One for the Road: How I Found Another Brotman

This will be my last post before we leave on our trip.  I wanted to leave on a high note with a new discovery—a Brotman line I’d not discovered until the last week or so.  Perhaps this is a good omen for what I might find when in Poland.  I might post a bit while away—depends on internet access, time, and energy.  But I will report on the trip either as it unfolds or after I return, so stay tuned.

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In my last post I reported on the conflicting results of my search through the records of the families of Moses and Abraham Brotman of Brotmanville, New Jersey.  I was looking for any shred of evidence that might reveal where they, and thus perhaps my great-grandparents, had lived in Europe.  What I found was that some records said Moses was born in Austria, some said Russia.  Same for Abraham.  And not one record named a town or city.  Thus, I had not gotten any closer to any answers.

But while reviewing the documents I had and checking and double-checking my tree, I did find something somewhat anomalous.  In doing my initial research of Moses’ family, I had not been able to find them on the 1920 census, as I mentioned in my last post.  In trying to find the family, I had searched for each of the children separately, and I had found a Joseph Brotman living in Davenport, Iowa, according to the 1915 Iowa state census.  I admit that I had not looked very carefully (BIG mistake) and had jumped to the conclusion that Moses’ son Joseph had been shipped out to Iowa to live with another family since I couldn’t find Moses or Ida or any of the siblings listed on that census.  (This is one reason I keep my tree private on Ancestry—I’d hate to mislead someone else while I am doing preliminary research.)

But in now reviewing my original preliminary research, this just struck me as strange.  So I went back to look more carefully.  First, I pulled up the census record for Joseph.  Instead of being a list or register as with other census reports, Iowa had separate cards for each resident.  Here is the one for Joseph Brotman:

Joseph Brotman 1915 Iowa census  Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest

Joseph Brotman 1915 Iowa census
Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest

You can see why I made that initial mistake.  He was born the right year (1902) and the right place (New Jersey).  He was Jewish, his father was born in Austria, mother in Russia.  All those facts certainly seemed to suggest that he was the son of Moses and Ida Brotman.  So I had entered this record for Joseph on to my tree in Ancestry.

But this time I took the next step—were there other Brotmans in Davenport on that census? First I saw a Lillian Brotman.  I thought, “Hmmm, maybe two siblings were sent to Iowa?” Remember—Moses had a daughter named Lillian, as did Abraham.  So I looked at Lillian’s entry in the 1915 census.

Lillian Brotman 1915 Iowa census  Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.

Lillian Brotman 1915 Iowa census
Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.

She was living at the same address as Joseph, was also born in New Jersey, and had a father born in Austria, a mother in Russia.  Like Joseph, she had been in Iowa for three years.  So I thought that this had to be Joseph’s sister.  But this Lillian was 16 years old, and Moses’ daughter Lillian was born in 1892, so she would have been 23 in 1915. Could it be Abraham’s daughter Lillian? She was the right age, but somehow that just didn’t make much sense.

I decided to go through the cards in the census by flipping backwards from Joseph’s card and then found several other Brotmans at the same address: Albert (2), Eva (37), and May (10).  May also had been born in New Jersey, Albert in Iowa, and Eva in Russia. Who were these people? Were they related to MY Brotmans in some way? I assumed Eva was the mother of these four children, but who was the father? And where was he?

So I searched for the family by using Eva’s names and the names of the children, and I found them on the 1910 census living in Philadelphia.  The husband’s name was Bennie, wife Eva (32), and four children: Lily (11), Florence (10), Joe (8), and May (6).  These ages lined up with the ages of the children on the Iowa census five years later, but the census record said these children were born in Pennsylvania, not New Jersey. The father, Bennie, was 33, born in Austria with parents born in Russia, and had immigrated in 1894, according to the census.  He was a cutter in a clothing business.  He and his wife had been married for 12 years or since 1898.

Bennie Brotman 1910 census

Bennie Brotman 1910 census Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1386; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0019; FHL microfilm: 1375399

Bennie Brotman 1910 census
Source Citation
Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 1, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1386; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0019; FHL microfilm: 1375399

What had happened to their daughter Florence? And where had they been in 1900? Were they related to my Brotmans? I first searched for their missing daughter, and I found an entry in the Iowa, Select Deaths and Burials 1850-1990 database:

Name: Flora Brotman
Gender: Female
Marital Status: Single
Age: 13
Birth Date: 1900
Birth Place: Philadelphia
Death Date: 23 Aug 1913
Death Place: Davenport, Iowa
Burial Date: 24 Aug 1913
Father: Ben Brotman
Mother: Eva Siegel
FHL Film Number: 1480948
Reference ID: p186 r59

 

This document provided me with Eva’s birth name and Flora’s birthplace.  I thought that the family must have been living in Philadelphia in 1900 if that is where Flora was born, but I could not find them on the 1900 census living in Philadelphia.  I searched again for Flora, and this time found a birth record—not in Philadelphia or even in Pennsylvania, as the death record and 1910 census had reported.  Rather, she was born in, of all places, Pittsgrove, Salem County, New Jersey, on July 19, 1900, to Benj. Brotman (born in Austria) and Eva Sigel (born in Russia).  Once I saw Pittsgrove, my heart beat a little faster.  This more and more seemed like a member of the Brotmanville Brotman family—someone I had not ever located or researched before.  Who was he? How was he related, if at all, to Moses and Abraham?

