History of the Jews of Chicago

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Material Information

Title:
History of the Jews of Chicago
Physical Description:
854 p. : ill., ports. ; 31 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Meites, Hyman L., 1879-
Jewish Historical Society of Illinois
Publisher:
Jewish Historical Society of Illinois
Place of Publication:
Chicago
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1924

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Jews -- History -- Illinois -- Chicago   ( lcsh )
Genre:
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

General Note:
Includes index.
Statement of Responsibility:
ed. by Hyman L. Meites.

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 08829488
Classification:
lcc - F548.9.J5 H581
System ID:
AA00000592:00001

Full Text































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The Isser and Rae Price
Library of Judaica


at the
University of Florida Libraries















I'




















HISTORY
of the

JEWS OF CHICAGO






















This is a Members' Numbered
Edition, of which this copy is

No.A--.17 ...



























Copyright 1924
JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF ILLINOIS





3~nrk-err,








































































































































































































































































1











HISTORY
of the

JEWS OF CHICAGO


ED I TED BY
HYMAN L. MEITES


JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF ILLINOIS
CHICAGO, U. S. A.












F





XJDAICA
LIBRARY































DEDICATED
TO THE PIONEERS OF YESTERDAY
AND THE COMMUNITY
BUILDERS OF TO-DAY
















Preface

SEVENTY-FIVE years ago the Jews not only of Chi-
cago but of the entire Northwest totaled less than 300;
to-day they number close to 300,000 in Chicago alone.
This unparalleled growth is a most interesting chapter
in the history of the miracle city that in less than a cen-
tury has risen from a marshy waste to the second city
in the land and the fourth in the world.
SThat this chapter must be worthy the recounting,
S.is manifest. But, though several attempts have been
made in the past to gather and publish the annals of Jewish Chicago,
this volume represents the first endeavor to treat this phase of local his-
tory as its importance deserves.
The earliest account of the Jewish community of Chicago appears
to be that of Dr. Bernhard Felsenthal, whose eventful life figures so largely
in the history of Jewish activities almost since the beginning. In 1894.
he prepared for the American Jewish Historical Society a seven-page
tract entitled, The History of the Jews of Chicago. Three years later
Dr. Felsenthal and Herman Eliassof published a History of Kehilath
.-nshe .la'ariv (K. A. M. Congregation), the first Jewish house of
worship in Illinois, and the following year Dr. Felsenthal presented The
Beginnings of the Sinai Congregation, a detailed account of the estab-
lishment of Sinai Temple, in which he had taken a leading part.
These three sketches, besides papers presented before various soci-
eties by Henry Greenebaum, Leopold Mayer and Mayer Klein, were the
only efforts made to present and preserve data bearing upon Jewish life
in Chicago, until 1901. In that year there appeared the most detailed
account so far given of the local Jewish community-that prepared by
Eliassof and published in the Reform Advocate in its annual number
dated March 4, 1901.
Nothing further was attempted in the way of a comprehensive out-
line of Jewish life, until 1917, when the editor of this volume, on the eve
of the Illinois Centennial Celebration, projected a history of the Je~ s of
Illinois and was instrumental in calling into existence the Jewish Histor-
ical Society of Illinois. Dedicated to the task of collecting, preserving









and publishing historical material relating to the Jews of the state, the
society planned as its first step the production of the proposed history, on
artistic and scholarly lines. When this project was called to the attention
of Governor Frank O. Lowden, he gave it his most enthusiastic approval,
writing in a letter to the society:
I am very glad indeed that the Jewish Historical Society of Illinois
proposes to publish a book entitled The Centennial History of the Jews of
Illinois.
We are just closing the first century of our existence as a state. The
record of the hundred years is rich in achievement. The Jews have taken a
conspicuous part in every activity in Illinois during that time. They have
fought bravely in our wars; they have contributed largely to our commer-
cial successes; they have won foremost places in increasing numbers in the
professions of law and medicine; they have brought much to the develop-
ment of our arts and letters; they have shown genius in the organization
and conduct of charitable societies.
Your Society is to be congratulated upon its patriotism and enterprise
in seeking to present to the world the achievements of the Jews of Illinois,
under a free government, through the medium of such a beautiful book as
you are preparing, which is in itself a noteworthy achievement.
The war interfered with the plans to publish the history, and the
project had temporarily to be given up. Much valuable material had
been assembled, however, including a study completed by Professor
Edward Chauncey Baldwin, of the University of Illinois, on the part
played by Jews in colonial times in this state. These data, as well as
others that were being gathered continually, were carefully preserved:
and in March, 1922, the Jewish Historical Society of Illinois was reor-
ganized and active effort put forth to produce a trustworthy and com-
prehensive history of the Jews of Chicago. This volume is the result,
Professor Baldwin's contribution being published herein as an intro-
duction.
In its production many hands have served, and acknowledgment
is due a number of persons without whose co-operation it might never have
been brought forth. The editor takes this belated opportunity to express
his gratitude for the invaluable aid given by the late Dr. Emil G. Hirsch.
of revered memory, who was vice-president during the first three years
of the society's existence and served as acting president when the presi-
dent, Julius Rosenwald, was called to war service. To M. E. Greene-
baum an expression of indebtedness is also long overdue for his unfail-
ing encouragement and vigorous support from the very start. Dr. Otto
L. Schmidt, president of the Illinois State Historical Society, and presi-
dent of the Illinois Centennial Commission, has repeatedly extended all









manner of kindly assistance, as has also Professor Edmond James, for-
mer president of the University of Illinois. The Chicago Historical
Society has likewise been most obliging at all times in permitting the use
of its facilities as well as the reproduction of its records and illustrations.
Since the reorganization of the Jewish Historical Society of Illinois,
S. J. Rosenblatt has been a leading factor in its progress. Rabbi Joseph
Stolz, Max Shulman, and Rabbi Saul Silber, executive members, and
Nathan D. Kaplan, former vice-president, have been of great assistance
to the editor personally as well as to the organization, and particular
thanks are owing for their consistent interest and helpfulness.
Acknowledgment is also due Joseph L. Gatzert, that staunch pio-
neer of Chicago Jewry, for his zealous co-operation in the securing of
data embodied in the early chapters. The venerable Elias Greenebaum,
since deceased, whose ninety-six years did not deter his interest in the
project, furnished much valuable information, as did also Henry L. Frank.
To the late Herman Eliassof, the projectors of this volume are partic-
ularly indebted. He placed at their disposal his voluminous records and
writings on Chicago Jewish history, and his kind guidance was of great
aid in the early stages of the work.
Here an explanation of the arrangement of the book may be desir-
able. There are three sections, of which the first, Part I, comprises a nar-
rative of the development of the local Jewish community from the arrival
of the first settlers to the present year. Its fourteen chapters are intended
to afford an adequate perspective of what the Chicago Jew has wrought
in a communal sense. Part II contains accounts of what he has accom-
plished in the various fields of individual effort-the arts, the professions,
industry and commerce, public service, and so forth. Part III is devoted
to the leading Jewish organizations and institutions of the city, giving a
separate history of each and an outline of its present-day activities.
Naturally, a certain overlapping of material is unavoidable, as
between these three phases of treatment. The endeavor has been made to
reduce duplication as much as possible, consistent with adequate han-
dling of the subject matter in each category. And to enable the reader to
correlate the different references to any subject as it appears in the vari-
ous parts of the book, an alphabetical index is appended at the end.
In all three sections the text is interspersed with the life stories of the
men and women prominently mentioned therein. In these personal
sketches, as throughout the book, moderation of tone has been striven for.
and extravagance of expression avoided. The aim has been to produce
a history of Chicago Jewry, authentic and reliable in form as well as in
substance. As for the substance, it has been drawn from the most author-









itative sources available, and nothing has been set down which has not
been verified by good authority.
Carefully as the material for this History has been compiled, however,
it is not claimed that errors have not been made or that it is complete and
final. The scarcity of records, the impossibility of positive verification,
and the lack of co-operation, all of which were encountered in various
instances, make historical accuracy and completeness an ideal hardly
within reach. Those responsible for this work claim only that all pos-
sible care has been used to present the significant facts as correctly and
comprehensively as possible. In this connection, it is hoped that the vol-
ume will stimulate interest in local Jewish history and bring to light im-
portant historical material, the existence of which was not known or which
was not available when this account was compiled.
While this History is primarily for Jewish readers, it is felt that our
fellow-Chicagoans of other faiths will also be glad to read of what Jews
have done in Chicago and for Chicago from the earliest times when the
advance guard of men and women of Jewish stock and tradition, fleeing
like the Pilgrim fathers from distant lands overseas, where the future held
for them only continuing and cumulative oppression, cast in their lot with
Chicago's other pioneer settlers; what these first arrivals and those who
soon began to follow them made of themselves and did for others under
the inspiration of American freedom and opportunity, with nothing to
start with but their intelligence, their integrity, their application, and
their confidence in themselves and their beloved "gebenschte Land," as
they fervently called their adopted country.
In a word, it is hoped that in this detailed account of the spirit in
which the Jews of Chicago, as a distinct group in the community, have
lived and labored-in no wise different from the manner in which their
brethren in other communities have ever conducted their lives-the non-
Jew will be furnished with an insight into Jewish life that will enable
him to see into its very heart, and cause him to agree heartily with Pro-
fessor Baldwin when the latter, as a true American, says:
To one who reads history with his eyes and not with his prejudices, the
debt of America to Jewish philanthropy, to Jewish patriotism, and to Jew-
ish energy, must become increasingly evident. And with a recognition of
that obligation, the senseless prejudice against the Jew, based on lack of
knowledge, must inevitably disappear and cause non-Jews to substitute for
grudging tolerance, a generous respect.
To Jews, it is hoped, the History will sound a ringing call to com-
munity loyalty and service by the examples herein given. Many are the
names on the honor roll of the Chicago Jewish community, the names of









those who led the way in carrying the community burden, stalwart souls
who felt that community service is mandatory on all Jews, and who proved
that they could give their best thought and effort to the general welfare and
still not neglect their families or their private interests.
Proudly at the head of that roll of honor stand the names of those
who labored to bring into existence Chicago's first Jewish organizations.
Some of these earlier workers are still happily active in our midst. The
deep Jewishness that inspired their creations, the ability manifested
in establishing and maintaining them, the zeal shown in developing them,
reveal a spirit that all pray may never fail the community. But these first
communal leaders were pioneers in another beneficent and far-reaching
way. The good account they gave of themselves, the confidence in Jew-
ish dealings and standards they at once won from non-Jews, and the ready
and hearty way they entered into civic life, won esteem for them and
insured for their brethren who came later, a hospitable welcome and the
most favorable conditions for their rapid advancement.
And yet their splendid efforts were only a beginning in the life of the
great Chicago Jewish community, whose unanticipated growth during
the last thirty years has called for and brought out the highest qualities
of leadership, qualities that have been furnished in as great a degree by
the newer settlers as by the older ones and their descendants. No less
meritorious and inspiring than the noble work of the early comers has
been the splendid citizenship of the great orthodox population, and their
unfailing, generous response in common with that of their un-orthodox
brethren to the demands of their faith and their folk at home and abroad.
Seventy-five years is not a long time from the point of view of the
historian, but great things have been done by the Jews of Chicago in that
comparatively brief period of time. It is our duty to preserve for coming
generations a clear and careful record of their accomplishments, so that
all may know something about those who went before, and feel and con-
tinue the spirit in which they labored, the spirit of American loyalty and
Jewish brotherhood, ever upholding the honor and advancing the inter-
ests of our common country and our common faith.
DAVID E. HIRSCH, Associate Editor H. L. MEITES


Chicago, Marcih, 1924





















CONTENTS


THE JEWISH INFLUENCE UPON THE COLONIAL DEVELOPMENT OF ILLINOIS xvii
EARLY CHICAGO. . . . .xxiii


PART I THE COMMUNITY
CHAPTER
I FROM THE FIRST ARRIVAL TO THE FIRST CONGREGATION . 35
II A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE, 1847-1857 . 47
III REFORM AND RELIEF, 1853-1860 . . 69
IV CIVIL WAR DAYS, 1861-1865 . . . 83
V FROM THE END OF THE CIVIL WAR TO THE GREAT FIRE, 1866-1870 101
VI THE GREAT FIRE, AND AFTER, 1871-1880 . . 119
VII THE FIRST GREAT RUSSIAN INFLUX, 1881-1891 . .. 145
VIII THE WORLD'S FAIR, AND AFTER, 1892-1900 . . 175
IX THE FIRST YEARS OF THE NEW CENTURY, 1900-1910 . 201
-X CONTINUED COMMUNAL PROGRESS, 1910-1917 .. 227
XI THE WORLD WAR, 1917-1918-MILITARY SERVICE . 255
XII THE WORLD WAR-CIVILIAN SERVICE . . 271
XIII WAR RELIEF, 1914-1922 . . 289
XIV COMMUNAL PROGRESS DURING AND AFTER THE WORLD WAR, 1917-1923 317


PART II THE INDIVIDUAL
ARTS
LETTERS .. . . 355
M USIC . . . 365
PAINTING AND SCULPTURE . . 385
STAGE AND PLATFORM .. . 389
PROFESSIONS
ARCHITECTURE AND ENGINEERING . . 393
EDUCATION AND SCIENCE . . . 396










LAW . . .
MEDICINE . .
THE PULPIT . .
PUBLIC OFFICE . .
INDUSTRY, COMMERCE, AND FINANCE . .
THE LABOR MOVEMENT . .
ATHLETICS . .


PART III ORGANIZATIONS AND INSTITUTIONS


SYNAGOGUES AND TEMPLES .
RELIGIOUS, CULTURAL, AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
WELFARE AND AID ORGANIZATIONS .
HOMES AND HOSPITALS.... .
ORGANIZATIONS FOR PALESTINE AID .
FRATERNAL AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS .


. 483
S. 547
565
607
. 643
. 657


APPENDIX


"THE BEGINNINGS OF CHICAGO SINAI CONGREGATION," BY DR. B. FELSENTHAL
THE BLACKSTONE MEMORIALS, 1891 AND 1916 . . .
J EWS AND THE WORLD'S PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS . .
REPORTS OF THE JEWISH CHARITIES OF CHICAGO . . .
CHICAGO ZIONISM, 1908 AND 1923 . . .
PROCEEDINGS OF THE JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF ILLINOIS . .
THE JEWISH WELFARE BOARD IN ILLINOIS . . .
THE CHICAGO CONFERENCE OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH RELIEF COMMITTEE


677
687
699
749
763
773
784
790


401
406
417
S421
S433
453
. 470





















The Jewish Influence upon the Colonial Development
of Illinois

By Edward Chauncey Baldwin, Ph.D.

HAT the state of Illinois owes much to Jewish energy and to
Jewish idealism is widely recognized. Few, however, are
aware of the importance of the share taken by Jewish mer-
chants during the Colonial period in molding the future of
our state.' It has been said on good authority2 that there were
no Jews in Illinois prior to 1838; but the influence of Jewish
commercial energy certainly antedates that year by more
than half a century.
The settlers of the Atlantic seaboard early realized the
importance of developing the West, both as a means of re-
sisting the encroachments of the French, and as a source of
wealth to the colonies. The fertility and prospective value of "The Illinois," as the
region was then commonly designated, was to eastern settlers even in the middle of
the eighteenth century a matter of common knowledge. In 1754, Benjamin Franklin
drew up a plan of western colonization, the introduction to which ran as follows:
The great country back of the Appalachian Mountains on both sides of the Ohio and be-
tween that river and the Lakes is now well known both to the English and the French to be
one of the finest in North America for the extreme richness and fertility of the land, the healthy
temperature of the air and mildness of the climate, the plenty of hunting, fishing and foivling,
the facility of trade with the Indians, and the vast convenience of inland navigation, or water
carriage by the lakes and great rivers many hundreds of leagues around. From these natural
advantages it must undoubtedly,-perhaps in less.than another century,-become a populous
and powerful dominion, and a great accession of power either to England or France.3

To Franklin belongs the credit of having first formally urged the desirability of
western colonization. In his Plan, which he took to England and presented to the
Duke of Cumberland in 1756, he gives the following five reasons in support of it:
(1) Our people being confined to the country between the sea and the mountains, cannot
much more increase in number, people increasing in proportion to their room and means of sub-
sistence.
(2) The French will increase much more by that acquired room and plenty of subsistence,
and become a great people behind us.

"These trading groups formed a much more important element in trade, land-speculation, and politics than his-
torians have generally credited them with. All large enterprises were promoted by such groups, or by confed-
eration of such groups." C. W. Alvord, The Mississippi Falley in British Politics, Vol. II, page 202.
'Jahrbuch/ der Deutsch-4merikanischen Historischen Gesellschaft von Illinois, Jahrgang 1914, page 359.
:' Works of Benjamin Franklin, edited by Sparks, Boston, 1844, Vol. III, page 69, ff.
"The country of The Illinois on the Mississippi is generally allowed to be the most fertile and pleasant part of all
the western territory. The French Canadians have long called it the 'Terrestrial Paradise.'" Written
by Gov. William Franklin of New Jersey in 1666.








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


(3) Many of our debtors and loose English people, our German servants and slaves
will probably desert to them and increase their number and strength to the lessening and weaken-
ing of ours.
(4) They will cut us off from all commerce with the Western Indians to the great preju-
dice of Britain by preventing the sale and consumption of manufactures.
(5) They will both in time of peace and war, as they have always done against New Eng-
land, set the Indians on to harass our frontiers, kill and scalp our people and drive in the ad-
vanced settlers; and so in preventing our obtaining more subsistence by cultivating of new lands,
they discourage our marriages and keep our people from increasing, thus,-if the expression may
be allowed,-killing thousands of our children before they are born.

Though his plea was at that time unsuccessful, and the king's proclamation of
October 7, 1763, expressly forbade the colonization of British America beyond
the heads of the Atlantic coast rivers, the colonial schemes of western settlement
continued.
The first serious attempt to carry out these schemes was made immediately
upon the close of the French and Indian War, when The Illinois was ceded by
France to England in 1763. The organizer and promoter of this western movement
under the Franklin plan providing for self-governing commonwealths in the West
was Colonel George Croghan, who made his first expedition into The Illinois in
1765. The venture was financed wholly by Jewish capital. Securing Indian goods
suitable for barter with the Indians to the amount of 2,037:11:102 from Simon
Levy & Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania,' Colonel Croghan left Fort Pitt
(now Pittsburgh) May 15, 1765, and journeyed by water down the Ohio. The
party reached the Falls of the Ohio on the first of June. They remained six days
at an old Shawnee village on the north bank of the river (the modern Shawnee-
town in Gallatin County) making friendly arrangements with the Wabash Indians.
On June 6 they were attacked near the mouth of the Wabash river by eighty war-
riors of the Kickapoo and Mascouten tribes, who killed two of the whites and
wounded several others including Colonel Croghan. The Indians then plundered
the goods, and, making prisoners of the whole party, marched them off to Vincennes,"
and thence up the Wabash two hundred and ten miles to Ouitanon. Here, after de-
liberating upon the propriety of burning Colonel Croghan at the stake, the Indians
finally set the whites free. At Ouitanon Colonel Croghan met Chief Pontiac together

'Between 1750 and 1774 this firm, headed by Joseph Simon, included the most enterprising "merchant ventures"
and pioneers in America. They aspired not merely to become merchant princes through the coveted fur trade of
the Mississippi Valley, but to become founders of towns, cities and "governments." Joseph Simon began business in
Lancaster in 1742. and was actively engaged in the Indian trade for forty years. He died January 24, 1804, at the
age of 92. Some of his descendants still reside in Baltimore.
A list of the articles for which Colonel Croghan gave his note to Simon, Levy & Company is of interest as
showing what was used for barter with the Indians. It read as follows:
1 Silk Shirt 19 Dozen Jews Harps 3 Dozen looking glasses
10 Do7en silk handkerchiefs 10 Lbs White heads 5 Tin kettles
7 worsted caps 14 Snaffle bridles 40 Dozen Cutteaux
10 Gro Scarlet gartering 44 Curb do, with bosses 5 Pair shoes
40 Gro Bed Lace 20 Hunting saddles 52 Pewter basins, 81 lb.
20 Pi's Ribbons 1 Brist's saddle and fine bridle 2 Melting ladles
29 Yards Linen 17 Tomahawks and axe
30 Lb Vermillion 4 Brass pipe, ditto
-McAllister MSS, Ridgeway Library, Philadelphia.
SVincennes was then a French settlement containing between eighty and ninety families.
XViii








JEWISH INFLUENCE UPON COLONIAL DEVELOPMENT OF ILLINOIS


with other chiefs of the four nations of The Illinois, and concluded an agreement
which opened up the West to the eastern trade."
Upon Croghan's return to Pennsylvania by way of Detroit, he proposed to Gov-
ernor Franklin of New Jersey to organize a colony in The Illinois upon the lines
laid down by Benjamin Franklin in 1754-6. The first Illinois Company, which
was the result of these proposals, failed; but the second Illinois Company, composed
mainly of Jewish merchants, was successful. The leading members were Moses and
Jacob Franks of London, England, Joseph Simon and L. A. Levy of Lancaster, Pa.,
David and Moses Franks and the brothers Barnard and Michael Gratz of Phila-
delphia, Pa.'
In behalf of the new company Captain Murray, a Scotchman, came to The
Illinois in 1773, and at Kaskaskia on July 5 secured from
a council of chiefs of the Kaskaskia, Peoria, and Cahokia
tribes of Indians two grants of land. The southern grant
extended from the Mississippi below Kaskaskia
to the mouth of the Ohio, and thence north
with the Mississippi; the northern grant ex-
tended from a point opposite the mouth of the
Missouri river up the Mississippi to the mouth of the
Illinois, and up the Illinois "to Chicagou or Garlick
Creek," thence, with a northern extension, and a return to
the place of beginning. The amount paid for these grants
was $37,328.17, or nearly four times the sum ($10,000)
paid by Penn for Pennsylvania.'
Although the Jewish interest in The Illinois was
purely commercial and speculative, the indirect effect of it 5 '
in shaping the destinies of the new country was incalculably
great. Indeed, the extent of the influence upon the French From an old prit
A FRENCH TRADER
population of the English-speaking traders and settlers who
came westward in the years following the cession of the country to England is hard
to overestimate. By opening and maintaining communication between the West and
the East they prepared the western population to accept American ideas, and, when
they should come, American troops. Without the leavening influence of the English-
speaking traders, the French population would have been totally unready to accept,
or even to understand, free institutions.
This scattered population-less than one thousand, we are told,"-was mostly of
the habitant or Coureur de bois types, similar to those of Canada, from which,
indeed, for the most part they originally came. In general they were illiterate and
SThe discussion ended with a speech by Pontiac which closed with the following moving appeal: "Father, you
stopped up the rum barrel when we came here, till the business of this meeting was over; as it is now finished,
we request you to open the barrel that your children may drink and be merry." Croghan's Journal, August
30, 1765, Illinoil Historical Collections, Vol. XI.
Barnard and Michael Gratz, wealthy merchants of Philadelphia, were brothers of Rebecca, who because of
her beauty and benevolence, was admired by Washington Irving. He, on his visiting England, described her to Sir
Walter Scott, who is said (by Gratz Van Rensselaer in the Century Magazine, Vol. XXIV, No. 5, Sept., 1882) to
have had her in mind in his portrayal of Rebecca in Ivanhoe.
'Gratl Papers, pages 136-7.
'Alvord, Illinois Historical Collections, Vol. II, page 15.








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


superstitious. During
the French dominance dd a* ,
they had lived under a a
kind of military and a/x
spiritual dictatorship F
headed respectively
by a commandant and .
a group of Jesuit
priests. The former
was empowered to take / ./,X .,.# --) y<"G ,,
the men from the yo "t'fC ^f .i4o& 1"
farms, even in time of ,c<' ', ,,-, r ..
harvest, and to seize w" % ae. v< A. at his own discretion yi- a, ,*.^,c/fd? -J.
the crops for military- ,Cm- '
uses.'1 Scarcely less au- ~.ye ~n ed -i -
tocrat i c were the fm- a.C,,.(n ~ ,,
French priests," whose e.,, 4'i,, '.,A,.
influence even outside ",,",' V-w,.Ae &tfu ,;le e v-44 vt d.*,'e
ecclesiastical a ff a i r s weue ew4*.. -eer we ei# Ane4%t, *
seems to have been a een e ,d',m#t- ,wem l -,
considerable. T h e y fa t naei, .
made some attempt to 4, < n.'/-'
encourage both by pre- ,a ,o,.e a aA,,,e w.
cept and example hab- -r-io-,C i ~b /a. _,- e,.
its of industry and /~ .- ,~ i 'Ay4
thrift. Such encour- a,,, -- /
agement was badly e y ,
needed. The Creoles, -
were very unenterpris- 7 7 c,
ing farmers, prefer- .. .
ring the excitement of y' .,, Aw.,-n^,., ,
hunting to the hum-
drum work of the
farm." Their reputation for sobriety and integrity was distinctly low. Lieuten-
ant Alexander Fraser, who traveled among them, reported as follows:
Nothing can equal their [the Indians'] passion for drunkenness, but that of the French in-
habitants, who are for the greatest part drunk every day while they can get drink to buy in the
colony. ... They have a good many negroes, who are obliged to labor very hard to support
their masters in their extravagant debaucheries. Anyone who has had any dealings with them
must plainly see they are for the most part transported convicts or people who have fled for some
crimes. Those who have not done it themselves are the offspring of such as those I just men-
tioned, inheriting their forefathers' vices. They are cruel and treacherous to each other and
consequently so to strangers; they are dishonest in every kind of business. .... .
"Gov. William Franklin, Reasons for Establishing a Colony in The Illinois, 1766.
"The Jesuit Mission had existed from 1685. In 1763, when the Mission was abolished, there were six priests
and one lay brother. Connected with it also were sixty-eight negroes who cultivated the land belonging to the
Mission. This land was the best cultivated of any in the region.
Schuyler, Illinois, page 20.
Illinois Historical Collections, Vol. XI, page 228.
xx








JEWISH INFLUENCE UPON COLONIAL DEVELOPMENT OF ILLINOIS


In contrast to such
/ / ,,, q" a population the Eng-
lish-speaking traders
/7 and settlers were
, ,, -- s h r e w d, intelligent,
., ,. ,,, ,, enterprising. More-
,t iA Ccca,> ,~~7ArI ic over, they were full of
,t%,t ,-, s i-.i-. the independent spirit
/'^yA, c-A, ti'-s a ,vaw,- ,.2 which in the Colonies
*y.r Ar i '7n ,-y .mw--,,,-^, a of the Atlantic sea-
l. ,board was soon to
flame into open revolt.
When the revolt
S,-a 77 / came, and the little
7 -"^'^ ^ A army of one hundred
tHa, ., A,'T, ua.sc t .'wt 4A., e v- a Amti and eighty Virginians
.-*. -Ae ,-/,ade. a -es under Colonel George
S- ^.-, t ..,-. t,. av n Rogers Clark made
S -,,.-,z,,c a ,their famous foray
into The Illinois in
17/ 7 1778, they met with no
resistance on the part
of the British. Kas-
kaskia was captured
on July 4 without the
loss of a man, and the
population, 1 ed by
Father Gibault,
promptly took the
oath of allegiance to
the new government;
and the other settle-
ments, including Oui-
tanon and Cahokia
WASHINGTON'S LETTER TO THE JEWS OF NEWPORT and Vincennes, imme-
diately followed their
example.
The ease with which the conquest of The Illinois was effected can be explained
only as a result of the friendly attitude of the population;" and that, in turn, can be
accounted for only by recognizing the influence in moulding public opinion exercised
by English-speaking traders and settlers sent into the country during the preceding
decade by Jewish merchants. That their influence was indeed responsible for the
fiasco of British resistance is attested by the letter written by Rocheblave, the British
agent in The Illinois, to Sir Guy Carleton, British commander in Canada, in which
he attributes the failure of British rule to the "abuse of the treacherous English, espe-
cially those named Daniel Murray, Richard Winston, and John Hanson.'""
This has been commented upon by modern historians. "But the attitude of the inhabitants," says Schuyler (Illi-
nois, page 58), "it seems to me, was the decisive factor in the collapse of British rule in Illinois."
"This letter will be found in Early Chicago and Illinois, by Edward G. Mason, page 418. It is noteworthy
that the David Murray referred to was a brother of the William Murray who secured the land grants from the
Indians in 1773. He had settled in The Illinois, and engaged in business in Kaskaskia.








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


Nothing better illustrates the essential qualities of the Jewish character than
this neglected chapter of Illinois colonial history. Here is exemplified to the full
the baffling and apparently contradictory characteristics that mystify the non-Jew
in his attempt to understand the Jewish temper. Here is illustrated the idealism
that makes Jewish young men see visions and their old men dream dreams, coupled
with a shrewd insight into practical affairs that is often mistaken by outsiders for
mere sordid self-seeking.
To one who reads history with his eyes and not with his prejudices the debt of
America to Jewish philanthropy, to Jewish patriotism, and to Jewish energy must
become increasingly evident. And with a recognition of that obligation, the sense-
less prejudice against the Jew, based on ignorance, must inevitably disappear. Not
the least of this service the Jew has rendered to the country of his adoption was the
opening up of the West to the influx of eastern ideas. A fuller recognition of this
service should do much to cause non-Jews to substitute for grudging tolerance a
generous respect. It is high time, in view of our debt to Judaism, both ancient and
modern, to exemplify in our attitude toward this people the spirit of Washington's
open letter to the Jews of Newport on the occasion of his visit to that city in 1790."
In this letter he wrote as follows:
The citizens of the United States of America have the right to applaud themselves for hav-
ing given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy worthy of imitation. All possess
alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is
spoken of as if it were by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise
of their inherent natural rights, for happily the government of the United States, which gives
to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its
protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual
support.
It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased
with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes of my felicity. May the
children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good
will of the other inhabitants, while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig-tree
and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the Father of all mercies scatter light and not
darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due
time and way everlastingly happy. G. WASHINGTON.
















