Although Mina and Wolf’s oldest daughter Rosa had left me with many unanswered questions (that were soon answered with the help of Aaron Knappstein), I had greater success with their second oldest child, Karoline.
Karoline was born on March 30, 1861, in Frankenau.
Karoline Katzenstein birth record from Arcinsys for Hessen HHStAW Fonds 365 No 174, p. 8
She married Heineman Blumenfeld on October 10, 1884, in Frankenau. He was born in Momberg on October 8, 1854, to Abraham Blumenfeld and Giedel Straus. (There is another intrafamily relationship between the Blumenfelds and the Katzensteins, as Barbara Greve explained to me yesterday, but for now, I won’t confuse the narrative. I need to be sure I understand it first!) (UPDATE: So it turns out that Heinemann Blumenfeld was my second cousin, three times removed. More on that at some later point.)
Marriage record of Karoline Katzenstein and Heineman Blumenfeld Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Standesamt Frankenau Heiratsnebenregister 1884 (Hstamr Best. 922 Nr. 3219); Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Signatur: 922
Karoline and Heineman had three children. Their oldest, Toni, was born on September 21, 1885, in Momberg:
Toni Blumenfeld birth record Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6468
She married Moritz Schuster on October 5, 1912, in Momberg; he was born on June 20, 1883, in Sterbfritz, Germany, the son of David Schuster and Bertha Schuster:
Marriage record of Toni Blumenfeld and Moritz Schuster Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister;Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6197
Toni and Moritz had two children born in Sterbfritz: Kathryn/Kaete (1913) and Alfred (1915).
The second child of Karoline and Heineman Blumenfeld was their son Moritz (also Moses and later Morris). He was born on October 7, 1887, in Momberg.
Moritz Blumenfeld birth record Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6470
He married Sophie Spier on December 23, 1924, in Momberg. Sophie was born in Momberg on June 28, 1894.
Marriage record of Moritz Blumenfeld and Sophie Spier HStAMR Best. 915 Nr. 6209 Standesamt Momberg Heiratsnebenregister 1924, S. 9
Moritz and Sophie Blumenfeld had three children: Ursula, Ruth, and Werner.
The youngest child of Karoline and Heineman Blumenfeld was their daughter Bella. She was born May 23, 1890:
She married Hermann Stein on January 23, 1922. Hermann was born in Burgsinn, Germany, on September 22, 1884, the son of Julius Stein and Regina Heil. Bella and Hermann did not have any children.
Bella Blumenfeld and Hermann Stein marriage record Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6207
Fortunately, the Blumenfeld family decided quite early in Hitler’s reign to start emigrating from Germany. On October 5, 1934, the two children of Toni Blumenfeld and Moritz Schuster arrived in the US; Alfred Schuster was 18, his sister Kathryn was 21. They had been living in Sterbfritz and were going to a cousin named Hermann Livingston in Bloomington, Illinois, although the manifest notes that they were instead discharged to an uncle, Sid Livingston of Chicago.
Alfred and Kaete Schuster passenger manifest Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5559; Line: 1; Page Number: 139
Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5559; Line: 1; Page Number: 139 Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Karoline and Heinemann Blumenfeld did not live long after their grandchildren departed for the US. Karoline died on January 25, 1935, in Momberg. She was 73 years old. Her husband Heinemann died the following year on August 31, 1936; he was 81.
Karoline Katzenstein Blumenfeld death record Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6245
It was not long after their parents’ deaths that the three children of Karoline and Heinemann escaped from Nazi Germany to the United States. Bella left with her husband Hermann Stein on August 24, 1937. The manifest indicates that they had been living in Burgsinn before emigrating. Hermann was a merchant. The manifest also reports that they were going to a cousin named Sigmund Livingston in Chicago, presumably the same individual who had picked up Alfred and Kathryn.[i]
Bella and Hermann Stein passenger manifest Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6030; Line: 1; Page Number: 85 Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Bella’s sister Toni and her husband Moritz Schuster arrived a little over two years later on December 21, 1939. According to Toni Schuster’s obituary, her husband Moritz had spent some time in a concentration camp before escaping with Toni to the US. The manifest listed their son Alfred in Bloomington as the person they were going to, but that entry was crossed out and replaced with the name of a nephew, Milan (?) Schuster, in the Bronx.
Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6428; Line: 1; Page Number: 170
It also appears that Moritz and Toni were detained for one day until December 22, 1939, because they were seen as LPC—likely to become public charges. I wonder whether that is why the person they were released to was someone in the New York City area instead of their son in Bloomington, Illinois.
Record of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry 12 21 1939 Supplemental Manifests of Alien Passengers and Crew Members Who Arrived on Vessels at New York, New York, Who Were Inspected for Admission, and Related Index, compiled 1887-1952. Microfilm Publication A3461, 21 rolls. NAI: 3887372. RG 85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Finally, the remaining members of the Blumenfeld family arrived on March 18, 1940—Moritz Blumenfeld and his wife Sophie and their three young children. They also reported that they were going to their cousin, Sid Livingston of Chicago.
Moritz Blumenfeld and family ship manifest Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6451; Line: 1; Page Number: 37
All the Blumenfeld siblings and their spouses and children were living together in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1940, according to the census. Alfred Schuster, who was only 24, was listed as the head of the household. He was working as a salesman at a department store. His sister Kathryn was a clerk at a department store. Their father Moritz Schuster did not have any employment listed nor did their mother Toni. Bella’s husband, Hermann Stein, was working as a tailor, and Moritz Blumenfeld, who is listed here as Morris Bloomfield, a surname change that was adopted by his wife and children as well, was working as a janitor in a tailor shop, presumably with his brother-in-law Hermann.
Blumenfeld siblings and families 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T627_841; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 57-26
In 1942, according to his draft registration Morris Bloomfield was working for Advance Cleaners in Bloomington. His brother-in-law Hermann Stein reported on his draft registration that he was working for a different cleaning company, Broleen’s Cleaners. Toni Blumenfeld’s husband did not identify any employment when he registered for the draft in 1942, but according to his obituary, he had owned a furniture store in Bloomington until 1944. “Morris M, Schuster,” The Pantagraph (13 Aug 1964, p. 22)
After settling in Bloomington, all the Blumenfeld siblings and their spouses stayed in the Bloomington/Peoria region for the rest of their lives. Toni Blumenfeld died on October 2, 1964, just two months after her husband Moritz Schuster died on August 10, 1964; they had been living in Peoria at the time of their deaths and are buried in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery. “Morris M, Schuster,” The Pantagraph (13 Aug 1964, p. 22); “Mrs. Schuster, Nazi Germany Escapee, Dies,” The Pantagraph (7 Oct 1964, p 5).
Toni’s brother Morris Bloomfield died on May 14, 1966, three years after his wife Sophie. They also are buried in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery. Finally, Bella Blumenfeld Stein lost her husband Hermann in 1954; she died in 1984 in Chicago, but was buried with her husband and siblings in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery.
When Karoline Katzenstein and Heinemann Blumenfeld died in 1935 and 1936, respectively, they must have been deeply concerned about the future of their family under Nazi rule; after all, two of their grandchildren had already left Germany. I imagine that Karoline and Heinemann would be greatly pleased to know that all three of their children escaped from Germany and spent the remainder of their lives living close to one another and are even buried near each other in Peoria, Illinois.
[i] Since Sigmund Livingston was identified as family on all the manifests for the Blumenfeld family, I assumed that he was somehow related to the Blumenfelds, and indeed, research uncovered that his mother’s name was Dora Blumenfeld. She was the sister of Heinemann Blumenfeld, so Sigmund was in fact the first cousin of Toni, Moritz, and Bella Blumenfeld. Dora and her husband Meyer Loewenstein had immigrated to the US by 1871, and their son Sigmund was born in the US in 1872. Sigmund and his siblings changed the surname from Loewenstein to Livingston.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the curious death of Adolphus Nusbaum, my great-great-granduncle, son of John and Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum. He died on February 8, 1902, on a train from Washington, DC, about 20 miles outside of Chicago, according to the family bible. Although I found this record from Illinois regarding the transfer of his body to Philadelphia, I could not find the follow-up to the coroner’s inquest, and so I was left wondering what had happened to Adolphus.
My imagination went a little wild, speculating about conspiracy and murder with his wife Fanny and brother Julius running off together to Canada. After all, I couldn’t find either Fanny or Julius on the 1910 census, and when they surfaced in 1920, they were living together as boarders in a home in Philadelphia.
