In This Issue T H E COVER: T h e Reverend Gershom Mendes Seixas, the New York rabbi who fled to Connecticut to avoid living under the British. This portrait is reproduced here from the original miniature through the courtesy of ilnnie Nathan Meyer. T h e copy was made by Peter A. Juley 8c Son of New York City.
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY. . . . . . . . . .JACOBRADERMARCUS
Although Jewish traders had settled in the colony of Connecticut as early as 1659 no permanent Jewish community was established there till the middle nineteenth century. Individual merchants were frequently found in the towns and villages where, almost invariably, they reared their families in the Christian tradition. During the Revolutionary War there was an influx of Jewish patriotic Cmigrb from Rhode Island and New York, but once the conflict was over these merchants returned to their former homes where there were Jewish communal organizations, synagogues, established businesses, a milder religious climate, and a more inviting future.
LETTERS: SAMSON MEARSTO AARONLOPEZ February 23, 1779. Illustration.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . '3 May l o , 1779. Illustration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 1 6 November 24, 1779. Illustration.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 9 AFFIDAVIT WILL
OF MYERMYERS AGAINST THE TORY RALPH ISAACS. Illustration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 3
MICHAEL JUDAH December 31, 1784. Illustration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 9
THEWAR OFFICEIN LEBANON, CONNECTICUT Illustration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 3 6
Patrons for 1949 ARTHUR FRIEDMAN LEO FRIEDMAN BERNARD STARKOFF
Manuscrtfts for consideration by the fublGhers should be addressed to: DIRECTOR OF ARCHIVES, HEBREW UNION COLLEGE CLIFTON AVENUE, CINCINNATI 20, OHIO
JACOB RADER MARCUS, PH. D., Adolfih S. Ochs Professor of JewishHistory
RABBI BERTRAM W. KORN, M.H.L., Assistant Professor of American Jewish History
Light on Early Connecticut Jewry JACOB
Although the first permanent Jewish congregation was not established in Connecticut till 1843 there were Jewish families in the scattered towns and even an occasional religious service long before that time. Individual Jews had peddled, traded in horses, and done business in the Connecticut river towns and seaports ever since 1659, but they were hardly welcomed in that colony which so strongly reflected the spiritual influence of neighboring intolerant Massachusetts. As early as 1670 Jacob Lucena, a New York and Hartford peddler and merchant, had been fined severely by the Connecticut magistrates. This man, a son or a brother in all probability of one of the first Jewish immigrants to New Amsterdam, made a living trading with the settlers and the Indians. In 1670 he ran into a great deal of trouble across the New York border, in Connecticut, where he was tried and found guilty of having been "notorious in his lascivious daliance and wanton carriage and profers to several1 women." T h e Court of Assistants fined him fno and threatened him with a severe
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES,
flogging if he failed to pay. We are quite safe in assuming that the fine and the threat contributed mightily to the cooling of his ardour. Twenty pounds was a huge fine and he immediately appealed his case. Two days later the General Court abated half of the sum imposed . . . because he was a Jew! Is it possible that they did not expect a Jew to maintain the same high moral standards as a Christian? They were hardly that naive for they were certainly conscious of the fact that the colony's standards were anything but high. T h e last three decades of the century, we know, witnessed a decline in colonial morals due, in part, to the immigration of foreigners with non-Puritan standards, and, in part, to the natural reaction of the settlers themselves to the prurient censorship of the magistrates and ministers. Drunkenness and sexual vice were altogether too common in Connecticut and New England at this time. I t is far more probable that Lucena's Connecticut judges cut his fine in half because he was one of God's Chosen People . . . but ten pounds was still too much to pay. Consequently our amorous hero appealed to Asser Levy, the New York butcher and amateur attorney, who had sufficient influence to have the penalty again halved. No doubt Lucena paid the five pounds. By the first quarter of the next century a few Jewish merchants had established themselves in Hartford, Stratford, and other towns. Their activities are documented primarily in court records which reveal them as litigants along with some of their coreligionists from neighboring New York. Among the more notable merchants whom we find enmeshed in the court proceedings during the first half of the eighteenth century were men like Moses Levy, Jacob Franks, and Judah Hays, all of New York City. One of the more venturesome of these New York families, the Pintos, moved eastward from the border county of Fairfield and settled in New Haven in the i7jo's; by the time of the Revolution they were a well-known clan, active Whigs and patriots, fighting as soldiers and officers in the ranks of the Continental troops. T h e so-called Jewish families resident in the state -most of whom, as we shall see, had deserted their original faith and had joined their neighbors religiously -received additional recruits, with the outbreak of war, from the Jewish 6migrks of Newport and New York who sought safety in nearby Connecticut. Isaac Seixas, for instance, fled Newport, which was occupied by the British in December, 1776, and took refuge in Stratford. Quite a number of Jews had assembled in this Connecticut village on the Boston Post Road. As far as we know most of the refugees who fled to this town and county haled from New York and neighboring Long Island. They brought their rabbi with them, the Reverend Gershom Mendes Seixas, the son of Isaac of Newport.
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
These exiles, some of them competent and successful business men, merchants, were drawn into the life of the larger community in which they lived, and when the Tories and British raiders on Long Island Sound threatened the villages in which they were now settled they joined with their Gentile neighbors in appealing to the Council of Safety to provide them with armed vessels to cruise and patrol the endangered shore. Most of these newcomers, who had fled to escape the British, remained in the state to the end of the war, and it was no doubt during this period of exile that the first Jewish religious service was held i n Connecticut. Although the Scrolls of the Law of nearby Congregation Shearith Israel of New York had been carried off to this state, there was no attempt, as far as we know, to create a permanent synagogal organization in this temporary asylum. Here in their new Connecticut homes they married, gave birth to children, died . . . and carried on their traffic as best they could, in spite of the severe state-embargo laws, waiting impatiently until the conflict was over and they could return to their homes, to their synagogues, and to more familiar surroundings.1 'This brief sketch summarizes the present state of our knowledge of the Jewish element in Connecticut to the end of the Revolution. T h e literature is as follows: T h e Jewish Encyclopedia, "Connecticut," IV, 227ff. T h e most inclusive article on early Connecticut Jewry was written by Leon Hiihner, "The Jews of New England (Other than Rhode Island) Prior to 1800,'' in Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society (PAJHS), XI (1903). 86-95. Hiihner has exploited the interesting and essential material in T h e Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut (1636-1776), Compiled by J. H. Trumbull and C. J. Hoadly, 15 Vols., Hartford, 1850-90. He did not use T h e Public Records of the State of Connecticut (17761784) 5 Vols., ed. by Charles J. Hoadly and L. W. Labaree, Hartford, 1894-1943. except in so far as some of the state material was published in Royal R. Hinman, A Historical Collection from OGcial Records . . . of the Part Sustained by Connecticut during the W a r of the Reuolutio?a, Hartford, 1842 T h e Huhner article is a good survey and makes use of most of the material published as of 1903. Scattered references to colonial and early Connecticut Jewry were published in ensuing volun~esof the PAJHS. These can be secured by consulting the index at the end of each volume. For example, PAJHS, XXVII (1920), i7iff., and 367, deal with the Seixas' in Stratford and the engagement of Benjamin Seixas to Zipporah Levy. Lee M. Friedman has written a note on "Early Hartford" (PAJHS, XXXV [1g3g]. 293) in which he made use of an item in T h e Public Records of the State of Connecticut, Vol. 111. Under the title, "Aaron I,ppez' Long Deferred 'Hope' (PAJHS, XXXVII , 103-113). Mr. Friedman described the attempt of Aaron Lopez to recover his schooner the Hope which had been seized by Connecticut privateers. No attempt has yet been made, however, to rework into one article all the material that has appeared since 1903. Abram Vossen Goodman, in American Overture. Jewish Rights i?z Colonial Times, Philadelphia, 1947, pp. 24-31, has explored the Jacob Lucena case in the original sources. I n brief, practically all that we know of colonial Connecticut Jewry derives from the Hiihner article which included only published materials and did not consider the manuscript records. T h e following essay exploits or reinterprets, in part, materials in T h e Public "
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
Further investigation will unquestionably demonstrate that individual Jews had been moving &to various. Connecticut towns ever since the seventeenth century, coming to do business and to remain as settlers if permitted to do so. A case in point is the story of John Carsen. In March 1685/6 Carsen, who had chartered the brigantine Prosperous, landed a load of goods at New London. On the fifteenth of the month a warrant was issued and his goods were seized and impounded pending investigation and trial. T h e charge made by William Dyre, the surveyor general of customs for all the BritishAmerican colonies, was that the goods were non-English and that their owner, l o h n Carsen, was a Dutch Jew, an alien, therefore, and not entitled .to trade in the English according to the terms of the Navigation Acts. It is true that Dyre had had trouble in New York prior to this on the charge that he was malicious in the imposition of customs, and it is reported that Daniel Wetherell, a deputy, who was concerned in the 'eizure of Carsen's wares, was later turned out on the ground that he was a "great rogue"; it is also true that Dyre stood to share in a large part of the cargo as an "informer" if i t could be proved that Carsen-had contravened the Navigation Acts. However, we need look for no malice on the part Records of the Colony of Connecticut, and makes use of the new material in The Publzc Records of the State of Connecticut. The above represent published documents. In addition, the writer has used whatever manuscript material he could find in the archives of the Connecticut State Library, in the library of The American Jewish Historical Society, and in the archives of The Newport Historical Society. He has leaned heavily on the letters of Samson Mears to Aaron Lopez of Rhode Island which are found in the Lopez letter-books in the collections of The Newport Historical Society. He gladly takes this opportunity to express his thanks to Mr. James Brewster, the Connecticut State Librarian, and to his staff for their many courtesies. Miss Marjorie E. Case was particularly gracious in aiding the writer in his search for manuscript materials. Rabbi Isidore S. Meyer, the Librarian of The American Jewish Historical Society, and Mr. Herbert 0.Brigham of The Newport Historical Society were most helpful in making available the manuscript materials at their disposal. The writer desires also to thank Mr. Brewster, Rabbi Meyer, Mr. Brigham and their respective organizations for permission to publish from their collections the manuscripts which are appended to this article. Thanks are also due to Mr. Stephen T. Riley and to the Massachusetts Historical Society for permission to republish a letter of Samson Mears, Wilton, Connecticut, January 31, 1780, to Aaron Lopez, which had originally appeared in the Commerce of Rhode Island (M.H.S.. Collections, Seventh Series, Vol. X) 11, 1'775-1800. Boston, 1915, pp. 83-84. This Mears letter, published in Appendix I (N), includes a closing paragraph and a postscript omitted in the printed edition. There are other references to Mears to be found in the Commerce of Rhocle Island, Vol. 11. There is no intention in these pages to attempt to write a definitive study of colonial and early Connecticut Jewry to about 1800. This essay does attempt to bring the early history of this colony and state up to date, on the basis of published and manuscript sources, in so far as they were known and available to the writer.
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
of this officer. He had been appointed in 1683 to bring order and system into the practices of the revenue officers. It was part of his job to watch for violations of the Navigation Acts. It is quite immaterial that he stood to benefit personally by his delation. If Carsen was an alien, a Hollander from Rotterdam, as alleged, and not an Englishman as he claimed, then Dyre was justified in the action he took, even as he was justified the previous year when he arranged for the seizure of the property of the "alien" Jews in Newport, Rhode Island. Although we have no record of the decision of the Admiralty Court in this Connecticut case, we may assume that Carsen saved his cargo on the contention that he was a native born Englishman - h e did not deny, nor affirm either, that he was a Jew; he evaded that question. T h e Carsen and the Newport affair are cut of the same cloth. In 1685, two years after Roger Williams died, this same Major William Dyre brought charges against the Newport Jews as "ali,ens" that resulted in the seizure of their property. What was behind all this? About this time similar charges had been brought against foreignborn Jews in London. As endenized aliens they had for years been exempt from special taxes, particularly those envisaged in the First Navigation Act, and in matters economic they were practically on the same footing as native-born Christian merchants. Nevertheless, in London, in 1685, on the death of Charles 11, the attempt was made to cancel their endenization patents, dub them "aliens," subject them to special onerous taxes, and thus squeeze them out of business. T h e London merchants thought this an excellent idea. Major William Dyre evidently heard of the London scheme- he had been in that city for a time - and attempted similar action in the Newport court. Had he won, the Jews would have been unable to compete economically and would have been forced out. T h e attempt failed in London; it failed in Newport, too. T h e Jews of Rhode Island, as a matter of fac~,if not of law, had already been accepted as endenized aliens, for in the preceding year the General Assembly had for all practical purposes encouraged them to remain in the colony. T h e Newport Jews, who appeared for trial on March 31, 1685, received back their goods, not because the charges of the Major against them were false, but because the Newport magistrates took advantage of a legal technicality. They wanted to keep the Jews as merchants in town and had already expressed their intention to this effect on June 24, 1684, when they permitted them to remain and to do business there in spite of the fact that they were "strangers," aliens. This decision of the Rhode Island authorities was really an evasion of the Navigation Acts . . and that evasion certainly did not lie heavily on their conscience.
Whether the motivations behind the London, the Newport, and the New London coups were the desire to implement the Navigation Acts, to earn rewards as informers, or to drive the Jews out of business, the attempts all failed, because in both lands, in this age of mercantilism, the authorities believed that the Jew was an economic asset. If this was their hope, then future events in both London and the Americas fully vindicated them.2 New London - where Carsen had his troubles - apparently did not encourage the settlement of Jews. It was one of the few large towns of Connecticut in the eighteenth century which did not shelter even a single Jewish family. T h e attitude toward Jews manifested in 1753 by a Mr. Andrew McKenzie, a merchant, may account in some degree for the absence of Jews from this port. Hearing that one of his correspondents, Miguel De St. Juan, was utilizing the services of a [Spanish?] Jew, he wrote St. Juan and reproached him for "being led by the nose ,by a faithless Jew whose nation sold their God for money and crucified him afterwards. How cou'd you think that he [a Jew] cou'd be true to you [a Spaniard] who ii of a place where none of their sect is tollerated?"S. Throughout this entire period, the people of Connecticut were governed by the charter of 1662 which was to remain substantially in effect till 1818; it declared significantly that the Christian faith "is the only and principal end of this plantation." It is not without its touch of irony that this famous charter, which left little room for religious tolerance of Jews, was decorated with a beautiful miniature portrait of Charles I1 which had in all probability been drawn by the greatest miniature portraitist of Restoratioil England, Samuel Cooper, whose older brother, Alexander, was a convert to J ~ d a i s m . ~ I t was because of the typical religious exclusivism, of which this 2The Carsen papers are in the Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Trade and Maritime Affairs, 1668-1789, Series I, Val<. I, Doc. 15-33. See also, T h e Public Records o f the Colony o f Connecticut, I11 (1859). 344-345; C. M. Andrews, T h e Colonial Period of American History, IV, 73-74. Check also "William Dyer" in the Index of Andrews' work. Dyre did not appear against the Rhode Island Jews on March 1685 and he may not have appeared against Carsen in 1685/6 because his commission had expired in January, 1685 (Andrews IV, 199). Aridrews, however, still refers to Dyre as surveyor general in March 1685 (IV, 196). For Wetherell, see, Andrews, IV, 196-97. See, also, M. A. Gutstein, T h e Story of the Jews i n Newport, New York, 1936, pp. 40ff. See, also, Goodman, American Overture, pp. 4off. For the London attempt to cancel the endenization of the Jews, see, Cecil Roth, History of the Jews in England, Oxford, 1941, pp. i7gff.
3Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, XVI (1916), 275. See, also, pp. 203, 289, 298, 304. 4"Connecticut," in Harper's Encyclopaedia of United Slates History, New York, 1905, 328a; Franz Landsberger, A Histoly of Jewish Art, Cincinnati, 1946, p. 228.
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
patent is but a minor evidence, that no Jewish life was possible in this colony, although, as we know, there were scattered Jewish families in various towns and villages. Some of these Jews had lived in Connecticut for decades; others, like Samuel DeLucena, for instance, were only birds of passage. Samuel was a native New Yorker, son of the merchant Abraham DeLucena who had been doing business in the city ever since 1708, and, incidentally, serving as rabbi of the congregation. Evidently, the father had given Samuel a sound training in the mercantile field, for years later the son boasted that he was "born and brought up a merchant in the city of New York." But apparently all his instruction and experience availed him little; he does not seem to have been very successful, if we may judge from his constant shifting to new ventures. Certainly no later than the 1750's~Samuel was in business for himself, but by the end of the French and Indian War he was quite ready to seek fresh pastures. Like other merchants he had been buying goods from England but now found it difficult to balance his accounts - "of late years . . . . it is hard making returns to Europe." It was time for him to try something new. Some of his friends and co-religionists were always flirting with new ideas and new products. This appealed to him, too, for he was a sanguine spirit, readily responsive to novelties. One of the Lucenas - not necessarily a relative -was given a special license in Newport, in 1761, to manufacture Castile soap, not improbably the first instance of the manufacture of this article in British North America. This enterprising Rhode Islander, James Lucena, maintained that his formula was genuine and that it came from no meaner source than the royal factory in Portugal. Several years before this another of the Newport Sephardim, Moses Lopez, had been granted a license to manufacture potash, for he was one of the very few in the British Kingdom who had really made himself master of the true art and mystery of preparing this valuable staple . . . so he said. Mayhap Samuel had learned the skill from Lopez. At any event, in May 1765, he was already living in Norwalk and had petitioned the General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut, now meeting in Hartford, for special privileges in the manufacture of this commodity. He wrote that he had already built a factory in the south end of the town, had already invested &zoo in buildings and equipment, and confidently hoped that his new enterprise would prove of good advantage to the government . . . and to himself. What he now wanted was some "incouragement," preferably a long term monopoly in the manufacture of his product, to apply to the area for twenty miles around his factory. As the pioneer, the first to carry on such a business in the county, he asked for special consideration by the Assembly. Since monopolistic grants were common in the
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
colonies and the states into the nineteenth century, his request was neither unreasonable nor unusual. Unfortunately, we do not know whether his factory ever went into production. One is inclined even to doubt his statement that he had already sunk & 2 0 0 in the enterprise before seeking protection from the General Assembly. If he did begin operations he was probably unsuccessful, if we may judge from the fact that when the Revolution rolled around he was engaged in another economic adventure: the search for sulphur mines. Gunpowder was essential to the winning of any war. Here, too, he had no luck or ability. When he submitted a bill to the Continental Congress in 1779 for his expenses in the search for sulphur mines, the Board of War refused to acknowledge the justice of his claim and paid him nothing. Toward the end of the conflict - if not before -he was in Philadelphia, either as a refugee from the British in New York or to press his claims with Congress. At any rate he joined the new kmigrk congregation Mikveh Israel and made a contribution . . . a very modest one. He was obviously without means. T h e last we hear of him is in 1787, a member of the New York congregation . . . slightly arrear in his dues. He probably never returned to Norwalk. Lucena, like other New York patriots, had flocked to the capital city of Philadelphia where the advantages of safety, opportunity, and the appeal of a large Jewish community were not to be denied. Many of the Philadelphia newcomers had traveled directly from New York; others, like Rabbi Gershom Mendes Seixas and his brother Ben, had stopped over in Connecticut before finally moving to the Pennsylvania metropolis. There were enough refugees in Stratford, Connecticut, and the immediate vicinity after 1776 to hold a religious service with the minimum number of ten adult males present. It was here in this town that Isaac Seixas sought in marriage the hand of Zipporah Levy for his thirty-year-old son, Benjamin. Zipporah was eighteen. Her father, Hayman Levy, the famous Indian trader and merchant, was now in Philadelphia whither he had fled when the British occupied New York. Although Isaac Seixas wrote in a rather formal fashion to Levy, the two families knew each other well; Levy certainly knew Ben through their common synagogal activities in Shearith Israel. T h e patriarchal character of this Sephardic Jewish family is reflected in these lines sent November, 1778, by the elder Seixas to Levy: "It is at the request of my son Ben. Seixas that I presume to trouble you with this, to acquaint you that he had inform'd his mother and my self that he has a very great regard for y'r daughter, Miss Zipporah Levy, and shou'd think himself very happy if he cou'd obtain your consent and approbation, as well as your amiable spouse's, . . . in permitting him soon to be joined to her in the sacred bonds of matrimony. We have no manner of objection thereto, etc."
