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This fascinating story of a San Francisco Jewish family covers subjects including immigration to the United States, the Gold Rush, the Great Earthquake and Fire, and loss of loved ones in the Holocaust. This family history was written by Ted and Lee Samuel, well-known San Francisco educators. It offers, in particular, a fascinating glimpse of the Gold Rush era, and early San Francisco.


This is the second edition of our Samuel Family Saga. Since our first edition, we have received many additions, corrections, pictures and updates from many of you, for which we are very grateful. Special thanks go to Barbara and Mort Simon, both of whom have since passed away, for sending us their research in Nevada City, and starting us on this project. Thanks to Jane Light for keeping Uncle Benno's papers, and to Frank Marcus for copying and sending them to us. Frank, the family historian, has not forgotten anything since he was two years old, and has regaled us with wonderful stories about Janowitz, Breslau, Berlin, Switzerland and New York, both on the phone and in person. We are very grateful for his continuing support and input. Thanks too, to Michael Brenner, of the New York Genealogical Society for providing so much information on the Rosenberg/Marcus families and for pictures from present day Janowitz. Our gratitude goes to Eva Ellis for bringing us her mother's wonderful photo album of Janowitz. Many, many thanks to all of you for having sent family photographs, news, biographies, updates and wonderful letters of support. We have appreciated everything and hope you will continue to be in touch. Our periodic newsletters depend on your continuing messages. Many of you have also offered suggestions, date corrections and further information for this updated version of our saga. We appreciate your input and hope you'll continue.

Since this genealogy report is not a Ph. D. thesis, we have not footnoted anything. We have included a bibliography, so you can see some of the places we got our information. We have tried to credit oral and written information from Uncle Benno's notes or from the Nevada City files in the text. We are grateful for the existence of the wonderful Sutro Genealogical library, which is located right near our home, and for the use of the libraries at San Francisco State University, the Main Library in San Francisco and the historical library in Sacramento.

Most of all, we again dedicate this humble book to Uncle Benno Samuel, our family's savior, who not only was responsible for bringing many of the Samuel-Steinitz family to America in their hour of need, but who also supplied us with the initial and major material to start this whole process in motion, and saved us years of research. We hope that in the future, another "twig" on the family tree will carry on, and find the work as fascinating as we have. To learn the story of one Jewish family, is to learn the history of the Jewish People.

Written with love, Fall, 1996
Ted Samuel, son of Saul, grandson of Wolff Schmul

Lee Samuel

Lynchpin of the Samuel family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the legendary, but childless, "Uncle Benno." Perhaps because in his childhood, all of his siblings but one sister had moved to California, he felt the missing elements of his large family, or absorbed the feelings of loss of his parents, but by the time he was eight or nine years old, he was already attempting to write a family tree in his bible. By the time he was 17, he joined the family in California in 1879. In the spirit of adventure, he designated himself "Bennie Carlos" in the San Francisco directory. From the moment he arrived, he lived with his older brother, Moses, and his family. Moses, 14 years his senior, was a surrogate father to Benno, who adored Moses and all of his family. Despite becoming very wealthy in his own right, Benno continued to live with Moses and Sarah Samuel until they moved to New York in 1904. When Moses died in 1919, Benno's notes read, "It was the end of life and love to me." Benno also was close to the rest of his California family. He mentioned that his half-sister, Lena Samuel Simon died, "in her brother Benno's arms." He referred to Lena's son, Joseph as "Joseffy," and always remembered Joseph's son, Mort Simon, with presents.

When Benno moved to New York, in 1905, he enjoyed all of the culture that city afforded. He was particularly fond of music. Several nephews and grand nephews remembered that he took them to concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera for free. He just went to the box office and was given a ticket. Stanley Samuel reports that Benno also used an alias of "Count de Mornais" or "Monnai," a play on the word "money," and "B. Carton Sevilloni." He claimed to have sung with the San Francisco opera and to have been a music critic for one of the New York newspapers. His influence on the younger generation's love of the arts was great.

Benno was always the focal point of the family n New York, and sponsored the immigration of 22 family members from Berlin to America. Everyone was expected to congregate at Benno's New York apartment. Benno always loved the family, but he was particularly close to two of his nephews: Moses's son, Stanley, who died tragically at 18, and Moritz's son, Freddie, who lived with Benno when he came to America, and changed his name from Steinitz back to Samuel, to have the same name as Benno.

Benno was so interested in his family, that in the 1920's, he hired a professional genealogist, and even wrote his nephew, Leo, in Berlin, for information about the family. Those who have seen the professional genealogical report said it was quite unbelievable and meant only to flatter Benno, who called himself a Spanish duke. Nevertheless, Benno continued keeping up notes of the family, and since he knew personally Samuel Schmul Samuel, we may consider his notes from that time on as fairly accurate. Benno was quite a wealthy man, not only from the business in California and New York, but also because he, Moses, and several other men had obtained 640 acres as a gift because they were "right of way" agents for the Railroad. The land was in the Kettleman Hills, which then was empty desert, but now is farmland near the Interstate Highway #5. Lo and behold, in the middle of the Depression, when Benno was financially pressed, oil speculators discovered black gold, far more valuable than the gold the family originally tried to get in Grass Valley. Many legends grew up around Benno; some, we suspect, he fostered himself. Bernard Samuel told the story that Benno did not move directly to New York, but sailed west to Japan, China, India and Europe, where he studied art and music, and then moved to New York. Several people remember that Benno told them he was a critic for the New York Sun under a pen name.

In New York, Benno had a housekeeper, Mrs. Sutton, whose husband had died in the Spanish-American War. Benno always called her "Sutton." She rarely spoke when the family was around, but she was a great comfort to him in his old age. In his last years, Uncle Benno suffered from diabetes, and three days before he died, the doctors fruitlessly amputated his leg. Benno died on April 2, 1942, in his eighty-first year.


In Uncle Benno's notes, we find the first chart in Bennos's handwriting. You can see that the notes are scattered, and hundreds of years are missing. The second chart indicates the notes sent in German in Uncle Leo's handwriting. We assume that Benno wrote to Leo in Janowitz for additional information. Leo's chart seems somewhat more historically accurate. Since Jews were thrown out of England in 1290 and did not return legally until Cromwell's time in 1653, it is, therefore, not likely that anyone in the family moved to England in 1476. Even the few Jews who lived in England in Queen Elizabeth's time were Conversos and usually limited to a few "needed" professions, such as physician or importer. We also note that in the two versions, the name Luria seems to be consistent, as does the name Zamora, Spain, but the Portuguese towns, Escolboa in Benno's memory, and Escolara in Leo's memory, do not appear either on modern or historical maps that we have found.

The name Luria originates in Italy, from the Italian town of Loria. If the family came from Spain/Portugal, it is more likely that they carried the name of a town in the Iberian Peninsula. The town of Leiria, in Portugal, is known to have had a Jewish and Converso (New Christian) population. Escolara and Escolboa may have been handed down orally in the family and, therefore, could easily have gotten mixed up. The town Alcobaça is near the town of Leiria, Portugal, and both are in the province of Estramadura. Both Alcobaça and Estramadura may have sounded like Escolboa or Escolara to Benno or Leo, who may have heard the family stories orally as children. Moreover, the Spanish town of Zamora lies near the Portuguese border on a river that flows into Portugal.

It is therefore possible that the family fled Zamora in 1492, to Leiria in Portugal, since the king of Portugal was welcoming Jews fleeing from the Spanish Inquisition at that time (and charging by the head for the privilege of crossing the border). Portugal expelled the Jews in 1496-97, but allowed "New Christians" to remain with a promise not to inquire into their religious practices for twenty years. Thereafter, Crypto-Jews had periodic good and bad years, depending on the whims and political or financial needs of the Portuguese kings. Especially bad years with the Portuguese inquisition were 1704-13; 1724-33; 1734-43; 1750-59. The last bad patch was exacerbated by the terrible earthquake of 1750 in Lisbon. During those years, Portuguese Conversos, secret or Crypto-Jews, fled to Holland and England, both Protestant countries, where it was safer to come out of the closet as practicing Jews than to remain as pretended Catholics. Thus Uncle Benno's and Uncle Leo's stories may have had some truth. Both uncles agreed on the arrival of the family (in the person of Salomon ben Jacob ha Cohen, "der Englander") in Prussia.

It is curious that neither Benno nor Leo bothered to mention that the family are Cohanim, members of the priestly clan descended from the biblical Aaron, brother of Moses, a fact which is noted on the tomb of Samuel Schmul Samuel.