But the reality was much more mundane. With the assistance of my friend Laurel, I was able to find the results of the coroner’s inquest. Laurel helped me figure out that the inquest would have taken place in Chicago where the body would have been delivered before it was then transported back to Philadelphia for burial. (I had been mistakenly looking in Philadelphia records.) I then searched the Cook County index of coroner’s reports and found the one for Adolphus (listed as Adolph Nussbaum). I ordered a copy, which arrived right before the weekend.
The report confirms that Adolphus died on the train on February 8, 1902, while en route from Washington to Chicago when the train was near Valparaiso, Indiana, which is 52 miles from Chicago. The coroner’s inquest concluded that he died from pleurisy with effusion. There was nothing in the report that indicated anything suspicious about the death.
The report also lists the witnesses who testified at the inquest, including Fanny Nusbaum (Fannie Nussbaum here) of Peoria, Illinois. Although she might have testified for other reasons, it would seem likely that she testified as a witness to the death itself, meaning she was with Adolphus on the train. The last witness, Joseph Springer, was the physician in the coroner’s office. I don’t know who David Yondorf was; the report (cut off on the scanned copy above) states that he lived in the Lakota Hotel in Chicago and was a clothing merchant. My guess is that he was a passenger on the train when Adolph died.
One other update about the children of John and Jeanette: I wrote that Julius had died of dilation of the heart superinduced by acute indigestion. My medical expert thinks that what this most likely meant is that Julius complained of acute indigestion but was really having a heart attack, leading to the heart failure that led to his death. I was relieved to know that indigestion does not cause heart failure.
John Nusbaum died in 1889, leaving behind his widow Jeanette and their six children: Adolphus in Peoria, Simon and Frances both in Santa Fe, Julius in Iowa, and Miriam and Lottie both in Philadelphia. By 1925 Jeanette and all six children were gone. This post will describe their lives in the decades between 1890 and 1925.
Jeanette and Lottie: In 1890, Jeanette Dreyfuss Nusbaum was a widow, living in Philadelphia with her daughter Lottie. In 1900, Jeanette and Lottie were still living together in Philadelphia. According to the 1900 census, they were living as boarders in the home of another German-born widow named Jenette Oberdorf and her children. Lottie was working as a stenographer, according to two Philadelphia directories in the 1890s.
Miriam and Gustavus: In 1890, Miriam and her husband Gustavus Josephs had one surviving child, Florence, who was now ten years old. Their son Jean was born in 1893. After researching more about Gustavus, I learned that he had served in the Civil War as a musician. According to Wikipedia, “The rank of Musician was a position held by military band members, particularly during the American Civil War. The rank was just below Corporal, and just above Private. In some units it was more or less equal to the rank of Private. During the American Civil War, military leaders with the Union and Confederate Armies relied on military musicians to entertain troops, position troops in battle, and stir them on to victory — some actually performing concerts in forward positions during the fighting.”
Perhaps Gustavus is one of the musicians depicted in one of these videos:
He did not, however, pursue music as a profession after the war. On the 1880 census, he listed his occupation as an embroiderer, and on various city directories in the 1880s he had been listed as a salesman. In 1894 and 1896, he is listed as being in the curtains business, and in 1897 he is listed in business with Laurence Frank in the cotton goods business under the firm name Josephs and Frank Co. Then in 1898 he is still in the cotton goods business, but with a new partner, Louis Wertheimer.
On the 1900 census, Gustavus and Miriam were living with their two children, Florence, now nineteen, and Jean, just six years old. The 1900 census asked women how many children they had had and how many were still living. For Miriam, the census reported that she had only had two children, both of whom were still living. This was obviously not true, as Miriam and Gustavus had had two other children, Milton and Gertrude, who had died. Was this just bad information given by someone who did not know the facts? Or were Miriam and Gustavus just in denial?
Gustavus’ occupation on the 1900 census was listed as manufacturing without specifying the type of goods. The 1901 directory, however, indicates that he was in the upholstered goods business. Then in 1905 he listed his occupation on the directory as “silks.” It appears that he was still in the silk business as of the 1910 census, but I cannot quite make out the word that follows “silk.” I believe it says “silk winder.” According to the Hall Genealogy website list of old occupations, a silk winder “Wound the silk from the silkworm cocoons onto bobbins.”
Interestingly, by 1914 Gustavus had returned to the embroidery business, or perhaps that was what he’d been doing even in 1910 as a silk winder. He is listed as an embroiderer thereafter in subsequent directories as well, although on the 1920 census he is listed as a manufacturer in the mill industry. I am not quite sure what to make of Gustavus’ career path. Were these really all related businesses or even the same business? He certainly seemed to be involved with fabrics throughout in one way or another.
English: A man sitting cross-legged on a stoop and embroidering a piece of silk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Adolphus and Fanny: In 1890, the oldest child of John and Jeanette, Adolphus Nusbaum, was still living in Peoria with his wife Fanny, but he was no longer in business with his brother younger brother Julius. The last Peoria directory to include Julius was the one published in 1887. Adolphus is listed with only a residential address in the 1890 and 1891 Peoria directories, but beginning with the 1895 directory, he is listed as being in the feed business. He was still in the feed business as of the 1900 census and the 1900 Peoria directory.
Then on February 8, 1902, Adolphus died “20 miles from Chicago while en route to Chicago,” according to the Nusbaum family bible. I did not know what this could possibly mean, and I was even more confused when I found a Philadelphia death certificate for Adolphus, given that the last address I had for him was in Peoria.
Why did Philadelphia issue a death certificate? Why was there a Philadelphia address given as the residence? And why was there an inquest pending? I am still searching for an answer to the last two questions and some answer as to the results of the inquest, but I found some answers in this article from the February 9, 1902, Chicago Daily Tribune:
Chicago Daily Tribune, February 9, 1902, p. 4
But this article also raised more questions. As far as I know, in 1902, Adolphus did not have a brother in Philadelphia, unless Julius had relocated there at that time. Simon was still living in Santa Fe. And what had Adolphus been doing in Washington? He must have been traveling by train. Did he have a heart attack or stroke while traveling? Was his wife Fanny with him? I don’t know. It’s also interesting that despite having lived in Peoria since he was barely in his 20s and having married a woman who had been living in Indiana in 1863, Adolphus was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia with the other members of the extended family, including his father John.
Frances and Bernard: In 1890, two of the children of John and Jeanette continued to live in Santa Fe, my great-great-grandmother Frances Nusbaum Seligman and her brother Simon Nusbaum. Frances was busy with her charitable and social activities in Santa Fe. Her children Eva, James, Minnie and Arthur all went off to Swarthmore in Philadelphia in the 1880s, where Minnie died at age eighteen in 1887, as I’ve written about previously. Frances herself died in July, 1905, two years after her husband Bernard. She was 59 years old. As I described when writing about Frances and Bernard, both were warmly praised and well-loved by the Santa Fe community. Both were buried, however, back in Philadelphia at Mt. Sinai cemetery.
It must have been terrible for Jeanette to lose her son Adolphus in 1902 and her daughter Frances 1905, not that many years after losing her husband John as well as so many grandchildren. Jeanette herself died on January 12, 1908, from edema of her lungs, according to the death certificate. She was 90 years old. She was buried along with her husband, her children Frances and Adolphus, and numerous grandchildren and other relatives at Mt. Sinai cemetery in Philadelphia.
Julius: As for Julius Nusbaum, who had once been Adolphus’ business partner in Peoria, as noted above he was last listed in the Peoria directory in 1887 and then disappeared from Peoria. He next surfaced in 1900 in Grinnell, Iowa, living alone as a single man and working as a tobacco merchant. Grinnell is over two hundred miles from Peoria and over a thousand miles from Philadelphia.
Restored Rock Island Line station in Grinnell, built in 1892. Now a restaurant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What had taken him to Iowa and when had he gotten there? Had he gone into the tobacco business for the same reasons that his father John had gone into the cigar business in the mid-1880s? In 1891 Julius is listed in the Waterloo, Iowa directory as a cigar dealer, and on the 1905 Iowa State Census he is living in Grinnell. It does not thus seem like he was living in Philadelphia in 1902 when Adolphus and Fannie came to visit. Was the newspaper just wrong about that detail, or was the 1905 directory wrong? Certainly Adolphus had other family members to visit in Philadelphia, including his mother Jeanette, his sister Lottie, and his sister Miriam and her family.
