How Felix Goldsmith’s Children Honored His Difficult Life

The story of Felix Goldsmith’s life after 1900 is a sad one. In searching for articles about him, I first found two articles that suggested he was doing very well. He had left Denver by 1908 and moved with his wife Fanny and two children Clarence and Ethel to Cincinnati, where Fanny’s family lived and where she’d been born and raised. It looked like Felix was investing in real estate for a new business:

“Real Estate and Building,” The Cincinnati Inquirer, June 14, 1908, p. 7

A second article two days later also portrayed Felix as a successful entrepreneur:

“Hard Times A Joke to Man Who Plugs On,” Cincinnati Post, June 16, 1908, p. 10

“Greater Cincinnati is assured, for the business men stick till they get through with a thing.”

This is Felix S. Goldsmith’s verdict. He is one of the younger men who are shoving the Queen City to the front.

Hard times? Not for him. He wasn’t a bit bluffed upon getting out of a hospital from a long siege of sickness just when the calamity howlers were busy. He plunged in, organized the Freericks Hot Water System Co. and demonstrated that HARD TIMES was a joke in Cincinnati.

Goldsmith will hire over 300 extra men in a few days.

Goldsmith is also largely interested in the real estate movement. He is President of the Fernbank Real Estate Co. For several years prior to his removal to Cincinnati he was one of the high-ranking engineers of the Colorado district.   

He is self-made.

The only hint of trouble here is the reference to “a long siege of illness” and hospitalization. But a month later the rest of the story began to come to light, as seen in this article from the Denver Post on July 27, 1908:

“Arrest Denverite Because Checks Came Back,” Denver Post, July 27, 1908, p. 4

Felix S. Goldsmith, former Denver mining promoter, who for the past year has conducted an office in this city, and who is interested in exploiting a new morning newspaper here, to be called the Morning Mail, was arrested late last night on the charge of passing worthless checks on the Idaho Springs National bank of Colorado.

Half a dozen merchants who hold checks marked “No funds,” made complaint against him. Goldsmith claims the checks were among those sent him by T.S. Richards of Denver, who, he says, is interested with him in vast mining properties there, and has an office in the First National Bank building. The drafts, he says, were first made out on the Idaho Springs bank, and deposited in the Continental National bank of Denver.

Goldsmith says he has been suffering from nervous prostration for three years, and that relatives in Denver tried in vain to have him adjudged insane. The police have been trying to get in touch with relatives, but he refuses to give any definite information concerning their residence. He had, up to late tonight, been unable to get any one to furnish bail for his release.

The Cincinnati Enquirer of July 27, 1908 revealed more of the background to Felix’s troubles:

“Goldsmith—Was Patient at City Hospital, Lavishing Flowers, Candy, and Fruit on Nurses,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, July 27, 1908, p. 10.

With the arrest of Felix Goldsmith at the instance of W.C. Seekatz, manager of the Florsheim Shoe Company, an avalanche of flowers and candy will cease at the City Hospital. As late as last November Goldsmith was a patient at that institution, an inmate for the neurological ward.

He was admitted to the hospital September 26, 1907, from the Rand Hotel and placed on the service of Dr. Herman Hopps, the alienist. At that time Goldsmith showed such decided symptoms of paranoia, having hallucinations of wealth and grandeur, that the physicians decided to probate him.

In some way Goldsmith got wind of this and demanded his discharge, which he received on November 28. While in the ward Goldsmith formed a strange friendship with Al Milton, also a neurological patient, which after his liberation he showed in many ways. Only last we andek Milton received a check from him for $2, with a letter stating that in a few days he would make him comfortable for life. To the nurses who waited off him and others with whom he became acquainted during his sojourn at the hospital Goldsmith was most lavishly generous. Scarcely a day passed when they were not to be the recipients of boxes of flowers and candy and baskets of fruit. These were always accompanied with his card, without an address, which prevented the return of these unwelcome presents.

Four days later, the paper reported that Felix had been committed to a psychiatric hospital at his wife’s request:

“Longview—Felix S. Goldsmith, Promoter of a Newspaper, Is Committed at His Wife’s Request,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, July 31, 1908, p. 10

Felix S. Goldsmith, erstwhile promoter of newspapers and other big enterprises, as well as alleged layer of protested checks, was committed to Longview by Drs. David and Kendig, the Probate Court examining physicians, yesterday. Goldsmith was before the Court on a lunacy warrant sworn to by his wife, Fannie Goldsmith, of 3004 Stanton avenue, who was later named as his guardian by the Probate Court.

Goldsmith is 49 years of age, and has one son, Clarence, aged 19. The certificate of the physicians states that he is irritable and quarrelsome and hard to control; that he has a suicidal mania and carried a revolver, and that he has ideas of great wealth and believes that he is being persecuted. To the physicians he stated that he is a promoter, and that he is running a newspaper, and that he has friends who are ready to advance him large sums to promote various businesses. The cause of his mental trouble is attributed to worry over his business ventures. Attorney Frank Heinsheimer represented the wife in her action.

On Sunday, May 17, Goldsmith had a sensational encounter with his brother-in-law, Albert S. Rosenthal, in Avondale, and the next day Rosenthal secured a lunacy warrant for him. Goldsmith evaded arrest on the warrant for a few days, and then gave himself up, declaring that he could easily prove his sanity. However, the warrant was never pressed and no inquiry was had at that time. The warrant, which was never withdrawn, was destroyed yesterday when Mrs. Goldsmith made the affidavit for her husband’s arrest.

Within the past week or two Goldsmith had given a number of checks which the recipients were trying to have him take up, and as the result of one of these he was arrested. Then the lunacy warrant was secured. Goldsmith promoted a new newspaper to be known as the Morning Mail, but further incorporating nothing seems to have been done.

This whole story is incredibly sad. Felix obviously had had some kind of psychotic break. The antiquated terminology like “lunacy” and the newspaper coverage seem so stigmatizing. Today one hopes that there is a better understanding of a psychosis like that suffered by Felix.

I could not find Felix on the 1910 census; I assume that he was still institutionalized. Felix’s wife Fannie and children Clarence and Ethel continued to live in Cincinnati. In 1910, they were living with Fannie’s sister Hannah Wachtel and her children. Fannie was working as a bookkeeper in a wholesale clothing store.

Fannie Rosenthal Goldsmith and children, 1910 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 3, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: T624_1189; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0043; FHL microfilm: 1375202, 1910 United States Federal Census

The next record I have for Felix is his death certificate. Felix died from a cerebral hemorrhage on January 18, 1919. He was 59 years old:

Kentucky Death Records, 1911-1965,” database, FamilySearch ( : 2 January 2019), Felix Goldsmith, 1919; citing Death, Lakeland, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States, certificate , Office of Vital Statistics, Frankfort; FHL microfilm 1,952,863.