We may ask ourselves why Salomon ben Jacob Ha Cohen (Luria or Leiria?) moved from England, a comparatively safe place, to Prussia via Holland. We can assume that if he were financially successful, he would have remained in England. However, not all the Sephardim who came to England became rich. Far from it. As a matter of fact, British records show evidence that the London Sephardic Jewish Community wrote a letter to the Dutch Community in the 1750's, complaining that so many impoverished Jews were coming over from Portugal that the London Jewish Community could not support them, so the Dutch should send no more Jews. Many of these needy Sephardim were given one way passage to Holland, a Protestant country, and thus safe for Jews.

Furthermore, between 1792 and 1795, during the Napoleonic period, Poland ceased to exist as a country and was divided amongst Austria, Russia and Prussia. Prussia was also a "safe" predominantly Protestant country. Therefore, it is possible that Salomon, after leaving England for Holland, continued his search for a safe place to make a living, and in 1801, immigrated to a part of formerly Polish Prussia, being newly settled by Protestant German-speaking Prussian landowners, beginning to indulge in foreign trade and commerce and in need of a middle class.

Salomon ben Jacob Ha Cohen arrived in the town of Schocken, Prussia (now Skoki, Poland) in 1801, speaking English, and thus became known by the townspeople as "der Englander," the Englishman. We know from both Bennos's and Leo's records, which coincide now, that he married HINDA KEMNER, and had four sons, Isaac, Machol, Aron, and Samuel. In 1833, following the lead of Napoleon in France, Prussia decided to make citizens of the Jews in its realm.... the easier to count and tax them, my dear. By this time, the family had moved to the town of Janowitz (Janowiec) county Bromberg, province Posen, West Prussia. When, in 1833, Prussia required that Jews take last names and register as citizens, some took names of their profession (Kaufman=merchant) some of personal characteristics (Weiss/Schwartz=Black/White) some took names of the towns they lived in, and some took their parent's first names as last names. Since Salomon was known in German as "der Englander," he and one of hs sons took Englander as their last names. Another son took the name of Salomon, his father's first name, another, for reasons unknown, took the name Bremler, and the fourth took his first name and used it as a last name as well, with a middle name Schmul, which was Samuel in Hebrew. Thus we have four brothers who became ISAAC BREMLER, ARON ENGLANDER, MACHOL SALOMON, and SAMUEL SCHMUL SAMUEL.

SAMUEL SCHMUL SAMUEL, his two wives and seven children, are the progenitors of the Samuel family today. (1996)


Samuel ben Salomon HaCohen was born in Schoken, Posen, Prussia, in 1808. In 1833, he took the name SAMUEL SCHMUL SAMUEL. We don't know anything about him until 1835, when he already seems to have moved to Janowitz and married SARA SCHWERZEWSKI. They had two children, LENA, born in 1837, and AARON, born in 1839. Unfortunately, Sara died in 1840, leaving Samuel Schmul Samuel with two small children. Of course, he needed someone to care for his children, and probably through a matchmaker, as was the custom, he found HÄNNCHEN ROSENBERG MOSES, a widow with twin daughters, BENA & CHAYA. (Clara) They married in 1842, and together had five more children: WOLFF (1844) MOSES (1847) CASPER (1849) AUGUSTA (1855) and BENNO (1862) Benno was named Benno Carl, after Hännchen's twin daughters who had died a few years earlier at ages 18.

Family stories, related by Aunt Hedwig to her son Frank Marcus, tell us the Samuel had a small store, but spent most of his time studying, so that his wife, Hännchen kept the store most of the time, when she wasn't giving birth. It was Hännchen who was the strong one and kept her children in line. We do not know whether they were prosperous, but judging from the picture of Hännchen in all her mid 1890's bustled finery, they did not seem to be poor. The couple brought up their children and saw all of them go to California, one by one, except for their daughter, Augusta, who remained in Janowitz and married there. Their son Wolff returned to Janowitz from California in 1870, purportedly with $7000 in his pocket. on his return to Janowitz, Wolff changed his name to WOLFF SCHMUL. That Hännchen loved her husband is evident from Benno's quote from Samuel Schmul Samuel's tombstone, on which, after 42 years of marriage, Hännchen had inscribed in German, "Here lies my unforgettable husband and our dear father and grandfather... Samuel Schmul, at the age of 76 years and 12 days." Samuel died June 3, 1884 at 2 am. His wife, Hännchen, lived on until the last day of 1903 and was buried in Janowitz. She never spoke of her husband's three brothers, so nothing is known of them.


Hännchen Rosenberg was born in Margorin, Posen, Prussia on November 3, 1818, the daughter of Moses and Hilda Braab Rosenberg, both probably Ashkenazim. Hännchen had a sister, Liebchen, who married Philip Fabush. We know no more of that line.

However, Hännchen had a brother, Eliazar, who married Chava Marcus and had three sons, Marcus, Morris (known in California as Pocky) Wolf, and a daughter, Hulda. The three sons immigrated to California during the Gold Rush in the late 1850's, since by 1865, they were already citizens and witnessed the citizenship of their cousins, Wolff and Moses Samuel. As you can see from the charts on the succeeding pages, Marcus, and his wife Susie Baruch had two daughters, Florine and Irma. Florine had no children. Irma Rosenberg Breitstein had two daughters, Susan, who married Mr. Carr, and Francis, who married Donald Starin. No more is known of these two. Wolf Rosenberg married Esther Baruch and had two children, a son, Lawrence, who did not marry, and a daughter Inez, who married William Rothschild. Inez's son, Leonard Rothschild, went to school with Saul Samuel's son, Ted. Leonard married Mildred Levy and had two children. Leonard Rothschild, Jr. married Irene Godell, and had four children: Diana, Leah, Amalia and Daniel. Joanne Rothschild married Bruce Friedman, and had two children, David and Sarah Friedman. Leonard 's brother, Edward Rothschild, married Jane Schoenfeld and had two children: William Rothschild,, who married Debra, and Katherine Ann Rothschild, who married Joseph Gutierez, and had four children: Spencer, Paige, Caroline and Leslie.

Morris, "Pocky" Rosenberg married Rosa Hartman, who was born in Walla Walla, Washington. Her parents had taken the Oregon Trail west by covered wagon. Rosa's father was a chef who later moved to Oakland and managed the Crellin Hotel. A branch of this family are the Newmans who were involved with Uncle Moses Samuel in business in the Gold Country. Pocky sold supplies to the miners and founded Rosenberg Brothers emporium in Nevada City, where he became very successful. You can still see in Nevada City, the house that Pocky built before he moved to San Francisco in 1904, where he lived as a wealthy gentleman. All three Rosenberg brothers and their families came to San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century and invested their money in stock and real estate. Later you will see how Pocky's daughter, Claire, married her second cousin, Paul Samuel, son of Wolff. Moreover, it probably was to their Rosenberg cousins that Hännchen Samuel's children first came to California, so the Rosenbergs were the impetus for the pioneers of the Samuel family in California.

Of the Rosenberg's daughter Hulda, we have very complete information, thanks to Michael Brenner, who has done research in depth on this family. Hulda was born in 1850. the youngest child of Eliazar and Chava (also known as Hännchen) Braab. Hulda married Salomon Marcus in Janowitz. They moved to Berlin in 1922. Hulda & Salomon had six children: Leo, (1880) Gertrude, (1882, Betty, (1883) Eugenia (1886) Elsa, (1887) and Max (1888). Salomon (Zolman) died in 1930, and Hulda died in 1938, both in Berlin.

Leo Marcus moved to California by 1897 and changed his last name to Marcum. He married Helen Schweitzer, in 1890 and lived in Hollister, California, where he owned a department store. They had one daughter, Helen Marcum. They moved to San Francisco, where Helen met and married Dr. Morton Nahman, who was Saul and Sylvia's doctor for many years. Morton and Helen had two daughters: Lee Ann Nahman married Paul Steiner and has two children, Lori and Jodie Steiner. Victoria (Vicki) Nahman married Barry Burstein and has two children, Jeffrey and Jamie Burstein.

Gertrude Marcus married Max (Slotnitzki) Slaton. They had one son, Egon Slaton, who married Lalo, and had two children. Tragically, Egon and Lalo died when their children were young, so their children, Steven Scheidt and Peter Slaton were adopted by two separate families.

Betty Marcus married Gustav Kirsch, who died in the Flu epidemic in 1922, and left Betty with two sons, Walter Kirsch and Lawrence Kirsch. Both were born in Guatamala, where their father was in business, but moved back to Janowitz, and later to Berlin and New York. Larry Kirsch is a regular telephone correspondent, and remembers growing up in Janowitz very well. He supplied us with a map of Janowitz, drawn from memory. Walter died in 1969, but Larry, at this date, is a hale and hearty 89. He remembers that his family name was originally Opel, and they had come from Spain.

