Monday, April 5, 2021

Amanuensis Monday - Heirlooms Taken July 31, 1969

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I share a memo my grandfather wrote on July 31, 1969 and saved in his files.

From Melvin L. Newmark

Heirlooms taken from residence of Melvin L. Newmark, 701 Payson, Olivette, Mo. on 7/31/69, 7:00 to 10:00 P.M.

Gold locket about size of silver dollar - initials B.N. on one side and B/C on the other side in old English script on gold necklace chain.

Gold watch presented to Herman Feinstein by Flint Laundry 1937 on double strand antique necklace c hain.

Love bird charm on gold necklace chain - 50th Anniversary - Herman & Annie Feinstein.

Gold charm bracelet with 7 gold charms - one says SIS - 50th Birthday - one has pictures of ___, Steve, __ & Mel in little gold book, others commemorate special occasions.

[I edit out names of living individuals]


1) My assumption is that there was a burglary while my grandparents were out, as opposed to a burglary while they were home. It was a Thursday night. The heirlooms taken were a gold locket belonging to his parents (my great grandparents) Barney Newmark and Bertha Cruvant Newmark; a gold watch belonging to my grandmother's father, Herman Feinstein; A love bird charm, possibly belonging to my grandmother's mother, Annie Feinstein; and I assume my grandmother's gold charm bracelet, with a charm I'm guessing my grandfather gave to her on her 50th birthday (1964), and with pictures of my grandfather and their kids.

I don't believe these heirlooms were ever found. While it's painful to consider what was lost, we treasure what remains.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

1911 UK Census for Nathan and Fanny Sandler

I've written before about Sarah Nathan who married Sol, the brother of my great grandfather in London in 1902. Her parents were Nathan and Fanny Sandler. On many documents Sarah went by Sarah Nathan, following the Jewish naming convention of using her father's given name as her surname, but without using the Bat/Ben Daughter/Son prefix. On other documents she used Sandler. Sarah, Sol, and their children immigrated to America with the rest of the Newmark family in 1909. In the 1910 census, one of Sarah's brothers, Sam Nathan, is  in the same household as Sarah and Sol. It appears he, too, was using his father's given name as a surname, but if Sarah was the informant on the census, she may have given him the surname. I have not been able to track him later than 1910 under either possible surname.

In the 1901 UK Census, Sam, born in 1891, is indicated as having been the first Sandler child born in the UK, though I have not yet located the family in the 1891 census, or his birth record. I have also found the Sandler family in the 1911 UK Census. I find the 1911 UK census interesting in that each household seems to have gotten their own page.

Census of England and Wales - 1911

  • Nathan Sandler - Head - Age 55 - Married - 30 years married - 9 children - 7 still living - 2 dead - Green Grocer - Working at Home - Birthplace Russia - Nationality Russian
  • Fanny Sandler - Wife - Age 50 - Married - Birthplace Russia - Nationality Russian
  • Joseph Sandler - Son - Age 18 - Single - Birthplace London
  • Rebecca Sandler - Daughter - Age 11 - Single - Birthplace London
  • Leon Sandler - Son - Age 7 - School - Birthplace London
I'm not sure how a green grocer works at home, but they may have lived above the grocery. I have possibly located Nathan Sandler on FindaGrave. The 1901 and 1911 census records suggest a birth year of 1856, and not 1853 as the FindaGrave profile suggests, but it's close. I've submitted a request for a researcher to photograph the tombstone, as well as to check if Fanny is buried nearby. Fanny is very possibly a nickname. If I can find some birth records of the younger children they might contain a given name I can use to find her death record.

There are two pages to the 1911 UK Census, which might be easy for some to miss. But of course, whenever looking at records online (or offline), it is always important to page forward and backwards just to make certain you aren't missing anything. The primary piece of information on this page is the address. It appears to be 1 Genter Street N, though I am unable to identify a street with that name. There appears to have been multiple families residing at that address in the census.

I'm looking forward to next year's release of the UK 1921 Census, as well as the 1950 US Census.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Checking the Calendar

A summary of past posts on this topic.

(The above video was created from a still wedding-day photo colorized and animated using MyHeritage software)

My Great-Grandfather, Barney Newmark, was born in 1886, 135 years ago. He celebrated his birthday on March 17th, and claimed to have been born in Dublin, Ireland. It's significantly more likely that he was born in Warka, Poland - on the outskirts of Warsaw. The dates of March 25th and April 14th also appear on some documents as his date of birth, but no birth records have been uncovered, so anything is possible.

There may be some significance to the fact that there are 20 days between March 25th and April 14th. 12 days adjustment between the Gregorian and Julian calendar, and 8 days between birth and circumcision. Due to a superstition against celebrating birthdays, it was common for Eastern European Jewish males to celebrate the dates of their circumcision instead. I have uncovered several instances in my tree where there are birth records, that the observed birthday was 20 days later.

There is another possibility with Barney. There are also 8 days between March 17th and March 25th. And April 14 is exactly 1 lunar month after March 17. What’s the importance of a lunar month? Not much I can find - except when converting to the Hebrew calendar, Barney was born in the 2nd leap month of Adar. In leap years on the Hebrew calendar there are two months of Adar. Those born in Adar II are *supposed* to observe their birthday in Adar in non-leap years. But some people born on Feb 29 observe their birthday on the 28th and others on March 1. If Barney decided to adjust forward a month it would explain all three dates. It would also make March 17 his actual date of birth, which would make several in my family happy. In this scenario none of the dates are Julian. Without being able to ask Barney directly, though, this is all supposition.

This just illustrates when there is some conflict between dates in records, check the calendars. Plural. In some cases, more than 2.

