My Cousins Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht: Lives Well Lived

Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother Gussie’s first cousin, and Ida Hecht, my grandmother Gussie’s half-sister’s daughter, knew each other as teenagers when their families were living next door to each other on Avenue C in New York City. They married in 1913, had four daughters, and by 1940 had created a happy and comfortable life for themselves and their daughters in Jersey City, New Jersey, supported by their real estate investments and their liquor business.

Julius Goldfarb had been forced out of the liquor business by Prohibition, but once Prohibition ended, he returned to it, now as the owner of a liquor store in Jersey City called Stuyvesant Wine and Liquor. He also continued to be involved in real estate and was prospering in both businesses.

But starting in 1939, the store was repeatedly the target of robberies. We already saw the news article about that first robbery where Julius was held up by three armed gunmen who then locked him in a storeroom closet. He lost $220 in that crime.

Julius was robbed again in 1941. A single armed robber walked behind the counter and forced Julius to lie on the floor; he then stole $124 from Julius. This time, however, Julius was insured for the loss.

“Holdup in Boulevard Liquor Store,” Jersey Journal, April 15, 1941, p, 1

But Julius and Ida’s life was not overshadowed by these events. Rather, they were enjoying life with their growing family—their four daughters and their grandchildren. Julius and Ida’s oldest daughter Sylvia remarried on October 31, 1942. Her second husband was George Horowitz; he was also a native of Jersey City and was born on September 16, 1912, to Abraham Horowitz and Sophie Margulies. George was working as a photographer for Sun-Ray Studios in Jersey City in 1942. Sylvia and George would have one child together born several years later.1

The third of Julius and Ida’s daughters, Ethel, became engaged to Herbert Rothman in May 1944; he was then a corporal in the US Army stationed at Camp Ruston in Louisiana. Herbert was the son of Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger and was born on July 26, 1922, in New York. At the time of their engagement, Ethel was attending New York University. Ethel and Herbert were married in November, 1945, and had two sons. Herbert ended up working in the liquor business with Julius.2

Evelyn Goldfarb was briefly married in the 1940s to a man named Seymour Hutchinson, but that marriage did not last or produce any children.3 As noted below, Evelyn would remarry some years later.

Here is a beautiful photograph of three of the four daughters of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, my double cousins, Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel:

Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel Goldfarb c. 1942 Courtesy of Sue Wartur

And here is a photograph of Julius and Ida with their youngest daughter Evelyn in 1951.

Julius, Evelyn, and Ida Goldfarb 1951. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

My cousin Sue recalls many happy times with her grandparents Ida and Julius. She wrote to me about the beach house on Long Island where Julius and Ida and their extended family would spend their summers:

“From spring until late fall, sometimes until after the High Holy Days, my grandparents would be at their beach house, steps from the Atlantic, in Long Beach, Long Island. [My grandfather Julius] would arrive in the wee hours of Sat night/Sunday morning, his car laden with Sunday papers, his favorite…eggplants and grapefuits, and sodas and chips from the store. We had huge family spreads on the beach…cousins, aunts, uncles, and Grandma’s sister Jean and family, whose “dacha” was just around the corner.” 4

This is a photograph of Ida and Julius at their summer cottage in Long Beach and then a photograph of Julius on the beach:

Ida and Julius at their summer cottage on Long Beach, LI. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius Goldfarb, Long Beach, NY. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Meanwhile, Julius continued to have trouble at his store. In June 1951 Julius was again robbed; this time he was forced to lie on the floor of the lavatory at the back of his store while the robber made off with almost $100.5

Julius was not present in the store for the next robbery in July 1952. Instead his son-in-law Herbert Rothman, husband of Ethel, was the victim. He and two other employees were locked in the storeroom by two thieves armed with penknives. This time the criminals made off with $150.  The news story about this robbery refers to it as the fourth holdup of the store in the past year, so there must have been other robberies that did not appear in the paper.6

But it appears that Julius finally received more protection from the local police after this event. When another attempted robbery occurred in November 1952 while Herbert Rothman was working at the store, two plainclothes detectives stopped the holdup, and when the robber pointed his “toy gun” at them, one of those detectives shot and seriously wounded him.7

I don’t know whether that was the last time the store was the site of a robbery, but that was the last article reporting one that I could find in the Jersey City newspapers.

Not long before this last robbery, on October 25, 1952, Evelyn Goldfarb married her second husband, Samuel Block. He was also a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, born there on September 17, 1922, the son of Meyer Block and Gussie Greenberg. Evelyn and Samuel had two children born in the 1950s.8

Thus, by 1952 all four of Julius and Ida’s daughters were married. And in 1959, their first-born granddaughter, my cousin Sue, was married, and Julius and Ida were there to celebrate. Thank you to Sue for sharing some of her beautiful wedding photographs.