Elsa Marcus married Jakob Geher, and died in the flu epidemic of 1918-22 in Austria, as did her only child, Herta.

Thus, the Rosenberg family is very much tied to the Samuel family


Now we revert to the serpentine interrelationships of our collateral cousins, the Flanters, whose complicated intermarriages makes us wonder why all of us don't have two heads! Thanks to the late Henry (Heinz) Flanter, of Capetown, South Africa, we are able to document the amazing genealogy that follows.

The story begins with Michael Flanter, (1802-1847) of Schocken and Janowitz, who married three times. We can see why there was no need for divorce in those days. People married, had children, one spouse died, they married another widowed person with children, and together had more children, so that the children of a typical family in those days, were "his, hers and ours."

We know nothing of the first wife, except that she had two daughters, Taube, who married a man named Schwalbe, and Meite (Meta) whether from this marriage or not, we do not know. However, his second wife was the widow Feine Pincus (1789-1838) who brought into the marriage one son, Wolf Pincus, who was the father of "The Pincus Girls." (see the Wolff Samuel, Aaron Samuel, and Abramson lines) Together, they had three children: Israel, known as Julius, (1833) Hanna, known as Jenny, and Jacob (1838-1884). Feine died in childbirth in 1838, and Michael Flanter married for the third time, the widow Hännchen Fraustaedter, ( born 1820) From her previous marriage, Hännchen brought into this marriage three children: Heyman Fraustaedter, Rosalie Theresa Fraustaedter and Helene Fraustaedter. So picture this:In this family were Wolf Pincus, son of second wife, and half brother to Julius, Jenny and Jacob Flanter, children of Michael and his second wife, all of whom were step brothers and sisters to Heyman, Rosalie and Helena Fraustaedter.

Now comes the weird part. Jenny (Hanna or Hännchen) Flanter, daughter of Michael and his second wife, Feine, married twice. The first time, she married her stepbrother, Heyman Fraustaedter, and had one child, Jetka Fraustaedter. Jetka married Joseph Mannheim, had a daughter, Fanny, who married Leo (Schmul) Steinitz, and were parents of Frances, Walter and Helen Steinitz.

After being widowed, Jenny married another step brother, (was this woman desperate or what!) Wolf Pincus, who was the son of Michael's second wife from her first marriage. Wolf and Jenny were the parents of the "Pincus Girls" (see above).

Jenny's brother, Israel (Julius) married Minna Friedenthal, but we have no record of any children of this marriage. Her younger brother, Jacob (1838-1884) married Eva Hirsch (1839-1916) and had six children: Roza (1864-1938) who married Julius Samuel and had no issue; Michael (1867-1940) who married Meta Oppenheim; Hedwig (1868-194?) who died in Theresienstadt concentration camp; Franziska (1870-1893) ; Emma, born in 1872 and died young; and Julius (1879-194?) who also died in Theresienstadt.

Thus the present generation of Flanters were all descended from Michael Flanter and Meta Oppenheim. Bernhard or Bernard, (1905-1984) married Ruth Braunschweig. He had no children, but had a very exciting life. When World War II broke out, Bernard was in Paris working in an electrical factory, He joined the French army and was stationed in Algeria. He returned to Paris during the war, was taken by the Germans and, with his first wife, was put on a train heading East along with many other Jews. Somehow, Bernard and his first wife escaped and managed to reach the abandoned factory where he had worked, and where they hid out until the end of the war. The Jewish owner, who had been in Switzerland, returned to re-open the business, and Bernard's first wife divorced him and married the factory owner! When Frank Marcus went to Europe in 1946, he met Bernard, who was working as a driver for the U. S. army. Frank wanted Bernard to be a sales rep for his company, but there wasn't enough business in war-torn France, so Bernard, who was married to his second wife, Ruth, eventually opened a small electrical shop. He died in Paris in 1984. Frank and Harriet Marcus kept in touch with Bernard during their yearly travels to Europe.

Michael and Meta's second child, Karl Elias, moved to New York, married Agnes and had three children: Vera Marguerite, (1947) who married someone named Rappoport; Michael Karl Flanter, who married Gail Lucas, and had one son, Michael Karl Flanter, Jr.; and Carol Maureen Flanter.

Michael and Meta's third child, Henry Flanter, (1914-1994) went to South Africa and married Ruth Ginsburg. They had two children, a son, Peter, who is a computer technician living in Johannesburg, and a daughter, Carol, a physical therapist, with two grown children, living in Amsterdam. We have received lovely letters from Ruth Flanter in Tokai, a suburb of Capetown, since Henry died.

Incidentally, Michael Flanter, Karl and Henry's father, received a letter from a Simon Marcusin 1935 stating that he had found the gravestones for the original Michael Flanter born in 1802, Hännchen Fraustaedter, born 1820, Jakob Flanter, Theresa Flanter and Helena Flanter. (Letter translation with original letterhead enclosed.) What a tragedy that now all these headstones are gone.


What must have been going through the minds of a couple of German teenagers as they peered through the Atlantic fog heading for New York from Hamburg. Wolff, 15, and Moses, 13, the two oldest sons of Samuel Schmul and Hännchen Samuel, were off on the greatest adventure of their lives! They sailed together to New York, where they were befriended by the Bloomingdale family and worked for a few months in the Bloomingdale's store. They sent letters home referring to "Tante Bloomingdale" and describing the Hudson River, frozen in winter. When the ice began to thaw, in the Spring of 1860, the boys got themselves jobs as cabin boys on a ship heading for San Francisco, around Cape Horn. This was a voyage that took all summer (winter around the horn), and they arrived in San Francisco in late Fall of 1860. The boys then had to get to the Gold Country, where their Rosenberg cousins lived. It is possible that one of the cousins even came down to The City to meet them. At any rate, they had to board a ship heading north, up San Francisco Bay, to the "Delta" to Sacramento, a big port in those days, situated on a river leading into the bay. From Sacramento, they had to take a stage coach to Nevada City, which meant going through the valley and heading up into the foothills, covered with trees. In summer, this trip might take only a few days, but in winter, during rainy season, the coaches were mired in mud and passengers had to get out constantly to help push the coaches out. The trip could take a month or more. Wolff and Moses knew they were getting closer to the Gold Country because all the trees disappeared, and the hills were brown and barren. The Empire Mine cut down all the trees within miles to burn for fuel for its heavy mining equipment, and what was not burned was used for building. Finally, in November, 1860, Wolff and Moses arrived in the twin cities of the Gold Rush, Nevada City, and Grass Valley, four miles apart, but both bustling with activity.

The boys quickly found lodgings, Moses in a boarding house and Wolff in a room above the Union Restaurant on Main Street. Moses began to work for H. Levy as a clerk in his store, and Wolff worked as a peddler, going into the mining camps with a pack on his back to sell supplies to miners who couldn't get into town.

Within the next decade, the boys were joined by their half-sister, Lena, her husband, Meyer Simon, and their son, Samuel Simon, who had been born in New York. Their half-brother, Aaron Samuel also came, as well as their brother Casper. Lena, seven years older than Wolff, married, and a mother, was quite settled with her husband, Meyer, and her family, but Wolff, Moses, Aaron and Casper were young, very young, single and free in the wild, wild West! What Larks!!

One wonders why so many of the Samuel children left home. Historically, after the 1848 revolutions, Prussia clamped down on all its citizens, and thousands of people from this area came to America between 1849 and 1860, both to avoid the harsh government and the possibility of being drafted into the king's army. The Samuel children might have been part of this migration. In addition, the lure of gold, discovered in 1849, brought thousands of Euroopean immigrants to California, crossing the Atlantic, and then either going around the Horn or traveling to Panama, which they crossed by foot or train, and taking another ship to San Francisco.

However, there is usually more than one reason that people do the things they do. Since both Wolff and Lena were noted for their terrible tempers, we might speculate that their father or mother also had this trait; thus, their children might also have left just to get out of the house, a fairly common impetus for teenagers, which fit in nicely with the gold rush and the general migration from Prussia at the time.


