Jews in the News, 1900

In 1900, for the first time in years, there were mentions of the synagogue’s activities in the paper — they held a ball to raise money!  You can read about those goings-on here.

Business Doings
Merchant Woes
Real Estate and Landlording
Family and Fun
Holiday and Community
Also of Interest


  • 1/3:  “A Pluck Justice Prevents a Prisoner’s Escape,” read the headline, and but it left out that a second man prevented his escape, too.  “Justice Giles fell upon him and he tried to clinch and continue the fight but Max Markowitz held him until the Justice arose and he was then quickly hustled off to the lockup in irons.”
  • 1/20:  “Constable John Cavanaugh went to Cleveland yesterday to bring back George Dartas, a Slav, who is a fugitive from justice, having jumped his bail bond.  Dartas was located in Cleveland the first of the week by Morris Frankel, but refused to come back…Dartas is charged with embezzlement…Mr. Frankle who went on his bond, asked for a bench warrant and started out to find Dartas…He found Dartas without any trouble, but the latter…refused to come back.  Frankel then returned and placed the case in the hands of constable Cavanaugh.”  Cavanaugh successfully got Dartas on the train, but the paper reported on 1/22 that Dartas jumped off the train and was injured.  Nevertheless, the proceedings against him went forward, but on 2/5 the paper reported that he died in the hospital.   He was 30 and left behind a wife.  (You can read the full articles in the slideshow towards the end of this post.)
  • 2/13:  The annual Hebrew ball brought together Jews and non-Jews in support of the congregation’s efforts to build a synagogue.
  • 3/6:  “The concert given by Miss Mattie Edwards in the Fifth Avenue Opera House will take place this evening. The following artists will assist the young lady…David Skirboll, violinist, and a monologist from this place. The entertainment ill commence at 8 o’clock. The accompanist of the evening will be Prof. Stringler, of Pittsburg.”
  • 4/12: To rally support for a paid fire company, the paper interviewed the town’s leading businessmen and quoted their sentiments, including from “A. Skirboll.—Chief Bryce’s ideas are all right.”  He, like the other businessmen, all agreed that the fire chief’s ideas to improve the department (by making it paid) were sound.  Given the constant fires in the town that were so destructive to businesses, naturally they’d want to see improvements!  On 4/13, more opinions were printed, including:  “Jos. Lasdusky—The ideas is a timely one. We stand in need of some paid men but I think it would be best to continue the volunteers.”
  • 10/11:   “John McDonough, while under the influence of liquor, had a very narrow escape from death yesterday afternoon and Morris Frankle, the well-known merchant of Heisel street, also barely escaped with his life while rescuing McDonough…He apparently did not notice the approach of the train and did not heed the engineer’s whistle and started across the track.  The engine was but a few feet from him when Mr. Frankle, who was sitting on the steps of his place of business, noticed the man and was sure that he would meet with his end…Reaching the man he grabbed hold of his collar and dragged him to one side of the track.  Mr. Frankle was not one moment too soon for just as he succeeded in getting McDonough out of the way the engine passed…”  (The full article with all the heroic details is in the slideshow below.)
  • 12/27:  One of the nominees for the standing committee of the town’s Businessmen’s association was Morris Half.


  • 3/26:  “Misses Rose Skirboll, Grace Howard and Miss Young are home from California State Normal. They will return in a few days to attend the spring term.” This is a teacher’s training college in Western PA attended by many young women from Homestead.
  • 6/22:  An article listing the 118 graduates of the California State Normal School included a few Homestead girls including Rose Skirball!
  • 8/10:  “Morris Moss, formerly with McCune & Swattz, is with the Osborne Drug Co. In the fall he will attend the pharmacy institute. ”
  • 9/10:  “Emil Lebovitz, the popular assistance in Beazell’s drug store will enter the medical department of the Western University of Pennsylvania this fall.”
  • 10/1:  “Morris Moss, who for some time past has been engaged in Osborne’s Dickson street drug store, left last evening for Atlanta, Ga., where he will enter medical college.”

Business Doings

  • A picture of the Shield Block from the 5/1/1900 paper.

    A picture of the Shield Block from the 5/1/1900 paper.

    1/4:  “Rudolph Half left for Michigan, where  he will attend the great Furniture Manufacturers’ Exposition.”  The volume of business for their first six months surpassed expectations.

