Children Orphaned by the 1918 Flu Epidemic: The Family of Clementine Goldschmidt Sondheimer, Part I

As mentioned in an earlier post, Meyer Selig and Selma (Cramer) Goldschmidt’s daughter Clementine married Nathan Sondheimer in 1913 and had three children: Manfred born in 1914, Erich in 1915, and Auguste in 1918. I was very fortunate to connect with Clementine’s granddaughter Daniela, daughter of Manfred Sondheimer, who generously shared with me family stories and photographs, including this wonderful photograph of the three Sondheimer children with their mother.1

Erich, Manfred, Auguste, and Clementine Goldschmidt Sondheimer, c. 1917. Courtesy of the family

Tragically, Clementine died on October 29, 1918, leaving behind three young children, Manfred, (four years old), Erich (three), and Auguste (one), and her husband Nathan Sondheimer. Clementine was only 25 years old and was a victim of the 1918 flu epidemic like her cousin Rosa Cramer Oppenheimer and millions of others. According to Clementine’s granddaughter Daniela, Clementine was pregnant with her fourth child at the time of her death.

Clementine Goldschmidt Sondheimer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10793, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Daniela shared with me that after their mother died, her father Manfred and his siblings were raised in large part by their maternal grandmother, Selma Cramer Goldschmidt, the wife of Meyer Selig Goldschmidt, who himself died in 1922. The entire Goldschmidt extended family was extremely close and lived near each other, so there was a great deal of support for Clementine’s three young children. That was especially important when Auguste came down with tuberculosis and was extremely ill and in and out of sanitoria. Fortunately she eventually recovered and regained her strength.2

Here are three more photographs of the Sondheimer children, two of just the three of them and one with the extended family:

Manfred, Auguste, and Erich Sondheimer, c. 1921 Courtesy of the family

Manfred, Erich, and Auguste Sondheimer, c. 1923 Courtesy of the family

Members of the extended Goldschmidt and Sondheimer families at the North Sea, c. 1927. At far right in the first row is Nathan Sondheimer. To his right is Manfred and then Auguste with Erich behind them. Courtesy of the family

In 1928, ten years after Clementine’s death, her widower Nathan Sondheimer remarried, and he had two more children with his second wife, Anna Ettlinger, a doctor who graduated from the University of Heidelberg, according to my cousin Daniela. Anna was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, on May 28, 1894, to Kaufmann Ettlinger and Dora Frankel.3 She was likely a distant cousin of Nathan through his mother Auguste Ettlinger as both were originally from Karlsruhe, Germany. I traced them both back four generations without finding a direction connection, but I assume there is one there.

Nathan Sondheimer and Anna Ettlinger marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Then just five years after he married Anna, Nathan died on May 13, 1933, in Washington, DC. According to his granddaughter Daniela, Nathan had traveled to Washington to promote his business. While there he secured a life insurance policy. Then, without warning, he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 54.4

Nathan and Clementine’s three children were now teenaged orphans. Manfred was eighteen, Erich was seventeen, and Auguste was fifteen. Clementine’s children had lost both of their parents before reaching adulthood just as had happened to the children of her cousin Rosa Cramer Oppenheimer. It also left Nathan’s second wife Anna a widow with their two little children, Fritz and Marion, both under the age of five.

Fortunately, Nathan had successfuly secured that life insurance policy just days before his death, and the proceeds proved to be enough to get his body back to Germany for burial in Frankfurt and to get his widow Anna and his five children out of Germany.

According to the website of the Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles, Anna Ettlinger Sondheimer fled Nazi Germany in 1935 and smuggled eighteen sapphires out of the country by sewing them into the clothing of the family. Some of those sapphires are now in the museum’s collection.

It appears that Anna and her two children Fritz and Marion escaped to Holland. A ship manifest shows her sailing to the US with her sister Kate Ettlinger in June 1938; Anna listed her last permanent residence as The Hague, Holland, and indicated she intended to stay in the US permanently.5 Then in September 1938, she sailed from the US to England, listing her last residence as the US.

Anna Sondheimer, ship manifest, The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1165, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960

On February 11, 1939, Anna returned to the US with Fritz and Marion and her mother, who had all been living in Holland. Anna and her children listed as the person they were going to in the US an A. Sondheimer—identified as Anna’s daughter and the sister of her two children, living at 1359 51st Street in Brooklyn, New York. (See the third image below.)

Anna Sondheimer, ship manifest, with children and mother, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 29; Page Number: 33 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island),

I first assumed that A. Sondheimer was Auguste Sondheimer, who was Anna’s stepdaughter and her children’s half-sister. But I found two manifests—one an outgoing manifest from England, the other an arrival manifest in New York—showing that Auguste sailed from England to New York in August 1939, six months after Anna’s arrival back to the US in February. Auguste was  accompanied by  Selma Sondheimer, who was the widow of Fritz Sondheimer, Nathan Sondheimer’s brother. Both of those manifests show that Auguste had been living in England, not in Brooklyn. They also reveal that Auguste was a photographer.6

I searched for any other A. Sondheimer who could have been living in Brooklyn at that time. Nathan did have two brothers who came to the US. One, Arthur, had died in New York in 1905;7 the other, Albert, arrived in the US in April 1939, so months after Anna’s arrival.8

And then the lightbulb went on. The “A. Sondheimer” they were going to in Brooklyn was Anna Ettlinger Sondheimer herself. Anna listed her last residence as Brooklyn on that February 1939 manifest. The poor shipping company clerk who entered the data must have been so confused. Look at how he crossed out the relationships in the first column for the person left behind, another A. Sondheimer, this one probably Albert Sondheimer, Nathan’s brother. And he also listed the A. Sondheimer they were going to as the daughter of both Anna’s mother and of Anna herself.

