Another Cousin Discovered: The Granddaughter of Etta Wolfe Wise, My Third Cousin Sally

For me, genetic genealogy has been disappointing as a tool for finding new ancestors and breaking down brickwalls, but it has occasionally been useful for confirming what I already knew through traditional research. For example, in March I contacted a DNA match named Sally who came up as a fourth cousin on Ancestry, and after contacting her and checking my tree and hers, we realized that we were both the great-great-granddaughters of Levi Schoenthal and Henrietta Hamberg.  That is, Sally is in fact my third cousin, even closer than the DNA estimate on Ancestry.

Sally is descended from Levi and Henrietta’s daughter Amalie Schoenthal, and I am descended through their son Isidore Schoenthal. Sally and I exchanged family stories and information and photographs, and she generously agreed to let me share those stories and photographs on the blog. As you will see, there are some apparent family resemblances traceable to our shared Schoenthal ancestry.

As I’ve already written about on the blog, Sally’s great-grandmother (and my great-great-aunt) Amalie Schoenthal married Elias Wolfe. Their daughter Etta Wolfe was Sally’s grandmother. Etta was my grandmother Eva Schoenthal Cohen’s first cousin.

Sally has no photographs of her great-grandparents, but shared with me photographs of her grandmother Etta, all taken when she was a grandmother.  I will start with this one as it is the clearest photograph of her and shows much of her personality, as described to me by Sally. Sally knew Etta well because she died when Sally was eight years old. She remembers her grandmother lovingly and described her as easy-going and soft spoken and as someone who always enjoyed family trips and outings. Sally remembers that when she was just four or five, her grandmother would share shrimp cocktails with her. Can’t you see that sweetness in her face in this photo?

Etta Wolfe Wise, Courtesy of her Granddaughter Sally

Etta Wolfe married Maximilian Wise in 1910 in Pittsburgh, as noted here on the blog. Etta and Max had six children, a daughter Florence and then five boys, Irving, Richard, Max Jr., Robert, and Warren. Sally’s father Robert was their fifth child and fourth son. Here are two pictures of Max and Etta’s children.

Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

Irving, Richard, Max, Jr. Robert, and Warren Wise.  Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

Sally told me that Etta and Max converted from Judaism to Christian Science because they believed that their daughter Florence’s clubfoot was cured by Christian Science. Unfortunately, according to Sally, several other members of the family were not so fortunate with their faith in Christian Science and died fairly young after refusing traditional medical care.

Sally’s father Robert Wise enlisted in the Army on April 19, 1943, and served until February 20, 1946.1 Sally told me that her father was an Army Staff Sergeant Engineer, Aviation Battalion, and was stationed most of his time in the service during World War II in the South Pacific, building an airport and serving in combat.  After the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki in August 1945, Bob drove two generals in his Jeep to see the devastation there and photographed what he saw. He also was at the airport when the Japanese planes landed for the signing of the peace treaty; he climbed over a wall and took pictures of the two planes. Unfortunately, Sally does not have access to those historically important photographs.

Bob Wise’s army experience was part of an exhibit about local veterans who served in World War II that was curated by the Middletown (Ohio) Historical Society and shown at the Fine Arts Center in Middletown in 2015.  These photographs of Robert were part of that exhibit, as was the one above of the six children of Max and Etta:

Robert Wise as a young boy in Middetown. Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

Sally also shared these additional photographs of her father taken during his service in World War II:

Robert Wise. Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

Robert Wise. Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

After the war, Robert married Mildred Myers on January 10, 1948, in Ohio. Sally sent me this photograph from their wedding:

Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

The next few photographs made me sit back with amazement at some of the family resemblances. Here are photographs of my father, his mother Eva Schoenthal Cohen, and his grandfather Isidore Schoenthal and then some of the photographs of Bob Wise and Sally.

Isidore Schoenthal

Eva Schoenthal and John Cohen, Sr. 1923

John Cohen, Jr.

Bob Wise and Sally. Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

The family of Bob Wise. Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

Mildred and Bob WIse, 1982. Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers

Look at the eyes. Do you see the resemblances that Sally and I see? Or are we just seeing what we want to see?

Finally, two photographs of Etta Wolfe and Max Wise’s descendants—their children and their grandchildren. What a legacy!

The grandchildren and children of Etta Wolfe Wise. Front Row includes Florence Wise Keuthan. The second row, lefet to right, is Bob Wise, Mary Stephenson Wise (Max, Jr’s wife), and Millie Lunford Wise (Richard’s wife). Last row, left to right, is Mildren Myers Wise (Bob’s wife) , Max Wise Jr.,e Fred Keuthan (husband of Florence Wise, Richard Wise and Irving Wise. Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers (The grandchildren are not named for privacy reasons).

Etta Wolfe Wise and all of her grandchildren. Courtesy of Sally Wise Myers.

Thank you, Sally, for sharing the stories and photographs with me. I am so glad we found each other.

 


  1. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946; SSN: 277015114, Branch 1: AAC, Enlistment Date 1: 26 Apr 1943, Release Date 1: 20 Feb 1946, Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 

Lena Goldsmith Basch, Final Chapters: Frank and Hinda

In 1930, four of Lena Goldsmith’s six children were still living—Frank, Hinda, Joel, and Joseph. They ranged in age from Joseph at 63 to Frank at 73. Their children, Lena’s grandchildren, were all adults by 1930. In fact, by 1930 Frank had five grandchildren himself, and one more would arrive in the 1930s. Joel and Joseph would also have grandchildren born in the 1930s. And there were also more marriages among the grandchildren in the years that followed.

The next three posts will conclude the saga of the Basch family of Columbus, Ohio. This post will complete the stories of Frank and Hinda; Joel and Joseph will be discussed in subsequent posts.