He died in Central State Hospital in Lakeland, Kentucky. The doctor who signed the death certificate attested that Felix had been under his care since August 2, 1916, and the certificate also revealed that Felix had been in this hospital for seven years, ten months, and two days, or since November 16, 1911. This hospital still exists as an adult psychiatric hospital and was formerly known as the Central Kentucky Asylum for the Insane. How terribly sad that Felix had to spend so many years institutionalized.

His wife Fannie did not remarry. In 1920 she was living with her two grown children in Cincinnati. Clarence, now thirty, was a traveling salesman for a glassware company, and Ethel, 24, was a psychologist in juvenile court.1

On September 7, 1928, Ethel married Harry Muegel in Cincinnati. Harry was the son of Peter Muegel and Elizabeth Plaspohl and was born on December 12, 1895, in Cincinnati.  He was a student at the time of their marriage, and Ethel was a psychologist.

Marriage record for Ethel Goldsmith and Harry Muegel, Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

In 1930, Fannie, Clarence, Ethel and Harry were living together in Silverton, Ohio. Ethel continued to work as a psychologist. Her husband Harry was a public school teacher. Clarence was also working in juvenile court now—as a probation office.2 According to this article, Clarence was the Assistant Chief Probation Office in charge of the Boys’ Delinquency Department of Juvenile Court and was “regarded as a state authority in his field.”

I find it fascinating that both Ethel and her brother Clarence ended up working with children in trouble. I have to wonder whether their father’s experience with mental illness influenced their career choices.

In April 1931, Clarence was engaged to Leona Rosenbaum. She was the daughter of David Rosenbaum and Lydia Miller and was born in Baltimore on September 5, 1900. Her father owned a drugstore, and in 1930 Leona was working as a teacher in a parochial school and living with her parents in Cincinnati.3 Although I was able to find the engagement announcement in the newspaper, I could not locate a marriage record or announcement, but I did find references to Mrs. Leona Goldsmith and Mrs. Clarence Goldsmith  in the Cincinnati papers starting in 1932, so they must have married by then. An article in the July 2, 1936, Cincinnati Enquirer (p. 12) referred to Clarence as the assistant chief engineer of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, indicating that he had left his juvenile court position for work in the insurance industry.

Things thus seemed to be going well for Felix Goldsmith’s family as of 1936; his children were both married, and both had meaningful careers. But then tragedy struck twice in one month. On May 1, Felix’s widow Fannie Rosenthal Goldsmith died from chronic nephritis and hypertension; she was 74.

Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1937 > 29701-32800 > image 2781 of 3325.

Just two weeks later, Ethel Goldsmith Muegel, Felix and Fannie’s 42 year old daughter, died suddenly on May 15, 1937, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where, according to her obituary, she had gone to recuperate from a “physical breakdown suffered when working for the Red Cross during the flood in Cincinnati.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer, 17 May 1937, Mon, Page 9

According to the Ohio History Central website, “In 1937, southern Ohio faced one of the worst floods in its history. The flood was particularly difficult for the city of Cincinnati, where flood levels reached almost eighty feet. Communities along the Ohio River in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois also faced serious problems. As the flood waters rose, gas tanks exploded and oil fires erupted on the river. Parts of Cincinnati remained under water for nineteen days, and electricity and fresh water were in short supply. Many people lost their homes as a result of the flood. The Ohio River Flood of 1937 caused more than twenty million dollars in damages.”

Ethel Goldsmith Muegel had sacrificed her health and ultimately her life to help those in need.

Cincinnati flood, 1937, Huntington District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Clarence Goldsmith had lost his mother and his younger sister in the space of two weeks. That seems unimaginable.

In 1940, Clarence and his wife Leona were living in Cincinnati where he was working as an insurance agent.4 Sadly, Clarence died six years later on January 29, 1946, at the age of 56.

“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1946 > 03001-06100 > image 558 of 3479.

According to his obituary, he died from a heart ailment. His obituary also stated that as well as working as an insurance agent, he was the president of the Big Brothers Association and former assistant chief probation officer in Juvenile Court and that he had given “his time and experience to help boys from undesirable home environments to develop into fine men and valuable citizens.”5 The obituary continued:

He and fellow “big brothers” took such unfortunate juveniles under their wing, befriending them and offering moral help. Mr. Goldsmith had received letters from servicemen all over the world thanking him for giving them a new slant on life.

Clarence Goldsmith, The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 30, 1946, p. 8.

Neither Clarence nor Ethel had children, so there are no descendants of Felix Goldsmith or his children. All three died before reaching age sixty. Felix certainly struggled in his life, dealing with psychiatric issues that caused him to be institutionalized, leaving his wife Fannie and his two children to go on without him.  His children found ways to help other children who also might have endured difficult issues at home—Ethel as a psychologist in juvenile court, Clarence as a probation officer and then as a volunteer with Big Brothers.  What a noble way to honor their father’s memory. I hope by telling their story I have honored theirs as well.


  1. Fannie Goldsmith, 1920 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 13, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: T625_1391; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 236, 1920 United States Federal Census 
  2. Goldsmith, Muegel, 1930 US census, Census Place: Silverton, Hamilton, Ohio; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0317; FHL microfilm: 2341552, 1930 United States Federal Census 
  3. David Rosenbaum and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio; Page: 23B; Enumeration District: 0147; FHL microfilm: 2341545, 1930 United States Federal Census; Number: 285-26-7672; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: Before 1951, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014  
  4. Clarence Goldsmith, 1940 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03194; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 91-208, 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. “Clarence Goldsmith,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 30, 1946, p. 8. 

An Adventurous Spirit: Amalie Schoenthal and Her Children

When I read my great-great-uncle Henry Schoenthal’s diary and learned that his little sister Malchen (later, Amalie, then Amelia, but I will call her Amalie throughout) was the first of his siblings to express an interest in following him from Germany to the US, I was intrigued.  She was only twenty years old and not yet married.  Who was this adventurous young woman?

Amalie Schoenthal arrived in Pennsylvania in September, 1867, and in 1870, she was living in Pittsburgh with her aunt Fanny Schoenthal Goldmith and her family and working as a domestic.  In 1872, she married Elias Wolfe, the cattle drover, with whom she had six children between 1873 and 1885: Maurice, Florence (usually referred to as Flora), Lee (named for Amalie’s father Levi), Ira, Henrietta (or Etta, named for Amalie’s mother Henriette), and Herbert.  Although Amalie’s life was likely very traditional for a married woman with six children, some of her children seemed to have inherited her adventurous spirit.  Unlike most of the children and grandchildren of her older sister Hannah who stayed in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area for generations, most of the children of Amalie and Elias Wolfe ventured to places quite distant from Pittsburgh.