In any event, the 1940 US census shows that Augusta (spelled here with a A at the end, not an E) was then living in New York City with Anna, Fritz, Marion, Anna’s mother Dora Rudlia Frankel Ettlinger, and Anna’s sister-in-law Selma Ettlinger Sondheimer, the widow of Nathan’s brother Fritz and Nathan’s first cousin. Anna was practicing medicine.

Augusta Sondheimer, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02638; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 31-626, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Auguste married Walter James Levy in New York in April, 1942.9 Walter was also a refugee from Germany; he was born in Hamburg on March 21, 1911, to Moses Levy and Bertha Lindenberger.10 Walter arrived in the US on March 19, 1941, and filed his declaration of intention to become a US citizen on August 6, 1941, listing his occupation as statistician and his last residence as England.11 He also by that time had registered for the World War II draft, listing his occupation as writer, statistician, economist. Most interestingly, he listed as his contact person a “friend,” Augusta Sondheimer. They were both living at 41 Central Park West in New York City. Less than a year later, they were married.

Walter Levy, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

During the war, they moved to Washington, DC, where Walter ran the petroleum section of the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency. According to Walter’s obituary in The New York Times:

After the war, he guided the petroleum sector of the Marshall Plan. In 1948 he became chief of the petroleum, oil and lubricant division of the Economic Cooperation Administration, which administered the plan to mend Europe’s shattered economies and provide the political stability for democratic institutions to thrive. He filled that job until 1949 and continued to advise the E.C.A. until it ended its mission two years later.

During the 1940s, Walter and Augusta (as she later spelled it in the US) had two children, Robert and Susan. They returned to New York where Walter established his own international consulting business, Walter J. Levy Consultants Corporation, where he “helped renegotiate oil leases between states that wanted to tap their own resources effectively and companies that feared outright nationalization.”12

Augusta Sondheimer Levy died on September 19, 1981, in Westport, Connecticut; she was 64 years old.13 Her son Robert died only twelve years later on April 20, 1993; he was only 47.14 Walter Levy died at age 86 on December 10, 1997, in New York; he was described as “the dean of United States oil economists” in his obituaries.15 Sadly, Augusta and Walter’s remaining child also died relatively young; Susan Levy died on November 15, 2003, Altamonte Springs, California; she was 54.16 All four family members are buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, where many other Sondheimer relatives are also buried. As neither Robert or Susan had children, there are no living descendants of Augusta Sondheimer Levy.

But Augusta survived the loss of her mother, her father, and then her homeland. Her name and her story should not be forgotten.

What about Augusta’s older brothers, Manfred and Erich?

To be continued.


  1. My fifth cousin Daniela Sondheimer Klein and I exchanged numerous emails in November and December and also spoke by Zoom on December 1, 2020. All references to matters in this post that I was told by Daniela came from those emails and that conversation. 
  2. See also Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007, Jerusalem), pp. 15-18. 
  3. Anna Ettinger, Gender: weiblich (Female), Birth Date: 28 Mai 1894 (28 May 1894)
    Birth Place: Karlsruhe, Baden (Baden-Württemberg), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Karlsruhe, Father: Kaufmann Ettinger, Mother: Dora Frünkel, Certificate Number: 968, Signatur: 3_B_A_I_47, Bestand: 3/B, Title: Enthält: Einträge Nr. 938 – 1875, Date: 1894, Lange: 20, Laufende Nummer: A/I/47, Zahlung Gesamter Bestand: 47, Ancestry.com. Karlsruhe, Germany, Births, 1870-1904. Conversation with Daniela Sondheimer Klein, December 1, 2020. 
  4.   Nathan Sondheimer, Gender: männlich (Male), Nationality: Deutsch Juden, Record Type: Inventory, Last Residence: Frankfurt am Main, Residence Place: Frankfurt am Main, Death Date: 13 Mai 1933 (13 May 1933), Notes: Inventories of personal estates of foreigners and especially German Jews, Reference Number: 02010101 oS, Document ID: 70367447, Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1, Ancestry.com. Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947. Conversation with Daniela Sondheimer Klein, December 1, 2020. 
  5. Anna Sondheimer, ship manifest, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 2, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 
  6. Auguste and Selma Sondheimer, ship manifests, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960, and Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 5; Page Number: 149, Ship or Roll Number: Champlain, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7. New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:27BT-FK8 : 3 June 2020), Arthur Sondheimer, 1905. 
  8. Albert Sondheimer, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 15; Page Number: 26, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 
  9.  Auguste Sondheimer, Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 10 Apr 1942, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Walter Levy, License Number: 7458, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 3, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  10. Walter James Levy, [Walter J Levy], Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 21 Mar 1911, Birth Place: Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 10 Dec 1997, Claim Date: 17 Dec 1975, Father: Moses Levi, Mother: Bertha Lindenberger
    SSN: 110240194, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  11. Walter J Levy, Declaration Number: 496713, Box Number: 370, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21,
    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  12. “Walter James Levy, 86, Oil Consultant, Dies,” The New York Times, December 15, 1997, Section B, p. 7. 
  13. State File #: 19446, Connecticut Department of Health. Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012 
  14. Walter James Levy, [Walter J Levy], Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 21 Mar 1911, Birth Place: Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 10 Dec 1997, Claim Date: 17 Dec 1975, Father: Moses Levi, Mother: Bertha Lindenberger
    SSN: 110240194, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. “Walter James Levy, 86, Oil Consultant, Dies,” The New York Times, December 15, 1997, Section B, p. 7. 
  15. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/80079636/robert-levy 
  16. Susan Beatrice Levy, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 23 Sep 1949, Birth Place: New York City, New York, Death Date: 1 Nov 2003, SSN: 065384544, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Sarah Goldschmidt Mansbach’s Grandchildren Come of Age: Philadelphia 1910-1920