Julius is not listed in either the 1904 or the 1906 Waterloo, Iowa business directory, and I cannot find him on the 1910 census anywhere, so I do not know whether he was still living in Iowa at that point. But by 1920 he had returned to Philadelphia, listing his occupation on the 1920 census as a retired cigar merchant and living as a boarder. Living in the same residence with him in 1920 also as a boarder was a 62 year old widow named Fannie Nusbaum who had been born in Germany; this was obviously Adolphus’ widow, Julius’ sister-in-law.
I could create all kind of romantic stories about Julius and Fannie, but they would be speculative for sure. Julius had lived with Adolphus and Fannie in Peoria and had been in business with his brother. Suddenly after working together for over twenty years, Julius left Peoria and moved to Iowa, where he presumably knew no one and where he started an entirely new business selling cigars. Then Adolphus died in 1902, and I can’t find Julius or Fannie anywhere on the 1910 US census or in city directories. Ten years later, Julius and Fannie ended up living together in Philadelphia. Where were they both in 1910? Of course, it could be completely innocent: a devoted brother taking care of the widow of his older brother. And it probably was. I’ve likely read too many novels and seen too many movies. I have no evidence of any such scandalous events. I am sure the story is far less interesting than all that.
Simon: Meanwhile, back in Santa Fe, the other Nusbaum brother, Simon, had settled in as part of the community by 1890. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported in September 1889 that he had returned from a month’s vacation and “looked like a new man,” having gained twenty pounds. There was no further explanation for the comment, but perhaps Simon had had a rough time after losing his father in January of 1889. After that, his life seems to have taken a positive turn. Having served first as a clerk and then as assistant postmaster in Santa Fe, Simon was appointed by President McKinley to be the postmaster there in May, 1898.
His appointment was enthusiastically approved by the press and the people of Santa Fe. On May 5, 1898, the Santa Fe New Mexican opined on page 2, “As good a piece of news as Santa Fe has received for some time was that of the appointment of Simon Nusbaum to be postmaster of this city. This appointment was one that had been strongly recommended by the best and leading citizens of this city and indeed by all those desiring a competent official and a honest and proper man in that important office. Mr. Nusbaum’s political support was also very powerful….He is a skilled accountant and book-keeper, in fact one of the best in the southwest. He … had held several positions of trust and importance in big business establishments, in this territory and in eastern cities.”
The Santa Fe newspaper also quoted from the Peoria Evening Star, which said, “Years ago Nusbaum & Co. were the great dry goods firm of this city. One of the members was Simon Nusbaum. He was a smart, active, pushing man….” Santa Fe New Mexican, May 19, 1898, p. 2.
Simon was still a single man at that point. In 1899 he reportedly bought a fruit farm near Tesuque, New Mexico, apparently for a very good price.
Santa Fe New Mexican, September 28, 1899, p. 4
He later began breeding high bred Belgian hares in partnership with one of his clerks at the post office.
Santa Fe New Mexican, December 6, 1900, p.4
Although Simon was still single as of the 1900 census, he married Dora Rutledge in 1903. It was the first marriage for Simon, who was 57 years old. Dora was only forty. She had a daughter from an earlier marriage, Nellie Rogers, who was born in 1897. Simon and Dora’s son John Bernard Nusbaum, was born on May 15, 1904. On the 1910 census, Simon was now the assistant New Mexico Territorial Treasurer, and he and Dora and the children must have been living in a boarding house because they had seven lodgers living with them. In fact, the 1920 census reveals that Simon and Dora were the owners of that boarding house, which was being managed by Dora. Simon was now 76 years old and Dora was 49.
1916-1925: Years of Loss
When Jeanette Nusbaum died in 1908 at age 90, she had outlived two of her children, Adolphus and Frances, and many of her grandchildren, as well as her husband John. Four of her children had survived her: Simon, Julius, Miriam and Lottie. By 1925, all of those children would be gone. On February 13, 1916, Miriam died of heart disease. She was 57 years old and survived by her husband Gustavus and two children, Florence, who was 36, and Jean, who was 23. Gustavus died eight year later at age 75 of pectoris angina.
Simon Nusbaum died on February 25, 1921. He was 76. Unlike his siblings, he was not buried at Mt Sinai in Philadelphia, but in Santa Fe, where he had lived the last forty or so years of his life. He was survived by his wife Dora, stepdaughter Nellie, and son John, who was only 16 years old. Thanks to my cousin Pete, I have a copy of Simon’s obituary. It reports that Simon had had a stroke in September, 1920 and had not been himself since, but that prior to the stroke, he had been “able to walk around as briskly as he had for decades, and he was a familiar figure in the plaza and sitting on the swing in front of his apartment house on Washington Avenue.” Here is the full obituary:
(Santa Fe New Mexican, February 25, 1921)
I winced at the references to “bad Indians” and “red chiefs,” trying to keep in mind that this was 1921. I was intrigued by the references to Simon’s time living in Missouri and South Dakota, as I have seen no documentation of his time in either place. He was still in Philadelphia in 1860 when he was 17, and he was in Peoria starting in 1863 until 1877. By 1880 he was in Santa Fe. So perhaps he had spent those years in between in Missouri and South Dakota.
The image of Simon as the postmaster sorting the mail in his nightgown at midnight is wonderful.
Just two years later, Simon’s brother Julius Nusbaum died in Philadelphia on January 3, 1923. He was 74 years old and died from “Dil of heart, superinduced by acute indigestion.” I googled this phrase and found that it was often used as description of a cause of death in the early 20th century, but I could not find any medical dictionary that explained what this meant. Dilation of the heart refers to an enlarged heart that cannot adequately pump blood, what we might refer to today as heart failure. But I have no idea what “superinduced by acute indigestion” means or whether that is today considered even medically accurate. Perhaps my medical consultant will fill me in.
Finally, the last of the children of John and Jeanette Nusbaum, Lottie died on December 23, 1925, of nephritis and diabetes. She was 64 years old. Both Julius and Lottie did not have any children.
Thus, as of 1925, all six children of John and Jeanette were gone. Three of them had no children to survive them, Adolphus, Julius, and Lottie. The other three siblings had together six surviving children: the three surviving children of Frances Nusbaum and Bernard Seligman, Eva, James, and Arthur; the two surviving children of Miriam Nusbaum and Gustavus Josephs, Florence and Jean; and the son of Simon Nusbaum and Dora Rutledge, John Bernard Nusbaum. If I include Simon’s stepdaughter Nellie, who was after all referred to as his daughter in his obituary, that would make seven surviving children. And there were the four grandchildren who had died as children, Florence and Minnie Seligman and Milton and Gertrude Josephs.
I have already written about the surviving Seligman children, my great-grandmother Eva and her brothers James and Arthur. In a later post, I will follow up on the other surviving grandchildren of Jeanette Dreyfuss and John Nusbaum, Florence and Jean Josephs and Nellie and John Nusbaum and their families.
By 1880, my three-times great-grandparents, Jeanette (Dreyfuss) and John Nusbaum, and their extended families had not only grown in size but spread across a wider swath of the northeastern United States. Some were still in Harrisburg or Philadelphia, but others were in Peoria, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. Although many were still dry goods merchants, the younger generations were also involved in various aspects of the liquor trade. The family had endured the economic crisis of the 1870s, seeing some bankruptcies and the closings of several stores and businesses. A number of young children had died, and by 1880, of the siblings of John and Jeanette Dreyfuss, only Ernst and John were still alive on the Nusbaum side, while Jeanette’s two sisters Caroline and Mathilde were both still living.
The next two decades brought with it more changes, more weddings, more new children, and sadly more deaths. In my next series of Nusbaum/Dreyfuss posts I will try to bring the various branches up to the 20th century, focusing first on my direct ancestors, John and Jeanette and their children and grandchildren.
As I’ve written, in 1880 John and Jeanette were listed on the census in two different locations, living thousands of miles apart. John was living with their daughter Frances and her husband Bernard Seligman (my great-great-grandparents) in Santa Fe along with his son Simon. Jeanette, on the other hand, was living in Philadelphia with their daughter Miriam and her husband Gustavus Josephs along with Lottie Nusbaum, the youngest child of John and Jeanette, and Milton Josephs, the young son of Miriam and Gustavus who would die from bronchial pneumonia just a few months after the 1880 census was taken. These must have been very hard times for my ancestors, and I will never know whether John moved to Santa Fe for financial reasons or because of marital problems. I will never know whether he was there for a month or a year.