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
Ben married Zipporah the following January. l t was a very successful marriage, certainly in one respect: they had seventeen children. Seixas stayed on in Philadelphia until the war was over when he returned to New York about the same time that Gershom his brother came back. In later years he became one of New York's most distinguished Jewish citizens, a founder of the New York Stock Exchange and a president of the synagogue. T h e Seixas' were but one of the many families that took refuge in nearby Connecticut. Most of the Jewish refugees - there were of course many Gentiles, too-who had fled from New York to the neighboring state settled in Fairfield County, just across the line, in the towns of Stamford, Norwalk, Wilton, Danbury, and Stratford, where they could keep an eye on their property and their interests in British-occupied New York. T o their dismay, some of them found that they had gone from the frying pan into the fire, literally. T h e English and the Tory governor, General William Tryon, started a series of raids in 1777 that increased in violence until they reached their peak in July, 1779. All the harbor and river towns were now exposed to fire and plunder and the hazards of guerrilla warfare. Long Island and the Sound were completely in the hands of the enemy. Feeling themselves particularly exposed, the Norwalk citizens besought the Connecticut state authorities for an armed vessel to patrol the Sound. A number of the signers of this October, 1777, petition were Jewish Cmigrks, and among them were members and relatives of the widespread Mears family. T h e name, Mears, was very probably an Anglicization of the German Meyers or Myers. The fact that they were German in origin did not deter them from using Spanish or Portuguese phrases in their letters. This they picked up in the Sephardic synagogues or from their Spanish-Portuguese Jewish friends. By the same token, Gershom Mendes Seixas did not hesitate to use Judaeo-Geman terms . . . especially for the foods which tickled his palate! T h e Mearses -one branch at least - had come from England and had settled in New York some time during the first quarier of the eighteenth century. There was also a Mears family- probably a 5Samuel DeLucena: biographical details in PAJHS, VI (1897). 102; XXI (1913). 38, 79; XXIII (igi5), 150; XXVII (1920). 41, 248, 461-462; XXXI (1928), 86. See, also, M. A. Gutstein, T h e Story of the Jews of Newport (New York, 1936), p. 55. The petition to the General Assembly, now in the archives of the Connecticut State Library Industry, 1708-1789, Series I, Vol. 11, Doc. 110, was reprinted in Norwalk After T w o Hundred And Fifty Years, p. 361. T h e petition of Lucena to Congress, in Journals of the Continental Congress, IV, 396; XIV, 734. 844. See, also, PAJHS, I (1899), 68-69. The Seixas family: PAJHS, XXVII (1920), 161ff., 171 -178. Zipporah Levy: PAJHS, IV (1896), 210.
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
branch of the English group -in Jamaica as early as the late seventeenth century. Samson Mears, a New York merchant, was one of the numerous agents and clients of Aaron Lopez. Some years before the Revolution he was in St. Eustatius, one of the West India islands, but by the time the war broke out he was back in North America where we meet him as a refugee in Norwalk, Connecticut. T h e Mearses and their "in-laws" sought safety in this town after they had fled before the British in New York. Gershom Seixas was here for awhile, too. Besides the Mearses, the Simsons and the Myers' were here. Solomon Simson, the New York merchant, Myer Myers, the silversmith, and his brother Asher, the coppersmith, had all married Mears girls, sisters of Samson. Samson, the first-born and the only boy in the Mears family, carried on an active correspondence with Aaron Lopez throughout the year 1779. This well-known Newport merchant and shipper was now at Philadelphia trying to recover his schooner Hope and its valuable cargo from the hands of Connecticut privateers who were frequently little better than pirates. But even though his hands were full fighting his case before the Continental Congress and the Connecticut courts, he was, at the same time, carrying on an extensive interstate trade by coastwise shipping and inland wagon transport. Overseas commerce was hazardous because of the British fleet. Throughout the year 1779, and into 1780, Mears was trying to obtain velvets, woolens, worsted stockings, men's clothes, tobacco, snuff, spermaceti candles, iron wire, and salt from Lopez. But, unfortunately, goods were frequently late in arrival, and by the time the carts came lumbering into town prices had changed, the market was overstocked, and the paper money depreciated. Business was carried on under most trying circumstances. Textiles were at a premium because of the successful British blockade. Salt was an important item and Mears traded it for other stores, primarily for flaxseed which Lopez was eager to secure. In April, 1779, the rate of barter was thirteen or fourteen bushels of flaxseed for one of salt. T h e staples listed in the price-current list included sugar, West India rum and domestic "Continental" rum, Madeira wine, tea, domestic and foreign salt. Lopez was in the market not only for flaxseed but also for flour, an important staple. However, the difficulty of securing this latter commodity in war time was aggravated by the laws of the different sovereign states which forbade its export. Mears was ready to do business with Lopez on a commission basis, as the latter's agent, or as a partner. Commerce was hampered, however, not only by the inflation which had already set in with a vengeance but also by the difficulties of transport and travel. Mears was
LlGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
Printed w i t h pemirrion of The Nawport Hirtoricnl S ~ d e t y
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES,
frequently on the road executing commissions for his chief: riding as far as Newport or pushing on to the "happy hills of Leicester" in a snowstorm, but recoiling from an extra seventy miles on a sick horse through winter mud to New London. On some occasions he was away for weeks, returning to his family to find them distraught because his letters had not come through and they had conjured up the worst. The vicissitudes of a bonnet-box of ,plumes for the women of the Lopez clan are an eloquent commentary on the difficulties of transportation, if not on the vanity of woman. Lopez bought these plumes in Philadelphia early in 1779 while prosecuting his case before the Continental Congress for the recovery of his schooner. Employing a cumbersome overland cart he sent them in a large box to Mears who, knowing that the Lopez women at Leicester laid great store on this finery, examined them carefully on arrival to make sure that nothing was damaged. Hearing that a Norwalk neighbor was driving to Boston, he arranged to.have the plumes taken along, knowing it would be turned over to one of Lopez' agents there and then forwarded to Leicester. But the box was too big to be fastened on to the sulky and was sent by fast ship to Providence and thence on to 5ts final destination. T o make sure it would be protected adequately this time, Mears sewed it up carefully in two of Lopez' sheepskins which he had for sale in his shop. The chances are that it arrived safe for we hear no more about it in the correspondence. T h e difficulties of transportation were caused only in part by the bad roads. During the war there were hostile forces on all sides, regulars and guerrillas, to say nothing of the customs officers at the borders. Teamsters hesitated to leave home with their horses in those parlous days. Mears once scoured the countryside for twenty miles to find a man willing to take a load of goods to Philadelphia, and the man he finally found agreed to make the round trip for about $450 (paper money), exclusive of his expenses which amounted to $307. Not the least of the hazards was the teamster himself: as a true son of New England he liked his rum, and if he carried a hogshead of "spirits" it was almost inevitable that he would drill "spoil-holes" and syphon off a few gallon to while away the tedium of a long slow journey. After one trip Mears found a wantage of nine gallon! Mr. Lopez' problem of preserving his spirits from thirsty teamsters was nothing new in the history of Jewish commercial activity. In the early sixteenth century a Jewish merchant died while at the fair in Leipzig. Unfortunately, no Jewish cemetery or community was tolerated in that city at that time. The friends of the deceased were concerned about returning his body for burial but feared that the Leipzig magistrates and the states across whose borders the body was to be carried would, as was their wont, utilize this golden oppor-
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
tunity to impose a crushing tax on the unfortunate family. T o avoid this form of robbery the body was put into a hogshead of brandy and dispatched home. T h e teamsters, not knowing the grim contents of the barrel, made "spoil-holes" and enjoyed a rousing good trip. "The drivers," says Luther, who tells this story in his Table T a l k , r'never knew they were drinking Jew-pickle." T h e third anniversary of the creation of the new American republic on July 4, 1779, was no holiday for Samson Mears. Not that he was worried about the enemy. Norwalk, he had written as far back as April, was so small the English "have greater objects to attend to than this insignificant place." "I don't apprehend much danger here from the enemy, especially as it is near opening the campain." He was feeling miserable, and in the July letter poured out his heart to Lopez who was always ready to listen to any man. Mears felt cooped up. T h e restrictions on trade enforced by the neighboring states had almost brought business to a standstill. Sick and tired of an idle life, and seeking something to do, he suggested to Lopez and his father-inlaw, Rivera, that they join with him in a company to speculate in Continental currency. People were beginning to buy it abroad; it was being quoted on the markets. He was ready to establish a company in Amsterdam and in his old stamping ground of St. Eustatius. Little did he realize that beginning on the morrow he would have other problems that would so engross him that he would have no time to think of starting a new business in the West Indies, or anywhere else, for on the 5th the English began the most devastating of their raids on the Connecticut shore. Eager to divert Washington and to get at him, Sir Henry Clinton urged General Tryon to attack the towns along the Sound again. This Tory needed no second invitation and starting on the 5th of July he struck at New Haven, Fairfield, Norwalk, and other towns. It was on the i i t h that he and his German mercenaries burnt the houses, barns, and churches of Nonvalk, plundering where they could, exhibiting "cruel, barbarous, inhumane, and unmerciful conduct and behaviour," destroying even the "wheat in the sheaf," and the "grain in store." How wrong Mears was with his prognostication to Lopez that Norwalk at least was safe. Wilton, a few miles to the north, up the Nonvalk River, was the next refuge of this wandering Jew. He had found no real home since the July raid, in spite of the fact that he had been riding all over the countryside looking for a shelter. It was very difficult to find a suitable house not too close to the enemy or to the seacoast with its blasting winds. All this in a letter of Mears to Lopez on October 8th. T h e primary purpose of this letter, however, was to thank Lopez for his generous aid to Nonvalk Jewry. T h e Newport shipper, who was truly a prince among men, had been quick to send money and
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY, 1 9 4 9
Printed w i t h permirrian o f The Newpart Hirtaricol Society
LETTEROF SAMSONMEARSTO AARONLOPEZ,MAY 10,
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
supplies through Mears to the sufferers. Even though the Myers brothers - Samson's brothers-in-law - had been hard hit, they refused any help for themselves. Another brother-in-law, Solomon Simson, had suffered even greater losses, but he too sought nothing for himself from Lopez. Those who needed help most were Moses Isaacs, Michael Judah, and Samuel Israel. T h e last named was an English immigrant who had come to New York some time before the year 1770. For a while he augmented his income by boarding one of the old women who had been granted a pension by the congregation. His brother Joseph had been more successful. After leaving New York where he had spent some time, he went to Calcutta, got himself a native wife and family, and, judging by his will, also acquired a considerable fortune. Joseph called himself Joseph Israel Levy; his mother, who lived in Houndsditch, London, was known as Rosey Israel. By the time the Revolution had broken out, Rosey had come to America. Tryon's raid found her with her other son, Sam, in Norwalk.6 In response to a petition of the Norwalk sufferers, a committee of the General Assembly interviewed the inhabitants, estimated the losses, and recommended tax abatements which were later granted. Among the eight or more Norwalk Jews who were given relief in this fashion over a period of years was the well known New York silversmith, Myer Myers. He was no permanent settler in Connecticut but 6Mears: Most of the material on Mears is derived from his manuscript letters, all of which are in the Lopez letter-books in the archives of T h e Newport Historical Society, except the letter from Wilton, January 31, 1780. This last was published in the Commerce of Rhode Island, 11, 83-84 All these Mears letters are printed in Appendix I. For further details on Mears see, PAJHS, I1 (1894), 66; XI (1903) 92, 151; XXI (1913). 79; XXXIII (1934). ~ooff.;H. S. Morais, Jews of Philadelphia, p. 22. T h e reference to Mears journeying to the "happy hills of Leicester" arriving in a snowstorm is found in a ms. letter of David Lopez, Jr., Leicester, December 7, 1779, to his Uncle Aaron Lopez (Lopez letter-book in the archives of T h e Newport Historical Society. Also in Comme~ce of Rhode Island, 11, 79). Mears returned to the Island of St. Eustatius in 1780 (Commerce of Rhode Island, 11, 99) and died there in 1786 or 1787. Letters of administration were granted in February, 1787, to Solomon Simson (Collections of the New-York Historical Society, XXXVIII [igo6], 348). Asher Myers, a coppersmith: ibid., p. 353. Moses Isaacs: This Moses Isaacs presented a memorial in May, 1780, to the General Assembly for permission to transport some beef, flour, and grain from Connecticut to Rhode Island. He pleaded his dire need as a refugee with a number [8! !] of small children to support. His petition was granted, the embargo notwithstanding (The Publzc Records of the State of Connecticut, I11 [ig22], 79; PAJHS, XXXV , 293). Isaacs, too, mas a brother-in-law of Mears; Isaacs' wife was Mears's sister (PAJHS, [XXXIII], 202). T h e Israel or Levy family: PAJHS, XXI (1913). 107. Will of Joseph Israel Levy, Calcutta, January 2, 1772; proved. April 27, 1786. Solomon Simson was one of the two witnesses. Samuel Israel, brother of Joseph, was made administrator on April 28, 1786 (Collections of The New-York Historical Society, XXXVII , 331-332).
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES,
had come, in 1776, like most of the others, to avoid living under the English. T h e preceding year he had been visited by a Mr. Benjamin Henshaw who had been dispatched by a committee of the State Assembly to find a refiner of lead ore who was competent to take charge of the smelting of the lead deposits in the village of Middletown, Connecticut. Stimulated by the desperate need of lead for bullets the State of Connecticut was ready to spend considerable sums of money to attain its purpose. After considering a number of possible candidates for the post, Henshaw did not hesitate to recommend Myer Myers, not only as "honest and skillfull" in his profession as a gold- and silversmith but as a n expert refiner. Myers agreed to come for £200 a year, New York currency, but although Mr. Henshaw recommended him there is no record that he was offered or that he accepted the position.? Not all the CmigrCs from British-occupied New York left a t the same time. Some waited till the English had entered this important port; others, like Myer Myers, left as early as September, after the defeat of the Colonials a t the battle of Long Island when it was obvious that the foe would take the city itself. A patriot like Myers, who had given u p his home and his business to avoid living under the enemy, and who had suffered for his political convictions, would have little sym'The following petitions and memorials from citizens of Norwalk to the Connecticut General Assembly include Jewish subscribers: 1777, October 14: petition for a well-fixed vessel of six or eight guns to cruise the Sound for the protection of the western shore against the British. Among the signatories were: Myer Myers, Asher Myers, Solomon Simson, and Benjamin Jacobs (Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Revolutionary War, 1763-1789, Series I, Vol. VIII, Doc. 82, pp. a-b. See, also, PAJHS, XI , 92). 1779, October 18: petition for tax abatement because of the Tyron raid. Among the signers were: Samson Miers (Mears), Michael Judah, Myer Myers, Asher Myers, Solomon Simson (Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Revolutionary War, 17631789, Series I, Vol. XV, Doc. 265, pp. a-d). 1780, March 16: report to the General Assembly of committee to investigate the hostile incursions of the British troops. Losses of the following citizens were included: Myer Myers, David Judah, Rose Israel, Samuel Israel, Solomon Simson (about the sixth largest loss), Moses Isaacs, Asher Myers. I n the tax abatement list that follows, Rose Israel and David Judah received nothing (ibid., Series 111, Vol. 1, Doc. loo, pp. a-h). 1780, May: tax abatements granted by the General Assembly. Included names of Asher Myers, Michael Judah, Samuel Israel, Myer Myers, Solomon Simson (ibid., Series I, Vol. XVIII, Doc. 269, pp. a-b). 1780, October lo: committee's report of tax abatement. Included names of Michael Judah, Asher Myers, Myer Myers, Solomon Simson (ibid., Series I, Vol. XIX, Doc. 76, pp. a-d). 1780, November: tax abatements granted by the General Assembly. Included names of Asher Myers, Myer Myers, Solomon Simson, Michael Judah (ibid., Series 1, Vol. XIX, Doc. 78, pp. a-c). 1780: another commltee-recommended abatement list. Included names of
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
Printed m i t h perrnirrion of The Newport Historical Society
LETTER OF SAMSONMEARSTO AARONLOPEZ,NOVEMBER zq,
pathy or patience for the mutterings or the bragging of a Tory. We can, therefore, well understand the reaction of this patriot when, while drinking a convivial glass with a neighbor in a Norwalk tavern, he heard the well-known New Haven merchant, Ralph Isaacs, speak disparagingly of the Continental troops. The Whigs, said this Tory, had suffered a severe defeat because they could not hold their lines under fire. As the British moved forward into the territory of the Continentals, he added, the people would readily submit and return to their former allegiance. This conversation was very discouraging with respect to the success of the Continental side. As far as Myers and his friend Peter Betts were concerned, this was treason, and they did not hesitate, therefore, on October 16, 1776, to fill out an affidavit and forward it to the secretary of the General Assembly at New Haven denouncing this notorious defeatist." That Myer Myers was motivated by patriotism in his affidavit against Ralph Issacs is hardly to be doubted. A few years later another Connecticut Jew brought suit against a presumptive Tory, a fellow Jew, and attempted to influence the court against his opponent David ' ~ u d a hand Michael Judah. T h e recommended abatement sums are resolved, in three parallel columns, into Continental currency, state currency, and hard coin (ibid., Series I, Vol. XX, Doc. 379, pp. a-g). 1781, May: tax abatements granted by the General Assembly. Included names of David Judah and Michael Judah (ibid., Series I, Vol. XX, Doc. 380, pp. a-h). All the above tax abatements were designed to give relief to the suffering inhabitants of the town of Norwalk who had experienced losses during the Tryon raid. Benjamin Henshaw's report to a State Assembly committee, June 30, 1775: Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Revolutionary War, 1763-1789, Series I, Vol. 1, Doc. 246, pp. a-b. For details concerning the committee to secure the lead in Middletown, and the difficulties it experienced, see, T h e Public ~ e c o r d sof the Colo?zy of Connecticut, XV (1890), 37, 99, 130. 255, 368, 459, 507: also, T h e Public Records of the State of Connecticut, I (1894). 129-130, 480; IV (1g42), 237. Solomon Simson, who seems to have had a n interest in the lead mine in Middletown-this is implied in the above Henshaw report-may have been the one who drew Benjamin Henshaw's attention to Myers' technical training. Simson might well have recommended his brother-in-law, Myers, to Nathaniel Wales and Pierpont Edwards, members of the General Assembly, who had visited and studied the lead mines at Middletown in May, 1775. Wales and Edwards, as we shall see later, were both well known to Simson; Edwards was his lawyer. T h e Simsons and Myers' were not only related but were also business partners no later than the decade before the Revolution. I n 1765, Samson Simson, Solomon's older brother, Myer Myers, and George Trail, as partners, had purchased a tract of land in Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut ( T h e Public Records of the State of Connecticut, v , 222-223). 8The Myer Myers and Peter Betts affidavit against Ralph Isaacs (Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Revolutionary War, 1763-1789. Series I, Vol. V, Doc. 427) is printed in Appendix 11. Ralph Isaacs is said to have been of Jewish origin (PAJHS, VI , 151-153). Until some evidence to bolster this statement is adduced he will have to he con.