Grass Valley was indeed the "Wild, Wild West!" As we looked through the census records of 1870, we found that almost everyone in town was under 30 except Lena and Meyer Simon. There were few rules, fewer women, except for those, like Lena, who came with their husbands, or as mail order or picture book brides to marry men they had never seen, or, more probably, the "Ladies of the Evening," to whom a small monument now stands in Nevada City. By 1860, when the Samuel boys arrived ten years after the Gold Rush had begun, there were law courts, judges, a county seat in Nevada City, and large Victorian homes built of wood, some of which were owned by those who had come early and done well, and some used as boarding houses. The town had many of the "amenities" they had left in Janowitz. Both boys got jobs with their cousins right away; Wolff as a peddler carrying either on mule back or his own back, goods to the miners up in the actual gold fields, and Moses as a stock boy and salesman in M. Levy's store. The first records we found began in 1865 when Wolf (sic) Samuel received his U. S. Citizenship on August 17, 1865, as cited in the minutes of the County Court in Nevada He did not, however, register to vote. Also, we saw in 1865 records, the first of many transactions in quartz mines (gold is found in quartz) made by Moses Samuel, who sold his interest in a mine called "Little Anna" for one dollar in gold. By 1867, Moses became a U. S. citizen at the county court in Nevada City. He also sold, with a large group of other men, interests in two other quartz mines, one for ten dollars. Moses had also risen to assume the lease of his boss's store, which became "M. Samuel and H. Levy, Tobacconist," and sold the right to live in two buildings behind the store for as long as he held the lease. According to the 1867 Grass Valley directory at the Nevada City Historical Society, M. Samuel, of H. Levy & Co., business at 91 Main Street, Tobacconists, resided on Church Street; W. Samuel (dry goods) boarded at the Union Restaurant, and Aaron Samuel, (dry goods) boarded at the Pacific Hotel. Both the Union Restaurant and the Pacific Hotel have been destroyed to put up a freeway, but the building across the street, according to a Grass Valley resident, housed a brothel, and the present owner, an auto mechanic, stores his equipment in the cribs on the second floor. We also found, that in 1867, Wolf Samuel, as part of a large group of investors, sold his interest in a quartz mine for $20 in gold. There was only one record of Wolf investing in anything in the area, but Moses was quite a high flyer, and we discovered him selling quartz mine interests in 1869 and in January, 1870, just before he left. Also in 1869, Moses bought 160 acres in Nevada City for $205 in gold.

By 1869, Aaron got his citizenship papers at the age of 29, and registered to vote the next day. Casper got his citizenship papers on the same day and also registered to vote. Both had the same witnessses, C. Nathan and M. Rosenberg, but what is amusing is that in the section in which the new citizen must abjure allegiance to his former ruler, instead of the King of Prussia, the ruler was listed as Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland! Obviously the county clerk had simply filled out in advance hundreds of forms listing Victoria, because so many Irishmen and Cornishmen came to work in the Empire Mine at that time. Both Casper and Aaron were removed from the voting register in 1877 because they had left Nevada County.

According to the 1870 census, Moses, Aaron, Casper, Wolf, Lena and Meyer Simon, and three Rosenberg boys were listed as living in the Grass Valley-Nevada City area. Lena and Meyer were listed as "Seiman" by the census taker; Lena was 32, and Meyer was 30. They were not citizens, but had a son Samuel, 4-years-old, who was born in New York. Thus, Lena and Meyer must have arrived in New York during the Civil War, and as soon as the war was over, went to California. Wolf (sic) was listed as 26, a peddler with $1000 in cash. Moses, 24, was listed as "retail liquor and tobacco" with a net worth of $4000. Casper was listed as 22, a clerk in a store, with no financial worth declared. Three Rosenberg boys were also listed: Wolf, 18, a clerk in a store, worth $200; and two M. Rosenbergs, ages 25 and 23 listed as dry goods dealers, with net worth of $4000, big money in those days. By 1871, however, the Grass Valley City directory lists only Casper, a peddler, and Morris Rosenberg (Rosenberg brothers on Commercial St. in Nevada City) with a residence at 524 East Broad St., Nevada City. Therefore, Casper stayed in Grass Valley, the Rosenbergs moved to Nevada City, Moses moved to San Francisco, and Wolf returned to Janowitz, (now part of a united Germany) where he took up German citizenship as "Wolff Schmul." Lena and Meyer Simon moved to North Bloomfield, a little farther north of Nevada City, and Aaron was probably on his way to Janowitz to find a bride and return with her to Wheatland, in the Sacramento Delta area.

We found a number of transactions made by Casper in 1875 and 1876, buying and selling quartz claims with large groups for $100 each. Casper also sold land for $250 to three partners in 1876, so he was wheeling and dealing. By 1878, only Lena and Meyer were left in the Gold Country, and only Meyer Simon and Moses Samuel attended the 1878 reunion in Grass Valley, held by the Nevada County Reunion Association.

In that book, Moses stated that he arrived in Grass Valley on November 15, 1860, and left for San Francisco on January 5, 1870. Meyer Simon stated that he and Lena arrived in Grass Valley in May 1870, from New York, and resided in North Bloomfield in 1878. In 1883, Lena and Meyer Simon sold a store in North Bloomfield to Aaron Samuel and a partner, and bought another store in 1884, also in North Bloomfield. By 1887, the only Samuel left in the Gold Country was Aaron. In 1884, he and a partner bought 160 acres of mining land for $110, in North Bloomfield, and bought a store in North Bloomfield in 1887 for $8531, with $3000 down, and the rest in monthly installments. Up until then, Aaron and his family had been living in the Wheatland area.

Thus, the Samuel family arrived just after the height of the gold rush prosperity in 1860, and left within ten years as the mines petered out. The Simons and Aaron Samuel went up to North Bloomfield, which was in the heart of the Malakoff diggings, which were hydraulically mined for some 20 years until the hydraulic mining was stopped because of its damage to the environment.

Nevertheless, we can imagine that with such a young population, mostly single men, and wild, wild women, bars everywhere, gambling on gold mines as well a cards and anything else, a good time was had by all. The Jewish Community was well represented by names still famous in San Francisco. The B'nai Brith and the Barzel Shel Zahav organizations gave dances, advertising them in the newspaper or by poster. The community organized a Chevra Kedisha and had a cemetery, which still exists. They had a Torah, and held services on the high holy days, but not at any other time. The book, The Jews in the California Gold Rush, by Robert E. Levinson, published by KTAV, is one of the best about this period. Most of the wholesalers, dry goods and tobacco and liquor stores were owned by Jews who dealt with suppliers that shipped from San Francisco by pack mule train. Inclement weather, bandits and other transport problems constantly beset them. Many law suits filed in the county courthouse were matters dealing with the failure to pay wholesalers or the failure of wholesalers to ship ordered goods. The Samuel boys were often parties to these suits. Transportation to and from the Mother Lode was slow and expensive, and obtaining food and shelter was costly and difficult. As more agriculture developed, the population increased, local government arose, and merchandizers had to change their inventory with the times. Stores became more specialized rather than general; groceries only, or liquor and tobacco only, etc. Later, as the mines began to peter out, so that only one big mine remained, the population dropped. Fires, and business failures increased, and the Jewish population got out of the gold country, moving to San Francisco or other parts of the west, and no Jews have replaced them. However, the gold rush was one of the most colorful periods of American history, and the Jewish community and the Samuel family were very much a part of it.


Meanwhile, back in Janowitz, Samuel Schmul Samuel, who by 1869 was 61 years old, his wife Hannah, or Hännchen, as she was called, remained with only their daughter, Augusta, 14, and their youngest son, Benno, 7. Benno had already begun a family tree even at that young age. Hännchen was no stranger to early death and tragedy. She had lost her first husband, Marcus Moses, who died young, and she had lost her twin daughters, Bina and Chaya (Clara) Moses, who died at 18. Now, her three oldest sons, Wolff, Moses and Casper, and her step children, Lena and Aaron, were in far away California. Not only were her own children gone, but even her brother Eliazer's three sons, Morris, Marcus and Wolf Rosenberg, and daughter, Hulda Marcus, were in California. She or Sammy could die at any time, she must have thought, in her grief and loneliness."Who will say Kaddish for us?" she wailed in a letter to her sons begging at least one of them to come home.

Wolff, the oldest, was the one who decided to go back to Janowitz, traveling overland by way of Acapulco and Vera Cruz, Mexico, and thence to Hamburg by boat. Frank Marcus says he had $7000 with him. We can only speculate why Wolff decided to return. Did Hännchen specifically ask for her oldest son to return? Was Wolff the closest to his parents? We remember that in later life, when he got out of control, only Hännchen could calm Wolff down. Was Wolff not having as good a time as his brothers were? Was he not making as much money? We see from the 1870 census in Grass Valley that Moses listed his net worth as $4000 as store owner, while Wolff listed himself as a peddler worth only $1000. Even though both probably lied, the census implies that Moses was more successful than his older brother. Moreover, we find tht Moses was buying and selling quartz mines constantly, while Wolff only speculated once. Perhaps Wolff did not have the "wild west" personality; perhaps he was too much the "yekke" to be happy in California. Whatever the reason, Hännchen persuaded Wolff to make the fateful decision to return to Janowitz, again demonstrating how the decisions we make in our youth can affect us, our children and our children's children. What if Wolff had stayed in California? Where would you be living now?


