Simon Goldsmith: His Legacy—German Criminal, American Patriarch

In the last post we saw how a number of Jacob Goldsmith’s children left Pennsylvania when they reached adulthood. But Jacob Goldsmith’s children weren’t the only descendants of Simon Goldsmith who moved from Pennsylvania in the 1870s.

By 1878, Simon’s daughter Lena and her husband Gustavus Basch and children had moved to Columbus, Ohio.1 According to directories and the 1880 census, Gustavus was now in the vinegar manufacturing business, and his oldest son Frank, now 22, was working with him in the business. I assume it must have been this business opportunity that drew them to Columbus. In 1880, Lena and Gustavus’ four other children—Joseph, Joel, Hinda, and Ella—were also living with their parents. The only child who was not still living at home was their son Jacob, who was living in Hamilton, Ohio, and working as a hotel clerk. Hamilton is about 100 miles southwest of Columbus.2

Gustavus Basch and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: 1016; Page: 201D; Enumeration District: 029
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

As for Simon’s two youngest children, my double cousins Henry and Hannah, they were busy having children during the 1870s and 1880s. Henry and his wife Sarah Jaffa continued to live in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, where Henry was a clothing merchant. In addition to their first child, Jacob W. Goldsmith, who was born in 1871, Sarah gave birth to four more children between 1873 and 1880: Benjamin (1873),3 Milton (1877),4 Samuel (1879),5 Edison (1880).6 Five more would come between 1881 and 1889: Walter (1881),7 Florence (1883),8 Albert (1884),9 Oliver (1887),10 and Helen (1889).11 In total, Henry and Sarah had ten children. All were born in Connellsville.

Henry Goldsmith and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1129; Page: 93D; Enumeration District: 035
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

Hannah and her husband Joseph Benedict stayed in Pittsburgh where Joseph is listed on the 1880 census as a rag dealer. Hannah gave birth to her third son, Centennial Harry Benedict, on September 24, 1876, in Pittsburgh.12 In most records he is referred to as either C. Harry or Harry; I assume the Centennial was in honor of the centennial of the Declaration of Independence in the year he was born.

The 1880 census lists not only Hannah and Joseph and their three sons in the household, but also Hannah’s father Simon, and three of Hannah’s nephews: Lena’s son Jacob Basch and Henry’s sons Jacob and Benjamin Goldsmith. Since all three are also listed elsewhere on the 1880 census, I wonder whether these three were just visiting their relatives in Pittsburgh when the census was taken.

Joseph and Hannah Benedict and family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1092; Page: 508D; Enumeration District: 122
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census

On March 17, 1883, at the age of 88 or so, Simon Goldsmith died in Pittsburgh; his death record states that he died of old age.

Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZ7D-M2S : 11 March 2018), Simon Goldsmith, 17 Mar 1883; citing v 33 p 550, Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh; FHL microfilm 505,832.

What an interesting, challenging, and rich life Simon had. He was born Simon Goldschmidt, the youngest child of Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Seligmann in Oberlistingen. He had five children with his first wife Eveline Katzenstein, two of whom died as infants. He had spent time in prison for burglary, but his marriage and his family stayed together. After Eveline died in 1840, he had married a second time, his second wife being Fradchen Schoenthal. He and Fradchen immigrated to the US in 1845, a year after their marriage, and together they had two more children born in the US. Then Simon lost his second wife Fradchen in 1850. He also lost another child, his daughter Eva, sometime after 1862.

But Simon soldiered on, living first with his son Jacob in Washington and later with his daughter Hannah in Pittsburgh. He saw twenty-eight grandchildren born before he died, and five more were born after he died. In addition, he lived to see the births of eight great-grandchildren, and many more were born after his death. When he died, his children and grandchildren were spread from Philadelphia to California, pursuing and living the American dream. He must have looked at his family with amazement—that this man who had gotten himself in trouble with the law back home in Germany had somehow been able to start over in the US and create a huge legacy for himself and his family. Despite his struggles and his losses, he must have been grateful for all that he did have.

What would happen to Simon’s four surviving children and all those grandchildren and great-grandchildren? More in the posts to follow.

 

 


  1. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1878, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1878, 1879, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Benjamin Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  4. Milton Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1908756; Draft Board: 08, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  5. Samuel Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  6. Edison Goldsmith, 1880 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1129; Page: 93D; Enumeration District: 035, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census (three days old) 
  7. Walter Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  8. Florence Goldsmith, 1912 Passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 156; Volume #: Roll 0156 – Certificates: 69177-70076, 01 Apr 1912-11 Apr 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  9. Gravestone at https://billiongraves.com/grave/person/12971467#= 
  10. Oliver Goldsmith, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Fayette; Roll: 2022796; Draft Board: 2, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  11. Helen Goldsmith, 1912 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 156; Volume #: Roll 0156 – Certificates: 69177-70076, 01 Apr 1912-11 Apr 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  12. Centennial Harry Goldsmith, Yearbook Title: Cornell Class Book, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Cornell Class Book; Year: 1897, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990;  C. Harry Goldsmith, 1921 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1788; Volume #: Roll 1788 – Certificates: 102000-102375, 02 Dec 1921-03 Dec 1921, Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 

