Eva Schoenthal.  Jacob and Bertha’s third child, born December 2, 1894, was also named Eva.

eva-goldschmidt-katzenstein-death-cert

Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein death certificate “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DY6W-VS?cc=1320976&wc=9FRF-GP8%3A1073237701 : 16 May 2014), > image 1467 of 1730; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Jacob and Bertha had two more children by 1900: Leopold (1898) and Maurice (1900). As pointed our earlier, they were living in Johnstown in 1900 with Jacob’s first father-in-law Marcus Bohm and Bertha’s brother Maurice.  Jacob was working as a clothing merchant.

Jacob Katzenstein and family 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Johnstown Ward 1, Cambria, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1388; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0124; FHL microfilm: 1241388

Jacob Katzenstein and family 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Johnstown Ward 1, Cambria, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1388; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0124; FHL microfilm: 1241388

SJ Katzenstein and his family were living in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1900, where he was still a clothing merchant as well.  Their children were all still at home and at school, except for Howard, who was working as a clerk.

SJ Katzenstein and family 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1494; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0173; FHL microfilm: 1241494

SJ Katzenstein and family 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1494; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0173; FHL microfilm: 1241494

Brendina Katzenstein Schlesinger and her family were still in Philadelphia, and her husband Jacob listed his occupation on the 1900 census as a meat salesman.  Their oldest son, Solomon Joseph, was a manager of a laundry, and Alfred was managing a newspaper. Sidney was working as a clerk in a clothing store.  The two daughters, Heloise and Aimee, were not employed.

Brendina and Jacob Schlesinger 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1463; Enumeration District: 0421; FHL microfilm: 1241462

Brendina and Jacob Schlesinger 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1463; Enumeration District: 0421; FHL microfilm: 1241462

Perry Katzenstein and his wife Rose were also living in Philadelphia where Perry was in the clothing business.  They had no children.  Rose’s sister Flora Elias was living with them.

Perry and Rose Katzenstein 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1474; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0830; FHL microfilm: 1241474

Perry and Rose Katzenstein 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1474; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0830; FHL microfilm: 1241474

And, as I’ve written before, my great-grandparents Hilda Katzenstein and Isidore Schoenthal were living in Washington, Pennsylvania, with their two older sons, Lester and Gerson, and my great-grandfather was working in the china business there.

HIlda Katzenstein and Isidore Schoenthal 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1495; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0175; FHL microfilm: 1241495

HIlda Katzenstein and Isidore Schoenthal 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1495; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0175; FHL microfilm: 1241495

So as the century turned, my great-grandmother Hilda and her siblings had lost both of their parents, but the next generation of the family was growing. As of 1900, there were eighteen grandchildren—my grandmother’s first cousins and brothers— and my great-uncle Harold was born on August 28, 1901, bringing the total to nineteen.  My grandmother and one more first cousin were yet to be born.  All of them lived in Pennsylvania, spanning from Philadelphia in the east to Washington in the west with family living in Johnstown in between.

But the start of the 20th century was not very kind to the Katzenstein family.  On December 7, 1901, my great-great-uncle SJ Katzenstein died at age 53.  He left behind his wife Henrietta and six children, ranging in age from Moynelle, who was 22, to Vernon, who was only nine years old.

sj-katzenstein-obit

Then less than two years later, SJ’s younger brother Perry died.  He was just a few days shy of his 47th birthday.  According to his obituary, he had been living in Washington, Pennsylvania, not Philadelphia, at the time of his death.  Perhaps he had taken over SJ’s clothing business. Perry died from appendicitis and peritonitis. He was survived by his wife Rose.

Perry Katzenstein obituary Canonsburg PA Daily Notes August 8, 1903 p.2

Perry Katzenstein obituary Canonsburg PA Daily Notes August 8, 1903 p.2

perry-katzenstein-death-cert

But Rose did not last very long without him. While visiting her sister in Chicago on February 24, 1904, she took her own life.  Her death was ruled a suicide, strangulation by hanging.  Perry’s death must have been too much for her to bear.

rosa-elias-katzenstein-death-cert

Rose Elias Katzenstein death certificate “Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-67QH-3T?cc=1320976&wc=9F5B-VZS%3A1073109202 : 16 May 2014), > image 232 of 538; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Rose Elias Katzenstein obituary Williamsport Sun-Gazette, February 26, 1904, p. 5

Rose Elias Katzenstein obituary
Williamsport Sun-Gazette, February 26, 1904, p. 5

Thus, by February, 1904, my great-grandmother Hilda had lost her parents, two of her three brothers, two nephews, and two sisters-in-law.  She also had her fourth and last child that year, my grandmother Eva, who was born on March 4, 1904, shortly after Rose’s death.

eva-schoenthal-cohen-watermarked

Eva Schoenthal Cohen, my grandmother

Jacob Katzenstein and his second wife Bertha also had their final child in 1904; he was born in August 1904 and was named Perry, obviously for Jacob’s brother Perry who had died the year before.

My great-great-grandparents Gerson and Eva (Goldschmidt) Katzenstein were thus survived by 21 grandchildren, including my grandmother Eva.  In posts to come, I will share their stories.

For now, I will be taking a short break from research, but will be sharing some of the photographs and records I’ve received but have not yet had a chance to post.

 

 

 

Who Was Ella Bohm Katzenstein? A Genealogy Adventure

This was truly a genealogy adventure. I’d written most of this post before I made two surprising discoveries that required me to rewrite substantial parts of it. The story of Jacob Katzenstein’s first wife Ella is heartbreaking. She was only 27 when she died in the 1889 Johnstown flood, and for a long time I knew almost nothing about her.  I’ve finally made some headway in learning more about her.

Here’s what I now know about her from various sources, more or less in the order I found them. Her first name was Ella, as seen from the birth record indexed on FamilySearch for her son, Milton B. Katzenstein.

milton-b-katzenstein-birth-record

Her birth surname was Bohm, as seen in a newspaper report of her death and as implicitly confirmed by the fact that Milton’s middle name was Bohm; that fact I learned from Milton’s burial record at Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown.

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent,, June 7, 1889, p. 3

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent,, June 7, 1889, p. 3

I know that Ella was probably born in February 1862, as indicated on the memorial stone placed at Eastview Cemetery in Cumberland, Maryland.   Her father’s name was apparently Marcus Bohm; that fact I inferred from the fact that Ella’s widower Jacob Katzenstein included Marcus in his household on the 1900 census and described him as his father-in-law (even though by that time Jacob had remarried). Ella presumably married Jacob sometime before or around January, 1886, since their son Milton was born in September, 1886. Milton died on April 18, 1889.  I also know that a second child, Edwin, was born June 5, 1887, and that he and Ella were killed in the Johnstown flood on May 31, 1889.

ella-katzenstein-and-edwin-katzenstein-headstone-from-findagrave

But where was Ella before marrying Jacob and having these two little boys?

For the longest time, I could not find her on the 1870  census, no matter how many ways I tried to spell her name, with and without wildcards. And then somehow she popped up after I’d just about given up.  I decided to search for any Ella with a surname starting with Bo born anywhere in about 1862 living in Pennsylvania or any state bordering it.  And there she was, listed as Ella Bohn, living in Philadelphia, an eight year old child born in Pennsylvania.  Her father was not living with her, nor was there anyone else in the household named Bohn or Bohm. So who was she living with?

Ella Bohm (Bohn) on the 1870 census Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ella Bohm (Bohn) on the 1870 census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I took a deep breath when I saw.  She was living with Jacob Goldsmith. Who was he? The son of Simon Goldschmidt and Fradchen Schoenthal.  Simon Goldschmidt was the brother of my three-times great-grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt, the father of Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein, whose son Jacob would later marry Ella Bohm.  And Fradchen Schoenthal was the sister of my three-times great-grandfather Levi Schoenthal, father of Isidore Schoenthal who would later marry Hilda Katzenstein, daughter of Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein and brother of Jacob Katzenstein, who would later marry Ella Bohm.

jacob-katzenstein-to-jacob-goldsmith

So little Ella Bohm was for some reason living with the first cousin, once removed, of her future husband Jacob Katzenstein.  And with in-law relatives of her future sister-in-law, Hilda Katzenstein, my great-grandmother. And they were all related to me.  Yikes.

But where was her father? Why wasn’t Ella living with him? Why was she living with Jacob Goldsmith? Unfortunately, the 1870 census did not include information about the relationships among those in a household, so I couldn’t tell.