Name: Flora Brotman
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 19 Jul 1900
Birth Place: PIT, Salem County, New Jersey
Father’s name: Benj Brotman
Father’s Age: 24
Father’s Birth Place: Aug.
Mother’s name: Eve Sigel
Mother’s Age: 22
Mother’s Birth Place: Russia
FHL Film Number: 494247

 

I searched for them on the 1900 census again, but this time in Pittsgrove, New Jersey.  It took some doing, but finally found Benjamin listed as Bengeman Brotman, listed at the very bottom of the same page as Moses Brotman, just a few households away.  The census reported that he was 24, a cutter, and married for one year.  It stated that he and his parents were born in Austria, that he had immigrated in 1888, and that he was a naturalized citizen.  At the top of the next page were the listings for his wife Eva and daughter Lilly, just a year old.  The other children had not yet been born.

Bengeman Brotman 1900 US census

Bengeman Brotman 1900 US census

Ben Brotman's family 1900 census Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Roll: 993; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993

Ben Brotman’s family 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey; Roll: 993; Page: 18B; Enumeration District: 0179; FHL microfilm: 1240993

 

From this census, I knew that Benjamin Brotman had lived in Pittsgrove right near Moses Brotman, had married Eva Siegel and had had at least two children in Pittsgrove before moving to Philadelphia, where they were living in 1910.  By 1913, the family was living in Davenport, Iowa, where their daughter Flora died.  But where was Benjamin in 1915 when the Iowa census was taken? And was he related to Moses Brotman?

Looking one more time, I found him listed in the 1914 Davenport, Iowa, directory as a peddler, living with his wife Eva at the same address where she and the children were listed in the 1915 Iowa census. I also found him in the 1915 directory at that address, but with no occupation listed, and in the 1918 directory at a new address, 1323 Ripley, the same address given for his son Joseph, listed as a chauffeur, and his daughter Lillian, listed as a bookkeeper. A very similar series of entries appears in the 1919 directory. In both Benjamin still had no occupation listed.  If he was living in Davenport in 1914, 1915, 1918 and 1919, why wasn’t he in the Iowa census?

One more search of the I0wa 1915 census produced this result:

Benjamin Brotman 1915 Iowa census Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.

Benjamin Brotman 1915 Iowa census
Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.

At first, I didn’t know why this card was separated from the family’s cards.  Looking at this card, however, revealed the reason: Benjamin is described as an invalid, and under “Remarks” it says, “Tuberculosis Hospital.”  He was not living with his family. Benjamin was sick with the dreadful disease that caused suffering for so many and their families.  Perhaps that is also what killed his daughter Flora.  Of note on this card is that his birthplace was Austria and that he had been in the US for 27 years, that is, since 1888, consistent with the 1900 census though not the 1910 census.  Also, as with the other members of the family, Ben had been in Iowa for three years or since about 1912.

But what happened to Ben after 1915? Did he recover? Is that why he appears in the 1918 and 1919 directories? On the 1920 census Ben is listed with Eva and three of their surviving children, Lillian, Joseph, and Albert, and a new son Merle, only four years old.  It would seem that Ben had not only recovered, but had returned home and fathered another child.

Benjamin Brotman 1920 census Year: 1920; Census Place: Rock Island Precinct 4, Rock Island, Illinois; Roll: T625_402; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 128; Image: 1078

Benjamin Brotman 1920 census
Year: 1920; Census Place: Rock Island Precinct 4, Rock Island, Illinois; Roll: T625_402; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 128; Image: 1078

The family was living in Rock Island, Illinois, right across the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa.  Ben was not employed, but Lillian was a bookkeeper and Joseph a salesman at a general store.  Their daughter May was listed on the 1920 census as an inmate at the Institution for Feeble-Minded Children in Glenwood, Iowa, over 300 miles away from Rock Island.  She was still there ten years later according to the 1930 census.

English: Downtown Davenport, Iowa looking acro...

English: Downtown Davenport, Iowa looking across the Mississippi River from Rock Island, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I followed the family forward into the 1920s, Benjamin seemed to have died or disappeared.  In the 1921 Rock Island directory, Eva Brotman is listed as a widow. And in the Illinois, County Marriages 1810-1934 database on FamilySearch, I found a marriage listing for Eva Brotman and Abe Abramovitz on July 26, 1923, in Rock Island.  In 1930, Eva was living with her second husband Abe and her two youngest sons, Albert (listed incorrectly as Abe) and Merle (listed incorrectly as Muriel), who were then 18 and 15, respectively.  They were all still living together ten years later, according to the 1940 census.

Eva Siegel Brotman Abromovitz and sons 1930 census Year: 1930; Census Place: Rock Island, Rock Island, Illinois; Roll: 553; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0084; Image: 716.0; FHL microfilm: 2340288

Eva Siegel Brotman Abromovitz and sons 1930 census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Rock Island, Rock Island, Illinois; Roll: 553; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0084; Image: 716.0; FHL microfilm: 2340288

It seemed I had reached the end of the line for Benjamin Brotman, but I had no death record, and I still had no idea whether he was related to me or to the Brotmanville Brotmans.  I kept searching for a death record, and instead I found this:

Ben Brotman World War I draft registration Registration State: Colorado; Registration County: Denver; Roll: 1544482; Draft Board: 1

Ben Brotman World War I draft registration
Registration State: Colorado; Registration County: Denver; Roll: 1544482; Draft Board: 1

A World War I registration for a Ben Brotman born in 1876, no birthplace listed, living in Denver, Colorado.  I might not have given it much thought but for the name given as his nearest relative: Moses Brotman of Alliance, New Jersey, his father.  Moses Brotman of Alliance is the Brotmanville Moses Brotman (Alliance was the name of the community where the Brotmans settled, part of Pittsgrove, now called Brotmanville.).  This Ben Brotman was his son. The age fit exactly—the Ben Brotman living in Pittsgrove in 1900 was 24, thus born in 1876, just like the Ben Brotman living in Colorado in 1918, son of Moses. I had no child listed for Moses named Benjamin, and if this was in fact his son, he was born before Moses married Chaya/Ida/Clara Rice.  That is, this could be Abraham’s full brother from Moses’ first wife, whose name I did not know.

