Jews in the News, 1894

The articles I found for 1894 show the economic and social diversity amongst the Jews of Homestead even in the year of the community formal organization.  Some members of Homestead’s nascent Jewish community were sufficiently successful to send their wives on long vacation, and others kept landing in jail.  They also show a few glimpses of ways in which individuals were integrated into the larger life of the town.  (Other 1894 articles not included in this batch cover the formation of the synagogue and the second Rosh Hashana celebrated in Homestead.) 

As there are a large number of articles here, I’ve organized them by theme.  They’re all worth reading, though!

Segelman sorrows
Liquor licenses
Legal troubles
Grossman’s store
Merchant woes
Grossman travel
Lasdusky socializing
Mysterious Marks family
Life-cycle events
Those who failed to get mail

Segelman Sorrows

  • March 22: “R. Seigleman, of Sixth avenue, is confined to his room with rheumatism.”
5/3/1894: Troubles with a Segelman son

5/3/1894: Troubles with a Segelman son.  Would he have behaved better if he had known what was to befall his family only a month-and-a-half later?

  • June 20: “R. Segleman, the Sixth avenue jeweler, is confined to his home on McClure street, very ill with pneumonia.”  (Five days earlier, the paper wrote, “The physicians all report more sickness in the town than there has been for some time past. All of them are very busy. The hot weather of the past few days is the cause.”)

On 6/22/1894, Ralph Segelman died.

On 6/22/1894, Ralph Segelman, first present of the synagogue, died.  Note the praise for his business and character, as well as his membership in several Homestead Lodges.

  • July 20:  “Mrs. R. Segelman of McClure street who was taken suddenly ill the fore part of the week with neuralgia of the heart and whose condition was critical, has recovered.”

Liquor Licenses

As I explain in the clippings for 1893, there was a limited number of liquor licenses for Homestead, and though some in our community applied each year, thus far none received.

  • February 15:  Liquor license application include “Jos. Klein, 616 Heisel.”  (I am not sure who this is — perhaps a relation of the M. Kline discussed below?).
  • February 19:  “Abraham Skirball, 513 Eighth ave” was one of 11 who applied for a wholesaler’s license.
  • March 31:  Klein was refused his liquor license.  The newspaper reports that overall the number of saloons in town increased, though.
  • April 7:  Skirball was refused his wholesaler license.

Legal Troubles

All of the liquor-related issues involve Markowitzes and Klines.  With the background above, you can begin to understand why they were selling liquor illegally.  

  • January 13:  “Max Markowitz of Homestead was convicted yesterday at court of indecent assault.”
First incident involving Bettie Kline of Dickson street, Bertha Kline of Munhall, and Max Markowitz (whose involvement is unclear).

April 20: First incident involving Bettie Kline of Dickson street, Bertha Kline of Munhall, and Max Markowitz (whose involvement is unclear).


May 16: Bettie Cline, of Fourth avenue was arrested in McKeesport. Sam Markowitz went on her bond. Adolph Herskowitz is the prosecutor.

May 16: Bettie Cline, of Fourth avenue was arrested in McKeesport. Sam Markowitz went on her bond. Adolph Herskowitz is the prosecutor.  As the article indicates, this is the same Bettie who was arrested in Homestead a month prior.  Though she relocated her operation up the river, she got caught again quickly.

May 17: Bettie Cline was held for court on $1000 bail from Sam Markowitz.

May 17: Bettie Cline was held for court on $1000 bail from Sam Markowitz.

September 26

September 26:  H. Moskowitz was accused of perjury.  Also, my great-grandfather, Bernhardt Hepps, was the chief witness in another court case.  (Ironically, his son later went into partnership with a Holleran.)

Grossman’s Store

Isadore S. (I.S.) Grossman came to the U.S. as a teenager in 1881, first settling in NY.  Many of his siblings came west, too.   A couple of these notices capture all three of the Grossmans who were present around when the synagogue was chartered.  Although Ignatz (I.) Grossman came slightly too late to count as a charter member, he became the synagogue’s unofficial historian, and clearly he was there long enough to have experienced almost everything.  

  • February 14: “Isadore Grossman is in New York city buying spring goods for his store.”
  • May 1: “Jacob Grossman, who has been in the employ of I.S. Grossman, the Eighth avenue clothier, for three years, left this morning and will hereafter be employed by H. Amshel of Braddock. His place will be taken by I. Grossman of Cadiz, Ohio.”
  • May 31: “I. Grossman of Cadiz, O., arrived in Homestead last evening and will clerk for Isadore Grossman of Eighth avenue.”