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
by pointing out that the absent defendant was "now under the protection of the common enemy." The plaintiff was Hyman Jacob Boghragh (Bachrach!) of Salisbury, of whom we know nothing; the defendant was Naphthali Hart Myers, of whom we know a great deal. Myers was a distinguished, successful, and philanthropic merchant who must have come to New York in the early 1740's, for by 1746 he was an officer in Shearith Israel. The following year he was the sixth largest taxpayer in the congregation, ranking with Isaac Seixas and Judah Hays, and by 1756 he was president of the congregation. Three years before this, however, he had gone to England, found himself a bride and brought her back to New York. This merchant -he dealt in European and East India goods, "very cheap for ready money" -was generous in his gifts to Jewish and Gentile institutions. T o the Redwood Library in Newport he donated some good books when it first opened, to the synagogue there he gave a chandelier, and in addition purchased the right, at a handsome sum, of laying one of its corner stones. T o the New York congregation he gave five candelabra which gave light to synagogue worshippers for seventy years before they were taken down, carted and shipped across the mountains, to grace the new sanctuary just built in Cincinnati, the first Jewish house of worship west of the Alleghenies. In May, 1780, Boghragh petitioned the General Assembly at Hartford to stay all proceedings directed against him by Myers who, in order to secure payment of certain debts, had taken possession of Boghragh's property on which he held a mortgage. 'The complainant was very careful to point out that Myers had returned to Great Britain. The implication, of course, was that he was a Tory. He probsidered a non-Jew. As far as this writer knows there is no data to support this assertion. T h e name "Isaacs" is not necessarily a proof of Jewishness or of Jewish origin. As we know "Jewish" names mean very little, particularly in New England. Moses Simonson arrived on the Fortune in New Plymouth, in November. 1621 (J. C. Hotten, T h e Original Lists of Persons of Quality, etc., New York, 1874 I?] p. XXVIII)!! Solomon Mears, a Connecticut contemporary of Samson Mears, was very probably a Gentile (Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Supplementary Index to Revolutionary Mss). Gentile Hayses were not uncommon in Connecticut. A letter of Ralph Isaacs to Aaron Lopez indicates that they were not acquainted (Letter from New Haven, December 4, 1774. in Lopez letter-book, library of T h e Newport Historical Society). Possibly of significance is the fact that Isaacs was a friend and executor of the will of Andris Trube, a Fairfield Jew (Will of Andris Trube, Connecticut State Library, Fairfield district, 1759, No. 1949. See, also, T h e Public Records of t h e Colony of Connecticut, XI , 533). Jacob and Abraham Pinto were among the New Haven Whigs who signed a petition, September 17, 1776. to Governor Trumbull and the Council of Safety, voicing their suspicion of Tories who were believed to be agents of the British. Among the Tories listed was Ralph Isaacs, Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Doc. 42.5, pp. 2-4. Also in Hinman, Revolutionary War, 1763-1789, Series I, Vol. Historical Collection, pp. 566-567). \J,
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
ably was. Like other elderly and wealthy business men his first loyalty was to the mother country, England.9 When the Myers', the Mearses, and the Simsons crossed the Connecticut border in the summer and fall of 1776 and sought safety in patriotic Norwalk, they were probably welcomed into town by ~ i c h a e l Judah, a permanent settler who had been living there for at least thirty years. He was one of those who was hard hit in 1779 by the Tryon raid and who availed himself of the generosity of Lopez and Rivera. As far back as 1746, Judah was already sending orders fiom Norwalk to the Gomez' of New York, financing his little business, possibly, on the £5 which the congregation had lent him on his note. Three years later he ioined the other merchants in town in a petition to the Connecticut General Assembly. After the treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle, in 1748, which brought King George's War with the French to an end, a state-wide war tax of five per cent on imports was removed. Unfortunately, many of the merchants who had not envisaged the end of the conflict, had bought large stocks in advance at high prices, and when the treaty was signed and prices slumped they found themselves saddled with heavy inventories which cost them more at wholesale than newer goods were now selling at retail. Their .chagrin is very much reminiscent of the dolorous remark of a Jewish merchant of a later generation who had just been informed by Philip Hone of New York that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed: "Thank you, Mr. Hone, but I wish I hadn't bought them calicos." Needing relief badly in 1749, the merchants of the county and of course ~ i c h a e Judah l among them -petitioned the Assembly for the return to them of the unexpended sums that had come .into the treasury in the form of the five per cent duty on imported merchandise. Among the other merchants who signed this petition were Isaac Pinto and Andris Trube. Like Michael Judah these two were also old settlers. At least three of the twenty-two merchants in the county at this time were Jews.lO "Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Revolutionary War, 1763-1789, Series I. Vol. XVIII, Doc. 357. This document has also been published in T h e Public Records of the State of Connecticut, I11 (1922), 97. I differ with the editor in the transcription of the name of the plaintiff. Mr. Hoadly reads: Bagraugh. For N. H. Myers, see, PAJHS, I1 (~Sgq),82: XI1 (1904). 167; XXI (1913). 53, 60. 88, 220; XXVII (1920). 405, 408, 450. Personal details of his marriage, etc., are found in letters of N. H. Myers, London, November 16, 1753 to Aaron Lopez in Newport, and New York, August 18, I 754 to Lopez in Newport (Mss. in Lopez letter-books in the archives of T h e Newport Historical Society). For litigation of N. H. Myers in Connecticut in 1753, see, T h e Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, X (187'i). 268-269. lOMemoria1 of the traders in the County of Fairfield to the General Assembly, April, 1749 (Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Trade and Maritime Affairs, 1668-1789, Series I, Vol. I, Doc. 138, pp. a-b). 'There is a similar petition, dated
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
In the adjoining county of New Haven, there was a London Jew by the name of Mordecai Marks who had married a Derby girl to become the founder of an old Connecticut family. We may assume that he first came to New York, moved on to Stratford, and then went u p the Housatonic River to the town of Derby. Since we know that the Boghraghs lived in Salisbury, that there were Solomons during the French and Indian War in Middletown, and a family of Venetian Jews in New Haven in the 1770's, we may be sure that this does not exhaust the list of Jewish settlers and that there were other families scattered in the different villages throughout the colony. What sort of "Jews" were the Pintos of Stratford, the Trubes of Fairfield, the Judahs of Norwalk, and the Markses of Derby after two or three generations in a colonial Connecticut village? What happened to a Jew qua Jew who lived alone, religiously speaking, away from a Jewish community and Jewish family life, in a homogeneous Christian world? Michael Judah did not have to consult his Bible to learn that it is not good that a man should be alone, and so he married Joshua Raymond's daughter, Martha, a Christian. Surely it was not easy for him to make this decision, for he was a loyal Jew, desirous of maintaining his affiliations with his fellow Jews. When in the course of time Martha gave him a son, Michael turned to Mr. Abrahams, the ubiquitous iolzel of New York, and asked him to circumcise the child. This was done on November 23, 1756. I t is obvious that an observant Tew would want his son to be circumcised; it is not clear under what pretext Abrahams performed this rite for the child of a n unconverted Gentile woman. I t is doubtful if Martha Raymond ever became an adherent of the Jewish faith. At all events the child entered the world as David, the son of Meir, which proves also that Michael was only the civil, not the religious name of Mr. Judah. Twenty years later, in 1776, young David was a soldier in Captain Gregory's Company in the ~ o n n e c t i c u tline. Ultimately he made his home in neighboring Fairfield, married Constance Bennet, and became one of-the town's leading citizens. He was, of course, lost to Judaism.ll I n his description of the people of Fairfield, at the time of the Tryon raid, anc croft, the ~ m e r i c a nhistorian, wrote that they were "all of unmixed lineage, speaking the language of the English Bible." This statement was not quite accurate, for long before David Judah September 29, 1752, which does not include the name of Michael Judah but does include the names of Isaac Pinto and Atldris Trube. T h e endorsement on this latter petition indicates that it was denied in both houses (ibid., Series I, Vol. 111, Doc. 25, pp. a-c). "See, below, for references to Michael and David Judah.
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
had settled there - during or after the war - another Jew had made his home and reared a family in this charming town on Long Island Sound. About the year 17i0 there came to New York a German- or PolishJewish settler named Asher Truby. By 1722 he was already engaged in business in Fairfield, Connecticut and must have been a man of some means, for he was able - with a co-signer - to underwrite a bond for f looo for John Gold, a non-Jew, who-had been appointed Naval Officer of the Port of Fairfield. This immigrant could hardly have been less than thirty years of age now, in 1722. By 1729 he was an established member of Shearith Israel Congregation in New York. T h e fees he paid the Jewish community indicated that he was not wealthy but was earning sufficient to carry his share of the load. This is the first and the last reference to him in the congregational accounts. He next appears in the Connecticut records - twenty years later - as one of the signatories of the 1749 petition of the Fairfield County storekeepers to the General Assembly. It is interesting to note that he subscribed his name twice: first in beautiful Hebrew characters: Anshil Troib, and then in Latin script, Andris Trube. There is no question, the Latin script signature is also his. T h e double form was employed by him on occasion as an "official" signature.12 I His friends in town called him Andris Trube or Trubee or Truby. He, like Michael Judah, realized that he could not live alone yet he hesitated to marry his sweetheail, whether for religious scruples or not cannot now be determined. I t should not be forgotten, however, that a t least seven years after he had landed in this town - it may have been longer than that -he was still loyal to Judaism and was a contributor to the New York synagogue. It would certainly not have been easy to induce the Jews of New York to convert his bride, although it was not until 1763 that Shearith Israel issued a formal prohibition against the conversion of he Gentile wives of the Jewish settlers.13 On the other hand, it is by no means improbable that Anshil's girl was unwilling to become a proselyte, preferring to remain Christian and unmarried rather than become Jewish and married. Evidently he lived with Abigail Crane as her common-law husband until a few days before the birth of their second child when he entered into a formal marriage. This child was a boy; the first had been a girl. T h e boy was given the good Jewish name of Samuel Cohen Trube, after his deceased paternal grandfather, we may be sure. T h e next child, a girl, was given the typical German-Jewish or East European name of Geetlow (Gitla), but when she sickened and was aboutp to die, her-mother had' her baptized. Ansel (knshil!) was the 12For a variation of this procedure, see, below, under Manuel Myers. 13PAJHS, XXI (1913)~217.
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
name of the next to come along and he grew u p to become a good Christian and one of Fairfield's well-known citizens. He certainly spoke "the language of the English Bible," for his Yiddish-brogued father who wrote his English name with labored care had died ([email protected]
) when little Ansel was only eleven years of age. Ansel Trubee, Anshil's son, and David Judah were well acquainted with one another.14 Mordecai Marks - sometimes called Mordica or Mordeca - was born in London in 1706 and migrated to the colonies about 1726. Three years later he was in Stratford, Connecticut. On April 20, 1729, according to the record, "Mordecai Marks, Jew," was baptized in the local Episcopal Church. Eight months after he had accepted this new religion he married Elizabeth Yorieu, and when she died he selected as his second wife, Elizabeth Hawkins of Derby. It would seem that he had become a Christian in order to be accepted in marriage. Of these two marriages six children apparently survived, four boys and two girls. Abraham died in 1766 at the age of eighteen, during his father's lifetime; Nehemiah, born in 1746, was a Tory and fled to Nova Scotia. Although the evidence is not conclusive, it would seem that Mordecai lived the rest of his life either in or around the towns of Huntington and Derby; certainly his last twenty years were spent in the latter place. As we know, he was a n active member of the Episcopalian church in Derby not later than 1747; his children were reared as Christians, and his wife, of course, shared her husband's Christian faith. Four generations later, his descendants wrote of him as a Jew. There is no question that he lived as an observant Christian after-he settled in ~ e r b yfor his tombstone says that he was "a useful member of society, an affectionate husband, a tender parent, and a constant communicant of the church, and on the 8th day of January, 1771, he departed this mortal life in hopes of life immortal." One of his sons, Mordecai I1 (1739 or 1740-1797) was a well-to-do merchant and farmer who owned his own trotting and pacing mares, a negro slave, and a small library. He was a man of some education and in his will, in which he invoked "our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ," he provided for a "liberal education" for a minor son. A great-grandson of Mordecai I, David Marks, born in 1778, was a minister in the Calvinistic Baptist Church.15 14George Bancroft, History of t h e United States of America, etc., Boston, 1878, VI, 209. T r ~ i b ein New York: PAJHS, XXI (1913).16. T h e 1722 bond: Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Trade and Maritime Affairs, 1668-1789, Series I, Vol. I, Doc. 85. Details of marriage and birth of his children may be found in D. L. Jacobus, History and Genealogy of the Families i n Old Fairfield, 1932, 11. 971-972. Will: Connecticut State Library, No. 1949, Newtown district, December 5, 1758; proved, January 2 , 1759. 15Memoirs o f the L i f e of David Marks, Minister of t h e Gospel, ed. by Mrs. Marilla Marks, Dover, N. H., 1846, further proves the Jewish origin of the family, Chapter I,
1,ICHT O N
We have followcd the assimilatory process in the history ok three of the foul Jewish families and now turn to thc Pintos of Stratford. Like the others, they had n o doubt crossed into this county of Fairfield from ncighboring Ncw York. By 1725 there were already two mefibers of this family in Stratford, one of whom was Abraham Pinto. It is probably safc to identify him with that Abraham Pinto who later became a shohet or ritual slaughterer for the New York Jcwish community. Abraham Pinto of Stratford had a son Jacob -or he may have been a more distant relative -who later moved the fifteen or so miles to New Haken and there, apparently, joined the Congregational Church.16 We know that he was in New Haven as early as 1755, that he married a Christian-her name was Thankfuland for many years was to be the only "Jew" in town. For Ezra Stiles, our informant, a Jew was a Jew no matter what his religion was. Later in the 1770's Stiles referred to him as onc who had "renounced Judaism and all religion." Evidently he and some of the other Pintos in town had become deists or possibly even atheists. Akter the death of Thankful, his wifc, Jacob lived in a common-law marriage with another woman by whom he had four children. It was thcsc four natural children who inherited his estate when he finally died in 1806. T h e three legitimate sons needed no help from their father bccause they had all been successtul in life. Abraham - so called, probably, after his deceased grandfather the shohet - Solomon, and Willam were the names of the three sons, all students at Yale, two of them graduates of the class of 1777. All of them served with excellent records in the revolutionary armies, Solomon as an officer. William, known for his ability to write a fine hand, was asked to make a copy of the Declaration of Independence for Governor Jonathan Trumbull and for President Daggett of Yale. None of these Pintos practiced Judaism.17 p. 13 (See, A.S.W. Rosenbach, A n American lewish Ril~liography,No. 592, p. 417). For data on the Marks family, see, Samuel Orcutt, T h e History of the Old T o w n of Derby, Connecticut, etc., pp. 153.154, '745; Orcutt, T h e History of the Old T o w n of Stratford, etc., I1 (1886). 980, i2q3-izqq; E. J. Lines, Marks-Platt Ancestry, 1902, pp. 33-34; T h e Public Record, of the Colony of Connecticut, XI11 (1885), 148, 476-477. For the will of Elizabeth Hawkins Marks see KO. 6824, New Haven district, in the Connecticut State Library. For will of Mordecai Marks 11, see No. 1316, Stratford district, Conr~ecticut State Library. These nineteen documents in No. 1316, with their sever1 inventories, are useful for a study of the social background of the deceased. l0I say "apparently" for though h e may have been compelled to pay taxes to the state church, lie need not have been a commi~nicant.
17For older XIX (igio), necticut, \TI XXI (1913).
material on the Pintos, see, PAJHS, I11 (1895). 150; XI (1903). 89-95: 111-113. Pintos at Stratlord: T h e Public Records of the Colony of Con(1872), 526, 577; IX (1876), 406. Abraham Pinto, the shohet: PAJHS, 46-47, 54. Although we identify this Abraham with the Abraham of
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES,
There s e e m to have Ixcn a general trend toward religious assimilation and complete submergence in tlle local Christian colnmunity on the part of the individual Jewish fanlilies living an isolated life in the villages and towns. Jewisll immigrants to Kew York in the first half of the eighteenth century, in search of wider opportunity and less competition, occasionally pushed aci-oss the border to the neighboring state of Connecticut. Naturally, the clegrcc of assimilation to which they were cxposed in their new environment varied with the individual and the circumstances. Anshil Troib reluctantly surrendered nio'st of his Jewish affiliations ant1 ethno-religious habits, and as Antlris Trube was certainly given a Christian 1,urial. Of Mordecai Marks we know even less. As with the Pintos and the Judalls, his children were Christians or Gentiles by he second generation. Michael Judah was hardly typical in his attempt to maintain himself as a Jew, even undcr the most difficult of circumstanccs. He could savc himself 'Jcwishly," but not his child. He stubbornly persisted, living and dying as a Jcw. Among the articles found in his pitifully meager inventory of belongings was a "killing knife," certainly a halif used by the shol~etin slaughtering animals. Apparently he attempted to provide himself with kosher meat and poultry. In his will he left his son. David, 25. Was this the bulk of his possessions? 0 1 -is it too farfetched to assume that he was dissatisfied with this his only child, his circumcised son, David, who hat1 moved to Fairlieltl, married a Gentile, and had brokcn corllpletely with the tratlitions 01 the fathers? Michael left his estate to the Jewish people o l New York: one half to the synagogue and the other half to thc poor widows Stratford ant1 as he father of Jacob of New Haven, Orcutt, History of Stratfortl, 11, 1269, does not know of a Jacob among the sons of Abraham of Stratford. Jacob could then have beer1 a son of Isaac Pinto of Stratford who may be the Isaac I'into who tra~lslatetl the Hehrew prayer book into Euglish, 1766 (P.IJHS, XXX [1gz6], No. 47. p. 58). 1757: August, Jacob Pinto supplied a horse for the defense of Ft. TVilliarn Henry ant1 parts adjacent (Connec~icutState Librar), Als. Archives, Tliar, 1675-1754. 1'01. VII, Doc. 36, pp. a-b). I 558, hlay: a committee of the Assembly was appointed to tleterrni~ie\\,hat 1lum11cr of sen iceable arms were available. hlr. Pinto of New Have11 had ten weapons (ibitl., \Vat., 1675-1774. Vol. VII,, L)oc. 213). Isaac Solomon(s) had onc gull (ibid., \'ol. VIII, lloc. 15). This Jew, of whonl we know very litlle, was a member of Shearith Israel in Xew York in 1749 (PAJHS. XXI [1g13], 60) ant1 was engaged in litigation in Connecticut in 1748 ( T h e Plrblic Records of the Colony of Conirecticut, IX , 522). H e is there listed as dwelling in hfiddletown. Solomon also sold supplies lo Jabez H ; I I ~ ~ ~ comn~iss;~r! II, for the 1760-1761 troops oE the Colony of Connecticut it1 the expetlitiol~ against Can;~tl;~, (Colulecticut State Library, Ms. .L\rchives, War, 1675-1774, Vol. IS, Doc. loo; 261). 1759, October: Jacob and Solomo~lI'into as p l r t of the First [Church] Society in New Haven (The Public Records of the Colony of Co?inecticut, XI , 325). 1768: T h e Pinto store on the long wharf at New Haven (ibid., XI11 [1X8g]. 37-38). 1775, Julv: Abraham Pinto's service in the loth Cornpal~y, 7th Kegimel~t, pay roll
Printed ~fiitli pr.rr,iiirinr! of t h e llonr-izcticuf S t n i i I,ihi..ii.)