The years between 1910 and 1920 were years of growth for the children of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Mansbach who were living in the US.  Their children, Sarah and Abraham’s grandchildren, were becoming adults and starting households of their own. This post will cover the Philadelphia siblings, Hannah and Louis, and their brother Julius, who was living in Germany with his family. The Colorado siblings will be discussed in the next post.

The two Philadelphia siblings, Hannah Mansbach Dannenberg and Louis Mansbach, saw their daughters marry in this decade. Hannah’s older daughter Reta married Elmor Alkus in Philadelphia in 1912.1 Elmor was, like Reta, born in Pennsylvania in 1889; his parents were Morris and Henrietta Alkus, both of whom were born in Germany. Elmor’s father Morris was a wool merchant. In 1910, Elmor was a commercial traveler selling notions.2 Reta and Elmor’s first child, Elaine, was born on April 22, 1914, in Philadelphia.3 In 1920, they were all living in Philadelphia, and Elmor was now the owner of a towel supply company. I assume that his father-in-law Gerson Dannenberg had taken him into his business.4

Hannah’s younger daughter Katinka married Sidney Olsho in 1916 in Philadelphia.5 Sidney, the son of Jacob Olshoffsky (later shortened to Olsho) and Louisa Galeski, was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, on January 22, 1879, making him fifteen years older than Katinka. He was 37 when they married, she 22. He was a doctor. His parents were German immigrants, and his father was a dry goods merchant.6 Sidney and Katinka had a son, Edward, born on February 6, 1919, in Philadelphia. In 1920, they were living in Philadelphia where Sidney was practicing as an eye, ear, nose and throat physician (amusingly, it was transcribed as “dye, oat, nas, thead” on Ancestry).

Sidney Olsho and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 8, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1619; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 181
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

Sidney wasn’t the only doctor in Hannah’s family. Her son Arthur Dannenberg was also a physician, according to his World War I draft registration. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania medical school in 1913 and had trained as a pediatrician:

Arthur Dannenberg, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907646; Draft Board: 26
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

University of Pennsylvania alumni directory, Publication Year: 1917
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935

Arthur served in the US Army from August 10, 1917, until August 1, 1919, and was promoted to a captain in May, 1918. He served primarily at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia in the medical corps and did not serve overseas.7 After the war, Arthur returned home and was living with his parents, Hannah and Gerson Dannenberg, in Philadelphia in 1920.  Arthur was practicing medicine, and his father Gerson was a merchant in the towel business.8

Louis Mansbach’s daughter Rebecca also married in this decade. Rebecca married David Rattin in Philadelphia in 1917.9 David was born on September 10, 1886 or 1887 (records conflict), in Alsace, Germany, to Isadore and Sophia Rattin. They immigrated when David was just a toddler in 1888. David’s father must have died either before they immigrated or shortly thereafter as by 1895, his mother was listed as a widow in the Philadelphia directory.10 So like Rebecca, David had lost a parent when he was a young child.

I believe that this is David, living in the Jewish Home for children in 1900 (line 21):

David Rattin in Jewish Home, 1900 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 9; Enumeration District: 0512; FHL microfilm: 1241464
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

By 1910, David was reunited with his mother, who was living on her own income, presumably from the boarders who were living in their home:

David Rattin, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1394; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0359; FHL microfilm: 1375407
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

In 1912, David graduated from the University of Pennsylvania law school, and in 1918, when he registered for the draft, he was working as an attorney.11 Rebecca and David’s first child Ruth was born on April 28, 1919.12 In 1920 they were living in Philadelphia along with David’s mother Sophia, and David was practicing law.13

University of Pennsylvania alumni directory, Publication Year: 1917
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935

Louis Mansbach was also still living in Philadelphia in 1920 and continued to practice as a veterinarian. He was living with Moses Dannenberg, who although listed as Louis’s cousin was more likely his brother-in-law, brother of Gerson Dannenberg, Hannah Mansbach’s husband, because in 1910, Moses had been living with Gerson and Hannah and listed as Gerson’s brother. 14

Meanwhile, Julius Mansbach and his wife Frieda Bensew and their children Beatrice and Alfred were living in Wunstorf, Germany, in the 1910s. Art Mansbach shared this adorable photograph of  his father Alfred in 1916 when he was six:

Alfred Mansbach, 1916. Courtesy of Art Mansbach

The one very sad note in this decade was the death of Beatrice Mansbach, the daughter of Julius Mansbach and Frieda Bensew. Beatrice died in 1918 from the Spanish influenza, according to her nephew Art Mansbach. She was only fourteen years old. These photographs of Beatrice taken when she was just a little girl help to preserve the memory of this young girl whose beautiful life was cut short.