Merchant Woes

These articles are just a few examples of the kind of petty thievery that Homestead’s paper often reported plaguing all its merchants.

The Homestead News, 2/13/1894

February 13:  Segelman suffers a costly robbery.

2/27/1894: Grossman sues a shoe thief

February 27: Grossman sues a shoe thief

August 31: S. Markowitz sues a woman for not paying for shoes.

August 31: S. Markowitz sued a woman for not paying for shoes.  The microfilm had a deep scratch in it, making it impossible for us to learn why the charge was withdrawn.  Argh!


October 24:  Isadore S. Grossman sued a man for paying for a suit with a counterfeit bill.

October 25

October 25:  I.S. Grossman‘s lawsuit settled. This is a rare example of the Homestead paper providing a follow-up for a case taken to the squire.


November 6:  I.S. Grossman was dragged into a semi-demoralized man’s absent mindedness


November 12:  A. Skirball had a man arrested for stealing a pair of shoes from his shop.

12/26: Note the lengths to which Henry Moskowitz had to go to prevent robbery in store!

December 26: Note the lengths to which Henry Moskowitz had to go to prevent robbery in store!

Grossman travel

Grossman’s store, which he expanded between 1892-1894, must have been doing quite well for his wife to be able to afford a substantial vacation with her sisters.  

  • June 27:  “Isadore Grossman, of Eighth avenue, spent yesterday with his wife’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Anshell of Braddock.”
  • July 9:  “I.S. Grossman and family of Eighth avenue, spent yesterday with Mrs. Grossman‘s parents, Mr. and Mrs. H Amshell of Main street Braddock. Mrs. H. Amshell and Mrs. A Amshell, of Braddock of Mrs. I.S. Grossman, of Eighth avenue, Homestead will leave the latter part of this week for a three weeks stay at either Rockwood Beach or Sheepshead Bay.”
  • August 3: “Mrs. I.S. Grossman, of Eighth avenue, and Mrs. Amshell, of Braddock, came home this morning from New York. They were absent three weeks at seaside resorts.”
  • September 10:  “Mrs. Louis Amshel and Jacob Grossman of Braddock were the guests yesterday of Mr. and Mrs. I.S. Grossman, of Eighth avenue.”

Lasdusky socializing

Lasdusky is another one who arrived in the U.S. as a child and settled first in NYC.  

  • May 29: “Mr. Ladusky and wife of Sixth avenue, spent yesterday with friends at West Newton.”
  • June 4: “James Ladusky and wife, of Sixth avenue, visited friends in Allegheny yesterday afternoon.”
  • June 13: “Max Lasdusky of Sixth avenue who has been visiting for several days at Scott Haven returned this morning.”
  • August 9: “Mrs. Joseph Ladusky, of Sixth avenue, went to Scottsdale yesterday on a visit of several weeks, with Mr. Ladusky‘s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Ladusky.”
  • August 27: “Joseph Landusky, of Sixth avenue, spent a very pleasant day yesterday with Mrs. Landusky’s cousin, Robert T. Simon of West Newton.”
  • September 3: “Joseph Lansdusky, of Sixth avenue, left Homestead Saturday evening for New York, where he will remain for a week looking after business interests.”
  • December 11:  “Mr. and Mrs. Lasdusky Entertained Friends.  A large number of the friends of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky, met at their residence on Sixth avenue Saturday, and spent a very pleasant day in honor of the birthday of their baby boy he being one year old.  Mrs. Lasdusky prepared an excellent lunch which was heartily enjoyed by all present.  Mr. and Mrs. James Simon of West Newton were among those present.”

Mysterious Marks family

Are these Markses Markowitzes in disguise?  I wasn’t sure at first that they they were Jewish ’til I found the last item.

The Homestead News, 4/3/1894

On 4/3/1894 The Homestead News first mentioned M. Marks.

  • July 10: “Matthew Levy and wife and Mrs. Levy‘s sister, Miss Pauline Blum, of Braddock, were visitors Sunday in Homestead with Mr. and Mrs. M. Marks of Sixth avenue.”
  • July 28: “Leo. Blum, of Braddock, was in Homestead yesterday the guest of his friend M. Marks, of Sixth avenue.”
  • August 3: “M. Marks, of Sixth avenue, who left last Saturday for a trip to Buffalo, New York, and Philadelphia, returned home Wednesday. He was away on business.”
The Homestead News, 9/29/1894

The Homestead News, 9/29/1894.  A circumcision for M. Marks‘ son!!  It took place the day before Rosh Hashana began.

Life-cycle events

June 20, 1894: M. Kline, employed by Sam. Markowitz, of Heisel street, as a driver, was kicked by a horse and severely injured.

