The Children of Karoline Katzenstein: Together in Life, Together in Death

Although Mina and Wolf’s oldest daughter Rosa had left me with many unanswered questions (that were soon answered with the help of Aaron Knappstein), I had greater success with their second oldest child, Karoline.

Karoline was born on March 30, 1861, in Frankenau.

Karoline Katzenstein birth record from Arcinsys for Hessen
HHStAW Fonds 365 No 174, p. 8

She married Heineman Blumenfeld on October 10, 1884, in Frankenau. He was born in Momberg on October 8, 1854, to Abraham Blumenfeld and Giedel Straus. (There is another intrafamily relationship between the Blumenfelds and the Katzensteins, as Barbara Greve explained to me yesterday, but for now, I won’t confuse the narrative. I need to be sure I understand it first!) (UPDATE: So it turns out that Heinemann Blumenfeld was my second cousin, three times removed. More on that at some later point.)

Marriage record of Karoline Katzenstein and Heineman Blumenfeld
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Standesamt Frankenau Heiratsnebenregister 1884 (Hstamr Best. 922 Nr. 3219); Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Signatur: 922

Karoline and Heineman had three children. Their oldest, Toni, was born on September 21, 1885, in Momberg:

Toni Blumenfeld birth record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6468

She married Moritz Schuster on October 5, 1912, in Momberg; he was born on June 20, 1883, in Sterbfritz, Germany, the son of David Schuster and Bertha Schuster:

Marriage record of Toni Blumenfeld and Moritz Schuster Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister;Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6197

Toni and Moritz had two children born in Sterbfritz: Kathryn/Kaete (1913) and Alfred (1915).

The second child of Karoline and Heineman Blumenfeld was their son Moritz (also Moses and later Morris). He was born on October 7, 1887, in Momberg.

Moritz Blumenfeld birth record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6470

He married Sophie Spier on December 23, 1924, in Momberg. Sophie was born in Momberg on June 28, 1894.

Marriage record of Moritz Blumenfeld and Sophie Spier
HStAMR Best. 915 Nr. 6209 Standesamt Momberg Heiratsnebenregister 1924, S. 9

Moritz and Sophie Blumenfeld had three children: Ursula, Ruth, and Werner.

The youngest child of Karoline and Heineman Blumenfeld was their daughter Bella. She was born May 23, 1890:

Bella Blumenfeld birth record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6473

She married Hermann Stein on January 23, 1922. Hermann was born in Burgsinn, Germany, on September 22, 1884, the son of Julius Stein and Regina Heil. Bella and Hermann did not have any children.

Bella Blumenfeld and Hermann Stein marriage record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6207

Fortunately, the Blumenfeld family decided quite early in Hitler’s reign to start emigrating from Germany. On October 5, 1934, the two children of Toni Blumenfeld and Moritz Schuster arrived in the US; Alfred Schuster was 18, his sister Kathryn was 21. They had been living in Sterbfritz and were going to a cousin named Hermann Livingston in Bloomington, Illinois, although the manifest notes that they were instead discharged to an uncle, Sid Livingston of Chicago.

Alfred and Kaete Schuster passenger manifest
Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5559; Line: 1; Page Number: 139

Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5559; Line: 1; Page Number: 139
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Karoline and Heinemann Blumenfeld did not live long after their grandchildren departed for the US. Karoline died on January 25, 1935, in Momberg.  She was 73 years old.  Her husband Heinemann died the following year on August 31, 1936; he was 81.

Karoline Katzenstein Blumenfeld death record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6245

It was not long after their parents’ deaths that the three children of Karoline and Heinemann escaped from Nazi Germany to the United States. Bella left with her husband Hermann Stein on August 24, 1937. The manifest indicates that they had been living in Burgsinn before emigrating. Hermann was a merchant.  The manifest also reports that they were going to a cousin named Sigmund Livingston in Chicago, presumably the same individual who had picked up Alfred and Kathryn.[i]

Bella and Hermann Stein passenger manifest
Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6030; Line: 1; Page Number: 85
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Bella’s sister Toni and her husband Moritz Schuster arrived a little over two years later on December 21, 1939. According to Toni Schuster’s obituary, her husband Moritz had spent some time in a concentration camp before escaping with Toni to the US. The manifest listed their son Alfred in Bloomington as the person they were going to, but that entry was crossed out and replaced with the name of a nephew, Milan (?) Schuster, in the Bronx.

Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6428; Line: 1; Page Number: 170

It also appears that Moritz and Toni were detained for one day until December 22, 1939, because they were seen as LPC—likely to become public charges. I wonder whether that is why the person they were released to was someone in the New York City area instead of their son in Bloomington, Illinois.

Record of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry 12 21 1939
Supplemental Manifests of Alien Passengers and Crew Members Who Arrived on Vessels at New York, New York, Who Were Inspected for Admission, and Related Index, compiled 1887-1952. Microfilm Publication A3461, 21 rolls. NAI: 3887372. RG 85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Finally, the remaining members of the Blumenfeld family arrived on March 18, 1940—Moritz Blumenfeld and his wife Sophie and their three young children. They also reported that they were going to their cousin, Sid Livingston of Chicago.

Moritz Blumenfeld and family ship manifest
Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6451; Line: 1; Page Number: 37

All the Blumenfeld siblings and their spouses and children were living together in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1940, according to the census. Alfred Schuster, who was only 24, was listed as the head of the household. He was working as a salesman at a department store. His sister Kathryn was a clerk at a department store. Their father Moritz Schuster did not have any employment listed nor did their mother Toni. Bella’s husband, Hermann Stein, was working as a tailor, and Moritz Blumenfeld, who is listed here as Morris Bloomfield, a surname change that was adopted by his wife and children as well, was working as a janitor in a tailor shop, presumably with his brother-in-law Hermann.

Blumenfeld siblings and families 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T627_841; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 57-26

In 1942, according to his draft registration Morris Bloomfield was working for Advance Cleaners in Bloomington. His brother-in-law Hermann Stein reported on his draft registration that he was working for a different cleaning company, Broleen’s Cleaners. Toni Blumenfeld’s husband did not identify any employment when he registered for the draft in 1942, but according to his obituary, he had owned a furniture store in Bloomington until 1944. “Morris M, Schuster,” The Pantagraph  (13 Aug 1964, p. 22)

After settling in Bloomington, all the Blumenfeld siblings and their spouses stayed in the Bloomington/Peoria region for the rest of their lives. Toni Blumenfeld died on October 2, 1964, just two months after her husband Moritz Schuster died on August 10, 1964; they had been living in Peoria at the time of their deaths and are buried in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery. “Morris M, Schuster,” The Pantagraph  (13 Aug 1964, p. 22);  “Mrs. Schuster, Nazi Germany Escapee, Dies,”  The Pantagraph (7 Oct 1964, p 5).

Toni’s brother Morris Bloomfield died on May 14, 1966, three years after his wife Sophie.  They also are buried in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery. Finally, Bella Blumenfeld Stein lost her husband Hermann in 1954; she died in 1984 in Chicago, but was buried with her husband and siblings in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery.

When Karoline Katzenstein and Heinemann Blumenfeld died in 1935 and 1936, respectively, they must have been deeply concerned about the future of their family under Nazi rule; after all, two of their grandchildren had already left Germany. I imagine that Karoline and Heinemann would be greatly pleased to know that all three of their children escaped from Germany and spent the remainder of their lives living close to one another and are even buried near each other in Peoria, Illinois.

JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

 

____________

[i] Since Sigmund Livingston was identified as family on all the manifests for the Blumenfeld family, I assumed that he was somehow related to the Blumenfelds, and indeed, research uncovered that his mother’s name was Dora Blumenfeld. She was the sister of Heinemann Blumenfeld, so Sigmund was in fact the first cousin of Toni, Moritz, and Bella Blumenfeld. Dora and her husband Meyer Loewenstein had immigrated to the US by 1871, and their son Sigmund was born in the US in 1872. Sigmund and his siblings changed the surname from Loewenstein to Livingston.

Update: The Coroner’s Report

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the curious death of Adolphus Nusbaum, my great-great-granduncle, son of John and Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum.  He died on February 8, 1902, on a train from Washington, DC, about 20 miles outside of Chicago, according to the family bible.  Although I found this record from Illinois regarding the transfer of his body to Philadelphia, I could not find the follow-up to the coroner’s inquest, and so I was left wondering what had happened to Adolphus.

adolph nusbaum

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11810-171514-28?cc=1320976 : accessed 19 Sep 2014), 004047863 > image 92 of 701; citing Department of Records.