~ ' V I1.I or NIICHAEI.JIJDAI-I, I)E(:E;\.~uER 31, 1 784
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
and orphans of the community. His burial took place in New York and the expense incurrcd was paid for by another dead man! Isaac Adolphus, another Jew, had died owing Judah money, and when the Norwalk merchant was buried in 1786 the congregation merely asked Hayman Levy, the adn~inistratorof Adolphus' estate, to pay the expense of Judah's burial. It was just like bill of exchatige, no problem at all. Even though Michael cut his son David off with fl; he was hardly penalizing him very severely, unless there were assets of which we do not know, for Michael hied impoverished as a victim of the currency inflation caused by the Revolution. His inventory of household and other belongings was appraised at &8. Just about the time the war was in full swing, he found hi~nself in possession of about Llzoo, the result of a lifetime's work and saving. With this tidy little sun1 hc was assured of a modcst degree of comfort in his old age. His wife, it would seem, had aheady died. But after the war broke-out and inflation set in he tried to p;otect himself by putting his money into goods, something substanTia1. With the perkission of the authorities he brought in a load of sugar in 1777, sold it a t a profit, but decided this time to hold on to his paper money, confidently expecting that it would soon be stablized. It was a vain hope. H e lost practically everything h e had . . . and now he was an old man. I n his desperation he turned to the inen who had helped him after the British raid of July, 1779; to Lopez and De Rivera in Ncwport, telling them that his financial situation was very bad and that he could not go to New York for supplies: "You arc gentleme11 that has goods on hand and willing to do all the good you can to people under misfortune," he wro'te. "I beg that you will befriend rne t o let me have a small assortment of goods."ls
(Connecticut State Library, Revolutionary War, 1763-1789, Series I, Vol. IIC, Doc. 43, p p b-c). 1776, May: Pintos :IS land appraisers: T h e Pliblic Recorcls of the Colony of Connectictrt, XV (18go), 350. 1777, Api-il 15-23: Jacob Pinto as appraiser oE army l~lallketsp~lrchased (Connecticur State Library, Kel-olutionary \2'ar,17631789. Series I, Vol. XI, Doc. 129, 130. 143). 1780, December 31: pay roll of Capt. Hall's Cornpany of tlie 7th Connecticut Regiment. Made u p 11)- Ensign Solomon Pinto (ibid., Vol. XVII, Doc. 22). 1783, Septcmber 22: Jacob Pinto was among those who signed a petition asking for rights of incorporation for the tow11 of New Haven (ibicl., Towns arid Lands, 1629.1770, Series I, Vol. X, Doc. 1, pp. a-d). 1784, October: recolnmendations in report of coin~nitteeon tax abatement for the New Haven sufferers in the Tryon raid of 1779. Relief giver1 to Jacob Pinto ( i l ~ i d . ,Revolutionary \Var, 1763.1789, Sei-ies I, Vol. XX\'II, Doc. 336, pix a-c). 1786, Oc~ober4: interestiiig metnorial of citizens of New Haven and Hamden with rcspect to ~ z t c h i n garid shooting of tvild pigeons for food and sale, signed b y Jacob Pinto (ibid., Industry, 1708-1789, Series I, Vol. 11, Doc. 67, pp. a-d). 1787. Septenlber 11: will of Jacob Pinto. Codicil, January 14, 18oG. Proved. 1806 (ibid., Xew Haven district, No. 8285: inclr~desinventory of February 17, 1806.)
LlGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
We do not know what Lopez and Rivera did for Judah. It is not safe to assume that follo~iingtheir natural bent they gave Michael a line of credit. T h e last years of the war were hard years for the Newport Jewish merchants. While they were trying to straighten out their accounts and to collect some of their debts they found to their dismay that their clients and agents, instead of sending remittances, were seeking to borrow still fuEther or to secure additional stocks of goods. For example, in August, 1781, Lopez was favored with a recital of De Pass, hard times in a letter from one of his customers, .Toseph . a merchant, now living in Woodstock, Connecticut. De Pass, a Sepharclic Jew, may have wandered in from Charlestown, South Carolina, where there had been a family of this name since 1738. Finding himself unable to pay Lopcz, he conceived the brilliant but not quite original idea of asking for more credit. Whether he got it or not, he managed to pull through this economic crisis. Shortly after the death of Lopez he was engaged in business in Newport - he may originally have come from Newport to Woodstock where he bccame an active member and supporter of the local synagogue. He prospered in trade, for when the Lopez assets were liquidated about 1790 the shoe was found to be on the other foot: De Pass was now a creditor, and in order to satisfy a debt owed t o him, the executors were forced to sell 14,473 Continental dollars. They brought in less than &q in real money.'" Most of the refugees who crossed into Connecticut kept going until they had put a few miles behind them. Emigres like to stay '"Michael Judah: P.4JHS, XI (1903), go, 93; XXI (1913). 47 (loan of money from the congregation, 1744-1745). 150; XXVII (1920), 247. 1768, April 26: Bond of Michael Judah as guardian of his son, David (Connecticot State Library, Norwalk district, No. 3496). Petition to bring in a load of sugar: July 7, 1777 (Hinman, Historical Collection, p. 459; T h e Public Records of the State of Connecticut, 1 (1894)~344). 1784, December 31: will of Michael Judah; proved April y, 1786. Inventory, April 1786 (Connecticut Sate Library, Norwalk district, No. 3498). 1780, November 26: letter of Michael Judah, Norwalk to Jacob R. Rivera and Aaron Lopez, Leicester (?) Ms. in archives of T h e American Jewish Historical Society); printed in Appendix 111. For details of marriages and births in Judah family, see. D. L. Jacobus, History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, 1932, p.559. David Judah: Circumcision: PAJHS, XXVII [lgzo], 151. As soldier: PAJHS, XI (1903). -92. As a leader of the Fairfield citizenry, petitioning the State Legislature with respcct to road changes and bridge building affecting Fairfield: Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Travel, 1670-1788, Series 11, Vol. I, Doc. 73, pp. a-b, 1796-1798); ibid., Vol. XV, Doc. 77. pp. ,a-h, October 16, 1797; ibid., Vol. XV, Doc. 81, p p a-g, April 27, 1798. This last petition was signed only by David Judah and Walter Bradley as agents for the town of Fairfield. Mention is also made here of Beerses and Judah's wharf at Saugatuck Stores. '"De Pass: B. A. Elzas, T h e Jews of South Carolina, Philadelphia, 1905, pi 27; PAJHS, XXVII ( ~ g z o ) ,185; XXXV (ig3g), 142. T h e letter of De Pass, Woodstock. Connecticut, August 15, 1781, to Aaroi? Lopez is published as Appendix IV.
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
close, but not too close to the scene of their hurried departure. One of the men who fled and who was described by hib conte~nporaries as "a decided friend of American independence" was an exception to this rule we have laid down. He hugged the border at Stanlford from which vantage point he could watch what was going on and at the same time keep an eye on his holdings in the big city. This was the merchant, Manuel Myers. So far as we know he was not related to the Myers-Mears-Simson clan, although like them he was of Ashkenazic or German origin. Fiirth, in Bavaria, was very probably his original home; his family was still there. Two sisters still dwelt in that town as did daughters and sons of two deceased sisters. In this distinguished and aristocratic community, his sisters had married into the best families. One of his brothers-in-law was a judge (dayyan), the other, a son of a judge and a descendant of Lipmann Heller, one of the greatest rabbinic figures of seventeenth century Europe. Obviously Manuel Myers himself came of an excellent and learned family. It was some time in the early 1750's that he arrived in the colonies, and by 1759 he was both a naturalized citizen and a freeman of the city of New York. Ilis first wife, Miriam, was a daughter of Abraham Pinto - the shohet, no doubt -and thus he may well have been a brother-in-law, or a relative, of Jacob Pinto. But what a difference in their religious careers! Jacob Pinto ended up as a deist or atheist; Manuel Myers, who had some Hebrew training, ended u p as a synagogue president. By the time of his death, in the year 1799, he had served more terms as pal-nus than any of his predecessors; by 1776 he had already served in that office for three terms. When he left New York to go to Stamford he was already a man in his fifties who had made 12is mark in life. It was no easy decision for him to leave his business, his property, and other valuables, and simply walk out. It would have been much easier for him as a man of substance to make his peace with the enemy, but he was too devoted a patriot to do this. Exile in Stamford was worse than he had anticipated. Because it was almost impossible to earn a livelihood he finally decided to make the attempt to return to New York and collect in wares and merchandise the debts due him. Some of the best people in the city owed him money: Nicholas Low, Roger Morris, one of the DePeysters, a cI.ivingston, a Pintard, and a number of othcrs lcss notable in narne. I n order to bring in goods from a neighboring state, however, it was first necessary to procure authorization from the General Assembly, the state legislature. Accordingly he wrote them, pointing out the fact that much of his property had been destroyed by fire in New Yoi-k and that he had an aged mother and a brother-in-law to support. He
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
fortified this request with a strong letter of recommendation signed by a high state official, by the justices of the peace, and by the selectmen of Stamford. Yet in spite of his need and the need of the community for supplies, his appeal was negatived in the Lower House. But in his case all things turned out well in the end. He survived to return to his beloved New York where he occupied the finest and most expensive pew in Shqrith Israel and there again assumed the presidency for another seven terms, finally dying in office. It was a pleasant ending for the octogenarian patriot.20 After the war was over, Manuel Myers, it seems, was rather slow in settling.his aKairs in Connecticut, for his return to New York is not documented till the spring of 1785, over a year after Guy Carleton had evacuated the city. By the spring of that year Myers was back in his beloved synagogue complaining that the functionary then in power had refused to grant him the religious honors to which he was entitled. After a protest was made a committee was appointed to study the matter. In the narrow little world in which those men lived such slights assumed huge proportions. In the report which the committee brought in, it is suggested that the injustice be corrected. The three men who made this recommendation were Abrahams, the mohel, who was also a business man, Myer Myers, the silversmith, and his brother-in-law, Solornon Simson, the highly respected and wealthy merchant. As far back as 1706 there was a Simson doing- business in New York. In that year Nathan Simson had come from London. X number of years later, initiating or continuing a pattern which was typical of American Jewish life, he brought over his twenty-two year old nephew, Joseph, the father of Samson and Solomon Simson. Samson, who seems to have been the real builder of the family fortune, died in 1773 at which time Solomon took over the conduct of the company which concerned itself with furs, shipping, candle manufacturing, and a general merchandise business which offered allnost anything from a package of sarsaparilla to a cargo of ~nahagony. 20Biograpi?ical data for Manuel Myers: PATHS, VI (189+7), 102; XI11 ~gotj), 6; XVIII (lgogj, 105; XXI (1913)~85, 147, 168, 211; XXVII (1920), 1 2 2 . His brother Jacob probably lived in Philadelphia during the Revolution. Jacob died in 1782 or 1783 (Ms. minutes of Mikveh Israel, Philadelphia for 1783. Copy of minutes in American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio). Like other Jews in colonial times - Samuel Jacobs of St. Denis, Canada, for instance - Manuel incorporated his name in Hebrew script in his civil name as a sort of cryptogram. Andris Trube of Fairfield did it also, only he wrote his name in Hebrew script above his Latin script name. T h e Hebrew signature for Manuel Myers reads Menil which is the transliteration of his English signature "Manel." Manuel Myers' official signature may be found in an interrogatory or deposition he signed (Isaac Goinez, etc. vs. Louis Le Guen, etc., dated January 10, ~ j g g ,Library of
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
During the war Solomon and his aged father, loseph, had lived and wandered and done business in half a dozen ~ o n n e c t i c u ttowns rather than remain in Tory New York. One of Solomon's sons was born in Danbury; Wilton knew the family for a time, and it was in nearby Norwalk that the Simsons were plundered in the raid of 1779 ~ h k eternal pursuit to make both ends meet during these troublous times brought Solomon to Stamford in the yestcrn corner of the state and to Lebanon in the east. I t was no small concern that led Simson to come to the little village of Lebanon in 1782. The town was by no means obscure in those days. I n a way it &as the unofficial capital of the state during the war years, for this was the home of Governor Jonathan Trumbull. Here in the little red two-room house, the War Office, the Council of Safety met to deliberate on matters of import, and here it was that They had probthe New York merchant came to see the ably met before tliis; both were active business men, and - this is only a guess - the Governor may have sought enlightenment from Simson 's Joseph, on-some knotty problem of Hebrcw grammar. ~ o l o m o ~ lfather, was a good Hebraist. I t was not Hebrew, however, but salt, precious salt, that brought the merchant to this distant village. He had some time before this received a permit from the Council of Safety to ship goods into the state but now felt that this certificate would not give him the propatrols were tection he needed to bring in a cargo of salt. T h e ~1-itish too numerous to risk running the blockade; equally bad were the Connecticut privateers who seized ships first and asked questions later. He was between the devil and the deep blue sea. There can be no question that he was well aware of the anguish -and this is literally true - which almost crushed the urbane Lopez as he fought to rescue his valuable cargo " in the Hobe which had been seized bv the voracious Connecticut prowlers in 1778. That was four years ago and in spite of favorable Congressional and state court decisions, Lopez, by October,
Congress, Division of Manuscripts, Hamilton Legal Papers, No. 94329. See, also, PAJHS, XVII [1g20], 66). 1782, January 7: memorial of Manuel Myers, Stamford, to the Connecticut General Assembly (Connecticut State Library, Ms. Archives, Revalutionary War, 1763-1789. Series I, Vol. XXIII, Doc. 286; accompanying letter of recommendation, ibid., Doc. 287; list of debts due him, ibid., Doc. 288). This memorial is printed as Appendix V. 1799, May 13: will of Manucl Myers; proved May 28 ( A b stracts of Wills on File in the Surrogate's Ofice, City of New York, Collections of T h e New-York Hzstoricnl Society, XXXIX , 156.157). This will indicates his wife's name was Judith, obviously a second wife, since Miriam Pinto Myers had died in 1781 (PAJHS [1g20], 122). H e had no surviving children. His Furth connections are also described in the will. For the importance of his Furth relatives see, Jahrbuch der jiidisch-literarischen Gesellschaft, VlII (igio), 140-141 Ephraim Hart. Manuel Myers' executor, one of New York's outstanding merchants, was also a Furth compatriot.
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
1782, had still not received his schooner or merchandise. Simson wanted to take n o risk like this on his precious shipment of almost 1500 bushels of salt. The solution to this problem was clear: let his salt be brought in undcr a flag of truce. This was easier asked than granted, for in one of his numerous letters to his friend the Governor, Washington had frowned upon a too liberal use of this device. T h e flag was not granted in spite of the fact that Nathaniel Wales, an important member of the Council of Safety, had assured him that he would be doing his country a service by bringing in a quantity of this valuable commodity at a time when it was so sorely ~ e e d e d . It was up to Simson now to drop the project or to risk his cargo between the Scylla of Hritish cruisers and the Charybdis of Connecticut privateers. H e gambled and lost. T h e privateers grabbed his prize and brought it into Stamford harbor. In order to secure redress he wrote to the Governor from New Haven, October 9, 1782, seeking his help to recover his boat and whatever was left of its load. He had now learned the lesson - if he needed to learn it - that fellow patriots may often be as troublesome as the enemy . . . if not worse. Two days later, back in Fairfield, he ,wrote again to Trumbull, but this time he was not seeking justice for himself, but mercy for another. He pleaded with the Governor to permit the return to the state of an Episcopalian lay reader by the name of Henry Van Dyck. Some time during the war - it was in 1779 - this man, who was opposed to taking up arms on either side, had left Stratford for New York with the permission of the Connecticut authorities, but while in that city had taken the opportunity more than once to help secure the release of patriots imprisoned there by the British. Now that the conflict was practically over- Cornwallis had surrendered almost a year ago -Van Dyck wished to return and asked Simson to intcrvcnc with the chief executive on his behalf. Simson was only too happy to come to the aid of a man who, though not a patriot, was yet a person of character and integrity. It must have been a source of satisfaction to him when the State Assembly permittcd Van Dyck and his family to return to their home in Stratford.?'
* * * * *
Although no attempts were ever made, as far as we know, to build a permanent Jewish settlement in Con~lecticut prior to thc middle nineteenth century, Jewish merchants and traders had established themselves in the different Connecticut towns and villages ever since the middle sixteen-hundreds. I n the next century, moving into 21Data on the Simsons in Connecticut: PAJHS, XI (1903). 91; XVIII (1909). 106. 209; XXV (1g17),go; XXVII (~gzo),371; XXXIII (1934), 202. Simson as possible part owner of the Middletown lead mine: see the Elenshaw report quoted above. That the Simsons had business relations with the chemist, J. S. Stephany - who
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
the colony from Rhode 1;land on one side and from New York on the other, they dotted the landscape from Woodstock in the east to Stamford in the west. It is certain that most of these immigrants stayed but a short time- it is the accident of an obscure letter, a voucher, or a court entry that betrays their presence - and then returned to the neighboring Jewish comnlunities of Newport or New York city. They realized that if they treasured any hope of remaining as Jews, of continuing a Jewish family life, there was no future for them in the monolithic religious and social life of Congregational Connecticut. If they stayed, and a number of individual families did remain, they were destined to disappear as Jews in the overwhelmingly Christian environment in which they found themselves. They might struggle to maintain the cherished faith, and even to rear their children as Jews, but the struggle was a hopeless one. The one chance to create a congregation came during the Revolution when a number of .patriots fled from Newport and New York and settled in Fairfield County. But these families of merchants and shippers remained in the state only for the duration of the war. There was no incentive to tarry in a community where they had no roots, no institutions, no great economic hinterland; there was every reason to go back to their original homes, to their synagogues, and to their co~nmunities: to Newport, the second largest town in New England, and to New York, the second or third largest port in the country. They did not hesitate to abandon their temporary asylum where their economic future was precarious in order to return to familiar surroundings where opportunity was sure and the future, certain.
was also one of the owners of the Middletown mine - is evidenced by the will of Joseph Simson, the father of Solomon (Collections of the New-York Historical Society, XXXVIII [1go6]. 218-219. T h e will was dated November 5. 1781). Hensharv also consulted a chemist at Bound Brook, New Jersey: Ramsalnen. This man is certainly identical with the well-known Bavarian chemist, Jacob Rubsamen, whom Ezekicl and Lichtenstein in lheir History of the Jews of Richmond, pp. 336-342. consider a Jew. Judging, however, by the names of a sister and a brother, the family was Christian, unless, as converts to Christianity, they had taken on Christian names. The Simsons as merchants: Walter Barrett, Tile Old Merchants o f .Ve.;v Y o l k City, New York, iS70, 11, 2, p p 234,240. For Lebanon, Connecticut, during the Revolution, see, Connecticut (American Giude Series), Boston, 1938, pp. 413415. T h e letters of Solomon Simson: 1782, October g: Solomon Simson, New Haven, to Governor Jonathan Trumbull: same to same, Fairfield, October 11, 1782, in Connecticut State Library, Trumbull papers, M.H.S., 1631-1784, Vo1. XVII, DOC. 12;. pp. a-b; Doc. 132. p. a. These two letters are printed as Appendix VI. For t, (~gqr), Henry Van Dyck, see: T h e P ~ r b l i cRecords of the State of C o n n e c t i c ~ ~IV 305. Also, Samuel Orcutt, History of Stratford.
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
Norwalk, January 13th. 1779. Dear Sir: I hope this may find you safe at your journey's end, and that success may crown your undertaking is my sincerest wishes. Since your departure, I have made a n inquiry relative to the sundry matters we were talking about, and I find that I may be able to purchase some flaxseed For two dollars, tho some people asks more. I found a person possessed of seven or eight hundred bushels ol last year's seed, but he holds it at two dollars and will not take less. I offered him one and a half, but I don't expect to get it at that. However, if 1 find there is no probability of collecting it at less than your limitation, I shall not hesitate' in giving it, as there is a person in this township that is erecting an [linseed] oil mill in a large way, and I expect he will give it a start [by buying this flaxseed and paying the price]. With respect to the velvets, I find there will he a chance to vend forty or fifty pieces. That which is wove plain thread will fetch from twelve to fifteen dol'rs, and that which is twilled, from twenty upwards. Middling and coarse cloths, woolen stuffs of every kind, trimings, worsted stockings, and all kind of men's ware will answer. T h e kind of salt you have will not sell for so much as the coarser and brighter sort, tho i t will readily exchange for flaxseed. 1 am informed of so many ditlicrllties attending the geting flour out of New York State that I am apprehensive I shall not be able to procure any to send by the return teams you intend ordering this way, and there is no possibility of obtaining a permit to carry any out of this state that's raised in it. If it's possible to get it from New York State my endeavours shall be imploy'd.