  • 2/16:  “Joseph Lasdusky and S. Wolk were callers in McKees Rocks yesterday afternoon. Mr. Wolk will open a branch shoe store in that place in a few days.”
  • 2/26:  “Harry Friedman of Philadelphia, has accepted a position as manager of the Philadelphia Bargain store, on Eighth avenue.”  This is Samuel Markle‘s store.  I suspect they might be related.
  • 3/1:  The paper announced the dissolution of the partnership of Goldston and Mervis, who would thereafter have separate businesses.  Hopefully it was amicable — Mervis was married to Goldston’s sister!  (Ad included in the slideshow below.)
  • 3/2:  “Wolk’s shoe store is being fitted up for a magnificent electrical display during this month. Two hundred various colored lights will be place don brackets made for the purpose and the show promises to exceed anything in magnificence ever attempt in Homestead.”
  • 3/5:  “A. Skirboll, of Eighth avenue, left last night for New York and Philadelphia, where he will purchase goods for the spring trade.”
  • 3/13:  “Sol Silverman, a prominent merchant, of Rochester, was calling on Eighth avenue business friends yesterday.”
  • 3/20:  “I. Grossman, the novelty dealer, was at the Hotel Victoria, Pittsburg, yesterday and purchased his imported stock for the holidays.”
  • 3/21:  Time for the annual April 1 moves! “A. Marcus will go from his present place on Sixth avenue to 521 Eighth avenue, where Skirboll and Son’s gents furnishing store is now located. The latter will occupy one of the store rooms in the new Shield’s building.  The other store room in this building will be occupied by Friedlander, of the Busy Bee Hive who will move from the Griffith building…S. Mervis, of the firm of Mervis & Goldston will open a gent’s furnishing store in the New Dupont building.”  (Skirboll and Friedlander ads included in the slideshow below.)
  • 3/26:  “Morris Grinberg, of Grinberg Bros. novelty store, returned last evening from a business trip to New York and other eastern cities.”
  • 4/4:  “One of the prettiest stocks of Gent’s furnishings to be seen in town is that being displayed by Philip Cohn, 511 Eighth avenue. All the popular and latest styles are represented and at prices that makes buying easy…Miss Ida Kaminsky, one of the most popular young salesladies in this vicinity has returned from New Martinsburg, W. Va., where she went with her parents last fall, and has again taken a position with Mr. B Friedlander, of the Busy Bee Hive.”
  • 4/10:  “Gentlemen, don’t forget to visit Skirboll & Son’s opening on Friday and get a good cigar….Every gentleman who calls at Skirball & Son’s new store in the Shields’ block, Eighth avenue near Dickson street, on Friday will be treated to a fine cigar.”
  • 4/11:  “Julius Schermer, of Bradock (sic), was a business visitor here this morning.”  Is this a relation of Reuben Schermer?
  • 4/17:  “Sol. Wolk is in McKees Rocks opening up a department store. Mr. Wolk has a good stand in the growing town and will no doubt make a success of his new venture.”
  • 4/24:  “Max Markowitz has sold his meat market at the corner of McClure street and Eighth avenue to the Gardner Bros., who will take charge at once. The new firm is composed of two young men of hustling ability and they propose to improve the shop and run it in first class manner. Markowitz will open another shop on Heisel street.”
  • 4/30:  “Abe and Sol Wolk, of Eighth avenue, were the guests of friends in McKees Rocks yesterday afternoon.”
  • 5/2:  “Sol Wolk, the shoe man, will leave for Philadelphia this evening on business.”
  • 5/11:  A new jewelry store, Marks‘, opened in the Dupont building, 407 Eighth avenue.
  • 6/7:  “Abe Blattner, of Braddock, was here yesterday on business.”  6/10:  “Abe Blattner, a prominent clothier of Braddock, was visiting relatives here yesterday.”
  • 6/28: “Gentlemen who like to dress well who are accustomed to having their suits made to order, will be interested in hearing that Mr. Philip Cohn, of 511 Eighth avenue, is now using the new Madison system in the making of all the work he is turning out.” More on what this is below.
  • 7/9:  “Nathan Marks, of Philadelphia, the junior member of the Philadelphia Bargain store, is here taking stock.”
  • 7/12:  “Wolk, the shoe man of Eight avenue has placed electric fans in his place of business and now anyone entering can rest assured that they enjoy a cool breeze during the hot months….Harry Friedman, who for some time past has been the efficient manager of the Philadelphia Bargain store on 8th avenue, will on Saturday evening leave for Philadelphia, where he will stop for a few days and then set sail for Paris to attend the exposition. Mr. Friedman will be away for about three months.”
  • 7/14:  “A. Skirboll, will leave Sunday evening on a business trip through the East.”
  • 9/5:  “Meyer Grinberg, who has had charge of Grinberg’s store in McKees Rocks, is here managing the Eighth avenue story in the absence of Morris Grinberg. Morris Grinbery (sic), of Grinberg Bros., Eighth avenue, notion house, left last evening for New York and other Eastern cities. While away Mr. Grinbery (sic) will purchase the firm’s stock of fall and holiday good for 1900.”
  • 9/11: “B. Glueck will occupy the room as 311, Eighth avenue recently vacated by the Philadelphia Bargain store with an up-to-date gent’s furnishings store. Mr. Glueck has had several years experience in the business and proposed to carry full line of hats and gents furnishings. He will be open and ready for business Saturday.”  (Ad in slideshow below.  Samuel Markle, who was the proprietor of the former store, was his nephew!)
  • 9/15:  “Morris Grinberg, of Eighth avenue, has returned from a business trip to the east.”  I should hope so!  Selichot starts tonight!
  • 12/13:  “Morris Frankle, the clothier of Heisel street, yesterday presented each member of the police force with a pair of gloves. The gift is much appreciated by the members of the force.”
  • 12/18:  “One of the finest Christmas displays on Eighth avenue is that of Wolk‘s family shoe house.  The window display is worth more than a passing glance and the interior decorations are in keeping with the occasion and no more attractive place can be found anywhere.  The special offering in footwear is also worthy of attention, a fine display being made in fancy slippers, just the thing for a Christmas present.”
  • 12/24:  In an article about how crowded the stores were on Saturday before Xmas, the paper noted, “Everywhere toys were on sale there was a siimlar rush to that in McCune & Swartz, and Grossman, Grinberg and other toy dealers did a rushing business until a late hour Saturday night, and are again repeating a harvest today….Places where unusual large crowds were noticed by the report in making his rounds were…Segelman‘s jewelry store…Wolk‘s Shoe House…Lasdusky‘s dry goods and millinery store…Grossman’s China and toy store, Grinberg Bros. toy and china emporium, Skirboll‘s shoe store, Half Bros. furniture store,” and 8 non-Jewish stores.