Frank Basch’s family

Lewis Basch, Frank and Freda (Rosenthal) Basch’s son, married Maryleone Freund on June 30, 1931. Maryleone was the daughter of a rabbi, Charles J. Freund, and Elizabeth “Bertie” Oberdorfer. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 29, 1910, but also lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1930 she was living with her parents in Toledo, Ohio.1

Lewis Basch, marriage record, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939L-FZFC?cc=1614804&wc=Q6SP-NLG%3A121350601%2C123701101 : 15 July 2014), Franklin > Marriage index and records 1935-1937 vol 108 > image 208 of 330; county courthouses, Ohio.

After marrying Lewis, Maryleone completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio State University. Lewis and Maryleone would have two children in the 1930s.

U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; Yearbook Title: The Makio; Year: 1932
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990

Just three months after her brother Lewis’ wedding, Coryne Basch, Frank and Freda’s daughter, died at age 33 from appendicitis on September 27, 1931.  According to her death certificate, Coryne was the owner of a kindergarten. Coryne was survived by her parents, her sisters Rae and Ruth, and her brother Lewis. She had never married or had children.

Coryne Basch, death certificate, Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X6HL-K9C : 8 March 2018), Coryne Basch, 27 Sep 1931; citing Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, reference fn 53945; FHL microfilm 1,992,473.

Frank Basch died on January 5, 1934, in Columbus, from coronary disease and hypertension. He was 76 years old. With his death, only three of his siblings remained.

Frank Basch, death certificate, Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QM9-HSN?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-PQB%3A1296032501%2C1296824302 : 2 October 2014), Franklin > Death certificates, 1926-1927 > image 1504 of 3280; county courthouses, Ohio.

In 1940, Frank’s three surviving children were all living in different places. Lewis and his family were living in Bexley, Ohio, a suburb less than four miles east of Columbus. Lewis was a dentist in private practice.2 His sister Rae was living with her family in Chillicothe, Ohio, fifty miles south of Columbus; her husband Sidney Katz continued to be a clothing merchant.3  Ruth and her husband Sigmund Front and their children were living in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1940, where Sigmund was managing an electrical supply store.4 Sigmund’s 1942 World War II draft registration revealed that he was no longer working in his father’s Front Company business, but for Westinghouse. I could not locate Freda Rosenthal Basch, Frank’s widow, on the 1940 census.

Sigmund Front, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of West Virginia; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1937, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Rae Basch Katz lost her husband Sidney six years later. He was 57 years old when he died on July 6, 1946.5 She outlived him by 23 years; she died on October 25, 1969, at the age of 73.6 Rae and Sidney were survived by their three daughters.

Freda Rosenthal Basch died on September 16, 1954, twenty years after her husband Frank. She was 85 years old.7

Ruth Basch Front’s husband Sigmund died in Wheeling, West Virginia, on November 2, 1960. He was 66.8 Ruth later moved to Florida, where she died at age 83 on June 1, 1988. Ruth and Sigmund were survived by their two sons.9

Tragically, Lewis Basch lost his son Richard, who, like his father, was a dentist, on July 3, 1970, when Richard was killed in a car accident after his car crossed the median on the Kentucky Turnpike and struck another vehicle. Richard was only 33 and was survived by his wife and two children.10

Lewis Basch and his wife Maryleone remained in the Columbus area, and Lewis died there on July 5, 1986, when he was 86 years old.11 He was survived by his wife Maryleone, who died at 90 on February 14, 2001, in Columbus.12 Their daughter survived them as well as their grandchildren.

Hinda Basch

In 1940 Hinda Basch was living alone in Columbus without an occupation.13 She died four years later on June 23, 1944, from hypostatic pneumonia and myocardial degeneration. She was 83. She was survived by her brothers Joel and Joseph and a number of nieces and nephews. She had no direct descendants.

Hinda Basch, death certificate, Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9PKP-W466?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-TP8%3A287599501%2C294550101 : 21 May 2014), 1944 > 36501-39300 > image 1707 of 3268.


  1. State File Number: 2830A, Ancestry.com. Utah, Birth Certificates, 1903-1911. Charles Freund and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Salt Lake City Ward 5, Salt Lake, Utah; Roll: T624_1607; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0142; FHL microfilm: 1375620, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census  Freund family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Toledo, Lucas, Ohio; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 2341570, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. Lewis Basch and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Bexley, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03068; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 25-1, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  3. Sidney Katz and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Chillicothe, Ross, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03138; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 71-22, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. Sigmund Front and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia; Roll: m-t0627-04436; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 35-37, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  6.  Certificate: 202624; Volume: 90023, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  7. Ancestry.com. Web: Columbus, Ohio, Green Lawn Cemetery Index, 1780-2010; Original data: Green Lawn Cemetery Burials. Columbus, Ohio. Joe and Dick Fleshman. http://greenlawn.delaohio.com/greenlawn/Greenlawn/index.htm: accessed 09 February 2012. 
  8. FHL Film Number: 857652, Ancestry.com. West Virginia, Deaths Index, 1853-1973 
  9. Ancestry.com. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 
  10. “Son-in-Law of Dr. King Dies, The Newark (OH) Advocate, 09 Jul 1970, p. 22; “Dental Surgeon, Farmer Die in Separate Accidents,” The (Louisville, KY) Courier-Journal, 04 Jul 1970, p. 15. 
  11.  Certificate: 052193; Volume: 26521, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  12.  Certificate: 010106; Volume: 32734, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  13. Hinda Basch, 1940 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03244; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 93-119B, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 

Lena Goldsmith Basch’s Grandchildren Reach Adulthood

As seen in my last post about the Basch family, the children of Lena Goldsmith Basch suffered two losses in 1915. Their brother Jacob died on April 5, 1915, and Ella’s husband Isidor Shatz died seven months later. But not all the events of the 1910s were sad ones.

On February 5, 1917, Lena and Gustavus Basch’s oldest granddaughter, Frank’s daughter Rae, married Sidney Katz in Columbus.  She was twenty years old, and he was 28.

Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

Sidney was born in Ohio on January 13, 1889,1 and grew up in Cincinnati, where in 1900 he was living with his widowed mother, Dina Bing Katz, and siblings.2 Sidney’s father Henry Katz had died when Sidney was just ten on December 24, 1899.3 Both of Sidney’s parents were German immigrants. In 1910, Sidney was living with his mother and sister in Cincinnati, working as a traveling millinery salesman.4

Rae and Sidney settled in Chillicothe, Ohio, about fifty miles from Columbus, where their first child, Dorothy Basch Katz, was born on March 19, 1919.5 In 1920 they were still living in Chillicothe, and Sidney was working as a dry goods merchant.6 Rae and Sidney had a second child, Jean, born on June 19, 1920,7 and then a year later a third daughter Frances was born on November 5, 1921.8

Rae’s younger brother Lewis served in World War I. He enlisted on October 18, 1918, when he was just eighteen. He was discharged two months later after the war ended.9 In 1920 he was back in Columbus, living with his parents Frank and Fred and his sisters and attending Ohio State University. According to the 1920 census, no one in the household was employed.

Frank Basch, 1910 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 3, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1180; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0057; FHL microfilm: 1375193
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Joel’s son Sidney Basch also served in World War I. He served from November 1917 until April 25, 1919.10 In 1920, he also was safely back home and living with his parents Joel and Jeanette and brother Gustavus. Joel was still in the tobacco business, and Sidney was a clerk in the industrial slate business.11

In 1920, Joseph Basch and his wife Ida were living with their twins, Elene and Joseph, Jr. Their father Joseph, Sr., was working with his brother Joel in the tobacco business.12

The two sisters, Hinda and Ella, were living together in 1920. Neither had children, and neither was working. The bequests left by their brother Jacob (and perhaps by Isidor Shatz also) must have left them sufficiently comfortable that they did not need other income.13

Thus, as of 1920, the surviving five children of Lena Goldsmith and Gustavus Basch were all living in Columbus, Ohio.

The 1920s brought another marriage and more children to the extended family. On March 9, 1925, Frank and Freda (Rosenthal) Basch’s youngest child Ruth married Sigmund S. Front in Columbus.

Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

Sigmund was born on November 4, 1893, in Krakow, Poland, to Henry Elias Front and Rose Thieberger.14 He immigrated with his mother and siblings in August, 1899, joining his father who was already here.15 By 1901 the family was settled in Wheeling, West Virginia, where his father was working as a laborer in a brewery in 1910.16 In 1920 Sigmund was living with his family and working, along with his brothers, as a salesman for the gas and electric supplies business now owned by his father in Wheeling and known as The Front Company.17

Their wedding received a lovely detailed write-up in the Columbus newspaper, which also reported that they would be living in Wheeling after their honeymoon:

Columbia (OH) Dispatch, March 10, 1925, p. 16

Wheeling is about 130 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, and I have no idea how Ruth and Sigmund met. After marrying and settling in Wheeling, they had two sons born in the 1920s. In 1930, Ruth and Sigmund and their children were living in Wheeling, and Sigmund was now the secretary of the Front Company, according to the census, although the 1930 Wheeling directory lists him as its president.18

Meanwhile, Ruth’s father Frank Basch and his wife Freda and their two unmarried children, Coryne and Lewis, were still living in Columbus in the 1920s. Lewis studied dentistry at Ohio State University graduating in 1925,  and then he served in the dental reserves.19 In 1930, Lewis was living with his sister Coryne and his parents in Columbus where he was practicing dentistry. He was the only family member with an occupation listed.20

Frank and Freda’s oldest child Rae, who had married Sidney Katz in 1917 and moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, was still living with Sidney and their three daughters in 1930. Sidney was a clothing merchant.21

As for the other Basch siblings, the 1920s were relatively quiet. Joel Basch and his family continued to live in Columbus. In 1926, Joel purchased for investment a building in Columbus, perhaps with his inheritance from his brother Jacob.22 In 1930, Joel was still in the tobacco business and living with his wife Jeanette and sons Sidney and Gustavus in Columbus. Sidney was working as a clerk in a finance company and Gustavus as a salesman in a furniture store.

Joel Basch, 1930 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0042; FHL microfilm: 2341530
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

The youngest brother Joseph and his wife Ida were also still in Columbus during the 1920s. Their daughter Elene was studying at Smith College in the 1920s,23 and her twin brother Joseph was a student at Ohio State University.24  In 1930 both Joseph and Elene were living at home in Columbus, where their father continued to work in the tobacco business with his brother Joel. Neither Elene nor Joseph, Jr. was employed.25

There also do not appear to have been any noteworthy events in the lives of the two sisters, Hinda Basch and Ella Basch Shatz, during the 1920s. Ella, however, was not destined to enjoy the next decade. She died on January 29, 1930, from heart failure; she was sixty-four. According to her obituary, she had been a social worker, although I never saw any indication of that on any of the census records.26 She had been a widow for almost fifteen years and had no children who survived her. Under the terms of her brother Jacob’s will, the property that she had inherited from him now passed to her sister Hinda. Hinda continued to live in Columbus in 1930.27

“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-D4LQ-GG4?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-DN5%3A287601401%2C287598802 : 21 May 2014), 1930 > 00001-02900 > image 2674 of 3183.

There were now four remaining siblings left in the Basch family: Frank, Hinda, Joel, and Joseph, all living in Columbus, Ohio. By 1940, there would only be three left.