A search for information about Ella’s father Marcus Bohm turned up nothing explicit connecting him to Ella, though I was able to piece together some information about Marcus. He was born November 9, 1834, in Warsaw, Poland, and immigrated to the United States in 1849, arriving in Baltimore.

marcus-bohm-manifest-from-family-search

Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-897J-P6W?cc=2018318&wc=MKZ4-GPF%3A1004777901%2C1004778901 : 25 September 2015), 1820-1891 (NARA M255, M596) > image 404 of 688; citing NARA microfilm publications M255, M596 and T844 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

One document indicates that he was living in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1853, which, of course, is where many members of my extended family also settled, including Jacob Goldsmith, who was a clothing merchant there as early as 1850, and Jacob Katzenstein’s brother SJ, who arrived around there in about 1871.

It appears that Marcus Bohm owned a clothing store there from at least 1853 from ads I found online in the Washington newspaper.  There was a fire at his store in April, 1860:

Washington Reporter, April 12, 1860, p. 3

Washington Reporter, April 12, 1860, p. 3

I also found an advertisement for Marcus Bohm’s clothing store in the Washington Reporter of August 30, 1860 (p.3):

ad-for-marcus-bohm-1860

 

But by November, 1860, Marcus was closing down his Washington store:

marcus-bohm-closing-down-store-in-wash-pa-page-001

It seems he then left Washington, Pennsylvania, because according to a New Jersey index of the 1860 census, Marcus was living in Hudson Township, New Jersey, in 1860, although I cannot find him on the actual 1860 census records.  He is listed in the 1867 Trenton, New Jersey, directory as working in the clothing business and living at Madison House. On the 1870 census, he is listed as living in a hotel in Trenton and working as a clothier. There is no wife or child living with him.

Marcus continued to be listed in Trenton city directories in the 1870s up through 1876, and he is consistently listed as a clothing merchant and tailor and living in various hotels in Trenton. But in 1878, he declared bankruptcy in Trenton:

marcus-bohm-bankrupt

Why was his daughter Ella  living with the Goldsmiths in Philadelphia in 1870 and not with her father in Trenton? I decided to dig deeper into the background of Jacob Goldsmith, someone I had not yet really researched as I am (ahem) not yet focused on my Goldschmidt line (yet somehow they keep popping up everywhere).  I searched for him on the 1880 census, and this is what I found:

Jacob Goldsmith's family on 1880 census with Ella "Baum" Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Family History Film: 1255173; Page: 158D; Enumeration District: 210; Image: 0325

Jacob Goldsmith’s family on 1880 census with Ella “Baum”
Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Family History Film: 1255173; Page: 158D; Enumeration District: 210; Image: 0325

Jacob, Fanny, and their many children were living in Philadelphia, and living with them was a niece named Ella Baum, age 17.  This had to be Ella Bohm, who would have been turning 18 in 1880.  She was living with Jacob and Fanny Goldsmith because she was their niece! So her mother had to be either Fanny’s sister or Jacob’s sister. For reasons described below, I believe she was the daughter of Jacob’s sister Eva.

Jacob had several sisters, but for all but one, I’d found married names, and they had not married Marcus Bohm.  But there was one sister for whom I’d been unable to find anything more than her name on the passenger manifest with her father Simon and stepmother Fradchen in 1845 and her listing on the 1850 census with her father Simon and stepmother Fanny and several siblings. Her name was Eva Goldschmidt/Goldsmith.

Simon, Fradchen, and Eva Goldschmidt on 1845 passenger manifest The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85

Simon, Fradchen, and Eva Goldschmidt on 1845 passenger manifest
The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85

On the 1850 census, the names seem confused. It shows Simon’s wife’s name as Lena. Her name was Fradchen or Fanny in the US. Simon had a daughter Lena, who is also listed on the census.  And then there is a daughter named Fanny.  I think that daughter was really Eva, and the enumerator somehow thought Fanny was the daughter’s name instead of the wife and heard “Lena” instead of “Eva” for the other daughter’s name and thought that was the wife’s name. (Remember these were recent immigrants whose English might not have been very understandable.)

Simon Goldschmidt and family 1850 census Year: 1850; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_745; Page: 135A; Image: 274

Simon Goldschmidt and family 1850 census
Year: 1850; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M432_745; Page: 135A; Image: 274

But Eva is not listed as living with Simon in 1860 when he and two of her younger half-siblings had moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, to live with her older brother Jacob. So where was she then?  I don’t know, but here’s my theory.

My guess is that Marcus Bohm and Eva Goldsmith, Jacob’s sister, were married sometime around 1860. After their daughter Ella Bohm was born in 1862, Eva either died in childbirth or sometime shortly thereafter and before 1870. Supporting the theory that Eva had died is the fact that her brother Jacob named a child born in 1871 Eva.

I believe that Ella’s widowed father Marcus Bohm moved to New Jersey after losing his wife and his business in Washington, and he left his little daughter to be raised by her uncle, Jacob Goldsmith. That little girl then grew up and married Jacob Katzenstein, who was her second cousin.

I don’t know when she married Jacob. I cannot find Jacob or Ella on the 1880 census, although Jacob was listed in the Pittsburgh directories for 1879 and 1881, the Johnstown directory in 1884, both the Philadelphia and Johnstown directories for 1887, and the Johnstown directory in 1889. When their son Milton was born in 1886, Jacob and Ella must have been living in Philadelphia. And by 1889 they were living in Johnstown.

Where was Ella’s father Marcus in the 1880s? The 1880 census report shows that he was then living in Washington, Pennsylvania, boarding in a hotel there and working in a clothing store.  But by 1884, Marcus had moved to Johnstown, as the 1884 Johnstown directory lists Marcus living at 251 Main Street and working at 272 Main Street in the clothing business. That same directory lists Jacob Katzenstein as a commercial traveler living at 241 Main Street, just a few houses away from Marcus. I assume that Marcus moved to Johnstown because his daughter Ella had by that time married Jacob and was living there, but I don’t know for sure.

After the tragic deaths of his daughter Ella and his two grandsons Milton and Edwin in 1889, Marcus seemed to disappear for some years and does not appear in any city directories. The next record that does include Ella’s father Marcus is the 1900 census where, as noted above, he was living in Johnstown with Jacob Katzenstein and Jacob’s second wife Bertha Miller, their three children, Bertha’s brother Maurice, and a servant.  Marcus is described as Jacob’s father-in-law, widowed, and retired.

Jacob Katzenstein and family 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Johnstown Ward 1, Cambria, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1388; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0124; FHL microfilm: 1241388

Jacob Katzenstein and family 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Johnstown Ward 1, Cambria, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1388; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0124; FHL microfilm: 1241388

I find it rather heartwarming that Bertha Miller took in the father of Jacob’s first wife.

Ten years later Marcus was still living in Johnstown, boarding in the household of Solomon Reineman, according to the 1910 census. I thought perhaps Solomon was a relative or married to a relative, but Solomon was born in Germany, not Poland. In 1880, Solomon had been living in Johnstown, so I assume that Marcus had become friendly with him during the 1880s when both were living in Johnstown.

And then I found a connection to Solomon’s wife, Minnie Leopold, though not directly. While researching Jacob’s second wife, Bertha Miller, I saw that her mother was named Eliza Leopold.  The name jumped out at me, and I thought—could there be a connection to Minnie Leopold? A few more steps of research, and lo and behold, I learned that Eliza and Minnie Leopold were sisters! So somehow Marcus Bohm ended up living with his son-in-law’s second wife’s aunt and her husband.

Two years later, however, Marcus had moved to Philadelphia. The 1912 Philadelphia directory lists Marcus Bohm living at 3333 North Broad Street. Four years later on February 25, 1916, Marcus died in Philadelphia.  He was 81 years old and died of chronic emphysema.

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 021751-024880

Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 021751-024880

He’d been living at the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania, and the informant was William H. Sivel, the superintendent at 3333 North Broad Street, which I assume is the location of the Masonic Home and where Marcus had been residing.  There is no other personal information on the certificate except for Marcus Bohm’s birth date, birth place (Poland), age, and occupation, which the informant described as “gentleman.”  I was unable to find an obituary or any other document that would reveal family information for Marcus, only this death notice.

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 26, 1916, p. 18

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 26, 1916, p. 18

Thus, I was lucky enough to learn a little more about Ella Bohm Katzenstein and can only speculate that her mother was Eva Goldsmith, that Eva Goldsmith Bohm had died, and that Ella had been left to live with the family of Jacob Goldsmith while her father tried to recover from losing his wife and his store in Washington, Pennsylvania.

If I am right in this speculation, it makes her short life even more tragic. It was heartbreaking enough to know that she’d lost her first son Milton and then was killed along with her other son in the Johnstown flood of 1889 when she was only 27. But adding to that the loss of her mother and in some ways her father as a young child makes her story especially poignant.