Merchant Woes

  • 1/5:  “Morris Markowitz, who is employed in Grinberg Bros,’ china store, met with a painful accident yesterday.  He was assisting in storing away some chairs in the third story of a building when one of the chairs fell, striking him on the forehead, inflicting an ugly wound.  He is unable to attend to his duties.”
  • 3/12:  “Proprietor Samuels of the Bon Ton store Eighth avenue had an experience with shop lifters Saturday night adoubt (sic) 10 O’clock.”  Full article below; the version in the Pittsburg Press suggests the proprietor was William Samuels, though a Homestead article suggests Samuel Samuels.
  • 4/9:  In Gold alley “a blaze was discovered in a house belonging to Samuel Markowitz and occupied by some foreigners.  The discovery was made about [illegible]:30 o’clock Sunday morning and a general alarm was sent in…The loss at [this] fire will amount to about $300.  The building was partly insured.  The fire originated in Markowitz’s stable which was totally destroyed along with a valuable horse and wagon.”
  • 4/15:  More woes for Samuels‘ Bon Ton — this time a fire.  “Little damage was done, the fire being confined to a lot of boxes and paper in the cellar…By good work the firemen kept the blaze from breaking through into the store room.  Some of the stock was slightly damaged by water.  The origin of the fire is unknown.”
  • 5/9: “The clothing and gents’ furnishing store of H. Eskovitz, on Dickson street, above Third avenue, was the scene early this morning of one of the most daring robberies that has ever been perpetrated in Homestead…A boy who is employed in the store was sleeping near the window where the robbers entered but this morning he was surprised when he was awakened by Mr. Eskovitz and informed that the place has been robbed…He said that the loss would amount to about $200. It may be that there were many goods taken and have not been missed yet.”  Shortly thereafter, the robber was discovered and identified his accomplice, who confessed.  (All five articles are included in the slideshow a few sections down for you to enjoy all the juicy details.)
  • 5/14:  A strange article appeared about “Adolph Herskovitz, the well-known interpreter” who is the court-appointed guardian of a “ward who is puzzling him” by refusing the marry the man she took out a wedding license with and insisting she marry another.  Is this the Adolph Herskovitz who founded the synagogue?  The only possible match for this man I can find is someone who seemed to have a lot of official functions.
  • 5/26:  “Samuel Glick, who runs a grocery store on Heisel street in company with Morious Metelinon was arrested for dumping garbage in the park yes[terday.  The arrest was] made by Officer Thos. Cush.  Last night Burgess Miller fined each of the guilty parties $1.00 and costs.”
  • 6/5: About that fire company…

Bad Fire Last Night

Lewis Beck‘s Store Partly Destroyed

The building on Heisel street occupied by Lewis Beck, as a grocery was nearly burned to the ground early this morning and had it not been for good work on part of members of companies Nos. 1 and 4 the store would have been totally destroyed.

A few minutes before 1 o’clock this morning, a woman who was pasing the store noticed flames in the rear part of the building. She informed a man who turned in the alarm and the two companies responded. It required about an hour’s work to completely subdue the flames. The upper part of the building was occupied by a Slavish family. The loss is about $100, partially insured.

  • 6/9: “Max. Markowitz was arrested in Pittsburg this morning, by the ordinance officer, for driving a wagon containing an 1899 license plate, the city official claiming the 1899 license had expired.  The license in the city expires May 1st but those of Homestead are good until July.  This complicates things and every summer the city officials get after the Homestead teamsters and cause them no end of trouble but they are alway discharged when the produce evidence before the Alderman to show that the plates are good until July 1st.”
  • 6/18:  “Lewis Gratch, a Hebrew peddler, tried to sell a Hun a watch on Dickson street this morning.  The Hun refused to buy it but tried to take it from the Hebrew and in the scuffle that ensued the latter was badly used up and had his clothes torn.  The Hebrew appeared before Justice Giles and made a complaint against the ill-treatment he was subjected to but as he was himself liable to arrest for selling without a license he did not push his complaint very much.”
  • 6/19:  “The store of Henry Beck, on Heisel street, which was partially destroyed by fire some time ago is being repaired.”  They obviously meant Louis Beck.
  • 6/30:  “Heran Beck, of Heisel street, opened his meat market this morning. It will be remembered that the place was damaged by fire some time ago.”  Again, they meant Louis Beck!
  • 8/18:

Boys Were Arrested

For Larceny of Good from Shermer’s Store

For some time past the general merchandise store of R. Schermer, Dickson street, has been the scene of many petty robberies which the proprietor suspicioned (sic) was the work of a gang of small boys who lived on Third ave. Mr. Shermer has at last grew (sic) tired of the happenings and has decided to put a stop to them. Yesterday again several plugs of tobacco and some small things were taken from the store which angered the proprietor so much that he has decided to look the matter up and have the guilty one arrested.

Suspicion has been directed against three boys of Third ave. and yesterday afternoon Mr. Schermer went before Justice Giles and instuted (sic) suit against William Baltzky, John Smith and Frank Zedlak charging them with larceny. The boys were placed under arrest this morning by Constable Cavanaugh and will be given a hearing this evening before Justice Giles.