June 20: M. Kline, employed by Sam. Markowitz, of Heisel street, as a driver, was kicked by a horse and severely injured.

  • June 21:  “A little child of S. Markwitz of Heisel street died early this morning and will be buried to-morrow.”
Wedding of Miss Fannie Lefkowitz of New York and M. Iechovitz of Heisel street. (Editor: I have no idea who either is.)

July 20:  Wedding of Miss Fannie Lefkowitz of New York and M. Iechovitz of Heisel street, conducted by the newly-arrived Rabbi Featherman. (Pretty sure this is Nathan Eskowitz’s wedding!)


October 29:  Marriage announcement for Bertha Federman, the daughter of Rabbi Federman/Featherman, and a McKeesport merchant.  They settled in McKeesport, where there was a much larger, thriving Hungarian Jewish community.


October 31:  A full description of the wedding of Rabbi Featherman‘s daughter soon followed.

Those who failed to get mail

The newspaper printed lists daily of people who had letters waiting for them in the post office.  Two correspond, probably, to known charter members of the synagogue.  Louis Goldstein is not a name I saw anywhere else in connection with the community, but perhaps…?

  • September 13: Henry Pollock
  • June 30: Louis Goldstein
  • July 11: Bernard Hopps


  • May 25: “George Herskovitz, of Heisel street, tried to induce some Slavs, in the Second ward, to go to the coke regions to work. Several hundred of the ran him to the river, intend to duck him, but he escaped in a skiff.”  (This name is also not one I’ve seen in connection with the community, though there was an Adolph Herskovitz (and possibly as George Moskowitz, as mentioned earlier), and many Jews were on Heisel St. at the time, so who knows…)
  • May 31: All the property owners on Heisel St. were assessed fees for the construction of the new sewer, ranging from $13.50-$115.  The printed list included Herman Markowitz ($35.00), Samuel Markowitz ($35.00), and Max Markowitz ($68.00).  Interestingly, the name Herman Markowitz doesn’t come up anywhere else.  Was it a different Markowitz?  Or was it really Henry Moskowitz?  At any rate, it shows that these three men were property owners!
  • July 19: The Populist Club of Homestead thanked the business people who donated towards the “commonweal armies” that passed through the town. “Generals Coxey, Galvin and Randall informed us this was the only town that they had come through that the police officers did not try to intimidate their men.”  Grocer Samuel Markwitz of Heisel street was one of these donors.1
  • August 22: Morris Frankel and Joe Revok, “two of the more intelligent members of the Homestead colony of Slavs,” solicited donations to return a man dying of consumption to Austria so he could die with his family. On September 1 the paper reported that the sum of $13.15 was raised, and though not enough to cover the trip, he went to NYC to stay with a sister working as a servant there, who covered the balance of the cost for him to sail home a few days later.
  • November 2:  “M. Fogel, who has been running a shoe shop on Heisel street has removed to McKeesport.”
  • November 9:  11/9 “Miss Millie Skirboll, of Third avenue returned home last evening from New Kensington, Pa., where she spent a very pleasant week with her friend, Mrs. A. Wayne.”
  • November 20:  A S.M. Rosenthal, an upholsterer, came to Homestead from Braddock late in the summer to start a business.  After a couple months, business was not good, so he left for Richmond, VA, where he expected his business would do better.  On the train he was “robbed on the sly,” so he returned to Homestead.  (I don’t know if this man is Jewish.)
  • December 15:  Another sewer assessment, this time for property owners on Eighth Avenue, these ranging from $33-$149 (higher than the one we saw earlier for Heisel St., as Eighth Ave. was becoming a popular destination for merchants, and Heisel St. was central in the poor, immigrant neighborhood of mostly “Huns” and “Slavs”).  Amongst them was A. Skirbol, who was assessed $75, one of the higher amounts (and a Jacob Solomon, $73).  More assessments on December 19:  Jacob Solomon $93.47, A. Skirball $103.85.
  • December 18:  “Martin Davidovitz, formerly of Homestead but now a resident of Braddock visited his old friends in Homestead to-day.”  (To be fair, I don’t know that this man is Jewish.  This is the future Martin Devay!)

  1. I believe these are three of the many protest armies of unemployed men who marched across the U.S. to D.C. after the Panic of 1893 sent unemployment soaring. Coxey’s Army was by far the most famous. None of them was successful, but they brought out a good deal of sympathy.  

  1 comment for “Jews in the News, 1894

  1. Julie Weisman
    September 13, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Does anyone know if Morris Frankel had a family member named Ella?

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