 

My imagination went a little wild, speculating about conspiracy and murder with his wife Fanny and brother Julius running off together to Canada.  After all, I couldn’t find either Fanny or Julius on the 1910 census, and when they surfaced in 1920, they were living together as boarders in a home in Philadelphia.

But the reality was much more mundane.  With the assistance of my friend Laurel, I was able to find the results of the coroner’s inquest.  Laurel helped me figure out that the inquest would have taken place in Chicago where the body would have been delivered before it was then transported back to Philadelphia for burial. (I had been mistakenly looking in Philadelphia records.)  I then searched the Cook County index of coroner’s reports and found the one for Adolphus (listed as Adolph Nussbaum).  I ordered a copy, which arrived right before the weekend.

Adolph Nusbaum coroner's report

The report confirms that Adolphus died on the train on February 8, 1902, while en route from Washington to Chicago when the train was near Valparaiso, Indiana, which is 52 miles from Chicago.  The coroner’s inquest concluded that he died from pleurisy with effusion.  There was nothing in the report that indicated anything suspicious about the death.

The report also lists the witnesses who testified at the inquest, including Fanny Nusbaum (Fannie Nussbaum here) of Peoria, Illinois.  Although she might have testified for other reasons, it would seem likely that she testified as a witness to the death itself, meaning she was with Adolphus on the train.  The last witness, Joseph Springer, was the physician in the coroner’s office.  I don’t know who David Yondorf was; the report (cut off on the scanned copy above) states that he lived in the Lakota Hotel in Chicago and was a clothing merchant.  My guess is that he was a passenger on the train when Adolph died.

One other update about the children of John and Jeanette:  I wrote that Julius had died of dilation of the heart superinduced by acute indigestion.  My medical expert thinks that what this most likely meant is that Julius complained of acute indigestion but was really having a heart attack, leading to the heart failure that led to his death.  I was relieved to know that indigestion does not cause heart failure.

 

Four Weddings and a Funeral: More Twists and Turns

My last post covered the migration of several Nusbaum/Dreyfuss family members to Peoria, Illinois in the 1860s. Meanwhile, back in Pennsylvania, the rest of the Nusbaum/Dreyfuss clan was growing during the 1860s.  In Philadelphia, two of the Nusbaum brothers and two of the Dreyfuss sisters were seeing their families grow and their children grow.  Other family members were still in Harrisburg. By the end of the decade, even more of the family would have relocated to Philadelphia.

The Civil War was having at least some minor financial impact on the family.  For example, John Nusbaum was liable for $26.79 in income tax to the federal government in 1862 under the terms of the Internal Revenue Act of 1862 That law was enacted to raise money to help pay for the expenses incurred by the Union in fighting the Civil War.  It was the first progressive income tax imposed by the federal government.  For anyone whose income exceeded $600 a year, a tax was imposed based on the level of income.

For John Nusbaum, whose income was valued at $892.96 in 1862, that meant a tax of $26.79.  According to one inflation calculator, $892.96 in 1862 would be worth about $20,000 in 2014.     For someone with stores in Philadelphia and Peoria (and possibly still some interest in a store in Harrisburg) and who reported $6000 in real estate and $20,000 in personal property in 1860,[1] that does not seem like a lot of income, but I have no idea how that was determined back then.

Ancestry.com. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

Ancestry.com. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

By 1863 John and Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum, my three-times great-grandparents, had seen their two older sons move to Peoria, but they still had one son, Julius, and two daughters at home in 1863: Frances, my great-great-grandmother, who was eighteen, and Miriam, who was only five years old in 1863.  Plus 1863 had started off with another new baby in the family.  Lottie Nusbaum was born on January 1, 1863.  Jeanette would have been almost 46 years old, and her first born child Adolphus was going on 23.

I have to admit that I have some questions about whether Lottie was actually the child of John and Jeanette.  Jeanette must have been close to the end of her child-bearing years.  They had not had a child in five years.  Could Lottie have been a child of one of their sons, raised as the child of her actual grandparents?  Or a child they adopted?  I have no way of knowing.  Lottie had no children, so even if I could figure out some way to use DNA to answer my doubts, there are no descendants to use for DNA testing.