But could I be sure that this was the Ben Brotman who had lived in Pittsgrove, then Philadelphia, then Davenport, Iowa? And if so, what was he doing in Colorado in 1918 when this draft registration was filed? After all, Ben Brotman, Eva’s husband, had been listed in the 1918 and 1919 Davenport directories.

The draft registration listed the Colorado Ben Brotman as a porter at Oakes Home in Denver.  I googled that name and found that Oakes Home in Denver was an institution for patients suffering from tuberculosis.   Was Ben really an employee there or was he a patient?  There is no indication on his draft registration that he was in poor health and not able to serve in the military.  Had he gone there as a patient and recovered sufficiently to be employed but not yet enough to return to Iowa?

As you might imagine, I was now more than a bit confused.  If this was the same Ben, had he then returned to Iowa at some point in 1918, been there in 1919 and 1920, and then died by 1921, as Eva’s listing in the 1921 Rock Island directory suggested? I needed to find his death certificate, and I had no luck searching online in Iowa, Illinois, or Colorado.  As I’ve done before, I turned to the genealogy village for assistance.

I went to the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook and found a number of people who volunteered to help me.  One person found an entry on Ancestry from the JewishGen Online World Burial Registry for a Bera Brotman who died on January 4, 1922, who was born about 1877, and who was buried at the Golden Hills Cemetery in Lakewood, Colorado.  It seemed like a long shot.  Was Bera even a man? The birth year was close enough, but if Eva was a widow in 1921, the death date was too late.  There was a phone number for a contact person at the cemetery listed on the entry, so I called him.

Name: Bera Brotman
Birth Date: abt 1877
Death Date: 4 Jan 1922
Age at Death: 45
Burial Plot: 10-097
Burial Place: Lakewood, Colorado, United States
Comments: No gravestone
Cemetery: Golden Hill Cemetery
Cemetery Address: 12000 W. Colfax
Cemetery Burials: 3839
Cemetery Comments: Contact: Neal Price (303) 836-2312

The contact person checked the cemetery records and confirmed the information listed on JOWBR, but gave me one more bit of critical information: Bera’s last residence was the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society in Denver.  By googling the JCRS, I found that JewishGen had a database of records from there, and when I searched for Ben Brotman on the JCRS database, I found this record:

JCRS record for Ben Brotman from JewiishGen

JCRS record for Ben Brotman from JewiishGen

This Ben Brotman had to be the one who had been at one time living in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, and then had moved to Davenport, Iowa.  This was the Ben who had married Eva and had six children.  He had twice been a patient at the JCRS.  First, he’d been admitted when he was 41 or in 1917, when he listed his status as married, and then he’d been admitted again when he was 45 or in 1921, when he listed his status as divorced.  The pieces were starting to come together.  Perhaps Ben had in fact been in Denver in 1917, recovered enough to register for the draft there in 1918, then returned to his family in Davenport sometime in 1918 through 1920.  He then had to return to the JCRS in Denver in 1921, where he died in January, 1922.  By 1921 he and Eva had divorced, and Eva had listed herself as a widow in the directory, as many divorced women did in those days when divorce was stigmatizing.

I emailed the cemetery contact person and explained that I thought Bera was really Ben, and he agreed to change the records.  But I still had some nagging doubts.  Was the Ben Brotman who had died in Colorado in January, 1922, and who had lived in Davenport also the one who was the son of Moses Brotman, as indicated on the draft registration?  I needed the death certificate to be sure, and perhaps it would also tell me where Ben was born, helping to answer the question that had started me down this path in the first place.

I ordered the death certificate, and it finally arrived just the other day.

Benjamin Brotman death certificate

Benjamin Brotman death certificate

Ben Brotman died on January 4, 1922, of pulmonary tuberculosis at the J.C.R.S Sanitorium.  He was 45 years old and born in 1876, and he had been a tailor.  He had contracted TB in Davenport, Iowa, and had had it for ten years, or since 1912, which would mean around the time the family had moved to Iowa.  (That makes me wonder even more whether his daughter Flora had also died of TB, since she died in 1913.)  The doctor at JCRS who signed the death certificate said that he had attended Ben since September 7, 1921, which must have been when he was admitted the second time.  The certificate stated that Ben had been a Denver resident for three months and 28 days, indicating that he had been elsewhere before returning in September.  It also reported his marital status as divorced.  Finally, his place of birth was given as Austria, and his parents were also reported to have been born in Austria.

And then the answer I’d been seeking: his father’s name was Moses.  This was then most definitely the same Benjamin Brotman I had traced from Pittsgrove to Philadelphia to Davenport to Denver to Rock Island and back to Denver.  This was the son of Moses Brotman, my great-grandfather’s brother.

And then the (hopefully accurate) big revelation:  his mother’s name was Lena.  For the first time I had a record of the name of Moses’ wife prior to Ida/Chaya/Clara Rice.  Lena.  She very well might have been the mother of Abraham Brotman.  I don’t know.  There is a big gap between Abraham’s presumed birth year of 1863 and Benjamin’s birth year of 1876.  There must have been other children in between, I’d think.  Or perhaps Lena was Benjamin’s mother, and Abraham’s mother was an even earlier wife of Moses. But since both Abraham and Benjamin named their first daughters Lillian and at around the same time, I think that both of these girls were named for their grandmother Lena, who must have died before 1884 when Moses married his second wife Chaya.