  1. Sidney Katz, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Ohio; Registration County: Ross; Roll: 1851088, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  2. Sidney Katz, 1900 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 2, Hamilton, Ohio; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0017; FHL microfilm: 1241274, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/156611817 
  4. Sidney Katz, 1910 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 2, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: T624_1188; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0023; FHL microfilm: 1375201, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  5. SSN: 300184495, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. Sidney and Rae Katz, 1920 US census, Census Place: Chillicothe Ward 1, Ross, Ohio; Roll: T625_1431; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 132, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7. Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1 
  8. Ancestry.com. Ohio, Birth Index, 1908-1964 
  9. SSN: 273365982, Branch 1: ARMY, Enlistment Date 1: 18 Oct 1918, Release Date 1: 11 Dec 1918, Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  10. Ancestry.com. Ohio Soldiers in WWI, 1917-1918. 
  11. Joel Basch and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 5, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T625_1381; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 96, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. Joseph Basch and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 4, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T625_1381; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 86, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  13. Hinda Basch and Ella Basch Shatz, 1920 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 7, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T625_1381; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 138, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  14. SSN: 233053103, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  15.  The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Records of the US Customs Service, RG36; NAI Number: 2655153; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Ancestry.com. Baltimore, Passenger Lists, 1820-1964 
  16. Wheeling, West Virginia, City Directory, 1901, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. Sigmund Front, 1910 US census, Census Place: Wheeling Ward 7, Ohio, West Virginia; Roll: T624_1692; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 0108; FHL microfilm: 1375705, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  17. Sigmund Front, 1920 US census, Census Place: Wheeling Ward 7, Ohio, West Virginia; Roll: T625_1966; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 102, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  18. Sigmund Front and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0036; FHL microfilm: 2342284, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  19. “Play Will Open Graduation Days at University,” Columbus Dispatch, Friday, Jun 12, 1925, Page: 6. “More Reserve Officers,” Columbus Dispatch, Wednesday, Jul 15, 1925 Columbus, OH Page: 5. 
  20. Frank Basch and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0044; FHL microfilm: 2341530, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  21. Sidney and Rae Katz and family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Chillicothe, Ross, Ohio; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0021; FHL microfilm: 2341599, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  22. “Store Building Sold,” Columbus Dispatch, June 13, 1926, p. 27. 
  23. Columbia Dispatch, December 28, 1924, p. 30 
  24. School: Ohio State University, School Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA, Yearbook Title: Makio Yearbook, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; Yearbook Title: Makio Yearbook; Year: 1926 
  25. Joseph Basch, 1930 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0029; FHL microfilm: 2341529, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [Elene is listed a number of lines below her parents and brother on the page.] 
  26. “Mrs. Ella Schatz, Social Worker, Passes Away,” Columbus Dispatch, January 30, 1930, p. 2 
  27. Hinda Basch, 1930 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0056; FHL microfilm: 2341528, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census  

A Brother’s Will: A Caring Sibling

By 1910, Lena Goldsmith and her husband Gustavus had passed away, but they were survived by their six children and by nine grandchildren—Frank’s four children, Joel’s three children, and Joseph’s two children. All their children and grandchildren were living in Columbus, Ohio, except for their daughter Ella, who was living with her husband Isidor Shatz in Findlay, Ohio.

Two members of the family died in 1915. First, Jacob Basch died at age 56 from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 5, 1915. He had been suffering from chronic nephritis and myocarditis. His brother Joel was the informant on the death certificate.

Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-62VC-K3N?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-PQ7%3A1296032501%2C1296751602 : 2 October 2014), Franklin > Death certificates, 1915, no 1-1803 > image 995 of 1856; county courthouses, Ohio.

Jacob had never married and had no descendants, but he left a very long and very detailed will, and it is clear from reading it just how close-knit these siblings were. Jacob provided for all five of his siblings and named all three of his brothers to be the executors of his will. It is obvious that he gave a lot of thought to how he wanted his assets divided.

 

I, Jacob Basch, of the city of Columbus, county of Franklin and state of Ohio, do make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking any and all former wills by me heretofore made:

ITEM I. I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid out of my estate as soon as practicable after the time of my decease.

ITEM II. I give and bequeath to the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives in Denver, Colorado, the sum of one thousand dollars ($1000.00).

ITEM III. I give and bequeath to the United Jewish Charities of Columbus, Ohio, the sum of five hundred dollars ($500.00).

ITEM IV. I give and bequeath to my brother Joseph Basch, in trust, the sum of five thousand dollars (5000.00) upon the following trust and purpose, to-wit: to construct and erect, at a cost not to exceed the sum of five thousand dollars ($5000.00) an income producing structure upon the plot of ground described and delineated as lot seventy-six (76), Sullivan’s Addition to the city of Columbus, Ohio, being the piece of ground hereinafter devised to my brother Joseph Basch for and during his natural life, and upon his death, to his children, share and share alike absolutely and in fee simple. I direct that the trust fund provided for in this Item of my will be raised by the sale of such amount of my said securities as shall be necessary. In the event that said structure shall not cost the sum of five thousand dollars ($5000.00), the balance of said trust found shall be distributed among my brothers and sisters, share and share alike.

ITEM V. I give and bequeath to my brother Frank Basch an equal one-fifth (1/5) part of my personal property remaining after the payment of my just debts and funeral expenses and the legacies mentioned in Items II and III of this my last will and testament and the setting aside of the trust fund provided for in Item IV of this my last will and testament.

ITEM VI. I give and bequeath to my brother Joel Basch an equal one-fifth (1/5) part of my personal property remaining after the payment of my just debts and funeral expenses and the legacies mentioned in Items II and III of this my last will and testament and the setting aside of the trust fund provided for in Item IV of this my last will and testament.

ITEM VII. I give and bequeath to my brother Joseph Basch an equal one-fifth (1/5) part of my personal property remaining after the payment of my just debts and funeral expenses and the legacies mentioned in Items II and III of this my last will and testament and the setting aside of the trust fund provided for in Item IV of this my last will and testament.