"From Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Newport."
xxii















Early Chicago


[This article is a partial reprint from a "Description and Historical Sketch" by J. W.
Norris which appeared in his directory of Chicago published under date of December 1, 1843
(Ellis and Fergus, printers). It is interesting not alone for its portrayal of the Chicago of that
day, with its contrasts to the metropolis we know, but also for the prophecies it contains fore-
telling the greatness to which the little town was destined.-EDITOR'S NOTE.]

HICAGO, Cook County, Illinois, is situated on the South-
western shore of Lake Michigan, at the head of Lake navi-
gation, in lat. 41 deg., 45 sec., North, and long. 10 deg., 45
sec. West. The site of the City occupies a level prairie, on
both sides of the main stream, and the North and South
Branches of Chicago River, and covers an area of about
three and a half miles in length, North and South, and two
and a half in breadth, East and West, about a mile and a half
square of which is already regularly built upon, and the
streets opened and graded. The streets are regularly laid
out, parallel and at right angles to the Lake, and are
conveniently wide and spacious. There are several extensive blocks of brick
buildings, principally occupied as business houses and public offices, three
and a half and four stories in height. The dwellings are principally of wood, many
of them, however, very fine specimens of correct architecture. The portion of the
City extending several miles along the shore of the Lake, is sandy, and conse-
quently at all seasons, dry. The portion removed from the Lake partakes of the
character of all level prairie, being in the spring and fall wet and muddy. The
site of the City being a plain, does not afford, either from the Lake or the surround-
ing country, a very interesting field of vision. Chicago River and its branches,
which run through the heart of the City, and admit at all seasons, vessels of every
class navigating the Lake, some distance into the interior, afford peculiar facilities
for a harbor, and give to Chicago advantages, in a commercial point of view un-
surpassed by any City in the West. The Illinois and Michigan Canal, which is
shortly to be completed, will add greatly to the natural advantages of Chicago, mak-
ing it a principal point, and necessarily a place of transshipment on the great North-
ern route connecting the Atlantic States with the valley of the Mississippi. The City
is bounded on the South and West by a prairie, varying from ten to twelve miles in
width, some portion of which is high, and of a very superior quality. It is sur-
rounded in every direction, by a country the most productive in the world, already
brought into a state of successful cultivation, and sending to its market annually, a
vast amount of produce of every description for sale, exchange for goods, or ship-
ment, as the case may be. The climate is healthy and salubrious, as much so as any
in the West. In 1837, Chicago became an incorporated City, the act of the legis-
xxiii







HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


lature conferring its charter being granted and approved March 4th of that year.
The City is divided into six Wards. The first and second Wards, divided by Clark
Street, are bounded by the South Branch, Chicago River, and the Lake-the first
Ward lying East, and the second West of Clark Street. The third and fourth
Wards, dividing Randolph Street, are situated on the West side of the North and
South Branches-the third South, and the fourth North of Randolph Street. The
fifth and sixth Wards, divided by Clark Street, are bounded by the North Branch,
Chicago River, and the Lake-the fifth being West, and the sixth East of Clark
Street. The government of the City is vested in a Common Council, composed of
the Mayor and twelve Aldermen, two for each Ward, all chosen annually. The
Common Council, in addition to their other powers and duties, are constituted, by
virtue of their office, Commissioners of Common Schools, with power to levy and
collect taxes for their support, and to exercise a general supervision over matters
pertaining to them. In 1832, and the beginning of 1833, Chicago had about 100
inhabitants and five or six log houses, exclusive of the Fort and its appurtenances.
In 1840, the population had increased to 4853. The present population exceeds
7580, and may be said at this time to amount to 8000. The period of the greatest
prosperity of Chicago, was from 1833 to 1837. The revulsions and reverses of '36-7,
greatly retarded its growth. It continued, however, though more gradually, to in-
crease in business and resources until
1840-1, from which time business re- G NERAL D I RECTORY
ceived a new impulse, and it is now en- AN
joying a degree of prosperity equal to
any former period of its history. BUSINES ADVERTISER
What the destiny of Chicago is to 0 F.t
be, the future can alone determine.
Judging by the past, it seems difficult CITY OF CHICAGO
to assign a limit to its advancement. FOR THE YEAR i84+4
It presents, undoubtedly, one of the
most remarkable instances of sudden
rise to commercial importance, to be
found in our age. So rapid, indeed, wTH A
has been its growth-with such gigan-
tic strides has it moved onward in its Historical Sketch and Statistics extending from
career, that little space is left to mark 183 to 1844
and calculate the successive stages of
s J. w. NORRIS
its progress. We behold it, from a dis-
tant and isolated colony, inhabited
only by some five or six families cling-
ing to a lone and solitary military post
for protection, and dependent for sub-
sistence upon the uncertain arrival of
some chance vessel from Mackinaw, k cwso
in the short space of eight or ten years, N LIS& S R, 4s. H;iTraS,. SALOON Bu... .l
become a mighty City, teeming with a -
busy and enterprising population, the. TITLE PAGE OF NORRIS' DIRECTORY OF 1843
xxiv








EARLY CHICAGO


centre of a widely extended and flourishing commerce. To those who have been
here from the. beginning, and there are many among us, the change must be striking
--the contrast between what is, and what was-great indeed. History, in this in-
stance, has assumed the air of romance. Truly has a change come over the spirit
of our dream. It seems difficult to reconcile to the mind, that the spot now covered
with stately blocks of buildings, and alive in every direction with a busy and eager
multitude, actively and profitably employed in the numerous departments of our
growing commerce, was, so recently, a low and marshy plain, of which the wild
beasts of the prairies were almost the solitary tenants; that but-yesterday, compar-


















Oourtesy Chicago Historical Society
OLD FORT DEARBORN, ERECTED IN 1803

atively, the wild Indian held here his council-fire, and roamed abroad unmolested
in the enjoyment of his native freedom.
A country so recent as this cannot be presumed to afford very abundant mate-
rials for history. The incidents, however, connected with the rise and progress of
the City-the causes which first gave it an impulse-and the works of public and
domestic improvement, upon which its future prosperity depend, together with such
events as transpired upon the spot, at an early day, may, perhaps, furnish a narra-
tive not altogether uninteresting, and not inconsistent with our present purpose. For
a western settlement, Chicago can claim no inconsiderable degree of antiquity. In
regard to its earlier history, however, very little can be affirmed with any degree of
certainty. The original proprietors and first inhabitants of the region, were, of
course, the aborigines. The description of the first appearance of the vicinity, by
some of its earliest explorers, leads to the belief, that they were here from a very
early period; that this was, then, and from time immemorial had been, the site of
an Indian village. Major Long, among others, mentions the number and apparent
antiquity of the trails centering here, as evidence of the truth of this position. It
is to be regretted that so little can be. ascertained with certainty, of the lives and
fortunes of the various tribes which, at different times, flourished on the spot. The
XXV








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


melancholy truth, that they have passed away from their ancient dwelling-places,
constitutes about all we know of them. Those wild races of primitive men have
been swept away by the onward march of civilization. Their rude wigwams and
bark canoes have given place to the princely dwellings and the stately ships of an-
other and a different class of beings. Chieftain and warrior are gone. It is only
occasionally that a
miserable remnant
find their way back
from their new
Shoes in the more
distant west, to wit-
Sness the transforma-
tion which is going
on in this land of
St h e i r forefathers.
Their visits are be-
coming less and less
"WOLF POINT" IN 1832 frequent. Each year
View of the west side of the river, at the junction of the north and south branches. witnesses so many
Population of Chicago, about one hundred changes, that soon
they will cease to recognize, in the scene, any semblance to its former self. All will
soon be changed-save only the beating of the waves on the shores of the lake over
which man can exercise no control. The Illinois, the Shawnees, and the Potawata-
mies will be no more. They may survive for a time beyond the fathers of waters, or
on the shores of the Pacific-but fate seems to have decreed, that ultimately the
whole race are to become extinct.


Until 1832, and even so late as 1833, little or nothing was done towards making
a commencement of the City-it probably not entering into the imagination of any
one, previous to that time, that a town of any importance was to be here at all, at
least, not for many years. In 1832, its appearance and condition was much the
same as in 1823, when Major Long, who visited the place that year, describes it
"as presenting no cheering prospects, and containing but few huts, inhabited by a
miserable race of men, scarcely equal to the Indians, from whom they were de-
scended-and their log or bark houses as low, filthy, and disgusting, displaying not
the least trace of comfort, and as a place of business, affording no inducements to
the settler-the whole amount of trade on the Lake, not exceeding the cargoes of
five or six schooners, even at the time when the Garrison received its supplies from
Mackinaw." This picture, though perhaps too highly colored, presents, in the
main, a correct view of Chicago, in 1832. In 1830, there had been a sale of Canal
lots, the best bringing only fifty or one hundred dollars, many of which have since
become the most valuable in the City. Up to about that time, the present most
densely populated part of the City, was fenced and used by the Garrison, for some
purpose of husbandry, or pasturage. So late as '35 or '6, the fires usual on the prai-
ries in the fall, overran the third and fourth wards. There were only some five of six
houses, built mostly of logs, and a population of less than one hundred.
xxvi








EARLY CHICAGO


One of these houses, formerly the property of the Fur Company, was, until a
short time past, occupied by Col. Beaubien. About 80 rods to the south of that,
stood a house, once occupied by Colonel Owings, but since washed away by the
lake. A house, known as "Cobweb Castle," on block No. 1, was formerly the abode
of Dr. Alexander Wolcott.
The dwelling of Mr. John Kinzie stood East of the Lake House. A log
building at the corner of Dearborn and South Water Streets, and the once cele-
brated tavern of Mr. Mark Beaubien, on the site of the Sauganash, generally known
as the Eagle, together with a building on block 14, and a cabin, occupied by Robin-
son, the Indian Chief at Wolf Point, constituted all the buildings, except the Fort,
to be found here in 1832. Sometime this year, however, Robert A. Kinzie built a



















Courtesy C(hlen'o Historical Society
CHICAGO'S FIRST POST-OFFICE, 1831
Log building near the present site of the Lake Street bridge, east end

store at Wolf Point, the first frame building in Chicago. In 1834, several brick
buildings were erected.
The commerce of the place, up to this period, was equally insignificant. In
fact, there was none, unless the traffic of the Fur Company can be dignified with
that name. Vessels occasionally ventured here, but so seldom, that the arrival of a
schooner was an' event of no little moment, and created a sensation throughout the
community. The year 1832, may then be regarded as the period from which to date
the commencement of the City. Many causes, the Indian war among them, con-
spired, about this time, to bring Chicago into general notice. What was called the
"Western Fever," had begun to rage generally, throughout the country. Thousands
were flocking from the East, to seek homes in the West. The first premonitions of the
speculating mania had manifested themselves. Eligible sites for towns and cities
were sought out, and eagerly appropriated. The superior advantages of Chicago,
in this period of general enquiry, when enterprise was universally aroused, and
incited by the hope of sudden wealth, could not long escape public attention.
xxvii








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


The attention of Congress had been called to the importance and necessity of
a harbor, and an appropriation was confidently relied upon at the next session. Gen.
Scott, who explored the country during the Indian war, took a lively interest in
this work, and addressed a letter in relation to it, which was subsequently laid be-
fore Congress. The construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal had also been
finally resolved upon by the State legislature. Active measures were being taken
to survey the different routes and to estimate the cost of the various plans proposed.
Hence the commencement, and completion of this important work at no distant day,
might confidently be relied upon. The resources of the State, too, were beginning
to be more generally known, and better appreciated. The most alluring reports of
the character of the soil-its productiveness-the facilities for making farms on our
prairies-together with the salubrity of the climate, were circulated far and wide.
The most strenuous exertions were made, and with the most signal success, to pro-
mote emigration. Enterprise, stimulated by interest, and the hope of gain, was
aroused, calling forth and concentrating upon this one object, all the resources and
capabilities of the age. Capital was enlisted, and credit and unlimited confidence
invoked to its aid. Money, owing to excessive bank and even private issues, was
abundant, and loans to any amount were effected with the greatest ease. The West
suddenly became the center of men's thoughts and wishes, and Chicago, as the most
important point in the West, the goal to which all directed their aspirations.
Such are some of the prominent causes which may be said, at the period re-
ferred to, to have given the first impulse to the City. That it grew and prospered
as it did, under their operation, will excite no surprise the result could not well
have been otherwise. Its progress, accordingly, until about '37, has no parallel-it
was rapid in the extreme. Buildings went up as if by magic-stores were opened by
the hundred, and speedily filled with merchandise; people of every calling and pur-
suit in life, laborers, mechanics, and professional men, influenced by a common pur-
pose-the hope of success in their several spheres of action came together here,
and entered at once with a zeal and activity into the schemes of improvement pro-
jected. The sale of Canal lots in 1830 has been already mentioned. In 1833, a great
Indian payment was held here, near the present site of the Lake House. In the
latter part of this year, the work on the harbor was commenced and during the
same year, the present Light-house was erected, the old one having fallen down.
In 1835, the population of the place was said to amount to 5,500, a computation
which probably included transitory persons, a great many of whom were here at the
time. The actual population, however, that year, could not have been much less
than 3,000. In 1836, another sale of Canal lots took place, which was attended with
much excitement, and occasioned a large collection of people from distant quarters.
The prices were extravagantly high. In 1836, a branch of the State Bank was lo-
cated here. On the 4th of July, 1831, the ceremony of breaking the first ground on
the Canal took place at Canal Port, in presence of a large concourse of specta-
tors. During the winter of '36-7, the act to incorporate the City passed the State
Legislature; and in April succeeding, the first election under the Charter was held,
which resulted in the choice of W. B. Ogden to the office of Mayor. The growth of
commerce, thus far, kept pace with everything else. The community were depend-
ent, during the first few years, entirely upon supplies from abroad; this, together
xxviii








EARLY CHICAGO


with the great influx of emigration, and the travel which began to set in this direc-
tion, gave employment to a considerable amount of shipping, and Steamboats and
Schooners began to ply regularly between this port and Buffalo.
During this brief but exciting period, the community fortunately found time to
devote some attention to things of greater importance than the accumulation of this
world's goods. Before or during 1836, as many as six Churches had been
organized, and suitable buildings provided for their accommodation. These
Churches, together with such as have since been established, have always received a
liberal support, and are now in a flourishing condition. Neither was the subject of



















From a watercolor by C. E. Petford
THE FIRST COURTHOUSE, BUILT IN 1835

education wholly neglected. The school section, which fortunately lay contiguous
to the City, and was proportionably valuable, was disposed of in 1834, and the avails
applied to the support of Common Schools. Means for the diffusion of general in-
telligence were also provided.
In 1834, John Calhoun commenced the publication of the Chicago Democrat;
and in the following year, Thos. O. Davis established the Chicago American, both
of which papers still exist; the latter under the name of the Chicago Express, being
published daily. These papers, together with the Prairie Farmer, Agricultural;
the Western Citizen, Abolition; the North Western Baptist, Baptist; and the Better
Covenant, Universalist, which have since been started, are ably conducted, and have
an extensive circulation.
The year 1837, is especially memorable in the annals of Chicago, as the period
of protested notes. It was during this year that the consequences of speculation,
which had hitherto operated most favorably for the West, were experienced to a
most ruinous extent. Chicago was intimately connected with speculation, through all
its progress. It was in its incipient stages, at the period of the commencement of the
City; but a.disposition and tendency to it was apparent even then. It raged with
xxix








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


great violence during '35-6, and a portion of '37, at which time it gave color and
direction to most business transactions.
The history of this singular delusion is replete with instructive incidents. It
seems unaccountable to the more sober judgment of these times, how men, under
any circumstances, could have been led so far astray-how prudence, foresight, and
sagacity could, to such.an extent, have lost their dominion and control over the hu-
man mind. But so it was. The rapid and unprecedented rise in the value of real
estate, and the certainty of that rise, exerted a most seductive influence; very few
were found able to resist the temptation; all classes of people ultimately abandon-
ing the usual avocations of society, devoted themselves exclusively to speculation,
and hazarded their all upon this sea of chance. This wild spirit found its way
ultimately into the halls of legislation, and controlled the conduct and policy of
states, as it had done that of individuals. It was under the influence of this spirit
that those stupendous schemes of internal improvement originated in many of the
new states, which have entailed upon subsequent times the evils of debt-taxation-
and in some cases, national disgrace and dishonor. Speculation led, in short, to the
perpetration, on all hands, of acts of folly and absurdity, seldom before heard of.
The sources of wealth being regarded as inexhaustible, naturally created extrava-
gant ideas of prosperity, and afforded to all the apparent means of indulging in
every species of expenditure. It would be useless to follow speculation through its
stages, as one act of absurdity succeeded another in rapid succession. Are not these
times and their consequences written in effaceless characters upon the memory of
every reader?
To Chicago, in an especial degree, was the stroke which was thus inflicted
upon the business interests of the country injurious and calamitous. It was to her
a season of mourning and desolation. Many of her most business and enterprising
citizens were insolvent-all, to a greater or less extent, embarrassed in their circum-
stances. She had gone on hitherto in a state of uninterrupted prosperity-nothing
had thus far occurred to check the progress of improvement. Could that state of
prosperity have continued, Chicago would, by this time, have ranked among the
proudest cities of the land. But calamity came suddenly and unexpectedly; and, for
a time, she quailed under its effects.
But she was not, and could not be entirely prostrated. Her position was too
favorable, and her redeeming powers too abundant to permit her very long to be
seriously affected by any calamity, however great. She had, in common with the
west, gained much by speculation. What had been accomplished could not be un-
done. Her works of improvement survived-her population was left to her, and
more than all her great and inexhaustible natural resources remained to bear her on
to the consummation of her high destiny. Her citizens returned to their habits of
industry and economy, from which the force of evil example had seduced them.
Her business men, taught a severe lesson by the past, bent all their energies, and
called into requisition all their experience to build up their injured credit, and to re-
store their business to a safe and permanent foundation. The consequences began
gradually to develop themselves. But little was gained during '38-9; but in '40,
things assumed a more favorable aspect, and since that time the increase of busi-
ness and population has been most rapid. This will be more fully illustrated by a








EARLY CHICAGO


reference to the census of different periods, and to the tabular statements of the
amount, value and character of the export and import trade of the place during each
year, contained in another part of this volume.
It is with feelings of pride and satisfaction that the friends of Chicago can
refer to the experience of the past six years, as furnishing an enduring monument
to the industry, enterprise and perseverance of her people, and as establishing, be-
yond controversy, the existence and permanency of her sources of prosperity. If,
with an impoverished community, at a period of general prostration of the business
interests of the country, under the pressure of heavy municipal and enormous
State liabilities, with resources comparatively undeveloped, and the works of pub-
lic improvement unfinished, Chicago has accomplished so much, what may not rea-
sonably be expected when these and all obstacles are removed from her way?
A glance at her geographical position will convince the most skeptical that Chi-
cago is but the nucleus about which is destined to grow up, at no remote period,
one of the most important commercial towns in the West. Situated on the waters of
the only great Lake exclusively within the United States-being the termination, on
the one hand, of the navigation of the Lakes, and on the other, of the Illinois and
Michigan Canal-affording great natural facilities for a harbor, by means'of Chi-
cago River and its branches-the excelling site for a capacious ship basin in the
very heart of the town, at the junction of said branches-having dependent upon it
a region of country vast in extent, and of extraordinary fertility, it must always be
the dividing point between two great sections of the Union, where the productions
of each must meet and pay tribute. It is susceptible of the easiest demonstration
that the route by the Lakes, the Canal and the Western Rivers, when once the chan-


Oourtesy Chicago fistortcal Society
TIHE DEARBORN STREET DRAWBRIDGE, BUILT IN 1834


xxxi











HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


nels of communication are completed, will, for cheapness, safety and expedition,
possess advantages superior to every other. Among the advantages of this route, the
climate, so favorably adapted to the preservation of produce, deserves especial
notice.

The commercial interests, then, of the East, and especially of the great valley
of the West, will be intimately connected with Chicago, as a place of transshipment
and deposit-and the value and amount of the trade in produce, in lumber, salt,
and in every description of merchandise which will center here, is beyond our
present powers of computation, and can only be measured by the future wants and
capabilities of the country. .

In conclusion of our subject, it may be proper to refer more particularly to

some important considerations and facts connected with the present condition of
Chicago, hitherto only incidentally alluded to.

The city, for some time past, has been considerably embarrassed with debt, in
consequence of the necessity which has existed of borrowing money to carry
on its works of improvement. The existing liabilities of the city amount to $8,977.55,
viz.: bonds to Strachan & Scott, $5,000; bonds for Clark Street Bridge, $3,000;
bonds for barrier to the Lake, and interest, $977.55. The increasing revenues derived

from taxation and other sources will soon afford the means to extinguish these lia-


abilities entirely. The tax of the


S .


Males 10 years of age
and under, 245 284 57 65
Over 10 and under 21, 146 133 41 36
Over 21 and under 45, 627 614 130 102
Over 45 and under 60, 25 39 7 8
Over 60, 5 8 2 2
Total,
Females 10 and under, 217 271 87 64
Over 10 and under 21, 186 183 31 27
Over 21 and under 45, 398 384 94 73
Over 45 and under 60, 27 29 7 6
Over 60, 7 7 1 1
Total,
Colored males under 21, 2 6 0 0
Colored males over 21, 9 14 2 2
Colored females under
21, 3 4 0 0
Colored females over 21, 2 9 0 0
Total,
Transient persons, 87 246 50 28
Number of Irish,. 170 206 29 50
Germans and Nor-
wegians, 104 217 32 21
Natives of other coun-
tries, 134 156 80 84
Grand Total,
Whole number of Families, 1177.
Population, 1840. 1843.
1st ward, 1197 1986
2d ward, 1467 2231
3d ward, 251 509
4th ward, 179 414
5th ward, 436 600
6th ward, 1323 1840
Total, 4853 7580


present year, at the rate of assessment of this year,


Cd
0'

100 257 1008
63 143 562
155 439 2067
9 40 128
0 10 27
3792
98 280 1017
37 166 630
106 338 1393
'11 36 116
2 16 34
3190
0 4 12
0 3 30
0 3 10
0 2 13
65
19 103 533
175 143 773
90 352 816
50 163- 667
7580
Increase.
789
764
258
235
164
517
2727


CHICAGO STATISTICS OF 1842-3
Two pages from Norris' directory


XXXii


EXPORTS. IMPORTS.
1836. 1,000.64 1836. $325,203.90
1837. 11,065.00 1837. 373,667.12
1838. 16,044.75 1838. 579,174.61
1839. 33,843.00 1839. 630,980.26
1840. 228,635.74 1840. 562,106.20
1841. 348,362.24 1841. 564,347.88
1842. 659,305.20 1842. 664,347.88

ARTICLES EXPORTED DURING THE YEAR 1842.
Wheat, 586,907 bushels. Flour, 2,920 bbls.
Corn, 35,358 Beef, 762
Oats, 53,486 Pork, Hams, 15,447 "
Peas, 484 Fish, 915
Barley, 1,090 Lard, 367,200 Ibs.
Flax Seed, 750 Tallow, 151,300
Hides, No. of 6,947 Soap, 2,400
Brooms, No. 5,587 Candles, 500
Maple Sug. 4,500 lbs. Tobacco, 3,000
Lead, 59,990 Butter, 24,200
Feathers, 2,409 Wool, 1,500
Fur and Pelt, 446 Packs

ARTICLES EXPORTED DURING THE YEAR 1843.
Wheat, 628,967 bushels Tobacco 74,900 pounds
Corn, 2,443 Lead. 360,000
Oats, 3,767 Wool, 22,050
Flax seed, 1,920 Candles, 4,900
Pork, 11,112 barrels Soap, 5,300
Lard, 2,823 Packages Furs 393
Beef, 10,380 Brooms 180 dozen
Tallow, 1,133 Flour, 10,786 barrels
Hides, 14,536 "

ARTICLES IMPORTED DURING THE YEAR 1843.
Merchandise 2,012 tons Shingles 4,117,025
S 101,470 p'k'g's Sq. timber 16,600 ft.
Salt 27,038 barrels Staves 57,000
Whiskey 2,585 Bark 430 cords
Lumber 7,545,142 feet








EARLY CHICAGO


amounts to $7,852.45; the school tax, at half a mill per cent., to $685.24. A large
amount of city property, which heretofore has been unproductive, will, the next year,
become taxable, particularly the canal lands and the reservation. The amount of
the tax for the coming year, unless a reduction should take place, may safely be esti-
mated at $12,000. In addition to this, there is now in the treasury, unappropriated,
$1,854, and the current expenses paid. The management of the fiscal affairs of the
city, by our present common council, is entitled to the highest praise. The finan-
cial ability of the'mayor has been recently tested in the management of a negotiation
at New York, by which a reduction of three per cent. has been effected upon the in-
terest of the largest debt of the city, and may be regarded as equivalent to a new
loan. The credit of the city is now established upon a permanent foundation, and
cannot be easily shaken. City scrip for some time has been at par.
Our common schools are worthy of especial notice. They are sustained in part
by the school fund, and in part by taxation. The fund originally amounted to about
$39,000; but nearly one-half of this amount has been lost by injudicious loans. These
schools are justly the pride of the city, and the interest which is manifested in them
is an evidence of the importance which the community attaches to education. We
have also a medical college chartered by the Legislature in 1837, and several schools
sustained by private munificence. Independent of these, we have several other insti-
tutions, which are exerting a beneficial influence. Among them, the Mechanics' In-
stitute and the Young Men's Association are prominent in importance. These insti-
tutions, while sustained as they have been hitherto, will be both useful and ornamental
to the city. Both of them have libraries, containing, in the aggregate, about 2500
volumes. The Mechanics' Institute has a department in the Prairie Farmer, devoted
exclusively to the interests of the mechanical arts-the Young Men's Association a
reading room, where most of the publications of the day are regularly received, and
accessible to the public. There is, in addition to these libraries, a circulating library,
containing about 1500 volumes. We have other societies designed to meet the in-
tellectual wants of the community, among which may be mentioned the Chicago
Lyceum-the oldest literary society in the place. Our theatre-a very pretty one
-has been in operation the past season, and met with some encouragement; but it
must be confessed that, at present, the prospects of the drama are not flattering.
In facilities for the accommodation of the traveling public, Chicago has made
great progress. In early times our inns were miserable in the extreme. Now we
have eighteen hotels and houses of public entertainment, some of them large and
splendid establishments, not inferior to any in the West. The great amount of
travel passing through here during the season of navigation renders tavern keeping
a very profitable branch of business.
An extensive staging business has grown up here, and may be referred to as an
instance of enterprise and public spirit on the part of those engaged in it. The
several lines of stages centering here, for speed, safety and comfort, are not excelled
by any in the country.
The Hydraulic Company, designed to supply the city with pure water from the
Lake, was incorporated in 1836, and has already been the source of great utility to
the city, both in supplying water for domestic purposes, and for the extinguishment
xxxiii








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


of fires. The stock is owned principally by merchants, and in time must become the
source of great profit.
Ship building has been carried on here to some extent. A steam propeller,
registering 270 tons, was built the past season, and a schooner of about 200 tons
burthen, to be called the Maria, is now in process of construction by the same
builder, and will probably be launched in the spring.
It will be seen by reference to the statistical tables of this year, that a large
amount of beef has been packed here the present season. We have four large
packing houses and all of them have done a heavy business thus far.
Much might be said in commendation of our Fire Companies-all of which
are highly efficient, and bespeak the public spirit of our citizens. Our Military
Companies will speak for themselves.
Considering the age of the city, and the fact that our population has been
derived from almost every nation under heaven, and speak so many different lan-
guages-the existing state of its society confers distinction upon Chicago. Among
the new cities of the West, we shall be entitled, in this particular, at the present
time, to an enviable position; the means now adopted to improve the condition of
society will, at no distant day, enable us to rank with any city in the land. .
It will be impossible in this connection to mention particularly all the institu-
tions which testify the public spirit and benevolence of the community. Reference,
however, can be had to subsequent parts of the book, where they are more particularly
described.
We have now followed our subject to its conclusion. We have attempted to
exhibit Chicago as it was in gone-by days-to mark the successive stages of its prog-
ress-and to delineate its condition at the present time.
We have reason to be proud of our city-not so much on account of its relative
size among the other cities of the land-of its present population-and the amount
of value of its commerce-but as affording a sublime illustration of what man, under
circumstances of great difficulty and embarrassment, can accomplish in a short space
of time.
In the hope that its future history may be worthy of the past-that the experi-
ence of the next and each succeeding year, may justify our favorable predictions of
it in regard to its high destiny-we must, for the present, bid adieu to the QUEEN
CITY OF THE NORTH WEST!