In 2007 I wrote a blog post about Barney for St Patrick’s Day and a friend sent me a census record they found online. My eyes were opened to internet genealogy and the rest is Family History.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Amanuensis Monday - Affidavit of a Nickname - Belle Sissie Newmark

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I share an Affidavit my paternal grandmother signed in front of a notary to prove that her nickname, that everyone knew her by, belonged to her. And that the name that appeared on all government documents was hers too. I am not sure what prompted the affidavit - what agency, business, person first questioned her identity. I also do not know how often she had to present the affidavit.


I, Sissie Newmark, being duly sworn on her oath says that she was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 14, 1914, and that she was given the name of "Belle" by her parents Herman and Anna Feinstein. They registered her birth under the name "Belle" and she attended school in Clayton, Missouri under the name of "Belle."

Affiant further states that she was known by all of her class mates, friends and family members as "Sissie" and has continued to this date to use the name "Sissie". Belle and Sissie Newmark are one and the same person.



Subscribed and sworn to before me this __ day of October 1986.


Notary Public

My commission expires: 


1) This unsigned copy was saved by my paternal grandfather in his archive folders. I am sure my grandmother retained the signed copy

2) Letters indicate she spelled her nickname Sissy early on, but at some point changed the spelling. Many friends abbreviated the nickname to Sis, which of course is the etymology of the name her older brother gave to her. Her younger brother ended up with the nickname "Babe."

Monday, February 15, 2021

Amanuensis Monday - My Grandfather Writes to his War Buddies - 1945

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

In going through all of the documents my paternal grandfather saved, in one folder is correspondence between him and his war buddies. My grandfather served as a Field Director for the American Red Cross. When he returned from the war in 1945, and landed in San Francisco, he learned his brother, Mandell, had been killed. Below are paragraphs from several letters where he informed his buddies. 

To Lt. Bernard Samoff - Aug 29, 1945

My return was not the happy event I looked forward to - I suppose you learned that my suspicions about my little brother having been killed were true. But since the return safely of my other brother and the ending of the war, I’m beginning to feel good.

To Kurt Stone - Aug 30. 1945

I don’t know whether you remember my talking about my little brother Mandell - he was with the 41st division. We were at Biak together for about three months. Did you know that I got to Biak just about a week after you left. While I was on my way home, Mandell was killed at Zamboanga and I learned about it when I arrived in Frisco. So my homecoming was anything but the happy event that I thought it would be. It is difficult for me to write about it.

To Zach Levine - Aug 30, 1945

My homecoming wasn’t very pleasant. While I was enroute, Mandell was killed and I got the news when I arrived in Frisco. It happened at Zamboanga. The whole division had a rough time of it, although I understand little or no new got into the papers about it. About a week before Mandell was wounded, he had received the Bronze Star. I wanted so badly to get him out of that outfit. I feel pretty bitter about it but I suppose that doesn’t do any good. When I get to thinking about it, I just can’t think of anything else - so will you forgive me for making this short.

To Col. Chet Lange - May 11, 1946

After I left Morsby I went to Biak for about six months and then spent a little time in Manila. I cam home completely beaten. My littler brother who was with the 163rd Inf. was killed at Jolo. I cam home on leave and before my leave ended the war was over. I got back into law practice around the first of the year and while it was slow going at first I am getting all the business I could handle now. So much so but every once in a while I get to wishing I was back at Morsby. The more I think about it the more I love that place and the more I realize what a swell bunch of people there were.


1) In one day my grandfather went from "beginning to feel good" to feeling "pretty bitter about it," but that is natural for the grieving process.

2) Was Mandell killed in Jolo or Zamboanga? Newspaper reports indicate Jolo. It is possible initial information the family received suggested Zamboanga. It's possible his troop was stationed at Zamboanga and had a mission on the nearby island of Jolo. While officially "Killed in Action" he was killed when a fellow officer was cleaning his weapon.

3) My grandfather saved correspondence to/from individuals stapled, paperclipped, or prong-fastened together. Sometimes including envelopes, sometimes not. The copies he saved of the letters he wrote often don’t have last names of those he wrote to, but these can be determined by other documents fastened to the letter. In the case of the letter to Zach Levine there is no such document, but he did have a separate list of addresses he titled “Overseas Mailing List.”  There is only one Zach on that list. 

4) If by chance you are reading this because you found the entry searching for your relative, one of the letter recipients, let me know. There may be letters they wrote in the folder I could scan and send to you. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Letter from Melvin Newmark July 28, 1943

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I share part of a letter my grandfather wrote in 1943. I’m not sure to whom he was writing, nor am I positive the letter got sent. I assume it did and my grandfather felt it important enough to keep an unsigned copy of his letter. I do have a copy of the letter referenced in the first line, but there is no surname on the letter. 

Dear Micky:

Glad to hear from you.


Sissy and I are going away on a little vacation. We are leaving St. Louis Friday and will probably be gone about ten days. We are going up to Elkhart Lake, Wisc. to try to cool off.

I have an opportunity to go across for the American Red Cross as a field director and I am having a very difficult time trying to make up my mind. I am hopeful that during my vacation I will be able to think the thing out and reach a decision. I don’t know whether you are familiar with the job or not. It pays $275.00 per month. While I would not be considered part of the military, I would wear an officer’s uniform and live with the officers. If I went in I would probably leave the country in about four weeks. I wish I had your faculty for reaching a decision.

Apparently you do not like your present assignment. All of the fellow that I know have griped about the training and you have the consolation that that will be through soon.