In 1899, Flora Wolfe, then 24 years old, was the first of the children of Amalie and Elias to marry.  She married Lehman Goldman on June 1, 1899, as described here:

Flora Wolfe wedding pt 1 Jewish Criterion 6 2 1899

FLora Wolfe wedding pt 2

Flora Wolfe wedding pt 3

Jewish Criterion, June 2, 1899, pp.8-9


From the description of the wedding, it would seem that Elias Wolfe must have been doing quite well in his business as a cattle drover.  A fancy wedding attended by over a hundred people would probably have been considered quite large in those times.  Flora’s maid of honor was her first cousin, Edith Stern, daughter of Hannah Schoenthal Stern.  Among the many guests, the last paragraph lists my great-grandparents, Isidore and Hilda (Katzenstein) Schoenthal, and their sons, my great-uncles Lester and Gerson, who would have been ten and seven years old at the time, respectively.

Flora’s groom, Lehman (sometimes spelled Leman) Goldman, was born in Baltimore in 1876, as was his father, Samuel Goldman, who was working as an insurance agent in 1900, according to the census.  After marrying, Flora and Lehman were living with Lehman’s family in Pittsburgh, and Lehman was working as a traveling salesman in the “furnishing goods” business.  I assume that that is another term for dry goods or clothing.

Flora and Lehman had four children in the first nine years of their marriage: Kenneth LeRoy (1901), Helen (1903), Donald (1905), and Marjorie (1907).

Flora’s sister and four brothers were still living at home with their parents Amalie (now called Amelia) and Elias Wolfe in 1900.  Elias was still a drover.  Maurice, now 27, and Lee, now 22, were clerks in a furnishings store. Ira was nineteen and working as a stenographer.  The two youngest children, Henrietta, seventeen, and Herbert, twelve, were still in school.

Elias Wolfe and family, 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1355; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0018; FHL microfilm: 1241355

Elias Wolfe and family, 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Allegheny Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1355; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0018; FHL microfilm: 1241355

Lee must have married shortly after 1900 (although I cannot find any record or news story to confirm it) because he and his wife Wilhelmina (Minnie) Heisch had a son named Lloyd on February 25, 1902, and a daughter named Ruth in 1905.  Minnie’s parents, John Heisch and Christine Kress, were born in Germany, and John was a carpenter.  Although I found newspaper announcements of engagements and marriages for Minnie’s siblings, I did not find one for Minnie and Lee nor did I find any mention of the marriage in the Jewish Criterion.  According to the entry in the 1908 Pittsburgh city directory, Lee was in the paper bag business.

His brother Maurice, the oldest son, was living with his parents in 1908 and working as a salesman.  Their sister Etta was working as a bookkeeper and also living at home.

Etta Wolfe 1908 directory U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

By 1910 and perhaps even earlier, Ira Wolfe had left Pennsylvania and moved to San Francisco.  He was 28 years old, working as a cashier for a lamp company, and lodging in someone’s home, according to the 1910 census. Herbert, the youngest child of Amalie and Elias Wolfe had also moved away by 1910; Herbert was 25 and had moved to Detroit where in 1910 he was working as a machinist and in 1911 as a sign writer. Thus, by 1910, the two youngest sons of Amalie and Elias had left for far off places.  I can’t help but wonder what drove them to move away from the place where their extended family was living.  Did they inherit their mother’s adventurous spirit? Or was it something else?

All the other Wolfes were still in Pittsburgh in 1910.  Etta was living with her parents at the time of the census in April, but she married Maximillian Joseph Wise on June 2, 1910.  Max was a German immigrant; although I cannot find him on the 1900 census, there was a Max Wise listed on the 1910 census who was living in Pittsburgh on Mellon Street, the same address given in the marriage announcement in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Etta Wolfe wedding notice


Max Wise was a traveling salesman residing as a lodger in the residence of others at the time of the 1910 census.

I cannot find Maurice Wolfe on the 1910 census, but he is listed as living in Canonsburg in both the 1909 and 1911 directories for Washington, Pennsylvania, selling men’s furnishings.  His brother Lee was still living in Pittsburgh with his wife Minnie and their two children, Lloyd and Ruth; Lee was then a wrapping paper salesman.

As for Flora (Florence, here), at the time of the 1910 census she and her husband Lehman Goldman were also still living in Pittsburgh where Lehman was a clothing merchant.  Their four children were eight, six, four, and just about two years old when the census was taken on April 15, 1910.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1302; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0416; FHL microfilm: 1375315

Year: 1910; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 11, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1302; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0416; FHL microfilm: 1375315

Just five months later the Wolfe/Goldman families suffered a terrible loss.  Flora Wolfe Goldman, only 35 years old, died on September 30, 1910, from puerperal fever, also known as childbed fever.

Flora Wolfe death certificate Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Flora Wolfe death certificate Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Daily Post, October 3, 1910, p. 2

Pittsburgh Daily Post, October 3, 1910, p. 2

According to, puerperal fever is:

Fever due to an infection after childbirth, usually of the placental site within the uterus. If the infection involves the bloodstream, it constitutes puerperal sepsis. Childbed fever was once a common cause of death for women of childbearing age, but it is now comparatively rare in the developed world due to improved sanitary practices in midwifery and obstetrics. Also known as childbirth fever and puerperal fever.

Since there is no record of another child born to Flora and Lehman, I assume that either the baby was stillborn or died shortly thereafter or that Flora had miscarried.  Flora left behind her 34 year old husband and four very young children.  Lehman remarried three years later on March 8, 1913; his second wife was Helene Hoffa, and they would have four more children together between 1914 and 1923.

Six months after Flora died, on March 3, 1911, Etta and Max Wise had their first child, a daughter whom they named Florence Emily, undoubtedly for Etta’s sister.  A second child, a boy named Irving, was born the following year on October 12, 1912.  In 1913, Etta and Max Wise relocated to Middletown, Ohio, where he opened a clothing store, as evidenced by the obituary written years later when Max Wise died,  seen below.

I was curious about Middletown, Ohio and what drew Max and Etta to relocate there.  Middletown is located roughly halfway between Cinncinati, Ohio, and Dayton, Ohio, and is about 280 miles west of Pittsburgh.  According to the Middletown Historical Society website, the town, which started as an agricultural community, experienced tremendous growth in the 19th and early 20th century due to industrialization:

During the 1800’s and early 1900s Middletown became this bustling municipality due to the growth of industry.  Many entrepreneurs developed their businesses and with the addition of ARMCO (now AK Steel) founded by George M. Verity, and Sorg Paper Company founded by Paul J. Sorg.

As reported on Wikipedia, the population of Middletown surged in these years, going from about 3,000 people in 1870 to over 9,000 by 1900 and to more than 23,000 by 1920.  Max Wise must have seen it as a place of great opportunity; as they say on the old commercial for Barney’s clothing store in New York City, everyone needs clothes.

But were there Jews there? From the American Jewish Archives website, I found this information about the Jewish community in Middletown when Max and Etta Wise moved there:

In 1903, ten Orthodox Jewish families rented a small room on Clinton Street in which to hold services.  Under the leadership of new Russian immigrant, Mr. Schomer, they rented a single Torah and created a makeshift Ark.  As the Orthodox community grew, the rented shul on Clinton Street became too small for weekly Shabbat services, and in 1915, the community bought a structure on First Avenue, across from the public library.  Rabbi Gilsey assumed the pulpit, and a regular religious school was formed. Three years later, in 1918, the shul was incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio under the name “Anshe Sholom Yehudah Congregation.”  By 1920 there were approximately thirty-five families in the congregation, all of whom spoke mainly Yiddish.