 

 


  1. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951, Marriage License Number: 289763. 
  2. Alkus family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1403; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0765; FHL microfilm: 1375416. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. 
  3.  Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, SSN: 191222552. 
  4. Elmor and Reta Alkus, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 42, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1643; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 1578.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  5. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951, Marriage License Number: 350034. 
  6. Sidney Olsho death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1966; Box Number: 2408; Certificate Number Range: 099851-102700. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966. Olsho family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1402; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0630; FHL microfilm: 1375415.  Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  7. Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (D) Officers-Army (Boxes 11-14); Box #: 11; Folder #: 14; Box Info: (Box 11) D-Deg. Ancestry.com. U.S., WWI Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921 
  8. Dannenberg family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 969. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  9. Ancestry.com. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951, Marriage License Number: 363508. 
  10. David Rattin, naturalization papers, National Archives; Washington, D.C.; Record Group Title: M1522. Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Federal Naturalization Records, 1795-1931. David Rattin, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907616; Draft Board: 13, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Philadelphia City directory, 1895, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. David Rattin, World War I draft registration, Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907616; Draft Board: 13. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  12. Issue State: Wisconsin; Issue Date: Before 1951. Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; 
  13. David Rattin and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1616; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 471.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  14. Louis Mansbach, 1920 US census, Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1616; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 455.
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 

Arthur Nusbaum and His Family: Heartbreaking

In my last post about the family of Ernst Nusbaum, I brought his family up to 1900 and the beginning of the 20th century.  The family had lost both Ernst and his son Myer in 1894, but the family had survived these tragedies and continued their lives.  The early years of the 20th century also had their challenges.  For the family of Ernst and Clarissa’s oldest child, Arthur Nusbaum and his wife Henrietta Hilbronner, the first three decades of the 20th century brought far too many premature deaths.  Arthur was my first cousin, four times removed, the nephew of my three-times great-grandfather, John Nusbaum.

Arthur was the second of Ernst and Clarissa’s children to die, fourteen years after his brother Myer took his own life.  Arthur died on August 15, 1909, of phthisis pulmonalis, a form of tuberculosis that causes wasting of the body.  He was only 52 years old when he died and was buried at Mt. Sinai cemetery.  Tuberculosis had taken another member of the extended Nusbaum family.

Arthur Nusbaum death cert

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.

Just two months later, Arthur and Henrietta’s daughter Florence married Lewis Pierce Hoopes in New York City on October 19, 1909.  It is interesting that Florence and Lewis were married in New York, as both were Pennsylvania natives.  Lewis was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, a town about 20 miles south of Philadelphia, and the couple in fact resided in Chester with Lewis’ mother after the wedding and for many years afterwards. Lewis was the son of B. Tevis and Sara P. Hoopes, and in 1880, his father had owned a “furnishings” store, i.e., most likely a clothing store, in Chester.  B. Tevis Hoopes died in 1894.

In 1900 Lewis’ mother, Sara P. Hoopes owned the “furnishings” store in Chester, and Lewis was working as a clerk in a bank.  In 1910, Lewis is listed on the census as clerk in a notions store.  In 1920 he and Florence were still living with Sara Hoopes, and Sara was listed as the owner of a dry goods store with her son Lewis listed as a clerk.  On September 7, 1928, Lewis died from cerebral apoloxy; he was 56 years old.  Four years later Florence died from cancer; she was 54.  Florence and Lewis did not have any children.  Thus, there are no direct descendants.

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.

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.

The second oldest of the children of Arthur and Henrietta, their son Sidney, married Emma Kleinsmith in 1903. Emma was also a Philadelphia native, born June 28, 1869.  Emma and Sidney had a son Sidney, Jr., born March 31, 1904.  The family was living at 3851 North Park Avenue in 1905, and Sidney was a salesman.  In 1910, he listed his occupation as the manager of a department store, but later records including his World War I draft registration and the 1920 census list his occupation as a clothing salesman. In 1920, Sidney, Emma, and their son were living on Erie Avenue in Philadelphia.

Sidney, Sr., died three years later on January 16, 1923, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head while “temporarily deranged,” according to his death certificate.  Yet another family member had succumbed to suicide.  Sidney was 42 years old.

Sidney Nusbaum Sr death cert

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.

His son, Sidney, Jr., was only nineteen years old at the time of his father’s death.  He and his mother continued to live in the same residence on Erie Avenue in Philadelphia, and Sidney, Jr., was working as an electrician in 1930.  Sidney, Jr., also died young; on August 12, 1932, he accidentally drowned while swimming near a dam in Greene, Pennsylvania; he was 28 years old.