Lena Samuel, first child of Samuel Schmul Samuel and his first wife, Sara, was born in Janowitz in 1837. Her mother died in 1840, and her father married the widow Hännchen Rosenberg Moses in 1842. Thus the only mother Lena remembered was Hännchen. According to Benno's notes, Lena married Meyer Simon in 1864 in Janowitz, and their first son, Samuel, was born a year later in New York, so they must have left Janowitz right after they were married. Since they arrived in New York while the Civil War was still going on, they must have started traveling to California soon after the war. We do not know by which method they traveled. Thanks to the late Barbara Bowles Simon for the following research:

By 1870, Lena and Meyer and little Samuel were living in North Bloomfield, where the two other boys were born, Isidor in 1870, and Joseph in August, 1881. In 1875, Meyer became a U. S. citizen. His papers are on file at the Nevada County courthouse. From 1870 until 1883, Lena and Meyer owned the general store and livery stable in North Bloomfield. They also owned several lodging houses for the miners working on the Malakoff Diggings, which utilized hydraulic mining to get gold. The water runoff from this type of mining destroyed the fields downstream from the Yuba River, and the method was outlawed beginning in 1884. Meyer and Lena sold out at a good profit before the law passed, and moved to San Francisco.

From 1884 to 1887, they lived at 1619 1/2 Geary Street and were partners in a millinery import business at 21-23 Sutter Street. In 1887-1888, they lived at 1722 O'Farrell Street and owned M. Simon & Co., still millinery, in partnership with Lena's brother, Aaron Samuel. In 1888, we have Isidor Simon, their son, working for Moses Samuel and William Newman in their jewelry company. Uncle Benno was also a salesman for this company.

From 1890 through 1895, Barbara lost track of the family, for they didn't appear in the Census records or the City Directory for that period. She had the vague impression that they lived in or around the Tracy area, but she was unable to find them.

In 1896, they were living at 1425 Webster Street, and in 1897, Meyer was a salesman for Samuel Brothers wholesale wine and liquors, the family business run by his brothers-in-law, Moses and Benno. At the same time, Lena was a partner in M. Simon & Co., at 52 3rd Street. Her son, Isidor, was the owner. In 1904, Isidor and Joseph opened Simon Wine Company, with Lena as partner. Both Isidor and Joseph had worked for the Samuel Brothers wine and liquor company and had doubtless learned the business there.

By the time Lena died, in 1908, Benno had already moved back to New York, but he must have traveled back and forth to San Francisco often, for Benno wrote that Lena died, "In her brother Benno's arms." Meyer had died the previous year. Meyer, Lena and their children were buried in Hills of Eternity cemetery, owned by Congregation Shearith Israel, founded by Polish Jews in 1849-50.

Of their three sons, Samuel, the oldest, never married, and Isidor married Esther Nathan but had no children. Their youngest son, Joseph, or "Joseffy" as Benno called him, married Celia Celler in 1906, a month before the earthquake. Celia told her daughter-in-law, Barbara, that Lena was considered a termagant, but, "I always got along with her." Barbara also reported the family story that the day after the earthquake, in 1906, the new bride, Celia, was desperately spending the day trying to dust the ashes of the fires all over the city, from her brand new furniture.

Joseph Simon was the only son of Lena to have issue. He and Celia had one son, Morton Simon, born in 1921. Mort remembered getting presents from an unknown Uncle Benno in New York for every birthday during his childhood, as well as a bar mitzvah present. Mort was a star high school athlete and won an athletic scholarship in baseball to Stanford, but because his mother was a widow by then, he had to go to work. He worked for Zellerbach Paper Company for 42 years as a salesman. His wife, Barbara, daughter of a well-known journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, was a travel agent and a teaching assistant in political science. She was active in the Democratic Party, and wrote a history of the town of Foster City, where she and Mort lived. Mort died in 1994 and Barbara in 1996.

Mort and Barbara had three children, two sons and a daughter. The oldest son, Richard, married Susan Thomas, and had two sons, Joel and Michael Simon. Richard is a Data Program Manager for Ingram Associates and the family lives in Brentwood, Tennessee. The youngest son, Mark, married Kathryn Caranlik. They have a son David, born in 1993, and an adopted son, Alexander, also born in 1993. They live in San Mateo, California, where Mark is a columnist for the Peninsula edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, with his own by-line, known as "The Insider." He is seen on occasion on local TV as a political analyst. Their daughter, Lynn Simon, married Alan Cove, and they have two children, Sabrina and Joshua. The Cove family moved to Israel and lives now in Natzrat Elit (Upper Nazareth) where Lynn, now Sarah, is a supervisor of English teachers. Her daughter, Sabrina is in high school, and son Joshua is in the Israeli Army.


Aaron Samuel, second child and first son of Samuel Schmul Samuel and his first wife, Sara, was born in 1839, and was an infant when his mother died. Thus, his father's second wife, Hännchen, was the only mother he knew. When his half-brothers, Wolff and Moses, went to California, and his sister, Lena, left for New York and later California with her husband, he must have been chomping at the bit for adventure as well, for by 1870, he was in Grass Valley, California, with Wolff, Moses, Casper and Lena, clerking in a store, and already a U. S. citizen, so he must have arrived by 1865 at least. However, when his brother Wolff returned to Janowitz and married Fanny Pincus, and since eligible Jewish women were hard to find, Aaron returned to Janowitz sometime between 1871 and 1875, and married Fanny's sister, Renate in 1875 in the town of Gnesen in Posen Province. However, Aaron did not remain in Janowitz, but took Renate back to California.

This time, he and Renate didn't settle in Grass Valley, but in the Sacramento Delta region in the town of Wheatland, where he had a store, supplying the area which was a stopover when people sailed from San Francisco up the bay to the river towns around the Delta on the way to the gold country. Aaron and Renate had six children, but only two of those children had issue, so although Aaron and Renate were as prolific as brother Wolff and sister Fanny, they did not have as many descendants. One daughter, Bertha, married Edward Melcher. The family now lives in Los Angeles. Bertha had three children, Paul and William, who had no issue, and a daughter, Helen Melcher, born in 1909, who married Maynard Henker and had a daughter Susan Henker. Helen is still alive, but would not give further information. The family is no longer Jewish. Another daughter, Hattie Samuel, never married and died of consumption in Santa Barbara. One son, Paul, died in infancy. Mortimer Samuel married Ada Maher, and together, they bought a series of hotels in San Francisco. Ada helped a great deal in running the hotels, which were well known in their day. However, when the depression came, they lost all but one hotel, in which they lived. Mortimer died childless in 1934. Uncle Benno wrote in great detail about his illness, saying that Mortimer died from blood poisoning after surgery, so Mortimer must have been a favorite nephew of Benno as well. Mortimer was very successful in the hotel business, and Benno admired financial success. Sylvain Samuel also married but had no children. Jacob Samuel, or Jake, as he was known and lovingly remembered by all, was the closest to my family. Jake, like his father Aaron before him, was very sweet natured.

After Aaron and Renate Samuel moved to San Francisco, even with a houseful of children, they took in Renata's father, Wolf Pincus and her wastrel brother Emil, for Wolff Schmul in Janowitz, got disgusted when Wolf Pincus's business failed and Pincus's wife had died. Wolff Schmul shipped his wife Fanny's father and brother to Aaron and Renate (Fanny's sister) and Aaron and Renate took Wolf Pincus in and cared for him until he died. We also note that when brother Casper died in Chico in 1912, it was Aaron who arranged the funeral. Aaron was probably the last of the family to come to San Francisco. We know that as late as 1887, Aaron bought a store in North Bloomfield. He was also listed as a partner of sister Lena in M. Simon & Co., but that was probably merely a financial investment or loan rather than any personal involvement.

