Jews in the News, 1898

1898 was the first full year since 1894 that Homestead had a daily newspaper.  By February the paper’s reporting resumed including all the petty doings that ensured that small mentions of our community would be included — and, yes, finally we are rewarded with lots of juicy mentions of all our favorite ancestors — some of my favorite newspaper discoveries so far.  (Interestingly, the paper we’ve been reading so far — The Homestead Daily News — merged at the end of April with its arch-rival, The Daily Messenger, but thankfully it doesn’t seem to have had as marked an effect on the tone or content as previous business changes seemed to.)

Carnegie Enters the Ward (the Conclusion)
Business Developments
Library!
Latest Liquor
Max Klein’s Marvelous Year
Nighttime Burglary
Markowitz vs. Koza
Merchant woes
Holidays in the News
Miscellaneous Mentions
Ad Gallery

8/30/1898: Why Homestead is poor.

8/30/1898: Why Homestead is poor.

1898 was a big year for Homestead in general, since this was the year the library opened!  Alongside coverage of this exciting event, one of the most significant in Homestead’s history, the paper was also full of the usual grievances about life in the town.  Bribery and illegal voting was alleged in the Republican primaries (1/17), a prize fight took place in the heart of the town (2/15), typhoid fever spread (2/17), newsboys created an ongoing nuisance (3/4), and robberies multiplied (9/2), as did arrests for fighting, drunkenness, vagancry, disorderly conduct, and the like (9/20), which they resigned themselves as “nothing out of the ordinary” (9/25).  On 3/28 a meeting was called to “[promote] law and order in our midst” (3/28), and the usual revival activity (1/31-2/9) and temperance activity was going on, including a regular column in the paper by the WCTU, but Homestead’s character was clearly emerging.  But it retained small-town aspects, too.  During the winter the paper wrote about hearing sleigh bells on the streets and watching ice skaters on the frozen river.  Late June brought Pawnee Bill’s Historic Wild West show through town.  A revealing article from August 30, “Why is it Thus?  Some of the Reasons Why Homestead is so Poor,” includes the rare admission that Homestead is a “hard-run, poverty stricken place.”

1898 was also a year in which the events of the larger world encroached on Homestead more than usual.  The Maine sunk in Havana in February, and the paper began reporting the war rumors immediately.  By the end of April the local boys left to fight the Spanish-American War with about five hundred people assembled to wish them well.  (None of these boys included members of our community.)  “No more patriotic place can be found in this country than the Homestead steel works,” wrote the paper on June 1, bragging about the forty-four flags flying over the steel works, though the war tax put on beer mid-June certainly put a damper on things.  In response to President McKinley’s proclamation, July 9 was “celebrated almost universally as a thanksgiving day throughout all of Western Pennsylvania with appropriate and patriotic services by Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Jews,” though hostilities were not halted until a month later.  For the remainder of the year, articles related to the peace treaty and various war heroes appeared in the paper.

1898 was also the year in which Hawaii was annexed by the United States, leading to a series of articles during the summer explaining Hawaii to Homesteaders.  And though the Dreyfus affair had been dragging on since 1894, 1898 — the year of J’accuse! — was the first time I saw a mention of it in the Homestead newspaper, though the September 20th article never mentioned he was Jewish, probably assuming at that point everyone knew what the case was about.

But… back to Homestead!

Carnegie Enters the Ward (the Conclusion)

At the end of 1897 we left off with a cliff-hanger — would the Carnegie Steel Company take over part of the town or not?

On January 3 the ordinances for the vacating of the lower avenues and streets in the Second Ward came up in council.  A resolution passed that the company pay $60K for the privilege asked.  $60K!  Surprise, surprise — the Carnegie Steel Company refused to pay.  Schwab wrote the council:

In making these purchases at what we considered four or give times the actual value of the real estate, to say nothing of the improvements which had to be purchased with the lots and disposed of at a loss, we felt that the borough of Homestead would gladly agree to the vacation of the roadways through this property in order to secure these costly works, giving employment to many workmen and adding to the general prosperity. We are reliably informed that many towns along the Monongahela valley would gladly donate not only a sufficient amount of property, but would also pay a cash bonus in order to secure the location of a mill employing even a smaller number of woking men.