Your thoughts about the law practice are pretty much the way I feel. If I do not take the Red Cross job, however, and if I am not drafted, I will probably never have the nerve to quit it. More power to you.


I understand Stella and the Baby are with you. Give her my best.

Sis and the Kids are fine. Sissy is very set against my going into service and if I don’t go in it will probably be because of her wishes.

Good luck, Micky, and let me hear from you soon.



1) My grandfather took the job with the Red Cross. When he returned after the war, he returned to the law practice.  I’m not positive what his issues were. Micky’s letter is handwritten and difficult for me to read, but I’m going to work at it.

2) Both of my grandmothers weren’t initially supportive of my grandfathers serving. A letter I’ve previously shared indicates my maternal grandmother was upset about my grandfather’s decision without her consent.

3) Sissy was the nickname of my grandmother given to her as a child by her brother. Later she would spell it Sissie.  

Monday, February 1, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Melvin Newmark's Speech to Maryville College - Feb 1958

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I share a speech my grandfather gave to Maryville College (now Maryville University) in St. Louis in February of 1958. He would have been 46 years old at the time. This was given in connection with National Brotherhood Week, which was promoted by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, of which my grandfather was an active member.

 For delivery February 13th 1958 Maryville College

This meeting this morning is one of many held during Brotherhood Week in Schools and colleges of America. It is an opportunity for students and teachers alike to reappraise the American goal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — from our earnest studies of history we all have some knowledge of the dreams and aspirations of our founding fathers and their concepts of a truly democratic state. From our own daily experiences we all have some knowledge of the way in which those ideals have or have not been fulfilled. An opportunity, then, such as this one to examine wherein we have failed and to look for ways and means of improvement is essential to the orderly, progressive development of our democratic society.

Once, for instance, people of good intentions thought of America as a great melting pot — until we came to realize that you don’t solve problems of group differences by eliminating the difference — anymore than you would solve a headache by cutting off the head. It’s true there would be no more headache, but then neither would there be a you. And if the differences between the peoples and groups of this great country were eliminated the strength and vigor of America would be sapped and democracy would have been dealt a death blow.

Today people of goodwill understand the differences and no longer fear them. Whenever tensions do develop you can be sure that lack of understanding and baseless fears have blinded some from the truth. And sometimes evil men, who prosper on discord, try to mislead us and distort the meaning of our democracy. Ignorance is our worst enemy — truth and understanding our only hope.

However imperfect is our present form of government, however impatient some of us may at times seem, none of us doubts the ultimate success of our system to establish a climate where all of us, regardless of our differences, whether they be race or religion, will be able to live and prosper together in peace and harmony.

We fully believe so because we know that the ideal of American democracy is simply a fulfillment of the one basic law common to both science and religion.

From science we have learned the value of cooperation. The way in which single, simple cells unite, for instance, to join together to form more complex patterns of living matter. The history, for instance, of evolution which reveals the pattern of progress and survival through cooperation. Countless other examples testify to the scientific proof that the basic law of nature is cooperation. We know now that it is not enough to say “live and let live”, we must say “live and help live.”

From the religions of our Judean-Christian civilization we learn, too, there is one basic law, one commandment, which seems to sum up everything that God has ever revealed to mankind. That law, that commandment is “Love thy neighbor”. Hate, we know, will destroy us, but love will fulfill us.

Love and cooperation are different words meaning the same thing.

The democracy our forefathers established in America actually began when Moses led the Hebrews out of Egyptian slavery. His goal was freedom, not just freedom alone from restrictive tyranny, but freedom as well for restraining law - so that free people could thereafter live together without fear or hatred. The laws and commandments then revealed to Moses established the only kind of freedom possible, a freedom, if you will, that simply makes your feel easy in your harness, and these laws and commandments were preserved by the great Christian religions and are the backbone of our American democracy.

The uniqueness of this democracy is the degree of unity we are able to achieve without at the same time giving up our differences.

If everyone thought alike and looked alike and prayed alike, or if everyone did not pray at all, then there would be, for sure, unity, but no diversity, and we would thus have totalitarianism.

If everyone did just whatever he pleased and acted however he pleased and no two people thought alike, we would of course have diversity but without any unity this diversity would result in anarchy.

Only in a democracy can there be, in fact, must there be, both unity and diversity.

Today we see our democracy as a symphony, each of the groups an instrument, all blending together in a glorious harmony, and we all contribute to the richness of the music.

What can we as members of different [faiths] do to preserve and strengthen this God given ideal — from Him who is the Father of all of us.

As a Jew it is my most sacred duty to live up to the loftiest commandment of my faith “to love thy neighbor as myself”. As Christians it is your most sacred duty to live up to the same commandment as explained by your great Savior to mean “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” The Hebrew Psalms say “Olam Chesed Yiboneh” — the world is founded upon love alone. [Psalms 89:3] Coleridge, my favorite poet, I think, said it best in these words

He Prayeth best who loveth best — All things both great and small — for the dear God who loveth us — He made and loveth us all.


1) I had heard about the Symphony alternative to the Melting Pot, so I went in search of who first suggested it. It was Horace Kallen in an article for The Nation, Democracy Versus the Melting Pot, in 1915. It is sad that kids were still being taught the Melting Pot metaphor when I was a kid in the 80s, and there are still people promoting it today.

2) It is great to see my grandfather's evolution as a thinker and speech writer over the 12 years since the speech he wrote in 1946. It was also good to learn the name of at least one of his favorite poets. His bookshelves were rather large. As are mine. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Professions of David Orel Kruvand (1805-?)

Below are some index records I found on Ancestry pertaining to my third great grandfather, David Orel Kruvand. I do not believe the original records are accessible anywhere online, yet. 