Aaron was first mentioned in the San Francisco directory in 1898, living at 2428 Market Street. Also listed as living with him was his son, Mortimer, a clerk at Samuel Bros. wine & Liquor, and his two daughters, Bertha, a stenographer for Samuel Bros., and Hattie, a bookkeeper. By 1901, Aaron was listed as a solicitor, which meant something to do with sales, and in 1903, he was also listed as a salesman. Mortimer, Aaron's son, was listed as a salesman for Max Samuel at " Herrscher-Samuel, Wholesale Wines & Liquor, Joseph Herrscher, President, Max Samuel, Vice President." By 1907, Aaron was retired, and his son Jake was listed as a collector, while Mortimer and Sylvain were both working for Samuel Wines & Liquors, now run by Paul Samuel, since Benno and Moses had moved to New York. In 1910, Jake was still listed as working for Samuel & Co., and lived with his family at 3465 20th Street. In 1912, Aaron moved to 119 Carl Street, and Jake moved to Oak Street and continued to work as a salesman with Samuel & Co., but moved to Waller Street in 1918. By 1925, Jake was a partner in Samuel & McCreadie, merchandise brokers, which meant they bought dented canned goods and resold them. In 1925, Jake and Anna also moved out to 46th Avenue which is in the Sunset District, but at the time, was nothing but sand dunes. By 1929, Jake started his own business, General Sales, in wholesale groceries, a business he ran until he retired. Meanwhile, Jake's brother, Mortimer, went from being a salesman for the Samuel family wine and liquor business to the hotel business and was listed with his wife, Ada, as running the Woodstock Hotel on Ellis Street in 1917. By 1919, it was the Hotel Turpin on Powell Street, and by 1922, he was listed as a partner in "Sutton & Samuel, Real Estate Investment Consultants" with an office on Montgomery Street (San Francisco's Wall Street) and living in Pacific Heights on Bush Street. The name Sutton was the name of Uncle Benno's long time housekeeper, so it is possible that Benno put money in the business as an investment for her. In 1925 Mortimer was listed as proprietor of the Ambassador Hotel, and in 1927, of the Manx hotel. In 1930, he owned the Manx, El Cortez and Golden State Hotels, but by 1932, he was down only to the El Cortez on Geary Street, and he died soon after.

Thus it is only through Jake and Anna Samuel's two daughters, Edna Marian and Lois, that this line continues. Edna Marian married Jay de Roy and had two children, Lynn de Roy and Jay de Roy, III. When her first husband died, Edna Marian married Perry Liebman. After he died, Edna Marian moved into a beautiful apartment in the elegant Embarcadero Center, where she still resides. Edna Marian's daughter, Lynn, married Bennett Dubiner, with whom she had two sons, Joel and David Dubiner. Divorced, Lynn later married Dr. Michael Braverman. Lois Samuel married William Cosden, with whom she had two sons, Lawrence and William, Jr. After she became a widow, Lois married Edward Dawers, who died in 1995. Lois lives in their hilltop home in Piedmont. Lawrence (Larry) Cosden is married to Marilyn Ringsted and lives in San Mateo county, south of San Francisco. He is a salesman of commercial time for TV. William, Jr., (Bill) is an attorney. He is married to Nancy Patten and lives in the East Bay. Bill and Nancy had two sons, William Jacob Cosden and Christopher Wilson Cosden.

Because Aaron Samuel and Wolff Schmul, two half-brothers, married two sisters, Fanny and Renate Pincus, Aaron's decendants are double cousins to the Wolff Samuel line.


We have read about Moses in the section on Grass Valley Days. He arrived in San Francisco in 1870, probably with a good deal more money than he had declared in the Nevada County census. He went into partnership in the jewelry business with his friend from Grass Valley, Newman, and married Sarah Rebecca Wolf in 1872. However, having been in the wine and liquor business in Grass Valley, he gradually went into that business, called M. Samuel, Wine & Liquor. When his youngest brother, Benno, arrived in 1879, the business became Samuel Brothers, Wine & Liquors, which supported much of the family as they came over from Europe, as well as gave jobs to the children of his sister and brothers. The business was extremely successful and included several wineries. The oldest winery in Fresno county is the one at Lacjac, which was originally called the Sanford winery, date of origin unknown by the wine historians, but it is possible that Moses or the company owned it and it was named after Moses' son, Sanford. In 1899, Lachman & Jacobi (hence the name Lacjac) bought the Sanford winery and enlarged it in an attempt to fight the monopoly of the California Wine Association. There is also some connection with the Mt. Tivy winery in Fresno county, which was purchased from the estate of Paul Samuel in 1933.

At any rate, Moses and Sarah, whom Uncle Benno called "A typical, noble soul, " had six children:William, Hattie, Lawrence, Lelia, Sanford, and Stanley, but they took in baby brother Benno, who arrived in 1879 at age 17. Benno lived with them until they moved to New York in 1905. Moses was a second father to Benno. Sarah and Moses also took in brother Wolff's sons, Paul and Max, when they came as teenagers from Janowitz. Both Paul and Max lived with Moses and Sarah until they were grown at 1257 Octavia Street from 1889 to 1897. The Moses Samuel family was very social and appeared in the San Francisco Bluebook in 1889-90. The Bluebook stated that Mr. & Mrs. Moses Samuel, whose residence was at the corner of Geary and Van Ness, were receiving every third Thursday. Their country home was situated at Mt. Diablo Vineyard, Clayton, CA. Also listed at the residence according to the Bluebook were: Miss Helen, Miss Lelia Joyce, William, Lawrence, Sanford, and Mr. Benno C. About 1904-5, the Moses Samuel Family ceased to be listed in the San Francisco directories, probably because they moved to New York, luckily just in time to escape the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. They lived on investments and the family business and enjoyed the more varied social life of New York. Sarah had a stroke in 1909, but lived on until 1918, after another severe stroke. Moses died on September 4, 1919, after lingering and suffering."His passing seemed the End of Love and Life to Me, "wrote Benno. They left son Willie in charge of the family investments and business. According to Benno, Willie left New York, November 4, 1928. for California and took sick at the Hotel Manx (owned by Mortimer Samuel, son of Aaron). He got better and was visiting the Strauss Family for dinner when he had a heart attack and died.

Hattie Samuel Despres was, according to Benno, "A beautiful soul possessed of singular tenderness of heart and deep capacity for Devotion." Benno also describes her death in 1934 in detail, which shows that she was a favorite. Benno also mentions that he was godfather to Robert Kempner, and best man at the wedding of Maurice Despres and Peggy Lovett, (Margaret Ellis) an actress. Lawrence Samuel and Inez Loewenherz were married in 1912 at the Hotel Savoy in New York, and Lelia Samuel married Theodore Adler at Sherry's in New York in 1913. Benno also mentioned that he was godfather to Sanford Samuel, who married twice: his first wife was Kathryn Ann Martin, from whom he was divorced in 1938, when he married Ruth Ullman. A particular favorite of Benno's was Moses' youngest son, Sanley Clyde Samuel, who died suddenly of a misdiagnosed appendectomy at the age of 18. A senior at DeWitt Clinton High School, Stanley was a star athlete. He was interscholatic champion shot putter, and champion punter in the interscholastic football league, as well as the best pitcher in interscholastic baseball, and a star player in water polo. He was preparing to go to college when he was operated on for appendicitis, but after the operation, it was discovered that he had typhoid fever. As he was convalescing, he contracted pneumonia, from which he died. This information comes from an obituary article in the New York papers, which Benno copied.

As a result of the 1929 crash, all of Willie's investments were lost, and the Moses Samuel children had to struggle for a while until one of Uncle Moses and Benno's gambles struck black gold - oil! Oil was discovered on some land in the Kettleman Hills near Coalinga, which Moses and Benno had invested in with several other men, possibly including Paul Samuel. The family legend has it that Moses and Benno had some dealings with the big four railroad men in California, (Crocker, Leland Stanford, etc.) who were giving away some of the land that the government had given the railroad, which the railroad didn't need. The land was desert, with no discernable value, but the price was right. At any rate, in 1938, oil was discovered and this branch of the family have been living off the royalties ever since.

Keeping this line up to date, we have had correspondence from both the late Bob Kemper, Hattie's grandson, and Stan Samuel, Lawrence and Inez Samuel's son. Stanley noted that he had in his silver collection a wedding gift his parents received from "Uncle Wolff." Stanley and his wife Esta have now retired and are living in suburban Southbury, Connecticut. Their son Robert is a TV producer and Robert's wife Bette is an interior commercial designer; they have one daughter, Allison, born in 1989. Their daughter, Laurie was married to Harvey Smith in 1989, and son Dr. Steven Alan Samuel married Joanne in 1988, but neither of these children have children as yet. Stan remembers the incident in 1942, during gas rationing, when he and his parents drove to California and got a flat tire in Sacramento on a Saturday afternoon. Since tires were also rationed, the only way to get one was to reach the head of the local ration board, which did not meet until Monday. Lawrence tracked him down at home and talked his way in. They discovered that they had known each other 40 years before in Fresno!!

Bob Kempner reported that Maurice Samuel Despres, Hattie's son, "went to work at age 13 and died rich, having smoked, drunk, and worked, all to excess." Bob also remembered Uncle Benno very well. Uncle Benno took Bob to a Yehudi Menuhin debut as a violin soloist at Carnegie Hall, and afterwards, they went back stage to meet Yehudi and his parents, whom Benno knew very well. Uncle Benno told Bob that he had written music criticism for the New York Sun at the turn of the century under the alias of Sevillier. Bob, who graduated from the Columbia U. School of Library sService, has never been able to document Benno's claim. Bob, himself, died in 1994. His daughter, Jennifer lives in Westchester, and son Robert was last heard of in New Zealand.