The suggestion stung.  At that time all the towns in the area were vying for heavy industry, and thus far Homestead kept missing out.  On May 1 of the previous year, the paper wondered, “For many years Homestead has been longing for some other manufacturing plan to locate here, not being satisfied with a single industry…They go to places with fewer advantages than Homestead…No place in the Monongahela valley need go begging, but the question is, ‘Should Homestead offer any special inducements?’”  Month later on December 11, 1897 as the Carnegie expansion controversy began, the paper continued to fret about why the town still hadn’t attracted other manufacturers.  “Shall we try to induce other manufacturers to come among us by offering them inducements, or shall we drive away by ingratitude, those that we have?”

Well, the borough quickly retreated, responding with a obsequious letter about Schwab’s “misunderstanding of our intentions.”  On April 5 there was a referendum for people to vote on the issue — whether the steel company should get the land without compensation or with compensation options ranging from $10-$50K — but in the end, as the May 3rd paper reported, the company was only willing to “reimburse the borough $1019.74, being the amount paid by the borough for grading and paving Dickson street between First and Second avenues, and the laying of a water line on Willow Alley.”   So, that was that.  The ordinance went into effect in early June, though Carnegie’s plans to built a new armor plate mill on the ground did not become public until the end of the year.

For what it’s worth, though, around the same time the town finally got its long-desired additional industries (though they never became enough of a force to break the town’s dependence on the steel mill).  In July the paper reported that the seventy acres of the former Hays Estate were to be split amongst the Carnegie steel company; a new arrival to the town, the Mesta Machine Company; and a new, residential suburb.  “The future of Homestead can no longer be held in doubt, even by the most skeptical…the town cannot but grow and prosper” (7/12).

Meanwhile, it was a big year for the steel industry in general.  “Prosperity cropping out at the steel works,” reported the paper on 3/25.  “Every department running on full turn (i.e. 24 hours a day) as they have been last two weeks. Everything appears to be bright for the future employment and consequent prosperity in Homestead.”  The mill was already fulfilling large armor plate contract for Russia and the U.S., and rails for the Siberian and Nippon railroads when the war with Spain started.  Together, the armor plate contracts alone guaranteed at least a year of “steady employment for a large number of skilled workmen who have done practically nothing for the past year” (5/26).  October was the best month the Homestead Works had ever yet known.  “The U.S. has forged to the front of all nations as a producer of crude iron and of all finished forms of iron and steel,” wrote the paper on 10/13.  “Pennsylvania stands at the head of the U.S. in production, with a greater product than all the other states, while Pittsburgh at once takes rank far in the lead of all other cities and states.”

At the end of the year, the paper summarized all of the year’s many industrial deveopments.  “With Mesta Machine Company’s plant, the bridge plant, Carnegie Steel Company’s car works and two new plate mills, to be constructed next summer, Homestead is bound to take on a boom such as was never before witnessed in the Monongahela valley, and the population of the town should be nearly doubled within two years” (12/22).

Business Developments

Within the context of this industrial boom, trends which began the previous year continued in ways that altered — literally — the landscape of the town:  the solidification of Eighth Ave. as the town’s business district and the growing real estate boom in the town.  On March 10, the paper reported that a “building boom” would soon begin, “Homestead to see greater activity in the building line this spring and summer than has been manifested here in many years.”  For one thing, Eighth Avenue was still far from built, and as a January 8th announcement of two new building blocks indicates, there were plenty of opportunities for real estate investors to capitalize on.  More pressing, though, was the “scarcity of homes” in Homestead, as a 6/25 editorial noted, which then compelled mill workers to reside in other towns and prevented Homestead from becoming the “popular suburb for Pittsburgh business men” it ought to be.  By August, prime building season, the expected building boom was on, with “50 buildings in different parts of town” going up (8/10).  “Real estate as has been expected has taken a sudden boom and vacant lots are selling rapidly. The new industries to be located west of town are bound to bring an immense amount of property on the market and eager buyers are picking up everything new in sight” (8/28).