The first record is from 1840, and the second 1852. In those 12 years he went from being a Miller to being a Butcher. What caused this change of occupation? What happened to the mill? Nothing certain, but one can certainly imagine several hypotheses.  In the first record - a census - he was 35 years old, and the second 47. It seems rather late in life, in that era, for a career change. But it is possible the mill belonged to his father, and he was not successful in keeping it up.  Or one of a multitude of other possibilities.

I recently found both records in a search, but it is interesting to speculate what I, or another genealogist, might conclude if only one record had turned up. If one only knew about his job as a Miller, one might conclude the family was, if not wealthy, successful. The physical requirements of a mill probably limited the number of millers in a town, and limited competition. This is not necessarily the case for butchers. So his success as a butcher might have depended upon the amount of competition he had as well as his skills. 

Butcher is a slightly humorous occupation for him to have gone into. Why? I learned a few years ago that the Lithuanian word, "Kruvinas," means 'bloody," and the town Kruvandai was named after a particularly bloody war. Kruvandai is near Cekiske, and everyone in town would have known from where the family got their surname. But there would likely have been a slight chuckle among residents that someone with that surname was a butcher. Under Kosher dietary laws blood has to be drained from meat, so "Kruvand meat" might have had negative connotations, even if everyone understood the origin of the surname.

I don't know yet when David Orel Kruvand passed away. The next generation started immigrating to America in the 1870s and 1880s.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Finding Your Roots - Andy Cohen

This post has mostly been written in advance of the airing of Finding Your Roots - Season 7 - Episode 2 with Andy Cohen. Not sure whether or not I should say this, but the episode was recorded back in 2019. Andy is my fourth cousin, and information got shared. I kept quiet. I didn't want to get anyone in trouble. But the episode has now aired. I’ve made some edits as naturally not everything that got shared with Andy made the show. There wasn’t enough time.

I actually learned from his family that his genealogy was being researched when the research began, so I have an idea how long that research can take. It was long enough I wondered if they had given up on finding anything of interest. I'll leave it at that. I was not contacted in any way by any of the researchers during the research of the episode.

I will say, though it won't be mentioned in the episode, unless they went back and recorded an extra scene [which didn’t happen] that Andy's bout with Covid this year gave me a personal scare. We may not be close cousins genetically, but we went to school together a year apart, and our families are close.

How are we related? Those who watched the episode and have been followers of my blog may have recognized the surname I have often spelled (C/K)r(u/oo)van(t/d). Almost every conceivable permutation exists on at least one branch of the family. The family surname comes from the town of Kruvandai in Lithuania. The town's name comes from the Lithuanian word for 'bloody' and was named for a bloody battle. My second great grandfather, Moshe Leyb Cruvant, and Andy's second great grandfather, Samuel (Simon) Cruvand, were brothers.

Here's some links to a few past blog posts that touch upon some of the same people, places, and events from the show.

I believe the only post I’ve made since the recording of the episode which referenced Cekiske, and the Cruvant family in Lithuania, was the one I made a couple weeks ago about the synagogue in Burlington, Vermont. There will be more.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Melvin Newmark's Speech to the Samaritan Methodist Church 1946

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I share a speech my grandfather gave to the Samaritan Methodist Church of St. Louis in October of 1946. He would have been 34 years old at the time. My grandfather was active in interfaith organizations such as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He had spoken at the church in February, probably in connection with National Brotherhood Week, and was invited back in October by the pastor, so apparently had made a good impression.

October 10, 1946

Rev G.F. Tipton [Samaritan Methodist Church]
4118 Cook Ave
St. Louis, Missouri

Dear Rev. Tipton:

It was certainly good to hear from you and to receive your kind invitation to be with you at your vesper services on October 27.

I shall certainly do everything in my power to be with you that evening. If there is any particular subject that you would like me to choose, I would appreciate your advising me.

Thanks again for your invitation, and be assured that I am looking forward to being with you and your congregation on October 27.

Sincerely yours,

Melvin L. Newmark


Recently I received one of the nicest compliments ever paid me — Rev. Tipton’s kind invitation to meet again with you good people — having stood on this pulpit only eight months ago, I was at first reluctant to accept for fear I would, “so to speak”, “Wear out my welcome”— but the happy prospect of enjoying your friendliness was too much to resist — so in spite of the qualms that are inherent in repetition I came again to enjoy one of your most inspirational services — perhaps too, my return is the result of coincidental timing. Some time ago my office, and in particular my senior associate, Victor Packman, was retained with Henry Espy to represent a group of negro train porters — very likely the case is familiar to all or most of you — the issue involved is heart-rending; it is typical of the sort of problem we are encountering, but it stands out because of the inhumane boldness of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen — a lily-white organization. For years the Frisco railroad has employed negroes in the dual capacity of brakemen and porters. But only so with the reluctant approval of the Brotherhood.. This year when the time came to renegotiate the various labor contracts involved, the brotherhood decreed that hereafter negroes would no longer be permitted to engage in that capacity, and in accordance with the agreement made, the Railroad served notice on the negro employees involved that they would be fired — fired outright, mind you, in spite of the fact that most of these men had 15, 20, 25 years of valuable seniority with the company. Our job was to get the Federal Court here in St. Louis to enjoin the railroad from firing those negro employees who were fired only — and for no other reason than — that they were Negroes. We won the first round with the aid of the Lord, and a temporary injunction was issued. Round two came up a few weeks ago and a decision is expected shortly after the first of the year. If necessary we will continue fighting until the United States Supreme Court itself has had the opportunity to pass on it. But that case itself is not the basis for my discussion this evening, though well it might be.