  • 9/1:  “Last night there were two robberies…one at the Eureka Hotel, run by Max Klein, on Fifth avenue…the burglars entered by a side window of the dining room.  A pick was used to break the lock on the window and then entrance was easy…The thieves secured $12 in money that was in the cash register, 200 fine cigars and some whiskey.”  (Full article in the slideshow below.)
  • 12/21:  “Until last June Samuel Hipps was the proprietor of a store in this town.  During that month he moved to Braddock and started a sort of a commission house running wagons to Dooker’s hollow and East Pittsburg.  He had working for him a young man by the name of Ben Smulovics…For some time Hipps had been missing goods out of his store and has not received any cash for them…Hipps hired a young man who was to assist Smulovics on the wagon and likewise act as a sort of a spy for his employer.  It was some time after the second fellow started on the wagon that he was able to detect Smulovic’s scheme…The assistant on the wagon told Mr. Hipps how things were going on and the latter immediately came to the office of Justice Giles here and told him of the circumstances…”  (Full details of the sting operation in the slideshow below.)

Liquor Licenses

  • 2/1:  “Henry Markowitz is applying for wholesale liquor license on Heisel street.” Probably a typo?!
  • 2/26:  The applicants for retail license include only Max Klein at 110 & 112 Fifth avenue.  On 4/10 the paper reported he got it.
  • 3/19:  Applicants for wholesale license included Henry Moskowitz, No. 524 Heisel street, and Israel Rosenbloom, No. 228 Eight avenue.  It does not appear either succeeded.

Real Estate and Landlording

  • 5/8:  In an article entitled “Real Estate on the Boom.  Many Houses are to be erected,” the list of houses sold include one to “Adolph Hepps, 5 room house on Dickson street.”
  • 6/26:  “A chimney fire occurred at a house owned by Morris Frankle on Fourth avenue Sunday about noon. No alarm was sent in as the members of No. 4 company were at their enginee house and the fire was in the immediate vicinity. The ocompany went out and the fire was extinguished without trouble. No loss is reported.”
  • 10/5:  In a legal notice regarding the Beech Alley Sewer to run between City Farm Lane and McClure street, one of the people assessed was Samuel Markowitz, who was responsible for 48′ at $22.86.
  • 12/17:  “Dr. Osborne, of Dickson street, and Max Markowitz, of Heisel street, this morning came across one of the worst cases of destitution that has ever been discovered in Homestead.  They found a man and his wife and two children on the verge of starvation…The family is that of Edward Baker and they have lived for some time in one room of one of Mr. Markowitz’s houses…The parties who are interested in the case will do all in their power to aid the family and keep them from starvation until Mr. Baker is able to work once more.”


  • 1/5:  Philip Cohn’s son had an accident that turned serious.  Not all of the article is legible.  And this “little son” was then 15!

Became Serious.

Fall Caused a Little Son of Philip Coen to Undergo an Operation.

Charley, the little son of Philip Coen, the Eighth avenue tailer is in the West Penn hospital, where it is expected he will be put under an operation today. The little fellow while —ing one day early last week fall and bruised his leg just below the knee. The injury seemed slight and did not inconvenience him any at first, but a few days later it began to give him great pain and he was unable to walk. A physician was called in and found the bone had been bruised and —d began to decay and advise that the boy be sent to the hospital as an operation would be necessary. The little fellow was taken to the hospital Wednesday. It is not thought that the operation will prove serious, and the doctors hope to restore the boy’s limb to its normal condition by simply scraping the bone.

  • 1/12:  “Dave Segelman, the jeweler, suffers from the effects of a severe cold.”
  • 1/13:  “Charles Cohn, the young man on whom the operation was performed in a Pittsburg hospital a few days ago is getting along nicely at his home.”
  • 1/29:  “Willie Skirboll, of Eighth avenue, while boxing with his brother Saturday forenoon, slipped and falling against a shoe machine, cut a pash (sic) in his forehead above his right eye which required two stitches.”  Nice way to spend Shabbat!
  • 2/20:  “Mrs. Grinberg is very ill at her home on Heisel Street.” 2/23: Mrs. Grinberg, of Heisel street, whose serious illness was noted in the News-Messenger a few days ago, is much improved.”
  • 3/10: Mrs. Joseph Lasdusky, of Eighth avenue, is lying seriously ill at her house.
  • 5/18:  “Shortly before noon today, Jacob, the three year old son of Samuel Maranz who resides on Twelfth avenue, was playing on the porch in front of his home when another boy who came along picked up a large stone and threw it with great force at the little fellow.  The fissile (sic?) struck Jacob on the ace and knocked him senseless…The Moranz boy lay in an unconcious condition for some time after he had been sturck with the stone and was found by his mother was horror stricken to see her little one lying apparently dead…It was found that the wound was a bad one but no serious results are feared.”  (Full article in the slideshow after the next section.)
  • 7/9:  “The kissing bug is again heard from in Homestead.  The insect which bit Charles Markowitz last night is not the osculatory one its work resembles in every particlar (sic).  The child was in bed sleeping when he was bitten.  This morning his head was very much swollen from the effects of the bite of the insect.  Te (sic) swelling is on the temple and the boy is attended by Dr. Osborne.”
  • 7/17:  These kinds of accidents happened with some regularity in Homestead, but this time it befell a member of our community:

A serious accident occurred on the Monongahela street railway a short distance above the West Braddock bridge yesterday afternoon about 3 o’clock, in which two children were badly injured, a horse killed, and a wagon demolished. The names of the injured are:

SIMON SAMUELS, aged 7 years, thrown from the wagon, right leg broken and head badly cut and bruised. Will recover.