4/16 ad mentioning Joseph Stark's store move

4/16 ad mentioning Joseph Stark‘s store move

The Jewish businesses kept up with the times.  As part of the general moving activity on April 1 (yes, there was once an annual moving date):

  • Grinberg Bros., the china dealers, will move into the new store room a few doors below their present stand” (2/24); “The stock for Grimberg (sic) Bros. is arriving. Their new store will be a handsome one” (3/21).
  • Skirball, the shoe man, has greatly enlarged and beautified his store room for his spring trade which he expects to be large” (3/21).
  • “Come While You can Get a Bargain. On April 1st, Mrs. Segelman will remove her jewelry store from Sixth avenue to Eighth avenue, next the present store of Scorer and Hepler. Until that time, she is offering some great bargains in jewelry, watches, clocks, silver plated table ware, which will be sold at a sacrifice to save moving goods. Mrs. Segelman, No. 236 Sixth avenue” (3/24-3/30 text advertisement).

HERE ARE SOME MOVINGS.

Merchants are Flitting This First of April.

…Mrs. Segelman is moving to day to her new store room on Eighth avenue, where she will be pleased to receive her friends. Grimberg (sic) Bros., are about encoursed (sic) in their new rooms and are ready for their friends with a much larger stock than before.  (4/1)

  • “Mrs. Segelman has moved to her new store room on Eighth avenue, next to P.B. Shirey’s new place. When completed it will be one of the finest jewelry stores in town. Call and see for yourself” (4/6).
  • “New Clothing House. Joseph Stark has removed his clothing house from Sixth avenue to Eighth avenue in the room vacated by the Forrest & Rodgers grocery. They have in a new line of handsome summer goods, and a complete stock of Gents clothing and furnishing goods. Watch his ad this week” (4/13).  To be fair, I am not 100% sure this guy is Jewish, but you’ll see other Starks mentioned throughout this post…

On the last day of the year, the paper assessed the promise of the new industries adjacent to Homestead and correctly predicted that for 1899 that “Business in all branches will be revived and peace and prosperity will once more resign supreme as in the days previous to the disastrous strike of 1892.”

Not to mention… drops in the steel market in 1893 and 1896 (source).  And especially… the Panic of 1893 that made the aftermath of the strike worse than it might have been, much as the business men may wish to blame the strikers.

This tension between businessmen and steelworkers showed itself most strikingly in the long history leading to Homestead’s…

Library!

The Carnegie Library of Homestead looms large in Homestead past and present, both as a center of communal life and as a symbol of the town’s dependence on Carnegie’s largesse.

Carnegie built more than 2500 libraries in his lifetime.  In the early 1890s Homestead enviously eyed his first ones in Allegheny City, Braddock, Johnstown, and Pittsburgh, awaiting their turn.  But, Carnegie did not seem to favor them; when he dedicated Braddock’s library in 1889, he said, “I should like to see a library [in Homestead, but]…our men there are not partners.  They are not interested with us” (quoted in Serrin, 163).  Nevertheless, throughout 1890 and 1891, the town believed the library was imminent and even reserved a site for it, going so far as to crow on March 26, 1892 that “Mr. Carnegie announced that, after the [expansion] work upon [Braddock’s library] was done, a similar institution for his Homestead workers will engage his attention,” but of course, the 1892 strike, which began a few months later, more than reinforced Carnegie’s negative perception of his workers in Homestead.  The site of the future library became the encampment of the national guard and afterwards remained vacant, a dumping ground for the town’s refuse.  Only after he was sure that the union had been crushed did he acquiesce to a delegation of town leaders who asked him to reconsider.  Construction began in 1895.

All Carnegie’s early libraries fit into the then-popular scheme of corporate welfare, in which workers labored under dreadful conditions for poor wages, but some of whose secondary needs were provided for by paternalistic corporations which decided for the working man what he required to better himself.  Margaret Byington wrote in 1911,

Though the people are very proud of [Carnegie’s library, Frick’s park, and Schwab’s training school], many a man said to me, “We’d rather they hadn’t cut our wages and let us spend the money for ourselves”…[The workers] resent a philanthropy which provides opportunities for intellectual and social advancement while it withholds conditions which make it possible to take advantage of them.

Unlike the immigrant steelworkers, the immigrant Jewish community of Homestead, I suspect, could take advantage of the library.  Though they also worked long hours, they largely worked for themselves or each other and thus could carve out leisure time the mill’s twelve-hour shifts did not afford the steelworkers.  Unfortunately no early records survive at the Carnegie Library to see who exactly was using the library and to what degree, so my hypothesis remains a hypothesis.  For at least one young Homestead Jew of the period, the future founder of the American Jewish Archives, “It was in Homestead…that Jacob Marcus’ love for history first awakened. Homestead had a Carnegie library, and the young boy patronized it liberally” (source).

