Where Did Harry Go?

In my last post, I described the challenges I faced in trying to learn the whereabouts between 1889 and 1900 of my cousin Harry Goldsmith, son of my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith. I finally concluded that Harry had married a woman named Florence Loeb sometime around 1884 and had had two children with her, Stanton, born in 1885, and Janet, born in 1892. He and his family were living on North 63rd Street in Philadelphia in 1900, and Harry was in the tobacco business.

Emanuel Dreifus on the 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 34, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0904

Thank you to the many readers who gave me feedback on my conclusion that my Harry Goldsmith married Florence Loeb.  That conclusion was then further supported by an article found by Renee Stern Steinig, who many of you may recall was my mentor and my inspiration when I first started doing family history research about six years ago.  Renee saw my blog post on Facebook and found the article below that somehow, despite all my searching, I had missed, probably because Harry is called Henry here.  Now I know for sure that the Harry Goldsmith who was married to Florence Loeb was in fact my cousin.  The big clue—Rena Rice was one of the maids of honor at their wedding on December 4, 1883!

The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 5, 1883, p. 4

But Harry’s life soon changed, as Florence divorced him in 1901 and married their boarder Emanuel Dreifus, who also seemingly adopted Harry’s children.

So what happened to Harry after the divorce from Florence in 1901? Finding the answer to that question led me down several more rabbit holes. Once again, I confronted the problem of a multiplicity of Harry Goldsmiths.

In 1901 there were four Harry Goldsmiths in the Philadelphia directory, but none was in the tobacco business (there was a printer, a paperhanger, a salesman, and a tailor). 1 In 1905 there were two Harry Goldsmiths in the cigar business plus a tailor.2 And in 1908 there were four Harry Goldsmiths: one in the cigar business, a reverend, a printer, and one, a Harry N. Goldsmith, in a business called Goldsmith & Arndt.3

Further research into that last one revealed that Arndt was Max Arndt and that he was a tobacconist. Thus, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that Goldsmith & Arndt was also a tobacco business. The Harry N. Goldsmith in Goldsmith & Arndt was living at 1747 North 15th Street. One of the Harrys in the 1905 directory who listed cigars as his occupation was living at 1711 North 15th Street—presumably the one in business with Max Arndt three years later.4

But was Harry N. Goldsmith my Harry? Well, in 1911, Harry N. Goldsmith was living 1914 Berks Road and in business as H.N. Goldsmith & Co. 5 Searching the 1910 census for a Harry Goldsmith at 1914 Berks Road, I found this one:

Harry Goldsmith 1910 US census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1403; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0759; FHL microfilm: 1375416
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Is this my Harry? Well, at first, I thought not. For one thing, this Harry was only 34, meaning he was born in about 1876, whereas my Harry was born in 1858. This Harry was single, not divorced. And strangest of all, this Harry claimed to be an electrical engineer for the railroad—an occupation no Harry Goldsmith had claimed on any Philadelphia directory going back over thirty years.

But looking more carefully at this 1910 census report, something else rang a bell.  The head of the household in which this Harry Goldsmith was living was a woman named Eva G. Anathan. Searching my tree, I saw that I have cousin named Eva Goldsmith who was married to a man named Nathan Anathan. 6 Eva was the daughter of Jacob Goldsmith’s brother, Levi, making her Harry Goldsmith’s first cousin. And Eva Anathan was one of the guests at Rena’s wedding in 1898.

I was now feeling pretty certain that this had to be my Harry Goldsmith living at 1914 Berks Road in 1910 with his first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan. I didn’t know why the census report on both his age and occupation were so off, but I was convinced that this had to be the Harry Goldsmith who was the son of my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith. He was still listed at that same address—1914 Berks Road—in Philadelphia directories from 1912 through 1917,7 and his business was reported as cigars in all of them (not electrical engineering). I thought I had found my Harry.

But then I found a marriage record for a Harry Goldsmith, born in Pennsylvania, whose parents were named Jacob and Fanny. The marriage took place in Detroit, Michigan, on December 16, 1913. The groom was 45 years old, meaning born around 1868, ten years after my Harry Goldsmith was born. He was a tobacco dealer. His bride was Henrietta Robinson, who was 37 years old and born in Michigan. It was a second marriage for Harry, a first for Henrietta.

Marriage record of Harry Goldsmith and Henrietta Robinson
Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 117; Film Description: 1913 Wayne – 1914 Branch

All the facts seemed to fit my Harry, except his age: his name, parents’ names, birth place, occupation, and the fact that he’d had a prior marriage all matched my Harry. I was certain that this had to be my Harry.

Searching for Harry Goldsmith in Detroit directories, I found one in 1915 living in a hotel, and in 1916, there were four Harry Goldsmiths in Detroit, one of whom was living on Sprout Avenue.8 That Harry Goldsmith, the one living on Sprout Avenue, died on October 5, 1917.

Harry Goldsmith death certificate
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950 , 251: Detroit, 1917

He was born in Pennsylvania on July 17, 1863, according to his death certificate, and had been a tobacco broker. He was married at the time of his death. His parents were born in Germany. His mother’s name was unknown, and his father was listed as H. Goldsmith by an informant named Mrs. S. Rose of Detroit. According to the death certificate, Harry had suffered from heart disease—chronic myocarditis—for over a year before his death. Was this my Harry?