English: A Areal map of Santa Fe, New Mexico during the Railroad era in 1882. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But I do know that John is listed in the 1881 Philadelphia directory as residing at 1129 Master Street, the same address where the Josephs family and Jeanette and Lottie were living on the 1880 census. Whether John was actually back or not is hard to say for sure, but he does not appear again on any Philadelphia directory until 1886, when he is listed as being in the “segar” business and living at 524 North 11th Street, the same address given for his daughter Lottie. Although Gustavus and his family are not listed in the 1881 directory, they show up in the 1884 directory still living on Master Street, so it would seem that sometime between 1881 and 1886, John and Lottie and presumably Jeanette had moved to their own home on North 11th Street.
I found it puzzling that John, after over forty years in the dry goods business, had entered the cigar business. But his store had gone bankrupt, and perhaps this seemed to be a good way to make a fresh start in the 1880s. John was already in his 70s by 1886, so it is even more surprising that he was starting in a new trade instead of just retiring. I did some reading about the tobacco industry and learned that the John Bonsack invented the cigarette rolling machine in 1881, leading to a widespread increase in cigarette smoking (previously, tobacco was either chewed, smoked in a pipe, or hand rolled into a cigar or cigarette). I don’t know whether this technological development had any effect on John’s decision to sell cigars, and I don’t know whether he sold only cigars or also cigarettes, but the timing does seem to be enough for me to think this was not just coincidental. In 1887, John again is listed at the same residence and as being in the “segar” business.
English: Trade card of a cigar dealer after a photograph of Napoleon Sarony, using Oscar Wilde’s popularity during his American trip of 1882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Meanwhile, the children of John and Jeanette were also finding their way in the 1880s. Adolphus and Julius were still in Peoria, working in the dry goods business, now called Nusbaum Bros. Since Julius had been one of his father’s creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings, perhaps the business was now owned by the brothers instead of their father. Julius was living with his brother Adolphus and sister-in-law Fannie, who had no children.
Simon, meanwhile, had remained in Santa Fe and was still unmarried and living with his sister, my great-great-grandmother Frances Nusbaum Seligman, and her family in 1885 according to the New Mexico Territorial Census of that year. In 1887 Simon was appointed to be a clerk in the US post office in Santa Fe, a position he continued to hold for many years, being promoted to assistant postmaster by 1889 and ultimately to postmaster in 1898.
Miriam and Lottie, the remaining two children of John and Jeanette, were living in Philadelphia. Miriam and her husband Gustavus had a third child in 1882, Gertrude, after losing Milton in 1880. Their second child Florence was then two years old. On November 28, 1888, Gertrude died from diphtheria (croupus form, according to the death certificate). She had just celebrated her sixth birthday less than a month before. Eight year old Florence was once again an only child. The family had lost yet another young child. For Miriam and Gustavus to lose two young children in the space of eight years must have been completely devastating.
As for Lottie, John and Jeanette’s youngest child, she was just seventeen in 1880 and still living at home, as she did throughout the decade.
The decade drew near a close on another sad note for the family when my three-times great-grandfather John Nusbaum died on January 24, 1889. He was 74 years old. According to his death certificate, he died from lobular heart disease, chronic cystitis, and diabetes. Notice also that the residential address on both Gertrude Josephs’ and John Nusbaum’s death certificates is the same: 1617 North 13th Street.
John Nusbaum was born in Schopfloch, Germany, in 1814, the sixth child of Amson Nusbaum and Voegele Welsch. He had been one of the pioneers in the family, coming to Pennsylvania in the 1840s, probably starting as a peddler and then establishing himself as a merchant first in Harrisburg and then in Philadelphia. He had seen much success and some failure in his business; he had helped out his siblings and their widows when his brothers Maxwell and Leopold died. He and Jeanette had been the common link that brought together many connections between the Nusbaum, Dreyfuss, Dinkelspiel, Wiler, and Simon families. I imagine that it must have been very hard for the family to lose him. Sadly, I cannot find one obituary or death notice for him.
John Nusbaum’s name lived on in other ways, however. Four years after he died, his daughter Miriam and her husband Gustavus had one last child on July 26, 1893, five years after they had lost Gertrude and eleven years since Miriam had last given birth. They named their son Jean, I assume in honor of Miriam’s father.
Two years later in 1895, John Nusbaum’s granddaughter Eva Seligman Cohen had a fourth son whom she and her husband Emanuel Cohen named John Nusbaum Cohen. He was my grandfather, named for his great-grandfather. Eva must have known her grandfather John Nusbaum very well, not only when she was a young child living in Philadelphia and not only when he had lived with her family for some period of time in Santa Fe, but also because she had moved to Philadelphia for college and then settled there after marrying my great-grandfather in 1886. She must have seen a great deal of him in those last few years of his life.
John Nusbaum Cohen c. 1895
When Simon Nusbaum married at a late age, he and his wife also named a son for Simon’s father. John Bernard Nusbaum was born on May 15, 1904, in Santa Fe. (I assume that the Bernard was for Simon’s brother-in-law Bernard Seligman, who had died the year before.)
And, of course, John Nusbaum’s name lives on today through my father, John Nusbaum Cohen, Jr. It’s a legacy that my three-times great-grandfather well deserved. We may not have a photograph to remember his face, but we will always remember his name.
And I am back from vacation. We had a wonderful time, and not having reliable internet access may have been a blessing. I couldn’t do any new research or posting to the blog so my brain had a chance to clear. Always a good thing. I did, however, have one more post “in the bank” that I prepared before I left, so here it is. I was awaiting a few more documents, hoping they would answer a few questions, and I received some while away that I have just reviewed.
I wish I could post a somewhat more uplifting post for the holiday season, but I can’t deny the sad fact that some of my relatives suffered considerable sadness in their lives. On the other hand, researching and writing about the families of Leopold Nusbaum and his sister Mathilde Nusbaum Dinkelspiel only made me appreciate all my blessings. So in that sense it is perhaps appropriate. Nothing can make you appreciate all you have more than realizing how little others have.
So here is the story of two of the Nusbaum siblings, one of the brothers and one of the sisters of my three-times great-grandfather John Nusbaum.
Leopold Nusbaum had died in 1866 when he was 58 years old, leaving his widow Rosa and daughter Francis (how she apparently spelled it for most of her life) behind. Leopold and Rosa had lost a son, Adolph, who died when he was just a young boy. Francis was only 16 when her father died. After Leopold died, Rosa and Francis moved from Harrisburg to Philadelphia and were living in 1870 with Rosa’s brother-in-law, John Nusbaum.
Late in 1870, Francis Nusbaum married Henry N. Frank. Henry, the son of Nathan and Caroline Frank, was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, where Leopold’s brother Maxwell Nusbaum and his family had once lived before relocating to Harrisburg. Henry’s father Nathan Frank was in the dry goods business, so the Nusbaums and Franks might have known each other from those earlier times. Nathan, Caroline, and their children had relocated to Philadelphia by 1870 and were living on Franklin Avenue right near the Simons, Wilers, and other members of the Nusbaum/Dreyfuss clan. Perhaps that is how Francis and Henry met, if not from an earlier family connection.
Not long after they were married, Henry and Francis must have moved back to Lewistown because their first child, Leopold, was born there on August 11, 1871. Leopold was obviously named for Francis’ father. A second child, Senie, was born in May 1876, and then another, Cora, was born in 1877. In 1880, Henry and Francis were living in Lewistown with their three young children as well as Francis’ mother Rosa and Henry’s father Nathan. Maybe Nathan was shuttling back and forth between Lewistown and Philadelphia because he is listed on the 1880 census in both places, once with Henry and Francis and then again with Caroline and their other children. Both Henry and his father Nathan listed their occupations as merchants.
Unfortunately, there is not much else I can find about Henry, Francis, or their children during the 1870s because Lewistown does not appear to have any directories on the ancestry.com city directory database. Lewistown’s population in 1880 was only a little more than three thousand people, which, while a 17% increase from its population of about 2700 in 1870, is still a fairly small town. It is about 60 miles from Harrisburg, however, and as I’ve written before, well located for trade, so the Frank family must have thought that it was still a good place to have a business even if the rest of the family had relocated to Philadelphia.