At any rate, the newspaper, representing the interests of the town’s better-off businessmen, who had begged for the library in the first place, displayed their usual gratitude toward’s Carnegie’s latest gesture towards their town.  On July 29th, they wrote, “Mr. Carnegie must ever be held in grateful remembrance for his thoughtfulness in providing this means of education and enjoyment to our people.”  The library opened on August 2, loading 3,000 books or 155/day by 8/28.  Starting late October the paper helped organize plans to make November 5th, the day slated for the formal dedication, into a general holiday.

A well known gentleman said yesterday that he felt certain that if the movement was started in time every business man in town would have at least one or more wagons in the parade and that the fire department and secret societies could be induced to take part. He said if the mills closed down nearly every man employed there would be willing to take part in the parade, and those who did not belong to any organization in line could fall in and march in departments under the department superintendents or captains selected….He said it would be much better, however, if the demonstration could be held on Saturday afternoon as neither the company nor men would lose much. The paving of McClure street and Tenth avenue will be completed in time for the dedication, and a review of the parade could be made by Mr. Carnegie in front of the library, and a public reception could follow. A great many prominent citizens say they are willing to assist in arranging for such a demonstrating providing the library board takes the initiative and the company agrees to do their part.

And pretty much that is what came to pass.  The day before the dedication, the paper published a big feature on the library and Carnegie himself and rallied the town,

Let every man, woman and child of Homestead and vicinity turn out tomorrow and honor Mr. Carnegie. There is not a man in this community who should fail to join in the civic parade and help to make it a success. If you are not a fireman or steel worker fall in the business men’s division.

“A PROUD DAY FOR HOMESTEAD” proclaimed the headlines afterwards. “A Magnificent Ovation Tendered Andrew Carnegie and Wife Saturday Afternoon.”  Despite the rain, “every available foot of space was occupied, the mill men and their wives being the majority, although the business and professional men were proportionately as well represented.”  Children even insisted upon marching despite their mothers’ protests.  While my grandfather wasn’t even two at the time, I like to think that his older siblings, and the older children of some of the other early Jews of Homestead took part.

Carnegie enjoyed the day as a sign that he had turned things around in Homestead.  In his speech he explained his version of past events, concluding “It was under great difficult we labored to improved the town of Homestead” (quoted in Serrin, p. 163).  He promised the library the donation of 15,000 new volumes to make Homestead “one of the best stocked libraries in the country.”  And in his follow-up letter to the organizer of the dedication, he “[stated] emphatically that the events of that day were the best and most pleasing to him that he had ever witnessed.”

Thereafter the newspaper remained very interested in the library’s affairs, reporting regularly on its staff, events, and usage.  In regularly columns — at first weekly, then monthly, they even listed the new books and magazines the library added.  Distribution stations were added around Homestead and later its suburbs.  Over time its athletic and musical events got more notice than its literary, since the music hall on one side of library saw many concerts and plays, and the gymnasium on the other sponsored many sports teams.

Latest Liquor

Though 1898 saw some of the most important events in Homestead’s history, some things were ever the same:

  • February 18:  The paper reported this year’s list of liquor license applicants.  From our community there were Sam Markowitz & Max Klein 614-616 Heisel street and Henry Markowitz, 300-302 Dickson street.  An editorial written the same day commented. “The license list published to-day shows that there are still as many people who nurse the fallacy that there is an easy life and abundant fortune in the liquor business. There are enough applicants in the Second warn to furnish drinkables for the county, but many, very many will fall by the way-side.”
  • April 15:  What a surprise.  All of our guys fell by the way-side.  (Henry is listed with the last name Moskovits in this article, which is aggravating, because there were men by both names.  The address suggests it was Moskovitz.)  An editorial from the same day explained, “The license list shows that the Judges each year try to keep the licenses in the hands of men who have had them before and discourage new applicants whose qualifications are a matter of doubt.”

Max Klein’s Marvelous Year

But this year Max Klein would not  be discouraged by his latest failure in license court.  Instead, he bought a business with a license off someone else!