I made one more look back at the records I had for Moses and for Abraham and realized that I had not re-checked the 1895 New Jersey census.  Since it only listed names, not ages or birthplaces, I had not thought it important in my search for where they’d lived in Europe.  Moses and his family are listed on the page before Abraham and his family on that census.   Abraham is listed with Minnie and their first three children, Joseph, Samuel, and Kittella (presumably Gilbert).

Abraham Brotman 1895 NJ census Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives. 54 reels.

Abraham Brotman 1895 NJ census
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives. 54 reels.

Moses is listed with Clara and the five children they had had by 1895: Sadie, Katie, Lillie, Samuel, and “Abraham.”[1] But also listed with Moses is a name I had overlooked during my preliminary research: Bennie.  He was listed in the 5-20 year old category, and if this was the Ben Brotman of Iowa and Denver, he would have been 19 years old in 1895.  There he was—Benjamin Brotman, the son I had overlooked and who very well could have been the full brother of Abraham Brotman.

Moses Brotman 1895 NJ census Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives. 54 reels.

Moses Brotman 1895 NJ census
Ancestry.com. New Jersey, State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives. 54 reels.

What I don’t know and will likely never know is why Ben and Eva left New Jersey. Why did he go to Davenport, Iowa?[2]  The whole story is rather sad. He doesn’t even have a headstone at the Golden Hills cemetery.  I have identified some of his descendants, and perhaps when I return, I will try and contact them.

Although I was very excited to find this lost Brotman, unfortunately I still don’t have any record identifying a specific town or city where the Brotmanville Brotmans lived in Europe.  But soon I will head off to Tarnobrzeg, Poland, the town I still think is the most likely ancestral home of my great-grandparents Joseph and Bessie Brotman.

 

 

 

 

[1] I found this very strange—did Moses really have another son named Abraham? The Abraham listed on the 1895 New Jersey census was five years old or younger, meaning he was born in 1890 or later.  Samuel was born in 1889, but must not yet have turned five; Lily was born in 1892.  The only other child born between 1890 and 1894 was Isaac (who became Irving), not Abraham, so I assume this entry on the 1895 census was a mistake and that “Abraham” was really Isaac.

[2] In doing this research I kept tripping over another Brotman family—a family living in Rock Island that owned the theaters in town.  However, they do not appear to be related.  The patriarch of that family, Jacob Brotman, was born in 1848 in Minsk, Russia, and had lived in London before emigrating to the US sometime after 1901.   Since Joseph and Moses were born around the same time but somewhere in Galicia, it seems unlikely that Jacob was a close relative.  But anything is possible.

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.

 

Tuberculosis Continues to Ravage the Family: The Children of Fanny Wiler and Clara Wiler

In 1910, the three sons of Fanny Wiler were still living with their father Joseph Levy and stepmother Bella Strouse Levy as well as their half-sister Miriam, who had married Arthur Hanff.  Alfred, Leon, and Monroe Levy were all single and all employed in sales.  Alfred was in lumber sales, and Leon and Monroe were selling clothing.

Five years later Monroe succumbed to the same awful disease that had taken the life of his cousin Leon Simon the year before: tuberculosis.  Like Leon Simon, Monroe had been living at a sanitarium, the Dermady Cottages Sanitarium in Morton, Pennsylvania, ten miles outside of Philadelphia.  Monroe had been there since November 24, 1913, and he died on October 28, 1916, almost three years later. Like his cousin Leon, he did not have a family member sign the death certificate as the informant; in Monroe’s case, it was the undertaker who took on that responsibility.    Monroe was 42 years old.  He was buried at Rodeph Shalom cemetery, another young man whose life was cut short by TB.

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.

His two older brothers fared much better. Leon J. Levy married Minnie Howell in Philadelphia in 1910, apparently after the 1910 census had been taken.  Minnie was a Pennsylvania native and was 35 when she married Leon; he was 38.  On his World War I draft registration, Leon recorded his occupation as the manager of Walter D. Dalsimer, which was a dry goods and clothing merchant in Philadelphia.  In 1920, he was still the manager of a clothing store, and Minnie was working as a chiropodist.  Minnie’s parents were living with them at 5214 Spruce Street.  There were no children.

On February 11, 1929, Leon died from complications from an intestinal obstruction that led to general peritonitis and a ruptured and gangrenous appendix.  He was not yet 57 years old.  His brother Alfred J. Levy was the informant on the death certificate.  Leon’s wife Minnie died just three years later from coronary thrombosis and hypertension.  She was also only 57 years old.  They are both buried at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, a non-sectarian 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

The oldest of Fanny Wiley and Joseph Levy’s sons, Alfred, married Josephine B. May in 1916.  He owned his own business, A. J. Lumber Company, and in 1917 was living in the Majestic, a grand hotel catering to the wealthy in those days.  Alfred and Josephine were still living there in 1918 as well, and on the 1920 census, they were still living there.  Alfred was then 51 years old, and his wife Josephine is listed as 22.  That means she was 18 when she married him, and he was 47.  (This family certainly liked to marry people who were significantly older or younger than they were.)  Alfred continued in the lumber business for many years.  In 1930 census, he was now 62, Josephine was 33, and there were no children, so it does not appear that the couple had any children.