On Lottie’s death certificate, the informant was Mrs. E. Cohen, that is, my great-grandmother Eva Seligman Cohen, Lottie Nusbaum’s niece and Frances Nusbaum Seligman’s daughter.  Eva filled in the father’s name as John, but put unknown for the mother’s maiden name.  Eva certainly knew her grandmother Jeanette’s name.  (Eva is the one who held and maintained the family bible for many years.) Did she not know her grandmother’s maiden name? Was she too grief-stricken to remember? Or was she suggesting that Jeanette was not in fact Lottie’s real mother?  I do not know, and there is no one left to ask.  But it did not do anything to resolve my doubts about the identity of Lottie’s parents.   Maybe I am too skeptical.  Maybe she was just a menopause baby. Maybe John and Jeanette were missing their boys so much that they decided to have one more child. Or maybe not.  What do you all think?

Lottie Nusbaum death certificate  Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Lottie Nusbaum death certificate
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

In any event, just as John and Jeanette were emptying their household of their sons, they had a new baby to raise.  The family was still living at 433 Vine Street in 1862, according to the Philadelphia city directory, but in 1864 they are listed at 455 York Avenue.  That address is about two and a half miles north of Vine Street, and as I’ve discussed earlier, Jews began to move north in Philadelphia as their socioeconomic status improved.

By 1865, John and Jeanette’s house on York Avenue was a little emptier.  By that time Julius had joined his brothers in Peoria, and on March 28, 1865, my great-great-grandmother Frances married Bernard Seligman.  For several years they lived in Philadelphia, and Bernard was apparently in business with his brothers-in-law in a firm called Nusbaum Brothers and Company.  They had four children between 1866 and 1869, including my great-grandmother Eva.  Then in 1870, Bernard returned full time to Santa Fe with Frances and their children where Frances and Bernard lived for almost all of the rest of their lives, as discussed in my Seligman blog posts.

Nusbaum Brothers and Company 1867 Philadelphia Directory  Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Nusbaum Brothers and Company 1867 Philadelphia Directory
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

John’s brother Ernst was also in Philadelphia during the early 1860s.  He was a clothier, working at 55 North Third Street and living at 626 North 6th Street.  He and his wife Clarissa had another child in 1861, Frank, bringing their family up to six children ranging in age from newborn to ten years old.  So both Ernest, who was 45 when Frank was born, and John, who was 49 when Lottie was born, had new babies in their homes in the 1860s.

Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum also had a sibling living in Philadelphia.  Her sister Caroline (Dreyfuss) Wiler had also moved from Harrisburg to Philadelphia by 1860.  She and her husband Moses Wiler were living at 466 North 4th Street in 1862 with their four children, who ranged in age from Eliza who was twenty to Clara who was twelve.  Moses was in the cloak business.

The following year the Wiler household became a bit smaller when Eliza Wiler married Leman Simon on September 9, 1863, in Philadelphia.  Yes, Leman Simon.  Do you remember that name? He was the brother of Moses Simon, who married Paulina Dinkelspiel and started the migration of Nusbaums to Peoria.  So once again, my family tree groans and twists a bit.  Eliza and Paulina were already related, at least by marriage.  Eliza’s mother Caroline Dreyfuss was the sister-in-law of John Nusbaum, Paulina Dinkelspiel’s uncle.  Sometimes these people make me want to pull out my hair!  Imagine, I am casually researching Eliza, and I see her husband’s name and think, “Leman Simon.  Hmmm, that sounds familiar.”

So by 1863 the Simons, Nusbaums, Dinkelspiels, and Dreyfusses were all somehow interrelated, often in more than one way.

But it gets worse.

By 1866, Moses Pollock and Mathilde (Dreyfuss Nusbaum) Pollock had also moved to Philadelphia from Harrisburg. In 1868, Flora Nusbaum, the daughter of Mathilde Dreyfuss and Maxwell Nusbaum and step-daughter of Moses Pollock, married Samuel Simon.  I have mentioned this before because Flora Nusbaum is my double first cousin four times removed since both of her parents were siblings of one of my three times great-grandparents, Flora’s father being John Nusbaum’s brother, her mother being Jeanette Dreyfuss Nusbaum’s sister.  Now Flora was marrying her first cousin Paulina’s brother-in-law Samuel Simon, who was also her cousin Eliza’s brother-in law.

Groan…. Maybe this chart will help.

chart_NEW

So all three Simon brothers were now married to someone in the clan: Samuel to Flora Nusbaum, Leman to Eliza Wiler, and Moses to Paulina Dinkenspiel.