 

The Flood

As we saw in my last post, by 1880, four of the five surviving children of Gerson and Eva (Goldschmidt) Katzenstein were on their own.  SJ, their oldest child, was married to his second cousin Henrietta Sigmund and living in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he was a merchant.  Brendina, the older daughter, was married to Jacob Schlesinger and living in Philadelphia, where Jacob worked as a butcher.   Jacob and Perry Katzenstein, the second and third sons of Gerson and Eva, were living together in Pittsburgh and working as salesmen.  Only my great-grandmother Hilda, who was seventeen in 1880, was still living at home with her parents in Philadelphia.

During the 1880s, Gerson and Eva were blessed with many grandchildren. SJ and Henrietta, whose first child Moynelle was born in 1879, had four sons in the 1880s: Milton (1881), Howard (1882), Ivan (1884), and Earl (1885).  Brendina and Jacob already had four children by 1880, Heloise (1874), Solomon Joseph (1875), and Alfred (1879), and a fourth child, Sidney, was born in 1880.  Their daughter Aimee was born seven years later in 1887.

In 1884 or 1885 (sources vary), Perry Katzenstein married Rose Elias, daughter of Samuel Elias and Fanny Greenwald.  Rose was born in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, which is, strangely enough, nowhere near the New Jersey shore.  In fact, it’s about 250 miles west of the Atlantic and about 190 miles west of Philadelphia and 180 miles east of Pittsburgh.   Rose’s parents were both German immigrants, and her father was a merchant. In 1880, her father was selling liquor; in 1870, he’d been selling clothing. In 1887, Perry is listed in the Philadelphia directory at the same address as his father, Gerson—870 Marshall Street.

His brother Jacob is listed right down the street at 919 Marshall Street in that same directory for 1887. Sometime before September 16, 1886, Jacob Katzenstein had married Ella Bohm, daughter of Marcus Bohm.  I cannot find any official records for Ella, except for this birth record indexed on FamilySearch:

milton-b-katzenstein-birth-record

Unfortunately, it did not reveal Ella’s original surname or anything else about her.  But it does show that their son Milton was born in Philadelphia in 1886, suggesting that they were all living there at that time.  I found her original surname and her father’s name from other sources, discussed below.

Jacob’s residence during the 1880s is a bit of a mystery.  I cannot find him on the 1880 census.  In 1881, he is listed in the Pittsburgh directory, living with Perry.  In 1884, he is listed in the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, directory, and in 1887, he is listed in both the Johnstown and Philadelphia directories.  I have no idea whether Ella was from Philadelphia, Johnstown, or someplace else. I don’t know where or when she and Jacob were married. I did find this quote about Jacob on my cousin Roger’s old website:

[Jacob] came to Johnstown in 1882, as a clerk for Louis Cohen.  He returned to Philadelphia for a few years but then came back to take charge of the Economy clothing Store which belonged to Amos Sulka and himself. (quoting Leonard Winograd, The Horse Died at Windber: A History of Johnstown’s Jews of Pennsylvania (Wyndham Hall Press, 1988)).

Jacob and Ella had a second son named Edwin born apparently on June 5, 1887, a date I determined from his headstone, as discussed below.  But June 5, 1887 is less than nine months after Milton’s birth date of September 16, 1886.  It seems highly unlikely that a woman could have had two children less than nine months apart. I assume one of those birth dates is off by at least a few months, or that Edwin was premature, or that Ella conceived almost immediately after Milton was born. Or that Ella was not the biological mother of one of those two children.

In 1888, Gerson and Eva saw their youngest child get married.  Hilda, my great-grandmother, married Isidore Schoenthal in Philadelphia. As I’ve written previously, Hilda and Isidore first lived in Pittsburgh, where on December 3, 1888, their first son was born, my great-uncle Lester Schoenthal.

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Thus, by 1888, Gerson and Eva’s children were all married, and there were twelve grandchildren.  Things must have seemed quite good for them all, but in 1889, their fortunes began to change.  First, on April 18, 1889, Jacob and Ella’s son Milton died; he would have been only two and a half years old.  I learned of his death from an entry on FindAGrave showing his headstone at Grandview cemetery in Johnstown:

But the headstone says he was born in 1888, not 1886 as the Philadelphia birth record stated. So I searched the interment database for Grandview cemetery in Johnstown and saw that the interment record indicates that Milton was two when he died in April, 1889, suggesting that the headstone is wrong and the birth record and interment record are right.  Very odd.  I also learned from the interment record that Milton’s middle name was Bohm, his mother’s birth name.

A little over a month after Milton’s death in Johnstown, one of the most tragic events in American history occurred: the Johnstown flood of May 31, 1889. Over two thousand people died that day.  According to the Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA) website, that was the largest loss of civilian life in America in one day until September 11, 2001.

The JAHA website and several other sources describe how after several days of heavy rain, the South Fork dam, which was in need of repairs, collapsed, causing havoc and death as the rushing waters swept everything in its path under and aside.

 

The aftermath of the Johnstown Flood (Johnstow...

The aftermath of the Johnstown Flood (Johnstown, Pennsylvania). “The Debris above the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge.” In: “History of the Johnstown Flood”, by Willis Fletcher Johnson, 1889. P. 199. Library Call Number M79.4 J71h. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is how the JAHA described it:

20 million tons of water rushed down the narrow Conemaugh Valley like a moving mountain of water at an average speed of 40 miles per hour. The “terrible wave” picked up houses, trees, and even trains on its way down the valley. It flattened a railroad bridge. It swept whole towns away as it made its way to the city of Johnstown.

By the time it reached Johnstown the flood didn’t even look like water anymore. People who saw it coming said it looked like a moving, boiling black mountain of junk. 35 feet high at its crest, it had the force of Niagara Falls. Even the best swimmers couldn’t swim in that mess. Many people drowned. For most, the only warning was a thunderous rumble before the water hit.

In minutes, most of downtown Johnstown was destroyed. Survivors clung to roofs, debris, and the few buildings that remained standing. Others who weren’t killed instantly, were swept down the valley to their deaths.

Just when it seemed like it couldn’t get worse, it did. All that wreckage piled up behind the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Stone Bridge. People who managed to survive so far became trapped in the huge pile of debris, all wrapped in a tangle of barbed wire from destroyed Gautier Wire Works. Then the pile, which was 40 feet high and 30 acres across, caught fire!

Four square miles of downtown Johnstown was completely leveled, including about 1600 homes, 280 businesses, and much of the Cambria Iron Company. Even more tragic was the loss of life. 2,209 people are known to have died in the flood waters. 99 whole families perished. 400 children under the age of ten were killed.

Among those who lost their lives in the flood were Ella Bohm Katzenstein, Jacob’s wife, and their younger son, Edwin, who was just five days short of his second birthday.

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent,, June 7, 1889, p. 3

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent,, June 7, 1889, p. 3

Note that this list includes Ella (identified by her birth name incorrectly as Ellen) and her son among those who were killed and Jacob on the list of those who survived.

Jacob Katzenstein had lost his entire family starting with Milton on April 18 and then, 43 days later, he lost Ella and Edwin in the flood.

ella-katzenstein-and-edwin-katzenstein-headstone-from-findagrave

Headstone of Ella and Edwin Katzenstein, FindAGrave, courtesy of Byron http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=118211407&ref=acom

The headstone allowed me to infer the birthdates for Ella (February 1862) and Edwin (June 5, 1887), as it says Ella was 27 years, six months, and zero days old at her death on May 31, 1889, and that Edwin was one year, eleven months, and six days old that day.

The odd thing is that this headstone is located at Eastview Cemetery in Cumberland, Maryland, not at Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown where Jacob and Ella had buried Milton the month before.  Also, note that the stone says “In Memory of,” an indication to me that it is not marking a grave, but is just operating as a memorial.  Maybe the bodies of Ella and little Edwin were never found. (I’ve contacted the Eastview Cemetery to see if they have more information, but so far they’ve not found any information about the stone, who put it there, or whether Ella and Edwin are in fact buried there.)

But why is this memorial in Cumberland? Jacob was living in Johnstown; his parents were living in Philadelphia. The only Katzenstein family members I know of who were living in Cumberland at that time were some members of the family of H.H. Mansbach, Jacob Katzenstein’s first cousin.  Did the Mansbach family install this memorial?  I am still trying to figure this one out.

It is hard to imagine the devastation caused by this flood. Over two thousand lives lost as well as all the injuries and the destruction of the town itself.  Just as we cannot really grasp the full meaning of  the more than two thousand people who died on 9/11, we cannot truly understand the impact of this tragedy unless we focus on one life at a time and the story of that life. Trying to imagine what this must have been like for Jacob Katzenstein gives me a better sense of how horrifying and devastating the flood must have been, multiplying his story over two thousand times.