Mathilde Nusbaum Dinkelspiels’ family is better documented. She and her husband Isaac had settled and stayed in Harrisburg, which is where they were living as the 1870s began. Isaac was working as a merchant. Both of their children were out of the house. Adolph was living in Peoria at the same address as his cousin Julius Nusbaum and working with him in John Nusbaum’s dry goods store in that city. On January 4, 1871, Adolph Dinkelspiel married Nancy Lyon in Peoria, and their daughter Eva was born a year later on January 25, 1872. Adolph and Nancy remained in Peoria, and by 1875 Adolph was listed as the “superintendent” of John Nusbaum’s store. (Julius does not appear in the 1875 directory, though he does reappear in Peoria in 1876.)
On November 28, 1879, his daughter Eva died from scarlet fever. She was not quite eight years old. Adolph and Nancy did not have other children, and this must have been a devastating loss.
In fact, shortly thereafter Adolph, who had been in Peoria for over sixteen years, and Nancy, who was born there and still had family there, left Peoria and relocated to Philadelphia. On the 1880 census, Adolph was working as a clothing salesman and Nancy as a barber. (At least that’s what I think it says. What do you think?) Perhaps Adolph and Nancy left to find better opportunities or perhaps they left to escape the painful memories. Whatever took them away from Peoria, however, was enough that they never lived there again.
Adolph and Nancy did not remain in Philadelphia for very long, however. By 1882 Adolph and Nancy had relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where Adolph worked as a bookkeeper for many years. They remained in St. Louis for the rest of their lives. Adolph died on November 25, 1896, and Nancy less than a year and a half later on March 5, 1898. Adolph was only 53, and Nancy was not even fifty years old.
My cousin-by-marriage Ned Lewison sent me a copy of Nancy’s obituary from the March 7, 1898 Peoria Evening Star. It reported the following information about Nancy and Adolph Dinkelspiel:
“She married Adolph Dinkelspiel, at that time manager of the Philadelphia store on the corner of Main and Adams Street, one of the leading dry goods houses in Peoria. When the house failed, they removed to St. Louis and lived happily together until the death of Mr. Dinkelspiel, when his widow came to this city. But she preferred St. Louis for a residence, and although she made frequent visits to Peoria, she did not take up residence here.”
I found two points of interest in this obituary. One, there is no mention of their daughter Eva. And two, it reveals that the Nusbaum store in Peoria had closed, prompting Nancy and Adolph to relocate. Thus, Adolph and Nancy not only suffered a terrible personal loss, like many others in the family and in the country, they were negatively affected by the economic conditions of the 1870s.
Nancy and Adolph are both buried, along with their daughter Eva, in Peoria. Only death, it seems, could bring them back to Peoria.
Adolph’s sisters Paulina and Sophia Dinkelspiel did not have lives quite as sad as that of their brother, but they did have their share of heartbreak. Sophia, who had married Herman Marks in 1869, and was living in Harrisburg, had a child Leon who was born on October 15, 1870. Leon died when he was just two years old on October 24, 1872. I do not know the cause of death because the only record I have for Leon at the moment is his headstone. (Ned’ s research uncovered yet another child who died young, May Marks, but I cannot find any record for her.)
Sophia and Herman did have three other children in the 1870s who did survive: Hattie, born May 30, 1873, just seven months after Leon died; Jennie, born August 24, 1876; and Edgar, born August 27, 1879. Herman worked as a clothing merchant, and during the 1870s the family lived at the same address as the store, 435 Market Street in Harrisburg.
Paulina (Dinkelspiel) and Moses Simon, meanwhile, were still in Baltimore in the 1870s. In 1870 Moses was a dealer “in all kinds of leather,” according to the 1870 census. At first I thought that Moses and Paulina had relocated to Philadelphia in 1871 because I found a Moses Simon in the Philadelphia directories for the years starting in 1871 who was living near the other family members and dealing in men’s clothing. But since Moses and Paulina Simon are listed as living in Baltimore for the 1880 census and since Moses was a liquor dealer in Baltimore on that census, I realized that I had been confused and returned to look for Moses in Baltimore directories for that decade.
Sure enough, beginning in 1871 Moses was in the liquor business, making me wonder whether the 1870 census taker had heard “liquor” as “leather.” After all, who says they deal in all kinds of leather? All kinds of liquor makes more sense. Thus, like the other members of the next generation, Adolphus and Simon Nusbaum in Peoria, Leman Simon in Pittsburgh, and Albert Nusbaum in Philadelphia, Moses Simon had become a liquor dealer.
Moses and Paulina had a fourth child in 1872, Nellie. The other children of Moses and Paulina were growing up in the 1870s. By the end of the decade, Joseph was eighteen, Leon was fourteen, Flora was twelve, and little Nellie was eight.
Ned Lewison, my more experienced colleague and Dinkelspiel cousin, found a fifth child Albert born in 1875 who died August 25, 1876 and a sixth child Miriam born in July 1877 who died October 30, 1878, both of whom are buried at Oheb Shalom cemetery in Harrisburg, where their parents would also later be buried. Thus, Paulina lost two babies in the 1870s. For her parents, Mathilde and Isaac, that meant the deaths of four grandchildren in the 1870s alone.
As for Mathilde and Isaac Dinkelspiel themselves, although they began and ended the decade in Harrisburg, my research suggests that for at least part of that decade, they had moved to Baltimore. Isaac has no listing in the 1875 and 1876 Harrisburg directories (there were no directories for Harrisburg on line for the years between 1870 and 1874), but he does show up again in the Harrisburg directories for 1877 and 1878. When I broadened the geographic scope of my search, I found an Isaac Dinkelspiel listed in the Baltimore directories for the years 1872, 1873, 1874, and 1875 as a liquor dealer. This seemed like it could not be coincidental. It’s such an unusual name, and Isaac’s son-in-law Moses Simon was a liquor dealer in Baltimore. It seems that for at least four years, Isaac and Mathilde had left Harrisburg for Baltimore, leaving their other daughter Sophia and her husband Herman Marks in charge of the business at 435 Market Street in Harrisburg, where Isaac and Mathilde lived when they returned to Harrisburg in 1877.
Market Street in Harrisburg 1910 By Wrightchr at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The extended Dinkelspiel family as well as the Nusbaum family suffered another major loss before the end of the decade. According to Ned Lewison’s research, Mathilde Nusbaum Dinkelspiel died on June 20, 1878. Another Nusbaum sibling had died, leaving only John and Ernst alive of the original six who had emigrated from Germany to America; Maxwell, Leopold, Isaac, and now Mathilde were gone. Mathilde is buried at Oheb Shalom cemetery in Harrisburg.
What happened to Isaac Dinkelspiel after his wife Mathilde died? Although Isaac appeared in the 1880 Harrisburg directory at 435 Market Street, the same address as his son-in-law Herman and daughter Sophia (Dinkelspiel) Marks, he does not appear with them on the 1880 census at that address. In fact, I cannot find him living with any of his children or anywhere else on the 1880 census, although he is again listed in the Harrisburg directory at 435 Market Street for every year between 1880 and 1889 (except 1881, which is not included in the collection on ancestry.com). I assume the omission from the census is just that—an omission, and that Isaac was in fact living with Sophia and Herman during 1880 and until he died on October 26, 1889, in Harrisburg. He is buried with his wife Mathilde at Oheb Shalom cemetery in Harrisburg.
Thus, the Dinkelspiels certainly suffered greatly in the 18070s. Five children died in the 1870s—Eva Dinkelspiel, May Marks, Leon Marks, Albert Simon, and Miriam Simon. And their grandmother, Mathilde Nusbaum Dinkelspiel, also passed away, joining her brothers Maxwell, Leopold, and Isaac, leaving only John and Ernst left of the six Nusbaum siblings who left Schopfloch beginning in the 1840s to come to America.
And so I leave you with this thought as we start looking forward to a New Year. Don’t take your children or your grandchildren for granted. Cherish every moment you get to share with them. And be grateful for modern medicine and the way it has substantially reduced the risks of children being taken from us so cruelly.
The 1870s were not an easy decade for my three-times great-grandparents, John and Jeanette Nusbaum. Like Jeanette’s sisters Caroline and Mathilde and their families, the Nusbaums confronted some of the effects of the economic depression affecting the country.
By 1870 John and Jeanette only had two children living at home with them, Miriam, now 12, and Lottie, who was seven. Adolphus, Simon, and Julius, their three sons, were all living in Peoria, and Frances was married and living in Santa Fe with her husband Bernard Seligman and their three children, Eva, my great-grandmother, James, and Minnie. In 1871, Frances and Bernard’s son Arthur was born, giving John and Jeanette a fourth grandchild.