PHILIP SAMUELS, aged 5 years. Hurt by falling out of the wagon. Scratches about the head. It is believed he is internally injured and serious result are feared.

The two children are sons of Isaac Samuels, a grocer, who runs a small store on Third avenue near McClure street…

A car from Duquesne came along and when it came near the wagon the horse twisted away from the boy who was holding it, finally got in front of the street car which was coming at a very rapid rate down the hill. The motorman of the car tried to stop but could not do so and the car struck the horse and knocked it over the hill…

The loss of Mr. Samuels will be about $150. He had only recently purchased the horse and wagon.

  • 7/24:  “Samuel Half, of Half Bros., is seriously ill at his home in Oakland, with typhoid fever.”
  • 8/7:  “The six months old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Beck, of Heisel street, died this morning after a long illness. The funeral took place this afternoon rom the residence of the parents. The interment was made in the Jewish cemetery, near Homeville.”
  • 8/25:  “Samuel Half whose death was briefly mentioned in these columns yesterday was 27 years of age and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Half, of 377 Atwood street, Oakland.  He was the manager of the furniture store here and was one of the best known and most highly respected business men of this town.  He is survived by his parents and three brothers.  The funeral will be held tomorrow, services at the residence of the deceased’s parents at 9 o’clock A.M.”
  • 10/22:  “Mrs. Leavenworth, the wife of the Jewish Rabbi, who resides on Heisel street, was badly injured Saturday by being thrown off a Monongahela street car on Eighth avenue at the corner of Heisel street  It is said by some parties who saw the accident that that lady gave the conduct the signs to stop the car at the corner and he rang the bell for that purpose.  When Mrs. Leavenworth was getting off the car it is claimed that the conductor rang the bell to start and she was thrown with great force on the pavement.  She was badly shaken up by the fall and was cut about the head and body.  Mrs. Leavenworth called at the office of Dr. John Osborne where her injuries were attended.”
  • 10/27:  “Yesterday Isaac Samuels, of Third avenue entered suit against the Monongahela Street railway company for $5,000 damages.  It will be remembered by readers of the News-Messenger that two of the plaintiff’s children were injured in a street car accident on the Monongahela line a short distance about the West Braddock bridge some time ago.  Mr. Samuels in hit suit alleges that the accident was the result of careless on part of the company.”

Family and Fun

  • 1/22:  “I.S. Grossman and family were in Braddock yesterday in attendance at the wooden wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Amshel, of the Star hotel. Mr. Amshel is a brother of Mrs. Grossman. The affair was largely attended, about 100 persons being present. Yesterday was also the birthday of one of Mr. Amshel’s children.”
  • 2/8:  “Meyer Grinberg, of the well known firm of Grinberg Bros., of Eighth avenue, has returned from a business trip to East Liverpool, Ohio.”
  • 2/19:  “Dr. L. Rubenstein and Attorney Harry Diamond, of Pittsburg, were the guests of their friend, M. Morris Lewin, yesterday.”
  • 2/23:  “A. Skirboll, of Eighth avenue, will leave in the course of a few days on a trip to New York.”
  • 2/24: “Society Doing. Local Gatherings of Interest to the Public. Mr. and Mrs. H. Jaffe, of 55 ½ Roberts street, Pittsburg have issued invitations to the marriage of their daughter, Miss Bertha Jaffe, to Samuel Samuels, of this place, on Tuesday evening March 6th 1900, at 5 o’clock. The groom is the proprietor of the Bon Ton store on 8th avenue. Quite a number of Homesteaders have received invitations and will attend the wedding.”
  • 2/26:  “Morris and Meyer Grinberg, of Eighth avenue, were in Pittsburgh yesterday attending the funeral of a relative.”
  • 2/27:  “M. Morris Lewin, of Eighth avenue will attend a reception of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Tree of Life Congregation given in Brown’s Auditorium, East End this evening.”
  • 3/2:  “Mrs. Samuel Markle of Eighth avenue, and Miss Jennie Stitt, of Munhall, were in Pittsburg last evening.”
  • 19000501 beedle block3/7:  “Married Last Night. The marriage of Miss Bertha Jaffe, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H Jaffe, of 33?5? 1-2 Roberts street, Pittsburg and Samuel Samuels, of this place was solemnized last evening at 5 o’clock. The weding took place in the city. Mr. and Mrs. Samuels arrived in Homestead this morning and will go to housekeeping in the Beedle building on Eighth avenue.  Mr. Samuels is proprietor of the New Bon Ton store on Eighth avenue.”
  • 3/8:  “Max Markowitz, the well-known Heisel street baker appeared in court this morning and asked for a commission in lunacy to examine his sister-in-law Dora Markowitz.  The young woman has recently taken a dislike to Max, it is said…When Markowitz was off the wagon delivering some of his ware his cousin (???), it is said, climbed on the wagon and poured the oil on his stock…Max is not the only one to suffer from her queer pranks.  Last week she threw oil over the goods in a grocery store at Rankin and was arrested for the crime and was given a hearing last night but the sentence was suspended until her mental condition could be determined…”  (Read the full article in the slideshow below, including what she did to her husband!)
  • 3/10:  “A. Skirboll returned from New York last evening.”
  • 3/13:  “Attorney Harry Diamond and Alf Kahn, of Pittsburg, were calling on M. M. Lewin.”
  • 3/24:  “Joseph Wolk, a prominent clothing manufacturer, of NYC, was calling on his cousin, [illegible], the shoe man yesterday afternoon. He is in Pittsburg to-day…Mrs. C. Segleman, of Eighth avenue who has been ill for the past few days is much improved in health.”
  • 3/29:  “Invitations have been received in homestead for the wedding of Miss Fannie Stark, formerly of this place, on April 8th, in New York City. She is to be married to M. Ruttenberg.”
  • 4/16:  “Morris F. Devay, of Cleveland, O., was the Easter guest of I.S. Grossman, of Dickson street.”  By Easter I believe mean Passover, which they called the Jewish Easter (see below).  4/16 was the day after the second seder.  There was an M. Devay who was brief a member of the shul around the time the first building was built, but I can find very little information about him.  Is this the elusive man himself, checking out his future home?
  • 4/21:  “Ben Friedlander, the popular and handsome proprietor of the Busy Bee Hive on Eighth avenue is greeting his friends with a very large smile of delight these days and incidentally is treating them to choice Havanas –all of which is due to the arrival at his home on Thursday of a pretty little lady.”
  • 4/22:  “Harry Friedman spent yesterday visiting friends in Allegheny… Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Markle, of Eighth avenue, spent a very pleasant Sunday with relatives in Braddock.”
  • 4/30:  Here is an exciting bit of personal news — though the article does not fulfill the subhed’s promise of a wedding feast?!