  • September 1:  “Max Klein, who recently purchased the Eureka hotel, on Fifth avenue, from Joseph West, has again opened that well-known hostelry for the accommodation of the public. Mr. Klein is well known in Homestead, and will no doubt make his hotel popular.”  Woo hoo!
September 8: Ad for Max Klein's Eureka Hotel!

This ad for Max Klein‘s Eureka Hotel ran from September 8 – October 1.

Some context:  In those days in Allegheny County one could not sell alcohol without an eating establishment or hotel attached.  Plus, in a town like Homestead where the industry brought a lot of transients through town, it made sense for one establishment to provide these men with a place to eat, sleep, and drink.

Then, a month and a half after finally entering the liquor business (and a week and a half after the Jewish holidays ended), he got married!  And notice that his wife is the niece of the man he attempted to get the liquor license with!

October 19: Max Klein gets married at his hotel

October 19: Max Klein gets married at his hotel to Mollie Brichla, niece of Samuel Markowitz. (I wonder if Brichla is a typo; there was a Brichta in the community in the early 1900s. Update: It is Brichta!)

And a couple months later the Kleins’ friends threw them a surprise party!  (The Homestead paper loved to report on surprise parties… this is the first time  I’ve read about one for a member of our community.)

December 7: Mr. and Mrs. Max Klein's friends throw them a surprise party at his hotel

December 7: Mr. and Mrs. Max Klein‘s friends throw them a surprise party at his hotel. Homesteaders present include Misses Fannie Stark and Rose Moss and Messrs. Loniy (?) Stark, Morris Moss and Joe Fried. Note that the full group of their friends include people from Pittsburgh, Braddock, Oliver Station, and East End, which hints at the sorts of broader social connections individuals in these small towns had.  (Perhaps L.D. Moss is a future Homesteader?  And others of the surnames–Glick, Klein, Beck–are current/future Homesteaders.)

Nighttime Burglary

I’m fairly certain this Bernard Heebs is my great-grandfather, not only because of the similar of the spelling to other spellings he used during this time period, but also because the profession matches up.

October 19: Burglary of Bernard Heebs' house

October 19: Burglary of Bernard Heebs‘ house

18981020 bernhardt robbery

October 20: Arrest and trial of the robbery of Bernard Heebs‘ house

  • December 9:  “There were quite a number of Homestead people up before the grand jury yesterday charged with various offenses.  True bills were found against…Frank Block for attempt (sic) robbery.  Black plead (sic) guilty to the charge of stealing rugs from Wm. Furlong’s porch, and is on trial to-day for attempting to rob Jacob Hepps house and hitting the latter with a brick.”  I’m sure they must mean Bernard here, though curiously the same day at the grand jury, his son, Jacob Hepps, my grandfather, was born…

Markowitz vs. Koza

Perhaps all of this is a continuation of the trouble that began in November of 1897?

  • February 2:  “Max Markowitz made information against Michael Kosa, John Kowackt and John Kosa for illegal conspiracy in defrauding him out of a meat bill.  Frank Bell served the warrants and secured the men last evening. They protested innocense (sic), but all entered bail for a hearing before B. R. Culbertson this evening.”
  • February 3: “The conspiracy case preferred by Max Markowitz, the butcher, against four of his countrymen, for defrauding him out of a meat bill, was continued until this evening for a dicision (sic).”
  • May 10:  Now we’re on our third entry in ongoing Max Markowitz vs. Michael Koza feud that began in November 1897:
May 10: More Markowitz vs. Koza trouble!

May 10: More Markowitz vs. Koza trouble!

Merchant woes

February 2: A hold-up in the Grinberg brothers store... the earliest mention of the Grinbergs in Homestead's paper

February 2: A hold-up in the Grinberg brothers’ store… the earliest mention of the Grinbergs in Homestead’s paper

  • February 3:  The day after Meyer was robbed, “Morris Grinberg, of Eighth avenue, arrived home from New York yesterday, where he has been for the past week on business.”  I’m sure he got an earful on his return from his poor brother!
  • February 17:  “Sued for Fraud. Morris Frankel had a warrant issued from Squire Giles’ office this afternoon for the arrest of Michael Terak for defrauding him out of goods. Terok (sic?) obtained a pair of shoes and a suit of under clothing to try on, for size, and failed to show up with either clothing or money.”
  • March 15:

TWO UNIQUE ATTORNEYS

Triumph for Skirboll who Secured Conviction of his Man.

