As of 1900, Hannah and Joseph Benedict’s three sons were all adults, and Joseph had retired from his rag and paper business. Their two older sons, Jacob and Herschel, were still living with their parents in Pittsburgh, and the youngest son, C. Harry, was living in Michigan and working as an engineer after graduating from Cornell University. Soon all three would be married.
Joseph Benedict, 1900 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1241359
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census
Not long after the 1900 census was taken, the middle brother, Herschel, married Mary Ullman on August 7, 1900, in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Mary was born on December 25, 1876, in Titusville to Jacob Ullman and Henrietta Rothschild. Jacob was born in the Alsace region of France, and Henrietta in Wurttemberg, Germany. Jacob was in the dry goods business.
Herschel Benedict and Mary Ullman marriage record, Film Number: 000878594
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968
A year after Herschel’s marriage, the youngest Benedict brother, C. Harry, was engaged to Lena Manson:
Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 21 Jul 1901, Sun • Page 15
As the article reports, Lena was from Syracuse, New York, where she was born on July 21, 1876. Her parents, Lewis and Jennie Manson, were immigrants from Russia-Poland, and her father was in the jewelry business in Syracuse. Lena, like Harry, had studied at Cornell, she for two years as a special student of English literature, and in 1897 she was working as a teacher in Syracuse. She also taught for three years at a high school in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Harry and Lena were married on February 7, 1902, in Syracuse, New York.
The last of the three sons of Hannah and Joseph to marry was their oldest son, Jacob or Jake. He married Clara R. Kaufman on February 14, 1905, in Pittsburgh. Like Jacob, Clara was a native of Pittsburgh, born on September 13, 1874, to Solomon Kaufman and Helena Marks, who were German immigrants. Clara’s father was a livestock dealer.
Jacob Benedict and Clara Kaufman marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1905; Roll Number: 549855, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963
In 1910, Hannah and Joseph were living with their son, Herschel and his wife Mary. Joseph was retired, and Herschel was in the wholesale liquor business. By 1912, Herschel had formed his own liquor distribution business, Benedict & Eberle, of which he was the president.
Herschel Benedict and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 14, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1304; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0465; FHL microfilm: 1375317
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census
By that time, Hannah and Joseph had four grandchildren, but all were living quite a distance from Pittsburgh where Hannah and Joseph continued to live. The first was Jacob and Clara’s daughter, Helen, who was born on January 18, 1907, in Paducah, Kentucky, where Jacob and Clara had relocated from Pittsburgh sometime in the prior year and where Jacob was working for Dreyfuss Weil, a liquor distributor. Jacob and Clara’s second child, Marian, was also born in Paducah; she was born April 14, 1908.
Meanwhile, Jacob’s brother C. Harry and his wife Lena also had two children during these years. Their first child, Manson, was born on October 9, 1907, in Lake Linden, Michigan, with a second son, William, arriving on July 4, 1909, also in Lake Linden. C. Harry continued to work as a metallurgical engineer in Michigan for a company called Calumet & Hecla, a copper mining company.
Sometime after the 1910 census, Hannah and Joseph must have decided that they did not want to live so far from all their grandchildren because by December 1912, they had left Pittsburgh and were living in Lake Linden, Michigan, where Harry and his family were residing.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 14 Dec 1912, Page 12
Then just two years after Hannah and Joseph left Pittsburgh, their son Jacob returned to Pittsburgh with his family after the company where Jacob worked in Paducah, Kentucky was sold, as reported in the February 4, 1914, edition of the Paducah Sun-Democrat (p. 5):
“Jacob Benedict Leaves for His New Home,” The Paducah Sun-Democrat, 04 Feb 1914, Page 5
Sadly, just three years after their move to Pittsburgh, Jacob suffered a terrible loss when his wife Clara died on September 17, 1917, from left parotid gland cancer. She had turned 43 just three days earlier, and she left behind her two young daughters, Helen (10) and Marian (9), as well as her husband Jacob.
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 101201-104500
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967
The family was soon dealt another blow when Joseph Benedict died on December 23, 1917, at Harry’s home in Lake Linden, Michigan. Joseph was 83 and died from fibroid myocarditis. He was buried back in Pittsburgh, his long-time home.
Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, Michigan; Death Records
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1952
Hannah remained in Lake Linden, Michigan, and was living with her son Harry and his family in 1920, where Harry continued to work for Calumet & Hecla as a metallurgical engineer.
Hannah’s other two sons were living in Pittsburgh in 1920. Jacob was living with his daughters as well as a live-in caretaker for the children; he was employed as a salesman for a food company, though just two years earlier he’d been working for a bottling company. Herschel was living with his wife Mary as well as a servant, and he had no employment listed on the 1920 census record.
At first I was puzzled by the changes in both Jacob’s and Herschel’s occupations, but then the lightbulb went on.
Both Jacob and Herschel had been in the liquor business. By 1920, liquor sales were prohibited throughout the US after the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment on January 29, 1919. In fact, liquor sales had been under severe restrictions even earlier, as discussed on this website:
In 1917, after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson instituted a temporary wartime prohibition in order to save grain for producing food. That same year, Congress submitted the 18th Amendment, which banned the manufacture, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors, for state ratification. Though Congress had stipulated a seven-year time limit for the process, the amendment received the support of the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states in just 11 months. Ratified on January 29, 1919, the 18th Amendment went into effect a year later, by which time no fewer than 33 states had already enacted their own prohibition legislation.
The_Pittsburgh_Press, January 16, 1919, p. 1
So Herschel was forced out of business and Jacob had to change industries as a result of Prohibition. That must have been a difficult transition for both of them.
The first two decades of the 20th century were thus exciting and challenging ones for Hannah and her family. There were marriages and children but also deaths as well as the business challenges created by Prohibition.