My brother [-in-law Solomon] Simson and his family with the rest of my connexions here begs your acceptance of their respectful regard, and, believe me, none with greater warmth than your much esteem'd friend and most Humble servant, SAMSONMEARS. Price Curr't Sugar £60 Rum W[est]. I[ndia]: 18 dol'rs, ria[in]g. Do. Cont[inentaItl, l o a 12 do[llars]. Mad[eir]a. wine, 12 do. Ten[erif]f.[e] and Fay[l] do. 8 a g dol'rs. Best foreign salt, 40 do. Home made 20 Tea 1 2 a 14 do. To MR. AARONLOPEZ
Norwalk, January noth, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: Yesterday came here a team load of two h[ogs]h[ea]'ds of merchandize, one of spirits, and two barrs of lead, forwarded by Mr. Josiah Blakeley of Hartford. H e informs me he could not procure a team to carry it further than this place. I have sent out to engage one to carry it on to you, which shall be done with all the despatch the nature of the season will admit of. T h o I had no acco[un]'t what the h[ogs]h[ea]'d of spirit should contain, yet I thought it necessary to examine the contents, and found by an inch rule (not having a gu'ging rod) a wantage of five and onequarter inch's, of wh'h I advised Mr. Blakeley by the return of the teamster with whom he is to settle. I also discovered several spoil holes about the h[ogs]h[ea]'d and shewed them to the teamster who seemed to know nothing of it. However, if the loss is sustai~iril
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
between this [Norwalk] and Haltford, I make no doubt proper steps will be taken by Mr. Blakeley. In my last of the 13th cur[ren]'t p r post, to wh'h be pleased to be refered, I ment~on'da person's having seven or eight hundred bushles of flaxseed, which Mr. [Solomon] Simson and self found to be very good. I have purchased it at two dollars, which I shall continue to do till I have got your quantity. T h e teamster delivered me two of your caps, a worsted and a linen one. He says Mr. Blakeley desired him to call a t a place between this and Hartford for your overhalls and book where he had forwarded them, but he forgot the place and taking a diffelent road has not brought them. If they come to hand before I send off the team (wh'h I vely much doubt) they shall be sent along [to Philadelphia]. Mr. Simson and family joins in our best respects, and be assured I am, with esteem, d[ea]'r sir, your friend and h[um] 'ble serv't, SAMSON MEARS. Rum is at
dol'rs and rising.
A parcel of ready made buckskin breeches will sell well from forty-five to sixty dollars p r [pair], and some ready dress'd skins, some sheep skin breeches also will do.
Norwalk, January 28th, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: My last uf the 20th curr't p'r post advised you that I had sent out to engage a team to carry your goods forward, but I have met with no success yet. T h e badness of the roads at present and the distance of the journey are the objections made by those I have spoke to. My best endeavours shall be continued to forward them along as soon as possible. I recollect you to have said when you
was here that your motive for transporting a hh'd of rum to Philad'a was purely to make u p a load with the other goods. Concluding that to have been your stimulation, and not knowing the low market of that article there, to what it is here, and siilce it has come to my knowledge of the very great detriment it will be to yon by sending it from so great a market as is here for it, to so poor a one at Phil'a, I should not think I discharged that duty due to our friendship if I was to persue your orders in sending it along, judging that if you thought your counterorders would reach me in time, I should have had them. From these considerations, togeth'r with the great risque attending such an article's going that distance, exposed to pilferage and adulteration (which I suspect it has already undergone), are strong inducements for me to embrace the prospect I have of obtaining twenty-two or twenty-three dollars a gallon, and perhaps more, in preference to what I am well informed it is at in Phil'a, by very late accounts, of eighty-seven shilling. So that I hope the step that I mean to lake, to save a sacrifise oE so considerable a sum as would prove a dead loss by the difference of prices, will be warranted by the principles of friendship (that in this case entirely dictates), tho I may stand condemned by the strict rules of mercantile matters. And I flatter my self so far with your indulgence as LO avoid your ccnsurc and merit your approbation when I assure you the advancement of your interest was my sole object in deviating so far from the orders you left me. Mr. James Jarvis told me he has about £2500 in Phil'a which he would be glad to have in a bill [of exchange], and if you find the money will be oC any service to you there, he will take your bill for it. On which subject he will write you and transmit an order if you chuse to make use of it. T h e enclosed letter accompanied your goods here, and as I judged it only related to them, and having an expectation
AMERICALN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
I observe you had ordered you[r] son to forward this way some salt, etc. When it comes it shall have my strict attention to improve it to your best advanage, tho the call for salt has much subsided lately. T h e additional arrivals to what was already here has made it a dull article at present, and has occationed it to fall something. Therefore I have stopt buying flaxseed for cash in order that I may the readyer get off the salt for it when it comes. hfy letter of 28th ult'o will inform you I had anticipated your orders respecting your h[ogs]h'd of spirits and set forth my motives that led me to it, Mr. Simson and the rest of our families and I am happy to find my steps coinkind remembrance to you. cided so much with your inten~ions,and previous to the receipt of your letter, I embraced the opportunity I llad of dispos'g of it at twenty-four dollars. It Norwalk, February 16th. 1771). guaged one hundred and nineteen gallons, nine of which was wanting. T h e Mr. Aaron I.opez, lead I have had no call for yet. Dear Sir: T h e remaining two hh'ds I have been constantly endeavouring to forward and In my way to Stratford the 5th ins't I took up your esteemed favor of the have rode a circle of twenty miles round 18th ult'o advising me of your sale ar- and could not prevail on a person to rival at Philadelphia and that your undertake the journey at this season. I could get several to go so far as the counsel'rs [James Wilson, latcr a Justice of the United Stxtes Supreme Court, North River but not beyond it, and they talk of having four dollars a mile. and William Lewis] had givcn you Ullless your velvits will command an some favorable expectatioils of success in your appeals [in the case of the. exceeding high price in Philadel'a, I schooner, Hope], which I hope may soori think they would neet you an equal be terminated agreeable to their expec- profit here without that additional expence, for if they are of the twilled tations and your sanguine wishes. A letter Mrs. [Isaac or Gershom] kind they will exceed your limitation Seixas received while I was at Stratf'd on those you have ordered here for sale. Snuff and tobacco (some manufacfrom her husband, under date of 26th ult'o, by which she understood you was tured into pigtail) [twist] is much wantto have set out from Phil'a the next ed and will (etch: twenty shilling, snuff, day, prevented my answer'g your letter pigtail, twelve shilling, if such a speculation is worthy your notice with some p'r last post. And by a letter from Stratford yesterday I am informed it other articles that you may find answerwas a mistake Mrs. Seixas made in perus- able by the annexed price current. Mr. [Solomon] Simson and I will join you ing her letter, which was instead of your in a purchase. The rrloney Mr. Jarvis seting out it was your going out if the weather was fair, after your confinement lias tendered at your service for a bill of which 1 was sorry LO hear, tho hope 011 Boston will answer for the purpose. Mr. Simson with his and families-best . your indisposition has been slight and rcspects acknowlkdges the favor you was only owing to the fatigue you say you pleased to distinguish him with in your under~.enton your journey.
of forwarding them on immediately, was the reason I did not forward it p'r last post, reserving it to go with them, and as it's uncertain how long i t will be ere they go on, and lest it might contain some other matter you may want to be advised of, I now forward it. I have not since your absence been favor'd with any advice from your families. That I may soon have that pleasure from them and your self, is the wish of, dear sir, Your faithful friend and most h'ble serv't, SAMSON MEARS.
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
address conjunctively with my self, and we are happy that the notice you justly merited from us has been so kindly received. We are wishful that you will on your return home give us a fresh occation to express the friendsh'p and esteem with which I have the pleasure of subscribing my self and in behalf of Mr. Simson, Your most ob't and very humble serv't, Mr. and Mrs. [Moses] Isaacks's best regard attends you with their prayers for your prosperity, with both the Mr. Myers's [Asher and Myer] and their family's. Price Cur't: Sugar 250 Rum 26 Molases 72s Foreig. salt 27.10 Tea 72s Tobacco 218 Snuff 20s Indigo 42s Gineva [gin] (home made) 84s Coffee 14s Black pepper 30s Writ'g paper Liz
Norwalk, February 23d, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: T h e bearer intending to set off tomorrow morning for Phil'a just gives me an opportun'y to acknowledge the rec't of your favor of the zd ins't and to advise you I have this day engaged a waggon to set off tomorrow with your goods. Having already wrote you this day at large to accompany the goods, have nothing further to offer than that if you have riot got any load to send back, nor are inclineable, either on yours or our joint account, to send any, to let Mr. Nathan Bush [of Philadelphia] know of it, as I have given him directions in your absence to procure a load on my accou't,
rvhich he can be geting ready by the time the waggon gets in. In case you sho'ld incline to benefit by it, it would be most agreeable to me that you should, and I will annex the articles I order'd him to procure, to wh[ic]'h be pleased to be refer'd, and accept of the cordial esteem of, &[ear] sir, Your assured friend and h'ble serv't, 1/4 hund'd iron wire assorted from the size of a coarse liniting needle to the size of card wire and a less qu'ty of smalest size. A small box of short pipes. 150 w't of best pigtail and tjo w't hogt'l tobacco, and the remainder in the best Scotch snuff. If no pipes and wire to be had, that difficiency to be made u p in snuff.
Norwalk, February 23d, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: Yesterday your favor of zd current came to hand. Mine of the 16th ins't will acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 18th ult'o with advice of the sale of your rum a t twenty-four dollars, and for its further contents be pleased to be refered to the same. From the sudden change and fall of the article of salt you need not regret that you did not order more of it this way for the present. I t has become a great drugg for the cash which will, 1 apprehend, affect the favorable prospects I had some time ago of bartering it for flaxseed. T h e little call there is for the latter is the chief dependence 1 have of putting off the salt. T h e other articles I still have an expectation of vending to a good advantage. I am glad to have your approbation oE the purchase of the seven or eight hundred bushles of flaxseed and shall duly attend to your further instruction on that matter.
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
T h e uncertain situation your letter left you in with respect to your depending causes [before the Continental Congress in Philadelphia] must have been truly irksome to you. But I hope the grand contest between the two great courts [of the Continental Congress and the Connecticut Court of Admiralty] has been decided in such a manner as for the Court of Appeals [Committee on appeals of the Continental Congress] to proceed on your matters, and that ere this you've reason to praise the Supreme Judge of the Universe for inspiring them with the principles of extending that justice to you (with an ample recompence for every difficulty you have been obliged to encounter) which the nature of your cause merits. I have at last engaged with a person to carry your goods on to Philadelphia on as reason'ble terms as possible. He would go on no other footing than to have so much for his person and waggon and his expenc[e]ss bore. And not having any other prospect, and anxious of forwarding them along lest you should suffer by a further delay, I came to the following terms: to alloh him two hundred and fifty dollars and pay the expences of his horses and self. With this reserve, that in case you should have any load for him to return with, he is to take it, and if not exceeding four hundred w't, he is to have one hundred and fifty dollars, and if it is six hundred w't, he is then to have t ~ v ohundred dollars in addition to the two hundred and fifty. And as i t is uncertain wether he will find you there, or that you have left anything to be brought back, I have wrote to my kinsman, Nathan Bush, that if any snuff or pigtail tobacco can be bought so as to yield a profit, to load him back with some. But by no means is that to be done if you are yet there and are inclin'able to improve it solely on your own acco't, or jointly with Mr. Simson and self, which I would prefer. In that case, I am not confined to those articles but any others that you may find preferable for carriage and profit. Should this man return not loaded,
his and horses expences you'll have to bear back, but if any other person or himself loads him back, you will be free from that charge. Wishing that your goods may be safely delivered and that success may reward all your toils is, with Mr. and Mrs. Simson's and the rest of my connexions best regard, the ultimate condusion of, dear sir, Your esteem'd friend and h'ble serv't, P. S. In case you load the waggon back
I must beg the favor you'll let Mr. Heyman Levy [the New York and Philadelphia merchant] know it who may have about fifty w't of sheet copper to send Mr. Asher Myers. Your indulging him with a chance of conveyance in the waggon will be gratefully acknowlelged. Finding that the person I wrote by the 16th was not gone yet nor does not go this week, I have taken my letter from him and here enclose it. T h e rec[eip]'t for your goods is enclosed in Mr. Hows's letter lest you mig't not be there when they arrive.
Norwalk, April qth, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: I have before me your several favors of the 16 and ngd Feb'y, ad, 11th. and 12th ult'o. T h e first mentioned came alltogether to hand the 13th ult'o owing to the irregularity of the post, and your mentioning in y'rs of ad ult'o your intention of leaving Phil'a in ten days after, prevented my acknowledging the rec't of them in due lirne. Your goods geting safe to your hands renders a particular reply to your three first favors needless, and what respects the removal of your flaxseed in yours of the I i th ult'o, shall be duly attended to as soon as I can get a sufficient number of casks ready for its removal. T h e detention of your salt etc. from the easward (wh'h is not yet arrived) and your late orders to stop purchasing flax-
LIGHT O N EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
seed for cash, has protracted my purchasing any more than wh't I advised you of, the 20th Janu'y. I've no apprehension a t present of its rising above two dollars. I was put in possession of yours of the 21th ult'o with your goods by Marvin [the teamster], Bispre de Pesah [Passover Eve]. 'Till that very day, I was daily looking out for you, and my disappointment therein leads me to conclude you will not leave Phil'a till after Pesah [Passover], and therefore will give you a chance of receiving this before your departure from there. T h e badness of the weather and roads occation'd Marvin a long journey, of course a very expensive one. His bill of expences amounted to three hundred and seven dol'rs. T h o it's extravagantly high, I hope his load will yield an adeq[uate] profit. One of Marvin's bladders of snuff got broke [and] powdered the whole hogsh'd. All the rest was in good order. [I] was a little apprehensive of some damage done to the con[tents] of the bonnetbox, which induced rne to open it but I foun[d it] had sustain'd no injury. Hogsh'd Vs, have riot ope[ned] yet. I t appears dry and in good order. I was happy to hear the sale of the rum you appr[ove] of. That you may accomplish the object of your journey [to] Phil'a and afford us a n opportunity of congratulating you s[oon] on the occasion is, with the united regard of our families, [the] conclusion of, dear sir, Your respected frlend and very h'ble serv't, SAMSON MEARS.
Norwalk, April i8th, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: Last evening your esteem'd favor of 29th ult'o came to hand, and if mine of the 4th ins't reaches you before you leave Phil'a (wh'h I hope it may) you'll be advised of the safe arrival of your
goods p'r Marvin and that no goods had then, nor is yet arrived from Seixes. What occations the delay I cannot account for. I've not been favor'd with a line from there a considerable time. I wish my present advice coincided with your expectations of my meeting with a ready sale of your skins and breeches. T h e season is rather. too far advanced for an immediate sale. Had they been here a month or six weeks sooner, the sale would have been more expeditious. And snuff is not so quick as i t was. A quantity has been brought here that has plentifully stocked us abo[u]'t this part of the country, and of course will retard the sale something. However, no advantageous oportu'y shall be neglected to invest it into cash so as to enable you to have it circulating agreeable to your desire. And when ever I am in cash for yon, the mode you point out for remittance shall be punctually attended to. You have, d'sir, Mr. Simson's and my sincere congratulations on the successful essue of one of your depending causes [before the Committee on Appeals, April lo], and that we may soon have the like occasion in the other our ardent wishes attends you, and for every success that you can wish Cor in the speculation your leasure hours a t Phil'a induced you to. Rut we have to l a m e ~ i ~ that that has been productive of the disappointment you have prepared us for in the happiness we promised ourselves by your revisiting us in your return home. But since that cannot be complied with without interfering with your interest, our friendship for you directs us to submit to it in hopes some future occasion will afford us a personal interview when it may be more to mutual advantage. I n expectation of seeing you here kep me silent on a letter I receiv'd the beginning of last month under date of lo Feb'y from Mess'rs Mendes's, relative to your draft on Mr. [Isaac] Werden [a merchant in the West Indies] wh'h I purposed shewing you. And for your investigation of what the! wrote me on
AMERICALN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
thc subject I shall quote you verbatim that part of their letter which refers to it and is as lollows: "The 27 July last was handed us your favors of the 1st Feb'y, and 4 March, 1778. Did not answer the same in proper time, having ever since done all our endeavours to get the bill on Mr. Werden return'd or protested. Our trouble has been needless,' and cannot obtain any plain knowledgc wether its paid, protested, or in being. We are greatly surprised your mentioning that you car1 not acco't for Mr. Vance's backwardness, giving us to understand that before the definition of this bill we cannot expect payment from you. Our disbursemcnts were for your account, and every risque until1 paid must naturally be likewise, particularly whilst you can not alledge the cause of your disappointment to us, for we can always prove you that we sent th't bill to the principlest merch't at Dominico [the British West India Island] and never had a n answer from him of the reception. Therefore can not oblige him (for want of proof) to deliver up the bill protested or otherwise. But in order to try the result of this troublesome and disagreeable affair, you will be pleased to forward us a second, third, fourth, and fifth of the same tenor and date, at the reception of one of them will commission some attentive and faithful person to present the same to Mr. Werden. If it's noted shall know the reason, and in case he really has paid the bill to Mr. Vance, we may then call on him with propriety. Must likewise observe to you that by what we can learn, Mr. Werden and Mr. Vance are very intimate and have many connections together, and they will both try to delay this affair as long as they can; [this information is] for your government." It seems but one of those drafts have come to their hands out of the three you drew. One of them must have miscarried; the other one I have, wh'h I herewith return and beg you'll be so obliging as to renew your draft on Mr. Werden either in the same tenor, or
for the balance (he sometime ago advised you was due, with the interest that you said might go with it, in consideration of my being disappoint'd in that remittance, wh'h will serve to go towards the payment of the interest Mess'rs Mendes's charges me with, lo p'c't, for their advance, the lawful interest of their island. As you'll have a n opportu'y for the West lndies from some of the eastern ports beEore I shall from here, and if it will make no difference to you, I should esteem it a favor if you will draw a sett of four or five in favor of Mess'rs Gebroeders [Brothers] Mendes and remit them with a few lines to them, directing when received to place the amount to my credit, or if that should not be agreeable to you, please to forward them to me, as I a m anxious to close that matter with them as soon as possible. An other desire I had of seeing you here was to have some personal c o ~ ~ s u l tation with you upon the pres[en]'t times and to have had your advice what to persue to take me out of the inactive state I am a t present in. Mr. Simson's being fixed here with his family would be sufficient to transact any matter you might find your interest to employ him in, while I would wish to fix my self in some place that create more exercise than 'this contracted spot. Therefore if you can find any employ for me that may redound to your interest, either by my going abroad, or at any part of this continent, I will gladly accept of it. The confidence I place in your abilities to advise, and friendship to serve me, will determine my steps. 111 hopes that your next may be dated a t your happy mansion (to where this is directed in consequence of the tenor of your last) and that it may import your happiness of meeting your worthy families in health, to whom the resp'tful regard of all ours here are joined to that oE, dear sir, Your highly esteem'd friend and very humble servant, SAMSON MEARS.