Sue (Leyner) and Larry Wartur, 1959. Courtesy of Sue Wartur.

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

In the end there were nine grandchildren who survived Ida and Julius as well as their four daughters and sons-in-law. Ida died on March 7, 1966, in Jersey City; she was 71.9 Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968, also in Jersey City. He was 83.10

Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht had lived a full and interesting life together. Born in Galicia, Julius came to the US when he was ten years old and had to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. According to his granddaughter Sue, he remained a religious man all his life. He belonged to an Orthodox synagogue where Sue would watch him praying from her seat in the women’s section above the main sanctuary. Ida also was quite observant. Sue remembered that Ida always lit candles on Friday night, went to services on Saturday morning, and studied Torah at home.

But Julius also adapted to American life. He was a success both in the real estate and liquor businesses and more than once survived attacks on his business and himself, determined to protect his livelihood and his family. Ida contributed to that success not only on the homefront, but also by working with Julius in both the liquor and real estate businesses.

Their granddaughter Sue reminded me that what we see in newspapers and records is only a small part of the lives people lived and that while the news articles might leave an impression of a life darkened by robberies and crime, that was not how Julius and Ida saw their life. Rather, it was a life filled with joy and faith and love.

Sue wrote that even long after Julius and Ida’s four daughters were grown and married with children of their own, they always thought of 24 Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City as their home. That itself is a testament to the warm and loving family life that Julius and Ida created for their children and grandchildren.

I will be taking a short break from blogging in the next week or so. See you with more Goldfarb history when I return.

  1. Family records. George Horowitz, Birth Date: 16 Sep 1912, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 23 Sep 1999, Father: Abraham Horowitz, Mother:
    Sophie Marqulies, SSN: 140077673, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. George Horowitz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 303, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  2. “Miss Ethel Goldfarb To Wed Corp. Rothman,” Jersey Journal, May 16, 1944, p. 22. New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1945; Surname Range: A – Z, New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016. Herbert Rothman, Birth Date: 26 Jul 1922
    Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018), Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger, 20 Sep 1921; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,292. 
  3.  Evelyn Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 1 Oct 1945, Marriage License Place: Queens, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Seymour M Hutchinson, License Number: 5965, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Queens, New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  4. Email from Sue Wartur, April 14, 2021. 
  5. “Fat Thug Gets $100 in Holdup,” Jersey Journal, June 29, 1951, p. 1. 
  6. “Store Held Up Fourth Time,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 1. 
  7. “Shots Fell ‘Toy Gun’ Bandit,” Jersey Journal, November 17, 1952, p. 1. 
  8. “Evelyn Goldfarb,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 10. “Miss Goldfarb, Jersey City, Wed to Samuel Block,” Hudson Dispatch, October 1952. Samuel Block
    Gender: Male, Birth Date: 17 Sep 1922, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey
    Death Date: 3 Nov 1988, Father: Meyer Block, Mother:Gussie Greenberg
    SSN: 140185188, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9.  Ida Goldfarb, Death Date: Mar 1966, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1966; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017. Family records. 
  10. Julius Goldfarb, Death Date: 20 Nov 1968, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1968; Surname Range: A-G; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 

The Gumps and the Business of Alcohol, Part II

We saw last time that as of 1915 when their father Gabriel Gump died, his four sons, Abraham, Louis, Harry, and Joseph, were all engaged in the family liquor business and that three of the four were living in Baltimore, where they’d been born and raised.

As of 1920, things had changed for Abraham Gump, the oldest son.  He and his wife Jennie were living in Los Angeles, and Abraham listed no occupation on the 1920 census.  Their two daughters had married.  Etta, the older daughter, had married Joseph William Ketzky, who was a native of Alabama and a doctor. They would have two daughters.  Ruth, Abraham’s younger daughter, had married Leslie Holzman Lilienthal, who was also a native of Alabama.  In 1920, Ruth was living with Leslie in Selma, Alabama, with his parents, Henry and Annie Lilienthal.  Henry was a dry goods merchant, and Leslie was working as a clothing salesman (perhaps in his father’s store).

I wouldn’t have thought there was a Jewish community in Selma, Alabama, but as this photograph of Temple Mishkan Israel in that city suggests, there was quite a substantial one.  According to this site, the synagogue was founded in 1870 and had about 80 members in the 1910s and 1920s.

So how did two young women from Baltimore meet two men from Alabama? And how and why did their parents end up in Los Angeles? Well, according to his World War I draft registration, Joseph Ketzky had been a medical student at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore in 1917 and must have met Etta during that time.  Presumably Etta and Joseph then set Etta’s sister Ruth up with Leslie Lilienthal.  But I’ve no clue why Abraham and Jennie were living in California in 1920.