A House Dedication

Combined With a Wedding Feast.

I.S. Grossman‘s new home, on Dickson street, was dedicated yesterday with ceremonies that were elaborate in every respect. There was a large crowd of friends of Mr. and Mrs. Grossman present at the dedication which was conducted by Rev. Sivetz of Pittsburg. It was noon when the exercises were started and after the dedication a royal good time was had by all present. The afternoon was spent in different kinds of amusement. Vocal solos by Miss Margaret Conroy, The Misses Sober, and Miss Elliot, of Pittsburg, were enjoyed by those present. Dinner and supper were served by the host and hostess. The guest list included the following: H. Moskovitz, Jos. Lasdusky, Sam Moranz, Capt. Ackard, N. Eskowitz, M. Fogel, J. Katz and family, and Miss Margaret Conroy, of Homestead, Mr. and Mrs. Grossman, and son Joseph, of New York, M. Gross, J. Reich and family, William Simon and family, and Rev. Sivetz of Pittsburg. H. Amshel and family, L. Amshel and family, and M.F. Devay and family, of Braddock.

  • 5/7:  “Harry Friedman spent yesterday with friends in Bythedale (?)… Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Markle, of Eighth avenue spent yesterday with relations in Braddock.”
  • 5/9:  “Mr. and Mrs. Jos. Grossman, of New York who have been visiting their son, I. S. Grossman, of Dickson street for the past two weeks returned home yesterday.”  Weirdly this article and the previous do not mention I.S.’s brother I., who also had a store in Homestead.
  • 5/18:  “Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hirsch of Wilmington were the guests yesterday of Harry Friedman, of the Philadelphia Bargain store.”
  • 5/28:  “Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Markle, of Eighth avenue, spent yesterday in Braddock visiting friends.”
  • 6/4:  “Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Markle, of Eighth avenue attended an engagement party in Braddock yesterday.”
  • 6/6:  “Misses Esther Blattner, Ada Speye, and Lillian Katz of Braddock were visiting Mrs. Markle of Eighth avenue yesterday.”
  • 6/26:  “Harry Friedman, of the Philadelphia bargain store, was the guest of friends in Carnegie last evening.”
  • 7/5:   “Sol. Wolk, the Eight avenue shoe man, spent yesterday with friends in Irwin.”
  • 7/9:   “Harry Friedman, of the Philadelphia Bargain store, was in McKees Rocks visiting friends yesterday.”
  • 7/10:  “A very pretty wedding was celebrated at the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. Skirboll, of Eighth avenue, last evening, when their daughter, Miss Sadie was united in marriage to A. Goldman a prominent wholesale jeweler of Fifth avenue, Pittsburg.  The ceremony was performed in the parlor of the Skirboll home, by Rev. Bloom, of Pittsburg and was witnessed by only a few of the relatives of the contracting parties.  After a wedding supper, Mr. and Mrs. Goldman left on a honeymoon trip.  While away they will visit New York, Providence and Atlantic City.  After their return they will reside on Fifth avenue, Pittsburgh.”
  • 7/13:  “Mrs. Segleman left last evening for a visit to Philadelphia and Atlantic City… Sol and Jess Wolk, of Eighth avenue, attend a wedding in East End last evening.”
  • 7/20:  “Mrs. Samuel Markle will leave this evening for Atlantic City. She will spend about a week at the seashore.”  8/4:  “Mrs. Samuel Markle, of Eighth avenue, returned last evening from Atlantic City where she spent ten days.”
  • 7/24:  Rev. Levandorf, of Heisel street, is the happy father of a bouncing baby boy.”  This is interesting, since in May the paper reported the synagogue’s rabbi was Bierman.   “Noah Cohn, of Muskegon, Michigan, is the guest of his brother, Philip Cohn, the Eighth avenue tailor.”  Philip lived in Michigan before he came to Homestead.
  • 7/30:  “Joseph Lasdusky spent yesterday with his family, who are visiting at Scottdale…I.S. Grossman, the Eighth avenue clothier, spent yesterday with relatives in Braddock…Mrs. Morris Frankle, of Heisel street returned home Saturday after spending ten days at Atlantic City…Mrs. C. Segelman, of Eighth avenue, has returned from a two week’s trip to Philadelphia and Atlantic city…Rev. Roth, of New York, and Rev. Zevitz, of Pittsburg, are guests to-day at the home of Rev. Leavendorf, Heisel street.” (Likewise this was for the bris of his new son!)
  • 8/2: “Henry Fogel, of Heisel street, is entertaining his brother who arrived here yesterday from Hungary.” This would match up to Morris Fogel welcoming his brother Samuel Fogel. “Mrs. Dora Cohn, daughter and grandchild, of New York City are the guests of Philip Cohn.”
  • 8/10:  “Mrs. Morris Frankle, of Heisel street, returned last evening from a trip to Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and New York.”
  • 9/10:  “Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Markle, of Eighth avenue, called on relatives in Braddock yesterday.”
  • 9/17:  “The home of Joseph Lasdusky, on Seventh avenue was the scene, of feasting, drinking and merry making yesterday, Mr. Lasdusky having invited his relatives to make to them a wedding announcement, as is the custom among the Jewish people…Miss Celia Elliott, niece of Mr. Lasdusky, would be married on Jan. 15th. to Mr. M. Weissberg, a prominent business man, of Braddock…”  (Full article in the slideshow below.)