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
Norwalk, April 28th, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: I wrote you at large the loth current which I hope you'll receive a t home and to which I beg leave to refer you. Mr. Cannon, our neighbour, intends setting out tomorrow morning for Boston and is so obliging to take charge of y'r bonnet-box of plumes in which you'll find a worsted and a linen cap, with a small p's of new linen that the teamster left here last winter with your velvets, etc., and which I forgot to send you by Mervin [the teamster]. I hope they will reach you in good order. For want of a p's of linen I had the box sewed in two of your sheep skins. By them ~ o u ' l l see the trim the others is in by the break'g of a bladder of snuff. I have made no progress in the sale of )our consignment from Philadel'a yet owing to the advanced season for the principle articles. T h e sales of your rum and lead I have the pleasure now to transmit which hope may prove agreeable. T h e neet proceeds of &827.0.5 is carried to your credit. Among the cash rec'd for the rum there was ten 40 dollar bills of the i l t h Ap'l, 1778, which since receiving them that emission will not pass current. Therefore I remit them now by the bearer, and wish I was in more cash for you to augment the sum by so favorable an opportunity. You have, no doubt, ere this been informed of the cause that has detain'd the goods you order'd this way. If the salt comes now, there is so little call for it at this season that I apprehend I shall be slow in exchanging it for seed. From what I can learn I don'r expect I shall be able to obtain above thirteen or fourteen bushles of seed for one of salt. What seed I have purchased, still remains here from the difficulty of geting cask[s] made to transport it in. I have got some done but not near enough. I have engaged more but when
they will be ready is very uncertain. They ask five and six dollars a p's for them. I don't apprehend much danger here from the enemy, especially as it's near opening the campain, and they will have greater objects to attend to than this insignificant place. However, when I have the seed ready to move, and you continue in the desire to have it moved, it shall be done. With the pleasing expectation o! hearing from you soon, this concludes me, with the joint respects of all our families here to you and your worthy connexions, Your assured friend and most humble servant, SAMSONMEARS. My best regard awaits Mr. and Mrs. Rivera. Please to let him know I honor'd my self in address'g him lately by Mr. Jarvis.
Norwalk, May loth, 1579, Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: My letter of 28th ult'o p'r Mr. Cannon will inform you of my intention of sending your box of plumes by him. But he could not make i t any ways con- . venient to fix it to his sulky and was obliged to leave i t behind. Captain Whitney in a fast sailing boat presents this day for Providence, and judging you are desireous of receiving it, and no prospect of sending it by land, induces me to venture it >by him to the care of Mr. David Lopez Jun'r, through which channel I hope it will come safe to hand. I have only to confirm what I wrote you last, and add the respectful regard of all our families to you and yours from, dear sir, Your assured friend and very humble servant, SAMSONMEARS.
P. S. Nothing yet arrived from your quarter.
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
We are to the 20th May, and I find the demand increases for salt. It's got u p again to forty dollars the coarse kind. There has been one or two persons here abo't purchas'g the snuff. It's not being of the best quality they declined it. No sale yet for the breeches and skins.
Norwalk, July 4th, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: Our mutual friend, Mr. Ab'm Jacobs [a nephew of Solomon Simson] put me in possession of your esteemed favor of ~ 1 s tult'o and with concern I observ'd the pain yo^ say you was under in replying to my several letters. I hope the affliction that occasion'd it is ere now intirely removed. Your silence I put a pretty just construction on in which your favor confirm'd me. Happy I am that I made so slow a progress in the sale of your effects. Through a desire of investing your property as soon as possible into cash, agreeable to your last instructions, I had offered the articles at a much lower price than you are likely to obtain for them where you are. Notwithstanding that, the articles were so much out of season that they have (luckily for you) stuck on hand. All that is sold is the tobacco, the gloves, a pair buckskin breeches, a sheep skin or two and seven or eight hladders of snuff. As I have not the least prospect of obtaining prices near what you quote, and for the safety of your interest, I shall make it my study to get them on to you with all expedition. They would have been on the way now but the busy season makes it a difficulty to procure a team. I had some time back offered your snuff at twenty shilling and could not dispose of it, and no favorable appearance at present will induce me to send that on with the rest, tho that will not make up a load. I confess I never was more perplexed in what LO employ my self than I am
now; sick and tired of an idle life and wh't to persue with any appearance of stability and advantage to take me out of it. I am at a loss, and now appears new difficulties arrising to the southward and eastward by the threatening of restrictions on trade that adds to the confusion of the times. Is there nothing abroad that I can serve you and Mr. Rivera in? If there is, with what little capital I can collect of my own it may be some inducement to me to leave this continent for a while. My last accounts from [the Island of EuIStatia and Amster'm advised me authenticated copies of Continental notes were negotiable there. Others and I have had orders to transmit them to a considerable amount to both those places, from which circumstance I am led to think some advantageous speculation may be persued that way with no risque out. A capital employed that way among a company (which some of my acquaintance here would willingly join), I make no doubt, would answer some essential purposes. We have a parcel of spermaceti candles by us that might be included,, eithei by invest'g them inlo cash or bills, as it might hest sute. If you have a favorable opinion of it, please to let me kncw as soon as possible, and I will wait on you in person and form a plan I think will be attended with success after I once get into the West Indies, Your good disposition to advise me, I accepted kindly, the embarrassng period alone, I am perswaded, is what de. nies one that mark of your friendship. I hope and trust the grand source of all knowledge will direct us all for the best. I am further obliged to yo11 for your punctual transmission of your additional drafts on Mr. Werden from which I hope will flow every desireable purpose. Your reason for continuing them in the same tenor is satisfactory, and I make no doubt will answer every purpose, it being foreign to my desire to have you esposed to the least injury. I could wish your conjectures would prove true of the affair being settled
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT J E W
between MI. Welden and my friend but I can't entertain the least idea it is so unless it's been very lately. Mr. Simson joins in thanks for your good intentions of a mutual improvem't of our situation if the times were encouraging. Until it is, we only can assure you of our anxious desi~esto hare it in our power to convince you by our services the advdncement of your interest would ever be the actuating principles we would be governed by, and that you may ever experience the smiles of Providence in everything that concerns you is, with our joint regard to you, your worthy lady, and every other branch of your family, the wishes of, dear sir, Your assured friend and very h'ble serv't, SAMSON MEARS.
Wilton, October Sth, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: Your esteemed favor of gd and 6th ult'o have received some time, which I should have answered ere now, but my time has been greatly taken u p in riding about the country to procure convenient places to house our families for the ensuing winter, and notwithstanding our assiduous endeavours, we have not been so fortunate as to obtain a single entire house [away] from the sea-coast. And rather than to go any great distance in the country for the sake of a room or two in a house with other families, we have concluded to accommodate ourselves in that manner within a few miles of this house and within the same township. Your indulgent disposition, I flatter my self, will from the above reasons plead a n excuse for my plotracted reply to your favors and [for] the benevolence of youl- generous family towards the relief of the unhappy suffer[er]s of Norwalk (who ever anticipates the occasions of the distressed and this large donation
fully evinces it) with the great share you have taken in our losses and distress. I am authorized by every one your intentions extended to, in the most grateful manner, to return their unfeigned thanks for this great mark of your friendship and sympathizing feelling. Agreeable to the confidence you was pleased to honor me with in the distribution of the same, I embraced the earliest opportun'y after the receipt of your letters to inform the suffering brethern in general of your generous contribution. I n consequence oE which, I am desired by my brothers [-in-law], Myer and Asher Myers, to assure you they retain a grateful sense of your friendly intentions to them. And altho their losses have been severe, they are yet blesst with some means of making necessary provisions for their families, and therefore hope their refusal to a part will not be accepted as a slight to your favor, but purely from a conscentiousness that they do not stand in hat need of it as some others, and therefore think it their duty to join your contribution by giving up any part they might be ,entitled to receive, that the benefit may extend the farther to those who does, which will centre with Mess'rs M[oses]. Isaacs, S[amuel]. Israel and M[ichae] '1 Judah. While on a visit to Mr. Seixas, came to his hands, the 4th ins't., Mr. JII. [?] Wiley's draft for £500 in his favor on Samuel Loudon at Fishkill, which I shall endeavour to procure payment of as soon as possible. I n the meantime I shall advance whatever may be required, and when the bill is paid shall advise you of it and how disposed of. I noticed in your letter refered to by Mr. M[oses M.]. Hays [the Newport merchant] that the continued calls of business to this state [touching on the schooner Hope] deprived me of the satisfaction of having a reply to my letters with that leasure you wished for. T o matters of greater importance I chearfully give way and content my self if I can only hear of your wellfare and pros-
AMERICA.N JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
perity. The additional blessing to your family of a son gives me great pleasure to hear, on which occasion our family heartily joins in congratulating you and your worthy connexions. I am extremely sorry to hear of the loss you met with by the damage of your goods by Wentworth who had my strict injunction to carry the casks on their bulge and which he promised me to do. It's a pitty they were not examined immediately in the delivery of them, as then his neglect would have been discovered and the damage less and then you might have stopt the amo't of the damage out of his freight which I think he ought to forfeit for his carelessness. I must yet beg your patience for your acco'ts as we have not yet collected our scattered effects among wh'h is my books and papers. In my next I hope to be able to convey it. I n the interim beg leave to command our families united regard to you and your extensi~econnexions, and with the greatest sincerity am, d'r sir, Your esteemed friend and very humble servant, SAMSOU MEARS.
myself of your being at Boston, and of your friendly services, I am induced to beg the favor of you to let me know if there is a brobability of disposing of one hundred boxes of spermacity cand's deliverable a t Nonvalk for hard money or good bills of exchange, and what price may be obtain'd. They are as yet disingaged, which I shall keep so till I hear from you, reserving a preference to you or any of your friends. I understand there is a few boxes in this town which they ask six shilling sterl'g for. If it will not interfere too much with your more consquential concerns, I shall he highly obliged by hearing from you as soon as possible, as I am make'g some preparation to leave the Contincnt [North America, for the West Indies] in persuit of better fortune than I have met on it, and if I should be so happy as to be able to render you any serviccs abroad no one will be more devoted to your commands. I n expectations of seeing you soon, I remain, dear sir, Your devoted frie~ldand most humble servant, SAMSON MEARS.
Wilton, January ~ 1 s 1780. t~ Nervport, November 24th, 1779. Mr. Aaron Lopez, Dear Sir: I arrived here the 19th ins't and flattered myself with having the happiness of seeing you and part of your worthy family before you return'd home. The difficulty of procuring a horse proved that disagreeable disappointment. I brought with me your accounts, which I was in hopes to have handed ere this, with a balance of fi16.1.111/4 Lmo [lawful money] which is now held at your disposal. Judging it unnecessary of sending the acco'ts where you are, and a flattering expectation of secing you soon, is the reason of my not sending them by this conveyance. I n the meantime, desireous of availing
Dear Sir: T h e Tuesday morning after lcaving you and encountering a severe cold journey I had the happiness of joining our families here, who I found in great anxiety about my long absence. T h e means I took to advise them of the cause fail'd, and of course their conjectures were many, some not of the most favorable kind. However, I I I ~ arrival put an end to every painful feelling and gave way to the inexpressible enjoyment of embracing each other in perfect health. My intention of going to New London was obstructed by the information I rec'd at the place, where I was to take that road, of its being shut up. T h e only road I could then take was from
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
Hartford, which would have encreased my journey seventy miles. My being out so long, and the great risque I run of being as much longer detained out by an other fall of snow, and the infirmity of my horse, were strong inducements for me to avoid that and proceed home immediately and defer my business at New London for a future journey. From the information I obtain'd on the road of the price of produce that way, coffee was mention'd at six dollars, so that if I had got there there was no probability of effecting your order respecting that article. I cannot pass over in silence yours and every branch of your worthy family's friendly civilities during my stay at your hospitable house. It fills me with every
sentiment of gratitude while I offer my grateful acknowledgments for the many kindness I have repeatedly received. Our families begs ?? their united regard to you, yonr good lady, and the rest of your family, while mine in a most particu'r manner attends them and your self with the greatest sincerity of, dear sir, Your assured friend and most humble serv't, SAMSONMEARS. P. S. Should Capt. [Benjamin] Wright [your factor] yet be with you, please to make my best regard acceptable to him, and let him know my warmest wishes are for the restoration of his health, and that I shall be happy in the continuance of his friendship.
APPENDIX I1 Peter Betts and Myer Myers, both of Norwalk in the County of Fairfield, of lawful age, testify and say that some short time after the Continental troops retreated from Long Island they were at a public house in said Nonvalk where they saw Ralph Isaacs of New Haven and heard him and a gentleman called by the name of Hazzard conversing and disputing about the times. And that in said conversation they heard said Isaacs declare that in the battle on Long Island the ministerial [British] army suffered or sustained a very inconsiderable or small loss, and the Continental troops sustained a very great loss. And that the Continental troops will not stand fire but always will give back, and that the people to the westward had come in [to the British] and numbers more would come in, meaning they would come in in the same m[anner?] the people have done in Long Island.
And these deponants say that from the conversation and declaration of s'd Ralph Isaacs it evidently appeared that he was of the opinion that wherever the British troops should pass the people there would readily submit to them, and that said Isaacs's whole conversation was very discouraging with respect to success on the Continental side, and these deponants further say not. Myer Myers Peter Betts Fairfield County, SS., Sorwalk, 16th October, 1776. Personally appeared Myer Myers and Peter Betts, the signers of the above deposition, and swore to the truth of the same. Before me Tho's Fitch, Justice of Peace. Opened in the General Assembly at New Haven, October 1776, bv George Wyllys, Secr'ty.
APPENDIX I11 Norwalk. Novenlber the 28th. 1780. Gentlemen: As I am under nesessety, I hope you
will excuse my, boldness in addressing my self to you. I have done but little business this four years, and what little I have done has been done to disadvan-
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
tage on account of the depreation of the money. When these times begun I had about twelve hundred pounds, good money, that I could call my own, and as I had nothing else to depend upon but a little traffick to git a support, I laid i t out in the artickel of suger, and at that time expected to advance my self greatly by it, and kept them by me some time before I disposed of them. Soon after I dispos'd of them the money bigun to depredate fast, and by the advice of my friends I kept the money by me for some time, I expecting i t would be good in time. But to my misfortune it sunk so fast that I got but little or nuthing for the hool [whole], as low as a penny for a doller. So that I have all most sunk my hool substance so that I am not able to carry on any business, and as I cannot go to New York for supplyes, and you are gentlemen that has goods on hand and willing to do all the good you can to people under misfortunes, I beg that you will
befriend me, to let me have a small assortment of goods. I am so far advanc'd in yeals that if I don't do something, I shall soon spend what little I have left. You may relye upon me that I will be puntual to my engagements to you, either in money o r any kind of produce that you shall chuse. Goods will sell well hear and quidc if I should be so fortunate that you will let me have a supply. I beg you will favour me with an answer from you. I do not mention the quantity, more or less, but leve i t to you to let me have as much as you think proper. This, gentleman, is the truth 01 my 11001 affairs. Please to ask Mr. Ralph Jacobs [of Newport, Solomon Simson's brother-in-law]. H e is knowing to it. No more a t present but rain. Your very hurnble servent, Mica1 Judah. T o Mr. Jacob Dilevarey [De Rivera] and Mr. Aron Lopous.
APPENDIX IV Woodstock, 15 August, 1781. Honoured Sir: By the arrival of Mr. Benj'n Jacobs [a nephew of Solomon Simson] I reec'id a verbal message from you which gave me great uneasiness to find i t was not in my power to accomplish. You may depend on it that I have been very unlucky this two months as the trade has been very dull occasion'd by the people harvesting. When that's done, mine, I hope, will commence, God willing. Have been obliged to do my endeavours to raise some small matter to settle all my debts before I go from hence which will be to my new shop next week, when and where hope that m(a)y removal will be reciprocal both to myself and creditors. And as soon I have settled Mr. Jacobs, shall return to collect my debts of which you may depend on being the first person that I shall pay as far as I can.
I know you indulgence has been such that with shame to my self, may i t be said, I did not nor could not perform my duty in my engagements, yet must crave your farther indulgence, and hope in a short time after my removal to be able to pay a part if not all what I owe. T h e worthy Mr. Rivera [your father-in-law] can tell in what situation my shop is now, by which you may see if I have enough to pay in) just debts. I cannot in consciance ask any more favours. But you know in order to attract custom we are obliged to furnish a shop as much assorted as possible [with] the little of each article. Therefore, if I can crave a little farther of your help, I make no doubt it will enable me to pay you the old debt much sooner, as the place where I am going is more populus, and you are celtain everybody comes to a new shop thinking thereby to purchase much cheaper. Therefore if I have such things as is
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
most vendable [saleable] will then afford me a good assortment. The things that I shall want, Mr. Jacobs has a list, and if you chuse to let me have them, shall then think myself doubly indebted to you for your favors, besides paying you well for them. Pray, dear sir, don't take it amiss what I write. You have been so good to assist me in my first beggining, therefore beg it is as a favour you'l continue it, and it shall be my chief study to forward myself by my assiduity and punctuality in paying you, all as soon as possible, for it gives me a great uneasiness to think have not been able to have settled with you before, but
must tell you that instead of diminishing in my shop have added to it daily, so that having good sales may then be able to finish [paying] all my old accounts. Cannot proceed without first asking after your good family's health; hope they are all well -as these leaves me aL present - to whom you'll be pleased to tender my best regards in general and particular, you'l receive the same sincerely, and believe me to be, D'r sir, Your true friend and most h'[um]b[l]e serv't, JOSEPHDEPASS. [To Aaron Lopez]
APPENDIX V T o the honorable General Assembly to be holden at Hartford on the second Thursday of instant January: The memorial of Manuel Myers of S t a d o r d in Fairfield County and State of Connecticut humbly sheweth that he fled from the city of New York in the year 1776 to avoid the enemy and came to this place where he has resided till this time doing very little business, but living upon the little he saved from the city. The memorialist further observes that his buildings since he left New York, the principal part of them, have been destroyed by fire, and that the memorialist has large sums of money due to him from persons living in N-e~vYork who would be willing to pay him in ~oodwares and merchandize of some Cind and not in money.
And the memorialist further begs leave to observe to your honors that he is near sixty years of age, and has with him in Stamford an aged mother and brother-in-law who depend upon him for support, and that he has not much property of his own left in the country [Stamford]. He therefore prays your honors to grant him liberty to collect of debts due to him in the city of New York in good wares or merchandize to the amount of six hundred pounds lawful money, and bring them into this state to sell and dispose off, so that he may be enabled to support himself and family. And your memorialist, as in duty bound, shall every pray. Dated at Stamford, the 7th day of January, A.D., 1782. MANELMYERS.
APPENDIX VI A it please your Jonathan Trumbull]:
When I had the honor of paying my respects to your Excellency in person at Labanon, I then mention'd iny hav-
ing a vessel and cargo with salt which I expected daily, agreeable to permit from your Excellency and Council of Safety. Your Excellency's reply was that you was requested by Geneial Washington not to grant any flags [of truce], and that I must act by the old permit.