The wedding of Samuel Simon to Flora Nusbaum (Pollock) seems to have been a celebration worthy of all that interconnectedness.  Here is an article from the Harrisburg Telegraph of October 20, 1868, republishing an article from the Philadelphia Sunday Mercury that described their Philadelphia wedding.  It’s really worth reading to get the full flavor of both the wedding and “social media” in the 1860s.

flora pollock wedding part 1

flora pollock wedding part 2

flora pollock part 3

The strangest part of this article is not the detailed description of the lavish, extravagant wedding celebration, but the reporter’s mistaken assertion that Flora was not Jewish.  Certainly her parents were both Jewish, and even her stepfather Moses Pollock was Jewish.  The reporter’s statement that “the pure religion of love had broken down all sectarian barriers” seems a bit strange for a wedding announcement, even if it had been an interfaith wedding.  But why would the reporter have thought Flora wasn’t Jewish?

The overlapping branches of the family were well represented in the bridal party: Clara Wiler and Simon Wiler, the children of Moses and Caroline (Dreyfuss) Wiler; Frances Nusbaum, the daughter of John and Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum; Arthur Nusbaum, son of Ernst and Clara Nusbaum; and Albert Nusbaum, son of Maxwell and Mathilde (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum and brother of the bride.  I do not know who the Schloss family is or the Goldsmiths, at least not yet, but I fear more double twists yet to be uncovered.

So the extended family was doing quite well, and there were lots of new families being formed and babies born, but unfortunately there also was one big loss in the 1860s.  Leopold Nusbaum, who was still living in Harrisburg in the 1860s, died on December 24, 1866.  He was buried at Mt. Sinai Cemetery in Philadelphia.  His widow Rosa and sixteen year old daughter Francis moved shortly thereafter to Philadelphia, where they moved in with John and Jeanette Nusbaum, whose household had been reduced by two when Julius moved to Peoria and Frances married.

Below is a photo I found while searching for old images of Harrisburg.  I was so excited when I saw the name on the store at the far upper right—Leo Nusbaum!  Although this photo was dated 1889, Leopold Nusbaum’s name was still on the store even though he had died almost 25 years earlier.

Harrisburg Market Square with Leo Nusbaum store

Harrisburg Market Square with Leo Nusbaum store http://explorepahistory.com/displayimage.php?imgId=1-2-EC

The only Nusbaum family members left in Harrisburg by the end of the 1860s were Mathilde (Nusbaum) Dinkenspiel, her husband Isaac, and their daughter Sophia.  Their daughter Paulina (Dinkenspiel) Simon was living in Baltimore, and their son Adolph was in Peoria.  Their youngest child Sophia married Herman Marks, a Prussian born clothing merchant, in 1869, and they settled in Harrisburg as well.  Perhaps they were the ones to keep Mathilde’s brother’s name on the store.

Thus, by the end of the 1860s, most of the extended family was living in Philadelphia, with a small number living in Peoria, a few in Harrisburg, and a few in Baltimore.

 

 

[1] $600 in 1860 would be worth about $17,000 today, and $20,000 in 1860 would be worth about $571,000 today.  Not too shabby for someone who had come to America around 1840.

But Will It Play in Peoria?

 

My father’s family has lived in some places that were surprising to me—Cohens in Des Moines and Kansas City, Seligmans in Santa Fe, and Nusbaums in Harrisburg and other small towns in Pennsylvania.  In the 1860s, some of the Nusbaums and their Dreyfuss, Dinkelspiel and Simon relatives ended up in Peoria.   All I knew about Peoria was the old line, “Will it play in Peoria?” As explained on the official website for Peoria, Illinois:

The phrase “Will It Play in Peoria?” originated in the early ’20s and ’30s during the US vaudeville era. At that time, Peoria was one of the country’s most important stops for vaudeville acts and performances. If an act did well in Peoria, vaudeville companies knew that it would work throughout the nation. The saying was popularized by movies with Groucho Marx, and on radio programs such as Jack Benny and Fibber McGee.  Because of it’s [sic] location and demographics, Peoria has since become a well known test market to gauge the popularity of products and ideas nationwide.

Peoria has become a symbol of mainstream America, a short-hand way of referring to the typical “Middle American,” as Richard Nixon might say.  So perhaps I should not be surprised that my entrepreneurial Nusbaum/Dreyfuss ancestors struck out for Peoria after succeeding in Harrisburg and Philadelphia.  It was a new market to exploit as the US population continued to expand and move west.