English: After the Flood at Johnstown -- Main ...

English: After the Flood at Johnstown — Main Street, a wood engraving (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It also makes me want to know more about Ella Bohm, the woman he married.  I am still trying to learn more about her.  All I know now is that she was born in February, 1862 (based on that headstone), that her father’s name was Marcus Bohm, that she had two sons, Milton and Edwin, and that both of them died as toddlers.  She was only 27 on May 31, 1889, when she died along with her son Edwin and the 2,207 other people who were killed in the Johnstown flood.

I will write more about her in my next post.

 

Of Rabbit Holes and Twisted Trees and the Curse of Endogamy

Now that I have emerged from the Mansbach rabbit hole I dove into weeks ago, I can return to the story of my direct ancestors, Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt and their children, including my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein.  As I wrote previously, Gerson was one of eight children of Scholum Katzenstein, including four full siblings, two of whom died as children, and three half-siblings, one of whom died as a child. As best I can tell Gerson was the only one of the eight to leave Germany and come to the United States.

Gerson and Eva were married in Oberlistingen in June 1847, and then settled in Gerson’s home town of Jesberg, where they had three children: Scholum (1848, named for Gerson’s father), Jacob (1851), and Brendina (1853, named for Gerson’s mother, Breine Blumenfeld).

marriage-record-of-gerson-katzenstein-and-eva-goldschmidt

Marriage record of Gerson Katzenstein and Eva Goldschmidt HHStAW fonds 365 No 673, Arcinsys Hessen

Gerson and Eva immigrated to the US in 1856 with Scholum, Jacob, and Brendina. A fourth child Perry was born a few months after they had settled in Philadelphia. In 1858, they had a fifth child, Hannah, and in 1860 they were all living in Philadelphia where Gerson was working as a salesman.  As noted in an earlier post, there were three others living in the household, Abraham “Anspach,” who I believe was actually Abraham Mansbach (III), David Frank, a bookkeeper, and Marley Mansbach, who I believe was Abraham Mansbach’s cousin and only related to Gerson through his sister Hannchen’s marriage into the Mansbach family.

Gerson Katzenstein in the 1856 Philadelphia directory

Gerson Katzenstein in the 1856 Philadelphia directory

Gerson Katzenstein and family 1860 US census Year: 1860; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 13, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1163; Page: 519; Image: 105; Family History Library Film: 805163

Gerson Katzenstein and family 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 13, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1163; Page: 519; Image: 105; Family History Library Film: 805163

On August 17, 1863, Gerson and Eva had their sixth and final child, my great-grandmother Hilda.

The family suffered a terrible loss on December 17, 1866, when their eight year old daughter Hannah died from scarlet fever.  She was buried at Adath Jeshurun cemetery in Philadelphia. I have to wonder what impact that had on the family, especially little three year old Hilda, who must have been very frightened and confused.

Hannah Katzenstein death certificate "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DTXQ-JWY?cc=1320976&wc=9FRX-W38%3A1073285701 : 16 May 2014), > image 316 of 1079; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

Hannah Katzenstein death certificate
“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DTXQ-JWY?cc=1320976&wc=9FRX-W38%3A1073285701 : 16 May 2014), > image 316 of 1079; Philadelphia City Archives and Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

In 1870, Gerson and Eva were living with their five surviving children.  Scholum was listed as Joseph and was 22; Jacob was 18, Brendina 15, Perry 14, and Hilda was seven.  The 1870 census was taken twice because there were felt to be errors in the first enumeration.  For the Katzenstein family, the first enumeration is barely legible and is missing some of the children, but indicates that Gerson was working as a clerk in a store.  The second enumeration is quite clear and includes all the children, but has no information about occupations.

gerson-katzenstein-1870-census-2

Gerson Katzenstein on 1870 census, first enumeration Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 16 District 48, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

gerson-katzenstein-1870-census-1

Gerson Katzenstein and family 1870 census, second enumeration Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 16 Dist 48 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1429; Page: 708B; Image: 258; Family History Library Film: 552928

Brendina Katzenstein, the oldest daughter and third child of Gerson and Eva, was the first to marry.  According to the 1900 census, she married Jacob Schlesinger in 1871 when she was only eighteen years old.  It took some serious digging and the help of the German Genealogy Facebook group to find some background on Jacob.  First, from his death notice, I saw that he was born in “Epplagan” in Germany.

jacob-schlesinger-death-notice

Nick in the German Genealogy group figured out that that was Eppingen.  I then searched the Landesarchiv for Baden Wurttemburg and found Jacob’s birth record, which Nick helped me translate:

Jacob Schlesinger birth record from Eppingen

Jacob Schlesinger birth record from Eppingen,  Landesarchiv Baden-Wurtenberg, 390 Nr. 1320, 1 Band Gliederungssymbol Eppingen, israelitische Gemeinde: Standesbuch 1811-1870 Bild 235

The child was born on March 3rd, 1843 and named Jacob. The father was Jacob (?) Schlesinger, a schützbürger (see note below) and hand[e]lsmann (merchant) and his wife Guste? born Sülzberger.

[UPDATE: Thanks to Dorothee Lottmann-Kaeseler for explaining the word “schutzburger” and providing a cite with this explanation: The “Law on the Situation of the Jews” (“Gesetz über die Verhältnisse der Juden”) from 1809 recognized the Jewish religious community as a church. Constitutionally, Jews were to be treated as free citizens. Their position in the municipalities did not change however, they remained only “protected citizens” (“Schutzbürger”) who did not have the right to be elected to a local council and did not have rights of usage of the common land.]

Nick wasn’t sure whether Jacob’s father’s name was Jacob, and I was skeptical of the fact that his father would also have been a Jacob.  Looking at the record itself, it certainly looks like “Jacob” was crossed out and something else was written over it.  Perhaps the scribe who entered the record confused the child’s name and the father’s name.

Although I could not find Jacob Schlesinger on any US census record before 1880, I was able to locate him in a number of Philadelphia directories where he was living at the same address with men named Abraham, Israel, and Myer Schlesinger, all of whom, like Jacob, were working as butchers.  I assumed these were his relatives, and so I searched for information about them.

I found a passenger manifest that shows an Israel Schlesinger and his family arriving in the US in 1860; along with Israel was his wife Gustel or Gurtel, sons Maier (26) and Abraham (11), and two daughters, Fanny (20) and Malchen (15).  There was no son named Jacob on this manifest.

Family of Israel Schlesinger 1860 ship manifest Year: 1860; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 205; Line: 1; List Number: 918 Description Ship or Roll Number : Roll 205 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Family of Israel Schlesinger 1860 ship manifest
Year: 1860; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 205; Line: 1; List Number: 918
Description
Ship or Roll Number : Roll 205
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Then I found another manifest listing a fourteen year old named Jacob Schlesinger arriving in 1857 with what appears to be an older sibling named Hagar.  Since my Jacob Schlesinger reported on the 1910 census that he’d arrived in 1857 (and in 1855 according to the 1900 census) and he would have been fourteen in 1857, I assumed that this was the right Jacob.  Further research uncovered a Hagar Schlesinger, a woman of the right age, who was living in Philadelphia in 1885, so she was probably his sister.

Jacob and Hagar Schlesinger 1857 ship manifest Year: 1857; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 173; Line: 1; List Number: 497

Jacob and Hagar Schlesinger 1857 ship manifest
Year: 1857; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 173; Line: 1; List Number: 497

But I still had no proof that this Jacob was the son of Israel Schlesinger.  He could have been just a nephew or a cousin.  So I searched for a birth record for one of Israel’s sons and found this one for Myer, as translated by Nick:

Myer Schlesinger birth record landesarchiv_baden-wuerttemberg_generallandesarchiv_karlsruhe_390_nr-_1320_bild_174_4-1128670-174.jpg

Myer Schlesinger birth record
landesarchiv_baden-wuerttemberg_generallandesarchiv_karlsruhe_390_nr-_1320_bild_174_4-1128670-174.jpg

The child was born June 4th, 1834, named Mozes and the parents are Israel Schlesinger and Geitel Si?lzberger.

Myer was also the son of Geitel Sulzberger and Israel (not Jacob) Schlesinger.  Looking back at Jacob’s birth record, it does seem that “Israel” was written over “Jacob” and that thus Jacob’s father was also Israel Schlesinger.  I also found a birth record for Hagar Schlesinger; she also was the daughter of Israel and Geitel.

Thus, I feel fairly comfortable concluding that my Jacob Schlesinger was a son of Israel Schlesinger from Eppingen, especially since he and Israel were living at the same address in 1865, according to the Philadelphia directory for that year. In addition, Jacob, like Israel, Myer, and Abraham, was a butcher in Philadelphia, as seen in numerous entries in the Philadelphia city directories as well as census reports.

Brendina and Jacob Schlesinger had three children listed on the 1880 census: Heloise (5), Solomon (4), and Alfred (1). Jacob was still working as a butcher.  Brendina and Jacob would have a fourth child, Sidney, in 1880, and a fifth, Aimee, born in 1887.

Jacob and Brendina Schlesinger and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1176; Family History Film: 1255176; Page: 156A; Enumeration District: 301; Image: 0314

Jacob and Brendina Schlesinger and family
1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1176; Family History Film: 1255176; Page: 156A; Enumeration District: 301; Image: 0314

 

The 1870s were also active years for Brendina’s three brothers. The oldest brother, Scholum Joseph, had lived in many places since coming with his family to the US.  An 1896 profile of him reported that he had left his family for Leavenworth, Kansas, when he was fourteen to learn how to be a cigar maker, but since he did not arrive until he was eighteen in 1856, that seems more myth than truth.  The profile goes on to state that after being in Kansas for a number of years, he returned to Philadelphia, but eventually gave up the cigar trade because of health concerns.  The article continues by saying that he then “went to Winchester, VA., and took a clerkship, remaining for five years. Thence he went to Uhrichsville, Ohio, thence to New Castle and on the nineteenth of April 1871, he came to Washington [Pennsylvania].”  “The Saturday Evening Supper Table,” Washington, Pennsylvania, June 27, 1896, found here (my cousin Roger Cibella’s genealogy website).

The U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, database on Ancestry, confirms that by 1873, Scholum, also known as S.J. or Joseph Katzenstein, had moved to Washington, Pennsylvania.  That is, he moved to the small town in western Pennsylvania where his mother’s uncle Simon Goldschmidt and his children were living at that time.  Readers with excellent memories may recall that Simon Goldschmidt was married to Fanny Schoenthal, my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal’s sister. By 1881 Isidore was also living in Washington, Pennsylvania.

S.J.’s move to Washington, Pennsylvania, may have had long lasting repercussions for my family, as I am fairly confident that he was the one who engineered the introduction of his younger sister, my great-grandmother Hilda, to Isidore Schoenthal, my great-grandfather.

The Daily Republican (Monongahela, Pennsylvania) 11 Aug 1887, Thu • Page 4

The Daily Republican
(Monongahela, Pennsylvania)
11 Aug 1887, Thu • Page 4

S.J Katzenstein married Henrietta Sigmund in 1875.  Henrietta was born in 1851 in Baltimore to Ella Goldschmidt and Albert Sigmund. That added yet another twist to my family tree because Ella Goldschmidt was the daughter of Meyer Goldschmidt whose brothers were Seligmann Goldschmidt, father of Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein, and Simon Goldschmidt, husband of Fanny Schoenthal.  In other words, Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein was Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund’s first cousin, meaning that S.J. Katzenstein married his maternal second cousin, Henrietta Sigmund.

ella-goldschmidt-to-eva-goldschmidt

But let me stay focused on the Katzensteins rather than diving into the Goldschmidt rabbit hole.

S.J. and Henrietta, who was also known as Dot or Dottie, had a daughter Moynelle in 1879.  S.J., who is listed as Joseph on the 1880 census, was working as a clothing merchant in Washington, Pennsylvania. He and Henrietta would have five more children: Milton (1881), Howard (1882), Ivan (1884), Earl (1885), and Vernon (1892).

S. Joseph Katzenstein and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 577A; Enumeration District: 270

S. Joseph Katzenstein and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 577A; Enumeration District: 270

S.J. was not the only child of Gerson and Eva Katzenstein to leave Philadelphia for western Pennsylvania in the 1870s.  In 1878, Perry Katzenstein, the third brother, was listed in the Pittsburgh directory as a clerk; the following year his brother Jacob joined him.  Both were living at 25 Second Avenue and working as salesmen.  Although I cannot find either of them on the 1880 census, both were listed in the 1881 Pittsburgh directory, still working as salesmen and still living together, though now at 188 Wylie Avenue. (Perry also appears in the 1880 directory, but Jacob does not.)

As for their parents and little sister Hilda, they were still living in Philadelphia in 1880.  Gerson continued to work as a clerk in a store.  Living with them, in addition to a number of boarders, was Louis Mansbach, listed as Gerson’s nephew, age 31, and born in “Prussia.” At first I thought this was Louis Mansbach, son of H.H. Mansbach, who would have been Gerson’s great-nephew.  But that Louis Mansbach was far too young and born in the US. So who was this Louis Mansbach?

Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Family History Film: 1255173; Page: 274B; Enumeration District: 219; Image: 0561

Year: 1880; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1173; Family History Film: 1255173; Page: 274B; Enumeration District: 219; Image: 0561

Well, remember that post where I was trying to sort out all the different men named Abraham Mansbach? One of them, whom I called Abraham II, was the son of Leiser Mansbach and grandson of Abraham Mansbach I.  Abraham II was the brother of Marum Mansbach who married Hannchen Katzenstein, Gerson Katzenstein’s half-sister.  And Abraham II had a son in 1849 who was named for his grandfather: Leiser Mansbach II. He was therefore the nephew of Marum Mansbach and Hannchen Katzenstein.  Leiser became Louis, and he was living with Gerson and Eva Katzenstein in 1880, working as a veterinary surgeon.

And so you might be thinking, “Well, he wasn’t Gerson’s nephew.  He was Gerson’s brother-in-law’s nephew.” And you might be thinking, “Perhaps Gerson was just being liberal in using the term ‘nephew.’”

But, alas, it’s not that simple. Once again there is a twist in the tree.  Louis Mansbach’s mother was Sarah Goldschmidt, Eva Goldschmidt’s sister.  So Louis Mansbach was in fact Eva Goldschmidt Katzenstein’s nephew as well as Gerson’s brother-in-law’s nephew.

leiser-mansbach-to-gerson-katzenstein

 

And on that confusing note, I am going to go get a breath of fresh air and curse the endogamy gods who make using DNA results so utterly pointless in my family research.

 

From Orphan to Pharmacist and Then?

In two recent posts I shared the sad story of Charles Hamberg and his life in Columbia, South Carolina, which ended with his suicide in 1879.  His son Samuel was only eleven when his father died.  Samuel’s mother Lena had died two years earlier.  Charles’ cousin Amalia Hamberg administered his estate, and then somehow Charles’ son Samuel came to live in western Pennsylvania where he was adopted by his second cousin, my great-grandfather’s brother, Henry Schoenthal.

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

 

In 1886 when Samuel was then eighteen years old, he was working as a clerk at 5 East Beau Street in Washington and living at the corner of Beau and Lincoln in that town, according to the 1886 directory for Washington, Pennsylvania.  According to that same source, my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal, who had arrived in Washington in 1881, was living at 203 East Beau Street that same year; looking at Google Maps, I see that 203 East Beau Street is located at the corner of Lincoln and Beau.

[Thanks to Lara of Lara’s Jewnealogy, I now know how to use Google Maps more effectively.  See her great post here.]

Thus, Samuel Hamberg was probably living with my great-grandfather.  I imagine that they lived and maybe even worked together, my great-grandfather watching over his younger second cousin.  Perhaps Samuel helped my great-grandfather learn English and adjust to American ways.

By 1889, Samuel, now 21 years old, had moved to Philadelphia.  He is listed in the directory for that year as Samuel T. Hamberg, a manager, residing at “134 E. Orthodox, FKD.”  FKD stands for Frankford, a neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia about six miles from the center of the city.  I wondered what had taken him there.

It took me a very long time to find out, but when I finally decided, after exhausting traditional genealogy sources, to Google “Samuel T. Hamberg” as a last ditch effort to learn more, I found these two entries in Google Books:

P.W. Bedford, Pharmaceutical Record and Weekly Market Review, Volume 10, April 21, 1890, p. 163, found here (list of graduates of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy).

26th Annual Report of the Alumni Association of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (1890), found here.

Class of 1890, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy Alumni Association Report, p. 194

Class of 1890, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
Alumni Association Report, p. 194

Samuel T. Hamberg, the boy who had lost both his parents before his twelfth birthday, had graduated from the four-year program at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1890 when he was 22 years old. The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy was the first pharmacy school in the United States and still exists today.

Not only had Samuel graduated from this prestigious institution, but a further search into both of the above sources revealed that his middle name was Tilden,[1] that he had written his thesis on nitroglycerin, that he had played the guitar to open the commencement exercises as part of a musical ensemble (perhaps his musical adoptive brother Lionel Schoenthal with whom he’d lived in Washington had given him music lessons), and that he had been selected to be the Class Poet.  The poem he read at the school’s commencement exercises in 1890 is filled with references to professors and specific memories of the school years, but this particular verse seemed a more personal statement:

Sorrows and losses may be borne,

Be baffled and dismayed,

Feel the sharp pang of many a thorn

By our own follies made.

But hope and effort may improve

And help us to thankful be,

It surely did in this case

It helped us—in a degree.

(Samuel Tilden Hamberg, 1890, as published in the Alumni Report, cited above, p.124.)

Samuel Tilden Hamberg certainly had suffered sorrows and losses, though not by his “own follies made.”  But it seems with the love of his family in Washington, Pennsylvania, he had in fact borne those sorrows and losses and succeeded in coming through them as a grateful and successful young man.

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy
See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Samuel stayed on in Philadelphia after graduating. In the 1892 directory for Philadelphia, Samuel T. Hamberg is listed as a clerk, living now at 6933 Hagerman Avenue.  Two years later in 1894 he lists his occupation as druggist, living at 824 Somerset.  In 1895 and 1896 there are numerous advertisements listing Samuel T. Hamberg as a pharmacist in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Samuel T. Hamberg married Jane E. Tracey on November 20, 1898, at the Zion Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.  At the time they married, Samuel had been residing in Camden, New Jersey, according to the marriage record.  His wife had been living in Philadelphia where she was born in December, 1869.  Jane, or Jennie as she was generally identified on most records, was the daughter of Edwin Tracey (often spelled Tracy) and Jane Irwin.  Edwin was a Philadelphia native and a shoemaker according to the 1880 census; his wife Jane was born in Ireland.  Jennie was the seventh of nine children.

Marriage record of Samuel Hamberg and Jane Tracey November 20, 1898, Zion Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 978

Marriage record of Samuel Hamberg and Jane Tracey November 20, 1898, Zion Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 978

 

In 1900, Samuel and Jennie were living in Philadelphia in the household of Jennie’s brother Albert Tracy along with Jennie’s mother Jane and her three sisters.  Samuel was working as a hospital supplies salesman.  I know this is the correct Samuel Hamberg because his birth place is given as South Carolina, his father’s as Germany, his mother’s as South Carolina.  (I found it interesting that Samuel reported the birth places of his birth parents, Charles and Lena, not those of his adoptive parents.)

Samuel Hamberg 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1472; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0748; FHL microfilm: 1241472

Samuel Hamberg 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1472; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0748; FHL microfilm: 1241472

 

On September 4, 1900, Samuel and Jennie had their first child, a son named Charles, presumably named for Samuel’s father Charles.

The family must have soon thereafter moved to Camden, New Jersey, for Samuel is listed as a salesman in the 1901 Camden directory.  Samuel and Jennie are also listed in the 1902 and 1903 Camden directories at 3010 Westfield Street; Samuel is still listed as a salesman.  A second child was born that year, Frances D. Hamberg, born in January, 1903, in New Jersey.  Samuel and Jennie were still living at the same address in 1904 and in 1905.

Then things start getting a little confusing.  In 1906 Samuel T. Hamberg is listed in the Philadelphia directory as a salesman residing at 27 North 60th Street in that city.  There is no listing for him in the Camden directory for that year.  But the following year Samuel is listed as a salesman in the Camden directory, residing at 126 Dudley Street.  Then in 1908, the listing is only in Jennie’s name—Jennie Hamberg at 126 Dudley Street.

Meanwhile in October 1907, a third child had been born to Samuel and Jennie—Edwin F. Hamberg.  Had Samuel and Jennie separated in 1906, reconciled and had a third child in 1907, and then separated again in 1908? Jennie is again listed alone at 126 Dudley in Camden in 1909, this time with an occupation, dressmaker.

But where was Samuel in 1908 and 1909? He is not listed in the Camden directory.  There are two Samuel Hambergs listed in Philadelphia in 1909, but they are father and son and listed as pawnbrokers, so neither of them seems to be the right Samuel.  There are no Samuel Hambergs listed in the directories for those years for Pittsburgh or Washington, Pennsylvania, or Baltimore.

In 1910, Samuel reappears on the 1910 census in Baltimore, Maryland, living as a boarder and working as a pharmacist in a drugstore.  I know this is my Samuel because he is Samuel T. Hamberg, born in South Carolina, father born in Germany, mother in South Carolina.  But why is he in Baltimore?  He is still listing himself as married, so maybe he went to Baltimore to find work.   Since he had been working as a salesman while living in Camden, maybe he wanted to return to being a regular pharmacist.

Samuel Hamberg 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_553; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 1374566

Samuel Hamberg 1910 census Line 85
Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 4, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_553; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 1374566

Jennie and the three children were still living at 126 Dudley in Camden in 1910.  According to the census, they were living with Jennie’s sister Clara Campbell and her mother Jane Tracy.  Like Samuel, Jennie still reported herself as married.  Although Jennie reported no occupation on the 1910 census, the 1910 and 1911 Camden directories list her as a dressmaker.

Jennie Hamberg and children 1910 census Year: 1910; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T624_874; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374887

Jennie Hamberg and children 1910 census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Camden Ward 12, Camden, New Jersey; Roll: T624_874; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374887

 

Samuel is listed in the 1911 Baltimore directory, but then he again disappears.  I couldn’t find him in any newspaper article or any directory after 1911 during the decade of the 1910s.

Jennie, however, continued to be listed in the Camden directories from 1910 through 1916.  In 1915, she and her children are listed on the New Jersey census, once again living with her sister Clara and her mother Jane; Samuel is not part of their household.

Jennie Tracey Hamberg died from heart disease on March 4, 1917.  She was only 47 years old, and she left behind three children.  Charles was not yet sixteen, Frances not yet fourteen, and Edwin not yet ten years old.  Like their father Samuel, they lost their mother at a young age.

Jennie Tracey Hamberg death certificate

Jennie Hamberg burial record Fernwood Cemetery, Yeardon, PA Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records

Jennie Hamberg burial record
Fernwood Cemetery, Yeardon, PA
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records

So where was their father? I could not find him on the 1920 census or anywhere during the 1920s until I searched for “Samuel T. Hamberg” in Google.  And along with the links noted above relating to his education as a pharmacist, I found several links indicating that in 1920 Samuel was in Pittsburgh working for the state of Pennsylvania as a temporary investigator doing fair price work.  Even knowing this additional information, I could not locate Samuel on the 1920 census or in any directory in the 1920s.

Samuel Hamberg investigator 1920

Herman P. Miller, Snull’s Legislative Handbook and Manual of the State of Pennsylvania, 1920, p. 144, found here.

But Samuel T. Hamberg does reappear on the 1930 census.  He is listed as Sam T. Hamberg, 62 years old (the correct age), married at age 30 (the correct age), widowed (Jennie was dead), born in South Carolina, father born in Germany, mother in South Carolina (all correct).  Clearly this is the right person.  He was now living in Philadelphia, working as a novelty salesman, and living with his “sister” Cecelia Link. What had happened to his pharmacy career? His work as a state investigator? And who was Cecelia Link?

Samuel Hamberg 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0777; Image: 969.0; FHL microfilm: 2341859

Samuel Hamberg 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2125; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0777; Image: 969.0; FHL microfilm: 2341859

Samuel did not have any sisters except for his adoptive sister Hilda Schoenthal, the daughter of Henry Schoenthal.  Cecelia was twenty years younger than Samuel, according to the 1930 census, born in Pennsylvania, single, and working as a telephone operator.  Cecelia answered the enumerator’s questions as indicated by the H on the line where her name is. Who was she, and why was she living with Samuel?

I found a Celia Link living with her mother and two sisters (and a brother-in-law) in Pittsburgh on the 1920 census.  Celia was forty years old, single, and working as a telephone operator.  It seemed like an unlikely coincidence that there were two women with just about the same name, both born in Pennsylvania, and both working as telephone operators.  (Remember that Samuel was living in Pittsburgh in 1920.)

So I looked for more about this Celia Link.  The 1916 Pittsburgh directory had her listed as Cecelia Link working as a telephone operator, so now we had the exact same name.  The 1910 census has her again as Celia, living with her parents, working as a telephone operator, and 33 years old.  Going back yet another ten years, the 1900 census lists her as Cecilia, age 22, with a birth date of March 1878, and no occupation.

Then I found her death certificate.  Cecelia Link died of chronic myocarditis on May 6, 1934, at “abt age 48,” according to her sister, the informant.  Assuming that Cecelia was 22 in 1900, she would have been 56 in 1934.  Even in 1920, she reported to be 40, making her 54 in 1934.  She was therefore only about ten years younger than Samuel, not twenty.  Note also that she was born in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Cecilia Link 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.

Cecilia Link 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.

I assume that Samuel met Cecelia when he was working in Pittsburgh as an investigator. And that they were more than “brother and sister.”  I think Cecelia lied both about her age and her relationship to Charles.

But Cecelia died in 1934 back in Pittsburgh.  What happened to Samuel before and after her death? And where were his children?

More questions to answer.

 

 

 

 

[1] There is no earlier indication that Samuel’s middle name was Tilden.  Did he adopt this middle name himself? In 1868 when Samuel Hamberg was born in Columbia, South Carolina, Samuel Tilden was probably not a nationally known figure.  He was from New York State and a supporter of the Union during the Civil War.  After the war he was active in reforming the Democratic party.  Would Charles Hamberg have known of him and named his son for him? Unlikely.

But Samuel Tilden was the Democratic party’s nominee in the 1876 Presidential election; the results of the election were disputed when several states turned into multiple sets of return.  The Presidency was determined by a partisan commission established by Congress, and Tilden lost to Rutherford B. Hayes, even though he had won the popular vote.  I think it is more likely that Samuel Hamberg adopted Tilden’s name as his middle name sometime as a young adult after Tilden was more of a household name.  Tilden died in 1886, and the first use I’ve seen of the middle initial T by Samuel Hamberg was while he was in pharmacy school in the late 1880s.  For more on Samuel Tilden, see here and here and here.

The Mysterious Administratrix

As I wrote last week, Samuel Hamberg, my great-grandfather’s second cousin, was orphaned in 1879 in Columbia, South Carolina, when his father Charles committed suicide two years after Samuel’s mother Lena had died at age 28.  But how did Samuel end up in Pennsylvania? Looking for the answer to that question led to another mystery and, I think, more answers.

Charles Hamberg died without a will, leaving behind personal property consisting primarily of furniture and household items valued at that time at $487.71; today that would be equivalent to approximately $11,600.  The administratrix of his estate was someone named Amelia (or Amalia or Amalie[1] ) Hamberg.

Richland County, South Carolina Miscellaneous Estate Records, 1799-1955; Author: South Carolina. County Court (Richland County); Probate Place: Richland, South Carolina

Richland County, South Carolina Miscellaneous Estate Records, 1799-1955; Author: South Carolina. County Court (Richland County); Probate Place: Richland, South Carolina

 

Now who was she?  For a long time I assumed she was yet a third wife, someone Charles married after Mary, who’d been murdered, and Lena, mother of Samuel.  Lena had died in 1877, leaving Charles with their nine year old son.  I figured he had quickly married again, finding a mother for Samuel.  But I could not find one record for an Amalia or Amelia or Amalie Hamberg anywhere in South Carolina before or after Charles’ death. I couldn’t even find someone with just that first name who seemed a likely candidate.  I was working in circles, getting frustrated.

Then I searched for anyone named Amelia or Amalia or Amalie Hamberg anywhere in the US, and I found one Amalia Hamberg on a death record for her daughter Hattie Baer Herman, who had died in Philadelphia in 1910.  Hattie’s father was Jacob Baer.  Both parents were born in Germany, according to the death certificate.

 

Death certificate of Hattie Baer, daughter of Amalia Hamberg 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.

Death certificate of Hattie Baer, daughter of Amalia Hamberg
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.

Then it occurred to me: what if Amalia was not Charles Hamberg’s wife, but a sister or a cousin? If Charles died unmarried and intestate, some other family member might have been appointed to administer his estate.

So I looked back at the Hamberg family tree, and I saw that there was a Malchen Hamberg on the tree.  Malchen was the daughter of Seligmann Hamberg and granddaughter of Moses Hamberg.  She was my great-grandfather’s first cousin.

corrected relationship isidore schoenthal to malchen hamberg

 

 

Malchen was born March 7, 1851, in Breuna, and according to the family report posted on the site maintained by Hans-Peter Klein, she had emigrated from Germany.  She certainly looked like a possible candidate for the Amalia Hamberg who had been appointed to administer Charles Hamberg’s estate.  She was, like my great-grandfather, a first cousin, once removed, of Charles Hamberg.

corrected chart charles hamberg to malchen hambeg

 

 

So I had found yet another Hamberg cousin who had immigrated to the US.  Further research revealed that Amalia had immigrated in 1871, arriving in Baltimore.

Amalie Hamberg passenger ship manifest for the USS Baltimore, arriving September 4, 1871, Baltimore, MD Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6L-H1ZK : accessed 2 May 2016), Amalie Hamberg, ; citing Immigration, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, NARA microfilm publications M255, M596, and T844 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL film 417,401.

Amalie Hamberg passenger ship manifest for the USS Baltimore, arriving September 4, 1871, Baltimore, MD  Line 388
Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6L-H1ZK : accessed 2 May 2016), Amalie Hamberg, ; citing Immigration, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States, NARA microfilm publications M255, M596, and T844 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL film 417,401.

According to the 1900 census, Amalia married Jacob Baer in 1873.  Reviewing the birth records of their children indicated that Amalia and Jacob lived in Pittsburgh for many years where they had nine children born between 1874 and 1891.  (More on Amalia and her family in a later post.)  The fact that Amalia ended up in Pittsburgh where her Schoenthal cousins were living further corroborated my assumption that she was in fact Malchen Hamberg of Breuna.

And then the icing on the cake: I received the death certificate for Amalia Baer.   Amalia Baer died on April 23, 1931, in New York City.  Her father’s name was Selig Hamburger.

Baer, Amalia death page 1

Baer, Amalia death page 2

 

Okay, it not precisely right.  Malchen’s father was Seligmann Hamberg.  So the informant cut off a syllable from the first name and added one to the surname.  I still think Amalia was Malchen.

The mother’s name was even further off—Julia Schwartz instead of Jette Gans.  But death certificates are often filled with mistakes, and it’s not surprising that the informant did not have completely accurate information about the parents of a 78 year old woman, parents that the informant had likely never met.

The certificate also stated that Amalia had been in the US for 60 years; Amalia Hamberg had arrived in 1871, sixty years before 1931, the year Amalia Baer died.

So I am 99% sure that Malchen Hamberg, granddaughter of my three-times great-grandfather Moses Hamberg, was Amalia Hamberg, wife of Jacob Baer, administratrix of Charles Hamberg’s estate.

Only one thing seemed strange.  If Amalia married Jacob Baer in 1873, why was she using the name Hamberg in 1879 when she was appointed to administer Charles’ estate? I don’t know.  Hence, that lingering one percent of doubt.

There are also other questions.  Why wasn’t Charles’ brother Moses made the administrator of his estate? He was the closest relative.  Why Amalia, his cousin and a woman, instead?

Well, I cannot find the Moses Hamberg from Breuna who immigrated in 1846 as a seventeen year old shoemaker on any subsequent record.  Having searched every census from 1850 forward using wild cards, misspellings, and several databases, I have hit that proverbial brick wall. I can find other men named Moses Hamberg, but none that fit the other criteria for being the correct person.  Either the age is off, the birth place is wrong, or the family members and structure are different.

Maybe Moses changed his name so drastically that it is undiscoverable.  Maybe he died and his death is not recorded anywhere I can find.  Maybe he returned to Germany or went to some third place.  I don’t know.  But I can’t find him.  That may explain why Amalia, not Moses, administered Charles Hamberg’s estate.

But there are other questions.  By 1879 Amalia had several young children of her own to care for.  Did she travel to South Carolina to deal with Samuel and with the estate?  Or was it all handled locally by Walter. S. Monteith, the Columbia attorney representing Amalia, according to the estate papers?

And how did Samuel get from Columbia, South Carolina, to Washington, Pennsylvania? Did Amalia go to get him? Or Henry? Or some other family member? Or did he take a train by himself? These are all questions for which I have no answers.

As for what happened to Samuel after he came to Pennsylvania—well, that’s a story for yet another post.

 

 

 

 

[1] The spelling varies according to the record; later records seem to consistently use Amalia so I will adopt that in this post.

The Tragic Story of Charles Hamberg: Gun Violence in South Carolina

Last week I wrote about Samuel Hamberg, the twelve year old boy who appeared in the household of my great-great-uncle Henry Schoenthal in 1880 as his adopted son.  As I described in that post, I had determined that Samuel was the son of Charles Hamberg of Columbia, South Carolina; he appeared on the 1870 census living in Charles Hamberg’s household along with a woman named Tenah Hamberg and a servant also with the first name Tenah.

Through my research, I concluded that Charles Hamberg was in fact born Baruch Hamberg, the son of the first Samuel Hamberg, my great-great-grandmother Henriette Hamberg Schoenthal’s uncle, her father’s younger brother.