In 1872, Adolphus married Fannie Fox in Laporte, Indiana, but they settled together in Peoria. Until at least 1873, Adolphus and his brother Simon remained proprietors of the Union Mill Distillery, and their younger brother Julius continued to work as a clerk in their father’s store in Peoria.
But something changed by 1876, and in the Peoria directory for that year, although Adolphus was still listed as a distiller and Julius is still a clerk at John Nusbaum’s store, Simon was now in a different firm, Kingsland and Nusbaum, a firm engaged in the wholesale and commercial sales of liquor. Had there been a falling out between Simon and Adolphus, or had Simon just formed a separate business to distribute the liquor distilled by his brother’s company?
As I started studying the occupations of the younger generation of men in the extended Nusbaum-Dreyfuss-Simon clan, I was struck by the fact that whereas the older generation was involved primarily in the sale of clothing and other “dry goods,” the younger generation was definitely more into “wet goods.” Albert Nusbaum, Leman Simon, and Adolphus and Simon Nusbaum were all now in the liquor trade. In addition, Moses Simon ended up in the liquor business as well. Was this a sign of the times? Were people drinking more because of the economic conditions, thus making this an attractive business for the entrepreneurial cousins? Or was it more that once one cousin had success, the others figured they’d go into that line of business as well?
Apparently, Peoria was once known as the “Whiskey Capital of the World” and had over 24 breweries and 73 distilleries during the period between 1837 and 1919. The 1860s and 1870s were the high point of Peoria’s liquor production and distribution, so it is not surprising that Adolphus and Simon became involved in the liquor business. As for Albert, Leman, and Moses, it would appear that they followed the trend that the Nusbaum brothers had started. Interestingly, this is also a period when the movement for prohibition of alcohol also started gaining momentum, making the liquor business a risky venture in the long term. But for the 1870s, it might have been a wise business move.
The three Nusbaum brothers remained in Peoria throughout the 1870s, although by 1880, as we will see, Simon had relocated. Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, their parents must have been having some problems. The 1877 census had John listed as living at the same address at 943 North 6th Street in Philadelphia, but without an occupation. John was now 63 years old, and at first I thought that he had simply retired. But the 1877 Peoria directory also had a listing for John Nusbaum, and this is the first time that it includes a residential listing. Was this a mistake? Or was John spending part of his time in Peoria? Had John’s Philadelphia store closed?
Perhaps these two news clippings from 1878 can shed some light on what was going on:
Philadelphia Times, August 23, 1878, p. 4
Philadelphia Times October 31, 1878 p. 1
John was bankrupt, in debt for $20,000, and his principal creditors included two of his relatives: his son Julius, who was working at the Peoria store, and his sister-in-law Rose, widow of his brother Leopold, who had moved to Lewistown, Pennsylvania, after living with John and Jeanette during the period after Leopold died in 1866. The bankruptcy settlement allowed John to pay them a quarter of what he owed them.
I wish I could find out more about this, and perhaps there is some way of finding some documents about the bankruptcy proceedings. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. It just seems odd that Julius, who was working in his father’s store in Peoria, was owed almost $3500. And how did John become indebted to his widowed sister-in-law for over $3500? But obviously John was having financial problems, another family member feeling the impact from the economic crisis of the 1870s.
John was again listed without an occupation in the 1879 Philadelphia directory, and although he is listed as being in the dry goods business again in the 1880 Philadelphia directory, there also appears to be something else going on. On the 1880 US census, John Nusbaum is listed as living in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his daughter Frances Nusbaum Seligman and her family. John’s son and Frances’ brother Simon is also living with the family (as is Bernard’s brother Adolph). John’s occupation is described as “retired merchant,” and Simon is a bookkeeper. Why did Simon leave Peoria? What had happened to his liquor business? And what was John doing in Santa Fe…without his wife?
John and Simon Nusbaum with Bernard and Frances Seligman in Santa Fe 1880 US census
Jeanette was not with John nor were their two younger daughters. Rather, Jeanette, along with her youngest daughter Lottie, was listed in the 1880 census living at her other daughter Miriam’s house at 1120 Master Street in Philadelphia. Miriam had married Gustav Josephs on March 20, 1878. Gustav was listed as being in the handkerchief business in the 1880 Philadelphia directory and in the embroidery business on the 1880 census, so my guess is he either sold or made embroidered handkerchiefs at that time. Gustav and Miriam had had a son Milton, who was born on December 28, 1878. Yes, I realize that that means that Milton was born just nine months after his parents were married, but that certainly happens. These are dates from the family bible, and while perhaps not as official as a government record, for my money and from my experience, the family bible has proven to be at least as reliable if not more reliable than many government records.
So Jeanette was in Philadelphia while John was in Santa Fe. Since John was retired, it does not appear that this was a business decision. Did the experience of bankruptcy lead him to leave Philadelphia for some time? Was there tension between Jeanette and John due to financial stress?
Jeanette Nusbaum 1880 US census in Philadelphia
I do not know, but I do know that by 1881, John was back in Philadelphia where he would live the remainder of his days. In 1881 he also was living at 1120 Master Street and thus presumably reunited with Jeanette, living in the home of Miriam and her husband Gustav.
Gustav and Miriam had had a second child, Florence, born on July 28, 1880, but just a few months later, the family suffered a sad loss. On November 17, 1880, Gustav and Miriam’s toddler son Milton died from marasmus. Marasmus is a severe form of malnutrition caused by a lack of protein and calories. Poor little Milton essentially starved to death. He was one month short of his second birthday. Today this is something we think of as a third world problem, but here he was, the grandson of a once-successful merchant, living in one of the biggest cities in the US at the time. It’s hard to imagine how this could have happened.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please see my next post here. Milton did not die from marasmus, but from pneumonia.
Milton Joseph (third from bottom) on the Federal Mortality Schedule 1880
Thus, the 1870s were a tough decade for my three-times great-grandparents, both personally and professionally. By 1880 John had also lost another sibling in addition to Leopold, who had died in 1866, and Isaac, who had died in 1870. But that will wait for another post.
But not all the news was bad news. Two more of their children had married, Adolphus and Miriam, and John and Jeanette had two new grandchildren, Florence Josephs, Miriam’s daughter, and Arthur Seligman, Frances’ son, the grandson who would one day be the governor of New Mexico. There definitely were better days ahead for the Nusbaum family.
 My brother told me that titling my posts “The Long Depression” was not a way to entice readers, so I’ve changed it a bit for this one. I am not sure that does much more to make this into uplifting reading, but these were tough times.
 That does not count Florence Seligman, who was born in August, 1867 and died a few weeks later, as I’ve written about previously.
My last post covered the migration of several Nusbaum/Dreyfuss family members to Peoria, Illinois in the 1860s. Meanwhile, back in Pennsylvania, the rest of the Nusbaum/Dreyfuss clan was growing during the 1860s. In Philadelphia, two of the Nusbaum brothers and two of the Dreyfuss sisters were seeing their families grow and their children grow. Other family members were still in Harrisburg. By the end of the decade, even more of the family would have relocated to Philadelphia.
The Civil War was having at least some minor financial impact on the family. For example, John Nusbaum was liable for $26.79 in income tax to the federal government in 1862 under the terms of the Internal Revenue Act of 1862. That law was enacted to raise money to help pay for the expenses incurred by the Union in fighting the Civil War. It was the first progressive income tax imposed by the federal government. For anyone whose income exceeded $600 a year, a tax was imposed based on the level of income.
For John Nusbaum, whose income was valued at $892.96 in 1862, that meant a tax of $26.79. According to one inflation calculator, $892.96 in 1862 would be worth about $20,000 in 2014. For someone with stores in Philadelphia and Peoria (and possibly still some interest in a store in Harrisburg) and who reported $6000 in real estate and $20,000 in personal property in 1860, that does not seem like a lot of income, but I have no idea how that was determined back then.
By 1863 John and Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum, my three-times great-grandparents, had seen their two older sons move to Peoria, but they still had one son, Julius, and two daughters at home in 1863: Frances, my great-great-grandmother, who was eighteen, and Miriam, who was only five years old in 1863. Plus 1863 had started off with another new baby in the family. Lottie Nusbaum was born on January 1, 1863. Jeanette would have been almost 46 years old, and her first born child Adolphus was going on 23.