Sidney_Nusbaum_Jr_drowning-page-001

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.

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.

How did his mother Emma cope?  She had lost both her husband and her son to terrible deaths. Somehow she pulled herself together, and in 1940 she was still living on Erie Avenue, now the owner of a dress shop.  Emma died on December 5, 1951, when she was 82 years old from a “ruptured heart.”  How her heart held up for as long as it did after all she endured is a mystery to me. Emma, her husband Sidney, and her son Sidney, are all buried at East Cedar Hill cemetery in Philadelphia.

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.

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.

In 1909, not only did Florence Nusbaum marry Lewis Hoopes, Arthur and Henrietta’s third child Horace Nusbaum married Florence Crawford, the daughter of Jonathan Crawford, a widower from Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he was employed as a watchman. On April 5, 1910, Horace and Florence had a son, Arthur, obviously named in memory of Horace’s recently deceased father.  Tragically, little Arthur died just three months later on July 5, 1910, from acute gastroenteritis and malnutrition.  He was buried at Mt. Peace cemetery in Philadelphia.

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.

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.

Although Horace and his family (including the infant Arthur) were listed in the 1900 census as living in Philadelphia, sometime thereafter Horace and Florence relocated to Chester, where his sister Florence and her husband Lewis Hoopes were also living.  On the 1910 census, Horace had listed his occupation as a solicitor for the electric company, and I had not known what that meant, but this article from the Delaware County Times from Chester, dated April 25, 1913, provided a clear picture:

Horace M. Nusbaum, a special representative of the Beacon Light Company, has been in the borough several days securing contracts for the change in rates of the company.  He reports meeting with great success, the plan being approved by nearly all the light consumers in the town, and as there are but a few left to sign the new contract he will soon complete his labors here.

(Delaware County Times, April 25, 1913, p. 9)

In addition, Horace took on a role as spokesperson, educator, and salesperson for the company, as this article reveals.  I also found it interesting for what it reveals about the role that electricity was beginning to play in the homes of ordinary citizens by 1914:

Horace Nusbaum article part 1

Horace Nusbaum article part 2

Horace Nusbaum article part 3

Delaware County Times, February 28, 1914, p. 7

 

Although the first report seemed to indicate Horace was not yet living in the Chester area, there were a number of later news reports revealing that he and Florence had relocated to that area.   A 1916 news item about their vacation described them as residents of Norwood, Pennsylvania, a town about five miles from Chester.  (Delaware County Times, July 31, 1916, p. 3)  A 1917 issue reports their attendance at a masquerade ball in Norwood.   (Delaware County Times, November 6, 1917, p. 2)

On his World War I draft registration dated September 12, 1918, Horace listed his occupation as the commercial representative for the Delaware County Electric Company, and he and Florence were residing in Norwood.

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Delaware; Roll: 1877947; Draft Board:

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Delaware; Roll: 1877947; Draft Board:

Just a few weeks later, his wife Florence would die during the Spanish flu epidemic on October 5, 1918, when she was only thirty years old. The number of death notices listing pneumonia or influenza as the cause of death in the week Florence died was staggering.

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.

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.

Horace had lost his infant son and then his wife in the space of eight years.  But like his sister-in-law Emma, Horace survived, and a year later he married again, marrying Edna M. Ephlin in 1919.  Edna was the daughter of Oscar and Julia Ephlin of Philadelphia; her father was a shipping clerk for a paper company.  After they married, in 1920 Horace and Edna lived at 1935 Park Avenue in Philadelphia with Horace’s mother Henrietta and his sister Clair as well as his youngest sister Helen and her husband William Stroup.  Horace continued to work as a salesman for the electric company.  He and Edna did not have any children.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 1058; Image: 839

Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1633; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 1058; Image: 839

As for the remaining three children of Arthur and Henrietta Nusbaum, Stella (20) and Clair (17) were both living at home and working at a department store in 1910.  The youngest child, Helen, now 15, was not employed.  In 1914, Stella married Roy Service, born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to James and Ella Service.  In 1920 Stella and Roy were living at 1229 Broad Street in Philadelphia, and Roy was a clerk.  (In earlier and later city directories, Roy’s occupation was listed as a printer.)  Stella and Roy never had children, and Stella died on January 27, 1929, from chronic myocarditis and multiple sclerosis.  She was 39 years old.

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.

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.

In 1920, Stella’s younger sister Clair was living with her mother Henrietta as well as her brother Horace and his wife Edna and her sister Helen and her husband William Stroup. Clair, her mother, and her sisters had no occupations. Only the two men were working outside the home, Horace as a salesman for the electric company and William as an advertising salesman for a newspaper. (See the snip from the 1920 census above.)

In 1930, Clair, her widowed sister Florence Hoopes, and her mother Henrietta were all living together at 774 Spruce Street; only Clair was employed, working as a hairdresser.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2139; Page: 35B; Enumeration District: 0498; Image: 1020.0; FHL microfilm: 2341873

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2139; Page: 35B; Enumeration District: 0498; Image: 1020.0; FHL microfilm: 2341873

[Notice how Clair’s surname is spelled—would you think that says Nusbaum? It’s a miracle that I found this census report.]