Location map of Peoria, Illinois

Location map of Peoria, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But were there Jews there in the 1860s? Surprisingly, there was an established Jewish community. According to the Jewish Virtual Library’s entry for Illinois, “The oldest Jewish community [in Illinois] outside of Chicago is Peoria, where the first Jews arrived in 1847. A benevolent society was organized in 1852 and the first congregation, Anshai Emeth, was formed in 1859.”     The website for Anshai Emeth reveals only a little bit more about the early history of Jews in Peoria:

The first Jewish settlers came to Peoria in approximately 1847. They soon organized themselves into groups and worshiped in private homes. Early settlers included Jacob Liebenstein (1848), Henry Ullman and Leopold Rosenfeld (1849), Abraham Schradski and Leopold Ballenberg (1851), and Aaron, Harry and David Ulman (1852), and Henry Schwabacker. Many of their descendants continue to live in the Peoria community.  Religious school classes were organized by 1852. In the same year, these Jewish settlers organized a burial association and bought a lot for the use as a cemetery. With this purchase grew the first organized Jewish life in Peoria. Religious services were held in various halls including Washington House on North Washington Street.  Abraham Frank, A. Rosenblat, Hart Ancker, A. Ackerland, Arnold Goodheart, and Abraham Solomon formally organized a congregation in 1859 and named themselves “Anshai Emeth,” or “People of Truth.”

Although in 1860 the Nussbaum/Dreyfuss clan was settled either in Harrisburg or Philadelphia, as early as  1862 some of the next generation began moving to Peoria.  Paulina Dinkelspiel, the daughter of Mathilde Nusbaum and Isaac Dinkelspiel, married a man named Moses Simon in 1862.  Moses was born in 1835 in what is now the Hesse region of Germany.  He and his brothers Leman and Samuel had a business in Peoria as early as 1861, as did their father Sampson.

The Simons in Peoria 1861 Peoria directory

The Simons in Peoria 1861 Peoria directory

But as the directory indicated, Moses was residing in Harrisburg in 1861.  Perhaps Moses had a business relationship with the Nusbaum business; perhaps that is how he obtained his merchandise for their business in Peoria.  But while living in Harrisburg, Moses must have met Paulina. And after they were married, they moved to Peoria where their first two children were born, Joseph in 1862 and Francis in 1864.

Not long after, Paulina’s younger brother Adolph Dinkenspiel arrived in Peoria.  Although he is not listed in the 1861 directory, he does appear in the 1863 directory. While the Simon brothers and their father were all living at 95 North Adams Street that year, Adolph was boarding at the corner of North Adams and Hamilton Street, right down the block, and working as a clerk at 73 Main Street.

What was going on at 73 Main Street?  The Simon Brothers business was at 5 North Adams Street, so young Adolph was not working for his sister’s husband.  A look at the 1863 directory for Peoria under N revealed that John Nusbaum, my three-times great-grandfather, had a business at that location as a “fancy and staple dry goods merchant.”  Although John was still residing in Philadelphia, he is listed in the directory as are two of his sons.  His oldest son Adolphus, was residing at Peoria House, a hotel, I assume, and working for a firm called “Adler, N. & Higbie.” A further look through the 1863 directory uncovered a listing for a distillery called Adler, Nusbaum & Higbie.  John’s second son Simon is also listed in the 1863 Peoria directory, working as the business manager of his father’s store at 73 Main Street with his cousin Adolph Dinkenspiel and residing at 36 North Adams Street.

nusbaum 1863 peor

Nusbaums in Peoria 1863 Peoria directory

By 1863, the country was in the throes of the Civil War, yet it appears that my Peoria relatives were not serving in the war.  I did find a document that indicates that both Simon and Adolphus Nusbaum registered for the draft in 1863 for the Civil War, but I cannot find any other documentation of their service in that war.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); 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); ARC Identifier: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 2 of 5

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); 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); ARC Identifier: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 2 of 5

Not one of these young men in the family appears in any of the databases listing those who served. I searched not only Ancestry, Fold3, and FamilySearch, but also the National Park Service database, the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, found here, and found nothing.

