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 #23 – Going to the Chapel

When my husband and I were married, 50 years ago, my mother refused to go to a Catholic Church for my wedding. My father advised me to do whatever I wanted, they were divorced. So My Uncle Vic escorted me down the aisle to the two priests who performed the ceremony during lent in a Catholic church.  We signed all the papers for being underage, John was 20 and I was 19, for not being Catholic but pledging to raise our children in the Catholic church and whatever else they put in front of us.

FB wedding pic

Interestingly his parents had a similar dilemma. His mother’s family was Irish Catholic and his father was Russian Jewish. His father, Sam Singer, converted to Catholic when he married Rosemary McMahon. They were married at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Luebbering, Franklin County, Missouri as well as the County Courthouse in Union, Missouri. The children were all raised Catholic.

The most interesting marriage I found in his family records was both happy and sad. Simon Farbstein was married to my husband’s great aunt, Lottie Singer. Simon died in 1922 at age 28, when their son, Jack was 10 years old and daughter Bernice was 8 years old.

Simon Farbstein

Lottie married Jack Ansel in 1925 after Simon’s death. In 1935 daughter Bernice gets married and the notice in the newspapers reads like a fairy princess wedding. Christmas night of 1935 at the Washington Hotel before an improvised alter with greenery and ivory tapers. The bride’s uncle Dr. J. J. Singer gave her in marriage. She wore a gown of heavy white crepe and a veil of tulle, fastened with orange blossoms. She carried white roses and lillies of the valley. All this during the depression.

Mrs. Jack Kramer

Bernice’s stepfather, Jack Ansel must have loved children. He provided a good life for Bernice and her brother Jack who died in 1941 at the age of 28. My husband, John and his cousins still remember the movie tickets Jack Ansel provided for them to visit the local theaters and the comic books he would bring to their homes.

Love those memories.