ITEM VIII. I give and bequeath to my brother Joseph Basch in trust the remaining two-fifths (2/5) part of my personal property remaining after the payment of my just debts and funeral expenses and the legacies mentioned in Items II and III of this my last will and testament and the setting aside of the trust fund provided for in Item IV of this my last will and testament, to be held and used by him during the lives of my sisters Hinda Basch and Ella Schatz and during the life of the survivor of them, upon the following trust, to-wit: To invest and re-invest the proceeds of said personal property in United States, state or municipal bonds or in first mortgages upon improved city real estate, and to pay each of my said sisters Hinda Basch and Ella Schatz during their lives an equal one-half (1/2) of the net income of said investments, and after the death of one of my sisters to pay all the income of said investments to the survivor of them.

After the death of my said sisters Hinda Basch and Ella Schatz and the survivor of them, I give and bequeath said principal sum herein provided to Joseph Basch in trust of my said sisters, to my brothers Frank Basch, Joel Basch and Joseph Basch, share and share alike. In the event of the death of either or any of my said brothers before the death of the survivor of my said sisters Hinda Basch and Ella Schatz, then the share of said principal which would have been received by said deceased brother, if living, shall be distributed among his children, then living, share and share alike.

ITEM IX. In the division of my personal property bequeathed in Items V, VI, VII and VIII of this my last will and testament, I direct that the then value of my personal property be first ascertained and that a sufficient amount in cash to pay the legacy bequeathed to my brother Joseph Basch in trust for my sisters Hinda Basch and Ella Schatz and the survivor of them, be raised by the sale of such amount of my securities as shall be necessary.

I further direct that my said legatees Frank Basch Joel Basch and Joseph Basch may retain by way of investment any securities belonging to my estate at the time of my death, dividing said securities amongst themselves in such manner as to carry out the provisions of Items V, VI, and VII of this my last will and testament. In the event that my said legatees Frank Basch, Joel Basch and Joseph Basch can not agree as to the manner of division of such securities, then I direct that my executors shall sell all of said securities and apportion the proceeds in the manner directed in Items V, VI, and VII of this my last will and testament.

In the event of the death of my said trustee, Joseph Basch, I then appoint my brothers Frank Basch and Joel Basch and the survivor of them to act as such trustees and trustee, with full power to carry out the provisions of said trust.  I further direct that said trustees and trustee shall be bound by the limitations imposed upon my said trustee, Joseph Basch, as to the manner of investing said trust fund.  It is also my will that all future trustees who may be appointed to carry out the provisions of the within trust be likewise bound by said limitation as to the manner of investing said trust fund.

ITEM X. I give and devise to my sister Hinda Basch for and during her natural life my residence property known as 438 East Rich Street, Columbus, Ohio. From and after the death of said Hinda Basch I give and devise said property herein devised to her for and during her natural life to my brother Joseph Basch for and during his natural life. From and after the death of my said brother Joseph Basch, I give and devise said property herein devised to him for his natural life to his children, share and share alike absolutely, in fee simple.

I give and bequeath to my sister Hinda Basch absolutely all furniture, books, pictures and household effects which at the time of my decease shall be in, about or belonging to my aforesaid residence.

ITEM XI. I give and bequeath to my sister Hinda Basch an annuity of twelve hundred dollars ($1200.00) per year, for and during her natural life, payable on the first day of each and every month, and the payment of the same is hereby made a charge upon the realty hereinafter devised to my sister Ella Schatz, for and during her natural life. It is my will and I direct that said annuity of twelve hundred dollars ($1200.00) per year shall be a first and best lien on said real estate hereinafter devised to my said sister, Ella Schatz, for and during her natural life, and in the event said premises shall be destroyed by fire or rendered unfit for habitation so that the income derived from said real estate shall not be sufficient to pay said annuity, then in that event said annuity shall be paid out of the fund or funds realized from the fire insurance on said real estate. It being my will that in any and all events my said sister, Hinda Basch, shall receive an annuity of twelve hundred dollars ($1200.00) per year payable out of the real estate, either income or principal, hereinafter devised to my said sister, Ella Schatz, for and during her natural life.

In the event of the death of my said sister, Hinda Basch, before the death of my said sister, Ella Schatz, it is my will and I so direct, that my said sister Ella Schatz shall enjoy all of the net income of my said real estate hereinafter devised to her for and during her natural life.

ITEM XII. I give and bequeath to my sister Ella Schatz, for and during her natural life, subject to the annuity hereinbefore bequeathed to my sister Hinda Basch, all my real property, except my residence property hereinbefore devised to my sister, Hinda Basch.

My said devisee Ella Schatz shall keep the buildings upon said real estate in good repair and insured against loss by fire, and shall pay for such repairs, premiums of insurance, taxes and charges of every kind which may be lawfully claimed against said real estate. In case of loss by fire or other damage to such buildings and houses, I direct that my said devisee, Ella Schatz, shall rebuild and repair such property and pay for such rebuilding and repairing from the funds received for insurance.

In the event of the death of my said sister, Ella Schatz, before the death of my sister Hinda Basch, then in that event I give, devise and bequeath all of said real estate herein devised to my sister Ella Schatz, for and during her natural life, to my sister Hinda Basch, for and during her natural life.

Last will and testament of Jacob Basch, Will Records, 1805-1918 ; Index, 1805-1905; Probate Place: Franklin, Ohio,  Will Records, Vol Mm-Oo, 1915-1917,
Ancestry.com. Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998

ITEM XIII. After the death of my sisters, Hinda Basch and Ella Schatz, and survivor of them, I direct that my real property be divided as follows: [Each brother is then devised a specific property for their use and benefit during their lives and then to their children.]

ITEM XIV. I make, nominate and appoint my brothers, Frank Basch, Joel Basch and Joseph Basch, to be the executors of this my last will and testament, and I request that no bond be required of them as such executors. I also request that no bond be required of any of the trustees expressly mentioned in this will. In the event of the inability of death of my said executors, or any of them, the duties of said executorship shall be performed by the survivors or survivor of them.