Relationship of Henrietta Hamberg and Charles Hamberg

Baruch had left Breuna, Germany, in 1852, with his first cousin Abraham, who died in Savannah, George, in 1854.  Baruch, I postulated, became Charles and had married a woman named Mary E. Hanchey in New Hanover, North Carolina, in March, 1853.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853 Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

But why did Samuel end up with my great-great-uncle Henry in Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1880? What had happened to his father? His mother? And who was his mother? Was it Mary Hanchey, the woman Charles married in 1853 and with whom he was living in 1860? Or was it “Tenah,” the woman he was living with in 1870?

First, I focused on Mary, the first wife.  Searching on Ancestry, I found this entry:

Record of Deaths in Columbia South Carolina page 80 [p.80] Mrs. Mary A. Hamberg , wife of Charles Hamberg died in Col’a So. Ca. Novr 18, 1866, having been shot [page 166] by a man, Toland A. Bass, a few days previous.

Unfortunately, the database had no further information about this terrible incident, but I was determined to learn more about Mary’s death.  Was it accidental? A murder? What happened to Toland Bass?

After much searching, I found this article from the November 20, 1866 issue of The Daily Phoenix, the Columbia, South Carolina, daily paper (p. 2):

Daily Phoenix article 11 20 1866 p 2

 

Coroner’s Inquests.—On Friday last, a difficulty occurred between Toland R. Bass and C. Hamberg.  The latter went into the house to get his pistol, but on coming out, was stopped by Mr. Jos. Burdell, when Mrs. H. took the pistol away from him and went to the door, holding the pistol in both hands, but not attempting to use it, and said to Mr. Bass, “Do not shoot Mr. H.; if you want to shoot any one, shoot me.”  Bass attempted to take the pistol from her, but failed.  He then stepped several paces from her, presented his pistol three times and the fourth time fired, the ball taking effect in the abdomen of the unfortunate woman. 

She called to a friend near by to take care of her, as she was shot and ready to faint.  Mrs. H. was taken into the house apparently suffering greatly.  Dr. Talley was called in and rendered all possible medical assistance.  She lingered until Sunday afternoon, when she expired.  A jury of inquest was empannelled by Coroner Walker on Sunday afternoon, and after a full and careful investigation, rendered the following verdict: “That Mrs. Mary E. Hamberg came to her death, on the 18th of November, 1866, from the effects of a ball fired (willfully and maliciously) from a pistol by Toland R. Bass.” Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Bass.

Who was Toland Bass, and why did he kill Mary Hanchey Hamberg? Why did Mary suggest that he should shoot her, not her husband?

The only thing I could find about Mr. Bass was that he served as a private in the Confederate Army during the Civil War in Company H of the South Carolina Cavalry Regiment.

 

Charles Hamberg, on the other hand, appears to have been a private citizen in Columbia, South Carolina, during the Civil War, selling provisions to the Ladies Hospital.  Here is an example of an invoice he submitted:

Page 15 Confederate Citizens File - Fold3 https://www.fold3.com/image/31347220?xid=1945

Page 15 Confederate Citizens File – Fold3
https://www.fold3.com/image/31347220?xid=1945

 

I don’t know what might have precipitated this altercation between Bass and the Hambergs; all I can do is speculate.  Columbia, South Carolina, had suffered much damage during the Civil War.  The Union Army occupied the city during the last months of the war in 1865.  As described in Wikipedia:

On February 17, 1865, Columbia surrendered to Sherman, and Wade Hampton’s Confederate cavalry retreated from the city. Union forces were overwhelmed by throngs of liberated Federal prisoners and emancipated slaves. Many soldiers took advantage of ample supplies of liquor in the city and began to drink. Fires began in the city, and high winds spread the flames across a wide area. Most of the central city was destroyed, and municipal fire companies found it difficult to operate in conjunction with the invading army, many of whom were also fighting the fire. The burning of Columbia has engendered controversy ever since, with some claiming the fires were accidental, a deliberate act of vengeance, or perhaps set by retreating Confederate soldiers who lit cotton bales while leaving town. On that same day, the Confederates evacuated Charleston. On February 18, Sherman’s forces destroyed virtually anything of military value in Columbia, including railroad depots, warehouses, arsenals, and machine shops.

English: The Burning of Columbia, South Caroli...

English: The Burning of Columbia, South Carolina, February 17, 1865 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can read more about the Columbia fires here and here.  In the aftermath of the war and during Reconstruction, places like Columbia struggled to rebuild their economy and their infrastructure.  There was widespread poverty.  Perhaps Toland Bass was an embittered Southern veteran; perhaps he resented Charles Hamberg as a merchant who not only didn’t serve in the war but made money during it.  Or maybe it is something much more personal that created the animosity that led to the gruesome murder of Mary Hanchey Hamberg. I don’t know.

After the murder, Toland Bass ran off to avoid arrest, and the governor of South Carolina, James L. Orr, issued a proclamation offering an award of $200 for his arrest and delivery to South Carolina for trial. Charles Hamberg offered a separate award of $500 for his arrest. (Thank you to Ann Meddin Hellman of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina for helping me locate some of these articles

Proclamation about Mary Hamberg's murder

Thursday, November 29, 1866 Paper: (Charleston, South Carolina)

 

Bass eluded arrest for four months until he was finally found and arrested in New York in March, 1867.

Arrest of Toland Bass

 

I could not find any record of a trial or any other proceeding involving Bass, but I did find this news item announcing his death from cholera on July 15, 1867.

Death of Toland R Bass

 

Meanwhile, Charles Hamberg had moved on.  Thanks to my blogging friend Cathy Meder-Dempsey, I know that Charles married Lena Goodman on April 6, 1867, in Charleston, South Carolina.

I believe that Lena was incorrectly entered as “Tenah” on the 1870 census and that she was the mother of Samuel Hamberg, the boy later adopted by Henry Schoenthal.  Although I do not have an exact birthdate for Samuel, the 1900 census reported that he was born in February 1868, that is, about eleven months after the marriage of Charles Hamberg and Lena Goodman.

Even after remarrying, Charles seemed to have troubles in Columbia.  In September, 1869, he was involved in another rather unpleasant altercation:

Charles Hamberg assault

There was also a dispute at his store:

CHarles Hamberg unruly customer

Charles also charged a police officer with inappropriate conduct (public drunkenness) and engaged in a citizen’s arrest.  He seemed to have a tendency to get involved in conflicts.

In the 1870s, Charles advertised his wood and coal business regularly in the Columbia newspaper, The Daily Phoenix.

Charles Hamberg coal

 

He also participated in a Purim celebration in Columbia, dressing up as Jocko the Ape.  (Purim is a Jewish holiday where children and adults dress up in costumes and celebrate the triumph of the Jews over the evildoer Haman who sought to kill the Jews in ancient Persia.)

The Daily Phoenix, March 26, 1872, p. 2

The Daily Phoenix, March 26, 1872, p. 2

 

So whatever his troubles, Charles seemed to be living a somewhat ordinary life in Columbia.

So what happened that caused little Samuel to be adopted by Henry Schoenthal? Tragically, both of Samuel’s parents died before 1880.  His mother Lena died in 1877 and is buried in the cemetery of the Columbia Hebrew Benevolent Society.  She was only 28 years old.  I’ve been unable to locate a death certificate or obituary yet, but will continue to look.  (I contacted the cemetery, but they did not have any further information.)

chbs1HambergLena

Headstone for Lena Hamberg at the Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery in Columbia, SC http://jhssc.org/hebrew-benevolent-society-cemetery/

 

Two years later on October 16, 1879, Charles Hamberg ended his own life, apparently due to financial difficulties, although I would venture that having had one wife murdered and a second dying at a very young age might also have given him sufficient reason for some desperation.  His suicide made the papers even beyond Columbia.

Charles Hamberg suicide Charles Hamberg suicide 3 Charles Hamberg suicide 2

 

Can you imagine today identifying someone by their religious background for no apparently relevant reason?

Charles is also buried in the Columbia Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery, next to Lena.

Charles Hamberg headstone

Headstone of Charles Hamberg at Hebrew Benevolent Society cemetery in Columbia, SC http://jhssc.org/hebrew-benevolent-society-cemetery/

What a hard life Charles Hamberg had once coming to the US.  He lost his cousin Abraham in 1854, his wife Mary was murdered in 1866, his second wife Lena died in 1877, and he suffered financial problems and took his own life in 1879.   I imagine that that was not the life he dreamed of when he left Breuna, Germany, in 1852.  For him the American dream did not come to be.

His son Samuel was just eleven years old and had lost his mother and his father.   He ended up in Pennsylvania with Henry Schoenthal, his second cousin.  How did he end up there?  That leads to the next mystery.