We also receive communication from Jane Adler, daughter of Lelia Samuel Adler. Jane has two daughters, Susan and Judy Light, and tries to come annually to California to visit Maxine and Milton Dickson in Lake Tahoe. On one of her trips she found the marvelous old postcard showing the Rosenberg store next to the National Hotel in Nevada City. Jane also keeps up with the descendants of Hattie Samuel Despres. She reports that Pamela Harriet Despres, who married Dr. David Dove, had two children: Kate Dove and Dr. David Dove, Jr. Pamela died in 1970, but her husband is now retired and traveling. Kate Dove married and divorced James Carter, and Dr. David Dove, Jr. married Leigh Tiedemann. They have a son, and live on the West Coast.

Although Moses had 6 children, only three married and had children, so it is still a fairly small branch of the family.


Casper Samuel appears to be something of a black sheep, for very little is known about him, and many rumors surround him. Casper was born in 1849, the third son of Samuel Schmul Samuel and his wife, Hännchen. He came to Grass Valley, California, probably around 1866, because his citizenship papers say he resided in the U. S. for three years before becoming 21. By 1872, he had a store, but he was not doing too well, for he was sued by an employee because he not only didn't pay the employee his salary, but he borrowed $200 in gold from him and didn't repay that either! However, the inventory, which he had to make because of the lawsuit, gives us a wonderful idea of what a store in the gold rush country carried. That same year, in September, 1872, according to Benno's notes, Casper married Anny Levy Abraham, widow of Susskind Abraham, who had two children, Hyman Abraham and Bella Abraham, who later married a man named Brown. Casper showed up in San Francisco for the first time in 1888, at the age of 39, working for a cigar importer as a traveling salesman. Casper was the only one in the family who never worked for Moses, Benno, or in any of the Samuel family businesses. In 1893, we find him working for G. Cohen, wholesale liquor and cigars, as a salesman. By 1895, he was in partnership with his stepson, Hyman Abraham, as importers and jobbers of cigars at 132-34 First Street, San Francisco. He always lived at 701 Larkin Street until 1898, although by that time he was no longer in partnership with Hyman Abraham. After 1898, we have no record of his whereabouts until his death in Chico, California, in 1904. Many rumors floated about. Some said he went to Alaska for the Gold Rush there. He may have gone, but he did not die there. You can see from the death notice in the San Francisco Chronicle of Thursday, May 12, 1904, that he died in Chico, and his half-brother, Aaron, brought his body back to San Francisco and buried him in the family plot. We looked up his death certificate and found that he died of natural causes, and was not killed in a gunfight as rumor would have it. If the family were not close to him, Benno was certainly in touch with his widow, Anna, who was listed in the San Francisco Directory as the widow of Casper until 1937, when she died at the age of 91. She was buried in the Samuel family plot at Hills of Eternity Cemetery, the plot that, according to Lois Dawers, was won in a poker game. Since Casper had no children of his own, he was the end of his line.


We know very little about the lives of Augusta Samuel's family. Augusta did not go to California with all her siblings. She stayed in Janowitz and married Rafael Jacob. She had three children, Hedwig, Adolph and Rosa Jacob. Hedwig married but had no children, and Adolph never married. Both died before Hitler came to power. Augusta and her husband came to California for two years in 1892-3, but returned to Janowitz, where she and her husband were buried. Walter Steinitz remembered that there was a woman named Friedman in Berlin, to whose support both Leo and Hermann Steinitz contributed, and who "had a bad reputation." According to Benno, Augusta lost an eye in surgery and "grieved to death." Her unmarried son, Adolph came to New York in 1906 and died there in 1920, no doubt cared for by Moses and Benno.

Through the good offices of HIAS, which advertised all over the world, we were put in contact with Siegbert Kaffe, of Santiago de Chile, who was a nephew of Rosa Jacob's husband, Siegfried Kaffe. We wrote and he gave us the following information: Siegfried and Rosa Kaffe lived in Breslau. In 1934, Siegfried was taken to a concentration camp where he was severely beaten and later died. Siegbert remembered from hearsay, that Hella was somewhat feeble minded, and assumed that both Rosa and Hella met their deaths in the Holocaust. Siegfried Kaffe sent to his brother a postcard from the concentration camp. On the back was pasted a basket woven from narrow strips of paper with a dried leaf in it. His nephew has kept it all these years. Siegbert moved to Chile in 1938 with his family, married and had two children who live now in Israel.


Wolff Samuel returned to Janowitz in 1870, and assumed German citizenship under the name of Wolff Schmul, dropping the name Samuel altogether, perhaps to avoid anyone knowing that he had rejected Prussian citizenship when he became a U. S. citizen. Germany was now a united country, with Prussia (including Janowitz) now a province. We can readily believe that after he returned from the "wild wild West" with its "wild wild women," the first thing to come into Hännchen Rosenberg Samuel's mind was, "Get him married off!" Consequently, within a year, Wolff married the 25 year old (well over the hill in those days) Fanny Pincus, daughter of Wolf and Hännchen Flanter Pincus, a quiet, gentle woman, to offset the temperamental Wolff. However, Fanny had two younger marriageable sisters. Probably with much letter-writing, and a Daguerrotype or two exchanged, Aaron Samuel, Wolff's half-brother, came back from California and married Fanny's younger sister, Renate, and carried her off to California. (see Aaron Samuel line) Augusta Pincus remained in Janowitz until 1878, when David Abramson (son of Abraham Czerniejewski) returned from Arkansas, leaving his brother, Rudolph, in Arkansas, and met and married Augusta Pincus. The couple had three children in Germany: Rue, Hattie and Mono. In 1883, the family moved first to Arkansas and then to San Francisco, joining the other two Pincus sisters. These three women, Fanny Pincus Samuel, Renate Pincus Samuel, and Augusta Pincus Abramson were always referred to in California as "The Pincus girls." Since Wolff and Aaron, two brothers, married Fanny and Renate, two sisters, their children were double first cousins, and their grandchildren were double second cousins. Not only that, but Augusta Pincus Abramson's daughter, Hattie Abramson, married Henry Levy, who was first cousin to Sylvia (Dolly) Samuels, who married Wolff's youngest son (my father) Saul, so Saul's first cousin, Hattie, married Sylvia's first cousin, Henry Levy, which makes their children double second cousins, to my family. (see Saul Samuel)

Augusta Pincus Abramson had three children: the above mentioned Hattie Abramson, who married Henry Levy, had one son, David, who changed his name to Rytand, became a famous heart specialist at Stanford, married Nancy Homquist, and had three children, Sally, David, Jr., and the late William Rytand; Mono Abramson never married; Rue Abramson moved to Holly Grove Arkansas, in 1900, to work for his uncle, Rudolph. married and had three children, Janice, Ralph and Venda. (see Abramson line)

In addition to the three daughters, Wolf and Hännchen Flanter had two sons, Emil and Paul, neither of whom married. Paul must have died young, as we have no information on him, but Emil seems to have been something of a ne'er-do-well. In 1889, after his wife died, Wolf Pincus's business in Janowitz failed, and his son-in-law, Wolff Samuel, rather than support him and his wastrel son, Emil, who was not much of a wage earner, shipped them both to the other daughter and son-in-law, Aaron and Renata Samuel, in San Francisco. We have addresses for Wolf Pincus from 1889 to 1894, but there is no mention in the San Francisco directories of either Wolf or his son, Emil Pincus from 1894 to 1900, when they were living with Aaron and Renata on Market Street. In 1901, Emil was listed as a salesman, and in 1902, he worked for Samuel Bros. Wine & Liquor, the family business; however, by 1904, when his father Wolf Pincus died, Emil was listed as a cigar salesman. After the earthquake, in 1907, Emil lived with Aaron and Renata until 1916, when he died. From 1907 until 1916, he seems to have had no visible means of support.

The Aaron Samuel and Pincus families are buried at Hills of Eternity Cemetery, and according to Lois Samuel Dawers, the family story is that these plots were won in a poker game.

Holly Grove, Arkansas

Thanks to Raymond Abramson of Holly Grove, Arkansas, we have a complete line of the Arkansas relatives.