Helen, the youngest of Arthur and Henrietta’s children, had only been fourteen when her father died in 1909.  Helen married William Valentine Stroup, Jr., in 1919.  William was a native Philadelphian and an advertising salesman.  In 1920, as noted above Helen and William were living with her mother Henrietta, her sister Clair, her brother Horace, and Horace’s second wife Edna.  In 1930, Helen and William were living at 4741 13th Street; Helen’s mother Henrietta is also listed with them, though she was also listed in 1930 as living with her other two daughters Clair and Florence on Spruce Street.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2135; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 1073; Image: 1005.0; FHL microfilm: 2341869

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2135; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 1073; Image: 1005.0; FHL microfilm: 2341869

Thus, as of 1932, Arthur Nusbaum’s wife Henrietta had lost her husband and three of her six children: Florence, Sidney, and Stella.  She had also lost her only two grandchildren: Arthur H. Nusbaum, Horace’s son, and Sidney Nusbaum, Jr., Sidney’s son.  Florence and Stella had not had any children, nor did Clair or Helen, so there are no possible living descendants of Arthur Nusbaum and Henrietta Hilbronner.

Henrietta died on August 24, 1935.  She was seventy years old and died of heart disease and kidney disease.  She was buried with her husband Arthur at Mt. Sinai cemetery.

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.

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.

Her surviving children were Horace, Clair, and Helen.  In 1940, Horace and his second wife Edna were living in Upper Darby, where Horace worked as an insecticide salesman.  Edna sold women’s clothing.  Edna died six years later from heart failure.  She was only fifty-five years old.  Horace lived until January 23, 1962 (I have not yet located a death record for him, but found his burial entry on FindAGrave) and is buried with Edna at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.

The two youngest sisters, Clair and Helen, were living together in 1940.  Helen was divorced from William Stroup and working in lingerie sales (if I am reading the census correctly), and Clair was single and continuing to work as a hairdresser.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3753; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 51-2148

Year: 1940; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T627_3753; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 51-2148

The last record I have for either of them is a listing for Clair in the 1950 Philadelphia telephone directory.  I cannot find a death record or obituary or burial record for them, but I assume that they both survived past 1963, the last year of death certificates now publicly available.  I am continuing to see if I can find some other record for Clair and Helen as well as their brother Horace.

Thus, the history of the family of Arthur Nusbaum is a rather heart-breaking one, filled with premature deaths and no descendants to carry on the family name.  Fortunately, some of the other children of Ernst and Clarissa have happier stories and more enduring family lines, though not all.

 

Number Thirteen, the Caboose: Abraham Cohen 1866-1944

Caboose 995 at the Transportation Museum.

Caboose 995 at the Transportation Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of the thirteen children born to my great-great-grandparents Jacob and Sarah Cohen, only one was still alive in 1928.  He was also the only one to live through not only the 1930s, but into the 1940s as well.  He was one of only three to live into his seventies and the only one to live past 75 years old.  He was also the last born, the baby of the family, Abraham.  Like all his siblings, he had a life that had plenty of heartbreak.

Abraham was born on March 29, 1866.  His oldest sibling, Fanny, was twenty years old when he was born and was married that same year.  Joseph, his oldest brother, was married two years later.  But in 1870 Abraham had ten older siblings still living in his household at 136 South Street.  His first real heartbreak occurred when he was thirteen and his mother Sarah died in 1879.  Fortunately he still had six siblings living at home as well as his father. By the time he was fourteen in 1880, he was already working in his father Jacob’s store.

On February 9, 1886, Abraham married Sallie McGonigal, daughter of James and Sarah McGonigal, in Camden, New Jersey.  Their first child, Sallie, was born in 1886.  I do not have a birth record for her, but sadly, I do have her death certificate.  Sallie died on November 1, 1892, when she was six and a half years old from scarlet fever. She was buried in at Old Cathedral Catholic Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Sallie Cohen death certificate

Sallie Cohen death certificate

Assuming that the child Sallie was born then in April or May, 1886, either she was born very premature or Sallie was already pregnant when they married. Abraham and Sallie would both have been only twenty when they married, although their marriage record listed their birth years as 1864, not 1866.  I am speculating here, but since they were married out of state and under age and since it seems likely that Sallie was pregnant and since Sallie was apparently Catholic and Abraham was Jewish, I am going to venture a guess that their parents did not approve of the relationship.

But Abraham and Sallie’s marriage survived.  They had a second child, Leslie Joseph Cohen, who was born on May 20, 1889.[1] In December, 1891, they had a third child, Ethel, who only lived four weeks.  She died from convulsions on January 27, 1892.

Ethel Cohen death certificate

Ethel Cohen death certificate

Then ten months later, they lost Sallie to scarlet fever. Sometime after those deaths, the family moved from where they had been living at 622 Annapolis Street to 707 Wharton Street, where they remained for many years.

The young couple weathered those terrible tragedies and had a fourth child, Raymond, on February 15, 1894.  He died eight months later from gastroenteritis and was also buried in Old Cathedral Catholic Cemetery with his sisters Sallie and Ethel.