The tragic death of Flora Wolfe Goldman in 1910 was not the only loss that the Wolfe family would suffer during the decade of the 1910s. On December 27, 1913, Elias Wolfe died at age 74 from heart disease.

Elias Wolfe death certificate Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Elias Wolfe death certificate Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Sometime after Elias died, Amalie Schoenthal Wolfe moved to Middletown, Ohio, as she is listed in the Middletown city directory for 1917.  Amalie obviously wanted to be closer to her only surviving daughter and her Ohio grandchildren.

Etta and Max Wise had four more sons after moving to Ohio: Richard Elias (1915), Max, Jr. (1917), Robert (1919), and Warren Harding Wise, born on September 19, 1920.  I guess we know who Max and Etta (if she voted since the 19th amendment had just been ratified on August 19, 1920) voted for in the 1920 Presidential election—the native son candidate from Ohio, Warren Harding.  I wonder how little Warren Harding Wise felt when he learned that his namesake was involved in the Teapot Dome scandal as well as other scandals, which were revealed in the years after Harding’s untimely death in office in 1923.

English: Warren G. Harding, by Harris & Ewing.

English: Warren G. Harding, by Harris & Ewing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meanwhile, out in California, Ira Wolfe was having his own troubles.  On June 29, 1911, he married Ada Piver in San Francisco. Just over six months later in January, 1912, Ada sued him for divorce, claiming “extreme cruelty,” as detailed in these two news articles.

San Francisco Chronicle, January 18, 1912, p. 16

San Francisco Chronicle, January 18, 1912, p. 16


Ira Wolfe divorce 2

Ira Wolfe broken toys

San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 1913, p. 10

And if we think that social media and tabloids today have undermined all attempts at maintaining some privacy and dignity, this news article indicates that the public’s taste for gossip has always been a way of selling newspapers:

Ira and Ada Wolfe dine together

Ira Wolfe and Ada dine together

There’s no way of knowing the truth of Ada’s allegations (and I could find no follow-up story describing the court’s ruling in the case).  Assuming there was some truth to her descriptions of Ira’s temper, drinking, and violent nature, perhaps it is not surprising that he had moved so far from his home in Pittsburgh.

Ira’s younger brother Herbert, still living in Detroit, married Elsa Repp on June 24, 1916.  Elsa was a Detroit native, the daughter of John and Amelia Repp, who were also both American-born.  In 1910, John Repp was working as a metal polisher, and Elsa was working as a box maker in a laboratory.

Back in the Pittsburgh area, only two of Amalie and Elias Wolfe’s children remained.  Maurice Wolfe had married by 1917 according to his World War I draft registration.  I’ve not been able to find anything about his wife’s background; all I know is that her first name was May and that she was born around 1880 in New York, according to the 1920 census record.  In 1917, Maurice and May were living in Pittsburgh, and Maurice, who was lame in one leg, was working as an inspector for Westinghouse. As far as I can tell, they did not have any children.

Maurice Wolfe World War I draft registration Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1909278; Draft Board: 18

Maurice Wolfe World War I draft registration
Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Allegheny; Roll: 1909278; Draft Board: 18

By 1917, Lee Wolfe and his wife Minnie had moved to Dormont, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh about four miles south.  Lee was the local manager of the Interstate Folding Box Company.  On the 1920 census, Lee, Minnie, and their two children, now teenagers, were still living in Dormont, and Lee was still working for a paper company as a commercial salesman.

Lee Wolfe and family, 1920 census Year: 1920; Census Place: Dormont, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1511; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 882; Image: 267

Lee Wolfe and family, 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Dormont, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1511; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 882; Image: 267

Lee’s brother Maurice was also still in Pittsburgh in 1920, working as a government clerk, but by 1923 he had relocated to Middletown, Ohio, where his mother and his sister Etta were living.  I cannot find Maurice on the 1930 census, but he was listed in the Middletown directory for that year.  On the 1940 census, he was still in Middletown, working as a salesman, and divorced.  Although I can’t be certain, I assume his marriage ended before he left Pittsburgh, but since I have no records for his wife May other than Maurice’s draft registration and the 1920 census, I can’t be sure.

In 1920, Max and Etta and their children continued to live in Middletown where Max was the proprietor of a clothing store.  Herbert Wolfe and his wife Elsa were still living in Detroit where Herbert was now working as an installer for the telephone company according to the 1920 census.

Although Ira Wolfe was listed as a salesman in the 1917 San Francisco directory, I cannot find a World War I draft registration for him nor can I find him on the 1920 census.  The last possible record I have for him is a listing on the Chicago, Illinois marriage index showing an Ira J. Wolfe marrying a woman named Agnes Resa on July 17, 1920.  I did find Agnes on the 1920 census, taken before she married.  She was thirty years old, born in Illinois, and living with her mother and brother in Chicago.  Agnes was working as a comptometer for the railroad.  What is a comptometer, I wondered? Apparently it was not itself an occupation, but a machine—a very early form of what today we would call an adding machine or a calculator.  I assume that Agnes operated a comptometer for the railroad.

English: Comptometer - model E Français : Comp...

English: Comptometer – model E Français : Comptomètre – modèle E (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Thus, as of 1923, of the five surviving children of Amalie Schoenthal Wolfe, only Lee Wolfe was still living in Pittsburgh.  Maurice and Etta were in Middletown, Ohio; Herbert was in Detroit; Ira was in Chicago.  And Flora Wolfe Goldman’s children were living in Atlantic City, where Lehman and his family had moved by 1920.

Their mother Amalie/Amelia Schoenthal Wolfe was living in Middletown when she died on February 10, 1924.

Amelia Wolfe death notice

Hamilton (Ohio) Evening Journal. February 12, 1924, p. 2

Hamilton (Ohio) Evening Journal. February 12, 1924, p. 2

Just ten days later, her will was filed for probate:

Amelia Wolfe will

I found this very interesting.  I am not surprised that Amalie (or Amelia) left her personal property to her only surviving daughter Etta; after all, she had been living with her for many years.  But I did find it surprising that she named her daughter Etta, not one of her sons, as the one to execute her will, in an era where men primarily took on such roles.

In addition, Amalie left $25 to each of her Goldman granddaughters—including Fay and Celeste, who were not even her blood relatives, but born to Lehman Goldman and his second wife Helen.  Why not any of her grandsons? I understand why she only left the money to the Goldman grandchildren; since she was leaving the remainder of her estate to her surviving children, Flora’s children needed to be taken care of separately.  But why not the boys? I’d like to think that Amalie was protecting the women in the family—making her daughter the executrix and only leaving money to her granddaughters.  Perhaps she thought that the boys would be more able to take care of themselves in a world where women were still very dependent on men for support. I would like to think that Amalie, that adventurous young woman who had been eager to move to America , was somewhat of a feminist, treating her daughter and granddaughters favorably in her will to encourage their own independence.