XXXiv










PART I

THE COMMUNITY


Seek ye the welfare of the city whither I have
sent you, and pray for its sake unto the Lord,
for in its welfare shall ye fare well.
-JEREMIAH, XXIX : 7


















CHAPTER I


From the First Arrival to the First Congregation

THE WESTWARD MIGRATION-EARLIEST JEWS IN ILLINOIS -FIRST PERMANENT
SETTLERS IN CHICAGO-THE FIRST JEWISH CHILD BORN IN CHICAGO-EARLY
COLONIZATION EFFORTS IN SCHAUMBERG, COOK COUNTY -THE FIRST MIN-
YAN-THE FIRST BURIAL SOCIETY AND THE FIRST JEWISH CEMETERY ES-
TABLISHMENT OF K. A. M. CONGREGATION- THE COMMUNITY IN 1847.


HE number of Jews in the
United States in 1818, when
Illinois became a state is esti-
mated by Mordecai Noah at
3,000, the total population of the United
States in that year being about 9,000,000.
Distributed among the eastern seaboard
cities, the Jewish population consisted
mostly of Sephardim, Spanish and Por-
tuguese Jews whose forbears had come to
America between 1650 and 1750.
In the movement toward the Missis-
sippi Valley that began early in the
nineteenth century they took no part,
leaving the call of the West to be re-
sponded to by their Ashkenazic brethren,
mostly from Germany. These, chafing
under the severe restrictions applied
against Jews in the various principalities
in which they lived, began to arrive in
the United States when the westward
migration was in full progress.
The only Jew who is known to have
come to Illinois prior to its admission
into the Union (August 26, 1818) was
John Hays, whose lineage could scarcely
be guessed from his name but who was
of Jewish stock nevertheless. Son of
Baruch Hays, a lieutenant in the Amer-
ican Revolution, and scion of one of the
oldest and most patriotic American
Jewish families, John Hays settled in
Illinois as early as 1793 and served for


twenty years as sheriff of St. Clair
County, in the southwestern part of Illi-
nois, which was the most populous sec-
tion of the State in its early days. In the
History of St. Clair County published
by Brink, McDonough and Company in
1881, appears the following regarding
this pioneer Illinois Jew:
In the year 1793, John Hays became a citizen
of Cahokia (Illinois). He was born in the city
of New York in 1770, and when very young en-
tered the Indian trade in the Northwest as clerk
to a wealthy house in Canada. At one time, near
the headwaters of the Red River, he and two
Canadians were caught in a severe snow storm on
the prairie and were compelled to lie under the snow
for three days and nights, being unable to travel,
and with only a scant supply of dried meat and their
blankets. They suffered most from want of water.
On settling at Cahokia he embarked in trade with
the Indians on his own account. He afterward
turned his attention to agriculture. For a number
of years he held the office of postmaster at Cahokia,
with no profit to himself, but for the accommodation
of his neighbors. Governor St. Clair in 1798 ap-
pointed him sheriff of St. Clair County, and he
continued to exercise the duties of this position till
1818, when the state government was organized.
For several years subsequent to 1822 he was sta-
tioned at Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he acted as
Indian agent for the Potawatomi and Miami
tribes. He returned to Cahokia, where he spent the
balance of his days, and where, in old age, he died.
According to the scant records that are
available, the first Jew to come to and set-
tle in Chicago was J. Gottlieb, a peddler,








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


who is said to have arrived in the future
western metropolis in 1838, when its pop-
ulation numbered a little over 4,000, less
than it had the year before when it was
incorporated as a city. Nothing further
can be definitely affirmed concerning this
supposedly first arrival, who is believed
to have gone farther west shortly after his
appearance in Chicago, eventually, it is
said, reaching California during the gold
rush of 1849.
An individual whose name, so far as
we know, has never been mentioned in
any previous ac-
count of the earliest
Jewish activities in
Chicago, is P e t e r
Cohen, who despite
his priestly surname
may not have been a
son of the Covenant. .
It is possible that he
was a German with
a Jewish name, as From Wild, Valley of
Gottlieb was a Jew CAt-
with a German
name. Until it is definitely established,
however, that Peter Cohen, pioneer
Chicagoan, was not a Jew, he remains
a proper subject of inquiry by the
Jewish historian, and accordingly we
give the following facts that we have as-
certained about him: He was prominent
in Chicago as early as 1833 when the his-
tory of Chicago proper, though only as an
incorporated town, begins. His name ap-
pears as a subscriber of Chicago's first
newspaper, the Chicago Weekly Demo-
crat, and also as an advertiser beginning
with its first issue in which he called at-
tention to his place of business at "the
east end of South Water Street" where he
had on hand "a large and splendid assort-
*ment of winter clothing" as well as "a
fresh supply of provisions, groceries and
liquors." His name appears also in the
early lists of voters in Chicago, and in
the first attempt at a directory of Chi-
cago, made in 1839, where he is entered


IO


as "Peter Cohen, merchant, S. Water St."
We find his name in Fergus' directory for
the year 1843, where he is mentioned as
a dealer in "ready-made clothing," on
Lake Street. According to Fergus, he
went south, settling near New Orleans.
In the directory of 1839 appears also
the name of Morris Baumgarten, who is
mentioned in Andreas' History of Chi-
cago as having come here in 1832. In
addition to Peter Cohen and Morris
Baumgarten, two other names have come
down to us from this early time which
sound convincingly
Jewish but have not
been authenticated
as such. These are
Aaron Friend and
Isaac Hays, men-
tioned in the first
extended letter list
T appearing in the
Chicago Democrat's
he Mississcpp, (1841). issue of January 7,
KIA 1 8 3 4, advertising
unclaimed mail at
the Chicago Postoffice. No information
is available about either. They were
probably peddlers like Gottlieb and did
not remain here very long. Isaac Hays
interests us particularly because of the
connection the surname suggests with
John Hays, Illinois' pioneer Jew.
The foregoing is all that is known of
Jewish activity in Chicago prior to the
'40s. It is fairly certain, however-and
this is perhaps all that really matters in
this narrative-that none of those we
have mentioned played a part in the early
Jewish community.
We begin to step on firm and secure
ground in our study of Jewish beginnings
in Chicago with the year 1841 when, or
shortly before, there came to Chicago
four of our earliest Jewish arrivals, each
of whom became prominent in the com-
munity and helped to shape its activities
in the ensuing decade. These men were
Benedict Shubart, Philip Newburgh,









FROM THE FIRST ARRIVAL TO THE FIRST CONGREGATION


Isaac Ziegler, and Henry Horner, whose
names are the only Jewish names appear-
ing in Chicago's first real and trustworthy
directory, that issued by Robert Fergus
for the year 1843 after years of careful
checking. In addition to Fergus' direc-
tory there is another compiled by J. W.
Norris and issued December 1, 1843 (see
"Early Chicago," preceding), which
makes no mention of Horner although it
lists Shubart, Newburgh and Ziegler,

BENEDICT SHUBART came to Chicago in 1841, at the
age of twenty-nine, where
he soon became one of the
most prosperous merchant
tailors in the city. He had
been here but a short
time when he and some
of his neighbors formed
the first minyan assem-
bled in Chicago. Always
an ardent Jew, he became
one of the founders of
the first Jewish religious
body established in Chi-
cago. On April 3, 1853,
at the age of forty-two,
he died, shortly after his
second marriage, and
now lies buried in Mt.
Ma'ariv Cemetery, where
a weatherbeaten tombstone that may be read with diffi-
culty, marks his grave, as well as that of his first wife.

and also mentions "J. Fischbein, mer-
chant," and "Solomon Phillip, mer-
chant," whose residence is in both cases
given as Washington Hall, a temperance
hotel of the time on North Water Street
near the Clark Street bridge, where Zie-
gler also stayed. Fergus also mentions
the names of Fischbein and Phillip.
Norris' and Fergus' directories both con-
tain the names of two tailors employed
by Benedict Shubart-Joseph Leindei-
vener and Joseph Paintor-who presum-
ably were not Jewish, although this is not
certain. Fergus, who printed Norris' di-
rectory, says that Norris compiled it
"from a careless and indifferent canvass"
which probably accounts for the fact that
it does not contain the name of Henry
Horner. In Andreas' History of Chi-
cago, the date of the establishment of
Henry Horner's retail and wholesale gro-
cery business is given as 1842. New-


burgh, Shubart and Ziegler were al-
ready here when Horner arrived.
Benedict Shubart and Philip New-
burgh are the two most important of the
earliest names. They were related by
marriage, Shubart's sister, Ernestina, be-
coming Mrs. Newburgh. Shubart and
Newburgh were both in their late twen-
ties when they came to Chicago. Both
conducted merchant tailoring establish-
ments on Lake Street, then and for some
time after, Chicago's main retail busi-
ness thoroughfare. Both lived above
their stores (Newburgh at 153 Lake
Street, near La Salle, and Shubart at
187, a block farther west) in the manner
of the day applying to those who were
well-to-do as well as those whose material
lot was more modest, although the differ-
ences in worldly station in those days in


PHILIP NEWBURGH was born in Sulzberg, Bavaria,
February 6, 1813. He
emigrated to New York
in 1837, going later' to
Pottsville, Pennsylvania,
where he met and mar-
ried Ernestina Shubart,
sister to Benedict Shu-
bart. After the birth of
their son, Louis, they
came to Chicago in 1841,
where their daughter,
Pauline, was born. She,
and her brother, Henry,
appear to have been the
first Jewish children born
in Chicago. In 1852, just
after Louis became a Bar
Mitzvah, the family
moved to New York, and
in 1864 settled in Cincin-
nati, where they lived until 1892, in which year New-
burgh and his wife died within one day of one another,
and were buried in the same grave.


Chicago were not very wide among its in-
habitants.
The dignified and aristocratic appear-
ance of Benedict Shubart, with his side-
burns and his marked resemblance to a
Scotchman, caused him to be known
among Gentiles as "Scott Benedict,"
usually written "S. Benedik," under
which name he conducted and advertised
his business and is listed in the early di-
rectories. He soon became Chicago's








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


leading fashionable merchant tailor and
its first prosperous Jew, being earliest
able to afford a brick residence, then an
unmistakable sign of wealth. Quiet in his
ways, throughout his life he was an earn-
est and observing Jew. He was a mem-
ber of the first minyan assembled in Chi-
cago, and one of the founders of the first
religious body to be established here.
Just prior to his death in 1853, his wife
passed away, and he married again, his
widow later becoming Mrs. Fleischman,
known after the death of her second hus-
band as "the widow Fleishman." Her
goodness of heart and helpful ministra-
tions caused her praises to be sung by all

P. NEWBURGH,
DRAPER AND T AI.L OR,
i53 LAKE STREET.
Orders pr,,o,6ply aiiended: o.

SS. BENEDIK,
MERCHANT TAILOR, :.:
187 LAIKE STREET, CHICAGO, ILL.
A FI JL A 1ORTHEINT OF
BRu GOODS. CLOTrINh, &C. runloonIly kept on hand,
Warranted of the beit bl ne rll, and Latest Style-

ADVERTISEMENTS OF SHUBART AND NEWBURGH
IN NORRIS' DIRECTORY

in the community. Many anecdotes were
told about her and her motherly interest
in struggling Jewish boys. One of the
best-known of these stories, having to do
with two boys who later became mer-
chant princes in Chicago, tells how she
patched the only pair of trousers each
had, while they betook themselves to bed
during the operation. The name of "the
widow Fleishman" is one of the first in
a long line of splendid women who
blessed the Jewish community from the
beginning.
Philip Newburgh, Shubart's fellow-
tradesman, apparently did not fare so
well in the tailoring line, for he gave it
up and became a tobacco dealer, being


listed as the first Jewish one in Illinois.
His daughter, Pauline, born in 1841, the
year of the family's arrival in Chicago,
seems to have been the first Jewish child
born in this city. She died at the age of
six. Louis Newburgh, the first child.
born in Pennsylvania two years prior to
the family's arrival here, was the first to
become Bar Mitzvah in Chicago, in 1851.
A third child, Henry, born in 1846, is
from all accounts the first Jewish male
child born in Chicago. In 1852 the New-
burghs moved to New York, later settling
in Cincinnati, where the father and
mother passed their remaining days.
Both died in 1892.
From Henry Newburgh, who is still
living in Cincinnati, and from Aaron
Shubart (born in Chicago February 20,
1853, shortly before the death of his
father, Benedict Shubart, and deceased
in 1921), much valuable material was ob-
tained for this History regarding their re-
spective families and the early days of the
Jewish community in Chicago.
Isaac Ziegler was in humbler circum-
stances than either Benedict Shubart or
Philip Newburgh. He first peddled in
and around Chicago and later entered
the grocery business. He was well known
in the city and liked for his simple, hon-
est ways. It is said of him that he spent
much of his time helping to extricate
teams that had sunk into the mud on
Madison and Clark Streets in front of
his place of business and finally, in an ef-
fort to divert traffic, caused signs to be
put up in the middle of the road reading
"Bottomless" and "Road to China." He
lived continuously in Chicago until his
death, October 10, 1893.
Henry Horner, grandfather of Judge
Henry Horner, little realized when he
came to Chicago, an unmarried young
man in his early twenties, and opened a
modest retail and wholesale grocery at
the corner of Randolph and Canal
streets, that his name would be one of the
best known in Chicago. It was not long,








FROM THE FIRST ARRIVAL TO THE FIRST CONGREGATION


however, before he rose to prominence in
Chicago's commercial life. He laid the
foundations of Chicago's wholesale gro-
cery establishment and helped to call into
being the Chicago Board of Trade. He
raised a family of eleven children, all
born in Chicago, of whom the eldest was
Mrs. Dilah Horner (Levy), mother of
Judge Horner. The eldest son, Joseph
Horner, born October 22, 1852, is still
living. Henry Horner took a quiet but
earnest and loyal part in communal life
until his death, February 11, 1878.
Thereafter his business interests as well
as the care of a large household were ably
looked after for many years by his widow,
Mrs. Hannah Horner. She, like "the
widow Fleishman," was an outstanding
figure in Jewish women's activities until
her death, February 15, 1902.
These first Jewish settlers in the early
'40s-Benedict Shubart, Philip New-
burgh, Isaac Ziegler and Henry Horner
-fitted immediately into the life of Chi-
cago. They were not left long alone,
however, in their crude and lonely new
home. Compatriots kept coming and by
1845 Chicago had a promising little Jew-


ISAAC ZIEGLER


ish colony, the new arrivals including
Levi Rosenfeld, Jacob Rosenberg, and
three Kohn brothers-Julius, Abraham
and Meier-all leading personalities
who have left their impress upon Chi-
cago. Practically all of these arrivals as


well as many who followed them during
the next decade were young, unmarried
men when they came to Chicago, whom
religious oppression had driven to Amer-
ica from their homes in bigoted lands in
Europe where regulations were in force
limiting the number of Jewish marriages.


HENRY HORNER, coming to Chicago in his early
twenties, played an im-
portant part in the com-
munal life of the city, and
became a power in the
commercial world. After
establishing one of the
first wholesale groceries
in Chicago he was instru-
mental in forming the
Chicago Board of Trade.
In addition to his knowl-
edge of finance, he pos-
sessed a great love for
books and study. He
almost lost his life during
the great fire of 1871 in
his endeavor to save his
library-one of the finest
in Chicago--from the
conflagration, and had to
be hurried out of his burning home. He died February
11, 1878, leaving a widow, Mrs. Hannah Dernberg
Horner, and eleven children.


The conditions that then prevailed in the
German principalities are described by
Judge Max B. May in his life of Isaac
Mayer Wise who landed at New York
as a youth during the period we are con-
sidering. Judge May says:
The number of Jewish families allowed in a dis-
trict was fixed by law, and no one was permitted
to marry without a special license, which was dif-
ficult to obtain, except by the eldest son of the
family, unless there was a vacancy created by death.
Even where marriages were permitted, the bride-
groom had to be twenty-two years of age.
The right to marry was called a Familiantenrecht.
There were evasions of this inhuman and un-
natural rule, to be sure (Isaac Mayer Wise boasts
of the way he violated it), but these and other in-
tolerable conditions and the intensity of the Juden-
hass, burned in these youths "like a fiery coal" as
one of them, who later came to Chicago, said, and
they longed to shake the soil of the cursed so-called
fatherland from their boots and reach as fast as
they could, although lacking in means and knowl-
edge of the language of the new country, the land
they heard referred to and later also with reverence
and gratitude called das gebenschte Land ("the
blessed land")--America.








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


Thus was started in motion the first
great Jewish emigration to America dur-
ing the years 1830-1840. Most of these
early immigrants remained in New York
and other eastern centers but the more
adventurous pushed farther west, and
thus Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis,
Chicago, and other communities in the
West and Northwest and also in the
South came to have their first considera-
ble number of Jewish immigrants.
One of these early immigrants, Mayer
Klein, who arrived in New York in 1840
and several years later made his way to
Chicago, has left us an interesting account
of the life of these first Jewish arrivals
from central and eastern Europe. We
quote from this account because it gives
the background of Chicago's earliest Jew-
ish settlers.
It was on the first of September in the year 1840
[says Mayer Klein], just at a time when great ex-
citement prevailed in New York, in fact all over the
country, on account of the election between Harri-
son and Van Buren, that I landed in New York,
a stranger in a strange land. There were no steam-
ers at that time, and people came from Europe in
sailing vessels; all were dumped in New York and
kept together as near as possible.
Now began the problem of how to proceed to
make a living, for the majority of the immigrants
were poor, and strangers to the language and cus-
toms of the country. Upon the advice of those who
were here before them, the greater part of the Jew-
ish young men went peddling. There were two or
three Jewish merchants who supplied Jewish ped-
dlers with "Yankee notions" which they called Kut-
tie Muttle. The principal merchant was dubbed
Hershel Ganef; he trusted them all, instructed them
what to call things and how to offer them for sale.
There was a synagogue in New York called the
"India Rubber shul" because it was principally up-
held by peddlers whose stock in trade was mostly
suspenders.
All those absent from home hurried to the city
on a holiday in order to be there for the service.
On one occasion, two young men who were staying
at a farm house requested the farmer to awaken
them at four o'clock in the morning, saying, "We
have eight miles to Sing Sing and we want to be
there in time to take the boat to New York." They
started off early and arrived just in time to see that
the boat had left. There was no alternative; they
had to walk and hoped to be in Harlem in time to


take the street car down to the city, for Harlem
was then a suburb, seven miles from New York.
This was the only street car in America and stopped
running at nine o'clock in the evening. They
tramped and tramped until Harlem was reached,
when the last car had just left. Impelled by the
religious fervor and devotion instilled under the
parental roof, they were still bent on reaching their
destination, traveled the remainder of the distance,
which in all made fifty-six miles, and in consequence
of over-exertion were compelled to take to their beds
for three days.
The families had all brought with them their old-
country piety and also their Shabboth lamps with
six or seven arms, filled with stearic oil, made cot-
ton wicks by hand, and on Friday evening before
the beginning of the Sabbath would light them,
then offer a consecrative prayer and after that
would not touch fire and, of course, had to have a
fire woman, Shabboth goye, whenever a light or
fire was needed on the Sabbath. They had a con-
gregational oven to which all who belonged brought
their pots and kettles on Friday afternoon. The
oven was heated, the pots placed in, and the oven
doors sealed with clay in order to retain their heat,
and kept closed until Saturday noon, when they
came to get them. The coffee for the Sabbath morn-
ing was kept hot on ashes on top of this oven. At
one time I was honored with an invitation by an
acquaintance of mine to participate in eating a
genuine German Shabboth Kugel. When seated
at the table, the fire woman came in and wanted
her money for her services, when the wife said, "We
don't pay money on Shabboth. You come tonight
and my husband will pay you."
Mayer Klein's interest in Chicago and
the West was aroused by the active efforts
then being made by his cousin, William
Renau, at whose home in New York, he
stayed, to establish Jews as farmers in the
West. Renau was one of the most promi-
nent Jewish leaders of his day. He was
one of the founders of the Independent
Order B'nai B'rith, and a project that
was close to his heart was a Jewish coloni-
zation society which, after much earnest
and devoted effort, he finally succeeded
in organizing. His object in launching
this organization is stated by Mayer
Klein to have been to lift his brethren
from the low plane they occupied in eco-
nomic and social life as peddlers.
Renau sent Henry Meyer west to look
the ground over and locate the most de-








FROM THE FIRST ARRIVAL TO THE FIRST CONGREGATION


sirable place for a settlement of Jewish
farmers. After spending several weeks
looking at various places, Meyer finally
picked out a tract of land in Schaumberg,
Cook County, not far from Chicago, and
with rare vision pointed out in his report
to the Colonization Society that "this part
of the land, especially the town of Chi-
cago, opens a vista into a large commer-
cial future."
The tract of land picked out by Meyer


MAYER KLEIN, one of the early immigrants, arrived
in Chicago in 1843, and
being unimpressed by the
possibilities of the city, he
went on to LaSalle Coun-
ty. In 1845, he returned
in order to lead the first
Rosh Hashonah and Yom
Kippur services in Chi-
cago. He was the first
cantor in Illinois, and
with his wife, a former
Miss Rubel, was promi-
nently identified in the
activities of the Jewish
community of Chicago,
ever since settling here
permanently in 1851. Sev-
eral children were born
to them, and they lived
here until his death on August 19, 1908.

consisted of 180 acres which he was au-
thorized to buy from the United States
government. Land then sold for a trifle,
the finest land being obtainable for from
$1 to $1.25 an acre. Meyer was quite en-
thusiastic about the site and its prospects
and eagerly looked forward to a consid-
erable Jewish settlement. A number
came but either left shortly after, going
to Chicago and other western communi-
ties, or else bought small holdings on
their own account which they worked for
a while as farmers. Meyer was joined by
his brother-in-law, M. Kling, and one or
two others. But that was as far as the
great Schaumberg project got, and finally
Meyer sold his holdings and came to Chi-
cago where he invested his money in real
estate and advised every one he could in-
fluence to do the same. Those who took
his advice became very wealthy as a re-
sult but Meyer himself did not amass


great wealth. He, however, helped to
call attention to Chicago and the West
and has the historic distinction of being
the first Jew to buy land in Cook County
and to work it as a farmer. He is also
listed as the first Jewish real estate dealer
in Chicago.
Mayer Klein came to Schaumberg
with high hopes also, but it did not take
him long to make up his mind to leave.
Coming to Chicago, he was unimpressed
and could not see how a person could
hope to make a living here. Accordingly
he left for Troy Grive, in La Salle
County, where he thought prospects were
brighter than they were or ever would be
in Chicago. He returned to Chicago
soon after going to Troy Grove, in order
to be present at Yom Kippur services, the
first held in Chicago, in 1845, and made
Chicago his home in 1851.
About the same time that Henry Meyer
and Mayer Klein found their way to Chi-
cago and vicinity, Levi Rosenfeld and
Jacob Rosenberg, and the first three
members of a family-the Kohns-that
was a force in the early days in Chicago
Jewry, were attracted here by the glow-
ing accounts they had received in the
East, of the great opportunities to be
found in Chicago. Rosenfeld and Rosen-
berg formed a partnership under that
name and engaged in the retail and
wholesale dry goods business at 155 Lake
Street, next door to Philip Newburgh,
where they soon became one of the lead-
ing firms in their line in Chicago and the
West, at a time when Marshall Field was
a struggling clerk. Besides having busi-
ness ties, they were related by marriage,
Mrs. Rosenfeld and Mrs. Rosenberg be-
ing sisters, members of the famous Reese
family which included Michael Reese,
Chicago Jewry's first multi-millionaire
and its first great philanthropist.
At the store of Rosenfeld & Rosen-
berg at 155 Lake Street, many important
communal matters were taken up and in
the earliest days it was a center of Jewish








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


activity. Over this store, in a small room,
religious services were held for a while
before the formation of the first congre-
gation, which also took place in this fa-
mous store. Both the Rosenfelds and the
Rosenbergs soon b e c a m e numbered
among the wealthiest Jewish families in
Chicago and gave liberally of their
means to further worthy causes. Rosen-
berg also became prominent in civic life,
giving his services as a volunteer fireman
before the formation of a paid fire de-
partment, and serving for a term as al-
derman of the old Second Ward. He
was also influential in the efforts put forth
to advance Chicago commercially in the
early days, acting as auditor of the Chi-
cago Industrial Exposition, the forerun-
ner of the World's Fair and the Pageant
of Progress of our day.
One of the most interesting early Jew-
ish families in Chicago was the Kohns,
the first three members of which, Julius,
Abraham, and Meier, reached Chicago

JACOB ROSENBERG was born in Altenburg, Bavaria,
March 25, 1819. He
came to America in 1837,


Levi' Rosenfeld and es-
tablished the firm of Ro-
senfeld & Rosenberg. In
1849, at the first Jewish
wedding in Chicago, he
married Hannah Reese,
with whom he later en-
dowed, jointly, the Mi-
chael Reese Hospital. He
was a prominent factor
in the civic life of the
city, acting as volunteer
fireman, alderman for
one term of the old Sec-
ond Ward, and auditor of the Chicago Industrial Expo-
tion. He became one of the wealthiest Jews in the city
and contributed liberally to all worthy causes. He do-
nated to K. A. M. Temple, of which he was a founder,
the land for Mt. Ma'ariv Cemetery, and at his death on
March 31, 1900, bequeathed nearly $40,000 to charity.
He was survived by four children, his wife having passed
away on January 16, 1890.

in 1843 or thereabouts and entered the
clothing business, first under the name of
A. Kohn & Brothers, at 85 Lake Street,
and later under the name of A. & M.
Kohn, at 111 Lake Street. They were


joined shortly after by two brothers, and
later still by their mother, the pious Mrs.
Dilah Kohn, their only sister, and an-

LEVI ROSENFELD was born in Germany, February 21,
1816. At the age of
twenty-three he came to
America, and three years
later made Chicago his
home. As an organizer
of K. A. M. and other
communal institutions, he
took an influential part in
Jewish affairs of early
Chicago. He was a
member of the dry goods
firm of Rosenfeld & Ro-
senberg, and was rated
one of the wealthiest and
most prominent Jews in
the city. His wife was
Henriette Reese, a sister
of Michael Reese, who
shared her husband's
benevolent activities and
continued them after his death. He died August 17, 1887.

other brother. The six Kohn brothers
were a tower of strength in the early com-
munity. The three brothers who were
the first of the family to come to Chicago,
had peddled together for a while in the
East, carrying with them in the trunk the
Sefer Torah given them by their observ-
ant mother when they left their native
home in Bavaria. In Massachusetts, they
were so unfortunate as to travel in a sec-
tion where the people belonged to the
Millerites, a religious sect that believed
that the world was about to come to an
end, and therefore, bought nothing.
Hearing that Chicago was a progressive
town, where the people were looking for-
ward to a great future, the brothers has-
tened here as fast as they could. From the
beginning Abraham Kohn stood out as a
forceful figure in the community. He
was prominent in a number of ways. He
may properly be called the first Jewish
national figure of Chicago, for he became
widely known for the position he took not
only in local matters but also in American
Jewish questions, as we shall see later on.
With such stalwart Jews in Chicago
as the Kohns, Philip Newburgh, Jacob
Rosenberg and others, it was not long be-
fore efforts were made to marshal a








FROM THE FIRST ARRIVAL TO THE FIRST CONGREGATION


minyan for the fall holidays of 1845.
Matters were facilitated by the fact that
there were then four members of the
Kohn family in Chicago, Mayer Kohn
having joined his brothers since their ar-
rival. Only four others however could
be found in Chicago, these being Philip
Newburgh, Benedict Shubart, Jacob Ro-
senberg and Harry Benjamin. Levi Ro-
senfeld was in New York at the time, and
Henry Horner and Isaac Ziegler were
also out of the city. The day was saved
by the appearance of Mayer Klein from
Troy Grove, and of S. Friedheim from
the settlement of Pigeon Woods, just west
of Elgin. Thus, the necessary quota of
ten loyal sons of the Covenant was re-
cruited, and the first public religious
services of Jews in Chicago were held on
Yom Kippur, 1845. The services were
held in a room above a store on Wells
Street near Lake. The Sefer Torah
brought to Chicago by the Kohn brothers
was used at these services, and Philip
Newburgh and Mayer Klein divided the
task of chanting the prayers. Since just
ten were present, the services were sus-
pended whenever one of the worshippers
left the room. Thus, for the first time in
Chicago, prayers arose in public service
from Jewish hearts and the immemorial
Hebrew was first intoned in what was
then an outpost of civilization, with a
total population of 12,000. Two relics
remain of this historic scene in the life of
Chicago Jewry, the tallith worn by
Mayer Klein, and the Sefer Torah used
at the services-symbols of the deathless
Jewish spirit!
Apparently the first minyan could not
be kept together, for the next public re-
ligious services we hear of were those
held a year later, on Yom Kippur, 1846,
this time above the store of Rosenfeld &
Rosenberg. At these services Philip
Newburgh divided the cantor's duties
with Abraham Kohn, and Levi Rosen-
feld, who had returned from New York
where he had gone the year before to get


married, was present. The names of all
who were present at these services have
not been preserved but it is said that
there was not only a full minyan but
also a few to spare. By this time the new
arrivals included Jacob Shubart, a
brother of Benedict, and William Cling-
man (both of whom were employed as
tailors by Benedict Shubart), Samuel
Cole, Morris L. Leopold, J. Benjamin,
S. and J. Marks, and B. Weigselbaum,
all of whose names appear in Norris and
Gardiner's directory of 1846. These were
followed shortly after by Isaac Wormser,
Michael Greenebaum and Leon Greene-
baum, Reuben Becker, Henry Braun-
schild, Henry Fuller, Jacob Fuller, Louis
Leopold, Henry Leopold, Louis Gold-
man, Bernhard Stern, J. and A. Fried-
man, Martin Friedman, and Isaac Engle,
whose names appear for the first time in

LOUISA FLEISHMAN (n6e Meyer) was born in Ober-
langstadt, Germany, on
January 21, 1829. She
arrived in Chicago in
1846, and seven years
later married Benedict
Shubart. After the death
of her husband, which en-
sued shortly thereafter,
she became Mrs. Fleish-
man. Affectionately
termed in her second
widowhood "the widow
Fleishman," she was
widely known in the
community for her many
kind and helpful acts. Af-
ter a long life of useful-
ness, she died July 8,
1900. Her son, Moses
Fleishman, still makes
Chicago his home, and is a jeweler here.