  • 10/10:  “Isadore Grossman, of Eighth avenue, was tried on a charge of assault and battery on the minor son of J.H. Marks, the Eighth avenue jeweler, and was found guilty as indicted.  He will be sentenced on Saturday morning.”  I.S., what in the world were you thinking?!  Furthermore in that article, “Isadore Klien was found guilty of assault on battery on Benj. Davis.  It will be remembered by readers of the News-Messenger that Davis went to a house on Sixth avenue and was thrown out by Klein.  Klein will also be sentenced on Saturday.”  (Not sure if he is one of ours, though.)
  • 10/11:  “David Skirboll, of Eighth avenue, is in Philadelphia. He will likely accept a position and remain permanently in the Quaker City.”  10/30:  “David Skirboll, has returned home from a visit of several weeks in Philadelphia.”  So, nu?
  • 10/13:  “Samuel Maranz, the barber of Eighth avenue is a happy man. A big baby boy arrived at his home last night.”
  • 10/22:  “Mr. and Mrs. Morris Grinberg and daughter, Miss Ruth of Eighth avenue, spent yesterday with their sister, Mrs. Davis, of Oakland.”
  • 11/1:  “Philip Cohn, the Eighth avenue tailor, is the happy father of a handsome baby boy, which arrived yesterday afternoon.”
  • 11/20:  “Mrs. G. Robinovitz, of Philadelphia, is visiting at the home of her sister-in-law, Mrs. C. Segelman of Eighth aenue.”
  • 11/27:  “Miss Minnie Lehouvitz, of Philadelphia, arrived her Saturday and will make her home permanently with her sister, Mrs. B. Friedlander, of Eighth avenue.”
  • 12/4:  “A large and brilliant wedding in Hebrew circles was solemnized in Braddock at 6 o’clock Sunday evening.  The bride of Miss Esther Blattner, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Blattner, and the groom was Ignatz Fox…The maid of honor was Miss Annie Blattner, a sister of the bride, and the bridesmaids were Miss Laura Glueck, of Homestead…The couple will live in Braddock.  Among the Homesteaders in attendance at the wedding were Mr. and Mrs. B. Glueck, Master Robert Glueck, and Mr. and Mrs. H. Marks.” This may be the clue to identifying this elusive member of the shul.  I would guess that the Gluecks and Blattners are connected somewhere.  They are!  Mrs. Jacob Blattner is a Glueck! (Full article in the slideshow below — read for all the details of the clothes and flowers!)

Holiday and Community

  • 1/18:  “A Jewish political club has been formed by the Hebrew young men of Braddock. It is known as the Young Men’s Social and Political club, and its objects are sociability and to take part in the local politics of the town.” (The first Jewish political club in the area, the Allegheny County Political Club (also known as the Hebrew Club) was founded by Pittsburgh councilman Adolph Edlis in 1897 after he was first elected. The idea was controversial.)
  • 1/19:  “Several of our Jewish residents attended a reception given by the Hebrew club of Braddock last night.”
  • 2/7:  “The Hebrews of Homestead believe they are becoming numerous enough in Homestead to make their power felt in politics if they stand united, and with this end in view they have decided to form themselves into a political club. A preliminary meeting was held last night and steps taken toward forming a permanent organization. Another meeting will be held the latter part of this week when officers will be elected.”  Surely some of the impetus was what their friends in Braddock were doing.  Also probably this news item from 1/30 gave them pause:  “The politicians will now do some hustling around to find who controls the 60 votes in the Polish political club and try to line them up for their favorite candidate. Sixty votes in a bunch is worth going after.”  The election season was then in full swing and getting a tremendous amount of attention.
  • 4/14:  “The Jewish Easter is being celebrated now by the faithful of that denomination. It is known as the Passover and began last evening at 6 o’clock.  The season will end in one week and during the time of the celebration of the Passover the members of the Jewish church are prohibited by the laws of the church from partaking of any food but bread known as ‘manna.’  Special services were held in the local synagogue this morning.”
  • 5/1:  The paper printed an elaborate special section about how much Homestead has grown in the past two decades.  They included the “Hebrew Synagogue” in the run-down of the features of the town:  “The Rodef Schulam Hebrew congregation was organized in Homestead about three years ago and worship in a building on Dickson street which has been fitted out as a synagogue. The congregation is at yet small in membership but comprises all the Hebrew families in the town. The congregation has opened a cemetery at Bellwood. The pastor is Rev. B. Beirman.”
  • 8/3: “Herman Weiss, a Hebrew aged 35 years died in the County home, Woodville yesterday afternoon.  He had been an inmate of the institution for some time and before his entrance there, boarded on Heisel street.  Weiss came to this county 18 months ago and has never had good health since. He has no relatives in this country but is survived by a wife and five children in Hungary.  The Homestead Hebrews decided to bury the man and to-day the remains were brought here and interred in the Jewish cemetery near Homeville.”  For some reason this was a big deal; it was reported in the Pittsburgh papers as well.
8/4/1900: Burial of Herman Wise (Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, p. 12)