I also noticed that she did not include her son Ira as one of her five surviving children in her will.  When I saw that, I assumed that Ira had been disowned or had died by the time of Amalie’s death.  Then I found this news article on page 14 of the Daily Register-Gazette of Rockford, Illinois, dated July 24, 1924, five months after Amalie died:

Ira Wolfe death highlights


This is clearly the same Ira J. Wolfe who married Agnes Resa on July 20, 1917, in Chicago.  Can I be certain that this was Ira J. Wolfe, the son of Amalie and Elias Wolfe? According to the 1900 census, their son Ira J. Wolfe was born in June 1880, so he would have been 44, not 42, in July, 1924.  Close enough?  According to this article, he had been a general sales manager for a fuse company in Detroit; my Ira J. Wolfe had been a salesman for Pittsburgh Electric Company in San Francisco, so in the same field of electrical products.  My Ira had a brother, Herbert, living in Detroit and then working for the phone company.  Is this enough circumstantial evidence to support my assumption that the Ira J. Wolfe who married Agnes Resa and died in July, 1924, was the son of Amalie Schoenthal Wolfe?  If so, he was still living when his mother Amalie died and thus was intentionally excluded from her will.

The 1930 census records for the surviving Wolfe siblings show that not much changed between 1920 and 1930.  Lee was still in the paper business in Pittsburgh; his two children were now in their 20s.  Lloyd, 28, was still living at home and working as a gas station attendant.  His sister Ruth, 25, was also living at home and not employed.

Max and Etta were still in Middletown, Ohio, living with all of their children, who now ranged in age from nine to nineteen; Max still owned a clothing store.   Etta’s brother Maurice was also still living in Middletown, as noted above.  Herbert and Elsa continued to live in Detroit, where Herbert was a car salesman now.  They had had a child in 1925.

As for the children of Flora Wolfe Goldman, by 1930 they were adults. Kenneth LeRoy (known as LeRoy K.) Goldman, Flora’s oldest child, was still living with his father and stepmother and half-siblings in 1930, working as a men’s clothing salesman. His sister Helen Goldman had married Bertie Kenneth Paget in 1926 and was living with him and their two year old daughter in Queens, New York, in 1930.  Bertie was in the publishing business.  Donald Goldman was living in Atlantic City in 1930 and was married to Marguerite Simpson; their daughter was born in 1931.  Marjorie Goldman married John Lynn in 1929, and in 1930 they were living in Philadelphia where John was an insurance salesman.  They would have two children in the 1930s.

On November 19, 1934, Max Wise died at age 60:

Obituary for Max J. Wise, The Journal News (Hamilton, Ohio) , November 20, 1934 p 2.

Obituary for Max J. Wise,
The Journal News (Hamilton, Ohio) , November 20, 1934 p 2.

According to the obituary, Max had been in poor health, but died rather suddenly.  He was survived by Etta, who was 50 years old, and his six children, who ranged from fourteen to 23 when they lost their father.

The 1940 census found all the remaining Wolfe siblings in the same locations as 1930: Maurice was in Middletown working as a salesman. Etta was also in Middletown with five of her six children still living with her; they all were now in their 20s, except Warren, who was 19.  Only Irving had moved out; he was married and living in Miamisburg, Ohio, less than fifteen miles from Middletown.  Lee Wolfe was still in Pittsburgh, still selling paper, and living with his wife and his two children, who were now in their 30s. Herbert continued to live with his wife and child in Detroit where he was the sales manager for the Detroit Auto Club.  Thus, although the Wolfe siblings other than Lee had spread quite far from Pittsburgh, once they settled elsewhere, they stayed put.

Maurice Wolfe died in Middletown, Ohio, in 1941.  His brother Herbert died in Detroit in 1951.  Etta Wolfe Wise died in Middletown in 1957.  Lee Wolfe lived to be almost 100 years old, dying in 1975 in the Pittsburgh area where he had lived his entire life.

Today we take for granted that our children will move away from the town where they were raised and that we will have to travel to see them.  I sometimes wish for the “olden days” when children and grandchildren grew up in the same place where they were raised and multiple generations lived close by—whether it was a shtetl in Poland, a small town in Germany, or the Lower East Side of New York.  I am sure I have romanticized the notion far beyond the reality.  Nevertheless, it certainly was the general rule at least until after World War II that in many families, family members tended to stay put.  My Cohen and Nussbaum relatives stayed for the most part in Philadelphia; my Brotman and Goldschlager relatives stayed in the greater NYC area.

The children of Amalie Schoenthal Wolfe seemed to be ahead of their times, moving far from home and from each other.  I don’t know what motivated them all to move apart, but I’d like to think that it was the same spirit of adventure that led their mother Amalie, when she was still Malchen Schoenthal, to be the first sibling to express a desire to leave Sielen, Germany, and move to the United States to join her big brother Henry.







Ernst Nusbaum and Family in the 1880s: Years of Growth and Movement

There is one more line of the Nusbaum clan to complete, that of John’s younger brother Ernst.  Since it’s been two months since I last wrote about Ernst and his family, I thought I would first summarize what he and his family were doing in 1880 and where they had been before then.  Then we can bring Ernst and his family up to the 20th century.  Today I will discuss the 1880s.  I’ve included a series of Google Maps to show how much this family moved around in the 1880s.

Ernst is the Nusbaum sibling who may have lived in Philadelphia first and never lived anywhere else after settling there by 1851 when his first child Arthur was born.  Ernst was married to Clarissa Arnold, and in the 1850s he was a clothing merchant in Philadelphia with his firm,  Nusbaum, Arnold, and Nirdlinger.  Between 1851 and 1861, he and Clarissa had six children: Arthur, Myer, Fanny, Edgar, Henrietta, and Frank.  During the 1860s, Ernst continued to work in the clothing business with Nusbaum, Arnold, and Nirdlinger, and his children continued to grow.

The next decade presented serious financial challenges for Ernst and his family.  His company declared bankruptcy in 1870, and for much of the decade I could not find a listing that showed what Ernst was doing for a living.  Meanwhile, his oldest children were entering the workforce and getting married.  Between 1876 and 1879, Arthur married Henrietta Hilbronner, Fannie married Jacob Hano, Myer married Rosalie Aub, and Edgar married Viola Barritt.  Several grandchildren were born as well.  By 1880, only Henrietta and Frank, the two youngest children, were still living at home.

In 1880, Ernst was 64 and working as a cloak manufacturer, according to the 1880 census.  Until 1884, he and Clarissa continued to live in the same home where they had lived for many years and raised their children at 2105 Green Street.  In 1884 they were now listed as living at 2028 Mt. Vernon Street where they would remain throughout the decade.  Ernst was also continuing to work in the cloaks business throughout these years.

After his brother John died in 1889, Ernst was the only Nusbaum sibling left in the United States.  He and Clarissa continued to live in the same home, and he continued to work in the cloaks business into the 1890s when he was in his seventies.