AMERICA N JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
I afterwards applied to Nathan'l Wales E ~ q ' ron ~ ~the same subject; related the difficulty I was under respecting the May i t please your Excellency: said vessel and cargo. T h a t gentleman I had the honor of paying my respects made the same reply, that your Excel- to your Excellency the 9th last [ s i c ] lency cou'd not consistantly grant a flag. instant. I have this day bcen informed that I must act on the old permit, that that Mr. Van Dyck is applying for a I shou'd do a piece of service to my permission to return. Very few indeed country in introduceing a quantity of wou'd influance me to be troublesome salt at a time it was so much wanted. to your Excellency, but I am constrain'd Since which, the aforesaid vessel with to do it on this occasion as an act of a cargo of 1448 bushels of salt purchased justice, that [since] the person is highly for and acoming to me, has been taken deserving, and that your Excellency take and carried into Stamford, and after be- pleasure in serving such as are. ing in the harbour, the greatest part When I was in New York I was well carelessly lost. informed of the real service Mr. Van As I am collecting every proof to shew Dyck had rendered many of his unfortuthat I have not acted in a clandestine nate country men by being instrumental manner but openly and publicly, I have to their release, and his readiness in requested my friend P. Edwards E ~ q ' r ~sereing ~ others who wanted it, to the to git Squire Wales deposition, and your truth of which I shall be willing to Excellency will add to the many obliga- declare whenever necessary. tions already confer'd in furnishing Mr. I have the honor of subscribing, with Edwards with such proof as may be all due respect, necessary respecting my application and Your Excellencies your Excellency's reply, which will not Most obed't serv't, alone be doing an act of justice but rendering a person a most singular service, who will always gratefully acknowl- Fairfield, I ~ t hOct'r, '82 edge the favor, and who is, with all imaginable respect and regard, Your Excellencies Most obed't h[u~nble]. serv't,
New Haven, 9th Oct'r, 82.
22Nathaniel Wales (1722-1783): influenital Connecticut patriot, gunpowder manufacturer, member of Council of Safety, friend of Governor Trumbull (Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties, Connecticut, Beers, Chicago, 1903) .
23Pierpont Edwards (1750-1826): member of the well-known Massachusetts Edwards family. N e w H a v e n attorney, member of Continental Congress (Riographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1927).
LIGHT ON EARLY CONNECTICUT JEWRY
Acquisitions Since we have written our last report about the acquisitions of the American Jewish Archives, our collection of manuscripts, records, and documents has been considerably increased by copies of material which we have purchased from Archives and libraries and by gifts and loans which we have received constantly through the kindness and the interest of congregational officers, community leaders, secretaries of societies, fraternities, committees, lodges, clubs and homes, and through the courtesy and helpful cooperation of rabbis and others all over the country. T h e following Minute Books which we have already arranged, catalogued, and bound are available for any research touching on the problems of Jewish settlement, immigration and emigration, geographic expansion and increase of population, the development of the various types of American Jewry, the difference between European and American communal life, the changes in the concepts of religion within the various congregations, and the gradual assimilation to the cultural, social and economic surroundings.
Congregation Temple Israel, Hollywood, , Congregation B'nai J e s h u 1.u n , D e s Moines, Iowa, 1873-1890 California, 1926-i gqo Congregation Beth Israel, Hartford, Con- Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1892-1931 necticut, 1870-1920, German and EngT h e Gates of Prayer, New Orlearis, lish Louisiana, Vols. 1-111, 1850-1884 Congregation New Britain, Connecticut, Congregation Temple Sinai, New Or1896, Yiddish leans, Louisiana, Vols. I-IV, 1870-1943 Congregation Bnai Israel, Columbus, Congregation Temple Sinai, New OrGeorgia, I 880-1919 leans, Louisiana, Board of Trustees, Congregation Bnai Israel, Columbus, Vols. 1-11, 1870-1921 Georgia, Correspondence, 1898-191g Congregation Bnai Israel, Columbus, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Baltimore, Maryland, Vols. I-IV, 185~-1922, Georgia, Cash Book, Vols. 1-11, 1889Original 190s North Shore Congregation Sinai, Winnet- Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Baltimore, Maryland, Vital Records (Marka, Illinois, 1920-1927 riages - Births - Deaths), 1840-1861, Hebrew Congregation Temple Israel, Original Terre Haute, Indiana, 1908-1936 Hebrew Congregation Temple Israel, Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Baltimore, Maryland, Checkbooks, 1865Terre Haute, Indiana, Ledger, 19041919, Original 1908
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
11, Vols. I-IV, 1817-1858 Baltimore Hebrcw Congregation, BaltiVol. I, Receipt Book, 1817-1858 more, Maryland, Ledger of Charity Vol. 11, Cash Account, 1818-1824 Collection Fund, 1904-1914, Original Vol. 111, Offerings Book, 1824-1856 Baltimore Hebrew Cong~egation, BaltiVol. IV, List of seats in the Synagogue, more, Maryland, Record Rook of Of1827-1845 ferings, Vols. 1-11, 1842-1920, Original Congregation Oheb Sholom, Baltimore, Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Financial Records, Group Maryland, Vols. 1-111, 1870-1905 111, Vols. I-IV, 1830-1859 B'er Chayim Congregation, Cumberland, Vol. I, Offerings Book, 1830-1859 Maryland, Treasurer's Book, 186;-lgoo Vol. 11, Lists of persons having MitzMount Zion Hebrew Congregation, St. vah, 1840 Paul, Minnesota, Vols. I-IX, 1859-1946 Vol. 111, Offerings Book, 1844-1847 Mount Zion Hebrew Congregation, St. Paul, Minnesota, Board of AdminisVol. IV, Cash Account, 1848 tration, 1946-1948 Vol. V, Offerings Book, 1848-1851 Congregation B'nai Jehuda, Kansas City, Cong~egationMikve Israel, Philadelphia, Missouri, Vols. I-VI, 1855-1916 Pennsylvania, Vital Records, Vols. I-V, United Hebrew Congregation, St. Louis, 1776-1884 Vol. I , Records of Marriages, Births Missouri, 1841-1859 and Dcaths, 1776-1842 Congregation Elnann El, New York, New Vol. 11, Register of the Deaths, 1803York, 1865-1868 (Some excerpts from 1818 the Minute Book.) Jewish Community Center, White Plains, Vol. 111, Certificates of Birth, 1841New York, Vol. I, 1924-1925 1862 Temple Beth Emeth, Brooklyn, New Vol. IV, Certificates of Birth, 1843York, Vols. 1-11, 1911-1934 1884 T h e Temple, Cleveland, Ohio, 1885-1894 Vol. V, Record of Circumcisions, 1810Congregation Rodeph Shalom, Philadel1829 phia, Pennsylvania, Vols. I-V, 1811- Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Correspondence, V o 1s 1910, German and English I-IV, 1782-1899 Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Vol. I, 1782-1805 Pennsylvania, Minute Book, Vols. I-IV, Vol. 11, 1806-1831 1781-1895 Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Vol. 111, 1831-1857 Vol. IV, 1858-1899 Pennsylvania, Minute Book (Resolu(Among the correspondents are: tions), 1810-1883 1783. Manuel Noah, Jonas Phillips, Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Myer Hart, Simon Nathan, lsaac Pennsylvania, Board of Managers, Moses 1824-1859 1784, Jonas Phillips, Gershon Seixas, Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Moses Nathan, Barnard Gratz, Pennsylvania, F i n a n c i a l Records, Mordecai M. Mordecai Group I, Vols. I-VIII, 1782-1796 1785, Jonas Phillips, Benjamin Nones Vol. I, Subscription for the Building 1786-1793. Manuel Josephson, Jonas of the Synagogue, 1782-1784 Phillips, Benjamin Nones Vol. 11, Cash Account, 1582-1792 1791. Naphtali Phillips, Jacob Cohen, Vol. 111, Offerings Book, 1786-1787 David Franks Vol. IV, Cash Account, 1790:17gr 1792, Isaac de Costa, Charleston Vol. V, Offerings Book, 1791 1793, Levi Phillips, Benjamin D. Hart Vol. VI, Offerings Book, 1792 1800, Isaac Hays, Simon Gratz, Jacob Vol. VII, Receipt Book, 1792-1796 Mordecai, Richmond, Va. Vol. VIII, Offerings Book, 1795-1796 1804-1805, Hyman Gratz, Jacob Hart, Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, New York, Sirnon Gratz Pennsylvania, Financial Records, Group
1812-1816, H. S. Polak, B. J. Phillips, Abraham Hart, Samuel Hays 1825, Haym M. Salomon, New York 1839, Lewis Allen I 841, Moses Montefiore, London 1832-1849, Isaac Leeser Congregation Rodef Shalom, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Vols. 1-11, 1880-1912 Congregation Tree of Life, Pittsburgh,
55 Pennsylvania, Vols. 1-11. 1858-1917 Congregation Tree of Life, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Board of Trustees, 1907'917 Congregation Tree of Life, Columbia, South Carolina, Vols. 1-111, 1905-1943 Board of Delegates of the Israelites of the United States, Minute Book, 18591860
Most of these minute books include the constitutions of the congregations, but we are also in possession of separate by-laws, charters and amendments of which the following are typical:
Congregation Gates of Prayer, New Orleans, Louisiana, Constitution and Charter, 1850 Congregation Gates of Prayer, New Orleans, Louisiana, By-Laws (Verbesserung der Nebengesetze) , 1859-1861, German Congregation Temple Sinai, New Orleans, Louisiana, Constitution and ByLaws, 1870
Congregation Adas Emunu, Hoboken, New Jersey, Certificate of Incorporation, February 2, 1872 Congregation Ohev Sholem, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Constitution, December 12, 1855. Congregation Ohev Sholem, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, A m e n d e d C h a r t e r , May 5, 1868
The philanthropic, cultural, social, and educational activities of Jewish corporate life are reflected in the following documents:
Hebrew Social Club, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1896-1899 Hebrew School, Norwalk, Connecticut, 1915 Jewish Ladies Aid Society, Columbus, Georgia, I 874-I 927 Kehilath Anshe Mayriv, Chicago, Illinois, Board of Education, I 859-1877 Jewish Ladies Aid Society, Kokomo, Indiana, 1914-1925 Mount Sinai Sisterhood, Sioux City, Iowa, Ledger, 1919-1926 Mount Sinai Sisterhood, Sioux City, Iowa, Minute Book, 1925-1936 B'nai B'rith, Sholem Lodge No. 78, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1866-1915 Jewish Orphans Home, New Orleans, Louisiana, Board, Vols. I-XIV, I 855'939
Association for the Relief of Jewish Widows and Orphans Home, New Orleans, Louisiana, I 854-1913 Annual Reports and Orations of Jewish Orphans Home, New Orleans, Louisiana, Vols. I-XX, 1855-1920 Social Club, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1885 Social Club, St. Paul, Minnesota, Ledger, I 883-1884 Purim Association, New York, New York, 1872-1895 Frauenverein, Hamilton, Ohio, 18731881, German Congregation Covenant of Peace, Easton, Pennsylvania. Kranken-und LeichenWache-Verein, 1856-I 887, German Congregation Ohev Sholem, Ladies Hebrew Social Circle, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Vols. I-VI, 1870-1925
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
Congregation Ohev Sholem, Ladies Hebrew Social Circle, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Ledger, 1907-1918 Congregation Ohev Sholem, Ladies Hebrew Social Circle, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Record of Sisterhood members, igi3-ig35 Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hebra Kaddisha, 18131866 Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hebrew Education Society, Constitution and By-Laws, 1848 Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Teachers and Parents Assistant, 1844 ~
Hebrew Sunday School Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Board of Managers, 1859-1882 (Including a Treasurer's Report, 1859, and the charter of May lo, 1838 "For the instruction of Children belonging to the Jewish faith.") Congregation Rodef Shalom Sisterhood, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1906-1912 Congregation Tree of Life, Ladies Aid Society, Columbia, South Carolina, 1901-1930 Council of Jewish Women, Columbia, South Carolina, 1919-1921 Isaac Mayer Wise, Plan for a philanthropic society, no date
Collections of inscriptions on tombstones in old Jewish cemeteries enable us to determine important vital statistics dealing with Jewish personalities. For instance:
Small Jewish Burial Ground, Cohen and Spruce Streets, Savannah, Georgia, 54 Tombstone Inscriptions, 1797-1882 (Among them the graves of Abraham J. Abraham, b. 1769, d. 1844; Jacob Nunez Cardozo, b. 1786, d. 1873; Isaac Cohen, b. 1793, cl. 1871; Mrs. R. B. Cohen, b. 1798. d. 1881; Isaac Russel, b. 1787, d. 1845; Mordecai Sheftall, d. 1798; Sheftall Sheftall, d. 1817.) Congregation Mikve Israel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Records of Burials, Vols. 1-11, Spruce Street Cenietery, 1843-1886; Federal Street Cemetery, 1844-1909
The personal and everyday life of Jewish individuals, their relationship to their families, to Jewish and Christian friends, their activities in trade and industry, academic or military professions, as peddlers, merchants, storekeepers, manufacturers, farmers, pioneers, teachers, rabbis, physicians, lawyers, soldiers, captains, midshipmen, army commissioners, agents or interpreters, their participation in religious and philanthropic affairs, their first experiences and hardships as immigrants, their contributions to the social, cultural, economic development of the United States, their attempt to combine the old European traditions with the ideologies of the new country, in short the whole process of Americanization are revealed by a large collection of letters and memoirs. Considerable progress has already been made in indexing this material. LETTERS ALLEN,MICHAELMITCHELL; l e t t e ~ ,1873, H a n n o v e ~ ,Ce~nzany,Photostat A letter of this teacher and secretary of the Philadelphia Hebrew Education
Society to a friend in the United States, during a visit in Germany, describing his impressions of the Jewish Congregation in Hannover whose members he
finds strictly orthodox. T h e Landesrabbiner, S. Mayer, was an uncle of Allen's wife. . (Courtesy of Dropsie College Library.) BLUCH,JONAS HIRSCAEL, Papers; 15 letters, 1789-1804, Silesia, Berlin, London, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, German, English, French, Photostats T h e papers concern the inheritance of Joseph Joachim Henry Bluch, a son of Jonas Hirschel Bluch, and nephew of Barnard and Michael Gratz, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Joseph Joachim died about 1794 in the United States leaving land in Virginia. In 1789 and 1790 he wrote two letters to his father about business and personal affairs. One letter is written in 1790 by Salomon Henry Bluch, London, to his brother Jonas Hirschel; one letter by Barnard and Michael Gratz to their brother-in-law Jonas Hirschel, 1795, about the death and the inheritance of the young Bluch. Five letters, 1798-1799, are froill Jonas Hirschel, addressed to the Prussian government, and one to the A~nericangovernmerlt asking for help. Four letters contain the answer of the Prussian government to Jonas Hirschel. T h e correspondence also includes two letters from John Quincy Adams, then ambassador to Prussia, to the Prussian government, and two answers of the government to him, 1798-1799. One document contains the power of attorney granted to Barnard and Michael Gratz by Jonas Hirschel Bluch, 1796. (Originals in Preussische Geheime Staatsarchiv, Berlin-Dahlem; copies from the Library of Congress.) BOGEN,Bolus DAVID, 1869-1929. Correspondence; 961 letters, 1921-1924, America, France, Holland, England, Poland, Russia, Original Correspondence af the well-known educator and social worker; field agent of the ' ~ a t i o n a lConference of Jewish Social Service, and, during the first World War, director-general of the Joint Distribution Commiltee. Letters include correspondence with Cyrus Adler, Henry
Alsberg, Scholem Asch, Paul Baerwald, Meyer Berlin, Thomas C. Barringer, James H. Becker, the Lazard Freres, Herbert and Irving Lehman, Judah Magnes, Henry Morgenthau, Charles Montefiore, Felix Warburg, Stephen S. Wise, Herbert Hoover, and many charity organizations and committees. T h e correspondence touches on his relief work with Jews in Poland and Russia, the distribution of funds he received from American Jewry, and his ac~ivities traveling with the Hoover mission as an agent of the Joint Distribution Committee. (Gift of the Bogen family.) BONDI, AUGUST,1833-1907, Corresponcleizce; 36 letters, 1883-1906, Salina, Kansas, Photostats Fourteen letters, 1883-1884, of this pioneer of Kansas, opponent of slavery, soldier in the Civil War and a Kansas public official, to the Kansas Governor G . W. Glick, dealing with political campaigns, elections, Kansas affairs, politicians and enemies of the government. Twenty-one letters, 190.7-1906, to G . W. Martin informing the Kansas State Historical Society, oC which he was one of the directors, of his participation in the student's revolutionary movement of Vienna, where he was born, of his membership in the Vienna Academic Legion in 1848, and especially of his military campaign with John Brox\ln in Kansas, 1855-1856. He served as a volunteer with Brown and participated in the battles of Black Jack and Osawatomie in 1856. He also describes the men who fought with him. (Copies from the Kansas State Historical Society.) ,
CIIAI'MAN, ABRAHAM, Papei-s; 2 letters, 1776-1778, Montreal, Canada, Photostats In a letter to Governor Frederick Haldimand in 1778, Chapman emphasized his loyal conduct and his animosity to the rebels. H e supplied several regiments during the war, was one of those who repelled the rebels at Long Point and served as a volunteer with the troops when the rebels were defeated at Three
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
Rivers. Is deeply engaged in trade. Asks in four letters he wrote to Emma Felthe governor for a recommendation. senthal, 1g20-1g21, of her plan to write (Copies from the Public Archives of a book about the life and the work Canada, Ottawa.) .of her father. (Copies from Miss Julia Felsenthal, CRONBACH, ABRAHAM, Correspondence; 36 Chicago.) letters, 1911-1947, Geneva, Switzerland, Cam bridge, England, Scarsdale, New York, GLASS,MAX;Letter, April 12, 1864, NorAlbany, New Yorh, Original folk, Virginia, Manuscript Ten letters from Israel and Freda An imprisoned German-Jewish soldier, Abrahams to Abraham Cronbach, 191I - fighting in the Civil War, appeals to 1915, concerning Cronbach's studies at General Benjamin Franklin Butler to the University of Cambridge. Twenty- be liberated. four letters of Mary Antin, the wellknown authoress, dealing with problems GRATZ,~ B E C C A ,Letters; 387 letters, 1802of religion, Judaism, Christianity, per1862, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Phosonal matters. tostat (Gift of Professor Abraham Cronbach.) Addressed to members of her family. (Copies from T h e American Jewish WLSENTHAL, BERNARD, 1822-I 908, Corre- Historical Society.) spondence; 91 letters, 1861-192 I, Baltimore, Maryland, Chicago, Illinois, Cin- GRIES,MOSESJ., 1868-1918, Letters; I 896cinnati, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pennsylva- 1918 nia, German and English, Manuscript, Now being catalogued Typewritten, and Photostatic copies (Gift of the sons of Rabbi Moses J. I n four letters, 1876-1880, addressed to Gries.) Julius Rosenthal, Chicago, this rabbi of Zion Congregation in Chicago comments HEBREWUNIONCOLLEGE Papers; lo leton legal questions, the Jewish Law, and ters, 1879-1947, Paris, Cincinnati, Ohio, the essence of Judaism. Mentioned are Pacific Palisades, California, New York, Disraeli, Paul Heyse, Karl Marx. Seven- Washington, D. C., Manuscript and teen letters, I 878-1902, addressed to Ben- Typewritten jamin Szold in Baltimore, Maryland, reAdolphe Cremieux and Isidore Loeb fer to educational, literaly, scientific, to Isaac Mayer Wise, 1879. religious problems, the Zionist moveT h e Alliance Israelite Universelle ment, the Jewish Publication Society and sends Dr. Wise the proceedings of the personal affairs. Nine letters to Henrietta third section of the international asSzold, 1897-1907, deal with the liteiary sembly of the Alliance organized for and research work of Miss Szold, her Palestine work and asks him to join this English translations, the Zionist and Re- commission. French and English form Movement. Mentioned are Cyrus Isaac M. Wise to Kaufmann Kohler, Adler, Emma Lazarus, S. Schechter, Os- 1885, about Dr. Kohut, Dr. Gottheil, car Straus, M. Sulzberger. Fifty-three American and German Orthodoxy, the letters of David Einhorn, I 809-I 879, consolidation of Reform and united prorabbi in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and gress. German New York, written to Felsenthal in the Thomas Mann to Julian Morgenstern, yeais 1861-1865 concerning rabbinical, 1945, appreciation for honorary degree educational, congregational and personal of Doctor of Hebrew Letters. About his matters, show his enthusiasm for the "Joseph" work, his Midrash Studies, The Union and the AntiSlavery Movement. Jewish people to whom occidental civiliMentioned are Adler, Friedlaender. Lee- zation owes so much, and the dark tenser and Isaac M. Wise, whom he attachs dencies of our age. Harry Truman to Julian Morgenstern, furiously. Gotthard Deutsch approves
1945. The seventieth anniversary of the Hebrew Union College a significant event. America has received notable contributions from the theological, intellectual and social thought of the Hebrew Union College. Isaac M. Wise to Henry Marks, 1898. concerning the wedding of Marks's daughter. Three letters of Isaac M. Wise to Julius Mayerberg, 1888-1893.Will make him a competent Jewish preacher. Advises him how to instruct a proselyte. Isaac M. Wise to H. N. Son, 1889, concerning the Hebrew Union College. (Gift of the Hebrew Union College. T h e Archives takes this opportunity to thank Dr. J. Victor Greenebaum, Chairman of the Library Committee of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College, for his efforts to further the collection of Americana manuscripts and materials during the period when the Americana manuscript division was a part of the Hebrew Union College Library.) HOFFMAN, MARVIN,CAPTAIN; Letter, June 28, 1948, Dallas, Texas, Typewritlei2 copy T o William J . Mack, Cincinnati, about the heroism and soldierly death of his son Leon.