Michael Chichak was arraigned before Squire Giles last evening for being disorderly in Morris Frankel‘s store on Heisel street.

Chichak could speak no English and Frankel’s witnesses were also Slavish so the services of Noroski were secured as interpreter for the defendent, and Mr. Skirboll spoke for the prosecutors witnesses and they soon developed into full fledged attorneys causing much merriment by their cross examination. Chichak insister on talking to the prosecutor instead of the court and put up so weak a defense that he was sentence $5.00 fine and costs or 30 days to the workhouse. He chose the latter and was committed.

  •   March 29:  A busy day for Max Markowitz (or Markowitzes — there were two)

FALSE PRETENSE CHARGED.

Max Markowitz Has a Warrant Issued for one of his Customers.

Max Markowitz made information against Mrs. Emma Robinson before Squire Giles yesterday, charging her with false pretense. Markowitz, who is a butcher, claims that Mrs. Robinson made certain representations to him, thereby securing possession of meat for which payment had not been made. Constable Bell served the warrant last evening.

 

ASSAULTED HIS LANDORD.

Collector Gets Choked and Asks Redress at Law.

Max Markowitz had a warrant issued for the arrest [of] John Rigul who resides in Mullets row on Fifth avenue. Markowitz went down to Rigul’s house to collect rent and he claims that Ragol (sic) attacked him and choked him so badly the (sic) he feared for his life. Constable Bell arrested the man last evening.

  • March 31:  “John Ragol, the man arrested for assaulting Max Markowitz, was sent five days to jail by Squire Giles last evening.”
  • April 6:  “The case of Max Markwitz (sic) against a Polish woman in the Second ward for eviction from the shop, came up before a Braddock justice last evening and was carried to court.”
  • August 27:  “Abram Sursky, a huckster of the city yesterday sued John Pearson of Potterville, went before Squire Giles on a charge of larceny by bailee.  Sursky asked Pearson to change a dollar.  Pearson said he would but would have to take the dollar in the house to see if it was good but as he did not come out, Sursky went to the house to see what had become of Pearson and the dollar.  He was sitting in the house when asked about the money he said come back next Christmas and collect it.  Sursky immediately came down and entered the suit.  The hearing will be this afternoon.”
  • December 7:

LARCENY BY BAILEE.

John Webber is Alleged to Have Neglected to Turn Over the Goods Entrusted to Him.

A. Skirboll has made information against John Webber charging him with larceny by bailee, before Justice G. W. Giles. Skirboll alleges he gave Webber shirts and other gents furnishings to the value of $15.25 which he promised to Wolkofski & Bros., of Pittsburg, and that he did not deliver the goods as agreed and has since refused to do so.

Holidays in the News

  • April 7:

FEAST OF THE PASSOVER.

Hebrew People Now Observing the Time Honored Custom.

Last evening instituted the Jewish feast of the passover commemorating the passage of the children of Israel out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses.

The event is always instituted by family reunions among the Hebrew people and during the next eight days they will eat the unleaven (sic) bread. Special services will be held in various tabernacles during this event.

  • September 26:

Day of Atonement.

The Day of Atonement, the most solemn of all Hebrew holy day (sic), is being observed today by the children of Israel over the whole civilized world. The day is one of fasting and prayer, and the rigid disciples of the religion allows (sic) no morsel of food nor drink of water to touch their lips. It is observed by reformed and the orthodox alike, for one day only. The fast being last evening, ten days after the celebration of the New Year. All the stores run by Hebrews in Homestead will remain closed all day.