 

Ten years later, Alfred was listed a widower on the 1940 census; he was living with his sister Miriam and her family, and he was still engaged in the lumber business.  Two years later, Alfred Levy died from liver cancer at 74 on November 15, 1942.  Contrary to the 1940 census, the death certificate indicates that Alfred was divorced, not a widower, at the time of his death. Since I cannot find a death certificate for Josephine, I assume that the death certificate is more accurate.[1] His last residence was with his sister Miriam and her husband Arthur Hanff, the informant on his certificate.

 

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

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

Like his brother Monroe, Alfred was buried at Rodeph Shalom cemetery.

Burial plots for Joseph, Alfred and Monroe Levy

Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 1112 Description Organization Name : Rodeph Shalom Cemetery Records

 

Thus, none of Fanny Wiley and Joseph Levy’s sons had children, and there are no descendants.  From the three oldest children of Caroline Dreyfuss and Moses Wiler, there would be only one great-grandchild: Lester Strouse, the son of Flora Simon.  Lester was the only grandchild (of two) of Eliza Wiler and Leman Simon to survive to adulthood.  Fanny Wiler had no grandchildren.  Simon Wiler had no children.

Which brings me to Clara Wiler Meyers, the youngest child of Caroline Dreyfuss and Moses Wiler and the mother of thirteen children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood.  As of 1910, none of those children had married, although nine of the eleven were already in their 20s and 30s.  Only two of the eleven had moved out of the house.  In the next ten years most of those children moved out and on with their adult lives.  In addition, there were several losses.

First, Clara Wiler Meyers, the mother of all those children and widow of Daniel Meyers, died on November 7, 1918, from fatty myocarditis.  She was living at 1905 Diamond Street, an address where at one time or another during the 1910s several of her children resided.  Clara was 68 years old when she died.  She had outlived one child, Bertha, and her husband, Daniel.  She had weathered the financial and legal problems he had faced in the late 1890s.  She had given birth to thirteen babies, one stillborn, and she had raised eleven of those babies to adulthood.  Like so many women of her times, she did remarkable things but things that history would not have noticed.

 

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.

Leon, her oldest surviving child, had moved out before 1910 and was working as optician and living at 1904 Somerset Street in 1911; the following year he was living and working on Market Street.  On his World War I draft registration form in 1917, Leon’s address was now 1905 Diamond Street,[2] the address where his mother was living, and he now described his occupation as a self-employed optometrist [3]working in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, almost 50 miles from Philadelphia, where his younger brother Franklin had been an optician/optometrist since at least 1914.  In the 1918 directory which covered Pottstown, Leon is listed at the same business address as his younger brother Franklin, working as the manager of the optometry practice and residing at the YMCA.  The strangest thing about his draft registration is Leon’s entry for his nearest relative: Bessie H. Meyers, address unknown.  Had Leon married since 1910? How could he be married to someone whose address he did not know? And doesn’t the name look more like MYERS than MEYERS?

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907649; Draft Board: 29

Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: Philadelphia; Roll: 1907649; Draft Board: 29

 

The 1920 census may answer some of those questions.  Leon is listed as divorced and living in the household of his younger sister Charlotte and her husband, J.A. Field, at 1905 Diamond Street back in Philadelphia, along with his younger brother Milton.  Leon’s occupation is reported to be drug salesman.  What happened to being an optometrist?

By 1923 Leon had moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and resumed practicing optometry, as discussed below, after his brother Samuel died.  Leon is also listed in the Bethlehem directory with the same occupation in 1927.  Leon Meyers died from colon cancer at age 55 on February 14, 1930.  His brother Clarence was the informant on his death certificate.  His marital status was single, not divorced or widowed, so it would seem Leon had never married.  I still don’t know who Bessie Meyers was.

 

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.

Leon’s next oldest brother Samuel followed in his steps professionally, becoming an optometrist.  In 1912, Samuel was an optician in Philadelphia, living at 1906 Diamond Street, across the street from his mother and siblings Leon and Charlotte and Milton. By 1917, he had moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and was married to Mary Potts Hamilton, another Philadelphian.  They would have both been in their thirties when they married.  Samuel was an optometrist in Bethlehem, according to both the 1920 census and the 1920 Bethlehem directory.  There were no children.

Samuel died May 10, 1922, from tubercular peritonitis, an infection caused by the same bacteria that causes tuberculosis but that manifests outside of the lungs (at least that’s what I think I understood from what I read online).  Another family member thus succumbed to the deadly bacteria that causes TB.  Samuel was 46 years old.  It would seem that Leon moved to Bethlehem after Samuel died, perhaps to take over his optometry practice.  Samuel’s widow Mary lived another 14 years, and Samuel and Mary Hamilton Meyers are both buried at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.

Harry Meyers, the next brother, also died young.  He was a tailor, and in 1912 he was living at 1906 Diamond Street, the same address as his brother Samuel that year and across the street from his mother and Leon, who were at 1905 Diamond Street.  On his World War I draft registration, Harry was living at 1905 Diamond Street and said he was an unemployed tailor.  He gave his mother’s name as his closest relative.  Harry died a year after his mother on July 4, 1919.  Like his brother Samuel and his cousins Leon Simon and Monroe Levy, he died from tuberculosis.  He had been sick for over five years, according to his death certificate, having been treated since January, 1914.  That would explain why he was unemployed in September, 1918, when he registered for the draft.   Harry was 41 when he died.  He never married; he had no descendants.

 

Thus, two of Clara’s three oldest children died from tuberculosis before they were fifty years old. Leon, the oldest, made it to 55.  These three oldest sons did not leave behind any descendants.  Fortunately, the family’s luck changed with the remaining siblings, all but two of whom lived until at least 1956.  For these siblings, I will write about their lives until 1920 and then will write a separate post for the future years.

Isadore was the fourth brother, and he had been working as a traveling salesman in 1910, selling men’s clothing.  In 1915 he married Elsie Goodman, also a native Philadelphian and the daughter of a salesman, Beno Goodman.  Elsie and Isadore had a baby boy on May 1, 1916, who died that same day from atelectasis, a complete or partial collapse of the lungs.  This is often associated with premature birth.

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 1918 when he registered for the draft, Isadore’s occupation was a manufacturer.  He and Elsie were living at 812 North 15th Street, and they had a son born that year, Robert.  On the 1920 census, they were living on Camac Street, and Isadore’s younger brother Milton was also living with them.  They also had a servant living with them.  On June 19, 1920, not long after the census was taken, Elsie and Isadore had another son, David.

The brother who followed Isadore in birth order was Maxwell or Max.  In 1910 Max had been employed as a draftsman for a machine works company.  In 1912 Max was, like his older brothers, living at 1905 Diamond Street with his mother, and he continued to work as a draftsman.  In 1917 Max married Henrietta Klopfer, a Pennsylvania native and daughter of a millinery merchant.  On his World War I draft registration, Max reported his occupation to be a mechanical engineer for Newton Machine Tool Works in Philadelphia.  He and Henrietta were living at 1311 Ruscomb Street in Philadelphia. On September 17, 1918, their son Donald was born.  Their second child Dorothy was born five years later on September 3, 1923.   Here is a photo of one of the many machines made by Newton Machine Tool Works.

 

The sixth son was Benjamin Franklin Meyers.  (I do love that name.)  He was one of the earliest of the children to move away from home; in 1910, he was living in Trenton, New Jersey, working as a watchmaker.  He remained in New Jersey during the next decade, and he married Leona Faulcher, a Richmond, Virginia, native and daughter of a machinist who had been living in Camden, New Jersey in 1900 and 1910.  They were married as of September 1918 when Benjamin registered for the draft, and they were living in Collingswood, New Jersey.  Benjamin was now involved with aircraft production for the Victor Talking Machine Company, the company famous for the Victrola phonographs.  In September 1918, just when Benjamin was registering for the draft, the company converted to the production of aircraft parts as part of the war effort.

By Norman Bruderhofer (Collection of John Lampert-Hopkins) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Norman Bruderhofer (Collection of John Lampert-Hopkins) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1920, Benjamin and Leona were living with her parents in Collingswood along with her two sisters and their husbands.  Interestingly, Benjamin was now working as an optometrist like several of his brothers.  Benjamin and Leona would have two daughters in the 1920s, Margaret and Clara, the second obviously named for Benjamin’s mother, Clara Wiler Meyers.

Clarence was the next son in line after Benjamin.  In 1910 when he was 24, he was already engaged in the cotton yarns business, an industry to which he dedicated his entire career.  Despite being the seventh child, he was the first to marry.  He married Estelle Seidenbach in 1911; she was just 21, and he was 24.  She was also a Philadelphia native; her father was already retired at age 50 in 1900, according to the census.  In 1912, they were living at 2251 North Park Avenue.  On October 23, 1919, their daughter Nancy was born.  On the 1920 census, the family was still residing at 2251 North Park Avenue, and Clarence was still a cotton yarns merchant.  Googling his name brings up a number of results regarding his business and the patents they owned and/or developed.

Here’s one little news item from the November 1919 Underwear and Hosiery Review:

The Underwear & Hosiery Review, Volume 2 (Google eBook) Front Cover Knit Goods Publishing Corporation, 1919 - Hosiery industry

The Underwear & Hosiery Review, Volume 2 (Google eBook)
Knit Goods Publishing Corporation, 1919 – Hosiery industry

 

Next in line was Franklin, born just a year after Clarence.  He was, like some of his older brothers, an optometrist.  In 1912, he was also still living with his family at 1906 Diamond Street. By 1914, he named his occupation as an optician in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, but by 1918 when he registered for the draft, he gave his occupation as optometrist.  At that time he was living and working in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and was still single.  Sometime between 1918 and 1920, however, Franklin married Mae Gross, a native of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and daughter of a clothing salesman.  Bloomsburg is 114 miles northwest of Pottstown, so it would be interesting to know how these two met.  In 1920, they were living in Pottstown, where Franklin continued to practice optometry.  They would have one child, Carolyn, born in 1922.

Finally, after having eight boys in a row, Clara and Daniel had a daughter, Miriam, born in 1892, five years after Franklin was born.  In 1910, Miriam had been only eighteen and was still at home.  In 1914, she married Abram Strauss.  He was born in Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, in 1887; he was 27, and Miriam was 21 when they married.  Abram was a physician, and in 1916 he and Miriam were living at 600 Butler Avenue in Philadelphia.  Their first child, Daniel, was born that year.  They were still living at 600 Butler as of June, 1917, when Abram registered for the draft.  In 1920, Abram, Miriam and Daniel were living at 1848 North 16th Street, and Abram’s mother Mary, sister Helena, and aunt Clara were also living with them.  Only Abram and his sister were working outside the home.  By the next year Miriam, Abram, and Daniel were living at 1836 North 17th Street.  I am not sure how many of those in the 1920 household moved with them.  Miriam and Abram also had another child Richard in September, 1921.