As for the children of Ernst and Clarissa in the 1880s, their oldest child Arthur and his wife Henrietta had four children between 1877 and 1895: Florence (1877), Sidney (1879), Horace (1885), and Stella (1889).  In 1880 Arthur, Clarissa, and the two oldest children were living with Henrietta’s parents at 938 North 7th Street, and Arthur was working as a clothing cutter, presumably for his father-in-law, who was a clothing manufacturer.  In 1883 and 1884, Arthur is listed as a tailor, still living at his in-laws residence at 938 North 7th Street.  In 1885, he is listed at 1338 Franklin Avenue as he is in 1887, working as a salesman, and in 1888 he is living at 1814 Franklin with no occupation specified.  In 1890 they had moved again, now living at 1732 Gratz Street, and Arthur was working as a cutter.

Myer, the second child of Ernst and Clarissa, and his wife Rosalie Aub had two children, Corinne (1878) and Jacob (1879).  In 1880 Myer was working as a bookkeeper for a clothing company.  The family was living at 979 North 7th Street.  In 1885 his residence as listed as 1825 North 8th Street; Myer continued to work as a bookkeeper.  But in the 1889 and 1890 directories his residence is again 979 North 7th Street, as it was also in 1891.  In each, his occupation is bookkeeping.

Fanny, the third child, and her husband Jacob Hano had six children between 1877 and 1891: Louis (1877), Ernest (1880), Samuel (1883), Myer (1885), Alfred (1890), and Clarence (1891).  Six boys.  Wow.  Although I am no longer surprised to see a Jewish child named for someone living, the fact that Fanny gave a son not only the same name as her father while he was still alive (his middle name was even Nusbaum), but also gave another son the same name as her brother did surprise me.

Fanny and Jacob had been living in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1880, where Jacob had declared bankruptcy in 1878, but Jacob was working once again as a clothier in 1880 in Youngstown.  By 1884, however, Fanny and Jacob and their children had moved back to Philadelphia to 1823 Poplar Street, and Jacob was working as a salesman.  By 1889, however, the Hano family had relocated again, this time to New York City, where Jacob was a book dealer.  The family was living at 967 Park Avenue in Manhattan in 1889.  Fanny and Jacob never again returned to live in the Philadelphia area, but stayed in greater New York.

Although Edgar Nusbaum and his wife Viola Barritt had not been living together according to the 1880 census, they had a daughter named Selena, born in 1881.  On the 1881 Philadelphia directory, Edgar is still listed at his parents’ residence at 2105 Green Street, working as a salesman, but by 1882 he had moved out to 1331 Girard Avenue and was working as a clerk. A year later he is listed as a bookkeeper living at 1922 Van Pelt, in 1884 as a clerk living at 1318 South Broad Street, and he is missing from the 1885 and 1887 directories.  Edgar reappears in 1888, living at yet another address (2029 North 11th Street), where they finally seemed to settle down for a number of years.

(I cannot imagine moving as often as these people seemed to move.  I’ve lived in only two places in the last 30 years and in only five places total my whole adult life (and only three places as a child).  These people seemed to move every year or so.  I guess they had less “stuff” so moving was easier.)

Henrietta, the fifth of the children of Ernst and Clarissa, married Frank Newhouse in 1883 in Philadelphia.  Frank was from Philadelphia, one of eleven children, and in 1860 when he was six years old, his household included a governess and three domestic servants as well as the nine children then alive and two adults.  His father Joseph Newhouse, a German native, gave his occupation as “gentleman” on the 1860 census.  He had real estate worth $40,000 as well as personal property also worth $40,000.

Frank and Henrietta (Nusbaum) Newhouse were living at 2028 Mt. Vernon Street in 1884, the same address where Henrietta’s parents were living at that time.  Frank and Henrietta would live with Ernst and Clarissa at that address for many years.  Although Frank’s occupation was given as salesman in some of the directories and as late as 1889, in 1890 he is listed as part of the firm of Rice and Newhouse, tailors. Since all the other entries said he was a salesman, I thought the 1890 listing seems anomalous and perhaps wrong. But I checked the 1892 directory, and it still has Frank working at Rice and Newhouse and still identifies the business as tailoring.  Frank and Henrietta did not have any children.

Finally, the youngest of Ernst and Clarissa’s children was Frank Nusbaum, born in 1861. He’d been living at home in 1880, working as a clerk, and was still living with his parents in 1884 and 1885.  By 1885 his occupation had changed to bookkeeper. He married Dolly Hills in Philadelphia in 1887 when he was 26.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out anything about Dolly’s background.  The closest match was a Dollie Hill living on a farm in Pennsvylania with her family in 1870, but I could not find that Dollie on a later record.  Frank and Dolly had one child, Loraine, born in 1889. Frank and Dolly lived at 2017 Vine Street in 1888 and 1889.  Frank was at first working as a clerk and then as a salesman.

Here is one last map showing where each member of the family was living in the late 1880s (other than Fanny,  who was in New York):

Thus, the 1880s were a fruitful time for the family of Ernst and Clarissa (Arnold) Nusbaum.  Their children were all married, and there were a number of grandchildren born.  All but one of their children were living in Philadelphia, and most of the men were involved in the clothing trade, either as manufacturers, tailors, or salesmen.  After the hardships of the 1870s, life must have seemed pretty good for Ernst, Clarissa, and their children.  Unfortunately, the 1890s would not be as easy a decade.






Thank you, Dayton, Ohio, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Annapolis, Maryland, and TTT on Facebook


Dayton-ohio-skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my post about the descendants of Leopold Nusbaum, one of the unanswered questions was what happened to Cora Frank Lehman and her daughter Dorothy Gattman after Cora’s second husband Joseph Lehman died in 1959.  I could not find any answers—until I looked to Dayton, Ohio, for help.

First, some background: Cora Frank was the third child of Francis Nusbaum Frank, the only child of Leopold Nusbaum to survive to adulthood.  Cora had married Jacques Gattman in Philadelphia in 1903 and had had one child, Dorothy, in 1905.  Then in 1906, Jacques died at age 31 from a stroke.  Cora had married her second husband, Joseph Lehman of Dayton, Ohio, in 1913, and then moved with him to Dayton.  Dorothy grew up and went to high school in Dayton, but I had no luck finding any record for her after 1925, when she was listed in the Dayton, Ohio, directory as a student.

Cora and Joseph were still living in Dayton at the time of the 1930 census and the 1940 census and were listed in Dayton directories in the 1950s.

I was able to find Joseph Lehman’s death in 1959 on the Ohio Deaths database on, but I could not find his burial place.  I was also unable to find any record for Cora after the 1959 Dayton directory.  I thought she must have left Dayton after Joseph died, but I had no idea where she went.  She was not in the Pennsylvania database for death certificates, which runs through 1963, nor was she in the Ohio Deaths database, which runs until 2007.  I thus thought she had left Ohio and either lived past 1963 in Pennsylvania, where she’d been born and raised, or gone wherever her daughter Dorothy had gone.

