Gustavus and Lena Goldsmith Basch 1890-1900: Who Was Louis Basch?

In 1890, Lena Goldsmith Basch and her husband Gustavus Basch and four of their six children were living in Columbus, Ohio, where she and Gustavus were involved in a cigar business called Levy Mendel & Company. Their son Joseph was also working there in 1890. Their older sons Frank and Jacob were in the junk business together,  doing business as Basch Brothers. Daughter Hinda was also living with her parents and brothers at 407 East Rich in Columbus.

Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1890 U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Two of Gustavus and Lena’s children had left Columbus by 1890. Their younger daughter Ella had married Isadore Shatz in 1888 and moved to Cincinnati. Their third oldest son Joel was living first in Lima, Ohio, and then in Findlay, Ohio, but in 1890, his business in Findlay had failed after he had incurred some substantial gambling debts.

But Joel was not back in Columbus in 1891. The Columbus directory for that year lists Gustavus in the cigar business, presumably Levy Mendel & Co, where “Lina” and their son Joseph were also working. Jacob and Frank were still doing business as the Basch Brothers.1

The 1892 directory is essentially the same, except for an entry that completely confused me:

Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1892
Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Look at that last entry for Basch—Louis Basch, living at the same address—407 E. Rich—as the other family members and working for Levy Mendel & Co. Louis Basch also appears in the 1893 Columbus directory.2 Who was he? My search for a Louis Basch led me nowhere. There were a few men named Louis Basch, but they were all born much too late to be this Louis Basch or were living too far away.

So then who was Louis Basch? There was never a Louis Basch living in the same household as Gustavus and Lena on any census record. I did notice that Lena was not listed in most of the directories for the later 1890s, but Louis Basch was. Had she taken on the pseudonym of Louis Basch? After all, as reported in the prior post, the family’s junk business had once been known as L. Basch & Sons, where the L was apparently for Lena. Perhaps to disguise the fact that the business was run by a woman the family had created a male pseudonym? What do you think?

On January 25, 1893, Joel became the second of Gustavus and Lena’s children to marry. He married Jeanette Mendel, and guess whose daughter she was? Yes, Levy Mendel, the owner of the cigar company where Joel’s parents Gustavus and Lena and his brother Joseph and the mysterious “Louis” were then associated. 3 I would think that Levy Mendel must have been familiar with Joel’s past gambling issues and would not have permitted his daughter to marry Joel if he believed those problems persisted. So perhaps Joel had cleaned up his act and had been working for his future father-in-law’s business in the years before his wedding to Jeanette. As far as I can tell, Joel had no further gambling issues in his life.

Lima (OH) News, January 10, 1893, p. 8.

By 1894 Joel was was living with his wife and family in Findlay, Ohio, ninety miles away from Columbus. He and Jeanette had two sons born in the 1890s, Sidney Louis Basch on December 7, 1894,4 and Robert Basch on June 26, 1898.5  Both boys were born in Findlay, Ohio. In 1900, he and Jeanette and their two young sons were living in Findlay, and Joel listed his occupation as a merchant.

Joel Basch and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Findlay Ward 4, Hancock, Ohio; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0061; FHL microfilm: 1241283 1900 United States Federal Census

By 1900, two more of Gustavus and Lena’s children were married. Their oldest child Frank married Freda Rosenthal in 1895. Freda was born in Germany in 1869 and immigrated to the US in 1887, according to the 1900 census.6 Unfortunately, I do not have any earlier records for Freda. Some Ancestry trees show her born in Cumberland, Maryland, but those trees provide no sources for that assertion, so for now I will rely on what is reported on the 1900 census. That census reported that Frank was a dealer in old iron and brass. Frank and Freda had two daughters born in the 1890s: Rachel (known as Rae), born September 3, 1896, in Ohio (presumably Columbus),7 and Coryne, born January 25, 1898, in Columbus.8  A third child, a son Lewis, was born on May 4, 1900.9

Frank Basch and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 6, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0065; FHL microfilm: 1241268, 1900 United States Federal Census

Joseph Basch, the youngest of Gustavus and Lena’s six children, also married before the 1900 census. He married Ida S. Steinhauser on April 11, 1899, in Columbus. Ida was the daughter of Arnold Steinhauser and either Louisa Weichler or  Sarah Wechsler; sources conflict, and I don’t know which name was correct. Ida was born on September 2, 1872, in Franklin County, Ohio.10 In 1900, Joseph and Ida were living in Columbus, where Joseph was a tobacco merchant. More specifically, he was working for Levy Mendel & Company, as seen on the 1901 directory.11

Joseph and Ida Basch, Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

In 1900, Ella Basch and her husband Isadore Shatz were living in Findlay, Ohio, as was her brother Joel. Isadore was a merchant.  They did not have any children after twelve years of marriage.12

In 1900, Gustavus and Lena were living with Jacob and Hinda and a servant; Gustavus reported that he was a landlord on the 1900 census, and Jacob was an iron merchant.13  Gustavus and Lena had five grandchildren by 1900—Frank’s three children and Joel’s two sons. More would arrive in the next decade.

But that first decade of the 20th century would also bring some painful losses.



  1. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1891, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1893, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Mendel family, 1880 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: 1016; Page: 147D; Enumeration District: 026, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  4. Sidney Louis Basch, World War I draft registration,Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Franklin; Roll: 1832018; Draft Board: 1, U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  5. Robert Basch, FHL Film Number: 961484, Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 
  6. Frank Basch and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 6, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 4; Enumeration District: 0065; FHL microfilm: 1241268, 1900 United States Federal Census 
  7. Rachel Basch, FHL Film Number: 285136, Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 
  8. Web: Columbus, Ohio, Green Lawn Cemetery Index, 1780-2010, Original data: Green Lawn Cemetery Burials. Columbus, Ohio. Joe and Dick Fleshman. accessed 09 February 2012. 
  9. Lewis Basch, Number: 273-36-5982; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: 1956-1958, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Ida Steinhauser, FHL Film Number: 285135, Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973. 
  11. Joseph and Ida Basch, 1900 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 7, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0070; FHL microfilm: 1241268, 1900 United States Federal Census. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1901, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  12. Ella and Isadore Shatz, 1900 US census, Census Place: Findlay Ward 4, Hancock, Ohio; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0061; FHL microfilm: 1241283, 1900 United States Federal Census 
  13. Gustavus Basch and family, 1900 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 6, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0068; FHL microfilm: 1241268, 1900 United States Federal Census