The penultimate child of Clara Wiler and Daniel Meyers was Charlotte or Lottie, born a year after Miriam.  She married J. Albert Field in 1914 when she was 21; he was 33.  He was an assistant manager of a department store and the son of a salesman born in Northern Ireland and a woman born in New York.  In September 1918 when he registered for the draft, Albert and Miriam were living at 1905 Diamond Street, and Albert was a manager at John Wanamaker’s Department Store.  They were still living there in 1920, as mentioned above, along with Miriam’s oldest brother Leon and her youngest brother Milton.

 

Which brings me to Milton, the youngest of the children, born in 1896, so only fourteen in 1910.  He was living with his mother and siblings in 1918 when he registered for the draft and was working for his brother Clarence in the cotton yarns business. Milton served in the Navy from December 1917 until December 1918 during World War I. He was living at 1905 Diamond in 1920, as stated above, and working with Clarence.

Thus, by 1920, Clara Wiler Meyers and two of her adult children, Samuel and Harry, had died.  Several of the other sons had gone into optometry; one son was an engineer, one was a clothing manufacturer, one was a cotton yard manufacturer, and one was working in the production of aircraft parts. One daughter had married a doctor, and one a department store manager.  All of the children alive in 1920 other than Leon and Milton had married between 1910 and 1920; there were also a number of grandchildren born during the decade.  So although there were some terrible losses during this decade, for many members of the family the decade brought both some professional and personal successes.  Certainly Clara’s family overall fared better than the families of her siblings Fanny and Eliza.

Here is a Google Street View shot of 1905 Diamond Street today:

I will bring the Caroline Dreyfuss story to an end in my next post before moving on to the last of the extended Dreyfuss/Nusbaum clan, the family of Ernst Nusbaum.

 

 

[1] I did find a Josephine Levy, born in Pennsylvania, living in New York City on the 1940 census, of the approximate age.  She was listed as married, but living as a lodger and not with a husband.  That could be Alfred’s ex-wife, but I can’t be sure.

[2] This is the same address found on Simon Wiler’s death certificate in 1911.  I cannot (yet) explain whether that is a coincidence or not.

[3] It appears that before the 20th century, the term “optician” was used to refer both to those who made glasses and those who evaluated eyesight for the need for those glasses.  According to Wikipedia, “Although the term optometry appeared in the 1759 book A Treatise on the Eye: The Manner and Phenomena of Vision by Scottish physician William Porterfield, it was not until the early twentieth century in the United States and Australia that it began to be used to describe the profession.”    All of the Meyers brothers who started out as opticians eventually switched from the term optician to the term optometrist to describe their occupation.

Life’s Injustices

The last two posts and the research surrounding them have really been draining.  The sad stories of Minnie Simon and Daniel Meyers in particular were hard to read about and to write about.  And sadly the next decade for the descendants of Caroline Dreyfuss and Moses Wiler is no more uplifting.  In fact, in some ways it’s even worse than the first decade of the 20th century.  But rather than put it off, I want to get it done. Today I will post about the children of Eliza Wiler and Moses Simon; next I will post about the children of Fanny Wiler and Joseph Levy and the children of Clara Wiler and Daniel Meyers. Then maybe I can post some cartoons or funny pictures or pictures of kittens.  Anything but death, disease, and despair.

The four surviving children of Eliza Wiler and Leman Simon continued to have far more than their fair share of tragedy in the 1910s.  First, on April 20, 1915, the youngest child Leon died from tuberculosis.  He had been at the Mont Alto Sanitarium in Quincy, Pennsylvania for over a year.  He was only 36 years old.  Having just watched the PBS program about tuberculosis, “The Forgotten Plague,” on February 10, I have a whole new appreciation for the suffering this disease caused.  People could live for years with the disease, coughing, wasting away, and being sent to live in a sanitarium surrounded by others also suffering from these symptoms.  I now better understand how many people were affected by TB and how lucky we all are that medical science eventually figured out not only how to treat it, but also how to prevent it.

Title: Mont Alto State Sanatorium, high in the mountains of Mont Alto State Forest Park, located in Franklin County, Pa., on Route 997, between Chambersburg and Waynesboro   Created/Published: John Myerly Company, Hagerstown, Md.

Title: Mont Alto State Sanatorium, high in the mountains of Mont Alto State Forest Park, located in Franklin County, Pa., on Route 997, between Chambersburg and Waynesboro
Created/Published: John Myerly Company, Hagerstown, Md.

There are a number of strange things about Leon’s death certificate.  First, notice that it says Leon was widowed.  I have no record that he ever married, and since as I pointed out in my last post, I can’t find Leon on the 1910 census, I don’t know whether he married before or after the 1910 census.  In addition, if he was widowed, it means his wife also died very young.

Leon Simon death cert

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

 The second strange thing is the name of the informant: Leon Simon.  Certainly Leon could not have signed his own death certificate.  I checked to see if there was another Leon Simon in the extended family who might have signed, and there was Leon (Dinkelspiel) Simon, the son of Moses Simon and Paulina Dinkelspiel, who was after all Leon (Wiler) Simon’s first cousin.  But that Leon was fifteen years older and lived in Baltimore.  I found it strange that he would be signing the death certificate when Leon the deceased had so many closer relatives living right in Philadelphia.

Leon Simon informant

Then I looked more closely and realized that the handwriting on the signature of the informant matched the handwriting of the local registrar, Wilson Reynolds.  The rest of the handwriting on the certificate matches that of the doctor, William McKelvey, who provided the cause of death.  I am not sure what to make of this except that perhaps Leon had provided all the information about his family to the sanitarium at some earlier point and that the doctor had then filled it out and the registrar just “rubber stamped” it by signing both Leon’s name and his own.