I have to admit that I have some questions about whether Lottie was actually the child of John and Jeanette. Jeanette must have been close to the end of her child-bearing years. They had not had a child in five years. Could Lottie have been a child of one of their sons, raised as the child of her actual grandparents? Or a child they adopted? I have no way of knowing. Lottie had no children, so even if I could figure out some way to use DNA to answer my doubts, there are no descendants to use for DNA testing.
On Lottie’s death certificate, the informant was Mrs. E. Cohen, that is, my great-grandmother Eva Seligman Cohen, Lottie Nusbaum’s niece and Frances Nusbaum Seligman’s daughter. Eva filled in the father’s name as John, but put unknown for the mother’s maiden name. Eva certainly knew her grandmother Jeanette’s name. (Eva is the one who held and maintained the family bible for many years.) Did she not know her grandmother’s maiden name? Was she too grief-stricken to remember? Or was she suggesting that Jeanette was not in fact Lottie’s real mother? I do not know, and there is no one left to ask. But it did not do anything to resolve my doubts about the identity of Lottie’s parents. Maybe I am too skeptical. Maybe she was just a menopause baby. Maybe John and Jeanette were missing their boys so much that they decided to have one more child. Or maybe not. What do you all think?
Lottie Nusbaum death certificate Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
In any event, just as John and Jeanette were emptying their household of their sons, they had a new baby to raise. The family was still living at 433 Vine Street in 1862, according to the Philadelphia city directory, but in 1864 they are listed at 455 York Avenue. That address is about two and a half miles north of Vine Street, and as I’ve discussed earlier, Jews began to move north in Philadelphia as their socioeconomic status improved.
By 1865, John and Jeanette’s house on York Avenue was a little emptier. By that time Julius had joined his brothers in Peoria, and on March 28, 1865, my great-great-grandmother Frances married Bernard Seligman. For several years they lived in Philadelphia, and Bernard was apparently in business with his brothers-in-law in a firm called Nusbaum Brothers and Company. They had four children between 1866 and 1869, including my great-grandmother Eva. Then in 1870, Bernard returned full time to Santa Fe with Frances and their children where Frances and Bernard lived for almost all of the rest of their lives, as discussed in my Seligman blog posts.
Nusbaum Brothers and Company 1867 Philadelphia Directory Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
John’s brother Ernst was also in Philadelphia during the early 1860s. He was a clothier, working at 55 North Third Street and living at 626 North 6th Street. He and his wife Clarissa had another child in 1861, Frank, bringing their family up to six children ranging in age from newborn to ten years old. So both Ernest, who was 45 when Frank was born, and John, who was 49 when Lottie was born, had new babies in their homes in the 1860s.
Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum also had a sibling living in Philadelphia. Her sister Caroline (Dreyfuss) Wiler had also moved from Harrisburg to Philadelphia by 1860. She and her husband Moses Wiler were living at 466 North 4th Street in 1862 with their four children, who ranged in age from Eliza who was twenty to Clara who was twelve. Moses was in the cloak business.
The following year the Wiler household became a bit smaller when Eliza Wiler married Leman Simon on September 9, 1863, in Philadelphia. Yes, Leman Simon. Do you remember that name? He was the brother of Moses Simon, who married Paulina Dinkelspiel and started the migration of Nusbaums to Peoria. So once again, my family tree groans and twists a bit. Eliza and Paulina were already related, at least by marriage. Eliza’s mother Caroline Dreyfuss was the sister-in-law of John Nusbaum, Paulina Dinkelspiel’s uncle. Sometimes these people make me want to pull out my hair! Imagine, I am casually researching Eliza, and I see her husband’s name and think, “Leman Simon. Hmmm, that sounds familiar.”
So by 1863 the Simons, Nusbaums, Dinkelspiels, and Dreyfusses were all somehow interrelated, often in more than one way.
But it gets worse.
By 1866, Moses Pollock and Mathilde (Dreyfuss Nusbaum) Pollock had also moved to Philadelphia from Harrisburg. In 1868, Flora Nusbaum, the daughter of Mathilde Dreyfuss and Maxwell Nusbaum and step-daughter of Moses Pollock, married Samuel Simon. I have mentioned this before because Flora Nusbaum is my double first cousin four times removed since both of her parents were siblings of one of my three times great-grandparents, Flora’s father being John Nusbaum’s brother, her mother being Jeanette Dreyfuss Nusbaum’s sister. Now Flora was marrying her first cousin Paulina’s brother-in-law Samuel Simon, who was also her cousin Eliza’s brother-in law.
Groan…. Maybe this chart will help.
So all three Simon brothers were now married to someone in the clan: Samuel to Flora Nusbaum, Leman to Eliza Wiler, and Moses to Paulina Dinkenspiel.
The wedding of Samuel Simon to Flora Nusbaum (Pollock) seems to have been a celebration worthy of all that interconnectedness. Here is an article from the Harrisburg Telegraph of October 20, 1868, republishing an article from the Philadelphia Sunday Mercury that described their Philadelphia wedding. It’s really worth reading to get the full flavor of both the wedding and “social media” in the 1860s.
The strangest part of this article is not the detailed description of the lavish, extravagant wedding celebration, but the reporter’s mistaken assertion that Flora was not Jewish. Certainly her parents were both Jewish, and even her stepfather Moses Pollock was Jewish. The reporter’s statement that “the pure religion of love had broken down all sectarian barriers” seems a bit strange for a wedding announcement, even if it had been an interfaith wedding. But why would the reporter have thought Flora wasn’t Jewish?
The overlapping branches of the family were well represented in the bridal party: Clara Wiler and Simon Wiler, the children of Moses and Caroline (Dreyfuss) Wiler; Frances Nusbaum, the daughter of John and Jeanette (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum; Arthur Nusbaum, son of Ernst and Clara Nusbaum; and Albert Nusbaum, son of Maxwell and Mathilde (Dreyfuss) Nusbaum and brother of the bride. I do not know who the Schloss family is or the Goldsmiths, at least not yet, but I fear more double twists yet to be uncovered.
So the extended family was doing quite well, and there were lots of new families being formed and babies born, but unfortunately there also was one big loss in the 1860s. Leopold Nusbaum, who was still living in Harrisburg in the 1860s, died on December 24, 1866. He was buried at Mt. Sinai Cemetery in Philadelphia. His widow Rosa and sixteen year old daughter Francis moved shortly thereafter to Philadelphia, where they moved in with John and Jeanette Nusbaum, whose household had been reduced by two when Julius moved to Peoria and Frances married.
Below is a photo I found while searching for old images of Harrisburg. I was so excited when I saw the name on the store at the far upper right—Leo Nusbaum! Although this photo was dated 1889, Leopold Nusbaum’s name was still on the store even though he had died almost 25 years earlier.
The only Nusbaum family members left in Harrisburg by the end of the 1860s were Mathilde (Nusbaum) Dinkenspiel, her husband Isaac, and their daughter Sophia. Their daughter Paulina (Dinkenspiel) Simon was living in Baltimore, and their son Adolph was in Peoria. Their youngest child Sophia married Herman Marks, a Prussian born clothing merchant, in 1869, and they settled in Harrisburg as well. Perhaps they were the ones to keep Mathilde’s brother’s name on the store.
Thus, by the end of the 1860s, most of the extended family was living in Philadelphia, with a small number living in Peoria, a few in Harrisburg, and a few in Baltimore.
 $600 in 1860 would be worth about $17,000 today, and $20,000 in 1860 would be worth about $571,000 today. Not too shabby for someone who had come to America around 1840.
My father’s family has lived in some places that were surprising to me—Cohens in Des Moines and Kansas City, Seligmans in Santa Fe, and Nusbaums in Harrisburg and other small towns in Pennsylvania. In the 1860s, some of the Nusbaums and their Dreyfuss, Dinkelspiel and Simon relatives ended up in Peoria. All I knew about Peoria was the old line, “Will it play in Peoria?” As explained on the official website for Peoria, Illinois:
The phrase “Will It Play in Peoria?” originated in the early ’20s and ’30s during the US vaudeville era. At that time, Peoria was one of the country’s most important stops for vaudeville acts and performances. If an act did well in Peoria, vaudeville companies knew that it would work throughout the nation. The saying was popularized by movies with Groucho Marx, and on radio programs such as Jack Benny and Fibber McGee. Because of it’s [sic] location and demographics, Peoria has since become a well known test market to gauge the popularity of products and ideas nationwide.