Dated at Columbus, Ohio, this 29 day of March A.D. 1913

                                                            Jacob Basch

Signed by Jacob Basch and by him acknowledged to be his last will and testament in our presence, sight and hearing, who at his request have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses in his presence and in the presence of each other, at Columbus, Ohio, this day of A.D. 1913

[names of witnesses]

 

A few observations about this will:

Jacob was apparently quite a well-to-do man, having not only what appears to be a fair amount invested in securities but also substantial real estate holdings. He also had a very sophisticated and specific plan for how he wanted his assets distributed. He appears to have had a slight bias in favor of his youngest sibling Joseph—giving him a special bequest of $5000 to build an income-producing building in addition to the bequest of his one fifth of the residual estate and naming him as the trustee of the trusts for his sisters Hinda and Ella and as their successor in interest after both had died. But overall he provided in his will for all five of his siblings and for his nieces and nephews.

Just seven months after Jacob’s death, his sister Ella lost her husband Isidor Shatz. Isidor was 67 and died on November 18, 1915 from paralytic ileus (an intestinal obstruction) and the suppression of urine followed by uremia. Joseph Basch was the informant on his death certificate. And although Isidor and Ella had been living outside of Columbus for all their married years, Isidor was, like Jacob and his parents, buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus.

“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPFX-SYCQ?cc=1307272&wc=MD9F-XTL%3A287601901%2C294657901 : 21 May 2014), 1915 > 57771-60750 > image 2547 of 3300.

Ella then returned to Columbus and was living with her sister Hinda at 438 East Rich Street, the long-time family residence that Jacob had bequeathed to Hinda. From there  Ella was also in a better position to maintain the real estate that Jacob had left to her.

The Family of Lena Goldsmith Basch 1900-1910: A Tight Circle in Columbus

As of 1900, Lena Goldsmith Basch was living with her husband Gustavus and two of her adult children, Jacob and Hinda, in Columbus, Ohio.  Two of her other children—Frank and Joseph—were also still living in Columbus with their families. And the final two of her six children—Joel and Ella—were living with their families in Findlay, Ohio. Gustavus and Lena had five grandchildren in 1900—Frank’s three children and Joel’s two sons.

On June 27, 1901, Gustavus Basch died in Columbus at the age of 76. According to the Franklin County Record of Deaths, his cause of death was gastroenteritis from which he’d been suffering for six weeks.1

A year and a half later on January 24, 1903, the family suffered a tragic loss when four-year-old Robert Basch, the son of Joel and Jeanette Basch, died.2 According to the February 5, 1903 issue of the local Findlay newspaper, The Weekly Jeffersonian (p.7),  little Robert died from Bright’s disease or what we would now call nephritis—kidney disease. Both Gustavus and Robert were buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus.

Joel and Jeanette then had another child. Gustavus Mendel Basch was born on April 3, 1904, in Findlay, Ohio.3 He was obviously named for his recently-deceased grandfather. He was not the only grandchild born in this decade. Frank and his wife Freda had a fourth child, Ruth, born May 14, 1905.4 And Joseph and his wife Ida had twins born on April 5, 1906: Elene Rosalie Basch5 and Gustavus Joseph Basch,6 who like his cousin Gustavus Mendel Basch, was clearly named for his grandfather. (Joseph’s son later dropped the first name Gustavus and was known as Joseph, Jr.)

And who was Elene Rosalie named for? Sadly, her grandmother Lena Goldsmith Basch died just two weeks before Elene and Gustavus were born, and Elene must have been named for Lena. Lena was 80 years old and died from cerebral sclerosis from which she’d been suffering for five years, according to her death certificate. She was also buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus.

Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F6VT-TY1 : 10 March 2018), Lena Basch, 26 Mar 1906; citing Death, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio, United States, source ID 1906 v 2 fn 176, County courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 2,032,443.

The March 27, 1906 issue of the Findlay (OH) Weekly Courier gave more insight into Lena’s demise:

“Died Friday in Columbus,” The (Findlay, OH) Weekly Courier, March 27, 1906, p. 2

Lena and Gustavus were survived by all six of their children and their grandchildren.

Aside from these births and deaths, the years between 1900 and 1910 were relatively quiet ones for the Basch family.  The directories for 1900-1902 show that Frank and Jacob continued to do business as Basch Brothers and Joseph and the mysterious Louis Basch continued to work at Levy Mendel & Co. In 1903, Frank was now associated with Rosenthal Bros. and Basch, his brother Jacob’s listing merely says “junk,” and Joseph and “Louis” were still at Levy Mendel. The 1904 and 1905 directories are the same, except Louis is missing from the Basch group. In fact, Louis never appears again. Given that Lena was ill for some time before she died in 1906, this seems to support my hypothesis that “Louis” was in fact Lena.7

Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1903
Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Not long after his mother’s death in March, 1906, Joel moved back to Columbus. He sold his business in Findlay “at a great sacrifice” in order to return to Columbus, as reported in the Findlay Courier-Union on April 13, 1906 (p. 8); his father-in-law Levy Mendel had died just a month before Lena—on February 10, 1906,8 and apparently with the demise of both his mother and his father-in-law, he was needed back in Columbus to help run Levy Mendel & Company.

“National Buys Basch Stock,” The (Findlay, OH) Courier-Union, April 13, 1906, p. 8

Here is an advertisement that reveals the size and extent of Joel’s business in Findlay. He clearly had recovered from his earlier business failure caused by gambling:

Hancock County (OH) Herald, April 20, 1906, p. 10

Joel is listed in the 1906 Columbus directory, working for Levy Mendel & Co.; his brother Joseph was also still working there as he had been for a number of years.9

The 1906 Columbus directory raised another question for me. Frank is no longer listed with Rosenthal Bros. and Basch and in fact has no occupation listed at all. In 1907 he and Jacob now both have “junk” listed as their occupation, but in 1908 Frank again has no occupation listed though Jacob still lists junk as his occupation. The same is true for 1909 and for 1910.10

In fact, on the 1910 census, Frank reported that he had not worked for the entire year. Was he ill? Or had he just retired? He was only 53 years old in 1910. But since he lived another 24 years and listed that he was retired in 1920, I am inclined to think that Frank had just taken an early retirement. His four children were still quite young in 1910—ranging from five to fourteen years old.  How fortunate he was to be able to retire and spend more time with them.