The final interesting piece of information on this certificate is the address provided as Leon’s last address before entering the sanitarium: 2513 South 18th Street.  You may remember that I also had trouble locating Leon’s brother Joseph on the 1910 census because there were so many men with that name in Philadelphia.   Using this address I found Joseph L. Simon living at that same address both on the 1910 and in the 1920 census reports as well as in the 1918 Philadelphia directory.  It is also the address that Joseph gave on the funeral bill for his brother Leon’s funeral in 1915.

Leon Simon funeral bill

On the two census reports, Joseph was married and living with his wife, Mary, who was nineteen years younger than he was.  The 1910 census reports that Joseph and Mary had been married for eight years, meaning they married in 1902. I’ve yet to find a marriage certificate.  Joseph was working as an accountant for a trust company (Providence Life & Trust Co, according to the funeral bill).

Provident Building, 401-09 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (1888-90, demolished 1945) in 1910. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, PA,51-PHILA,256A-1

Provident Building, 401-09 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA (1888-90, demolished 1945) in 1910. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, PA,51-PHILA,256A-1

 

Mary was born in Virginia, as were both of her parents.  The only part of the 1910 census report that bothers me is that it says that Joseph’s father (Leman) was born in Pennsylvania; he was born in Germany.  It says that Joseph’s mother (Eliza) was born in Virginia; she was born in Pennsylvania.  But overall, it seems that this is definitely my Joseph Simon.  The address on Leon’s death certificate and funeral bill seem quite persuasive evidence of that conclusion.

The 1920 census did not help matters though.  On that census, Joseph’s parents are both listed as born in Virginia.  Very strange.  Could Mary have thought he was a Virginian like she was?  If he married her in 1902 as indicated on the 1910 census, Leman Simon was still alive.  I can’t imagine that a German immigrant sounded like a Virginian even after being in Pennsylvania for almost fifty years. Nevertheless, because they were still living at 2513 South 18th Street, I still believe that this is the right Joseph and Mary Simon.

And then Joseph and Mary disappear.  There are many, many Joseph and Mary Simons listed in directories in many, many places during this time period, yet the 1930 census does not have one  couple that fits my Joseph Simon even as closely as the 1910 and 1920 census reports.  This was the closest fit I could find for Joseph.

JOseph Simon 1930 census

Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: 2102; Page: 20A; Enumeration District: 0572; Image: 389.0; FHL microfilm: 2341836

On this census the birth places of Joseph’s parents are correct: Germany and Pennsylvania.  The age is correct.  But the middle initial looks more like an H than an L.  There is no occupation, so that is no help.  Joseph’s marital status is given as single, and he is living at a lodger at what seems to be a very large boarding house.  I think this is Joseph.  If so, what happened to Mary?  Did she die? Did she leave him? I don’t know.  The trail has run dry.  It also ran dry on Joseph.  I cannot find him on the 1940 census nor have I found a record of his death.  He remains an elusive subject.

As for Flora Simon, she had been widowed back in 1901 when Nathan Strouse died, and she had remarried in 1903.  But that marriage did not last.  Although Flora was living with her second husband Albert Heulings in 1910, by 1917 he was married to another woman, Evelyn Cotton, according to both the Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index and his draft registration for World War I.

On the 1920 census, Flora was listed as divorced and living with her son Lester, now 31 years old.  Flora was working as the “keeper of an apartment house,” and Lester was in the advertising business.  There were also three lodgers plus Flora’s sister Nellie. Why was Nellie living with her sister? What had happened to her husband Louis? That’s when I looked and found the death certificate for Florrie Loux, a child I had not known about until I saw the 1920 census and looked for where Louis Loux might have been.

And that’s where the story really turns tragic.

I mentioned in my last post that I couldn’t find Nellie and Louis on the 1910 census and would not have known about their daughter if I had not found her death certificate.

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

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.

Florrie had died on September 21, 1918 from burns accidentally caused by matches.  A seven year old child.  There is nothing I can say to describe the horror I felt when I saw that death certificate.

Three months later her father Louis B. Loux died from broncho pneumonia on December 15, 1918.

Philadelphia Inquirer December 17, 1918, p. 19

Philadelphia Inquirer December 17, 1918, p. 19

From his World War I draft registration, I know that in 1917 Louis had been working in Philadelphia doing advertising sales for the German Daily Gazette.  The home address he had provided for his 1917 draft registration, however,  was 311 Linden Street, Haddonfield, New Jersey.  The death notice for Louis indicated that that was his parents’ residential address in 1918.  But Florrie’s death certificate indicated that she and Louis both had been living at 128 North 10th Street in Philadelphia when she died.  I was able to obtain the information contained in the death certificate for Louis (I am still waiting the actual document), and it reports that he was divorced at the time of his death.  I cannot tell from these records whether Louis and Nellie had divorced before or after the death of their daughter.

UPDATE:  Here is the death certificate for Louis Loux.

Death certificates_0003_NEW

Think about it: between 1910 and 1920, Leon Simon had died from tuberculosis; Flora Simon, already widowed once, saw another marriage end; Joseph Simon was married, but sometime after 1920, his marriage seems also to have ended either by death or divorce; and Nellie Simon lost both her young daughter and her ex-husband in the space of a few months in 1918.  All this followed a decade where Leon, Flora, Joseph and Nellie had lost both of their parents and their sister Minnie.

Now you can see why I need something to lift my spirits.  Fortunately, as I will cover in my next post,  things were not as bad for the children of Fanny Wiler Levy or the children of Clara Wiler Meyers.  Not as bad.