Since it is a matter that at this very moment is pending before the court, propriety prevents me from discussing it in any greater detail than I already have. But it was the occasion of this case pending in my office, and the pitiful things I learned, and the tearful experiences encountered in working on the case that made me welcome so much the opportunity to talk to you again, as I did eight months ago on the unholiness and evilness of prejudice, hatred and bigotry.

How many times, since the end of the war, has each of you asked — either to yourself or to others — did we really win what we were fighting for? Is the war really over—Is Fascism really ended? On the occasion of the hanging of the 10 Nazi leaders a few weeks back, those questions were especially in everyone’s mind. The two great newspapers in St. Louis had a good deal to say about those questions — Let me read a few lines from each of the editorials that were printed.

“The gallows at Nuremberg ended a regime; It could not kill the ghastly, corrupt and inhuman impulses which created the regime. Hitler, Goering and the rest have returned to the dust, but the things they stood for live everywhere in the minds of other men, and the world must be on guard lest Fascism — once supreme in Germany, Italy and Japan — should again become triumphant.”

And a few days before the Post said that, the Star-Times on Friday October 18, said:

“Naziism was the repudiation of liberty, of equality of fraternity. You do not kill that philosophy when you have done no more than hang a few men or watch a few others gurgle their way to an ignominious death. Nazism lives in every man who denies democracy. It lives in every man who would erect barriers of economic or social, or racial or credal caste in the nation. It lives in every sword-rattling jingo, every war-mongering nationalist. Sometimes it is called the Ku Klux Klan, and sometimes it is called the Order of the Silver Shirts, and sometimes it is called by more respectable names. But always it is the same, and always it is a dread threat to man’s dignity — IT STILL LIVES.”

Yes, unfortunately, the newspapers are right — Fascism is not dead — not yet are we able to say — we won the war — we won what we were fighting for — we can not say we won the war if the Frisco Railroad can fire those trusted employees only because they were negroes — nor when Gerald KKK Smith is afforded the dignity of our great municipal auditorium to spread his nasty lies of hate — Nor when a situation can develop like that at Columbia, Tennessee. Now when — after working in my office Mr. Espy and Mr. Houston (Mr. Houston is a negro lawyer from Wash. D.C., who came here to help us on the Howard cause — perhaps some of you know him — he happens to be one of the leading members of the American Bar — White or Colored — the former dean of Howard University, a graduate of Amherst, Howard and Columbia, a citizen all America can and should be proud of—) As I started to say — you can not say we won the war when after working in my office with those two men we can not find a restaurant downtown where we can even have lunch together!!

We can not say the we have won the war when a certain US Senator — you know who I mean — can write this letter,

“If Jews of your type don’t quit sponsoring and fraternizing with the negro race you are going to arouse so much opposition to all of you that they will get a very strong invitation to pack up and resettle in Palestine, the homeland of the Jews, just as we propose to provide for the voluntary resettlement of the American Negro in West Africa, their fatherland” —

Except for the signature I would swear that Hitler himself wrote that letter — and not a US Senator — let me read you a passage from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and you’ll see what I mean.

“From time to time it is demonstrated to the German that for the first time here or there a Negro has become a lawyer, teacher, clergy, or even a leading opera tenor or something of that kind. It is a sin against the will of the eternal Creator to let his most talented beings degenerate while Hottentots are trained for intellectual vocations. The Jew knows very slyly how to construe from this a new proof of the correctness of his theory of the equality of men which he means to instill into the nations.”

But the question in our minds is — What can we do about it? The answer is — Plenty — as long as we live in a democracy.

First of all, we must learn — and re-learn — what Democracy is. What does it mean? What is its value? Some of you may be thinking — we know what Democracy is — but do you? Does Mr. American Citizen know what Democracy is? How many of you know what the Bill of Rights is? Its contents? If you are average, 79% of you will have to admit that you don’t know. The National Opinion Research Center of the University of Denver recently completed a nationwide survey on that very question. Only 21% had a reasonably accurate idea of the Bill of Rights contents.

In other words, only one person out of five knows that the American Bill of Rights consists of the first 10 amendments to the Federal Constitution. Only one person out of five knows that these amendments protect the basic liberties of the individual citizen from encroachment by the government. Only one person out of five can identify the very heart and center — the well-spring of American Democracy.  Let me urge you first then to learn what Democracy is.

Secondly, you must learn what Fascism is — and how to recognize it. Here too, you might say — We know what Fascism is. But do you? And even more important, do you know how to recognize Fascism when you see it? Can you see behind its sugar coatings and its false fronts? Do you recognize Jim Crow, and anti-Semitisms and discriminations against foreign born — discrimination against all minorities — as tools of fascism. Our general knowledge of Fascism is weak — we need to be informed. The Library of Congress is now preparing a report for the American people to the end that they may recognize Fascism and be armed against it. When that report comes out, study it; Knowledge is your only weapon.