8/4/1900: Burial of Herman Wise (Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, p. 12)

12/10/1900: A very long article about Chaukah observance and history.

12/10/1900: A very long article about Chaukah observance and history.

10/9/1900: The paper published a super-long article about Sukkot, which they must have gotten from somewhere.

10/9/1900: A super-long article about Sukkot.

  • 9/12:  “The Jewish people of Homestead are making great preparation to celebrate their holidays which come this and next month.  There are about 50 Jewish families in Homestead and all belong to the Orthodox Church.  The Jewish New Years will be celebrated on Sept. 24th and 25th, and on October 3 falls the day of atonement.  The local church or synagogue which is known as the Rodef Shulem,–after peace–is too small to accommodate all the Jewish families who wish to take part in the services on the above days, and Steenson’s Hall has been rented.  Services will be held morning and evening on New Years and all day on the day of atonement, the latter also being a fast day.  All those of the above faith in business will close their stores on the above days.”
  • 9/24:  “The Jewish New Year, 5661, began at 7 o’clock last evening and is being celebrated by the Jewish people of Homestead with appropriate ceremonies.  Services were held last night in the synagogue on Dickson street and all day services are being held in Steenson’s hall to-day.  The services will conclude at 7 o’clock this evening.  There was special music rendered at these services and they were made of more than usual interest as the Homestead congregation is growing and is in better shape to celebrate the day.  The next holiday is that of the feast of atonement which will take place next Tuesday, this being a fast day.  All the stores conducted by Jewish people in Homestead are closed and will remain closed until 7 o’clock.”
  • 10/9, 12/10:  Long articles about Sukkot and Chanukah appeared with general information about the holiday and nothing specific about the local community.  I can’t help but wonder if they got this information from somewhere else?!

I wonder if the increased coverage of the Jewish holidays correlates with the increased activity of the Jewish community.  Their annual ball which started this year or possibly 1899 certainly helped to raise the community’s profile, and the rising number of Jewish merchants required educating their customers on when their stores would be closed.

Also of Interest

  • 1/17:  “Petition for Dreyfus.  Paris, Jan. 17. – A petition bearing 44,700 signatures has been presented to president Loubet asking for the reinstatement of ex-captain Dreyfus.”
10/11/1900: A picture and brief bio of Mme. Dreyfus, wife of the subject of the Dreyfus affair.

10/11/1900: A picture and brief bio of Mme. Dreyfus, wife of the subject of the Dreyfus affair.

  • 3/7:  “London, March 7.–Isaac Gordon, the most grasping money lender in the United Kingdom, is dead at Birmingham. He was 35 years old and without friends or kin. He was worth many millions of pounds sterling. Gordon broke up more homes than any other man living. His favorite method was to lend money at an extortionate rate of interest and then in another guide approach the victim with an offer to get him out of his difficulty by taking up the loan. The victim never got out of trouble. It is said that never in his business did he show the slightest mercy.”  Yes, this man really was as bad as all that and more.  I read elsewhere that the Birmingham Jewish community, “painfully aware that the existence of a few ruthless rogues such as he brought all of Jewry into disrepute, minced no words, describing him as ‘one of the best-hated userers in the country’ who had ‘an Ishmael-like hate of humanity and an unquenchable passion for revenge.'”
  • 8/3:  “At present she is in Paris, taking in the fair and learning the French language,” the mother of Emma Goldman is quoted in the paper. She goes on, “She will return in October, retire from active lecturing and organizing, and settle down to the practice of medicine in California.”  Anyone who knows anything about the career of Emma Goldman knows that nothing of the sort ever happened!  Emma Goldman’s connection to Homestead originally came during the strike, when Alexander Berkman, with her support, attempted to kill Frick.  She returned Homestead after the strike to support the workers, mostly recently, I believe, in 1898.
8/3/1900: Emma Goldman's mother was about to have her hopes dashed

8/3/1900: Emma Goldman’s mother was about to have her hopes dashed.


  • S. Markle & Co. / Philadelphia Bargain Store
  • Wolk’s Shoe House
  • Lasdusky’s Peoples Store
  • Half Bros.
  • Segelman’s Jewelry Store
  • Philip Cohn, Merchant tailor
  • Grinberg Bros.
  • Skirboll’s Shoe House
  • Skirboll & Son
  • The Busy Bee Hive
  • Mervis & Goldston (dissolution of partnership)
  • Glueck
  • Grossman’s China Store

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