But where had Dorothy gone?  Since I had no marriage record for her, I had no surname.  I tried searching every way I could to find her, but had no luck.

That’s when I decided to look for assistance in Dayton.  I contacted the Jewish Genealogical Society of Dayton for some information, and two women there, Marcia and Molly, co-presidents of the society, helped me locate where Joseph and Cora were buried—in the cemetery for Temple Israel in Dayton, one of three Jewish cemeteries in Dayton.  Molly also found in the cemetery records Cora’s date of death—April 14, 1967.  But unfortunately they were not able to find an obituary or any other document that revealed where Cora died or what happened to her daughter Dorothy.

But Molly gave me one other piece of invaluable advice.  She suggested I contact Ellen at Temple Israel.   I emailed Ellen, and she emailed me back first with information about where Joseph and Cora were buried in the cemetery and, most importantly, Cora’s address when she died in 1967: the Beaux Arts Hotel in New York City.  I was so excited and immediately tried locating Cora and Dorothy in New York City.  But I had no luck since I still didn’t know Dorothy’s surname.

But while I was having no luck, Ellen had continued to search, and forty minutes after her first email, I received an email saying that she had found Cora Lehman’s obituary:

Cora Frank Gattman Lehman obituary

Cora Frank Gattman Lehman obituary


And there it was:  Mrs. Albert Rosenstein! That had to be Dorothy. And now I knew that at least in 1967, she was living in New York City at the Beaux Art Hotel at 310 East 44th Street.

Now that I had Dorothy’s married name, I was able to find Dorothy and Albert Rosenstein on the 1930 census.  This was clearly the right Dorothy—right age (27), right birthplace (Pennsylvania), and right birthplaces for her parents (Pennsylvania and Mississippi). Dorothy and Albert were living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and further research revealed that Albert was born and raised in Lancaster, had graduated from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and was in the art wares business.

Ellen at Temple Israel in Dayton was also able to find this photograph of Dorothy’s confirmation class.  We could not figure out from the list of names on the back which one is Dorothy.  If anyone has any clue as to whether this list is in any order that would help identify Dorothy, please let me know.

1919 Confirmation Class of Temple Israel, Dayton, Ohio, courtesy of Temple Israel

1919 Confirmation Class of Temple Israel, Dayton, Ohio, courtesy of Temple Israel

Dorothy Gattman class names-page-001

But I was not yet done.  I didn’t know whether Albert and Dorothy had had any children.  I had to find them on the 1940 census.  Once again I hit a roadblock.  I could not find them.  Although I found entries for them in the Lancaster directories up through 1939, there was no 1940 directory on line, and they did not appear in the 1941 directory.  Where had they gone?

Using the address listed in both the 1930 US census and the 1939 Lancaster directory, 71 Spencer Street, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I searched for that address on the 1940 census.  There were Rosensteins living at that address, but not Albert and Dorothy.  Instead, Albert’s parents Morris and Sara Rosenstein were living at 71 Spencer Street.  Where were Albert and Dorothy? Why were his parents living in the house that Albert and Dorothy had owned in 1930 and lived in just a year earlier? Morris and Sara had lived at a different address in 1930.

Although I found an Albert Rosenstein living at 162 West 56th Street in the 1940 New York City telephone book, there was no Albert Rosenstein living at that address in the 1940 US census report.  I did find one Albert Rosenstein in New York City on the 1940 census, but he was single, born in New York, about four years younger than my Albert would have been in 1940, and a dress salesman.  On the other hand, he was living at 162 West 55th Street, just one digit off from the address where an Albert Rosenstein was listed in the 1940 telephone book.  So…was this a different Albert Rosenstein from my Albert Rosenstein?  I think so, but then where were my Albert and Dorothy Rosenstein in 1940?  I still am not 100% sure.

I was, however, able to find death records for both Dorothy and Albert.  Dorothy died on January 12, 1975, and Albert died on June 25, 1979.  They are buried at Forest Lawn Gardens Memorial Park in Pompano Beach, Florida.  I was able to locate a photograph of their headstone on FindAGrave:


I had no idea who Phyllis Rosenstein was.  She was eleven years younger than Albert, five years younger than Dorothy, so clearly not their child.  There was no sister named Phyllis living with Albert’s parents in 1920 or 1930, so I did not think she was his sister.  His only brother, Louis, was married to a woman named Blanche.  So who could Phyllis have been?

With the help of the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook, I learned that Phyllis was Albert’s second wife.  He married her on February 10, 1976, when he was 77 years old.  I have to say that I am not sure Dorothy would be so thrilled having Albert’s second wife buried with them under the same headstone, but maybe I am just old fashioned.

I called the cemetery to see if perhaps they had any obituaries or other relevant records, but they did not.  Thus, there were still some loose ends here. Where were Dorothy and Albert between 1939 and 1975? Did they have any children?

The Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook again provided me with some great assistance.   One of the TTT members found a 2014 bulletin from Congregation Shaarei Shomayim in Lancaster which listed Dorothy G. Rosenstein and Albert Rosenstein on its January yahrzeit list. (A yahrzeit is the anniversary of a death on the Jewish calendar when relatives light a candle and say kaddish in memory of the deceased.)  I checked a Jewish calendar, and while Dorothy’s yahrzeit could fall in January, Albert’s would not.  I emailed the synagogue, and another helpful person, Martha, responded telling me that both Albert and Dorothy had yarhzeit plaques there (though the January yahrzeit was for Albert’s uncle with the same name, there was a separate one of my Albert).  Martha, however, had no record indicating who had paid for those plaques  or whether there were any children or other descendants of Albert and Dorothy.

I still did not know if Albert and Dorothy had had children, though it now seemed unlikely.  Then the TTT group helped me again.  Since Albert was a 1922 graduate of the Naval Academy, I had thought perhaps he’d been sent overseas in 1940.  Although the US had not entered World War II as of 1940, I did find a military record indicating that Albert had been activated in 1932 and was discharged in 1959.  At the suggestion of a TTT member, I wrote to the US Naval Academy Alumni Association to see if they had any records.  Last night I received an email from the US Naval Academy Alumni Association, Memorial Affairs representative which included two items: the obituary for Captain Albert Rosenstein and his photograph and biography from the yearbook from 1922, the year he graduated from the Academy.

US Naval Academy alumni magazine Shipmate, October 1979

US Naval Academy alumni magazine Shipmate, October 1979

It does seem that my hunch was correct—that Albert was serving in the Navy during World War II and thereafter for many years.  I am now searching for more information about his military record.  And the obituary also answered one more question.  It does not appear that he and Dorothy had any children, or at least none who survived him.

It’s amazing to me how much I was eventually able to learn about Dorothy and Albert when just a week ago I thought I never would find out anything about her. I would never have gotten this far without the generous assistance of those three women in Dayton, Ohio: Ellen, Molly, and Marcia.  Thank you all very much!  And thank you as well to Timothy from the USNA Alumni Association, Martha from Congregation Shaarei Shomayim, and to my many wonderful colleagues at the Tracing the Tribe Facebook group.  Once again—it took a village.