Thirdly, by actual participation in our government, if you fail to vote in a primary or election or if you use your vote carelessly, you are doing yourself a grave injustice. The most valuable right that you have is your right to vote; don’t waste it or squander it. And don’t just stop with voting. If a candidate is running who has proven by his past record that he is worthy of support, get out and work for him — let him know it — and when he gets elected let him know how you feel on important issues. Yes, influence him if you will, on those issues that spell success for democracy. And at this point I wonder if it would bee all fright for me to say something in my heart — I happen to know Congressman John Sullivan personally — I can tell you honestly that he is your friend — but you don’t need me to tell it to you — his wonderful record speaks for itself — I think you owe it to yourself and your children to see that he is reelected —

But actual participation in government means more than voting — it means democracy in action — it means taking advantage of every law and statute — and instituting legal action where necessary — to protect and maintain your freedom — Legal action is one of your finest weapons — and under our system your surest guaranty of freedom. Court action is not only a means of testing a statute or enforcing it — it can also build community sentiment, get the people aroused, not exclusively on the particular case at issue, but on broad principles. So that even if the case itself is lost, the principle involved becomes important and.later legislation may be proposed that will put into the statute books the issue that was lost in the courtroom. Legal action of this sort is most important. The suits that have been filed to eliminate restrictions in deeds is a good example, as is the case against the railroad I talked about earlier and others that you are all familiar with —

These things can be done — and many others — so take hope in the future. The will to live a better life for ourselves and our children lies in our own hands. With an unswerving faith in God we will not fail.


1) Genealogically there is little here except that my grandfather was involved with NCCJ, which is confirmed by some letters back and forth that were retained with the speech text. But having a written document containing my grandfather’s thoughts on Fascism, racism, and bigotry as a young man following his participation in WW2 is marvelous. Especially since they are thoughts I can unequivocally be proud about.

2) My grandfather stated his law firm was ready to take the court case he mentioned all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. It was. They won in 1952.

3) The US Senator who wrote the horrific letter described was Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo. Pete Seeger recorded the song, Listen, Mr. Bilbo in the same year that my grandfather gave this speech.

4) A next step a historian might take might be to find the editorials that are quoted in part within the speech to see what they said in whole. They might be found in online newspaper archives. However, that is unnecessary as my grandfather retained clippings of the sources for his speeches in the same folder.

5) My grandfather’s speech folder doesn’t contain a copy of the speech he gave in February 1946, but it does have a short summary. I suspect he didn’t save a copy, and perhaps wrote the summary in October from memory. There aren’t a lot of speeches in the folder, so he was selective. I believe this is the earliest speech of his that he saved, but there are some undated ones. A speech he gave 12 years later in connection with National Brotherhood Week is also in the folder, and I will share it next week. National Brotherhood Week was the third week of February, though it ceased being observed in the 1980s. Perhaps we need its return. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Samuel J. Denyer and the Santa Fe Expedition

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I share a news article containing a narration of some of the events of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition by Samuel J. Denyer, the brother of my second great grandfather, Ebenezer Denyer. I do not know how closely this narration resembles what other survivors said. or how it compares to the historical record. Reading it from the perspective of our own times, it is easy to see a markedly different narration of events could be written by other participants.

Santa Fe Expedition as told by Samuel J DenyerThe Brooklyn Daily Eagle 
Brooklyn, New York 
23 Jun 1843, Fri • Page 2

The sufferings of the Santa Fe Expedition — of which we received a verbal account from Samuel J. Denyer, one of the survivors, a few days ago — were much greater than have commonly been supposed. Scarcely had they left Austin when calamities began to overtake them ; and ere they had accomplished a moiety of the distance, their provisions were exhausted, and they were reduced to a state of extreme want. At the camp on Little River, Gen. McCloud, the leader of the expedition, was taken sick, and a small detachment remained for the purpose of assisting him during his illness and conducting him to the main body when he should recover: the remainder pushed onto Nolan's River, where they discovered an Indian village, and were fortunate enough to obtain some provisions. Here the main body was again joined by McCloud and his guard. The hunger of the men had now become excessive, and they ate the hides, entrails everything, in short, except the horns of their beeves, and even drank the blood. This latter was subsequently divided among them, so eager had the competition for it become. Large numbers of Indian dogs were also killed and eaten : and by many pronounced extremely delicate. At this time several of the men had been killed in skirmishes with the Indians and two or three had committed suicide.

Soon after leaving Nolan's river, and before reaching the Polladora, a fight occurred between five of the men and several hundred Indians. The former had wandered some distance from the camp for the purpose of shooting game, and while thus engaged, found themselves among hills black with the enemy. Escape seeming to be doubtful, if not impossible, they resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible, and obtaining as favorable a position as they could find, drew up their horses in the form of a breastwork, and awaited the onslaught. In a few moments about half a dozen Indians approached, and all save one were killed. Some four or five others were then sent, who shared the fate of their predecessors ; and this operation was repeated apparently with the view of not endangering the lives of more than were competent to the object until a score of the assailants had fallen. By this time the horses of the whites had been killed, and their bodies served as a fortification, from behind which considerable execution was done. At length, overpowered by numbers and their ammunition exhausted, they were slain. A spy, who arrived in camp the next day, informed the Texans that the heart of Maybe (one of the five) whose extraordinary bravery had excited the admiration of the Indians hid been taken out and roasted, and each one of the tribe allowed to eat a piece of it. A council was now held, and it was resolved that a detachment of one hundred should proceed to Santa Fe for provisions, as neither buffalo could be killed, or supplies obtained from the natives.

Leaving this position the main body advanced towards Red Lake, and in their progress encountered a large and handsome Indian village, (the Waco.) It was beautifully situated on the margin of a stream which emptied into Red River, and was so large as to be mistaken by many for the latter. The streets of this village were neatly laid out, the houses well built and comfortable, the gardens filled with fruit trees in bearing, and the fields growing corn and vegetables. In the centre was the Great Council House, of a circular form, and appropriately fitted up. Tho whole aspect of the place, indeed, gave evidence of advancement in civilization ; but the inhabitants were hostile and treacherous. At first they intimated their willingness to form a treaty, and proposed a day for a meeting of the Chiefs on both sides. The Texans were ready at the appointed time, but not so the faithless savages. They solicited further time ; but it having now been ascertained that they were carrying off their women, children and valuables, and that the desire for time was a mere artifice to deceive the Texans until the arrangements for giving them battle with safety should be completed, the negotiations were summarily closed, and the expedition took up the line of march.