Frank Basch, 1910 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 3, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1180; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0057; FHL microfilm: 1375193
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

His brother and long-time business partner Jacob, however, continued to work in the “iron and rags” business, as reported on the 1910 census. Jacob and his sister Hinda were still living in their family home at 438 East Rich Street in Columbus. Neither ever married.11

Joel Basch continued to work at Levy Mendel & Co., the cigar company. In fact, on the 1910 census, he is reported as an employer so he must have had some ownership or management interest in the business.12

Interestingly, Levy Mendel had named Joseph Basch, not his sons or son-in-law, to be his executor of his estate.13 Joseph had worked at the company for many years and was not an heir, so presumably Levy thought he would be a fair and capable executor. On the 1910 census, Joseph is also listed as an employer at Levy Mendel & Co, so perhaps he also was a part-owner of the business.14

I was very fortunate to find an oral history interview that was done by the Columbus Jewish Historical Society with Alan Weiler, grandson of Joseph Basch, on April 8, 2008. There are other interesting parts of this interview that I may refer to in later posts, but for now, I just wanted to quote this small portion that sheds light on the business in which Joseph, Joel, and their parents Gustavus and Lena had been involved and gives a snapshot of Joseph Basch himself.

My grandfather, Joe Basch owned a tobacco and candy company near the old Union Station on North High Street called the Levi Mendel Tobacco Company. He sold candy bars, which was of course was why I went up to see him. He sold cigars, cigarettes, pipes and there was a wonderful smell about his store. …He lived to be 93. He was called “the general.” He was a very handsome man. At least in my family he was called “the general.”

Finally, the remaining sibling, Ella Basch Shatz, was living in 1910 with her husband Isadore in Findlay, Ohio, where Isadore was a clothing merchant.15 With Joel’s return to Columbus in 1906, five of the six Basch siblings were now living in the same community. Only Ella was living outside of Columbus; she and her husband Isadore Shatz were still in Findlay even after her brother Joel and his family left that city.I wonder what it was like for Ella being the only family member not living in Columbus.  And I wonder whether she spent time visiting her siblings and nieces and nephews who were living about ninety miles away.

She would, however, be moving back to Columbus in the next decade.

 

 


  1. “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99ZB-P99X-5?cc=2128172&wc=7DZ2-P3M%3A1296032501%2C1296613814 : 30 September 2014), Franklin > Death records, 1899-1903, vol 3 > image 173 of 402; county courthouses, Ohio. 
  2. Ancestry.com. Web: Columbus, Ohio, Green Lawn Cemetery Index, 1780-2010. 
  3. FHL Film Number: 961484, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973. 
  4. FHL Film Number: 285137, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1774-1973 
  5.  Number: 277-34-4589; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: 1955, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6. SSN: 365167257, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Gustavus J. Basch, 1900 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 3, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1180; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0059; FHL microfilm: 1375193, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  7. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1901-1905, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  8. Ancestry.com. Web: Columbus, Ohio, Green Lawn Cemetery Index, 1780-2010 
  9. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1906, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1906-1910, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  11. Jacob Basch and Hinda Basch, 1910 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 6, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1181; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0098; FHL microfilm: 1375194, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  12. Joel Basch, 1910 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 3, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1180; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0060; FHL microfilm: 1375193, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  13.  Case Number: 19766, Item Description: Will Records, Vol Z, 1904-1905, Will Records, 1805-1918 ; Index, 1805-1905; Probate Place: Franklin, Ohio, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 
  14. Joseph Basch, 1910 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 3, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1180; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0060; FHL microfilm: 1375193,
    Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  15. Ella and Isadore Shatz, 1910 US census, Census Place: Findlay Ward 4, Hancock, Ohio; Roll: T624_1187; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0075; FHL microfilm: 1375200, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


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

Lena Goldschmidt Basch, Wife, Mother, and Businesswoman: 1880-1890

With my last Goldsmith post, I finished the saga of Jacob Goldsmith and his fourteen children. Now I will turn to Jacob’s sister, Lena Goldschmidt Basch and her story.

We’ve already seen that Lena, who was born to my 4-times great-uncle Simon Goldschmidt and his first wife Eveline Katzenstein in Oberlistingen on April 17, 1828, immigrated to the US in the 1850s and married Gustavus Basch in 1856. They first lived in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, then in Pittsburgh, and finally by 1878 had relocated to Columbus, Ohio, where they remained for the rest of their lives.

Lena and Gustavus had six children: Frank (1857), Jacob (1858), Hinda (1860), Joel (1863), Ella (1865), and Joseph (1867). According to the 1880 census, all of them except Jacob were then living with their parents in Columbus. Gustavus and his oldest son Frank were working in a vinegar factory; Lena and the other children were all at home. Jacob was living and working as a clerk for a hotel in Hamilton, Ohio, which is about a hundred miles southwest of Columbus.1

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

The Columbus directories in the 1880s, however, had me confused. The 1880 directory listed Gustavus as the agent for “L. Basch Vinegar Works” and residing at 308 e Friend; there were also separate listings for Frank and Joel residing at the same address and identified as “vinegar makers.” The 1881 directory did not list Gustavus at all, but listed Frank and Jacob and “L.Basch” as working for L. Basch & Sons in the rags, iron, and metal business. Those three were all still residing at 308 e Friend. Joel now was listed as a clerk for J. Goodman and residing at 268 e Friend. In 1882, Gustavus reappeared and is listed along with Frank and Jacob as working for L. Basch & Sons and now all residing at 153 e Sixth; there is also a listing for the mysterious L. Basch, also working for L.Basch & Sons and living at 152 e Sixth.2

1881 Columbus directory

1882 Columbus directory

So who was L.Basch? At first I thought it might be Gustavus’ father, whose name was Louis. But there is no listing in the 1880 census or any other census for an L. Basch who could have been Gustavus’ father. I don’t think he ever left Germany. Had Gustavus named the business in honor or memory of his father?