Norris' directory of 1847. In this direc-
tory Reuben Becker's name appears as
Reuben Baker, B. Weigselbaum's as B.
Weiselbaum, and Isaac Engle as Isaac
Angel. Others believed to have been
here by the spring and summer of 1847,
although their names do not appear in
the directory of that year, were Mrs. Di-
lah Kohn, mother of the Kohn brothers,
her only daughter, Clara, and the last of
her six sons, Hirsch; Marx L. Mayer, A.
Frank, Marcus Peiser, Morris Einstein,








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


Martin Clayburgh, Louis Mayer, Levi
Klein and Isaac Wolf.
The invariable accompaniments of a
Jewish settlement everywhere have al-
ways been the assembling of a minyan
and the forming of a burial society, fol-
lowed by the purchase of ground for a
cemetery. Chicago was no exception to
the rule, and accordingly we find a Jew-
ish Burial Ground Society
in existence before 1847.
Isaac Wormser took the lead
in establishing this, Chi-
cago's first permanent Jew-
ish organization. The So-
ciety bought from the city
one acre of ground for the
sum of $46, to be used as a
cemetery. The purchase is
the first record of Jews as a
corporate body in the state
of Illinois. The location of
this first Beth Hakvoroth MRs. DI
was along Lake Michigan (From an oil
east of North Avenue, then torn in Moenic
outside the city limits but she came t
1846 (?), whe
now a part of Lincoln Park. herence to the
It was near the present site leda to e, for
of the Ira Couch monument. in the cholera e
Here, the first to pass away
in the early Jewish community were ten-
derly laid to rest beside the spreading
waters over which they had first come to
Chicago. During the ten years when it
was used as a cemetery, before the swirl-
ing and shifting sands gradually covered
the graves and made it hard to find them,
and before the expansion of the city made
it necessary to move farther north, there
were 150 interments. This is at the rate
of fifteen a year, an unusually high
death-rate, considering the number that
then constituted the Jewish community in
Chicago.
The substantial increase of the popula-
tion in 1846 and 1847 was sure to cause
attention to be given to forming a per-
manent congregation before long; but im-
petus, it is said, was given in this direc-


L

oi
:h
:o
re
di
at
k.
P


tion by Mrs. Dilah Kohn's scrupulous ob-
servance of the dietary laws which re-
sulted in her refusal to partake of the
meat then obtainable in Chicago because
it had not been slaughtered by a properly-
accredited shochet. Abraham Kohn,
alarmed, with the other members of his
family, by the effect upon the frail phy-
sique of his mother of the precarious diet
of bread, potatoes, and the
like, upon which she sub-
sisted, began to work to call
into being a congregation
that should maintain a
shochet. A meeting was
finally held at Rosenfeld &
Rosenberg's store, Novem-
ber 3, 1847, at which twenty
appeared. These agreed to
form a congregation, to be
S known as the Kehilath
AInshe Ma'ariv (Congrega-
AH KOHN tion of the Men of the
paintingg still in West), colloquially run to-
f the family), gether as "Khilanshe May-
sroth, Bavaria, ?3
Chicago in riv." The Burial Ground
her rigid ad-
etary formulae Society turned over its prop-
ion of the first erty to the new congregation
M. She died
idemic of 1849. and was merged in it. The
next day a constitution was
adopted and signed by fourteen mem-


bers, these being:
Abraham Kohn
Jacob Rosenberg
Samuel Cole
Morris L. Leopold
Philip Newburgh
Benedict Shubart
Leon Greenebaum


Levi Rosenfeld
Jacob Fuller
M. Becker
Isaac Wormser
B. Stern
M. Braunschild
Julius Kohn.


At this meeting also officers were
elected, Morris L. Leopold being chosen
president. He was one of the later ar-
rivals and had not been long in the com-
munity but in spite of this fact and the
further consideration that he was only
twenty-six years of age, he was elected,
and filled the office acceptably until he
left Chicago, in 1851. Abraham Kohn
was chosen vice-president and treasurer,
and Philip Newburgh secretary. Benedict









FROM THE FIRST ARRIVAL TO THE FIRST CONGREGATION


Shubart, Levi Rosenfeld, and Leon
Greenebaum were named trustees, and
the Reverend Ignatz Kunreuther, whom
Abraham Kohn had made a special
trip to New York to secure for the
congregation, was elected shochet and
reader. This choice revealed the re-
ligious predilections of the members
of Chicago's first congregation. Kun-
reuther was a man of upright and kindly
character, well versed in the Talmud and
Hebrew lore, and clung to traditional or-
thodox ways throughout his life. For six
years he continued to be the spiritual
head of the community and then rather
than modify his uncompromising ortho-
doxy to suit the times, he resigned, re-
maining in Chicago, however, until his
death, in 1884. Several of his descend-
ants, including a daughter, Mrs. Harriet
Kunreuther Sonnenschein, still live in
Chicago.
Thanks, therefore, to Mrs. Dilah
Kohn, as well as to her attentive son,


MORRIS L. LEOPOLD was born in Laubenheim, Wur-
temberg, April 10, 1821,
and came to America in
1839. In 1845, shortly
after his marriage to
SRose Goodheart of Cin-
cinnati, he moved to Chi-
cago, where he remained
until 1851. In 1847, al-
C though only twenty-six
years of age, he became
the first president of K.
A. M. Congregation, and
proved, during his ad-
ministration, to be a man
of tact, understanding
and unusual executive
ability. c while he resided
in Chicago he was prom-
inently identified with
Jewish activities. In 1851
he moved to Cincinnati, and from there to New York,
where he died, October 22, 1889.


Abraham, and those he was able to in-
fluence to join in forming a congregation,
divine services were held regularly in the
Chicago Jewish community beginning
with the fall of 1847. For the first few
years, until the congregation was able to
erect its own house of worship, these serv-
ices were of necessity conducted on a very


modest scale, in a room appropriately fit-
ted up as a synagogue on the second floor
of a building on the southwest corner of
Lake and Wells Streets. Women as well
as men worshippers were regular attend-


ABRAHAM KOHN was born in 1819, in Moenichsroth,
Bavaria. When a youth
he came to New York
and for the first years
made his living by ped- /
dling in Massachusetts
and the state of New
York. He came to Chicago
in 1843, engaged in the
clothing business and
two years later sent for
his three younger broth-
ers, Hirsch, Meier and
Joseph Kohn, as well as
his only sister, Clara, and
his mother, Dilah Kohn. \
Kohn quickly became a
prominent figure in the
community. He was en-
dowed with a fine mind,
of a truly religious cast,
fortified by an excellent education secured in his native
town. Rapidly acquiring the English language he became
active in civic and national affairs. In 1860 he was
appointed City Clerk under Mayor John Wentworth. In
the same year, while Abraham Lincoln was on his way
to Washington to be inaugurated, Kohn presented the
President-elect with a beautiful American flag on which
he personally inscribed in Hebrew a passage from Joshua,
bidding Lincoln to "be strong and of good courage"-
which gift the more famous Abraham gratefully acknowl-
edged in an autograph letter. The flag is now in the mu-
seum of the War Department in Washington. In the agi-
tation against the Swiss treaty which excluded Jews from
the rights accorded other citizens, Kohn took an active
part. He was also an enthusiastic advocate of the estab-
lishment of a rabbinical college in this country and wrote
several treatises on the subject. He died March 31, 1871.
The funeral sermon delivered by Dr. Liebman Adler has
been preserved and is in the possession of the Jewish
Historical Society of Chicago.


ants. Owing to the absence of a gallery,
the women worshippers sat on the same
floor as the men but they occupied the
rear seats. The ritual was transplanted
in its entirety from the old country, the
M3inhag Ashkenaz being the prayer book
in use. The traditional Sabbath was scru-
pulously kept by the members, who
closed their places of business on the Jew-
ish day of rest. "On holidays," observes
Mayer Klein in his reminiscences of early
times in Chicago previously quoted, "it
was customary to close all places of busi-
ness, and in the wholesale as well as in
the retail district one could observe no-
tices in the windows and doors of every









HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


Jewish business house with the inscrip-
tion, 'Closed on Account of Holiday.' "
A thoroughly observant spirit, thus,
marked the lives of. Chicago's earliest
Jewish population. They lived within a
few blocks of one another in what is now

IGNATZ KUNREUTHER came to Chicago on Novem-
ber 5, 1847, as the first
shochet, reader, and
rabbi of K. A. M. Con-
gregation, where he re-
was ultra-orthodox, and
rather than accept the
liberal views prevalent
among members of his
congregation, he resigned
and retired to private
life. He then engaged in
the real estate and loan
business and became very
successful in this work.
A man of exceptional
character and integrity,
Kunreuther was also a
scholar of Hebrew litera-
ture, and until his death,
June 27, 1884, at the age of seventy-three, he clung to the
orthodox customs and traditions, many of which had
been abandoned by members of the congregation.

the loop and were often to be seen at one
another's homes. Simple and earnest and
neighborly, they kept the faith as they
had been taught to keep it, although sep-
arated thousands of miles from the homes
and influences in which they had been
reared.
It is interesting to note that although
in 1847 the number of Jews in Chicago
was small, numbering less than a hundred
souls in a total population of nearly
17,000, Lake Street, the main business
thoroughfare, had a goodly sprinkling of
Jewish firms:
Isaac Wormser was engaged in the
clothing business at 83 Lake Street. Next
door, at 85, was A. Kohn & Brothers.


Samuel Cole, also in the clothing busi-
ness, was at 131. B. Stern & Company,
dealing in dry goods, was at 134, Philip
Newburgh was at 153, and next door at
155 was Rosenberg & Rosenfeld. S.
& J. Marks, clothing, was across the
way at 154, Leopold & Goldman was
at 171, Henry Braunschild at 176, J. &
A. Friedman, dry and fancy goods, at
177, Benedict Shubart at 183, and
Greenebaum & Becker, dry goods, at 202.
Leopold & Fuller, clothing, was on
S. Water Street, between Dearborn and
Clark. Michael Greenebaum was not
yet in business for himself but was em-
ployed as a tinner at Wheeler's hardware
store at 141 Lake Street and boarded at
Talmadge's, on Monroe Street between
Clark and Wells.
The Kohns lived together at 54"
State Street, on the west side of the street
between Randolph and Lake; Isaac Zie-
gler lived on the west side of Wells Street
between Lake and Randolph; Isaac En-
gel ran a boarding-house at the southwest
corner of Dearborn and South Water
streets, and Henry Fuller lived consid-
erably south at that time, on State Street
near Jackson. Henry Horner was the
first West-Sider, living on Randolph near
Canal Street. The rest lived above or
near their places of business on Lake
Street, or at the various hotels.
Thus all were within easy walking dis-
tance of each other, and since they were
from neighboring communities in
Europe, they clung closely together, visit-
ing one another Friday evenings and on
the Sabbath and holidays. There were
no Chicagoans more high-minded, indus-
trious and thrifty than they.















CHAPTER II


A Growing and Contentious Decade, 1847-1857

ARRIVAL OF THE GREENEBAUMS-THE GOLD RUSH AND THE CHOLERA EPIDEMIC-
DEDICATION OF THE FIRST SYNAGOGUE-THE HEBREW BENEVOLENT SOCIETY-
KEHILATH B'NAI SHOLOM-CONVERSION AND INTERMARRIAGE-HISTORIC "45
CLARK STREET"-THE FIRST JEWISH ALDERMAN -THE CHEVRA GEMILATH
CHASSODIM UBIKKUR CHOLIM-RAMAH LODGE-THE FIGHT AGAINST THE
Swiss TREATY-THE COMMUNITY IN 1857.


N THE history of Chicago the
year 1848 is notable. That year
the city may be said to have
shed its backwoods character
and linked itself up with civilization, for
it brought on January 15, via Milwaukee,
the first telegraph message received in
Chicago; the locking, April 10, of the
first boat through the completed Illinois
and Michigan Canal connecting Lake
Michigan with the Mississippi River and
Buffalo and the eastern seaboard with
New Orleans; and the running, October
25, of the first locomotive, with tender
and two cars, out of Chicago.
The same year brought here two men
who occupy an established and honored
place in the history of the general
Chicago community as well as of the
Jewish community, one of whom took a
vital part in the growth of both for over
seven decades, and the other for almost
as long a period, revealing an energy and
a range of communal and civic interests
and achievements unsurpassed by any
other Chicagoans. These men were the
Greenebaum brothers, Elias and Henry,
who had been preceded two years before
by their elder brothers, Michael and
Jacob. Elias Greenebaum reached Chi-
cago April 14, 1848, being then twenty-
six years of age. He made his way here


by stages, clerking in country stores in
Ohio and other states in the Middle
West. Upon reaching Chicago, he was
first employed as a clerk in the dry goods
store of Francis Clarke at 168 Lake Street
where his wages were meager and his
working hours long and arduous. Henry
Greenebaum was a mere lad when he fol-
lowed Elias to Chicago, arriving October
25 of the same year. Although only
fifteen years of age, he began at once to
earn his own living, his first position
being that of a salesman in the hardware
store of W. F. Dominick. Michael
Greenebaum was still employed as a tin-
ner at Wheeler and Company. Such
were the humble beginnings of a family
that for many years has been counted one
of the most distinguished and influential
in Chicago.
During the year of the arrival of Elias
and Henry Greenebaum, and the follow-
ing year, when the additions to the Jewish
population of Chicago included also the
Rubel brothers, A. and R., Benedict and
Simon Schlossman, and David Witkow-
sky, the great topics of talk and concern
were the discovery of gold in California,
and the outbreak of Asiatic cholera in'
Chicago. In later years Elias Greene-
baum confessed that the temptation for
young, unmarried men in Chicago to









HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


join the gold rush to California was great,
but he said with a sigh, "I had so much
trouble getting this far that when I

MICHAEL GREENEBAUM, a native of Eppelsheim,
Germany, where he was
born February 20, 1824,
came to Chicago in 1846,
where he became a tin-
ner and plumber. He
married Sarah Spiegel,
of New York, and both
he and his wife played a
prominent part in many
leading activities of the
was the .father and first
president of the Zion Lit-
erary Society, the first
organization of its kind
in the city, and was a
member of K. A. M.,
Sinai, and Zion Congre-
gations, in each of which
he held office. He also
was a founder of the Hebrew Benevolent Society, and
became its first president. Four sons and six daughters
survived him, when he died, September 18, 1894, after a
life during which he did much to further the spiritual
and material advancement of the Chicago Jewish com-
munity.


reached Chicago I made up my mind I
had gone as far in America as I cared to
go." Several members of the Greene-
baum family, however, went to Califor-
nia, including Leon Greenebaum and his
partner, Reuben Becker, who lost their
lives in a great fire that broke out in San
Francisco in 1851. Many others, includ-
ing Jacob Shubart and Michael Reese,
were drawn to the Pacific Coast by the
gold magnet, and, whether they fared
well or not, remained there. For many
years California continued to beckon, and
more responded to the call.
During the early days of the gold rush,
Chicago was swept by an outbreak of
cholera which did not spare the little
Jewish community struggling for a foot-
ing. Among the victims was Mrs. Dilah
Kohn, whose frail body could not with-
stand the disease. It was some time be-
fore the community recovered from the
epidemic, and for months the cemetery
in Lincoln Park was the scene of many a
sorrowing procession.
These funerals [Mayer Klein tells us] were
conducted with the utmost simplicity. Coffins were


rudely constructed of rough pine boards and cov-
ered with a black cloth. Flowers were never sent,
not even permitted. But instead a contribution box
was passed around, the collector pronouncing the'
words in Hebrew, "Zedokah Tatzel Memoveth,"
("Charity saves from death").

But grief for the dead had to yield to
the needs of the living. With the remark-
able contrast that marks life, the same
year the cholera laid its ruthless hand on
the community, and caused widespread
mourning, the first Jewish wedding took
place in Chicago. This was that of Jacob
Rosenberg and Hannah Reese who had
come to Chicago shortly before to visit
her sister, Mrs. Levi Rosenfeld, and re-
mained to become Mrs. Jacob Rosenberg.
The marriage ceremony was performed
by Philip Newburgh, instead of, as one
would suppose, by the Reverend Ignatz
Kunreuther, head of the congregation.
Apparently in those days in Chicago all
or none were rabbis. Newburgh was the
secretary of the congregation and appears


ELIAS GREENEBAUM, born at Eppelsheim, Germany,
June 24, 1822, came to
America in September,
1847, settling in Chicago
April 14, 1848. He be- -.
came a clerk in a dry-
goods store, and later
entered the banking house
of Richard K. Swift. In V s
1855 he entered the firm i
of Greenebaum Brothers,
and in 1877 started the
firm which still bears the
name, Greenebaum Sons,
and is Chicago's oldest ,'
banking house. He mar-
ried Rosina Straus March
3, 1852, with whom he
had three sons, Henry
Everett, Moses Ernst,
and James Eugene, who
were associated with him in business, and one daughter,
Emma E. (Mrs. Goodman). Elias Greenebaum took an
active part, during the ninety-seven years of his life, in
the civic and communal affairs of Chicago, and was one
of the founders of Sinai Congregation, acting at different
times as director, treasurer, vice-president and president.
He was also a member of the Hebrew Benevolent So-
ciety, the second oldest Jewish charity organization in the
city, and president for ten years. A man of honor and
influence, he was a vital factor in the growth and devel-
opment of Chicago, until his death here on July 25, 1919.


to have been authorized to officiate at
marriages. He was a close personal
friend of Jacob Rosenberg and enjoyed









A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


his respect, and this probably caused the
honor of performing the first Jewish
wedding in Chicago to be given to him.
But perhaps the explanation once given
by a leading Chicago rabbi with a reputa-
tion for witty sallies, when this procedure
was mentioned to him, is more credible
as well as more clever-namely, that
"maybe Newburgh charged less!"
This first wedding was a communal
affair. All were present as at a family
gathering and found some consolation in
it for the sorrow caused by the cholera
epidemic. It was a typical old-fashioned


HENRY GREENEBAUM was born in Eppelsheim, Ger-
many, June 18, 1833, and
came to Chicago October
25, 1848, where for many
years he was the leading
spirit in the Jewish life
of the city. His business
activities were v a r i e d.
He became a hardware
salesman in the estab-
lishment of W. F. Dom-
inick, and after two years
there entered the employ
of R. K. Swift as a clerk,
where he learned the
banking business. Four
years later he and his
brother, Elias, organized
the firm known as
Greenebaum Brothers,
and still later he became
president of the German Savings Bank. Among the nu-
merous organizations which owe their existence to a
great extent to this energetic man are the Chicago Public
Library, the Chicago Historical Society, the Astronom-
ical Society, the 82nd Illinois Volunteer Regiment of
Veterans, Ramah Lodge No. 33, and several congrega-
tions which he helped establish in various parts of the
city. He served the City Council as alderman for the
Sixth Ward, was presidential elector on the Douglas
ticket, represented Cook County on the first Equaliza-
tion Board, in 1856, and was a member of the West
Chicago Park Commission. In 1855 he married Emily
Hyman of New york, and after the death of their only
child, one year after its birth, they raised some of their
orphaned nephews, and a niece, bestowing upon them
the love and care of real parents. Nor did his bounty
demand blood ties! Many artists and musicians who
are well known and prosperous today owe their educa-
tions to the generous and foresighted couple who deter-
mined to do for other children what they were denied
the privilege of doing for their own. Busy as was his
philanthropic life, his communal activities demanded even
more of his time and seemingly unlimited energy. He
was at various times first president of Zion and Isaiah
Congregations, first president of District Grand Lodge No.
6, I. O. B. B., founder and first president of the United
Hebrew Relief Association, secretary and honorary mem-
ber of Congregation B'nai Sholom, and an honorary
member of the Jochannah Lodge. His life was devoted
to service, for the city, for the Jewish community, and
for individuals who came to his notice, and at his death,
on February 2, 1914, Chicago lost one of her most honored
and loyal citizens.


Jewish wedding, with a chuppah, the
breaking of glass, and other traditional
Jewish wedding customs.
Although the cholera thinned the ranks
of the. little community, it did not check
the new arrivals, who kept coming in
spite of all, and soon the worshippers
became too many to be accommodated at
the rented quarters of K. A. M. Congre-
gation which in 1849 leased a lot on
Clark Street between Adams and Quincy
Streets and began to build on this site a
frame synagogue, the first in Chicago.
While these important developments
were going on, there arrived in Chicago
a man of outstanding personality who at
once began to take a leading part in Chi-
cago's Jewish life. This man was Leo-
pold Mayer, a graduate of a teachers'
seminary in Europe and the first trained
Jewish teacher to come to Chicago. His
brother, Marx L. Mayer, was already
settled here. Almost fifty years after his
arrival, "Lehrer Mayer" as he was
known in the early days when he taught
Hebrew and German before he entered
the banking business, read a paper,
November 13, 1899, before the Council
of Jewish Women, on Jews and Judaism
in Early Chicago Days which gives in-
teresting information about Jewish life
in Chicago when he came here. This
paper was published in full in the Chi-
cago Journal in its issue of the following
day. After telling how after a stormy
voyage of eighty-five days on the ocean,
he arrived in New York on February 15,
1850, and reached Chicago April 23 fol-
lowing, he says:
When I came to Chicago, the Jews numbered
possibly two hundred. The congregation had 28
contributing members, and on the very first day, I
was introduced to most of them, including the presi-
dent and minister. The congregation provided for
a reader, a chazan and a shochet. The German ar-
rangement of prayers was in vogue, but it was so
diversified that it often depended on the reader what
prayer was read, although the addition or omission
of a prayer was an infringement upon the religion,
and so I remember that as late as 1858 the omission
of a certain prayer created a row in the synagogue.









HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


Instruction in both the tenets and the morals of
Judaism was lacking. Every Jew was his own
teacher and rabbi. A religious school for children
was not necessary, as there were but few children
of school-age here.


MARX L. MAYER, born in Abenheim, Germany, August
7, 1817, came to Chicago
in 1843. He was a
brother of the well-known
Leopold Mayer,. and was
settled here for seven
years before the latter ar-
rived. He was married '
in Chicago on April 20,
1847, and lived to cele-
brate his golden wedding,
surrounded by his chil-
dren and grandchildren.
He was one of the six
early Jewish settlers of
Chicago who were still
alive in 1900. He died
at the ripe age of eighty-
seven, in 1904.

The two previous years, 1848-49, had been trying
for the Jewish colony on account of the cholera
which not only bore away a number of its members
but left the survivors in constant dread of its return.
A burial ground had been purchased from the city
as early as 1846. It is remarkable how anxious the
Jews are to provide a resting place for their dead
when as yet they have scarcely a foothold for the
living. This is noticeable through all their history.
To the praise of the Jews then here, I must say,
that they clung together in sorrow and in joy. The
good fortune of one was the happiness of the other,
while the gloom of one cast a shadow over all.
Thus, on my first Friday night in Chicago, I
watched, with one of my brothers, at the bedside of
the sick child of a friend.
The place of worship was then located on the
southwest corner of Lake Street and what is now
Fifth Avenue [Wells Street], on the third floor.
The narrow, uninviting entrance was unpleasantly
obstructed by the goods of an auctioneer who occu-
pied the store floor below. Already at this period
the Sabbath was more or less violated. It is true
that most of the women and many of the men were
regular attendants, but the latter, as a usual thing,
left hurriedly for their places of business. Many
stores were already open, and the younger men, en-
gaged as clerks, were invisible in the synagogue.
The younger women, likewise, were few, and of
children under fifteen, there were scarcely any.
With the help of Elias and Henry
Greenebaum who, he tells us, introduced
him to several private schools, Leopold
Mayer secured some pupils to whom he
gave private lessons in German, this be-


ing accomplished under difficult circum-
stances since he could not yet speak or un-
derstand English.
During the fall of 1850 [he continues] I tried
to organize a religious school from the few schol-
ars I already had and the few more I might gather
round me. To show the necessity for this, one in-
cident will suffice. To make known my purpose,
I went to the president of the congregation to ask
leave to post on the door of the synagogue a notice
to the effect that I would open a school to teach
religion. In all seriousness he, the president, asked
me what I intended to teach, and I found that my
first lesson must be given to the head of the con-
gregation.
Notwithstanding these difficulties, he
persisted, and soon had the satisfaction of
conducting the first Bar Mitzvah in Chi-
cago, in January, 1851, when a pupil of
his, Julius Newburgh, the son of Philip
Newburgh, read his parsheh in the Torah
to the great delight of the congregation.
A week later another pupil, Martin
Barbe, son of Bernard Barbe, a member
of K. A. M., was similarly inducted into
the Covenant, and did equal justice to his
teacher. These ceremonies took place in
the temporary synagogue on Lake and
Wells streets, for the synagogue was not


MARTIN BARBE was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1841.
Coming to Chicago in
1845, he attended the pub-
lic schools of this city,
being a member in the
first class of the first high
school in Chicago. In his
younger days he was a
pupil of Leopold Mayer,
and in January, 1851, be-
came the second Bar
Mitzvah in Chicago, a
week after the first of
such ceremonies in this
c i t y w a s consecrated.
Lizzie T. Spiegel, daugh-
ter of Colonel Marcus
Spiegel, became his wife
in 1876. For many years
he was engaged here in
the wholesale clothing
business. He was a member of B'nai B'rith, and at one
time, of the executive board of Sinai Temple. He died
October 29, 1914, survived by his wife and four children.


yet ready for occupancy. It was dedi-
cated on Friday, June 13, 1851, and on
the following day, when impressive cere-
monies were held which are described in









A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


detail in the daily papers of the time.
The Chicago Daily Journal in its issue of
Saturday evening, June 14, has this to say
of the occasion:
CONSECRATION OF THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE
Yesterday afternoon at three o'clock the impres-
sive and ancient ceremonial of consecrating the new
synagogue was witnessed by one of the most re-
spectable and interested congregations we have ever
seen in the West, among whom were many of the
clergymen of the city, the Rev. Mr. Isaacs of New
York conducting the services.
It was a novel and yet beautiful spectacle; the
house tastefully decorated with evergreens and
flowers-the altar and its appointments elegant;
the veil, depending in rich and massive folds from
the columns; the ark with its adornings; the Rolls
of the Law in their coverings of satin and velvet;
the tapers burning at the four corners of the altar;
the priest in his dark and flowing robe, and his as-
sistants in dark-fringed white; the galleries and the
lower part of the house filled with ladies, while the
men with covered heads occupied the remaining
space.
Now rose in familiar accents the dedication hymn,
sweetly sung by the choir in the well-known words
., the latter part being rendered appropriate
to the occasion.
Then came a prayer in English for "the powers
that be," after which the Rev. Mr. Isaacs pro-
nounced an interesting, always liberal, and some-
times eloquent discourse from the words: "And let
them make me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among
them," Exodus XXV, 8.
Such was the scene, and surely it was not a sin
to notice also and admire the beauty of many a
face directed toward that temple-veil and altar; that
type of beauty which has come down unmarred,
from the time when the glassy waters of Judea
gave back the bright glances of Judah's pensive
daughters.
Now rose the Hebrew chant in sweet and novel
harmony; and now the sacred parchments were
borne in solemn procession, while still the chant
went on; and now as did their fathers when the
patriarchs' tombs were newly hewn, these rolls were
laid within the ark, and then consigned to the
mystery behind the veil.
The discourse being concluded, the Hebrew Hal-
lelujah was sung by many a sweet and blended
voice. It was one of the most melodious things to
which we have ever listened; and as it floated
through the charmed and trembling air, it brought
back the memories of that old glorious time his-
torians chronicle, when a royal singer touched the
harp of mingled prophecy and song, when Ophir
gave up her gold, and Lebanon her cedars, and the


Temple without the sound of the hammer, "like
some tall pine, that noiseless fabric grew," the type,
in Earth's most precious dust, of that greater "Tem-
ple not built with hands, eternal in the heavens,"
the archives for the translated thunders of the
Mount, and the earthly presence-chamber of Him
who uttered them.
The Daily Democrat was equally
eulogistic. In its issue of Saturday morn-
ing, June 14, 1851, it gave three-quarters
of the first column on its editorial page to
the dedication, commenting as follows:
DEDICATION OF THE JEWISH SYNAGOGUE
The ceremonies at the dedication of the first Jew-
ish synagogue in Illinois, yesterday, were very in-
teresting indeed. Although tickets of admission
were given out in order to prevent a crowd, an
immense number had to go away from inability to
gain admittance. There were persons of all de-
nominations present. We noticed several clergy-
men of different religious denominations.
The Jewish ladies cannot be beaten in decorating
a church. The flowers, leaves and bushes were
woven into the most beautiful drapery that Chi-
cago ever saw before. The choir, consisting of a
large number of ladies and gentlemen, did honor to
the occasion and the denomination.
No person that has made up his mind to be preju-
diced against the Jews ought to hear such a sermon
preached. It was very captivating and contained as
much of real religion as any sermon we ever heard
preached. We never could have believed that one
of those old Jews we heard denounced so much,
could have taught so much liberality towards other
denominations and so earnestly recommended a thor-
ough study of the Old Testament (each one for
himself) and entire freedom of opinion and dis-
cussion.
We would sooner have taken him for one of the
independent order of free thinkers, than a Jew. Mr.
Isaacs is an Englishman and is settled in New York
City. There are Jewish synagogues as far west as
Buffalo and Cleveland.
The Jews in our city are not numerous, but are
wealthy, very respectable and public spirited.
The Jewish Sabbath is on Saturday, and a very
interesting service takes place today. The whole
Mosaic law written on parchment (they never have
it printed for church services) will be unrolled from
a large scroll and read from. Rev. Mr. Isaacs will
again preach. The service will commence at eight
A. M. and last until eleven A. M. The earlier part
of the service will be most interesting.
Gentlemen are requested to keep their hats on
and to take seats below. The ladies will take seats
upstairs, according to the Jewish custom of sep-
arating the sexes.









HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


When the following hymn was commenced to
be sung to the tune of "Old Hundred," Christians
generally who could sing, clergymen and all, joined
the Jewish choir with a great deal of zeal; but for
some reason (weak lungs, we suppose) their zeal
gradually abated until the last verse, when the Jews
had the singing all to themselves, and they did it
beautifully:
HYMN
I
Be thou, O God, exalted high,
And as Thy glory fills the sky,
So let it be on earth displayed,
Till here on earth, as there, obeyed.

II
This temple to Thy hallow'd name
Is raised, Thy glory to proclaim;
Here we our sins' forgiveness crave,
Our hearts from secret pangs to save.

III
Vouchsafe this house Thy kind regard,
And to our prayer incline Thine ear:
O, let its founders meet reward
And blessings its supporters cheer.

IV
O grant that Israel soon may see
Jerusalem to its site restored;
When all men's hearts, from sin set free,
Shall sound Thy praise with one accord.

In the singing of the following hymn, which we
recommend to all the young children and old people
who read our paper to commit to memory, the mem-
bers of the Christian denomination took no part.
We were sorry to see it, as it showed that they, un-
like the readers of the Chicago Democrat, do not
understand Hebrew.
MAH TO-FU
Mah, to fu O'Le Ko, Ja-Koff,
Mish-Cno, Se-Ko, Jes-ro-el,
Fa-a-ni, Brof, Kas-de-Ko,
O fou, Be-Se-Ko, Esh-tak-fe,
El-he-Kal, Kod-she Ko.
Ba-yer-O-see-Ko. Ado-Noy,
O-haft', Me-own, Be-so-Ko.
Im, Kom, Mish-Kan, Kfo-de-Ko.
Fa-ani, Esh tak-feh, falk Koon
Ef-Ro-Ko, Life-Ne, Ado-Noy
Ousi, Fa-ani, Tfi, Lost-L'-Ko,
Ado-Noy, Es-Rozan E-lo-him,
Brof Kas de Ko-A-ne-ni.
Be-a-mes. Je-a sea Ko.


HA-LE-LU-YOH
Ha-Le-Lu-Hu Bir-Kia, Uso.
Ha-Le-Lu-Hu Bik-fu-Ro-sof,
Ha-Le-Lu-Hu Ke-Rof Gud-lo
Ha-Le-Lu-Hu Bse-Ka, Sh-for
Ha-Le-Lu-Hu Bne-fel Tehi-Nor.
Ha-Le-Lu-Hu Bsof. Un e-Kol
Ha-Le-Lu-Hu Bmi rim Feu-Kof.
Ha-Le-Lu-Hu Be-zil-zle Truo.
Kol Hansho, Moh. Te-ha, Lel-yoh
Ha-Le-Lu-Yoh.
Kol, Hansho, Moh, &c.
Rev. Mr. Kunreuther has preached to the Jew-
ish congregation here for the last two years and will
still continue in that capacity.
Apparently "those old Jews" gave
early-day Chicagoans something to think
about.
The synagogue thus dedicated was a
frame building, one and one-half stories
high, which occupied a lot on the site of
the present Postoffice building during the
following three years. When the lease
on the lot expired, the little building was
moved to the northeast corner of Adams
and Wells streets where it stood for many
years and for some time was the only syn-
agogue in Chicago. It is claimed that
the building is still in existence, though
inquiry has failed to bring it to light. It
was vacated and sold before the fire and
moved farther south where it was not
harmed during Chicago's great confla-
gration. Many interesting incidents took
place in it while it stood on its original








: p... : u'3.- ^TjJ ) iL,
19:1T132"0 PW 0 s913 T2 3TP







Hebrew original from which the Daily Democrat made
the quaint transliteration given above
.MAH TO-FU" AND .HA-LE-LU-YOH
Hebrew original from which the Daily Democrat made
the quaint transliteration given above








A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


spot. The first thing the father of Henry
L. Frank did, when both came to Chi-
cago erev Yom Kippur, 1852, was to ap-
pear at the synagogue where they were
introduced to all the members, in accord-
ance with the custom that then prevailed
and was continued for many years.
Although the community was small,
K. A. M. Congregation did not attract or
absorb all its energies. Some did not feel
they could afford to belong to the con-
gregation and others even then wanted a
more advanced form of worship and a
more decorous way of holding meetings.
Thus, in the same year that K. A. M. ded-
icated its first synagogue, an organization
was formed of a semi-religious character
under the name of Hebrew Benevolent
Society, which, like K. A. M., is still in
existence, although it has not been very
active for a number of years. The found-
ers of this society, the third Jewish or-
ganization in Chicago (if we consider
the Jewish Burial Ground Society which
was merged in K. A. M. as the first),
were Michael Greenebaum, Elias
Greenebaum, Moses Rubel, Mayer L.
Klein, Levi Klein and Isaac Wolf. The
purposes of the society were clearly stated
in the preamble to a constitution which
was carefully drawn up, as follows:
As the republican laws of the United States,
founded on equality and toleration to all men, either
citizens or sojourners, grant the right to associate
for lawful and good purposes; therefore we, signers,
do associate together to provide in time of health for
each other; for times of need and sickness to which
the human frame is liable; and also to pay the last
duty and homage in what must fall to all living;
and being anxious while we are able to do good and
to assist our brethren and fellow-men while life
is granted to us; therefore we have formed our-
selves into a body corporate by the name and style
of the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Chicago, in
the county of Cook, state of Illinois, and have
agreed and by these presents do agree, that the fol-
lowing shall be our constitution and by-laws by
which we mutually assent to be governed.
Three acres of ground were bought in
the town of Lake View near Graceland
for the sum of $600, to be used for a cem-


etery, the second Jewish cemetery in Chi-
cago. Michael Greenebaum was the first
president. Meetings were held once a
month at the homes of the members and
these were always marked by commenda-
ble decorum, as the meetings of other
Jewish organizations in the early days
unfortunately were not.
The members of the Hebrew Benevo-
lent Society were of the same group that
belonged to K. A. M. which was known
as the Bayerische Shul because its mem-
bership consisted of Bavarian Jews who
were quite clannish and held themselves
aloof from all who did not hail from
some Bavarian hamlet. They did not as-
sociate even with the German-speaking
Jews from German Poland, who soon fol-
lowed them to Chicago. Some of the lat-
ter, the first so-called Polish Jews to come
to Chicago, were already here in 1851,
these being S. Marks, David Witkowski,
Solomon Harris, Caspar Summerfield,
and others. Of these, S. Marks appears
to have been the first to arrive, his name
and also that of J. Marks appearing in
the directory of 1846. David Witkow-
ski's name appears for the first time in
the directory of 1848. By 1852, there
were enough in Chicago of these Herzog-
thiimer as they were called by the Ba-
varian element, because they came from
the Herzogthum or Duchy of Polish
Prussia, to form a congregation of their
own and they accordingly in May, 1852,
formed one under the name of Kehilath
B'nai Sholom (Congregation of Men of
Peace). The charter members were S.
Harris, Caspar Summerfield, Jacob Pie-
ser, Jacob Frost and Jacob Auerbach.
This congregation was known as the
"Polish Shul," pronounced "Bolish" in
the broad accent of the Bavarians. It
first met in rooms above the clothing store
of Solomon Harris, the first president, on
Clark Street between Washington and
Randolph, and the Reverend A. Alexan-
der officiated. Henry Greenebaum, al-
though not a "Bolish" Jew, showed the








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


breadth of his spirit by joining the con-
gregation, and was elected its first secre-
tary. He did not remain long, however,
because he was threatened with the loss of
his membership in K. A. M. if he con-
tinued to be a member of B'nai Sholom,
the by-laws of K. A. M. forbidding mem-
bership in any other congregation. Both
congregations worshipped on Clark
Street only a few blocks from each other
but they were miles away in their view-
point, as far as they had been when in
Europe. The prayer-book of K. A. M.
then was Minhag Ashkenaz, and the
prayer-book of B'nai Sholom was Min-
hag Polen. To each, its prayer-book was
sacred, departure from or modification of
which was not to be thought of. Al-
though K. A. M. was the more influential
and the more substantial congregation,
B'nai Sholom quietly grew in strength
and influence and soon began to play an
important role in the community, at one
time having the finest Jewish house of
worship in Chicago.
How fast Chicago was growing in the
early '50s may be seen by contrasting the
population figures of 1850 with those for
1853. In 1850, the population was 28,269
which in less than four years mounted to
more than twice this number, the popula-
tion in 1853 being 60,662. By 1857 the
figures of 1850 were more than trebled,
the population at the close of the decade
we are reviewing being 93,000. The
growth of the Jewish population was re-
flected in the growth of the membership
and resources of K. A. M. Congregation
which, at the expiration of its five-year
lease on the property on Clark Street near
Adams, where its first synagogue stood,
moved the building in 1853 to a larger
lot at the corner of Adams and Wells
Streets, where a basement was built in
which provision was made for the hold-
ing of a day school. This day school is
still remembered by many present-day
Jewish Chicagoans who attended it.
Many interesting anecdotes are told of
it. Two of its best-loved teachers were


Irishmen, Gleason and Brewster, who
taught the first-born Jewish generation
in Chicago not only the rudiments of a
grammar school curriculum but also
trained them for the choir, drilling them
in the Hebrew responses with the utmost
zeal and with a pardonable lack of pre-
cision in Hebrew pronunciation. Among
those who attended the school and sang
in the choir were Max Frank, Aaron
Shubart, the Mandel brothers, Emanuel
and Leon, Moses Fleischman, and others.
The records of the School Board of this

AARON SHUBART was born in Chicago, Illinois, on
February. 20, 1853, the
son of Benedict and
Louisa (Fleishman) Shu-
bart, and is among the
very earliest Jewish
births recorded in the
city. He was graduated
from the elementary and
high schools of Chicago,
and entered the law offi-
ces of Rosenthal & Pence,
to study law. Later he
became a real estate
operator, in which field
he remained until 1899,
when mining lands
claimed his attention.
He was a prominent Ma-
son, being at one time
Worshipful Master of
Covenant Lodge No. 526. He married Theresa Wendell,
November 30, 1875, and three sons were born to them:
Benedict, Eugene and Charles. He died July 21, 1921.

interesting early communal institution
are still in existence, being among the few
documents of early times that were not
destroyed in the fire of 1871. The syna-
gogue of K. A. M. stood on the Adams
and Wells Street site from 1853 till 1865.
Its entrance was on Wells Street and thus
the worshippers faced east. During the
larger part of this period it continued to
be the only synagogue in Chicago, Sinai
not having a house of worship until 1861,
and B'nai Sholom until 1864.
Important developments took place in
K. A. M. during the early '50s. Mor-
ris L. Leopold, the first president, re-
signed the office in 1851, when he left
Chicago, and was succeeded by Levi Ro-
senfeld who headed the congregation for
two years, after which he was succeeded








A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


by Abraham Kohn who placed the con-
gregation on a firm foundation. Kohn
not only caused the constitution to be re-
vised and the congregation chartered by
the Legislature of the State of Illinois,
but also revised the ritual in order to sat-
isfy a growing element that wanted some
changes to be made in the service. He
was far from being a reform Jew, how-
ever, and later opposed with all his
strength the radical reform tendencies
that asserted themselves in K. A. M. and
in the community. Ignatz Kunreuther
thought that even Abraham Kohn's mild
changes, which were an improvement,
were not in harmony with traditional
Judaism, and clinging to his Minhag
Ashkenaz, resigned as head of the Con-
gregation in 1853, his place being taken
by the Reverend Isidor Lebrecht who not
long after followed his predecessor into
retirement for similar reasons.
One of the last things Kunreuther did
before he vacated the pulpit of K. A. M.
was to serve on a board of three rabbis
called a rabbinical collegium that gave its
approval to the application of Caroline
F. Hamlin of Lymanville, Stark County,
to be converted to Judaism. The appli-
cant was the wife of Marcus Spiegel, as
noble a son of the Covenant as Chicago or
any community ever had, who came to
Chicago with the lady of his choice in
1853 when Mrs..Spiegel made the request
to be inducted into the Jewish faith. The
rabbinical board consisted of Rabbi Ka-
lish of Cleveland, Kunreuther, and Sam-
uel Straus (father of Simeon Straus),
who was prominent in the early religious
activities in Chicago although he was not
ordained as a minister. The Board re-
ported August 21, 1853, that it found her
"conscience capable and worthy of con-
version" and gave her the Jewish name
of Hannah bath Abraham. Under the
conditions that prevailed in early days in
Chicago, intermarriages were inevitable
but in most of the cases, formal conver-
sion took place and those so converted
were among the most devoted and loyal


adherents of Judaism to be found in Chi-
cago. Intermarriage without conversion
was frowned upon. One of the by-laws
of the Hebrew Benevolent Society re-
fused admission to those who had inter-
married but had neglected to have their
wives converted, and also to those who
failed to observe Yom Kippur.
Beginning with the year 1855, the Jews

CO.\,ERSI oN CtRTIIICATE.- :- t
,f", ?'r,[ .J-'.,

j3 ^-^soq ,REV. RABBI K:ITS
o. -..
ooh ( .nh,, +REv. 1. K I 'REUTHER. -_Rea-di.
pui~oiBe, ;RE\-. SAMUVEL STR-rS. an)*^ii
o F r ..
lrr, TO .
HANNAH r7 ABRAHAMA, TH'E -P.'iRLRC

UlnowU All Ucni bi Thcsc i'rsntsan
-. lll'C;.5, l' ,P:.l iir'.' 'An ..,rom L~_ Cm m
SLirk C'ooun rn llie SLtIe of OiLo.a oLht. nta led z
ml rina, pwrjr.;l y ap. aredphelore-i a -ri- dare I
fruui her '~-ur, r le wil shhi e lres -! ; lt.. me
I i a no erilFlydvanrage nor4e arir eijr ,but thq
per,-ur.i ,I lf tl n eigh.and acrTed.ltra s .-of l a1.ri
find her pcrit-ErtJappinessoti in fie aih-of I..rel
,I Ri-FERE.NCi Tnm tl-ir 5a a a t ansed
LIon 111 Ic priupes 1aid44o3er. hMa L r T
nAwidge. L.jn. rence mcpable and r.4 ivol nrd %' Aan d
"c Ile, i! icrniiy lia3 we hawr (ibsnia 'laert- V 'P
Jojuiln-i. c.,.rdiing to Jewai'h 1t..i. iaAhe banie'f.' .

.n uii.. oeer ti we herw 'san e ti u .e-
A ( Ii o. U .
i1*iR L'lfSIi4 jri^J.]

-S.ELX"T RAL'US.f tan

CONVERSION CERTIFICATE OF CAROLINE HAMLIN

of Chicago began to write their name
large in the book of history. The forces
that were quietly maturing during the
previous years began to manifest their
strength and accordingly from that time
on the communal annals are full of the
most interesting and dramatic happen-
ings. By that time the community con-
tained besides the leading personalities
we have already mentioned, such men as
Godfrey Snydacker, Isaac Greensfelder,
Abraham and Henry Hart, M. M. Gerst-
ley, Edward Salomon, Nathan Eisen-







HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


drath, Conrad Witkowski, Herman Fel-
senthal, J. L. Gatzert, Julius Rosenthal,
Lazarus Silverman, and others, all out-
standing leaders whose influence soon be-
gan to be felt in the community. These
proved to be valuable additions to the


METROPOLITAN BLOCK
Greenebaum Brothers' first location


forces making for progress. Fortunately
they were all public spirited and took a
lively interest in public matters, making
their mark at once not only in the Jewish
community but in the civic life of Chi-
cago as well.
The developments began with the very
first day of January of-the remarkable
year of 1855 when Elias and Henry
Greenebaum, feeling that they had served
their apprenticeships first as general
salesmen and later as clerks in the most
prominent banking establishment in Chi-
cago in that day, that of R. K. Swift,
where Julius Rosenthal and other prom-
ising Jewish young men also found em-
ployment, formed a partnership under
the name of Greenebaum Brothers, first
in the Metropolitan Block, Randolph
and La Salle Streets, a year later at 59
Wells Street, and shortly afterward at
45 Clark Street (new number 177-179).
The firm of Greenebaum Brothers at
45 Clark at once became what the firm
of Rosenfeld & Rosenberg had been in
an earlier day. It was the scene of many
important historic Jewish happenings.
There the underlying principles of the


reform movement in Chicago were out-
lined, debated, and formulated, and other
significant communal activities discussed
and carried out.
Soon the Greenebaum brothers began
to be heard of in Chicago's political and
civic life, for a year after the founding of
the famous firm which is today the oldest
banking house in Chicago, Henry
Greenebaum was elected alderman of the
Sixth Ward, and Elias Greenebaum was
entrusted with the duties of school
agent. Prior to his election to the Com-
mon Council, where he was made chair-
man of the important Finance Commit-
tee, Henry Greenebaum for several years
rendered efficient service as a member of
the volunteer fire department, rising to
prominence as an important official of the
Firemen's Benevolent Association which
looked after the needs of disabled and in-
capacitated firemen. In appreciation of
his services he was presented with a gold-
headed cane by the members of the Fire
King Company, the leading volunteer fire
brigade. Others prominent in volunteer
fire activities included Jacob Rosenberg
and Joseph Schlossman who also filled












BRIGGS HOUSE, 59 WELLS STREET
The Greenebaums' second location

responsible posts and proved to be among
the readiest and bravest volunteer firemen
Chicago ever had.
At this time, there was formed an or-
ganization which like K. A. M., B'nai
Sholom and the Hebrew Benevolent So-
ciety, has continued until the present








A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


time. Its members were drawn in the
main from the same element that com-
posed the membership of B'nai Sholom.
It was organized October 26, 1856, under
the name of Chevra Gemilath Chassodim
Ubikkur Cholim with the same objects
as the Hebrew Benevolent Society, name-
ly, for burial purposes and for assistance
in cases of need. Its charter members
were the following:


N. Alexander
M. Anhold
A. Barnett
J. Bosberg
B. Cohen
M. L. Cohn
Morris Cohn
L. Dannelowitz
N. Dannelowitz
M. Jackson
Before the end o
joined by L. Lov-
enthal, Marcus
Strelitz, Abraham
Perlinsky, Moses
Ohnstein, D. Mi-
chael, K. Levy, A.
Herzog, Isaac
Stokler, A. Alexan-
der, and M. Jacobs.
Wolff Peretz, who
joined the organi-
zation June 7, 1857,
is the only one of
the first members


L. Kalisky
Solomon Levy
L. Lindemann
L. H. Mertz
M. Nelson
F. Schwarz
H. Shier
S. Shildberger
L. J. Unna
K. Youngman.
f the year these were


EARLY PORTRAIT
HENRY GR


still living. The
minutes of this organization from the be-
ginning are still in existence. They are
written in German and are featured by
beautiful decorative designs with Hebrew
lettering. This society bought an acre of
ground in Graceland from the Hebrew
Benevolent Society, the third of three
original acres purchased by the Hebrew
Benevolent Society in 1851 being bought
by B'nai Sholom. These three ceme-
teries have thus adjoined one another
from the early days.
So by 1857, Chicago had four well-es-
tablished Jewish organizations and each
prided itself on having its own cemetery.


The thought must have come to many,
"Why so many cemeteries? Isn't there
need in Chicago of an organization for
the living, that should promote sociabil-
ity, and labor to break down the divisions
existing in the community?" Such a
question would naturally suggest itself to
a mind like that of Henry Greenebaum
who, as before shown, did not share the
provincial feelings that he found prevail-
ing in the group to which he belonged.
His was a rich Kol Yisroel spirit and he
could not rest until he had done all he
could to promote harmony and unity in
the community. Accordingly, when a
move was made early in 1857 to establish
an organization in Chicago to work for
harmony and brotherly love among Jews,
it found in Henry Greenebaum a ready
listener and an eager worker. In
1855 he had joined
the Independent
Order B'nai B'rith,
becoming a mem-
ber of Sol omon
Lodge No. 16 of
Cleveland. He
was anxious that
there should be a
B'nai B'rith lodge
in Chicago. So
were a few others.
S OF ELIAS AND The lead in this
REENEBAUM movement seems to
have been taken by
Rudolph Rosenthal; the Reverend G. M.
Cohen, who at that time was the head of
K. A. M., succeeding Isidor Lebrecht;
and Joseph L. Gatzert. Together they
secured the first signatures applying to
District 2 of the Order, whose headquar-
ters were in Cincinnati, for a charter for
a lodge in Chicago. This was granted
and at once Henry Greenebaum applied
for a card of withdrawal from the Cleve-
land lodge and joined the Chicago lodge
which was organized as Ramah No. 33
and instituted June 15, 1857. The install-
ing officers were Dr. Lilienthal of Cincin-
nati, and William Renau, the same gen-








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


tlemen who had visions in the early days
of a colony of Jewish farmers living pros-
perously and happily at Schaumberg in
Cook County. The Reverend G. M.
Cohen was chosen president, and Rudolph
Rosenthal vice-president, and the lodge at
once became a great influence for good in
the c o mm u n i t y. "Here," said Henry
Greenebaum later, "some of the best
minds of German and Polish Jews joined
hands to remove the miserable provincial


barriers existing in Chicago, and the mot-
to of the order, 'Benevolence, Brotherly
Love and Harmony,' became the living
motto of all their actions in the outside
world. The members of Ramah Lodge
cooperated in every true and noble move-
ment that was urged, either in the He-
brew Benevolent Society or in the exist-
ing congregations; and after a term of
two years of self-imposed preparation,
Ramah Lodge had the proud satisfaction


CHARTER OF RAMAH LODGE
This is a duplicate of the original, which was destroyed in the fire of 1871








A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


of uniting our existing Jewish organiza-
tions, Polish and German, in one com-
mon organization"-the United Hebrew
Relief Association, the first consolidation
of Jewish effort in Chicago, first sug-
gested and successfully consummated by
Ramah Lodge in 1859, and dealt with at
length in the next chapter.
Appreciative of the assistance given by
the District Grand Lodge in instituting
the first B'nai B'rith lodge in Chicago,
resolutions were drawn up and sent to the
Israelite in Cincinnati, which published
them in its issue of July 19, 1857, as fol-
lows :
CHICAGO, ILL., June 15, 1857.
The undersigned Committee on Resolutions for
Publication, appointed by Ramah Lodge, No. 31,
I. O. B. B., agrees upon the following:
WHEREAS, The Hon. D. G. Lodge I. O. B. B.,
at Cincinnati, has been pleased to grant a charter
to Ramah Lodge, No. 33, at Chicago, installed this
day by Bros. Wm. Renau and Rev. Dr. Lilienthal
as representatives of said Grand Lodge;
Resolved, That the Hon. D. G. Lodge is hailed
with sincere congratulations by this younger daugh-
ter; the joy of our birth is mingled with a filial
love and gratitude;
Resolved, That the Hon. D. G. Lodge, in the
choice of her representatives to install this lodge,
has selected gentlemen of the highest tone of mind
and of unqualified dignity. Their stay among our-
selves has been to us an occasion of the rarest pleas-
ure, and their return is followed by the united bless-
ings of this Lodge, by the most fervent prayers of
all its members for their long life, health and pros-
perity. Long will they dwell in our memory, al-
though "unseen, still not forgotten";
Resolved, That the members of this Lodge are
under great obligations to Bros. Larensohn of Cin-
cinnati, and Simpson of Jididjah Lodge, Baltimore,
Md., for their valuable aid in the installation of
this Lodge and its officers.
G. M. COHEN
HENRY GREENEBAUM
H. FELSENTHAL
Committee.
A few months after the formation of
Ramah Lodge, the Jews of America were
stirred and the voice of American Jewry
began to be heard and heeded for the first
time, proof to the world that a new era
indeed had dawned for the Jew, and a


new power called into being to aid him
mightily in his fight against unjust treat-
ment. The cause of this first crystalliza-
tion of American opinion, non-Jewish as
well as Jewish, was the treaty between the
United States and Switzerland which was
ratified by the United States Senate No-
vember 6, 1855, and proclaimed three
days later by President Pierce although
it contained a clause which had been ob-
jected to in 1851 by President Fillmore
when the treaty was first submitted to the
Senate, because it refused to accord to
Jewish citizens of the'United States in
Switzerland the same rights given non-
Jewish citizens of this country. Switzer-


SAMUEL COLE


land at that time discriminated against its
Jewish population and in the treaty in-
sisted upon extending this discrimination
to Jews of this or any other land, what-
ever their status in other lands. Matters
were brought to a head when two Ameri-
can Jewish citizens, A. H. Gootman of
New York and a Mr. Wurmser of Boston
were expelled from Switzerland and ap-
pealed to the American Minister in
Switzerland for the intervention of the
United States Government in their be-
half. Soon the voice of America be-
gan to be heard, and Chicago was not
silent, thanks to Abraham Kohn, M. M.
Gerstley, Samuel Cole and others who
led the fight here. Matters came to a
head in the summer of 1857 when the Is-
raelite of Cincinnati, in its issue of Au-









HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


gust 7, headed its first page with the fol- the miserable bigotry which has impelled a majority
lowing vigorous and fearless appeal: of the English House of Lords to deny to Jews the
right, when selected by a large and intelligent con-
AGITATE! stituency to assist in making the laws under which
CALL MEETINGS! they shall live. We Americans very justly and
Engage the Press in your favor! logically say that the English Lords have stultified
Israelites, Freemen and Citizens! Let not the themselves-that they are disgracefully clinging to
Israelites, Freemen and Citizens! Let not the t b o t ages-that so far as their
disgrace of the treaty between the United States the bigotry of the dark ages-that so far as their
disgrace of the treaty between the United Statesof our influence and example go, they have brought dis-
country. Do not std Switzerland theremainsult heaped upon the history of our grace upon the boasted intelligence and liberality of
country. Do not stand the insult heaped upon the t neteenth century. Still, if we cannot excuse,
Jewish citizens, by unprincipled diplomacy. Hold the nineteenth century. Still, if we cannot excuse,
s cwe can at least explain their conduct. To start
public meetings; give utterance to your sentiments, wi we eon e the bishops from being actuated
resolve upon a proper course of actions against that with, we exonerate the bishops from being actuated
resolve upon a proper course of actions against that by any morbid conscientiousness in the matter. Men
mean and illegal instrument made in violation of who are in the daily practice of simony, who drive
the constitution of the United States. Try to win who are tre dail practice o simn, deag out
the press in favor of your cause, and rest not until a perpetual trade in church livings, dealing out fat
the press in favor of your cause, and rest not until benefices to the rectors, starving the curates, and by
this outrage is blotted from the United States' rec- consequence of spiritually starving the people in or-
ords. Slaves and cowards only will submit to such der that they may riot without stint upon the reve-
an outrage; we are men, and must be treated as nues of the church, cannot be imagined to feel in
such. Decide, in your meetings, upon efficient their secret hearts any very painful solicitude about
measures to have your voice heard. Publish your the integrity of the Thirty-nine Articles to which
resolutions in your local papers, and send us a copy Baron Rothschild refused to subscribe. We look
thereof, that a concert of actions be ensured. upon them as the jealous guardians of a large close
Abraham Kohn did not hesitate. On corporation, which so long as it can be kept close,
August 3, he wrote the Israelite the fol- will yield unlimited beef and pudding to those who
lowing letter which was published in its are so lucky as to hold the keys of the larder, and
therefore consider their conduct quite natural.
issue of August 14: But what shall we say of a similar exhibition of
CHICAGO, August 3rd, 1857. bigotry where no such powerful motives exist-
Rev. I. M. Wise, Editor of the Israelite: where the parties interested are the two model re-
Dear Sir: As one of your subscribers, I am publics of the world, and one of them our own?
thankful to you for the interest you have taken in "Incredible!" the reader may be disposed to ex-
that treaty with Switzerland, arousing the right claim, but let him wait until we have recited a
spirit among the Israelites in the whole country. few facts.
The subject has been taken hold of by the press In the year 1850 a Convention was concluded
of this city, a copy of which I send you with this. between the United States and the Swiss confed-
We have also made up our minds to see our Senator, eration, the professed design of which was to es-
Mr. [Stephen A.] Douglas, about the subject, and tablish a reciprocity between the citizens of the
if you could send us here the copy of the treaty, it two countries in their intercourse with each other,
might be of benefit to the cause to show it to Mr. Mr. Dudley Mann, acting for our government,
Douglas. having drawn up the articles of the Convention. It
After the conversation with Mr. D. we shall was supposed as a matter of course, that no invidious
write you the result. Messrs. Cole, Gerstley and distinctions were stipulated for by Switzerland, as
myself will see him tomorrow. I shall want him none were desired by us; that all persons fully rec-
to point out a remedy. ognized as citizens of the United States would be
I only wish that every Israelite in the United recognized and honored as such if inclination or
States would feel the wrong done to us as citizens business should induce them to take up their abode
of this Republic, and demand justice at the proper in the Helvetian Republic. But on a critical ex-
quarters. amination of the document, it was found that Jews
Yours respectfully, were excluded from the benefits of the treaty. It
A. KOHN. appeared that according to certain laws dating from
The editorial enclosed by Abraham the darkest days of the Middle Ages, and still in
force in several of the Cantons, they were not per-
Kohn was as follows: mitted to "sojourn temporarily, domiciliate or es-
MIDDLE AGED BIGOTRY OUR GOVERNMENT tablish themselves permanently," and of course in
IMPLICATED those districts they were still under ban. Attention
Most readers of the newspapers during the last having been called to the article of exclusion, letters
few weeks have either openly or silently condemned of remonstrance were addressed to the late Daniel









A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


Webster, then Secretary of State, and other dis-
tinguished men, and the treaty was rejected.
In 1855 the treaty again came up, somewhat al-
tered in language, but still in substance retaining the
obnoxious feature referred to. Mr. Marcy was then
Secretary of State, and to him Rev. Isaac M.
Wise, a Jewish Rabbi of Cincinnati, addressed a
letter upon the subject. The substance of the re-
ply was, that the treaty was yet a secret, no part of
which could be divulged, but he and his people
might rest assured that nothing unjust or unfair
would be done. With this assurance, Mr. Wise felt
satisfied that the obnoxious article would be struck
from the treaty before its ratification; and his sur-
prise may be imagined when, only a few weeks
since, he learned, through a communication from
the American representative at Berne, that the


DR. ISAAC MAYER WISE


Jewish citizens of the United States are excluded
from its benefits. Mr. Wise immediately addressed
a note to Gen. Cass, making inquiries upon the
subject; the reply of the General was almost as
brief as his famous letter to the River and Harbor
Convention, but he inclosed a copy of the treaty in
question, one clause of which shows that the objec-
tionable feature remains. The rights granted to
our citizens on the part of the Swiss Government
are made to depend on exceptional laws, expressed
in the clause, "where such admission and treatment
shall not conflict with the constitution or legal pro-
visions, as well Federal as State and Cantonal, of
the contracting parties." That this provision re-
fers to the oppressive laws above referred to is abun-
dantly evident from the fact that certain Jewish
citizens of Boston have lately suffered in conse-
quence of their enforcement.
There is but one comment to be made on the
above state of facts. In the language of Mr. Web-
ster, this is a treaty "not fit to be made." It is
disgraceful to the age and to the country. We have
of course no right to dictate to Switzerland what
shall be the nature or spirit of her local laws; but
in treating with foreign countries involving mat-
ters of personal rights, our Government is bound


both by its dignity and the fundamental law of the
land, to demand equal privileges for all our citizens,
irrespective of their religious faith, and to break
off negotiations at once when such privileges are
denied.
We must, in charity to the dead, believe that Mr.
Marcy had not fully considered the clause in the
treaty referred to, but its significance could not
have escaped the attention of senators when the
treaty was under consideration, nor that of Gen.
Cass when questioned upon the subject. Are we
thence to infer that the Administration is disposed,
with its eyes open, to waive the rights of one class
of our fellow-citizens in deference to the unjust and
intolerant laws of other nations? We hope not,
and yet the facts above detailed would naturally
lead to such a conclusion. At all events, the people
will never sanction so disgraceful a policy, and the
sooner it is repudiated by the government the bet-
ter it will be for the credit of those by whom it is
administered.
The Chicago Daily Journal also came
out against the treaty, saying:
It is, or at least always has been understood to
be, one of the fundamental principles of our re-
publican government, that no man or set of men
shall be proscribed politically or in any other re-
spect on account of their religious faith. Every man
is accorded the right to worship God as his own free
conscience dictates, nor is anyone authorized to ask
him wherefore.
It is a deep disgrace to our Government that
such an unjust and proscriptive treaty should be al-
lowed to stand for a moment longer- and it will
be a deep disgrace to the Buchanan administration,
since its attention has been called to it, if it is suf-
fered to continue in force another year.
The results of the interview with Sena-
tor Douglas were reported by Abraham
Kohn in a letter to Dr. Wise which was
published in the Israelite, August 21, as
follows:
We have seen Senator Douglas about the treaty
with Switzerland. He says that the only remedy
would be, to get up a memorial to the President of
the United States, stating all the facts in the case,
and have it signed by as many Israelites as possible.
If you will cooperate in the matter, and send us
the facts as they took place with the man from
Boston, giving dates, names-in short, the particu-
lars, we will get the matter attended to here, and
have Mr. Douglas write a letter with the memorial
to the President.
Various suggestions were made
throughout the country as to the best way
to proceed to have the objectionable arti-









HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


cle in the treaty removed. Finally, a
committee in Baltimore suggested that
delegates be named from as many com-
munities as possible who should meet in
Baltimore October 26, and "proceed in
a body to Washington and to lay our
grievance before his excellency the Presi-
dent of the United States." The Balti-
more committee felt that "there is good
reason to believe that the federal execu-
tive is disposed to do justice to his fellow-
citizens of the Hebrew faith, and that the
place recommended above, which the
committee has been induced to adopt, on
the advice coming from a reliable source,
is the one best adapted to insure success in
the effort to abrogate a treaty so prejudi-
cial to the honor and interests of Ameri-
can Israelites."
Dr. Wise concurred in this suggestion
and on October 9, this "Call to the Com-
munity" appeared in the Israelite:
The Swiss question has been discussed long
enough. Action, decisive action is necessary. We
believe that the proposition of the Baltimore Com-
mittee is the best. Let the representatives of the va-
rious different cities meet "in Baltimore October 28,
proceed to Washington, and lay our grievance be-
fore the President, and we entertain no doubt re-
dress will be had.
Elect your representatives, let them be in Balti-
more on the 28th inst., and let us do our duty. It
is an honest and honorable struggle in behalf of
justice and principles. Let none stand back. The
honor of our country and the principles of liberty,
no less than our honor abroad, imperatively demand
that we act. Go at it, without delay.
The Baltimore Convention assembled
October 28 and among its delegates was
M. M. Gerstley, who took a very impor-
tant part in its proceedings. His name
appears as one of the seven signers of a
memorial drawn up on October 29 and he
was one of the delegation that presented
it to President Buchanan two days later.
His name also heads the list of seven
signers of the official communique of the
Convention, as follows:
Pursuant to a call for a National Convention of
Israelites to consider what steps to take in reference
to the treaty between the United States and the
Swiss confederation, the delegates of various states


met at Baltimore, Md., on Wednesday, 28th inst.,
and after due deliberation adopted a memorial set-
ting forth their grievances, and resolved to present
the same to the President of the United States. No-
tice being given of their object, the President ap-
pointed the 31st of October at one o'clock p. M. for
their reception, where they were presented in a
body by the Hon. P. Phillips, of Alabama, in an
elegant and dignified address to the Executive.
After listening to the views and objects expressed,
and receiving the memorial, the President viewed
at some length the principle revolved in that treaty;
expressed his conviction that the treaty would never
have received the approval of his predecessor had
it been understood in its present effect, and unequivo-
cally promised a speedy and energetic course of ac-
tion with a view to a remedy, not inconsistent with
international faith.
We feel satisfied that the Israelites of the United
States may place implicit confidence in the Execu-
tive, and that their rights as citizens of the United
States will be zealously maintained.
We publish these cheerful facts in the discharge
of our duties as delegates, with the request to our
co-religionists to abstain from further agitation on
the subject.
M. M. GERSTLEY M. J. COHEN
L. F. LEOPOLD H. HOCHEIMER
M. BIJUR PH. HERZBERG
ISAAC M. WISE
WASHINGTON, D. C., October 31, 1857.
It is interesting to note that four of
these seven names were of men of the
West. Two were from Ohio-Isaac M.
Wise from Cincinnati, and L. F. Leo-
pold, from Cleveland; one was from Ken-
tucky, M. Bijur hailing from Louisville;
and one represented Illinois, our own M.
M. Gerstley.
Isaac M. Wise wrote to his paper, on
the same day the official statement of the
Convention was issued:
Our mission has proved successful. The Presi-
dent to-day received the delegation in the most
friendly manner. His response to our address was
direct and decisive. He considers the clause in the
Swiss treaty (as construed by that government),
"violative of constitutional principles," which
neither the Senate nor the previous administration
intended, and ratified bona fide the said treaty. The
initiatives to redress our just grievances are already
in the hands of the Secretary of State, who assured
us that he would exercise all his influence to induce
Switzerland to a fair settlement of the pending
question. The delegates leave the city highly grati-
fied, and consider this obnoxious question settled in
our favor, so far as our operations are considered.









A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


The first decisive step in giving the
Swiss treaty a death blow was taken by
Abraham Lincoln when as one of his first
official acts he appointed in March, 1861,
a Jew, Mr. Bernays, as United States
Consul to Zurich. The grim humor of
this action was appreciated by all.
Finally, the matter was settled for all time
in 1874 when full religious equality was
announced in the new Swiss constitution
of that year which also made the treat-
ment of aliens a federal, not a cantonal
matter.
Abraham Kohn's absence from the Bal-
timore convention is explained by the fact
that during that time he had a serious
conflict on his hands at home. K. A. M.
in 1857 was a miniature battlefield of the
opposing religious tendencies of the day.
In 1856 he resigned the presidency and
was succeeded by Samuel Cole, but he
was uncompromising in his orthodox
views and did all in his power to prevent
reform ideas from making inroads in the
congregation. Seeing the impossibility
of making headway, some members of
K. A. M. with advanced views, led by
Samuel and Leon Straus, broke away
and formed a new congregation. Notice
of the formation of this new congregation
appears in the Cincinnati Israelite's is-
sue of August 21, 1857, which published
a letter received from Samuel Straus as
follows:
CHICAGO, August 5, 1857.
Some 40 men of our faith united themselves on
the 26th of July, to establish an Israelite Reform
Society in this city, and Rev. Mr. G. M. Cohen is
our able leader. We will have service in the style
of Temple Emanu El in New York, at the Light
Guard Hall, next New Year's days, Day of Atone-
ment and Feast of Tabernacles. A nice organ and
a good organist are already provided for that pur-
pose, and all who like to attend a service K'das
Moshe V'Yisroel, on the days above named, are
invited to call on us.
The majority members of K. A. M.
with reform views, however, decided to
fight the matter out in the congregation
and a spirited struggle took place which
culminated at the election of officers held


September 27, 1857. At this memorable
election, two separate tickets were placed
in the field, the conservative group
headed by Samuel Cole, and the radical
reform adherents, led by Elias Greene-
baum. The latter element would not be
satisfied with anything less than the in-
troduction of the prayer-book of the Re-
form Temple in Hamburg, Germany,
while the former stood firm for the
Roedelheimer Siddur, then in use in the
congregation. The treasury of the con-
gregation benefited from the struggle, for

M. M. GERSTLEY was born in the village of Fellheim,
Bavaria, August 17, 1812,
and came to Chicago in ."
1848, after several years
spent in New York and
Pennsylvania. He held
the offices of secretary, .
director of the school /
board, and president of "
K. A. M. Congregation,
in turn, and proved effi-
cient, capable and tact-
ful during his adminis-
trations. He was deeply
interested in charitable
work, and was for some
ye a r s vice-president of
the Hebrew Relief So-
ciety, being actively iden-
tified with the work of
that organization until
ill-health forced him to resign. After a long and useful
life he died April 29, 1893.

considerable sums were paid to cover the
arrears of those members whose vote was
desired. The reform ticket made a clean
sweep of the election, as is seen from the
following jubilant announcement of the
election result by a member of the vic-
torious party, which appears in the Is-
raelite, in its issue of October 2, 1857:
10 o'clock A. M. CHICAGO, Sept. 27, 1857.
The Congregation "Kehilath Anshe Ma'ariv"
has just closed its meeting, having passed through
a most spirited and closely contested election for
their officers for the ensuing year.
There were two formal organizations support-
ing their respective nominees, and upon distinct
platforms.
"Equality, Reform and Education," was the
motto of the successful party; Equality among
members to be inaugurated in lieu of a self-con-
stituted privileged class (of. but few), who have
from time immemorial contrived to manage the










HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


congregational affairs in accordance with their own
out-of-place ideas; Reform in the divine service;
devotion and harmony in prayer; introduction of a
choir; the maintenance of decorum by the mem-
bers, which has been most sadly neglected; Educa-


LEOPOLD MAYER was born in Abendheim, Germany,
March 3, 1827. In 1850
he came to Chicago,
where he taught German
and Hebrew in private
families. From the time
of his arrival he was a
power in the community,
and helped pave the way
for reform Judaism in
Chicago and in Illinois.
He conducted the first
Bar Mitzvah in Chicago
in January, 1851, and
strongly advocated the
necessity for systematic
religious instruction. He
was instrumental in
founding K. A. M. Con-
gregation, and was one
of the moving spirits in
the establishment of Sinai Congregation. He was promi-
nent also in the Reformverein, founded by friends of the
reform movement. When he died at the age of seventy-
six in 1903, he left a number of generous bequests to
Jewish and non-Jewish institutions.


tion by procuring able and competent men to fill
the places of preacher, teacher, and reader.
In imitation of your own remarks when address-
ing the congregation while in this city and refer-
ring to the ministerial post, the reform party de-
clares "this place must be filled."
The Congregation numbers 98 members. At the
first ballot there were 83 votes cast, with the fol-
lowing results, viz.: For the reform candidate for
President, Elias Greenebaum, 51 votes; opposition,
32 votes.
"Oh! what a fall was there, my countrymen!"
Upon indication of the state of facts, after the
first ballot, the present chairman, Mr. S. Cole, de-
clared the meeting adjourned, but had to yield his
temper to the calm, stern, and just indignation of
the meeting, and re-opened.
The following are the newly-elected officers:
Elias Greenebaum, president; B. Schlossman, vice-
president; Joseph Liebenstein, 1st trustee; B. Barbe,
2nd trustee; Leopold Mayer, 3rd trustee, and sec-
retary; Jacob Benjamin, 4th trustee; Henry Fore-
man, 5th trustee.
Such a glorious triumph on the one hand, and
complete defeat on the other was anticipated by
none !
Chicago at last has spoken for progress, and you
may put her down as a sound pillar in the beautiful
temple of the God of Israel.
AN OBSERVER.
Who this enthusiastic and triumphant


"Observer" was is not known, but it might
have been Leopold Mayer who, ever
since his arrival in Chicago seven years
previously, had kept hammering on the
importance of improving divine services
and the religious life of the community.
Abraham Kohn struck back with a re-
joinder on October 5 which was pub-
lished in the Israelite October 16, 1857.
He headed his reply with the Hebrew
words Shimeon ben Ahikam and said:
Sir! Your correspondent "Observer" from this
city must have been aware when he wrote you on
the 27th of last month, in such great haste at 10
A. M. that what he was stating to you and to your
readers was untrue. It was not for principles but
for men that the election of officers of our con-
gregation was fought and won. If the plain truth
had been communicated to you, the writer of this
would have passed the subject in silence, but mis-
stating facts must be refuted. There was no ques-
tion of Reform at issue, but let it be known that a
party of our congregation, mostly from Rhinish
Bavaria, with many others joining them, opposed
to our acting President, Mr. S. Cole, who by the
way, is a native of Poland, and a gentleman in every
respect, held a caucus meeting when each and every
one had to pledge their honor, to vote for their can-
didate, Mr. E. Greenebaum, and in order to
strengthen the ticket, the regularly nominated vice-
president was put up as their candidate. Mr. S.
Cole, who was unanimously elected last year as
President, after the writer resigned the office, was
supported by all those members who appreciated his
services for the congregation, in office and out of it,
for a second term, and when he declined running,
they selected as their candidate Mr. M. M. Gerst-
ley, who worked for the benefit of the congregation,
as secretary for the last two years, gratis, for which
service the congregation had formerly to pay a
salary. Those privileged few, of whom your kind
correspondent speaks in such flattering terms, have
while in office and out of it, brought the congrega-
tion to such a state of prosperity, as regards its
financial affairs, that this little society of ours owns
at present property to the amount of 12 to 1800
dollars, being indebted on the same 2800 dollars,
payable after ten years, on which paper those privi-
leged few had the pleasure to sign their names.
Mr. I. Rosenberg, who worked for the welfare of
the congregation from the day of starting the
Society until this hour as Superintendent of Burial
Ground, or Gaby bes Hayim, was voted down in
the caucus meeting, and with all the old members,
it must be a man from a Pfalz.
Before the election took place, they paid a con-
siderable amount for such members as were in








A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


arrears with their dues, in order to get their votes.
Sir, these are facts, and if necessary, names could
be given. Many voted against the defeated ticket,
who are and will remain strong orthodox, as you
would call them, and three of the strongest reform-
ers of our congregation voted and acted with our
party, whose motto was "Peace, Harmony, and
Moderate Reform."
From this plain statement, Mr. Editor, you will
perceive that the issue at our election was not
reform but proscription, a principle that should be
abhorred by every Israelite whether he be a reformer
or orthodox. The future will show whether the
party now in power will work for the welfare of
the congregation: those who retire have done their
duty.


with his election." The choice of a rabbi
seems to have been made to satisfy those
who had been defeated at the election,
for he adds, "Rev. Mr. Mensor, from
Dublin, Ireland-one of the correspon-
dents of your Israelite was elected
Rabbi of our congregation. The ortho-
dox party advocated the election of a
Rabbi, and particularly Rev. Mr. Men-
sor, for his knowledge of the English
language. Though the present financial
revenue of the congregation is not an
exceedingly large one, Mr. A. Kohn
unreservedly took the responsibility upon


CHICAGO IN 1855


Thus, with both sides of the case pre-
sented, an effort was made to bring about
harmony, and this laudable spirit seems
to have made headway rapidly, for on
October 18, some one who did not sign
his name possibly "Observer"-wrote
to the Israelite as follows:
The reform party does not desire to keep up hard
feelings, and wishes to retain the cooperation and
the good will of all members, and to pacify those
who were so much aggrieved by the defeat of the
recent election. Let the moment pass by to the
desire and gratification of all, and expect a better
fate. We look to the future and hope for the best.
The correspondent also added that
"Mr. Marx, from Alsheim, from Rhine-
hessia, was elected chazan and teacher"
and that "the members are well satisfied


himself to elect Mr. Mensor at a salary
of $1000 per year. We hope that our new
Rabbi will advance the interest of our
congregation, and satisfy all parties."
Up to the time of his arrival, Dr. Men-
sor was the biggest pulpit figure the Chi-
cago community had known. It was daz-
zled by the fame that preceded him,
which his priestly bearing and eloquent
sermons bore out. Dr. Wise announced
the election by K. A. M. of Dr. Mensor
"with much gratification, not only be-
cause it shows the earnest desire of the
congregation to contribute their part to
the improvement and advancement of the
cause of Israel-but also because the Rev.
Dr. Mensor is a man of extensive learn-








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


ing and decided principles, a moderate
reformer of the legal school, and a man
who has acquired already a fair reputa-
tion among our literary people." Every-
thing therefore promised well for the
new incumbent and the congregation to
whose pulpit he had been called.
Dr. Mensor did not arrive in Chicago
to take up his duties until the end of Janu-
ary, 1858. He preached his inaugural
sermon Saturday morning, January 31,
of that year, "to the utmost satisfaction
of his audience," the Israelite tells us. A
public reception followed at which Dr.
Mensor assured all that he was "a friend
of progress and enlightenment within the
proper limits of legality," which pleased
all. He continued to make a good im-
pression and in a short time became very
much liked.
He addressed the members of the
Hebrew Benevolent Society, most of
whom were in sympathy with radical
reform and succeeded in winning their
confidence and gratitude, as the follow-
ing communication in the Israelite of
February 12, 1858, shows:
CHICAGO, February 5, 1858.
At a meeting of the Hebrew Benevolent Society
held the 7th inst., after Rev. Dr. Mensor had
addressed the meeting in a most eloquent style, on
the object and aim of the Society, and had gener-
ously offered his assistance and services for their
furtherance and welfare, it was unanimously
Resolved, That the thanks of this society are due,
and are hereby tendered to the Rev. Dr. Mensor
for his address and kind offer;
Resolved, That these resolutions be published in
the Israelite.
By order of the Society,
M. KRAEMER, Secretary.
Thus in the closing months of 1857
and the opening months of 1858, after the
storm that had broken shortly before,
everything seemed peaceful and promis-
ing. B'nai Sholom, living up to its name,
had no trouble during its fall elections of
1857, the following being chosen officers
for the following year: Caspar Sum-
merfield, president; Jacob Pieser, vice-
president; Jacob Frost, treasurer; A.
Alexander, secretary; trustees: S. Wit-


kowsky, D. Michael, L. Abraham, and
Jonas Moore; S. Long, superintendent
of the burial ground. No rabbi was
chosen but a chazan and shochet were
elected whose names the secretary did
not deem it important enough to men-
tion in his communication to the Israelite
announcing the election. The congrega-
tion was still worshipping in rented quar-
ters, then at the corner of Jackson and


MRS. HANNAH (MARKS) SIMON, a native of Haup-
stadt, Germany, came to
America with her parents
in 1848, when four years
old. In 1855, her parents
settled in Chicago-be-
cause, as she says, they
were told it was so "hon-
est." She was one of the'
war brides of her day,
being married in 1862.
After the Chicago fire,
her home was thrown
open to those who were
destitute, and for her
charity during those des-
perate days she endeared
herself to t h e whole of
Chicago Jewry. She was
a staunch supporter of
the Jewish Hospital and
of the Altenheim, and has been president of the Women's
Society of the Home for Aged Jews; vice-president of the
Sewing Society of Zion Congregation; founder of the
Women's Auxiliary which succeeded the Sewing Society;
and active in a host of other undertakings which served
to strengthen the respect and esteem in which the com-
munity holds her.


Clark streets, where the Grand Pacific
Hotel was later erected.
D. B. Cooke & Company's Directory of
Chicago for 1858, issued January 1 of
that year, and therefore recording the
names of those living here in 1857, is lib-
erally filled with Jewish names, which
shows the great growth of the Jewish
community. Clark Street now vied with
Lake Street in the number of Jewish
firms, but others were to be found in con-
siderable number on Wells, Randolph
and La Salle streets, and some were north
of the river. The older, more substantial
settlers were grouped on Edina Place and
Buffalo Street, now Plymouth Court and
Federal Street, respectively. Thus, in
1857, we find living on Edina Place the
following: M. M. Gerstley at number 9,







A GROWING AND CONTENTIOUS DECADE


Benedict Schlossman at 11, Samuel Cole
at 18, Mary Fuller, widow of Jacob
Fuller who died in 1856, at number 19,
and Elias Greenebaum, at 105. On Buf-
falo Street were Jacob Frost at number
10, August and Jacob Friedman at 14,
Isaac Blumenthal at 15, Martin Clay-
burgh at 17, Henry A. Kohn, cousin of
Abraham Kohn, at number 21, and Abra-
ham Kohn at 51. These two streets be-
fore the fire were what Michigan Avenue
and Grand Boulevard became afterward.
Clark Street and Wells Street had many
Jewish places of business and residences.
The two former spiritual leaders of K.
A. M., Ignatz Kunreuther and Isidor
Lebrecht, were in business for themselves,
the former being a tobacconist at 277
South Clark Street, and the latter serving
the community as a butcher and living at
307 South Wells Street. Gerhard Fore-
man lived at 215 South Wells and Isaac
Greensfelder was at 261 South Clark
Street. Levi Cline was engaged in the
clothing business at 258 South Clark
Street, and others made these two streets
representatively Jewish.
Cooke's Directory lists the Greene-
baum Block which was located on Hub-
bard Street, two blocks north of Kinzie,
between Wood and Cornelia streets,
where all the Greenebaums, except Elias
and Michael, then lived together. Mich-
ael lived on Union Street at the corner of
Eagle. Nathan Eisendrath lived at 100
Ohio Street between Market and Frank-
lin-considerably north then-and Wil-
liam Clingman lived "out in the coun-
try," on Wabash avenue, corner New
Street, seven blocks south of Twelfth,
where the houses were not yet numbered.
Other interesting revelations of the
Directory are the following: Samuel
Alschuler, uncle of the present Judge
Samuel Alschuler, was a member of the
firm of Alschuler & Florence, daguerreo-
-typists, at 142 Lake Street, and lived at
213 South Wells Street; Bernard Barbe,
who was engaged in the clothing business
at 211 Randolph Street, lived at 168


Madison, then a residential street; Benja-
min Bruneman conducted a hotel which
was frequented chiefly by Jewish patrons,
at 39 La Salle Street; Joseph Schlossman,
the owner of a hotel bearing his name, at
71 Randolph Street, was a prominent fig-
ure in political circles and an intimate of
Senator Douglas who always called him
"Joe" and whom the latter greeted with
"Steve." Weineman's was a boarding
house on Clark Street between Madison
and Monroe; David Witkowsky was the
proud owner of four clothing stores at
97/2 and 102 Lake Street-and at 33 North
Clark and 311 South Clark Street, and
lived at 111 Monroe Street, Conrad Wit-
kowsky then being engaged as a clerk in
the store at 102 Lake Street; Henry L.
Frank was a teller in the bank of Hoff-
man & Gelpcke and lived with his
widowed mother, Eliza Frank, one of the
Reese sisters, at 54 West Randolph Street,
beyond the river; Moses Goodman is
listed as a butcher at 118 West Harrison
Street, then between Clinton and Jeffer-
son, where he was the only Jew at that


WOLFF PERETZ


time; and Joseph L. Gatzert was then a
clothier at 64 West Lake Street.
These and others not so well known
composed the Jewish community in Chi-
cago in 1857, all but a few of whom have
passed on to their reward. The survivors
of those early times still living in Chicago
and enjoying a hearty old age are Henry
L. Frank who came in 1852; Benjamin








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


W. Eisendrath, who was brought here as
a boy by his father, Nathan Eisendrath,
who came here in 1853; Mrs. Hannah Si-
mon, who also came in 1855; Joseph L.
Gatzert who arrived in 1856, in which
year also came Wolff Peretz, oldest living
member of the old Chevra Gemilath
Chassodim. Besides these there are the
present-day Chicagoans who were born
here before 1857, including Joseph Hor-
ner, son of Henry Horner, born in 1852;
Henry E. Greenebaum and Moses E.


Greenebaum, sons of Elias, born here
September 1, 1854 and March 17, 1858,
respectively; Eli B. Felsenthal, son of
Herman Felsenthal, born in Milwaukee
in 1853 and brought to Chicago in 1854,
and Simeon Straus, son of Samuel Straus,
born here in 1855. Thus, although most
of the old settlers are gone, a compara-
tively large number happily still remain,
whose recollections are clear, if not of the
period we have been considering, of the
days that immediately followed.


CHICAGO'S FIRST RAILROAD STATION










.L"~c~~ :~ 'I'
~u.4~r
;* 3r 3 :.
-~i ~lz~r 41. ~ *:
~r "' : '-

:: ;;-"u*~;,;,.~


-


Af[I!


.--*- .. .. -
__ -- ...--. -..~ --'--

-~-- "- .""-- --- -_-.
-_--',~ A VIE'/ ON CLA K STREET IN 1857

A VIEW ON CLAIZK STREET IN 1857


. : .-------. .


r Rcl


















CHAPTER III

Reform and Relief, 1853-1860

EARLIEST REFORM EFFORTS IN CHICAGO-THE OHABEY OR CONGREGATION AND
THE JUDISCHER REFORMVEREIN-BERNHARD FELSENTHAL'S TWENTY-SEVEN
THESES-"KOL KORE BAMIDBAR"-THE UNITED HEBREW RELIEF ASSOCIATION;
NON-JEWISH HELP; FIRST YEAR'S WORK-EFFORTS TO EFFECT REFORMS IN
K. A. M.; WITHDRAWAL OF REFORM ELEMENT-FOUNDING OF CHICAGO SINAI
CONGREGATION.


LTHOUGH Dr. Mensor, im-
mediately following his arrival
in Chicago late in January,
1858, made a favorable impres-
sion outside his congregation as well as
within it, and gave promise of being able
to reconcile the varying religious view-
points that were first sharply brought
into opposition with each other in the
fall of 1857, one group in the community,
the first to take a stand for radical reform,
would not be swerved in its course. This
group as we have seen, led by Samuel
Straus, G. M. Cohen, and others, mak-
ing a total of about forty persons whose
names have not been preserved, as
early as July 26, 1857, organized an
"Israelite Reform Society" and con-
ducted services "in the style of Emanu El
in New York" with an organ or "prelo-
dean" (the first used in Jewish religious
services in Chicago) during the fall holi-
days in 1857. Nothing further seems to
have been done by this group until about
a month after Dr. Mensor's arrival.
Whether this delay was caused by a wish
to learn what Dr. Mensor's views were,
or came from a desire to move slowly and
lay solid foundations for a reform con-
gregation, is not known. That the mem-
bers of this group were not impressed
with Dr. Mensor is shown by the action
taken February 15, 1858, when a reform


congregation was called into existence. A
report of the organization of this, the first
reform congregation in Chicago, appears
in the Cincinnati Israelite, February 26,
1858, as follows:
Pursuant to a call, a meeting of Israelites of this
city was held on Monday, February 15, at 7 o'clock
P. M., in No. 166 South Clark Street, and after
Leon Straus was appointed Chairman, and Samuel
Straus, Secretary of that meeting, the following
Resolutions were passed:
Resolved, that the persons here assembled shall
from henceforth be a religious congregation, under
the name and title "Israelite Congregation Ohabey
Or," under the statutes of the State of Illinois, in
such cases made and provided.
Resolved, To adopt the Constitution and By-
Laws, made by the members of the Congregation,
as the organic Law. of said Congregation, subject
to said statutes of the State.
Resolved, To elect non-paid officers of said Con-
gregation for a term beginning with the 15th of
February, 1858, and ending with the 10th of April,
1859.
On motion, the following gentlemen were elected
by unanimous vote:
Leon Straus, president; Isaac Greensfelder, vice-
president and treasurer; Herman Felsenthal, sec-
retary.
Trustees: Levy J. Unna, Mayer Strauss, John
Cohen, L. Rubens, M. Anhalt.
Also the Standing Committee of Religious Mat-
ters, to wit: Samuel Straus, Samson Rosenthal, J.
M. Rosenberg, Dr. G. Schiff.
On motion, the undersigned Committee was ap-
pointed to publish the proceedings of the meetings
in the Israelite and in the Sinai [Dr. Einhorn's
paper, published in Baltimore].








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


The Board of Administration will enter into
contract with the learned gentleman, Rev. Dr.
Isaac N. Cohen, of this city, for his engagement
with this congregation as Rabbi, preacher, teacher
of Religion, and superintendent of the school of
the congregation, for a term of four years.
On motion, the meeting adjourned until next
Purim.
SAMUEL STRAUS
HERMAN FELSENTHAL
Louis KALISKY
Committee.
CHICAGo, February 16, 1858.
Thus, Chicago's earliest friends of re-
form cast the die. Dr. Isaac Mayer
Wise's Minhag America was adopted, a
hall was consecrated Friday, March 26,
as a temporary place of worship, and
services were held the following day and
on Passover, a week later. Dr. Wise


SAMUEL STRAUS was born at Kirchheimbolanden, in
the Rhein-Pfalz, on Jan-
uary 22, 1823. He grad-
uated from the seminary
at Kaiserslautern and
was a teacher in, Ger-
many prior to his leaving
for America. He came
to Chicago in 1852 and
was married here a year
later. In 1855 he moved
to Milwaukee, but re-
turned the following year
to Chicago. He had
joined K. A. M. Congre-
gation in 1854 and often
assisted in reading the
prayers. In August,
1853, he was one of the
collegium of three rabbis
who officiated at the con-
version to Judaism of Mrs. Marcus M. Spiegel. Straus
studied law and was admitted to the bar some years
later. He died July 8, 1878, leaving two sons, Simeon
and Joseph, and one daughter, Mrs. Samuel Despres.


noted with approval the progress made by
the congregation and in the issue of the
Israelite of April 16, 1858, observed,
"There is every reason to believe that the
congregation will succeed, and by the fall
of the year will stand co-equal with other
sister congregations." It probably would
have done so but for an unlooked-for hap-
pening, the seemingly casual arrival of
one man-in Chicago, who changed the


course of events, and the "Lovers of
Light," although they made the begin-
ning, were combined with and absorbed
in another reform movement that made
its appearance shortly after the Ohabey
Or was called into being.
This man whose gifted personality at
once began to have a powerful influence
in the community was Bernhard Felsen-
thal who arrived in Chicago, April 18,
1858, not heralded nor summoned as Dr.
Mensor had been, but unannounced and
unnoticed. Although a teacher, he appar-
ently came to Chicago with the expecta-
tion of entering business, at least tempo-
rarily. He at once secured a position as
clerk in a bank. He was a man, however,
of scholarly interests, followed closely the
reform ideas of the time, and was eager to
further them to the best of his ability.
Apparently, the Ohabey Or constitu-
tion and viewpoint did not appear to him
to be adequate, for two months after his
arrival, he was instrumental in having a
meeting called in the office of Greene-
baum Brothers at 45 South Clark Street,
on June 20, 1858. The object of this
meeting, to use his own words, which are
to be found in his account of the begin-
nings of Sinai Congregation, was "to
come together and to found, if possible, a
society for the purpose of fostering Jew-
ish reform." Besides himself, the fol-
lowing were present at this historic gath-
ering: Gerhard Foreman, Elias Greene-
baum, Michael Greenebaum, Raphael
Guthmann, Leopold Mayer, Leopold
Miller, Isaac Greensfelder and Samuel
Straus. Leopold Mayer was chosen
chairman, and Felsenthal acted as secre-
tary. The proceedings were conducted
in German. The main business of the
meeting was to hear presented an outline
which had been carefully worked out by
the bank-clerk bochur, consisting of
twenty-seven propositions or "theses" as
he called them. In these theses, he stated
more clearly and fundamentally than
anyone else had done, in Chicago or out-
side of Chicago, the objectives for which,









REFORM AND RELIEF


in his opinion, a reform body should
strive, and the spirit that should mark its
endeavors.
We are deeply convinced [he began in his pre-
amble] that Israel has been called by God to be the
Messiah of the nations and to spread truth and
virtue on earth. In order to fulfill this high mis-
sion, Israel has to undergo a process of purification
in its own midst. This object will be best accom-
plished in free and blessed America where no mate-
rial forces check spiritual progress. The special
mission of American Israel, therefore, is to place
Judaism before the world, purified in doctrines and
conduct, and so become a shining example for
Israelites the world over.
He then proposed for the furtherance
of this object that there should at once be
formed in Chicago a society under the
name of the Jiidischer Reformverein
(Jewish Reform Society). He elabo-
rated on the specific things such a society
should work for, declaring in his Third
Thesis, "All religious truths shall be
based on free investigation and demon-
stration. All specifically Jewish doctrines
are based exclusively on unprejudiced in-
vestigation and examination of the recog-
nized sources of the Jewish religion."
He gave as "the sources for the knowl-
edge of universal religious truth," "na-
ture surrounding us-the universe-the
nature within us-the spiritual life-and
the history of mankind," and as the
"sources for the knowledge of specifically
Jewish doctrines," "the history of Juda-
ism and its adherents" which included
the twenty-four books of the Bible, the
Talmud, and the post-Talmudic litera-
ture, the thorough knowledge of which,
he insisted, was essential to an under-
standing of Judaism and its development.
With this as his starting-point, he de-
clared for religious self-determination, in
the following theses:
8. Every Israelite has both the right and duty
to investigate for himself as much as he can, the
religious sources with the aid of the mental powers
which God has given him. For it is not through
blind acceptance of the views of others that we
become possessed of the truth. The light of divine


truth does not penetrate the human spirit from
without, but emanates from within.
9. By virtue of reason, which we consider a
divine manifestation, as well as the whole of nature,
we distinguish in Holy Scripture the treasures of
eternal truth which are deposited in it, from that
which is merely the result of primitive conceptions
of the time and of faulty views of the world and


BERNHARD FELSENTHAL was born January 2,
1822, at Muenchweiler,
near Kaiserslautern, in
the Rhenish Palatinate.
He received his early
education in the elemen-
tary school of his native
village,- and in 1838 he
graduated from the
"Kreisgewerbschule" i n
still a young boy he was
introduced to rabbinic
and talmudic literature,
studies which remained
a passion with him
throughout his life. When
continuing his studies at
the Polytechnic High
School in Munich he
conceived the idea of
entering the Civil Service of Bavaria, but soon learned
that, as a Jew, he could have no hopes in that field. He
took up teaching and graduated from a Teachers' Semi-
nary in 1843. In 1854 he emigrated to America where
he was employed as a tutor for the first two years in
Lawrenceburg, Indiana. He accepted his first ministerial
post in 1856 in Madison, Indiana. Two years later,
April, 1858, he came to Chicago, and became a clerk in
a banking-house, continuing his talmudic studies during
his leisure hours. In 1859, while secretary of the
Jiidischer Reformverein, an organization of his founding,
he published Kol Kore Bamidbar; Ober Jsldische Re-
form, a pamphlet which did much to promote the reform
movement in Chicago. It was in the spring of 1861 that
he was started on the career that made him one of the
most outstanding figures in the Jewish religious world.
The Reformverein formed the Sinai reform congrega-
tion and after much pressure was brought to bear on
him from many different sources, finally persuaded Bern-
hard Felsenthal to accept the position of the first rabbi
of what was destined to grow into one of the foremost
reform congregations in America. He occupied the pulpit
for three years. He had left the pulpit of Sinai but a
few months when he was called to lead the newly organ-
ized Zion Congregation, a position he held until he was
honorably retired with pension in 1886. During all these
years and almost to the end of his life, he was active as
a writer, publishing many treatises on Jewish subjects,
and achieving an international recognition as one of the
powerful leaders of Israel. Among his writings were
Jiidisches Schulwesen in Amerika, 1866; Practical Gram-
mar of the Hebrew Language, 1868; Kritik des christli-
chen Missions esens, 1869; Jiidische Fragen, 1896; Jii-
dische Thesen, 1901. In 1866 he was honored by the old
University of Chicago with the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy. It was largely through his efforts that the
Chicago Rabbinical Association was formed in 1873, he
being elected first president. From the inception of Zionist
movement he was its enthusiastic advocate, and became
one of the most prominent American leaders in the cause.
Dr. Felsenthal was married twice. His first wife, Caro-
line Levi, whom he married in 1862, died two years later.
He was married again, to Henriette Blumenfeld, in 1865,
and five children were born to them. On January 12,
1908, Dr. Felsenthal died, widely mourned as one who
had seen the light in Israel, and preached it.








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


of life, and also from that which was merely meant
as law under transitory conditions which have long
since become obsolete.
10. If we apply this rule to the Bible, we may
undoubtedly claim the right to examine religious
sources and institutions of post-biblical times, and
to separate that which we have recognized as true
in doctrine and worthy of preservation in conduct
from that which is recognized as antiquated dogma,
or, for practical purposes, as being no longer
appropriate.
11. We recognize our task more in the positive
work of cultivating and upbuilding than in the
negative work of eliminating and abolishing. Such
doctrines as we know to be true, but which to a
great extent have lost their hold on the conscious-
ness of our contemporaries, will have to be implanted
anew and more firmly. Such institutions as will
stimulate religious sentiment and which will bene-
ficially influence religious life, shall be preserved,
appropriately changed, or if necessary, so modified
or created anew as to be adapted to our present
conditions.
Declaring that "our only dogma which
we will consider as binding upon every
one of our members is 'perfect freedom
of belief' limited to us who stand on Jew-
ish ground, only in so far as we consider
that un-Jewish which opposes-the eternal
and unchangeable doctrines which follow
clearly and unequivocally from the
sources of Jewish religion," he laid down
the following declaration of congrega-
tional democracy:
We do not recognize any privileged clerical order
whose members should have an exclusive right to
perform certain ecclesiastical acts. There is no
priestly caste, neither by inheritance nor by ordina-
tion, which as such has special power. Obligations
and privileges, such as preaching, consecration of
marriages, etc., which are incumbent upon the
clergy, are merely mandates of the congregation.
As a matter of principle, this may be done by every
Israelite who possesses the necessary capabilities.
That the brilliant formulator of these
theses had his feet solidly on the ground
as well as his eyes upon the stars, is shown
clearly in his Twentieth Thesis, which
declared:
Practice of moral duties in their entire scope con-
stitutes the principal feature of the worship of God.
Improvement of the material conditions of our fel-
low-men, according to an eternal law of nature,
first of all of the members of our society and our


faith, occupies by no means the last position in the
service of God; and it is the aim of this Society to
be active also in this direction. This improvement
in the material condition of others appears so much
the more as the service of God when we consider
that a man's material condition exercises a great
influence upon his spiritual and moral debasement.
According to the Mosaic Law, we shall uphold the
brother if he be waxen poor and his hand fail with
us. This commands our attention so much the more
because by so doing we also minister to the man
who is in danger of failing spiritually.
The broad, and, one may say, catholic
character of the Reform Society is indi-
cated in the Twenty-first Thesis, as fol-
lows :
Anyone born of a Jewish mother who has not
yet joined another religious denomination, and also
anyone born of a non-Jewish mother who adopts
explicitly Judaism as his religion, may become a
member of the Society, if he subscribes to the funda-
mental principles of the same. Particular by-laws
concerning this point shall be enacted at a future
time.
The profound and critical study of
Judaism revealed by these thoroughly
worked-out and clearly-presented theses
commanded attention not only in the lit-
tle gathering assembled to hear them but
also in reform circles in the East and in
Germany. They stamped their author as
the intellectual giant of the community of
his time and as the logical leader of the
Reform Society, which was called into
being on that memorable Sunday after-
noon in the summer of 1858. He was only
thirty-six years of age at the time.
The general principles laid down in
Felsenthal's theses were accepted prac-
tically in their entirety by the group to
whom they were addressed. The only
changes made were verbal ones. Subse-
quent meetings were held during the sum-
mer and fall of 1858 at which the matter
of establishing a reform congregation in
Chicago was taken up. The Ohabey Or
was given up by its founders, who joined
the Reformverein.
While these important developments
were taking place, Dr. lMensor's influ-
ence began to wane, to the great disap-
pointment of the "moderate reform" ele-








REFORM AND RELIEF


ment who still clung loyally to K. A. M.
and would have nothing to do with the
Reformverein, although some of the lead-
ing members of K. A. M. were the pillars
of the new movement while still retaining
their membership in K. A. M. Trouble
began in April when Dr. Mensor tried,
or was believed to be about to try, to abol-
ish the second day of holidays. By July
there was serious trouble. In the issue of
the Israelite of July 2, 1858, we find the
following:
We are sorry to record that the congregation
Anshe Ma'ariv is again troubled by the leaders of
the conservative party who, never satisfied, attempt
to nullify the reforms proposed by Rev. Dr. Men-
sor, and accepted unanimously by the congregation
a few months ago. The very man who then moved
the acceptance of the proposed reforms now opposes
them openly and earnestly. Will the
friends of progress make a speedy end to these un-
happy quarrels? Anshe Ma'ariv is one of the most
flourishing congregations in this country, consisting
of many prominent gentlemen. No attempt to ar-
rest the progress or disturb the peace of this con-
gregation should be countenanced.


Apparently,
there were growing
objections to Dr.
Mensor besides his
leaning to radical
reforms. He found
himself increasing-
ly unpopular and
finally in the blunt
language of Elias-
sof in his History
of K. A. M., "in
November, 18 5 8,
he was paid for
nine months' salary
in advance, given
traveling expenses,
and this German-
I r i s h gentleman,
with his high-priest
cap, his Hibernian
wife and his plagi-
arized stock of ser-
mons, was sent back
to the Emerald


CONSTIT
or
KEHILATH AN

PREAM
WE, the undersigned, men
gregation of the Israelites of t
on the third day of October, 5
bers, do hereby adopt, and i
Constitution, and the several B
in accordance with its provisic
AbTICJ
Name of Co
The name of this Congreg

KmauATs ANS
ARTIC
Officers of Cc
The affairs of the Congreg
oNE PRESIDENT, ONE VICE-PRE
ONE SECRETARY, subject to the
tainted.
ARTICLE
Election of
1. The officers of this Conj
ballot, at a meeting to be held


Isle, and nothing more has ever been
heard of him in a Jewish pulpit." K. A.
M.'s pulpit remained vacant for some
time after the disappointing experience
with Dr. Mensor, the chazan taking
charge of the services, while Lipman
Levi, a very devoted and capable man,
ably conducted the school.
While the opposing forces in K. A. M.
were gathering for another clash, and the
more progressive element began to realize
the impossibility of harmonizing the
varying viewpoints, the Reformverein
sent a letter on November 24, 1858, to Dr.
S. Adler, rabbi of Emanu El Congrega-
tion, New York City, asking his opinion
on four points-whether or not it was ad-
visable to establish a reform congrega-
tion in Chicago, what prayer-book should
be used, what ways were to be pursued
for the furtherance of reform aims by a
mixed congregation, and what ways were
to be pursued by an unmixed reform con-
gregation. Dr. Adler replied at length
December 21. The
UTION reform leaders in
Chicago were so
encouraged by Dr.
SHE MAYRIV. Adler's reply that
they issued on De-
BLE. cember 28, in the
bers of the Religious Con- name of the Chica-
he city of Chicago, founded go Reformverein,
607, A. M., by fifteen mem-
gree to obey, the following a call in which they
y-Laws that maybe enacted urged all friends of
ins. reform in Chicago
L.Er. to unite to form a
nsregation.
tion shall be congregation and to
.,. show their inten-


ISHE MATBIV.

ngregation.
ation shall be managed by
SIDENT, rIVE TRUSTEES, and
provisions hereinafter. con-
E III
Officers.
regation shall be elected by
annually on the first Sunday


REVISED CONSTITUTION OF K. A. M.


tion by signing
their names thereto.
The call was as fol-
lows :
We, the undersigned,
have frequently had oc-
casion to notice that in
the Jewish religious dr-
cles of this city, there
exists a great indiffer-
ence to religious affairs.









HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


Such an indifference threatens to make life
more and more base and materialistic, and stifles
all nobility of thought, all participation in the
higher endeavors towards the holiest possessions
of mankind. On the other hand, a genuine
religious life which is as it ought to be, remains the
most powerful factor in the sanctification of thought
and conduct, in the purification of aim and life.
In order to participate in the blessings of religion
to the greatest possible extent and in the most effi-
cacious manner, and in order to bequeath them as
the best heritage of the congregation of Jacob to
the succeeding generations, we herewith unite for
the purpose of founding a Jewish congregation
which shall awaken and cultivate a religious spirit,
shall spread knowledge of Jewish doctrines and shall
make Jewish life nobler and purer. For this pur-
pose the congregation which is to be founded shall
first consider the following points:
1. The creation of a liturgy which in its con-
tents is genuinely Jewish and true, and therefore
shall avoid the expression of views which have lost
their hold on our consciousness, while it will the
more strongly accentuate the views which the Juda-
ism of the present era has recognized clearly and
distinctly as more important. This service shall in
its appearance be adapted to the needs of the times
and shall really edify and elevate the worshipper.
2. Fostering and cultivating of a Jewish re-
ligious sentiment in the families by an endeavor to
abolish customs and rites which are either defunct
or are based on erroneous views, and to create such
rites as shall be full of life and truth and capable
of bringing forth blissful results.
By our signatures we promise to work with love
and all our power for the attainment of these aims.
This call was issued over the signatures
of Elias Greenebaum, Leopold Mayer
and Bernhard Felsenthal, and among the
first to add their names were Samuel
Alschuler, Nathan Mayer, Isaac Lieben-
stein, Raphael Guthmann, Isaac Greens-
felder, Gerhard Foreman, Henry
Greenebaum and Jacob Greenebaum.
Some who were in sympathy with re-
form withheld their names because they
wanted to know the specific changes in
services and in observance that the new
congregation intended to make, and ac-
cordingly, a committee was named on
January 30, 1859, to present a report that
should make it clear to all just what
changes were contemplated. This com-
mittee which consisted of Bernhard Fel-
senthal, Leopold Mayer, Leon Straus and


GERHARD FOREMAN was born in Dermstein, Ger-
many, April 29, 1823, and
came to Chicago in 1857.
Here he entered the
banking business, in
which he continued until
1885, when he retired, ,
having founded the bank-
ing house that'has grown
into the great dual insti-
tution now known as the
Foreman National Bank
and the Foreman Trust
and Savings Bank. He
started his life as teach-
er, and later became an
expert in the world of
finance. On August 17,
1856, he married Hannah
Greenebaum of Chicago,
and nine children were
born to them. He was prominent as a member and officer
of Sinai Congregation, and was one of the founders of
the Standard Club. He died on August 13, 1897.


Elias Greenebaum, submitted its report
on February 27, 1859, as follows:
We propose to you at present the following
points:
1. As sacred days we consider the weekly Sab-
bath which shall be celebrated according to tradi-
tion on Saturdays, and the seven biblical holy days,
to wit: First and Seventh days of Passover, one
day of Pentecost, one New Year's Day, one day of
Atonement, one day of Tabernacles, and one day of
Atzereth.
2. Besides these there shall be distinguished in
public worship the days of Chanukah and Purim,
New Moon, and Chol-Hammoed and the Ninth day
of Abh.
3. In every public worship, even on those days
on which according to tradition, the Torah is not
read, the reading of a portion from the Torah shall
form an integral part of the services.
4. The Torah shall be read in a cycle of three
years. The Prophetic portions however shall be in-
dependently selected and adapted to this triennial
cycle.
5. The reading of the Torah shall be in the
original Hebrew. The Prophetic portions however
shall be read either in the mother-tongue intelligible
to the congregation or in the language of the
country.
6. Of the traditional prayer-book, there shall
be retained some portions which scientific investi-
gation has recognized as most ancient and which on
that account already possess a high degree of re-
ligious power. Still we reserve the right to make
such changes as are necessary to bring these prayers
in harmony with our convictions. Besides these old
liturgical portions, prayers and hymns in the ver-
nacular shall have a prominent place.
7. From the liturgy everything that is contrary









REFORM AND RELIEF


to the convictions of the congregation shall be elimi-
nated. Other parts, however, which in our days
possess a greater sanctifying power shall be more
strongly accentuated.
8. Services shall be held with the greatest possi-
ble solemnity, and if feasible, shall be made more
impressive by solemn choral song and organ music.
9. In the public worship of the congregation,
there shall be no discrimination made in favor of
the male and against female worshippers.
10. The congregation does not recognize any
privileged clerical orders, the members of which
should have the exclusive right to perform certain
ecclesiastical acts. There is no priesthood, either
by inheritance or by ordination, nor is there any
clergy which as such possesses special power. Obli-
gations and privileges such as preaching, consecra-
tion or marriages, etc., which are incumbent upon
the clergy, are merely a mandate of the congrega-
tion. As a matter of principle these acts may be
performed by every Israelite who is able and quali-
fied to perform them.
This report was virtually accepted in
its entirety with the exception of having
the question of the observance of the sec-
ond day of New Year left open for the


ISAAC GREENSFELDER came to America in 1848
from Germany, where he
was born April 9, 1827,
in Lehrberg, Bavaria, the
son of Nathan and Ther-
esa Greensfelder. Hav-
ing learned the shoemak-
ing trade in his native
town, it was work in that
line he sought when he
came to Chicago in 1853.
He succeeded far beyond
his modest expectations,
and when he retired, in
1900, he was the head of
one of the largest whole-
sale boot and shoe estab-
lishments in the middle
west. He interested him-
self from the very start
in the welfare of the
community. When the Hebrew Relief Association was
founded in October, 1859, he was one of its prominent
and active leaders, being president for more than thirty
years. He was a charter member of Sinai, director of
the Jewish Orphan Home, and a member of the Stand-
ard Club, as well as a life director of the Michael Reese
Hospital. He married Emilie Blum, and seven children,
Nathan, Louis, Adolph, Julius, Thekla, Rose, and Bella,
were born to them. He died at the age of eighty-six,
November 28, 1913.


time being, and the committee was in-
structed "to prepare other points for con-
sideration at the next meeting." Appar-
ently, the members of the Reformverein


intended to make their position so clear
that no doubt would be left as to what
their intentions and objectives were. On
March 13, 1859, the committee submitted
an additional report as a result of which
the following resolutions were adopted at
that meeting:
1. The Jewish congregation with regard to its
position towards outsiders recognizes no human
power outside of its own ranks as binding and to
which it would have to submit. The Jewish con-
gregation is autonomous. It may participate in
conferences and synods and it will gratefully honor
all well-meant resolutions of such bodies. Whether,
however, such resolutions shall be accepted and car-
ried out, will be decided by the congregation as the
highest and last authority. We should have neither
an individual bishop nor a collective bishop by the
name of Sanhedrin, synod, consistory and the like,
who by authority of his position could authorita-
tively prescribe what in religious affairs shall be
believed or shall be done or left undone.
2. Just as the congregation protects its inde-
pendence as against outside forces, so it concedes to
its members independence from the congregation in
such matters as are not congregational affairs proper.
The majority of the congregation by its resolutions
can only recommend something to the religious life
of the individual but cannot enforce it.
3. Doctrines and regulations which do not nat-
urally follow from the historical development of
Judaism, or which contradict it, are un-Jewish and
shall not find official recognition in the congregation.
4. As a more explicit commentary on Article 7,
adopted at the meeting of February 27th, the fol-
lowing is recommended:
a. From public worship there shall be re-
moved wailing over oppression and persecution,
also the prayers for the restoration of the sac-
rificial cult, for Israel's return to Palestine, the
expression of a hope for a personal Messiah
and of a resurrection of the body.
b. Bombastic words, exaggerations and bad
taste shall have no place in public worship.
Therefore, all unnecessary repetition shall be
done away with.
c. On the other hand, the exalting and in-
spiring thought shall be strongly and emphati-
cally accentuated that Israel is a priestly nation
among the nations of the earth, the people
chosen by God to bring about the Messianic
Kingdom, i. e., the kingdom of truth, of virtue
and of peace.
The work preliminary to the definite
establishment of a congregation was now
completed. Almost a year had been








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


spent in formulating its views, a proced-
ure not matched by any other known con-
gregation. Dr. Einhorn followed the
earnest little Chicago group's delibera-
tions with the greatest interest, later ob-
serving in Sinai, his publication, "We
hardly believe there is another reform
congregation in America which at the
very beginning had such clear conception
of its aims."
At length, on April 10, 1859, the mem-
bers of the Reformverein announced,
"We are ready to form a reform congre-
gation upon the principles heretofore
adopted by the Jewish Reform Society,
and to pay at least $12 a year to it, if
thirty members can be found to join it."
The following were then members of the
Reformverein:


Jacob Alschuler
Samuel Alschuler
Bernhard Felsenthal
Gerhard Foreman
Elias Greenebaum
Henry Greenebaum
Jacob Greenebaum
Michael Greenebaum
Isaac Greensfelder
Raphael Guthmann
Simon Haas
Moses Hirsch


Henry Kaufman
Lazarus E. Lebolt
Isaac Liebenstein
Leopold Mayer
Nathan Mayer
Leopold Miller
Moses Rubel
L. Rubens
Moses Schields
Leon Straus
Samuel Straus
Isaac Waixel.


In the hope of securing the necessary
number, a mass meeting was held on
April 17 in a large public hall. The hall
was crowded and all listened attentively
to the addresses of Bernhard Felsenthal
and Leopold Mayer. The proceedings
were carefully reported in the Illinois
Staats Zeitung of the following day, as
well as in Dr. Einhorn's Sinai. Prior to
this meeting a brochure prepared by the
unwearying secretary of the Reform-
verein had been circulated with a view to
acquainting the community with the need
of a reform congregation along the lines
planned. This brochure is the earliest
significant literary production of the Chi-
cago Jewish community. It was pub-
lished as well as written in Chicago, leav-
ing the press of Charles Hess in March,
1859. It carried the Hebrew title, Kol


Kore Bamidbar (A Voice Calling in the
Wilderness). Its sub-title as well as
the text was in German, as follows:
Ober Jiidische Reform. Ein Wort an
die Freunde derselben, von B. Felsenthal,
Sekretir des jiidischen Reformvereins
in Chicago (Concerning Jewish Reform.
A Word to its Friends by B. Felsen-
thal, Secretary of the Jewish Reform So-
ciety of Chicago). This little treatise
of thirty pages, filled with citations from
the Talmud and with its close and clear
reasoning and daring spirit, attracted
wide attention abroad as well as in this
country. It was praised and also attacked.
It fixed the eyes of the Jewish world for
the first time upon Chicago, and brought
to the local Jewish community a recogni-
tion that it had never before attained.
The Felsenthal brochure was in truth
a voice crying in the wilderness,
"Jiidische Reformfreunde von Chicago,
lasset uns zusammen treten und eine Re-
formgemeinde bilden!" ("Friends of
Jewish reform in Chicago, let us come
together and build up a reform society!")
The large mass-meeting brought no
immediate results in spite of the earn-
est and able addresses of Bernhard Fel-
senthal and Leopold Mayer, and the fa-
vorable comment made thereon. Fear
probably dissuaded many from joining
the new movement, fear that they would
be pointed at as disloyal to the ideas and
practices that had been inculcated in
them. Others clutched their purse-
strings tightly; they turned out to hear
addresses made on reform when there was
no cost attached thereto, but they balked
at helping to support a congregation, re-
form or even conservative. Personal rea-
sons probably operated in other cases.
Probably, too, some were not wanted, or
felt out of place among "Bavarians."
These and other considerations served
to make the task of establishing the new
re fo rm congregation most difficult.
Again with the object of arousing inter-
est, another mass meeting was held Sep-
tember 29, 1859, on the afternoon of Rosh








REFORM AND RELIEF


Hashonah. Again the attendance was
good and the sentiment favorable, but
otherwise there were no other immediate
results.
Members of the Reformverein how-
ever continued to meet and agitate their
ideas but it was a year before the tide be-
gan to turn in their direction, and their
efforts were crowned with the establish-



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KOL KORE BAMMIDBAR.



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TITLE PAGE OF KOL KORE BAMIDBAR

ment of Sinai Congregation. Before the
steps in the final foundation of Sinai are
traced, attention should be given to a
great achievement of the year 1859
which, unlike the reform efforts, met with
an immediate and united response in the
community. This was the establishment
of the United Hebrew Relief Associa-
tion, the first central Jewish relief organi-
zation in Chicago.
The idea of centralizing Jewish relief
activities in Chicago appears to have
originated with Henry Greenebaum who
brought the matter to the attention of


Ramah Lodge and was successful in in-
fluencing its members to take the lead.
The conditions that existed in Chicago
when the first efforts were made to form
a united and efficient relief body, are
made clear in the following description
given a year later by Henry Greene-
baum:
For several years past, various Jewish organi-
zations of this city have maintained a special Relief
Fund for the assistance of non-members. There
was also one society whose sole object was the re-
lief of non-members. The several presidents were
dispensing charity to applicants. In most cases re-
lief was granted to strangers', many of whom were
worthy of support, while resident families of the
city, too modest or self-reliant to ask assistance,
were in actual distress, for want of an organization
whose duty it might have been to seek them out.
The idea was conceived that a great deal might be
accomplished by concerted action of all the Jewish
societies; first, by saving a distressed person the
trouble and heart-burning of running about town
to half a dozen or more organizations to explain
his condition to so many different executive officers,
and receive a small donation from each; second, by
systematizing charity, examining each case, and not
throwing money away upon undeserving vagabonds.
Henry Greenebaum not only pointed
out the need but showed the members of
Ramah Lodge the way to meet it. He
suggested that a committee of the Lodge
be appointed to get in touch with all Jew-
ish organizations in Chicago with the ob-
ject of interesting them in a convention to
be called as soon as possible, each organi-
zation to be represented at the convention
on the basis of one delegate for each ten
of its members. This was done and the
work of the committee was soon crowned
with success.
The convention met in the vestry-room
of K. A. M. Temple in the fall of 1859.
Nine organizations were represented by
thirty-seven delegates, as follows:
M. M. Gerstley, Abraham Kohn, God-
frey Snydacker and J. Cook represented
the Hebrew Relief Society, the relief
body maintained by K. A. M.
Raphael Guthmann, Jacob Lieben-
stein, Isaac Greensfelder, Abraham Hart,
B. Schoeneman, Moses Schields, J. M.








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


Stine and L. Freiberger appeared for the
Hebrew Benevolent Society.
Henry Greenebaum, L. J. Unna, Jacob
Greenebaum, Sr., Bernhard Barbe, Her-
man Felsenthal, Julius Hamburger, J. L.
Gatzert and B. Brunneman attended for
Ramah Lodge.
Edward S. Salomon, J. Beiersdorf, M.
Morris and B. Engel were sent by the
Young Men's Fraternity, an organization
formed shortly before by Edward S. Sal-
omon and others.
A. Alexander, A. Barnett, A. Herzog
and S. Levy were the delegates of Relief
Society No. 2, the relief body of B'nai
Sholom Congregation.
Mrs. J. Hyman, Mrs. Jacob Greene-
baum, Mrs. R. Foreman and Mrs. Joseph
Liebenstein were chosen by the Ladies'
Benevolent Society, the first Jewish
women's organization in Chicago, which
had been in existence for a number of
years.
Mrs. A. Rubel, Miss E. Stiefel and
Miss F. Salomon were seated as the dele-
gates of the Young Ladies' Benevolent
Society.
In addition to these, the presidents of
the two congregations were present: Ben-
edict Schlossman, elected president of
K. A. M. to succeed Elias Greenebaum in
1859, just prior, to the convention, and
Jonas Moore, president of B'nai Sholom.
Beginning with the opening session the
convention was a model of harmony,
bearing out the words later spoken by
Henry Greenebaum, "Whatever division
of sentiment there may be among us, with
reference to politics or other matters, on
this subject we all agree, for charity is
the characteristic trait of every Israelite."
Soon a constitution was agreed upon,
an executive board chosen, and the
United Hebrew Relief Association was
born under the most harmonious condi-
tions that have attended the creation of
any Jewish body in Chicago. Two funds
were provided for in the constitution, a
Relief Fund and a Reserve Fund. The


Relief Fund was to provide for imme-
diate cases and the Reserve Fund was set
aside for "the final object of this Associa-
tion, to provide for a hospital in which
poor co-religionists shall be attended to
when sick, and for an asylum to receive
Jewish widows and orphans without
means." To the Relief Fund went mini-
mum membership revenue (the mini-
mum membership was fixed at fifty cents
a year), while all communal contribu-
tions after deducting the minimum for
all members, were applied equally to
both funds. All individual donations

GODFREY SNYDACKER was born in Enger, Westpha-
lia, Germany, September
7, 1826, and came to
America in 1850. He
came to Chicago three
years later as the Ger-
man consul, and immedi-
ately became prominent
in the various communal
activity e s of the day.
When the United Hebrew
Relief Association was
formed in 1859, he was
one of the leaders of the
movement and the first
vice-president of the com-
pleted organization. His
governmental post iden-
t i fie d him prominently
with congressional work,
and in 1865 he was made
and aid organizations which came into existence in the
following decades all had his active assistance. In the
many months of effort precedent to the.building of the
Michael Reese Hospital particularly, Godfrey Snydacker
was an important figure. He married Hannah Frank,
and six children, Joseph, Clara, Emanuel, Arthur, Rose,
and Elsie, survived him at his death, April 12, 1892.

also were divided equally between the
two funds unless otherwise specified. In
addition to money contributions, dona-
tions of clothing, provisions and fuel were
invited and the donors of such informed
that such contributions would be "thank-
fully received."
The Constitution provided for an ex-
ecutive board of seven but the first Exec-
utive Board which held its first meeting
November 20th, 1859, and continued to
meet weekly thereafter until the follow-
ing spring, and then every two weeks, was
composed, of six officers, as follows:
Henry Greenebaum, president; Godfrey








REFORM AND RELIEF


Snydacker, vice-president; Isaac Greens-
felder, treasurer; Jacob Liebenstein and
Julius Hamburger, trustees; and A. Al-
exander, financial secretary.
The work of the United Hebrew Re-


BERNHARD MERGENTHEIM was born in Leubbeck,
Westphalia, December 25,
1825, his ancestral home
being Mergentheim, Ger-
many. He came to
America in 1848, but did
not take up residence in "-
Chicago until eight years /
later. Upon arriving I
here he engaged in the .
leather business, in which .,
he remained and pros- e
pered until his retire-
ment about forty years
later. He was very well-
known in charitable, re-
ligious, and social.organ-
izations, being for twen-
ty-two years an officer of
Sinai Congregation. He
was a member of the
Board of the United Hebrew Relief Association, and a
member of the Standard Club. He married Babetta
Hirsch, and was survived by five children, Aaron,
Moses B., Mrs. Ida Caspary, Mrs. Emma Loeb, and Mrs.
Ella Seligman, when he died, June 12, 1906.

lief Association was commended by
Mayor John C. Haines who signed his
name to a "To Whom It May Concern"
letter, dated December 6, 1859, and read-
ing in part as follows: "It is with pleas-
ure that I take cognizance of this organi-
zation and cheerfully recommend them
to the liberality of those with whom they
may officially negotiate for the purchase
of fuel, provisions, etc.; and I further
recommend them to the liberality of our
citizens generally."
The Mayor's letter was followed by an
offer of help from Dr. Ralph N. Isham,
professor of Surgical Anatomy in Lind
University, who wrote the officers of the
U. H. R. A., without solicitation, on De-
cember 19, 1859:
I hereby offer my gratuitous services in any de-
serving cases of charity which may fall under your
notice requiring medical aid, feeling that in any
work of this nature I may render you, I shall but
be discharging to myself in a manner most grati-
fying, tie debt which every man owes to his pro-
fession and the common cause of humanity.
I am informed that you meditate the organiza-


tion of a hospital at no distant date. I
have always entertained a deep interest in every
such project. I feel that under your auspices it
would not fail to be successful, and when your
plans approach maturity, I should be happy to aid
you with suggestions and experience in arranging
the details of such an Institution.
This generous offer was thankfully ac-
cepted and Dr. Isham proved to be a real
friend.
Towards the end of the year, the or-
ganizations affiliated with the U. H. R.
A. were made an even ten in number
when the Clay Literary Society, founded
by Henry N. Hart and others for the pur-
pose of cultivating literary interests and
speaking and debating ability among the
Jewish youth of Chicago, joined the cen-
tral body December 28, 1859, sending as
its delegates Louis Reitler, Morris Barbe
and Aaron Schloss.
The first year's activities of the United
Hebrew Relief Association are carefully
and interestingly presented in the first an-
nual report of the Executive Board, sub-
mitted October 4, 1860. From this we
learn that the Association came through
its first year with a balance of ninety-four
cents in the treasury after Isaac Greens-
felder, the first treasurer, had generously


DR. RALPH NELSON ISHAM


advanced $20 out of his own pocket to
meet the calls for relief made during the
year 1859-60. That the operations were
not stupendous is seen by the fact that
$492 was expended during the first year
for relief. The money raised for the Re-








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


lief Fund totaled $472, of which the ten
component societies contributed $238, and
committees collected $139 more. The sum
of $89.75 was raised by benefits, lectures,
etc., and $5 was returned by a relieved
person. The largest sum raised during
the year was secured through the efforts
of the women's societies who united in
conducting a fair in June, 1860, which
yielded the handsome total of $550 that
formed the bulk of the Reserve Fund dur-
ing the first year. The Reserve Fund to-
taled $629 by October, 1860, the compo-
nent societies contributing $50.50, and
committees collecting $28.50. As we look
at the matter now, it required a good deal
of courage to talk about a hospital and an
asylum for widows as well as-for orphans
with a little over $600 in hand but the
workers took much pride then in the con-
dition of the Reserve Fund.
It is interesting also to note the spirit
in which the work of the United Hebrew
Relief Association was first conducted.
The First Annual Report begins with this
deeply religious paragraph.
With a deep sense of gratitude to the Lord, our
God, the God of our fathers, the father of the
widow and orphan, the true source of charity, whose
all-seeing eye penetrateth the most secret recesses
of the heart, who seeth and knoweth all things and
by whose mercy we are enabled to aid and comfort
those of our brethren who are justly entitled to our
sympathy, to grant relief to the needy, to attend
the sick and comfort the dying, the members of the
Executive Board respectfully submit to the direc-
tors, and through you to our members at large, the
first annual report of the operations of the Asso-
ciation.
Succeeding reports open in the same
devout spirit and in some Hebrew pass-
ages are liberally and sometimes pro-
fusely interspersed. It requires one who
is learned in Hebrew to understand some
of the earliest annual reports of the
U. H. R. A.
The First Annual Report is appealing
also for the light it throws on the manner
in which relief was conducted first on an
organized scale. The Report observes:
You know full well that many Israelites in utter


want of even the necessities of life are too proud
to beg. We have used every exertion to
find out such families. We have found them in
the midst of winter without fuel, and often without
bread and even then had to argue with and persuade
them that it was not dishonorable for them to take
what they had not asked, in order to make them
the recipients of our charity. And then in one case,
even while the children asked for bread, and the
mother had it not to give them, she thanked us
kindly for our kind endeavor but said she could
not take anything from us, as she was from honora-
ble parentage and had not come to America to re-
ceive charity. And not until we told
the care-worn, half-starved mother that
she might refund to the Association when she would
be able to do so, could we take courage to place
some money in her hand and leave the house, not
wishing to witness her humiliation.
It is time to return to see how the for-
tunes of Reform fared while Relief was


BENEDICT SCHLOSSMAN


doing, for those days, so well. The same
man, Henry Greenebaum, who was the
greatest single factor in uniting the com-
munity in the United Hebrew Relief As-
sociation and in placing that body on firm
foundations during its first year of exist-
ence, was also the greatest single factor in
giving an impetus to the formation of
Chicago's first permanent reform congre-
gation.
We have seen that the second mass-
meeting of the Reformverein held on
Sept. 29, 1859, the afternoon of Rosh
Hashonah, was as barren of immediate
results as was the first mass-meeting held
the previous Passover. This was due to
the fact that the members of K. A. M.









REFORM AND RELIEF


who desired reform services held aloof
from the Reformverein because they
hoped they might be able to usher in a
reform regime in the old congregation.


RUBEN RUBEL was born
in 1826. He came to
America in the year 1842
and arrived in Chicago in
1856, where he went into
the live stock and real
estate business. In 1859
he married Harriet
Frank of Cincinnati, and
five children resulted
from the union. He was
an active member of the
old Zion Congregation,
and one of the first mem-
bers of Sinai Congrega-
tion. During the great
fire of 1871, as a member
of the Jewish Charities,
he offered his premises
on Green Street for relief
supplies and distribution.
He died December 12, 1900,


in Kaiserslautern, Bavaria,


at the age of seventy-four.


Benedict Schlossman's election as presi-
dent of K. A. M. in 1859 was a victory
for the reform party as well as that of
Elias Greenebaum two years previously
had been. Elias Greenebaum had al-
ready left K. A. M. and was taking a
leading part in the activities of the Re-
formverein. Benedict Schlossman started
at once to further the desires of the re-
form members of K. A. M. He suc-
ceeded in having attention paid to a well-
conducted school shortly after his elec-
tion, and in having the place, vacated by
Dr. Mensor, filled with an incumbent
with pronounced reform ideas, Dr. Solo-
mon Friedlander, who some years before
had been an associate preacher of Dr.
Holdheim in the Berlin Reform Society.
Dr. Friedlander assumed his duties in
March, 1860. Eliassof in his History of
K. A. M. tells us, "He was a highly gifted
and promising man of thirty-five years of
age, who gained friends very fast." He
was soon looked upon as the man who
would do what Dr. Mensor failed to do-
bring about harmony in K. A. M. The
third reform carried through by the en-
ergetic and determined Benedict Schloss-
man was the introduction of an organ and


a trained choir in the services of K. A. M.
This event took place May 28, 1860, when
the organ was consecrated, with a well-
known organist, Molter, in charge, and
with Mrs. S. Alschuler impressing the
congregation with her solo from Min
Hammetzar by Halevi. Slowly, reform
was gaining the ascendancy in K. A. M.
when an unforeseen happening changed
the course of events. At the height of his
popularity and influence, Dr. Friedlan-
der fell victim to a spider-bite and died
of blood-poisoning, August 22, 1860. His
death cast a shadow over the community
and undid nearly all the work that had
been accomplished. To some of the or-
thodox group this sad event must have
seemed as a veritable sign from heaven,
warning against reform. It intensified
the feeling that it was fruitless to try to
reconcile the two elements in K. A. M.,
and when, at Henry Greenebaum's sug-
gestion, a committee was named to rec-
ommend to the congregation a suitable

LAZARUS SILVERMAN, born in Oberschwarzag, Ba-
varia, February 29, 1830,
arrived in the United
States at the age of
eighteen. In Chicago, to
which city he came at
once, he established him-
self as a banker and be-
came known as an au-
thority on finance. Nu-
ceived his support, with-
out sectarian distinction,
though he was always
alert and responsive to
the Jewish welfare. He
married Hannah Sachs
of Louisville, Ky., April
12, 1859, who ardently
shared his communal in-
terests. Their daughter,
Shalah, is Mrs. Edwin Romberg. Lazarus Silverman
died in 1909.


prayer-book, the committee, comprised of
Henry Greenebaum, Levi Rosenfeld and
Lazarus Silverman, unanimously re-
ported that it was irreligious for the ma-
jority to force upon the large minority a
ritual that was repugnant to their views
and repulsive to their feelings, and rec-
ommended that the members of the re-
form party in K. A. M. resign and form








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


a reform congregation among themselves.
This suggestion was carried out, and
twenty-six of K. A. M.'s most substantial
members, led by Benedict Schlossman,
withdrew after the fall holidays of 1860
and joined the Reformverein, thus assur-
ing the establishment of a reform congre-
gation along the lines worked out by
Bernhard Felsenthal. A committee of
the Reformverein at once began working
on a constitution for the new congrega-
tion which it was decided to call the
"Chicago Sinai Congregation," to differ-
entiate it from and yet to mark its re-
semblance to "the Baltimore Sinai," with
the views of whose great leader, Dr. Ein-
horn, the members of the Reformverein
were in complete accord.
Important, significant, and dramatic as


were these developments in the Chicago
Jewish community, they were fast being
overshadowed by the great American na-
tional struggle which was rapidly reach-
ing a crisis and which more and more be-
gan to claim the attention and demand the
sacrifice of all, that freedom might pre-
vail in "the land of the free," and the
Union be preserved. Everything else
after the election of Abraham Lincoln in
November, 1860, was subordinated to the
great issue that the South elected to have
settled by the sword. What part the Jews
of Chicago took in the "irrepressible con-
flict" and in the events that led up to it,
and what account they gave of themselves
in that first test of their loyalty and devo-
tion, is narrated in detail in the next
chapter.















CHAPTER IV


Civil War Days, 1861-1865

EARLY ANTI-SLAVERY ACTIVITIES-ORGANIZING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN CHI-
CAGO-ABRAHAM KOHN'S FLAG--JEWISH RECRUITS-SINAI'S FIRST TEMPLE
-CHEVRA KADDISHA UBIKKUR CHOLIM AND THE "SECESH SHUL" -THE
LADIES' SEWING SOCIETY JEWISH TROOPS CHANCELLORSVILLE AND
GETTYSBURG-RETURN OF THE JEWISH COMPANY ZION CONGREGATION -
B'NAI SHOLOM'S TEMPLE-LINCOLN'S FUNERAL.


*HE Jews of Chicago needed no
appeals to make them appreci-
ate the boon of Freedom. They
had suffered from oppression
in Europe and realized the supreme im-
portance of perpetuating free institutions.
Many of them had belonged to the Ger-
man Revolutionists who during the year
1848 gave promise for a time of over-
throwing their oppressive rulers and
inaugurating a constitutional regime, and
had fled here after these promising efforts
were crushed out. Those who were
already settled in Chicago watched the
developments in Europe during the excit-
ing days of 1848 with the closest interest
and some even felt a desire, as Dr. Isaac
Mayer Wise of Cincinnati tells us in his
autobiography he felt, to return and add
their strength to the forces fighting for
human rights overseas.
It was natural therefore for the Jews
of Chicago to feel from the very begin-
ning the wrong of slavery and its menace
to the life of the nation. In the first
sharp phase of the struggle, sentiment in
Chicago as throughout the North ex-
pressed itself in firm opposition to the
enforcement of the fugitive-slave law
which required the givingup to a United
States marshal of all slaves who had run
away from their masters, even when such


slaves had succeeded in reaching a "free
soil" state. Accordingly, in the early
'50s in Chicago, it was a common sight to
behold a marshal struggling to get es-
caped slaves away from crowds that
insisted upon protecting them and pre-
venting their return to their masters.
Michael Greenebaum seems to have been
the hero in one of these encounters. Leo-
pold Mayer wrote of the affair in the
Chicago Times-Herald in its issue of
June 9, 1895, as follows:
It was sometime in 1853 when a United States
Marshal, on the corner of Van Buren and Sher-
man streets, arrested a poor devil of a negro as a
fugitive. A crowd of citizens, led by Michael
Greenebaum, liberated the prisoner and on the
same evening a big meeting was held to ratify this
act. The enthusiasm in this meeting reached its
highest pitch when "Long John" Wentworth en-
tered the hall and publicly declared from the plat-
form that he would be with us in resisting the
enforcement of this barbaric law.
Apparently, therefore, Leopold Mayer
was also at the meeting if he was not in
the crowd that effected the rescue. Who
else in the Jewish community took part
in this and other affairs of a like nature is
not known.
But the Abolitionists were not satisfied
with merely stopping slave-owners from
recovering their "property." They or-
ganized a chain of "underground









HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


stations" running from the border sep-
arating the Southern states from the
Northern, to Canada, and made system-
atic efforts to get as many slaves away
from their masters as they could. This,
however, only appealed to the extremists.
It was said that Abraham Kohn and
others were active in these "under-
ground" activities and it is possible they
were, but this cannot be said with author-
ity.
When slavery became a political issue
and the Republican party was born, we
find several members of the Chicago Jew-
ish community taking a leading part in
laying the foundations of that party in
Chicago. Julius Rosenthal was elected
the first secretary of the first Fremont
Club in Chicago, his name with those
of Adolph Loeb and Leopold Mayer ap-
pearing among the first five names signed
to the first official call for a mass
meeting to join the Republican Party,
and Charles Kozminski was elected pres-

ADOLPH LOEB was born in the old historic German
city, Bingen on the Rhine,
March 9, 1839, the scion
of a family that had been
prominent in Germany
for generations. At the
age of fourteen he was
brought to America and
spent his youth in New
York City. From there
he went South, and lived
for a number of years in
Memphis, Tennesse e,
where he early gave
promise of the communal
figure he was destined to
become. It was while he
was in Memphis that he
married Lucille Hart.
While still a youth he
had entered the insur-
ance field, a line in which he remained for the rest of
his life, prosperous and successful. He came to Chicago
in 1873 and almost immediately started upon a career
of communal activity which at one time or another
brought him into official connection with many of the
large Jewish enterprises and organizations of his day.
Having been prominent in B'nai B'rith affairs in Mem-
phis, he was heartily welcomed by District Grand Lodge
No. 6, and served ten terms as secretary and two terms
as president in the ensuing association. He was one of
the organizers and first president of the Russian Refugee
Aid Society, a director of the Standard Club for five
terms, and president of Sinai Congregation from 1899
to 1902. He founded the firm of Adolph Loeb & Sons
shortly after his arrival in Chicago, and at the time
of his death, October 8, 1906, he was an official of
many of the leading insurance companies then active in
the Middle West.


ident of the Washington Club which was
subsequently formed.
Although Douglas had several staunch
Jewish friends in Chicago, among them
Henry Greenebaum, Edward Salomon,
Joseph Schlossman, and others, Lincoln
had many admirers among Chicago's
Jews before his election to the presidency.
The greatest of these was Abraham Kohn
who was elected city clerk of Chicago
in 1860 and while occupying this office
sent the martyr President just before his
departure from his home in Springfield
for Washington, in February, 1861, a
satin flag in the white folds of which
were written in Kohn's own hand, in He-
brew, verses 4-9 of the first chapter of
Joshua. This flag was carried person-
ally to Lincoln at his home in Springfield
by John Y. Scammon, who brought back
with him the written personal thanks of
the Emancipator for the thoughtfulness
that prompted the action and for the re-
assuring message it bore. This incident
was mentioned by Governor McKinley,
later President of the United States, in a
speech at Ottawa, Kansas, June 20, 1895,
in which he said:
What more beautiful conception than that which
prompted Abraham Kohn of Chicago in February,
1861, to send to Mr. Lincoln, on the eve of his
starting for Washington, to assume the office of
President, a flag of our country bearing upon its
silken folds these words from the first chapter of
Joshua: "Have I not commanded thee? Be strong
and of good courage. Be not afraid, neither be
thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee,
whithersoever thou goest. There shall not any
man be able to stand before thee all the days of
thy life. As I was with Moses, so shall I be with
thee. I will not fail thee nor forsake thee." '
Could anything have given Mr. Lincoln more
cheer, or been better calculated to sustain his cour-
age or to strengthen his faith in the mighty work
before him? Thus commanded, thus assured, Mr.
Lincoln journeyed to the capital, where he took the
oath of office and registered in heaven an oath to
save the Union. And the Lord, our God, was with
him, until every obligation of oath and duty was
sacredly kept and honored. Not any man was able
to stand before him .. .
Later, McKinley in reply to a letter
sent him by Mrs. Dankmar Adler, daugh-






























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From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, even unto
the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the
Hittites, and unto the Great Sea toward the going down
of the sun, shall be your border. There shall not any man
be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I
was with Moses, so I will be with thee; I will not fail
thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of good courage; for
thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land which I
swore unto their fathers to give them. Only be strong
and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the
law, which Moses My servant commanded thee; turn not
from it to the right hand or to the left, and thou mayest
have good success whithersoever thou goest. This book of
the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt
meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe
to do according to all that is written therein; for then
thou shalt make thy ways prosperous, and then thou shalt
have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be
strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be
thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whither-
soever thou goest. JOSHUA, 1:4-9.


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CIVIL WAR DAYS


ter of Abraham Kohn, thanking him for
speaking in such a laudatory way of her
father, wrote:
The incident deeply impressed me when I first
learned of it, and I have taken occasion to use it,
as in my speech at Ottawa, to which you refer.
I am very glad to have been able to give pub-
licity to this striking incident, and I am sure that
the family of Mr. Kohn should feel very proud of
his patriotic act.
Even before Lincoln left Springfield
for Washington, a movement started in
Chicago to let the country know where
Chicago stood in the approaching crisis
that was becoming more tense each day.
A call for a general mass meeting at
Bryan Hall was signed by leading citi-
zens without distinction of party. Among
these names we find Julius Rosenthal, Ed-
ward Salomon, Leopold Mayer and
Adolph Loeb. Chicago's position was de-
fined at this meeting as follows:
In view of what is transpiring in South Carolina,
and other of the Southern States, and of the threats
to prevent the inauguration of a president constitu-
tionally elected, it is incumbent upon the loyal peo-
ple of the several States to be prepared to render all
aid, military and otherwise, to the enforcement of
the Federal Laws, which may be necessary when
thereunto constitutionally required. As long as
men in any part of the country are plotting the de-
struction of the Government, or engaged in lawless
outrages upon the public property-while the flag of
the nation is insulted, and its public defences seized
upon-while the authority of the laws is denied
and resisted, we will ignore all political distinctions
and divisions, and forgetful of whether we are Dem-
ocrats or Republicans, remember only that we are
citizens, and stand shoulder to shoulder in defense
of the Constitution, the Union, and the laws.
This spirit was unwaveringly asserted
in Chicago throughout the war, and no-
where more faithfully than in the Jewish
community, as we shall soon see.
When the war-storm broke a month
after Lincoln was inaugurated, and Illi-
nois was asked to furnish six regiments, a
recruiting office was opened in Chicago
on April 18, at the corner of Clark and
Randolph streets. The second man to
offer his name and be accepted was Jo-
seph B. Greenhut who was immediately


assigned to the 12th Illinois Infantry.
Right on Greenhut's heels was Edward S.
Salomon who was then alderman of the
Sixth Ward, having been elected the pre-
vious fall. He cast his lot with the 24th
Illinois,, commanded by the famous
Colonel Hecker, and popularly known
as the "Hecker Jaegers." This regiment
was the first full regiment of troops to
leave Chicago for the front, June 18,
1861. Salomon went as first lieutenant
in Company H, known as the "Pioneer
Corps." Marcus M. Spiegel, then living
in Ohio, enlisted in the 68th Ohio Infan-
try, in which he soon rose to the rank of
lieutenant, later becoming captain, then
lieutenant colonel, and finally, for bra-
very on the field of battle, he was named
colonel of the 120th Ohio Regiment. He
favored Chicago with his presence on
Yom Kippur when he appeared in full
regalia in the synagogue and was ac-
corded the honors he richly deserved,
being presented with a horse by his
friends in Chicago. There was not a
braver soldier on either side of the great
struggle than Colonel Spiegel, who later
died from wounds received in battle.
The war put Chicago Jewry on its met-
tle. Factional differences were laid aside
and forgotten and all cooperated to make
the Jewish record a notable one. K. A.
M. soon recovered from the effects of the
"secession" which caused it the loss of
twenty-six of its most substantial mem-
bers, and under the presidency of M. M.
Gerstley took on new. life, mainly be-
cause of Liebman Adler who was elected
rabbi of K. A. M. in the spring of 1861.
At last K. A. M. had a rabbi of whom it
and the community could be proud, a
rabbi who was a tower of strength to the
congregation and the community for
many years, and who won recognition at
once not only for his high-mindedness
and earnest Jewish spirit but for his time-
ly patriotic endeavors. He preached
many a memorable sermon against slav-
ery, some of which were printed and dis-
tributed, and gave a striking proof of the








HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF CHICAGO


WILLIAM McKINLEY'S LETTER TO THE DAUGHTER OF ABRAHAM KOHN


sincerity and depth of his war spirit by
sending his son, Dankmar Adler, a mere
lad, to the front. Dr. Adler's arrival in
Chicago was most timely and seemingly
providential.
The element that had withdrawn from
K. A. M. lost no time in adding their
strength to that of the members of the
Reformverein and by April, 1861, the
constitution of the new Chicago's first re-
form congregation was ratified and Sinai
was launched with Benjamin Schoene-
man as the first president, and Bernhard
Felsenthal as the first rabbi. The latter
did not seek the office of spiritual head
of Sinai and was prevailed upon to take
it only after Dr. Einhorn, and Dr. S. Ad-
ler of New York, urged him to do so. A
Christian church on the north side of
Monroe Street between Clark and La


Salle was purchased and remodeled, and
on June 21, 1861, it was dedicated by Dr.
S. Adler as a Jewish house of worship,
Chicago's first "temple." Dr. Felsenthal
remarks in his account of the beginnings
of Sinai Congregation:
It characterizes somewhat the religious views pre-
vailing generally among our Jewish people in those
years, when in this connection we state that at the
time the congregation was negotiating for the ac-
quisition of its first temple, objections were raised
by some members to the buying of the temple build-
ing proposed, for the reason that in this building
the congregation would have to sit with their faces
toward the northern wall, while a Jewish congre-
gation, for religious purposes assembled, in accord-
ance with law and custom, should turn their faces
towards mizrach, that is, towards the east. In or-
der to quiet the religious scruples of some, the rabbi-
elect was asked to give his opinion in writing about
this matter, and he did so.
Like Dr. Liebman Adler, Dr. Felsen-


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