From this time nothing of importance occurred until the surrender at Red Lake, which was induced by the treacherous conduct of the individuals entrusted with the arrangement. On arriving at the Lake the Mexicans were discovered in a strong position, and although not exceeding an hundred in number, they were fresh and well-provisioned, and constituted a formidable foe for one hundred and fifty Texans, worn down with hunger and fatigue, and many of them scarce able to walk. Still, the latter would have fought and were anxious to do so ; but they were overruled by the officers, all of whom, save McCloud, were clamorous for terms. The Mexicans had professed an anxiety to trade, provided their customers would lay down their arms; and promised, in the most solemn manner, to act in good faith, and restore the arms on their departure. When asked what guarantee they would give for the fulfillment of the conditions, they replied, "The best guaranty in the world the faith of the great Mexican nation."

An agreement was subsequently reduced to writing, and interpreted to the Texans by the commander. It promised everything that could be desired, and exhibited, on its face, the most perfect fairness. Gen. McCloud, however, was not willing to repose confidence in the treacherous crew ; referred to the many instances of Mexican duplicity of which they had had experience ; " but," said he, "what can one do against a dozen." At a given signal the Texans discharged and then grounded their arms, when the Mexicans marched in, and took possession of them. As an instance of their seeming fidelity we may state, that they requested each man to write his name on a piece of paper, and attach it to his musket, so that no difficulty or confusion might ensue in returning them. Some obeyed the request, and all were about to do so when McCloud suggested that they had better save themselves the trouble.

For some days after the capitulation, the prisoners were treated with generosity and even kindness ; but this was because their subjugation was not yet quite complete. One evening a sham riot was enacted, and a complaint was afterwards made that a Mexican soldier had been stabbed by one of the Texans with a Bowie knife. The prisoners were thereupon mustered into line, and their knives taken from them under pretense of examining each for blood. It is hardly necessary to say that they were not returned. Their rations were now suddenly cut down to an ear of corn a-day for each man, with scarcely water enough to quench their thirst. Subsequently the Texans were again paraded, and their pen and jacknives taken from them; when, being assured of their entire defenselessness, a most cruel and inhuman mode of treatment was adopted towards them by those honorable representatives of the " Great Mexican Nation." They were tied together and driven like animals ; kept with scarcely food enough to sustain life, and when the women and children on the route, seeing their destitution and feeling a disposition to relieve them, offered provisions, they were rudely ordered and beaten away. Sometimes a shower of nicknacs would be thrown in among them, which, however, were of little use, unless when the prisoners were fortunate enough to catch them in their hands. The subsequent fortunes of the expedition are already well known.


1) My third great grandfather, William Denyer, the father of Samuel Denyer and his brother, my second great grandfather, Ebenezer Denyer, was born in England and immigrated to the US in the early 1820s. Samuel was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1822 and Ebenezer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1828. It's not clear exactly when the family headed south to the Republic of Texas, but at least Samuel was clearly there before Texas became a State in 1845, and likely the rest of the family as well. William died in Louisiana in 1848, and was likely a resident of three countries during his lifetime. Samuel Denyer was killed by an "Indian" April 30,1861.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Selig Feinstein and the Progressive Order of the West - Unity Lodge 104

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I’m sharing lists of names of delegates to several annual conventions of the Progressive Order of the West - a Jewish fraternal organization that was founded in 1896 and headquartered in St. Louis Missouri. My maternal great grandfather, Samuel Deutsch, was buried in the Progressive Order of the West section of Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago in 1938. I knew my second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein, was a member of a fraternal order from his son's wedding announcement,  however I didn't know which ones, until finding his name in these lists. While there may have been multiple lodges in the St. Louis area, since I don't know the locations for all of the lodges, I am going to focus on just the lodge Selig was a member of: Unity, 104.

Progressive Order of the West 7th Annual Convention Delegates
The Jewish Voice, Jan 24, 1902, page 3

Unity, 104
A. Rosentreter, Dr. M.I. DeVorkin, H. Elbert, Jos. Lehr, S. Feinstein, H. German, H. Maizner

Progressive Order of the West 9th Annual Convention Delegates
The Jewish Voice, Jan 29, 1904, page 6.

"Unity" 104


Dr. M.I. DeVarkin
Rev. A. Rosentreter
H. Elbert
J. Lehr
S. Feinstein
M. Zuckerman
A. German
J. Becker
H. Bearken
W. Schwartz
M. Pearl
M. Laski
A. Kristel

M. Weiselman
D. Roodman
H. Hirsch
L. Roodman
S. Cohen
I. Reifler
S. Honeck
A. Rosenfeld
W. Grassblatt
J. Davis
G. Elbert
I. Rosen
J. Sheffer

Grand Lodge Officers - 1913
The Jewish Voice, July 25, 1913, page 8

Following is the list of Grand Lodge Officers for the past term: 
B. Frank, Grand Master. 
H. L. Brody, 1st Deputy Grand Master. 
Abe Levy, 2nd Deputy Grand Master. 
J. Zuckerman, 3rd Deputy Grand Mas. 
N. Koffman, 4th, Deputy Grand Mas. 
Michael Sack, 5th Deputy Grand Mas. 
Morris Shapiro, Grand Secretary. 
Jacob Lasky, Grand Treasurer. 
Sam Kranzberg, Beneficiary Treas. 
Ben. E. Cohen, Grand Counsellor. 
Dr. M. I. DeVorkin. Grand Med. Ex. 
Chas. Schneider, Grand Chaplain. 
D. Reichman, Beneficiary Chairman. 
Adolph Cohen, Chairman of Finance. 
Harry Specter, Committee on Finance. 
Mike Novack, Committee on Finance. 
Ed. Lasky, Chairman on Supplies. 
Max Levy, Chairman of Appeals. 
M. Rubin, Chairman on Reserve Fund. 
Chas. I. Mahler, Chair. State of Order. 
B. Stein, Chairman on Propaganda. 
M. Lowenstine, Chairman of Rituals. 
Philip Fishman, Chair on Disability. 
S. Goldman, First Trustee. 
S. Feinstein, Second Trustee. 
J. Guttmann, Third Trustee. 
J. Jacobson, Grand Sentry.