59 New York, Washington, D . C., Original Brandeis, Louis Dembitz; three letters to Marcus from Washington, D. C., 19291937. Thanks for interesting articles and papers. Kagan, Solomon R., M. D.; letter, 1948, Roxbury, Massachusetts, to Dr. Marcus. Information about Dr. J. Horwitz, the great American Jewish physician, a pioneer in his field and the first American Surgeon-General of the Navy. Marcus, Jacob R.; letter, July 18, 1926, Jerusalem. In this letter to Judah Magnes he gives his impressions of Palestine, his opinion of the political, economic, cultural conditions, the English foreign policy, the Balfour declaration, the Arab-Jewish relations, the probability of a big-visioned university, declaring the university must produce not only students, but also Jews. H e also includes a short history of Palestine and a brief description of Palestine as a Jewish cultural center. Roosevelt, E l e a n o r ; letter, 1947, New York. Thanks for sending an article in which she was mentioned.
MINIS,ABIGAII.;Letter, 1780, Charleston, South Carolina, Photostat Requests payment for some articles of provision she delivered to the allied army. Law, ISAAC; SOLOMONS, LEVI;LYON,BEN(Copy from the Georgia Historical SoJAMIN; LEVI, GERSHON; SOLOMONS, EZE- ciety, Savannah, Georgia.) CHIEL; CHAPMAN,ABRAHAM; Letter, no [late, probably between 1.768-1770, Que- RAISIN,JANE L., Papers; 4 letters, 2 pabec, Canada, Photostat pers, I ancestry table, 2 poems, 1897Addressed to Guy Carleton, the Com- 1910, Wilmington, North Carolina, mander-in-chief of the Province of Que- Brentwood, Long Island, London, Manubec. T h e petitioners who suffered heavy script and Typewrittefi losses and misfortunes as commissaries Two letters from William Calder to of the armies during the French and Mrs. Lee C. Harby, 1901, deal with the Indian War, 1763, are unable to pay Lazarus family. One letter from B. F. their creditors and ask for help through Stevens for M. E. Harby, 1897, deals the settling of their affairs by a com- with Sir Clement Harby, Consul at the mission of bankruptcy. Morea, 1681. (Copy from the Public Archives of (Gift of Jane L. Raisin.) Canada, Ottawa.) ROSENAU,WILLIAM,1865-1943, Papers; MARCUS, JACOBRADER,Papers; 8 letters, 1889-1943, Ma7~uscript and Typewritten I 929-1948, Cincinnati, Ohio, Jerusalem, Correspondence with rabbis, congrega-
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
tions, Catholic leaders, communities, the Hebrew Union College, the Mayors of Baltimore, the Governors of Maryland, Presidents of the United States, students, the HIAS, CCAR, and refugees from Germany. Among the correspondents are: Bernard E e l s e n t h a l , Gotthard Deutsch, W. F. Albright, 1938-1942, Cyrus Adler, 1933-1939, Michael J. Curley, Archbishop of Baltimore, 1929-1939, ISmar Elbogen, 1942-1943. Maurice Eisendrath, 1943, Sol Freehof, 1939-1943, Harry Friedenwald, 1933-1939, ChieE Rabbi Hertz, London, 1936, Judah Magnes, 1939, Israel Zangwill, 1929. Woodrow Wilson, 1916, William Howard Taft, 191 1 , Claude Montefiore, Henrietta Szold, 1903-1906, Kaufman Kohler, 1906. Now being catalogued. (Gift of the Rosenau family.) ROSENWALD, JUI.IUS, Papers; 1 ancestry tree, I letter, 1861, Manuscript One ancestry tree of the Rosenwald family. No date One letter of Moritz Mannheimer to his children, Dinkelsbuehl, Germany, 1861. I n the hour of his death he begs his children not to depart from the path of virtue. German with an English translation. (Gift of Dr. Robert Rosenthal, St. Paul, Minn.) SCHLESINGER, Papers; letter, 1871. German, Manuscript
Records of the Myers, COHEN,CAROLINE; Hays and Mordecai Families from 17031913, Published for the family, n o date, 57 PP. About family affairs, social relations and intermarriages with Christians, the economic, social and commercial conditions of that period, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, society life in Boston, Richmond, Virginia, Mobile, Alabama, Philadelphia, Petersburg, Virginia, and the Mordecai School in Warrenton, North Carolina.
I n a letter to her uncle, hloritz Schlesinger, living in Des Moines, Iowa, Julie Schlesinger, living in Olnhausen, Germany, writes of her intention to emigrate to the United States. (Gift oE Dr. Robert Rosenthal, St. Paul, Minn.) SCHULMAN, SAMUEL,Letter; 1921, New York, Original T o Joseph Krauskopf concerning an educational lecture WOLSEY,LOUIS,Papers; 19 items, 18771925, Cleveland, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, Charleston, West Virginia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Yorlt, Manuscripts, Typewritten and Photostats A letter of Abraham Cronbach, 1923, to Louis Wolsey deals with the the problem of intermarriage. I n three letters, I 879-1881, to William and Mrs. Hackenburg, Philadelphia, Marcus Jastrow, the rabbi of Rodeph Shalom Congregation, Philadelphia, criticizes American Jewish students, their education and knowledge. Not yet emerged from medieval ignorance. These papers include Jastrow's contract with t h e Congregation R o d e p h Shalom. May 29, 1866. Julian Morgenstern discusses, in a letter to Louis Wolsey, 1924, the affairs of the Hebrew Union College, some students, and the question of intermarriage. (Gift o l Rabbi Louis Wolsey.)
EI.SAS,JACOB;autobiography, Typewritten Memoirs of a man who was born near Stuttgart in Germany, in 1818, came to the United States in 1839, began as a peddler in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, entered a dry goods and clothing business in Portsmouth, Ohio in 1841 and ended as a well-known and respected businessman in Cincinnati (Courtesy of Mrs. Fred H. Roth, Cincinnati, his grand-daughter.)
NONES,JOSEI'HB., 1797-1887; Naval R e m iniscence~, 1812-1822, Pizotostat Memoirs written in 1887, at the age of go, dealing with his ancestors in Italy and Spain, his father Benjamin Nones, the career oC his brothers and nephews in the army and in public service, but mainly oC his own experiences as an American sailor and midshipman durlng the War of 1812, as private secretary to Henry Clay, the peace commission of the Ghent mission which concluded the peace between England and the United States. These memoirs also touch on his service under the command of Decatur on the Gueniere during the Algerian War in 1815. and his participation in naval encounters. T h e memoirs are interspersed with many anecdotes, drawings, pictures, historical essays, economic and social observations, descriptions of foreign countries he visited such as Holland, England, Norway, Spain, Italy, Algier, Tunis, Tripoli, India, and biographical sketches of famous personalities he met when abroad. (Copy from the American Jewish Historical Society.) JOHN;Reminiscences of his PROSKAUER, life written by his grand-datrghter, Jenny Proskauer, St. Louis, Missouri, 1948, &fanuscript
ALLEN,MICHAELM.; Sermons and diary as Jewish Army Chaplain, July-September, 1861 (Courtesy of Mrs. Clarence Allen, New York.) , EINHORX,I)AVID;Znc~ugural sermon before Har Sinai Verein, September 29, 1855 (Through Rabbi C. A. Rubenstein, Baltimore, Maryland.) CRIES,MOSESJ.; Addresses delivered i n Cleveland at Special Services, Convenz~entions,etc.: 1896 Cleveland Associated Charities Annual Meeting
John Proskauer, a son of Professor Joseph Mayer ben Halevy, native of Breslau, Germany, a follower of Carl Schurz, came to Philadelphia in 1848 after he was forced to flee from Germany. He was on the side of the Union during the Civil War, while his son Adolph fought as a major on the Southern side. After the war John joined the Portuguese Temple in Richmond, Virginia. (Courtesy of Miss J e m y Proskauer.) SEESEL,H.; Merr~oirs of a Mexican Veteran, 1822-1897, Printed His youth as an orphan in Southern Germany, his emigration to Paris in 1838 and to the United States in 1842. At first he was a peddler in Natchez, Mississippi, a trunk maker in Cincinnati, a clerk in Lexington, Kentucky, then a soldier in the Mexican War, 1846.1847, and a peddler again in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1848 he made a trip to Germany where he married, came back to the United States and lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, Vicksburg, Mississippi, Richmond, Virginia, as a peddler, boarding-house proprietor and so on, till he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he entered the butcher business and bought a farm.
1899 Cleveland Chamber of Commerce 19m Convention of Council of Jewish Women 1905 Citizens Thanksgiving Service at Unity Church 1907 Installation of Rabbi Louis Wolsey Addresses without date and place: "The Faith by Which We Live" "The Jew of History" "The Religion of History" "The Jew through the Centuries" "The Immigrant" "Humanity and the Bible" Addresses in Memoriam and Tribute Addresses and Reports to Central Conference of American Rabbis
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
Addresses delivered before out-of-town organizations Addresses at meetings of the TJnion of American Hebrew Congregations Holyday Sermons during the period 1902-1907 Sunday Morning Addresses at the Temple, Cleveland, Ohio, 1902-1917 ROSENAU, WILLIAM; Addresses delivered at Baltimore and out-of-town synagogues Papers read at and prepared for learned societies Addresses and papers for the Jewish Chautauqua Society Addresses at Jewish institutions in Baltimore and elsewhere
Addresses at U.S.O., Jewish Welfare Board, etc. Funeral Services Prayers for Bar Mitzvah Boys Wedding Addresses Prayers for various occasions Memorial Services for Cemetery Thanksgiving Services Lectures on the Talmud, Prophets, and Biblical Archealogy, the Midrash, 011 Jewish History, etc. ROSENWALD, JULIUS;Address, lvovember 26, 1920 Delivered at the Euclid Avenue Temple, Cleveland, Ohio, on behalf of the Hebrew Union College
HISTORYOF THE JEWS OF CALIFORNIA, (Copy from Orcgon State Archives.) I 848-1880 Excerpts from books, newspapers, al- A BRIEF HISTORYOF THE CONGREGATION OREGON( T h e manacs, encyclopedias, historical works, BETH ISRAEL,PORTLAND, memoirs, and the publicatiorls of the Golden Book), 1858-1888, Manuscript Academy of Pacific Coast History (Copy from T h e American Jewish SHORTHISTORYOF THE LADIESBENEVOLENT SOCIETY, WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLHistorical Society.) VANIA,1888-1948 HISTORYOF THE TEWS AND THE CONGREBETH GATION OF HENDERSON, KENTUCKY, by S. HISTORYOF THE CONGREGATION ELOHIM,CHARLESTON, SOUTHCAROLINA, 0 . Ileilbl-onncr, 1 g q 2 N o date NATCHEZ, M~SS~SSIPPI Handwritten transcriptions and news- HISTORYOF THE JEWS I& GALVESTON, by RABBIHENRYCOHEN paper clippings concerning the history, TEXAS, the business life, the community affairs (Newspaper clippings concerning the of the Congregation B'nai Israel, the Jewish Congregation.) Hebra Kaddisha, the Hebrew Ladies FORTHWORTH,TEXAS Aid Association, etc. Notes concerning the Jews in Ft. (Courtesy of Mrs. E. H. Beckman.) Worth, especially their part in the meat OF TEMPLE B'NAI ISRAEL, packing business, 1850-1880. Excerpts EARLYHISTORY OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, 1903-1946 from a manuscript of many volumes prepared by the IIistory Records Survey PORTLAND, OREGON Church records and notes concernirlg oE W.P.A. (The original volumes are in the PubJews in Oregon and notes on Jewish lic Library, Ft. Worth, Texas.) Congregations
BLACHSCHLEGER, ABE; Citizenship paper, October lo, 1888
A Russian, admitted as a dtizen at the Court House in Cincinnati, Ohio
(Gift of Rabbi Eugene Blachschleger, Montgomery, Alabama.) LILIENTHAL-EISENBERG PAPERS; Geburtsurkunde der Louise Lilienthal, Volkmarchen, Germany, November 27, 1837 Todesurkunde des Moses Lilienthal, Volkmarchen, Germany, April 4, 1847 Reisepass fuer Louise Lilienthal, Kurfuerstentum Hessen, March 31, 1R57 Heiratsbewilligung des Kurhessischen Landesrabbinats Kassel fuer Louise Lilienthal and Levi Eisenberg aus Hofgeismar, April 4, 1857 Buergerbrief fuer Levi Eisenberg, Kassel, November 16, 1850 Citizenship paper for Levi Eisenberg, St. Clairsville, Ohio, May 18, 1868 (Courtesy of Dr. Bernard Bamberger.)
SALOMON, HAYM,Collection; An issue of T h e Pennsylvania-Packet. September 21, 1784, containing on the last page a full column of the advertisement of Haym Salomon A photographic record of the Diary in Office of Finance, 1782, showing the actual notation in the hand of the Finance Officer, Robert Morris, of his contact with Haym Salomon, on the date of May 8, reading: "This morning I sent for Hayni Salomon, etc." A photographic reproduction of the marriage license of Haym Salomon as well as a Promissory Note of $400.00 by F. Hopkinson, Treasurer of Loans of Pennsylvania dated 1780, and also a Promissory Note made out to Haym Salomon in the sum of 67 pounds by John W. Wilcocks in Philadelphia in 1783. (Courtesy of A. Straus, Baltimore, Maryland.) ANDREW CLOU& CO.; September 21, 1790 Check payable to Mr. Jonas Phillips POLOOK,RACHAEL; Last Will, August 23, 1817, Chatham County, Georgia
OF EMILEKAHNTO MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE AURELIAHYMAN,Cincinnati, Ohio, February 2, 1869, signed by Isaac M. Wise, Original
MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE OF LEOPOLD MOCK TONY WEIL, Cincinnati, Ohio, February 16, 1865
CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH OF KATHARINA FRANC~SCA HOLZER,daughter of Salomon and Rachel Holzer, nee Klauber, Neustadtl, Austria, September 5, 1834. mother of Rabbi Moses Gries POLITICAL MATRIMONIAL CONSENT OF THE IMPERIALAND ROYALDISTRICT COURT OF ECERfor Katharina Francisca Holzer to marry Jacob Gries of Altofen, Ofen, September 16, 1856
LEVY, U R ~ A HPIIILLIPS; Last Will and Testament, May 13, 1858, New York OI'PENHEIMER, E.; Inwme Tax, June 19, 1868 Collector's office received payment (Courtesy of Mrs. Frank L. Weil, New York.) GUTHEIM,JAMESKOPPELAND HEIDINGSE. WOHL; March 5, 1878, New Orleans, Louisiana Certificate for Emil R. Isaac (Toerner) Turner's conversion to the Jewish religion (Courtesy of Rabbi Julian B. Feibelman, Temple Sinai, New Orleans, La.) PELD,
KNOX, GEORGEWILLIAM; T h e Lion of the Tribe of Judah, October g, 1871, Fredericksburg, Virginia, Printed A missionary pamphlet to be distributed among the Jews (Copy from the Public Library, New York.) DE FORD COLLECTION; Paper clippings concerning the Gratz family, the beginnings of the Mikveh
AMERICAN JEWISH ARCHIVES, JANUARY,
Israel Congregation, Philadelphia, Isaac Moses, Jonas Phillips, Haym Levy, Haym Salomon (Copies from scrapbook in possession of Miss Alice de Ford, Philadelphia.)
Congregation B'nai Israel, Columbus, Georgia Resolutions in memoiy of RABBI FRANKL. ROSENTHAL, March 13, igqo
Temple B'nai Jeshurun, Newark, New Jersey, Temple Museum Articles for DEATH OF HERMINEJOHNSTONE GRATZ, Centennial Exhibit at Newark Museum One Hundredth Anniversary, April 20, last grandchild of Benjamin Gratz, Lex1948 ington, Kentucky Newspaper clipping from the Lexing- GENEALOGY OF SEVERAL OLD NEW YORK ton-Leader, May 15, 1948. FAMILIES Arranged with particular reference to Some newspaper clippings from the New the Ancestry of the Lewis, Goldstone, Orleans Bee, 1852, touching on the Jew- Hendricks arid other families ish Burying Ground and the election of (Courtesy of Rabbi Daniel L. Davis, J. P. BENJAMINas Senator New York.)
The Archives also possesses many scrapbooks of clippings, papers, and pamphlets touching on Jewish notables, historic, economic, cultural, congregational affairs, meetings, conferences, cases, trials and the like, and a collection of reproductions of portraits and silhouettes. For instance: Barnard Gratz by Charles Peale Polk Mrs. Barnard Gratz by Robert Feke Mordecai Manuel Noah by John Wesley Jarvis Mrs. Solomon Etting by John Wesley Jarvis Samson Levy, Jr., 1761-1831, charcoal drawing by Saint-Mkmin Samson Levy, Jr. by Thomas Sully Solon~onJacobs by Thomas Sully Comn~odoleUriah P. Levy by Thomas Buchanan Read Manuel Josephson by Jeremiah Theus
Rebecca Gratz by Thomas Sully Michael Gratz by Thomas Sully Rachel Gratz by Edward Greene Malbone Abraham Touro, Mrs. Michael Gratz, Samuel Myeis, Judah Hays, Moses Myers, Mrs. Myers, Colonel Isaac Franks, Solomon Moses by Gilbert Stuart (This material was secured from Mrs. Hannah London and is knolvn as the Hannah K. London Collectioii of Portiaits and Silhouet~esof Early American Jews.)
We are also very grateful to the Reverend Dr. Abraham J. Feldman of Hartford, Connecticut, for a collection of photographs of American Jewish notables, most of them autographed. This collection includes pictures of Benjamin Winter, David Belasco, Saul Raskin, Leo Orenstein, Herman Bernstein, Otto Rosalsky, George Gershwin, Ossip Gabrilowitch, Richard Gottheil, Mortimer L. Schiff, Felix M. Warburg, Paul M. Warburg, Simon Wolf, Adolph M. Ochs, Louis Marshall, Irving Lehman, Louis D. Brandeis, Boris D. Bogen, Ernest Bloch, Jacob Billikopf, Cyrus Adler, Yehudi Menuhin, Mischa Elman, Fannie Hurst, Eddie Cantor, Waldo Frank, Herbert H. Lehman, David Philipson and Joseph M. Proskauer. This collection will be known as T h e Abraham J. Feldman Collection.