It seemed more than likely. My Harry Goldsmith had been listed as born in July 1858 on the 1900 census, this Harry was born in July of 1863; perhaps he shaved off five years to appear younger to his second wife Henrietta (and earlier had shaved off ten years on the marriage record). My Harry was born in Pennsylvania; so was this Harry. My Harry had been in the tobacco business in Philadelphia; this Harry was also in the tobacco business. The informant did not know his mother’s name so the H. Goldsmith was probably just a guess as to his father’s name. I thought I had found the end of the Harry Goldsmith mystery.

But then something did not add up. The Harry N. Goldsmith who had been living with my Harry’s first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910 was still apparently alive and living in Philadelphia long after the marriage and even death of the Harry who had married Henrietta and moved to Detroit. As noted above, Harry N. Goldsmith is listed in directories in Philadelphia living at 1914 Berks Road until 1917.

In the 1918 directory, Harry N. Goldsmith was living on Regent Street and is listed as president of two companies:  H.N. Goldsmith & Company and Golco Sanitary System. The 1918 directory had a separate listing for Golco and described the business as “toilet paper and holders.” 9 On the 1920 census, there is a Harry N. Goldsmith living on Regent Street in Philadelphia, 44 years old so born around 1876, and married to a woman named Madge.10 This Harry was in the paper business, as was the Harry N. Goldsmith listed in the 1918 directory as president of Golco.

So who was this Harry N. Goldsmith, and what, if any, connection did he have to my Harry Goldsmith? Was he a son or a cousin? If not, why was he living with my Harry Goldsmith’s first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910?

I was able to find a birth record for a Harry N. Goldsmith born in Philadelphia on May 27, 1875, son of Raphael and Emma (Ettinger) Goldsmith,11 so the right age for the Harry living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910. That Harry’s father Raphael was born on May 8, 1849, in Philadelphia to Napoleon and Zerlina Goldsmith. I have no relatives with those names, and thus, I don’t think that the Harry Goldsmith who was living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910 was my relative or, for that matter, Eva Anathan’s relative.

Birth certificate of Raphael Goldsmith
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 644
Organization Name: Mikveh Israel Jewish Congregation
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013

But then what was he doing living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910? Was it just coincidence that another Harry Goldsmith, who also happened to be in the tobacco business, was living with a relative of my Harry Goldsmith?

And if the Harry Goldsmith on the 1910 census was not my Harry, then where was my Harry all those years between 1900 and 1913? There was a second Harry Goldsmith selling cigars in those years in Philadelphia, but when I found him on the 1910 census, it was clearly not my Harry—he was born in 1840, married to a woman named Mary, and from England, as were his parents.

Had my Harry already moved to Detroit? There are Harry Goldsmiths listed in Detroit directories for those years. But are they my Harry?

I don’t know.

I am out of ideas. Maybe Harry was already in Detroit in 1910 or even before. Maybe he just wasn’t listed on the census or in any directories after 1900. Maybe he was in prison or hospitalized. I don’t know where else to look.

What I do know (I think) is that my Harry married Henrietta Robinson in Detroit in 1913 and died just four years later in Detroit. He is buried at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, where Henrietta was buried as well when she died four years after Harry from breast cancer at age 49. 11

If I am right about this being my Harry, I am glad to know that he may have found some peace with Henrietta before he died. His life seems to have had some serious challenges. He may have been charged with fraud in 1889. His father Jacob died in 1895, and then his brother Philip was killed in a train accident in 1896. He may have had to declare bankruptcy in 1900, and in 1901 his wife Florence divorced him, taking his children from him as well. Then his daughter Janet died at age ten in 1902.

Harry seems to have disappeared for several years after 1901, or at least he does not appear on any records that I can locate. There are no newspaper stories about him during those years either. He only resurfaces in 1913 with his marriage to Henrietta and then his death from heart disease at age 59 in 1917. I hope those last four years were happy ones.

I welcome any suggestions or theories on the whereabouts of Harry Goldsmith between 1901 and 1913.







  1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1901; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1905; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1908; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1905, 1908; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1911; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  6. Pennsylvania Marriages, 1709-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V26B-T32 : 11 February 2018), Nathen Anathan and Eva Goldsmith, 22 Sep 1875; citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,769,061. 
  7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1912-1917; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  8. Detroit, Michigan, City Directory, 1915, 1916, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  9.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1917-1919; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Harry N. Goldsmith, 1920 US census; Philadelphia Ward 40, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1642; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1506; Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11.  Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950. Original data: Death Records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan. 

The Children of John and Jeanette Nusbaum from 1890 to 1925

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...

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.

adolph nusbaum

adolph nusbaum death rec inquest pending

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

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.

UPDATE on the coroner’s report can be found here.

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.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

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,...

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

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

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.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

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:

simon obit santa fe new mexican feb 25 19221

(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.

Update here.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

 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.

Lottie Nusbaum death cert

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.


John Nusbaum 1814-1889: The Family Patriarch

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 d...

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 ...

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.

gertrude josephs death certificate

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 death certificate

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. 1894

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.