Or could the L stand for Lena? That certainly would have been unusual—to have a business named for a mother and her sons, especially since Gustavus was still alive and well.

The 1884 directory seemed to answer that question:

Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1884
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

So “L. Basch” was Lena! How interesting that she was the one for whom this business was named, not her husband. In fact, in 1884, Gustavus isn’t even listed with the L. Basch & Sons business; Lena must have been the one in charge.

In 1886, Gustavus is back in the listings as G. Basch, junk dealer, and now the family is residing at 335 E. Rich.  Frank and Jacob were now working at L. Basch & Sons; Joel was working as a cutter, and Joseph was a salesman.

Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1886
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

By 1888, things had changed a bit:

Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1888
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Now Gustavus was associated with Levy Mendel & Co, as was “L[ena] Basch;” Frank and Jacob were still in the L.Basch & Sons junk business, and Joseph continued to work as a salesman. They all, as well as Hinda, were living at 407 E. Rich. Only Joel and Ella were not listed. Where were they?

Ella, the fifth of Gustavus and Lena’s six children, was the first to get married. She married Isadore Shatz on April 11, 1888, in Columbus. He was thirty, she was 22. Isadore was born on December 25, 1857, in Austria- Hungary,3 and immigrated to the US when he was six in 1863 with his parents David and Fannie Shatz.4 They settled in Cincinnati where David Shatz was working as a stone cutter in 1870.5 In 1880, Isadore was working as a clerk and living with his family in Cincinnati.6 The 1886 Cincinnati directory lists Isadore as a salesman, his father David as a foreman cutter.7

Ella Basch and Isadore Shatz, Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

As for Joel, I could not find him in the Columbus directories after 1886, so I turned to the newspaper databases to see if I could locate him. From this ad in The Lima News of June 29, 1888 (p.4), I knew that Joel had moved to Lima, Ohio, where he was an “artist tailor” making men’s suits for $20. Twenty dollars—imagine that! Lima is approximately 90 miles from Columbus.

In fact, Joel had been in Lima for a while because this article from the January 17, 1888, Lima News (p. 4) revealed that Joel had suffered $2500 worth of smoke and water damage due to a fire at his store in Lima. Fortunately his losses were covered by insurance:

By 1889 Joel had apparently left Lima and was working in Findlay, Ohio, which is 34 miles from Lima and 92 miles from his family in Columbus. This article reports that one of Joel’s employees had embezzled $230 from Joel.

“John Werst Arrested, Pays and Is Let Off,” Lima (OH) News, August 15, 1889, p. 4

Was all this just bad luck, or was something else going on? I ask because of the next article from the February 6, 1890 Lima News (p. 4). Apparently Joel was a bit of a gambler, and after losing a considerable amount of money, his family shut down his Findlay store:

Given that ending to his Findlay business, I wondered whether the fire and reported embezzlement were also schemes engineered by Joel to cover gambling debts.

Looking at Gustavus’ work record beginning in 1860 raises some questions about his business acumen as well. In 1860, he was a clothing merchant in Connellsville. In 1870, he was working for H. Bier & Company, a brass foundry in Pittsburgh. In 1880, he was in Columbus working for a vinegar company. In the 1880s he worked for some of the time in L. Basch & Sons, a junk dealership run by his wife Lena, and then for Levy Mendel & Company, a cigar company.  There are some directories where he had no occupation listed. That is quite a list of businesses over a thirty year period with no real consistency in the industries in which he worked—clothing to brass to vinegar to junk to cigars. The fact that he also moved with his family several times also creates a sense of instability.

But once the family settled in Columbus in the 1880s, for the most part they stayed put. Maybe Gustavus was a renaissance business man, using his skills in numerous varied enterprises, and not a flighty man who couldn’t find his niche. It’s hard to know.


UPDATE on Rebecca Goldsmith Levy: I was able to obtain a copy of her death certificate from Colorado. Please see this post for more information.

 

 

 


  1. Jacob Basch, 1880 US census, Census Place: Hamilton, Butler, Ohio; Roll: 997; Page: 409B; Enumeration District: 036, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  2.  Columbus, Ohio, City Directory, 1880, 1881, 1882, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPFX-SYCQ?cc=1307272&wc=MD9F-XTL%3A287601901%2C294657901 : 21 May 2014), 1915 > 57771-60750 > image 2547 of 3300. 
  4. Shatz, 1900 US census, Census Place: Findlay Ward 4, Hancock, Ohio; Page: 7; Enumeration District: 0061; FHL microfilm: 1241283, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  5. Shatz, 1870 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 1, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: M593_1209; Page: 99A; Family History Library Film: 552708, Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census 
  6. Shatz, 1880 US census, Census Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: 1028; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 166, Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census 
  7. Cincinnati, Ohio, City Directory, 1886, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 

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, Ancestry.com. 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N984-S31 : 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, Ancestry.com. 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GP2P-9VMD?cc=1307272&wc=MD9X-FNL%3A287599101%2C294427301 : 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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-XCRQ-4PD?cc=1307272&wc=MD96-FWP%3A287602801%2C289221002 : 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, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  2. Goldsmith, Muegel, 1930 US census, Census Place: Silverton, Hamilton, Ohio; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0317; FHL microfilm: 2341552, Ancestry.com. 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,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census; Number: 285-26-7672; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: Before 1951, Ancestry.com. 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, Ancestry.com. 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

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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 Medicinenet.com, 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 Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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.