Miscellaneous Mentions

  • February 3:  “Morris Moss, of Third avenue, was in town yesterday attending the marriage, of Miss Ann Alffelder to Oscar Brodie of Oil City.”  I believe he is the son of Henry Moskowitz; most of this family truncated their last name.
  • February 14:  “Felix Kovinsky was arrested on Third avenue, for striking his boarding house keeper in a fight on Saturday night. The arrest was made by Officer Layman and Constable Shinton, and Burgess Kennedy gave him $3.00 and costs.” (Is this really Frank Kovinsky, briefly Vice President of the shul?)
  • May 19:  Remember the Rattigan robbery from 1897?  “Phillip Stark’s petition for a pardon will be heard by the pardon board today. This is Mr Stark’s second appeal to the pardon board.”
  • June 17:  “Mrs. Morris Frankel and son, have gone to Mt. Clemens, Michigan, for a five weeks’ stay.”
  • July 5:  The post-July 4th article mentions my family!  (Only problem is that Bernhardt’s eldest son, Abraham C. Hepps (called AC), was four and a half then.  He had a cousin, Abraham Hepps, son of Bernhardt’s brother Adolph, who was a year older.)

HOW WE CELEBRATED.

AN UNUSUAL NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS.

Men, Women and Children Injured by the Explosion of Fireworks–Several of the Accidents of a Serious Character–A Boy Breaks His Leg.

Avey, the nine-year-old son of Barnard Hepps, fell in the cellar of a new house on Second avenue and broke his leg.

  • August 16:  “Mr. Morris Grinberg, of the firm of Grinberg Bros., leaves to-morrow for New York, where he will purchase a new line of goods.”
  • October 3:  “Cohen was arrested by Chief of Police Grift Williams for huckstering without a license Saturday. Burgess Kennedy fined him $3.00 and costs.”  This is probably not Philip Cohn.
  • October 4: “Skirboll is having a new arc light erected in front of his store.”
  • October 20:  Maurice Grinberg gets married!
October 20: Maurice Grinberg wedding

October 20: Maurice Grinberg wedding

  • November 12:  “Several young men singled out a Hungarian by the name of Andy Yorock for their special mark…Last evening he was subjected to the most abusive and insulting language while quietly pursuing his own way.  He bore patiently with it while it lasted, but later appeared before Justice Giles where he made an information against Morris Moskovitz for disorderly conduct, he being the only one whom he knew.  The case will be tried before the squire this evening.”
  • November 30: “Jos. Freed was fined $1 and costs by Justice Steele last night for making an insulting remark to a woman in the Second ward.”

There were also numerous mentions of an M.D. Kauffman of Jeannette who opened a new clothing store in the town in September.  I am not able to determine anything else about his background, unfortunately.  His store closed in 1902.

On October 14 an article entitled “Jews in the Senate” must have been of great interest to the Jewish community.  “If the fool-killers are not after these silly pates who have been discussing the probably of Hon. Jos. Simon, elected by the Oregon Legislation to fill the vacancy in the United States Senate from that state, being boycotted by Washington society, because of his being a Jew, they ought to be.  Mr. Simon will not be the first Jew to sit in the Senate, nor yet the second.  There have been three Jew Senators, and so far as known, they received precisely the same social treatment in Washington, that their colleagues did, and enjoyed the respect and esteem of those who came in contact with them, both officially and socially…”  And the remainder of the article discussed David S. Yulee (né Levy)of Florida, Judah P. Benjamin of Louisiana, and Benjamin Franklin Jonas of Florida.

Ad Gallery

With all of the new stores that opened in 1897,  the 1898 papers unsurprisingly featured a number of ads for local Jewish businesses.  Some, like Philip Cohn’s and Mrs. Segelman’s, ran small ads daily for much of the year.  Others just advertised around holidays and other heavy shopping times (though, the amount of holiday advertising is lower than I would have expected, as Lasdusky, Grinberg, and neither Grossman advertised their stores then).  For the first time Lasdusky advertised his fall millinery opening, which would become a fixture in later years.

The ads in the gallery below are just the visual ones, but note that the bulk of the ads were small text mentions such as, “Segelman’s keep Roger’s make of silver ware, the kind that is always reliable. You should see those 1847 triple plated knives and forks at Segelman’s” (1/27).

There were far more Jewish stores than those that advertised, and while I once thought that the presence or absence of advertising was a proxy for the overall success of the store, I believe that some of the most successful businesses catered to Homestead’s substantial non-English-speaking population, who would not have been readers of this paper.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find their community’s papers (if there were any) for this time period.  Additionally, other seemingly high-profile businesses, like Klein’s Eureka hotel (other than its opening), both Grossman stores, and the new Goldston & Mervis, seem not to have advertised at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *