52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #28 – Travel

In the beginning of my research for my husband’s ancestors we visited a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. John was wise enough to advise me to take pictures of all the surrounding gravestones because it was possible they could be related and I would have the photos to study. Indeed that was the case. One gravestone in the group was for Sarah Grossman, not a Singer or a Silverblatt as all the others in the group and I became very curious about this young lady who was only 28 years old when she died.


What really peaked my interest was the picture of Sarah on the gravestone. Although the photograph was blurred from weather and time she appeared to be a very pretty young lady. My challenge became who is she, where did she come from and why is she here?


The script on the gravestone, written in Hebrew tells me that Sarah’s father is Tzvi Hirsh Silverblatt.  Tzvi Hirsh or Harris is buried in the row in front of Sarah, he died in 1904 at age 40 of tuberculosis. The grave next to Sarah is her mother Lizzie Rudner who died in 1907 at age 39 of tuberculosis.

Sarah Grossman b606

After several years of study I found the answer to all my questions and here is the story of Sarah and her siblings travels. With the 1900 census information I was able to learn Sarah was born in 1888 in Friar’s Point, Mississippi, Bessie in 1894, Louis in 1895 and David in 1901. Friar’s Point is a small city on the Mississippi River.

 In 1902, the family including Sarah, her sister Bessie and brothers Louis and David moved to San Antonio, Texas to open their own mercantile store. Sister Ruth was born in 1903 in San Antonio. When their father died in 1904 Lizzie and the children stayed in San Antonio and managed the store. Lizzie, their mother died in 1907 and the children went  back to Friar’s Point under the guardianship of their uncle William Silverblatt. The 1910 census only lists Louis and younger sister Ruth living with William Silverblatt. After a lot of census searching I found Bessie in Memphis, Tennessee living with their mother’s sister and her family while Louis and Ruth stayed in Friar’s Point and David was sent to a Jewish orphanage in New Orleans. More details were revealed in the will of Lizzie Silverblatt. Lizzie had a life insurance policy valued at about $4100.00 when she died. Her brother-in-law was paid $10.00 per month as guardian for her children. Lizzy specifically requested her diamond earrings to go to Sarah.

Mizpah Arch 1908

The Mizpah monument at Denver’s Union Station 1908. The “Welcome” on one side and “Mizpah” on the other. Sarah would have taken a train from Memphis to arrive in Denver in 1908 and been welcomed by this structure.

Sarah, being 20 years old in 1908 left Memphis when she contracted tuberculosis and came to Denver, Colorado. In 1910 the census shows she boarded at a house on Hooker Street near Colfax. In 1911 Sarah married fellow boarder David Grossman. According to her death certificate, Sarah’s cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis with contributing influenza at the beginning of 1917 and she died a month later, 31 January 1917. Sarah and David had no children.

Bessie stayed in Memphis, married and divorced, then married Sam Florman. They had two children, He owned several mercantile stores in Tennessee and Arkansas. David left the orphanage at 18 years old and moved to Arkansas to work in one of Sam and Bessie’s stores. David married Nancy Hughes and they had two children. Louis married Irene Wiggington and they lived in Trenton, Tennessee, they had two children. Ruth stayed with William Silverblatt’s wife, Matilda, after he died in 1919. Matilda was hit by a car and killed in St. Louis in 1942. I never found Ruth after the 1930 census.

Cemetery records show Bertha Wyner, daughter of Fannie Silverblatt Singer (William, Beckie and Harris’s sister), purchased all the plots at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery and kept everyone together. Two other graves for William, Beckie, Harris and Fannie’s parents Samuel and Jennie Silverblatt are located nearby and according to the clerk at the cemetery the records are in an old Russian Hebrew dialect and at this time no one is available to translate.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2018 #17 – Cemetery

Cemeteries are the best place to find people. Really! My husband and I have spent countless hours walking through many, many cemeteries, and when I can not get to the cemetery of my choice I use the FindAGrave web site and someone else will walk through a cemetery for me and take a picture of the requested gravestone like this one from the Hudson Valley in New York of my father’s paternal great grandparents William and Margaret Frimpter.

mixed genealogy pics from disc 094

Of course walking sometimes means hiking. Cemeteries don’t always have the groomed green grass of a modern city like this Gold Camp Cemetery photo where Soapy Smith is buried in Skagway, Alaska. What a hike, and the bugs were terrible!

Gold Rush Cemetery Skagway

In St. Louis while looking for my husbands McMahon family grave site at Calvary Cemetery, we took a pre-mapped guided tour of the 300,000 burials. Some famous St. Louis people are here like Tennessee Williams, Dred Scott, Pierre Chouteau (founder of St. Louis) and H. Soulard.

Some cemeteries, like the Elbert cemetery here in Colorado show the natural beauty of the wildflowers. Both the Edwin Squires family and the Robert S. Foreman family are buried here.

Sometimes if you are having trouble finding the cemetery like we did in Catawisa, Missouri, street signs help. We knew we were close to finding my husbands great, great grandfather John McNamee here:

Intersection of McNamee Rd and McNamee School Road

At the Chesed Shel Emith Cemetery in St. Louis, the cemetery that suffered damage from vandalism when more than 100  grave stones were toppled last year, (they caught the guy last week) we found a picture of my husband’s 1st cousin twice removed embedded in the gravestone and also my husband’s great, great grandmother Jennie, which provided me the opportunity to learn a little Hebrew.

Riverside Cemetery here in Denver, one of the first cemeteries, hosts the graves of 13th cousin Silas Soule. Silas refused the orders of Chivington to shoot and kill the Indian women and children at the Sand Creek Massacre. Later, after testifying at the trial of Chivington, Silas was gunned down on the street near 15th and Arapaho in Denver.  Remember George Soule is our Mayflower ancestor.


Gravestones can provide a lot of information. We were looking for the birth date of Elizabeth McNamee Godfrey. Thought we would find it on the gravestone at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, but it wasn’t there. However, we did get the names of two of their children engraved on the back side.

David and Elizabeth Godrey

I love exploring cemeteries. So much history and so many stories.