Peoria has become a symbol of mainstream America, a short-hand way of referring to the typical “Middle American,” as Richard Nixon might say. So perhaps I should not be surprised that my entrepreneurial Nusbaum/Dreyfuss ancestors struck out for Peoria after succeeding in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. It was a new market to exploit as the US population continued to expand and move west.
Location map of Peoria, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But were there Jews there in the 1860s? Surprisingly, there was an established Jewish community. According to the Jewish Virtual Library’s entry for Illinois, “The oldest Jewish community [in Illinois] outside of Chicago is Peoria, where the first Jews arrived in 1847. A benevolent society was organized in 1852 and the first congregation, Anshai Emeth, was formed in 1859.” The website for Anshai Emeth reveals only a little bit more about the early history of Jews in Peoria:
The first Jewish settlers came to Peoria in approximately 1847. They soon organized themselves into groups and worshiped in private homes. Early settlers included Jacob Liebenstein (1848), Henry Ullman and Leopold Rosenfeld (1849), Abraham Schradski and Leopold Ballenberg (1851), and Aaron, Harry and David Ulman (1852), and Henry Schwabacker. Many of their descendants continue to live in the Peoria community. Religious school classes were organized by 1852. In the same year, these Jewish settlers organized a burial association and bought a lot for the use as a cemetery. With this purchase grew the first organized Jewish life in Peoria. Religious services were held in various halls including Washington House on North Washington Street. Abraham Frank, A. Rosenblat, Hart Ancker, A. Ackerland, Arnold Goodheart, and Abraham Solomon formally organized a congregation in 1859 and named themselves “Anshai Emeth,” or “People of Truth.”
Although in 1860 the Nussbaum/Dreyfuss clan was settled either in Harrisburg or Philadelphia, as early as 1862 some of the next generation began moving to Peoria. Paulina Dinkelspiel, the daughter of Mathilde Nusbaum and Isaac Dinkelspiel, married a man named Moses Simon in 1862. Moses was born in 1835 in what is now the Hesse region of Germany. He and his brothers Leman and Samuel had a business in Peoria as early as 1861, as did their father Sampson.
The Simons in Peoria 1861 Peoria directory
But as the directory indicated, Moses was residing in Harrisburg in 1861. Perhaps Moses had a business relationship with the Nusbaum business; perhaps that is how he obtained his merchandise for their business in Peoria. But while living in Harrisburg, Moses must have met Paulina. And after they were married, they moved to Peoria where their first two children were born, Joseph in 1862 and Francis in 1864.
Not long after, Paulina’s younger brother Adolph Dinkenspiel arrived in Peoria. Although he is not listed in the 1861 directory, he does appear in the 1863 directory. While the Simon brothers and their father were all living at 95 North Adams Street that year, Adolph was boarding at the corner of North Adams and Hamilton Street, right down the block, and working as a clerk at 73 Main Street.
What was going on at 73 Main Street? The Simon Brothers business was at 5 North Adams Street, so young Adolph was not working for his sister’s husband. A look at the 1863 directory for Peoria under N revealed that John Nusbaum, my three-times great-grandfather, had a business at that location as a “fancy and staple dry goods merchant.” Although John was still residing in Philadelphia, he is listed in the directory as are two of his sons. His oldest son Adolphus, was residing at Peoria House, a hotel, I assume, and working for a firm called “Adler, N. & Higbie.” A further look through the 1863 directory uncovered a listing for a distillery called Adler, Nusbaum & Higbie. John’s second son Simon is also listed in the 1863 Peoria directory, working as the business manager of his father’s store at 73 Main Street with his cousin Adolph Dinkenspiel and residing at 36 North Adams Street.
Nusbaums in Peoria 1863 Peoria directory
By 1863, the country was in the throes of the Civil War, yet it appears that my Peoria relatives were not serving in the war. I did find a document that indicates that both Simon and Adolphus Nusbaum registered for the draft in 1863 for the Civil War, but I cannot find any other documentation of their service in that war.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General’s Bureau (Civil War); Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); ARC Identifier: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 2 of 5
Not one of these young men in the family appears in any of the databases listing those who served. I searched not only Ancestry, Fold3, and FamilySearch, but also the National Park Service database, the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, found here, and found nothing.
How had they all avoided service? Simon and Adolphus registered, but I can’t even find registration evidence for Adolph Dinkelspiel. The Draft Act of 1863 applied to all male citizens between 20 and 45 years old; in 1863 Adolphus was 21 and Simon and Adolph were 20. Adolphus and Simon were born in the US and were thus citizens, but Adolph Dinkelspiel was born in Baden. However, the Draft Act also applied to men who intended to become citizens. Perhaps Adolph avoided registration by not declaring such an intention. But how would his cousins Adolphus and Simon have avoided service? Apparently there were two ways to avoid being drafted: hire a substitute or pay $300. Perhaps that’s what the two Nusbaum brothers did. Or maybe I just haven’t found the documentation of their service. See also Michael T. Meier, “Civil War Draft Records: Exemptions and Enrollments,” Prologue Magazine (Winter, 1994) found online here.
All three of John’s sons were listed in the 1865 Peoria directory. Julius joined Simon as a clerk at the Nusbaum dry goods store, now located at the corner of North Adams and Main Street, two blocks up from its 1863 location. Adolphus, although still listed in the directory, was reported to be living in Philadelphia in 1865, but still associated with the Adler, Nusbaum & Higbie firm. In addition, John’s older brother Isaac is listed in the 1865 Peoria directory, boarding at 36 North Adams Street, the same address given for Julius. This is the first document evidencing Isaac’s presence in the US, so perhaps he was a late arrival and sent to Peoria to keep an eye on his nephews Julius and Simon Nusbaum and Adolph Dinkelspiel, who were single and only 17, 22, and 22 respectively in 1865.
Thus, in 1865, there were four male members of the extended Nusbaum family living in Peoria. Some members of the clan had left by then. Moses and Paulina (Dinkelspiel) Simon and Moses’ brothers Leman and Samuel and their father Sampson were gone from Peoria. Moses and Paulina had relocated to Baltimore where Moses was a “fancy goods” merchant. They had two more children between 1865 and 1870: Leon was born in 1866, and Flora in 1868, both born in Baltimore. On the 1870 census, Moses described himself as a dealer in all kinds of leather.  Thus, Moses Simon who started the migration of the Nusbaums to Peoria was himself gone by 1865.
Adolphus was not listed as living in Peoria in 1865, but he did eventually return to Peoria in 1868. There is an 1864 IRS tax report that lists the income for Adolphus and for the Adler, Nusbaum & Higbie distillery, so Adolphus was still in business in 1864 in Peoria. The 1865 Peoria directory reported that he was living in Philadelphia though still in business in Peoria.
In 1867 the only members of the Nussbaum/Dreyfuss/Dinkelspiel/Simon clan listed as living in Peoria were Isaac Nusbaum, Julius Nusbaum, and Adolph Dinkelspiel. However, the 1868 directory lists Isaac, Julius, S. (Simon?) and A. (Adolphus?) Nusbaum as well as Adolph Dinkelspiel. The four younger men are also listed in the 1870 directory. Simon and Adolphus were now in the distillery business together under the name Union Mills Distillery, and Julius was still working in his father’s “staple and fancy dry goods” business along with his cousin Adolph Dinkelspiel. Thus, three of my great-great-grandmother’s brothers as well as my first cousin four times removed, Isaac Dinkenspiel, were living in Peoria in 1870.
Isaac Nusbaum, their uncle, had died in January, 1870. He was not yet sixty years old. I could find no actual record of his death aside from the entry in the Nusbaum family bible and this rather peculiar news article from the January 25, 1870 Peoria Daily Transcript.
Peoria Daily Transcript January 25, 1870 p. 3
What does this mean? Why would his brother John have ordered the body returned to Peoria? Why had it first been en route to Philadelphia? How did Isaac die? There was no obituary. Isaac is a mystery to me. I don’t know where he was before 1865. It appears that he never married or had children. If it had not been for the family bible, I might never have even known to look for him.
By 1870, the four young Nusbaum descendants were grown men. Even the youngest, Julius, was 22. All four would spend the next decade in Peoria as well; two of them would spend most of the rest of their lives there.
So yes, it played well in Peoria for the Nusbaum/Dreyfuss family.
 For some reason on the second enumeration of the 1870 census, Moses and his brothers Samuel and Leman are listed with their parents in Philadelphia; I assume that the parents were confused when asked about the members of their family and reported all three sons as living with them when in fact all three sons were married by then and living with their wives and children.