The above indicates my second great grandfather was at least a member from 1902-1913. Selig died in 1915, and was likely a member at his death. M(ax) Weiselman, who was an alternate delegate in 1904, was Selig's business partner. Max was from Zhitomir, Volhynia, and I know the Feinsteins were from Volhynia as well. I do not know if the Weiselmans and Feinsteins knew each other in the Old Country.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Do I Have Cousins in Burlington, Vermont?

 In the 1880s a group of immigrants to Burlington, Vermont founded Chai Adam Synagogue. These immigrants came from Čekiškė, Lithuania - the same shtetl my Cruvant ancestors came from. Do I have kin in Burlington?

Chai Adam founders included: 

  • Morris Levin
  • Abraham Mowsowitz
  • Max Samuelson
  • Joseph Trotchky
  • Hyman D. Segel
  • M.L. Levin
  • Abram Kaplan
  • Isaac Levin
  • Sam Trotchky
  • Lewis Greenstein

Surname Kaplan

  • Hannah Kaplan married a second great granduncle, Girsha Abram Kruvond.  
  • Hannah's brother, Louis, went by Louis Cohen, and he married a first cousin three times removed, Sarah Cruvand.
  • Julius Kaplan married second cousin twice removed, Fannie Cruvand. (I only know he came from Lithuania. I believe they married in the U.S. His father's name was Max.)

While Hannah and Louis definitely came from Čekiškė, Cohen/Kaplan is an extremely common Jewish surname. Further research was required to see if Chai Adam founder Abram Kaplan is related. (More closely related than being a descendant of Aaron, brother of Moses.) 

I found who I believe is the same Abram Kaplan on Geni. While from nearby Josvainiai, Lithuania, his wife is from Čekiškė, so it could be the same individual. I asked Geni to find the shortest connection between us, and I was told it was through his wife. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a connection through him that Geni doesn’t know about yet.

Surname: Greenstein
  • Abraham Greenstein married first cousin three times removed, Rebekka Kroovand. (They were married in New York, and I am not sure where he immigrated from.) If I can confirm he came from the vicinity of Čekiškė, I'll research further to see if he is related to Lewis Greenstein.
Surname: Trotchky
  • No known relatives. Just a small note that Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, was born in Bereslavka, Ukraine about 1200 km (745 miles) from Čekiškė. His surname at birth was Bronstein. He changed his surname to Trotsky after the surname of a Siberian prison warden.
The linked website at the beginning of this post has some great pictures from inside the Čekiškė synagogue I posted about a few years ago.

Note: Senator Sanders was born in Brooklyn, NY and later moved to Burlington. He is not a descendant of the Burlington Chai Adam founders. Alas.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Mabel Fulkerson is Hit by a Car - November 1961

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I’m sharing the transcription of three newspaper articles concerning my wife's great grandmother, Mabel (Fulkerson) Gober (1901-1991). In November of 1961 she was hit by a car, and she remained in the hospital until February of 1962.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, 26 Nov 1961, Page 12 

Mrs. Robert L Gober, 60 years old, suffered fractures of the jaw, ribs and right hip last night when she was struck by an automobile in front of her home, 4111 Jennings Road, Pine Lawn. 

The driver of the automobile, Harry B. Frye, 9834 Colony drive, Bellefontaine Neighbors, said he was driving south in Jennings road when Mrs. Gober stepped into the path of his car from between two cars which were stoped in the northbound lane. She was taken to St. Louis County Hospital. 

Daily Standard, Sikeston, Missouri, 07 Dec 1961, page 3 

Word was received Wednesday from Mrs. Mabel Gober, a patient in St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Louis, that she is still on the Improving List. Mrs. Gober’s room number is 5109. She is a sister of Mrs. Ellis Alcorn, Sikeston; Mrs. Virgie Williams of Sikeston, who is spending the winter in Memphis; and Mrs. John Healy of Dexter. 

Daily Standard, Sikeston, Missouri, 08 Feb 1962, page 6 

Mrs. Ellis Acorn reports that her sister, Mrs. Mabel Gober of St. Louis who was struck by a car in St. Louis, November 25, was released from the St. Luke Hospital, this past Sunday. Mrs. Gober is now able to be around in a walker and wishes to thank all friends and relatives who were so kind and thoughtful doing her stay in the hospital.


I was already aware of the names of Mabel's brothers-in-law so the traditional naming format wasn't particularly frustrating. If I hadn't been, identifying which sister married which man could be my next challenge. Julia Fulkerson married Virgil Williams, Wrista Lou Fulkerson married Ellis Alcorn. Bertha Priscilla Fulkerson married John Healy.

I doubt a newspaper today would print the hospital room someone was staying in. It appears after being taken to St. Louis County Hospital (a 200-bed facility that opened in 1929 and closed in 1986), she was later transferred to St. Luke's Hospital for her recuperation.