Simon Goldsmith’s family 1860-1871: Two Dozen Grandchildren

In 1860, Simon Goldschmidt, now Simon Goldsmith, was a two-time widower living in Washington, Pennsylvania, with his oldest child from his first marriage, Jacob Goldsmith. Also living with them were Jacob’s wife Fannie Silverman and their six young daughters, Ellena, Emma, Annie, Rachel, Leonora, and Celia, and Simon’s two children, Henry and Hannah, from his second marriage to my three-times great-aunt Fradchen Schoenthal.  Jacob was a merchant with $4500 worth of real estate and $6000 in personal property. In 1863, Jacob registered for the Civil War draft in Washington, Pennsylvania, but I have no record showing that he served in the war.1

Simon Goldsmith and family 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1192; Page: 1188; Image: 627; Family History Library Film: 805192

Jacob and Fannie had many more children in the 1860s; Felix (about 1860)2 and George (1862)3 were likely born in Washington, Pennsylvania, but by the time Frank4 was born in 1863, the family may already have moved to Philadelphia. The next five children were all born in Philadelphia: Edward (born as Oscar, 1864),5 Rebecca (1866),6 Florence (1869),7 and finally a set of twins born early in the next decade, Gertrude and Eva (born January 18, 1871).8 That brought the grand total of Jacob and Fannie’s children to fourteen—four sons and ten daughters.  In 1870, Jacob and Fannie and their children were living in Philadelphia. Jacob was still a retail merchant and now had $20,000 in personal property.

Jacob Goldsmith and family, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 Dist 36 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1424; Page: 589B; Family History Library Film: 552923, Township: Philadelphia Ward 12 Dist 36 (2nd Enum), 
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

Jacob Goldsmith and family, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ancestry.com

In 1860, Simon’s oldest daughter Lena was living about fifty miles away from her father in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, with her husband Gustavus Basch and their three young children, Frank, Jacob, and Hinda. Gustavus was a clothing merchant and had $3100 in personal property, according to the 1860 census.

Lena and Gustav Basch and family, 1860 census, Year: 1860; Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1110; Page: 421; Family History Library Film: 805110 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census

Like his brother-in-law Jacob, Gustavus registered for the Civil War draft in 1863, but I don’t know if he served.9 Lena and Gustavus’ family was also growing in the 1860s, but not as much as Jacob and Fannie’s. They added three more to their family in that decade: Joel (1863),10 Ella (1865),11 and Joseph (1867),12 all born in Connellsville.  In 1868, Gustavus was listed as a clothier in Connellsville in the Pennsylvania State directory, but sometime thereafter he changed occupations and the family relocated.13 By 1870, the family had moved to Pittsburgh, and Gustavus was now working for H. Bier & Company, a brass founders and steam pump manufacturing company.14

Gustavus Basch 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1295; Page: 423A; Family History Library Film: 552794
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census,

As for Simon’s second oldest daughter Eva, as reported here in detail, I cannot find her in 1860, but I believe that sometime around 1860 she married Marcus Bohm, a Polish immigrant who had a store in Washington, Pennsylvania, until 1860. It also appears that Marcus and Eva had a daughter Ella, born in February, 1862. Also, as I wrote about earlier, it seems that Eva died sometime before 1870. Her daughter Ella Bohm was then living with her uncle Jacob Goldsmith and his family in Philadelphia. Ella’s father’s whereabouts are not known, although he appears to have been in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Simon’s two youngest children, my double cousins Henry and Hannah Goldsmith, were teenagers in the 1860s. In 1867, Hannah married Joseph Benedict.15 She was only nineteen, and he was 33. Joseph was born July 3, 1834, in Germany and had immigrated in 1857, according to the 1900 census.16 I cannot find any immigration record for Joseph or a marriage record for Hannah and Joseph.

In 1865 a Joseph Benedict was working as a clerk in Pittsburgh.17 In 1868 he is listed in the Pittsburgh directory as a used furniture dealer, but in 1869 he is listed as a second-hand clothing dealer. The 1870 Pittsburgh directory lists him as a junk dealer, so maybe it was both clothing and furniture.18 The 1870 census merely lists his occupation as “retail.” By that time Joseph and Hannah had a five-month-old son named Jacob, born January 24, 1870, in Pittsburgh.19 Also living with them in 1870 were Hannah’s father, Simon Goldsmith, now a retired tailor, and Amelia Schoenthal, who was Hannah’s first cousin, her mother Fradchen’s niece and the older sister of my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal. On June 6, 1871, Hannah Goldsmith Benedict gave birth to a second child, Herschel Newton Benedict, in Pittsburgh.20

Joseph and Hannah Benedict, 1870 US census, Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 5, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1295; Page: 567A; Family History Library Film: 552794
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census

Simon’s son Henry had moved out on his own by 1870. Now 23, he was living in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, working as a clothing dealer.21 My hunch is that Henry took over his brother-in-law Gustave’s business when Gustave and Lena moved to Pittsburgh. In 1871, Henry married Sarah Jaffa.22 She was the daughter of Aron Jaffa and Ella Hahn, and she was born in Heinebach, Germany, on October 19, 1851, and immigrated to the US in 1869.23 That marriage brought another twist to my family tree.