Raymond Cohen death certificate

Raymond Cohen death certificate

In the space of just over two years Abraham and Sallie had lost three young children.  Three years later, Abraham and Sallie lost another male baby to premature birth on October 11, 1897; he was stillborn.  Interestingly, that baby was buried at Mt Zion cemetery.  Would a Catholic cemetery not accept a stillborn baby?

Stillborn baby Cohen death certificate

Stillborn baby Cohen death certificate

In 1900, Abraham, Sallie and their one surviving child, Leslie, were still living at 707 Wharton Street, and Abraham was working as …. a pawnbroker, of course.

Abraham Cohen and family 1900 census

Abraham Cohen and family 1900 census

Unless I missed the birth and death of other children, it seems that after not having any children for over ten years, Abraham and Sallie had one more baby.  Arthur was born on December 9, 1907, according to the Pennsylvania birth index. Assuming that Sallie was born in 1866, she was over 40 years old when he was born.  In the 1910 census, Abraham, Sallie, Leslie, and Arthur were all living at 2433 North 17th Street; in addition, Sallie’s sister, Mary McGonigal, was living with them as well as a servant whose duties were described as “nurse girl.”  I assume she was taking care of Arthur.  Abraham was still working as a pawnbroker.  Leslie was nineteen and an apprentice machinist.  Arthur was two years old.

Abraham Cohen 1910 census

Abraham Cohen 1910 census

In 1917 Leslie registered for the draft.  He was working as a machinist at Remington Arms in Eddystone, Pennsylvania, where his Aunt Hannah’s husband, Martin Wolf, was also employed during that period.

Leslie Cohen World War I draft registration

Leslie Cohen World War I draft registration

 

Leslie served in the military from 1917 to 1919, according to one record.[2]  He served in Aero Squadron 490, as seen on his headstone below.  I was able to track down a detailed five page document from Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919,  describing the service of  Leslie’s squadron during World War I by using the Fold3.com website.

490 Squadron report, p. 1

490 Squadron report, p. 1

I cannot capture all the details of his squadron’s service, but in brief, the squadron trained in San Antonio, Texas; they then traveled by train and boat from there to Long Island City in New York to await their orders to ship overseas.   They received those orders and shipped out of New York to England on November 22, 1917.

leslie service partial quote

The report details the rather uncomfortable conditions the men encountered while traveling from New York to Halifax to Liverpool, England over a sixteen day period, although they did not face any danger from enemy forces while traveling.  They arrived in Liverpool on December 8, 1917, and then left for France on December 13, 1917, where they were first stationed at Saint Maixent and then at Romorantin.  In both locations, the squadron was engaged in building barracks and other buildings for the soldiers.  They also built over sixteen miles of railroad.  The report described in detail the facilities at their second location and the work that was done.  It ends after the Armistice was signed, saying that the squadron was awaiting their orders to return to the United States.  Leslie J. Cohen is listed three times in the course of the report on the roster of men who served with the 490 Squadron, including on the final page shown below.

Leslie J. Cohen on roster

Leslie J. Cohen on roster

(M990;Publication Title: Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919
Publisher: NARA
National Archives Catalog ID: 631392
National Archives Catalog Title: Gorrell’s History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, compiled 07/05/1917 – 08/31/1919, documenting the period 05/26/1917 – 03/31/1919
Record Group: 120
Short Description: NARA M990. Historical narratives, reports, photographs, and other records that document administrative, technical, and tactical activities of the Air Service in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.
Roll: 0021
Series: E
Series Description: Squadron Histories)

Back home in Philadelphia, Abraham’s wife  Sallie died on March 14, 1919, and surprisingly was buried not with her children at Old Cathedral Catholic Cemetery, but at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania. The family was residing at 5926 Cobbs Creek Parkway when she died, which was only a mile from Holy Cross Cemetery; nevertheless, Cathedral Cemetery, where so many of her children were buried, was only three miles away.  I wonder why she was not buried with her children.  Sallie died from influenza, pneumonia and bronchitis.  This was the time of the deady Spanish flu epidemic that killed millions of people worldwide.  Sally was about  fifty years old when she died, and her son Arthur was only eleven years old.

Sallie McGonigal Cohen death certificate 1919

Sallie McGonigal Cohen death certificate 1919

As of January 10, 1920, when the next census was taken, Abraham, now a widower, was still living at 5926 Cobbs Creek Parkway with his sons Leslie and Arthur, his sister-in-law Mary McGonigal, and a servant.  Abraham was still a pawnbroker; Leslie was a machinist in the shipyard, having returned from military service.  Arthur was in school.

Sometime later in 1920, Abraham married Elizabeth Beisswagner Grady, whose husband Robert Grady had died in 1918 and, interestingly, is also buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania.  Had Abraham met her at the cemetery? At the church? Elizabeth had several children from her first marriage, though all would have been adults by 1920.  Abraham was 54 when they married, Elizabeth was 46.

In 1927, Leslie reenlisted in the army, and on the 1930 census he is listed as a soldier in the US Army, stationed at Fort Hancock in Middletown Township, New Jersey.  He served from August 23, 1927 until August 22, 1930, when he was honorably discharged.