Joseph Ketzky World War I draft registration Registration State: Maryland; Registration County: Baltimore (Independent City); Roll: 1684137; Draft Board: 13

Joseph Ketzky World War I draft registration
Registration State: Maryland; Registration County: Baltimore (Independent City); Roll: 1684137; Draft Board: 13

Although I could not find him on the 1920 census, Louis Gump was still living in Baltimore according to several city directories from the early 1920s.  In all three directories Louis listed his occupation as a salesman.  Louis and Carrie’s daughter Rosalind and her family were also still in Baltimore; her husband Milton Wertheimer was a cigar manufacturer in 1920.

Harry Gump and his wife Mildred were still in Wilkes-Barre in 1920; Harry did not list an occupation on the census.  Joseph and Francella (Kohler) Gump were still in Baltimore, and whatever Joseph had entered as an occupation is crossed out and not legible on the 1920 census. In the 1922 Baltimore directory, Joseph gave his occupation as “investments.”

So what had happened to the family liquor business? Prohibition. The Eighteenth Amendment had been ratified on January 29, 1919, banning the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol. Although it did not take effect for another year, obviously the Gump brothers got out of the business before it was too late.  By 1920, Abraham, Louis, Harry, and even Joseph were in or close to their fifties, and all but Joseph no longer were supporting children.

It does not appear that they were too seriously affected by the loss of their business. After all, in 1925, Abraham and Jennie cruised to Cuba; they were back residing in Baltimore at that time. In 1929, they traveled to England. Louis and Carrie took a cruise to France in 1925. Harry and Mildred also cruised to France in 1925. Although they had to wait five additional years until 1930, even Joseph, Francella, and George got to take a trip to France that year.

By 1930, circumstances had changed again.  Abraham and Jennie were living in Atlantic City as of 1927, according to the city directory, but in 1930 they were again back in Baltimore, living with Etta and her two daughters. Although Etta still listed her marital status as married, by 1940 she reported that she was divorced.  She was quite an accomplished golfer, apparently, as I found numerous articles recounting her participation in golf tournaments.  Her younger sister Ruth had moved with her family to Columbus, Georgia, from Selma, Alabama, and her husband Leslie Lilienthal was a retail clothing merchant in Columbus.

English: A picture of Columbus in the 1940s.

English: A picture of Columbus in the 1940s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Louis Gump and his wife Carrie were still in Baltimore in 1930, and Louis was selling stocks and bonds.  Their daughter Rosalind and her family were also still living in Baltimore where Milton was still a cigar manufacturer.

Harry and Mildred were still in Wilkes-Barre in 1930; Harry was retired.  And Joseph Gump and his wife and his son George were in Baltimore; Joseph was also retired.

Harry was the first of the brothers to die; he died at age 69 on June 23, 1937, in New York City, where he and Mildred had moved four years earlier. His obituary ran in two Wilkes-Barre papers:

Wilkes-Barre Record, June 24, 1937, p. 11

Wilkes-Barre Record, June 24, 1937, p. 11

His older brother Abraham died three years later on May 8, 1940; he was 77:

Baltimore Sun, May 9, 1940, p. 6

Baltimore Sun, May 9, 1940, p. 6

Three years later, the youngest Gump brother, Joseph, died on March 27, 1943. He was 72:

Baltimore Sun, March 28, 1943, p. 128

Baltimore Sun, March 28, 1943, p. 128

Louis Gump lived the longest; he died at age 87 on September 16, 1951.  He had outlived his wife Carrie, who had died in 1940, and had been living with his daughter Rosalind and her family.

As for the four Gump grandchildren, Rosalind lost her husband Milton in 1946; she lived until 1974 and died in Baltimore at age 86.  Abraham’s daughter Etta Gump Ketsky died in 1953 at 57; she had never remarried.  Her sister Ruth Gump Lilienthal died one month shy of her 100th birthday in 1999 in Columbus, Georgia.

Joseph’s son George Gump served in the US Navy during World War II and became a tax lawyer; he died in 1988 when he was 79.

Baltimore Sun, September 16, 1988, p. 91

Baltimore Sun, September 16, 1988, p. 91

This snapshot of the lives of the four sons of Gabriel Gump and Henrietta Mansbach and their children provided me with some insights into the effect that Prohibition had on some families in the US.  Gabriel Gump had established a very successful wholesale liquor business in Baltimore, so successful that it was able to support all four of his sons and their families up until Prohibition.  But that business was shut down by Prohibition.
Even after Prohibition, however, the family lived quite comfortably.  By 1933, when Prohibition was finally repealed by the 21st Amendment, the four Gump brothers were more or less retired and still apparently living well on whatever they’d earned from the business.  They do not appear to have suffered from the destruction of their family business and lived relatively full and uneventful lives.
That brings me to the end of my research about the three Mansbach cousins, the niece and nephews of my great-great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein.  Next, I will return to Gerson and his family.