Sarah Jaffa had three older brothers who had already immigrated to the US when she arrived.  As I’ve written about previously, the Jaffa brothers would later become business and civic leaders in Trinidad, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. And twenty-five years after Henry Goldsmith married Sarah Jaffa, Sarah’s niece Ida Jaffa married Meyer Mansbach, the son of Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach. Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach was Henry Goldsmith’s first cousin as their fathers, Seligmann Goldschmidt and Simon Goldschmidt/Goldsmith, were brothers.24

Sarah and Henry had their first child, Jacob W. Goldsmith, on December 24, 1871, in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.25 He was the 24th grandchild of Simon Goldsmith, all born in Pennsylvania. Interestingly, three of those grandchildren were named Jacob: Lena’s son Jacob Basch, Hannah’s son Jacob Benedict, and Henry’s son Jacob W. Goldsmith. Since Simon was still living, it appears that three of his children named their sons for Simon’s father, Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt.

Thus, by the end of 1871, all of Simon Goldsmith’s children had married. Simon, who had outlived two wives and three children, was 76 years old and had twenty-four grandchildren, ranging from newborns to eighteen-year-old Ellena, with more grandchildren to come in the next decade. In fact, he would live to be a great-grandfather. More on that in the next post.

 


  1.  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 3 of 3, Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 
  2. Felix Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 Dist 36 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1424; Page: 589B; Family History Library Film: 552923, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census. I am not certain of Felix’s birthdate. His death certificate says he was born September 25, 1859, and the 1900 census says he was born in September 1859, but he is not on the 1860 census with his family, and in his 1870 his age is reported as nine and in 1880 as nineteen. Thus, I am guessing he was born in about 1860. 
  3. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915. George Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 Dist 36 (2nd Enum), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1424; Page: 589B; Family History Library Film: 552923, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  4. Frank Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1396; Page: 179B; Family History Library Film: 552895, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [ 
  5. Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2FR-G9S : 11 February 2018), Oscar Goldsmith, 08 Nov 1864; Birth, citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,289,309. 
  6. Rebecca Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 12 District 36, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1396; Page: 179B; Family History Library Film: 552895, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census. Rebecca Levy, ship manifest, 1926, Year: 1926; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 3784; Line: 1; Page Number: 197, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7.  Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2F1-KDR : 11 February 2018), Florence Goldsmith, 24 Feb 1869; Birth, citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,289,312 
  8. Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2FX-1MN : 11 February 2018), Eve Goldsmith, 18 Jan 1871; Birth, citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,289,313.  Pennsylvania Births and Christenings, 1709-1950,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2FX-1M6 : 11 February 2018), Gertrude Goldsmith, 18 Jan 1871; Birth, citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,289,313 
  9. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 3 of 3. Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 
  10. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6Q67-VC2?cc=1307272&wc=MD9N-9P8%3A287599801%2C294723701 : 21 May 2014), 1950 > 74601-76700 > image 303 of 2329. 
  11. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D4LQ-GG4?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-DN5%3A287601401%2C287598802 : 21 May 2014), 1930 > 00001-02900 > image 2674 of 3183. 
  12. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 297323868. 
  13. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Reilly´s Pennsylvania State Business Directory, 1868-69 
  14. Pittsburgh city directory, 1870, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  15. Hannah and 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 
  16. Hannah and 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 
  17. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1865, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  18. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1868, 1869, 1870, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  19. Jacob Benedict, death certificate, Certificate No, 88, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965;Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966 
  20. Herschel Benedict, marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1900; Roll Number: 549738, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963 
  21. Henry Goldsmith, 1870 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1342; Page: 79A; Family History Library Film: 552841, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [ 
  22. Henry and Sarah Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0007; FHL microfilm: 1241409,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  23. Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1965; Certificate Number Range: 093741-097660, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966; Henry and Sarah Goldsmith, 1900 US census, Census Place: Connellsville, Fayette, Pennsylvania; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0007; FHL microfilm: 1241409,
    Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  24.  And another connection between the Jaffa and Goldschmidt families was made in 1880 when Solomon Jaffa married Leonora Goldsmith, Jacob Goldsmith’s daughter. But that is yet to come. 
  25. Jacob W. Goldsmith, marriage record, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1852-1973; County: Allegheny; Year Range: 1899; Roll Number: 549736, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, County Marriage Records, 1845-1963