Leslie Cohen 1930 census

Leslie Cohen 1930 census

In the 1931 directory for the city of Richmond, Virginia, Leslie is listed with his wife Emma L. and was employed as a machinist.  Thus, sometime between the date of the 1930 census and the date of the Richmond directory, he had gotten married and moved to Richmond. He was later admitted to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Virginia on October 24, 1932, and released on February 3, 1933.  I cannot tell from the record why he was admitted or why he stayed for over three months in the hospital.  The hospital record also indicated that he was married to an Elizabeth L. Cohen (presumably a mistake; other records corroborate that her name was Emma), living in Washington, DC.

Leslie Cohen VA Hospital record

Leslie Cohen VA Hospital record

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, Abraham, Elizabeth, and Arthur were living at 5530 Walnut Street according to the 1930 census.  Abraham was still working as a pawnbroker, and Arthur was working as a porter at a gas station.  Abraham, who was now 64 years old, had outlived all his siblings at this point as well as his first wife and several of his children.  I find it interesting that neither of his two sons became pawnbrokers, given the Cohen family’s overall involvement in that industry.

Abraham’s second wife Elizabeth died on August 4, 1939, from heart disease.  They had been living on Spruce Street, where Abraham is listed as living alone on the 1940 census.  He was still working as a pawnbroker at age 74.  Elizabeth was buried with her first husband Robert Grady at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon.

Abraham died on April 29, 1944, when he was 78 years old.  He also was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon with his first wife Sallie.  His death certificate was subject to a coroner’s inquest for some reason, but the inquest found that he died from arteriosclerosis.

Abraham death certificate 1944

Abraham death certificate 1944

abraham cohen amended death cert

 

The only strange thing about his death certificate is the description of his occupation: elevator operator.  After a lifelong career as a pawnbroker, why would Abraham have become an elevator operator?  The informant on his death certificate was Bernard Sluizer, Abraham’s brother-in-law, the widower of Abraham’s sister Elizabeth. Bernard would die just four months later.  Why would Bernard have been the informant? Well, all of Abraham’s siblings had died many years earlier, as had all their spouses except for Bernard and Jonas’ wife Sarah. Leslie was living in Richmond, Virginia.  I don’t know where Arthur was at that time.

Leslie and his wife Emma continued to live in Richmond, Virginia during the 1930s and 1940s.  According to the 1940 census, Emma was almost twenty years older than Leslie.  She is reported to have been 67 in 1940 while he was 48.  Leslie also appears never to have returned to his skilled position as a machinist.  On various Richmond directories throughout this period, his occupation is described as a helper, one time specifying at a Blue Plate Foods.  It is obviously hard to make too many inferences, but given his hospitalization and his low skilled employment afterward, it would seem that Leslie might have been disabled in some way after his second service in the army.   Leslie died on May 13, 1966, and is buried at Fort Harrison National Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

Leslie Joseph Cohen headstone

As for Arthur, I just am not sure.  There were two Arthur Cohens living in the Philadelphia area who were born in Pennsylvania in or about 1907, according to the 1940 census.  Both were married. One was working as a manager in a bottling company, the other as a mechanic in a garage.  Since Arthur was working in a gas station in 1930, I am inclined to think that it is more likely that he was the second Arthur, who was married to a woman named Claire.  They were living in Upper Darby, a Philadelphia suburb in 1940, but had been living in Philadelphia in 1935, according to the 1940 census.  If this is the right Arthur Cohen, it seems that he and Claire moved out to California at some point, living in Burbank in the 1970s and 1980s, and then to Las Vegas thereafter where Claire died on June 11, 1998.  I am still not positive I have the correct Arthur, so will continue to look for more records or documents to corroborate my hunch.

Thus, there are some loose ends here.  I don’t know the full story of Leslie and his wife Emma, but if the ages on the 1940 census are correct, it seems very unlikely that there were any children.  Arthur’s story is even more unfinished.  Without a marriage record or a death certificate, it’s impossible to be sure that I have found the right person.  I also do not have any idea whether Arthur had children.

Looking back over Abraham’s life is painful.  He lost so much—his mother when he was just 13, his father nine years later, and all his siblings between 1911 and 1927.    Three of his children died when they were very young, and he outlived two wives.  One son had moved away to Richmond, Virginia, possibly disabled in some way.  The other one seems to have disappeared or moved out west at some point.  I have this sad image of Abraham as a man in his seventies, living alone, working as an elevator operator, and having only his brother-in-law Bernard Sluizer around as his family (and perhaps many nieces and nephews as well).

I hope I am wrong.

************

That brings to an end, for now, the long story of the thirteen children of Jacob and Sarah Cohen, my great-great-grandparents.  I will reflect on what I’ve learned about them and try and synthesize it all in my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

[1]   Leslie’s birth year changed from record to record.  Sometimes it was 1891, sometimes 1892, sometimes 1893.  The record closest to his birth year was the 1900 census, which indicated that he was then 11 years old, giving him a birth year of 1889.  However, on the 1910 census, his age was 19, meaning he was born in 1891.  His two draft registrations also vary.  His headstone says 1892.  They all say his birthday was May 20, regardless of the year.

[2] Ancestry.com. U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

Original data: Historical Register of National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1749, 282 rolls); Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.