How had they all avoided service?  Simon and Adolphus registered, but I can’t even find registration evidence for Adolph Dinkelspiel.  The Draft Act of 1863 applied to all male citizens between 20 and 45 years old; in 1863 Adolphus was 21 and Simon and Adolph were 20.  Adolphus and Simon were born in the US and were thus citizens, but Adolph Dinkelspiel was born in Baden.  However, the Draft Act also applied to men who intended to become citizens.  Perhaps Adolph avoided registration by not declaring such an intention.  But how would his cousins Adolphus and Simon have avoided service?  Apparently there were two ways to avoid being drafted: hire a substitute or pay $300.  Perhaps that’s what the two Nusbaum brothers did.  Or maybe I just haven’t found the documentation of their service.    See also Michael T. Meier, “Civil War Draft Records: Exemptions and Enrollments,” Prologue Magazine (Winter, 1994) found online here.

All three of John’s sons were listed in the 1865 Peoria directory.  Julius joined Simon as a clerk at the Nusbaum dry goods store, now located at the corner of North Adams and Main Street, two blocks up from its 1863 location.  Adolphus, although still listed in the directory, was reported to be living in Philadelphia in 1865, but still associated with the Adler, Nusbaum & Higbie firm.  In addition, John’s older brother Isaac is listed in the 1865 Peoria directory, boarding at 36 North Adams Street, the same address given for Julius.  This is the first document evidencing Isaac’s presence in the US, so perhaps he was a late arrival and sent to Peoria to keep an eye on his nephews Julius and Simon Nusbaum and Adolph Dinkelspiel, who were single and only 17, 22, and 22 respectively in 1865.

Thus, in 1865, there were four male members of the extended Nusbaum family living in Peoria. Some members of the clan had left by then. Moses and Paulina (Dinkelspiel) Simon and Moses’ brothers Leman and Samuel and their father Sampson were gone from Peoria. Moses and Paulina had relocated to Baltimore where Moses was a “fancy goods” merchant. They had two more children between 1865 and 1870: Leon was born in 1866, and Flora in 1868, both born in Baltimore.  On the 1870 census, Moses described himself as a dealer in all kinds of leather. [1] Thus, Moses Simon who started the migration of the Nusbaums to Peoria was himself gone by 1865.

Adolphus was not listed as living in Peoria in 1865, but he did eventually return to Peoria in 1868.  There is an 1864 IRS tax report that lists the income for Adolphus and for the Adler, Nusbaum & Higbie distillery, so Adolphus was still in business in 1864 in Peoria.   The 1865 Peoria directory reported that he was living in Philadelphia though still in business in Peoria.

In 1867 the only members of the Nussbaum/Dreyfuss/Dinkelspiel/Simon clan listed as living in Peoria were Isaac Nusbaum, Julius Nusbaum, and Adolph Dinkelspiel.  However, the 1868 directory lists Isaac, Julius, S. (Simon?) and A. (Adolphus?) Nusbaum as well as Adolph Dinkelspiel.  The four younger men are also listed in the 1870 directory.  Simon and Adolphus were now in the distillery business together under the name Union Mills Distillery, and Julius was still working in his father’s “staple and fancy dry goods” business along with his cousin Adolph Dinkelspiel.  Thus, three of my great-great-grandmother’s brothers as well as my first cousin four times removed, Isaac Dinkenspiel, were living in Peoria in 1870.

Isaac Nusbaum, their uncle, had died in January, 1870. He was not yet sixty years old.  I could find no actual record of his death aside from the entry in the Nusbaum family bible and this rather peculiar news article from the January 25, 1870 Peoria Daily Transcript.

Peoria Daily Transcript January 25, 1870 p. 3

Peoria Daily Transcript January 25, 1870 p. 3

What does this mean? Why would his brother John have ordered the body returned to Peoria? Why had it first been en route to Philadelphia? How did Isaac die?  There was no obituary.  Isaac is a mystery to me.  I don’t know where he was before 1865.  It appears that he never married or had children.  If it had not been for the family bible, I might never have even known to look for him.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=143048598&PIpi=117463912 Note says he is buried between two unrelated people.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=143048598&PIpi=117463912
Note says he is buried between two unrelated people.

By 1870, the four young Nusbaum descendants were grown men.  Even the youngest, Julius, was 22.  All four would spend the next decade in Peoria as well; two of them would spend most of the rest of their lives there.

So yes, it played well in Peoria for the Nusbaum/Dreyfuss family.

 

 

[1] For some reason on the second enumeration of the 1870 census, Moses and his brothers Samuel and Leman are listed with their parents in Philadelphia; I assume that the parents were confused when asked about the members of their family and reported all three sons as living with them when in fact all three sons were married by then and living with their wives and children.