Ellen from Temple Israel in Dayton also sent me these photos of the headstones of Joseph and Cora Frank Lehman.

Cora Frank Lehman headstone Joseph Lehman headstone lehman headstone

UPDATE:  Here are the death certificates for Dorothy and Albert.  Dorothy’s confirms that she was in fact the daughter of Cora Frank.

Death certificates_0001

Death certificates_0002

One More Chapter in the 1870s: Ernst Nusbaum and Family

The 1870s were a pretty tough decade for my Nusbaum relatives.  There were business and financial troubles as well as numerous deaths of children and others.  So I admit that it is not with great enthusiasm that I return to the 1870s, but at least this is the last branch of the family to cover during that decade.  I’ve covered my three-times great-grandparents, John Nusbaum and Jeannette Dreyfuss, and their children, as well as the families of  Jeanette’s two sisters, Mathilde and Caroline, and also those of John’s sister Mathilde and the surviving families of John’s brothers Maxwell and Leopold.  That leaves only the 1870s story of John’s brother Ernst and his wife Clarissa and their children.

Ernst was the closest sibling in age to John, just two years younger, and he was apparently the only sibling who settled in Philadelphia perhaps as early as 1851  and stayed there for the rest of his life.  He had married Clarissa Arnold, a Pennsylvania native born in 1830 who was fourteen years younger than Ernst.  Ernst and Clarissa seemed to have been quite comfortable in the 1850s and 1860s.  By 1861, they had six children.  Ernst was in the men’s clothing business in a firm called Arnold, Nusbaum, and Nirdlinger.  (I assume the Arnold was one of his wife’s relatives.) By 1870, Ernst and Clarissa’s children were almost all teenagers or almost teenagers: Arthur was 19, Myer 18, Fannie 14, Edgar 12, Henrietta 10, and Frank was nine years old.  They were still living at 625 North 6th Street, the same home they had been in since at least 1861.  They also still had two servants living with them.

But in 1870, Ernst’s firm went bankrupt, as seen in this December 5, 1870, article from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Bankrptcy of Adler Nusbaum Dec 5 1870 phil inq p 3

The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 5, 1870, p. 3


Three years later Ernst is listed in the notions business at 518 Arch Street in the 1873 directory.  Interestingly, his son Arthur and his wife Clarissa seem to have had a ladies’ furnishings business at the same address called Clares & Arthurs.  Arthur was still living at home, and the family had moved to 1000 North 6th Street by 1873.   Was this a move necessitated by the economic downturn?  Did Clarissa want to start working out of the house because they needed more money or was it just that her youngest child was twelve years old and the others well into their teens or twenties so she had the time and interest in doing so?

I do not know, but the following year, it appears that Clares & Arthurs no longer existed.  Ernst is listed without a business address, Clarissa has no listing, and Arthur is listed as a clerk. The next year, 1875, has Ernst living at 2103 Green Street without any occupation listed and Arthur listed as residing at the same address and working as a salesman at 730 Chestnut Street.  His younger brother Myer is also listed at the 2103 Green Street residential address.  In 1876, Myer is listed as working as a bookkeeper, but Arthur and Ernst simply have the residential address.  Same in 1877 and 1878 for Ernst and Myer, but Arthur is not listed at all. So had Ernst retired?  Or had he simply stopped working due to the recession? And where was Arthur?

Well, in 1879, when the recession was starting to end, Ernst is once again listed with an occupation—in the cloaks business.  Myer is still listed as a bookkeeper, and now Edgar, his younger brother, is listed as a salesman.  All three are still listed as residing at 2103 Green Street in the 1879 Philadelphia directory.

And where was Arthur?  I cannot find him in the directory listings for 1877 through 1879.  He had married Henrietta Hilbronner in 1876, and they had had a daughter Florence born in 1877 and a son Sydney born in 1879.  According to the 1880 census, they were all living with Henrietta’s parents on North Seventh Street.  Henrietta’s father Morris was a clothing merchant with his own business, and Arthur was working as a clothing cutter, presumably for his father-in-law.

The other children of Ernst and Clarissa were also getting married in the late 1870s.  Fannie Nusbaum married Jacob L. Hano on February 28, 1877, and they also had two children born by 1880: Louis F. Hano, born in Youngstown, Ohio, on November 30, 1877, and Ernst Nusbaum Hano, born May 16, 1880, also in Youngstown, Ohio.  Jacob Hano was born in Philadelphia in 1850 and had lived his whole life there.  In 1874 he’d been working as a salesman in Philadelphia, residing at 2026 Green Street, right across the street from Fannie and her family.  He had attended Crittenden’s Philadelphia Commercial College.  Perhaps he moved Fannie to Youngstown after they married because he believed that there were better business opportunities there.  Unfortunately, however, like others in the family and the country, he faced financial problems and declared bankruptcy in May, 1878.

jacob hano bankruptcy cleveland plain dealer may 15 1878 p 4

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 15, 1878, p. 4

He and the family remained in Youngstown, however, and he is listed on the 1880 census living there with Fannie, their two young sons, and his brother Benjamin as well as a servant.  He listed his occupation as a clothier, and his brother was working as a clerk in a department store. Thus, Jacob must have rebounded from his bankruptcy and started a new business.  They did not remain long in Youngstown, however, as we shall see.

Description: Postcard of Youngstown Sheet & Tu...

Description: Postcard of Youngstown Sheet & Tube (early 20th century) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Myer Nusbaum, Ernst and Clarissa’s third child, also married and had two children in the 1870s.  He married Rosalie Aub, and their first child Corinne was born on May 19, 1878.  Her brother Jacob was born the next year on June 24, 1879.  As noted above, Myer was working as a bookkeeper throughout the 1870s and was still employed as a bookkeeper in 1880 according to the census of that year.

Although the 1900 census indicates that Edgar Nusbaum married Viola Baritt in 1879 when he was 21 and she was eighteen, on the 1880 census he is still listed as living at home with his parents at 2105 Green Street and single.  My guess is that they did not marry until 1880, and their first  and only child Selina was born a year later on November 16, 1881.   As noted above, Edgar was listed as a salesman in the 1879 directory, and the same occupation is given in the 1880 Philadelphia directory, although the 1880 US census lists his occupation as a clerk.

Ernst and Clarissa’s youngest two children, Henrietta and Frank, were also still at home in 1880 at 2103 Green Street, depicted below.  Henrietta was 20 and Frank 19.  Frank was working as a clerk like his brother Edgar.  Their father Ernst listed his occupation as a manufacturer.  So perhaps the slowdown of the 1870s had eased, and Ernst and his sons were all then once again gainfully employed.


And now we can move on to the next decade. The 1880s may not have presented the same economic challenges as the 1870s, but as we will see, it presented other challenges and other changes for the extended Nusbaum family.