It all began with Abraham Czerniewjewski (1809-1887) wife unknown, who had two sons, Rudolph Abramson (1849-1917) and David Abramson (1837-1902) in Miloslaw, Prussian Poland. Whether the name was changed in Poland or in America, we do not know. At any rate, both David and Rudolph immigrated to the Memphis area around 1865, where they began a retail mercantile business. In 1870, the two brothers settled in Lawrenceville, Monroe County, Arkansas, and opened a general mercantile store as partners, "R. Abramson Company." In 1876, the two brothers moved their store to Holly Grove, when the town was officially incorporated. In 1878, David Abramson returned to what was now part of a united Germany, and met and married Augusta Pincus, the youngest of the three "Pincus Girls." We remember that Fanny Pincus married Wolff Schmul, and Renata Pincus married Aaron Samuel and was living in California. David and Augusta had three children: Rue (short for Rudolph) born in 1880; Hattie, born in 1882, and Mono, born in 1883. In 1883, the family moved back to Holly Grove for a few months and then settled in San Francisco, where Augusta's sister Renata lived. Hattie married Henry Levy (my mother's first cousin) and had one son, David (Levy) Rytand. (see Solomon Isaac Levy line and Pincus Girls' line) Mono never married and lived alternately in San Francisco and New York, where he was a friend of Harriet Marcus's father and remembered well by Frank and Harriet Marcus.

Meanwhile, after his brother David left, Rudolph Abramson, continued to operate his business in Holly Grove, and began to acquire land in the area. In 1881, Rudolph married Rae Cohen (1856-1903) in St. Louis, and they immediately returned to live in Holly Grove. They had two daughters, Venda C. and Vyola, known as "Dirl." Two other children, Abner and Dora died in infancy.

Back in San Francisco, David Abramson's son, Rue, was not happy there, so he decided to move to Holly Grove, where he went to work for his uncle, Rudolph, in his business. Lo and behold, he married the boss's daughter, his first cousin, Venda C. They had three children, a daughter, Janiece (1911) a son Ralph, (1915) and a daughter, Venda C., known as "Baby" (1919). Since Vyola "Dirl" and her husband, Ben Elder had no children, and Janiece and her husband, Simon Feldman had no children, all of the Holly Grove relatives are descended from Ralph Abramson, who married Rosemary Alperin, and Venda"Baby" Abramson, who married James Zimmerman.

Rudolph Abramson was so successful in Holly Grove, that when he died, he left his children and grandchildren an estate consisting, in part, of 3246 acres of land all located in the Holly Grove area. Rue and Venda C., continued the mercantile business and the family farming business (see picture) under the name of R. Abramson Company. In addition to being merchants, ginners, and plantation owners, they also founded the First National Bank of Holly Grove, and were very active in civic affairs. In 1921-2, they began construction on a two-story brick residence in Holly Grove, and lived in nearby Memphis for those years. In 1995, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the Bank Holiday, in the Depression, their bank was closed, but Rue Abramson paid all of the depositors from his own funds. Rue died in 1940, and laudatory obituaries and editorials were published in Memphis and Little Rock papers as well as the local papers.

Janiece married Simon Feldman, but had no children. Venda"Baby" married James Zimmerman in 1945, and had two daughters, Alice Jane (1940) and Elizabeth (1952). Alice married Robert Clark. They had two sons, Michael (1975) and Kevin (1978). Elizabeth married Kenney Ashley, and had two sons, Adam and Andrew.

Rue and Venda C.'s son Ralph Abramson married Rosemary Alperin of Memphis, and after receiving his law degree from Harvard, took over the family business at the death of his father. The business is still called R. Abramson Company, and has businesses as planters, ginners, cotton buyers, farm suppliers, and retail general mercantile. Ralph was the mayor of Holly Grove from 1947 to 1958. He also served as Police Court Judge and deputy public defender for Monroe County from 1989 to 1995. He was very active in Scouting, Rotary Club, B'nai Brith, school board, Red Cross, president of a bank, the chamber of commerce, and innumerable other organizations. Ralph died in 1996. Rosemary and Ralph had two sons, David and Raymond. David married and divorced Linda Phillipy, and has one son, Joshua DeWayne, (1977). Raymond married Mockie Eutsler and had two daughters, Rosemary (1982) and Margaret (1985). In 1992, Raymond became a partner in R. Abramson Company along with his father and Aunt Janiece Feldman. The business celebrated its 125th anniversary in business in Holly Grove in 1995.


The first of the Samuel family to settle in San Francisco was Moses Samuel, who wrote in the Nevada County reunion book that he left Grass Valley for San Francisco in 1870. He married Sara Wolf in San Francisco in 1872, so he managed to find a nice Jewish girl even in San Francisco. However, we see no evidence of Moses in the San Francisco Directory until 1875. Pacific Jewelry Co., run by Elias Nathan and Moses Samuel at No. 6 Battery began the long run of businesses established by Moses and later his brother, Benno, businesses which would support the immigrant Samuel family for the next thirty years. By 1876, Elias Nathan's buddy from Grass Valley joined them, and the business was known as Nathan, Newman & Samuel, dba Pacific Jewelry. Moses and Sarah lived at 1065 Howard Street, but in 1877, they moved to 1605 Post Street, and Moses' youngest brother, Benno, aged 15, arrived and moved in with Moses, Sara and their growing family. Benno became a clerk at Newman, Nathan & Samuel, which in 1877, was listed as "Newmans, Nathan and Samuel, mfg. of gold plated jewelry," for Joseph Newman's brother, Julius, also joined the firm, bringing with him his expertise as a jeweler. In 1881, the Moses Samuel family, including Benno, or "Bennie Carlos" as he listed himself, moved to 1801 Octavia. At this time, the business was listed as Newmans & Samuel, dba Pacific Jewelry; no more Nathan. Until 1886, Pacific Jewelry, owned by Moses, and the Newmans with Benno as salesman, was the only family business. In 1887, M. Simon & Co., owned by Lena Samuel Simon, Meyer Simon and Aaron Samuel opened, and Pacific Jewelry now was owned only by one Newman and M. Samuel. In 1888, Casper Samuel, by then 38 and married with two step-children, moved into The City and became a traveling salesman for Arnold Pollack Co., cigar importers. In 1889, Paul Samuel, brother Wolff's oldest son, came over from Janowitz at the age of 17, and joined Pacific Jewelry as salesman. The business was now called Newman-Samuel Bros. (Moses and Benno). Paul, of course, moved in with Moses, Sarah, their children, and Benno. They kept moving to ever larger quarters, first at 1257 Octavia Street, then to 922 Van Ness Avenue, and finally to 1132 O'Farrell St. In 1890, brother Wolff's second son, Max Samuel, age 17, came from Janowitz, and also moved in with the rest of the family, joining the family business as a salesman. Casper Samuel, who never worked in the family business, became a salesman for G. Cohn, wholesale liquor and cigars.

In 1895, the big change came in the family business. Suddenly there was no more Pacific Jewelry. The business became" Samuel Bros. & Co., Wholesale Wine & Liquors, London, Paris, Amsterdam; M. Samuel, Pres., B. C. Samuel, Vice pres., M. D. Levy, Sec.," located at 132-4 First Street. Paul Samuel was listed as salesman. Max, however, was still selling jewelry for George Greenzweig & Co., wholesale Jewelers. Casper, by this time, had opened a business with his step-son, Hyman Abraham, called Samuel &H. Abraham, Importers and Jobbers, Cigars, also at 132-134 First Street. By 1896-7, Moses and Sarah's daughter, Hattie, had moved out of the family home and became a bookkeeper; Paul moved to the Baltimore Hotel.

In 1898, Aaron and his family moved back to San Francisco, to 2428 Market Street. Aaron's daughter, Hattie, and son, Mortimer, both worked for Samuel Bros. Moses' son, Lawrence, was a clerk for another company and had moved into his own place on Van Ness Avenue, but his other son, William (Willie) had joined the family business. By 1901, however, the Samuel Bros. Wholesale Wine and Liquor business had working there, Moses and Benno, as president and vice president, nephews Max and Paul Samuel as directors, Moses' sons, William and Lawrence, William as director, Lawrence as clerk, Aaron's daughters, Hattie and Bertha as bookkeeper and stenographer respectively, Aaron's son, Mortimer, as manager of the bottling Dept., and brother Aaron, himself, as salesman.

In 1903, another big change occurred. Benno moved to New York, although he was still listed as Vice President of the company. He was obviously sent to New York first to open up the New York branch of the business so that Moses and his family could move the following year. Samuel Bros., was listed in both New New York and San Francisco, and by 1904, also in Chicago. Paul had also gone to New York with Benno, and both lived at 39 W. 91st Street, according to the New York City directory. By 1905, Moses had joined Benno and they were living at The Euclid Hall, but Paul had returned to San Francisco. Moses had left his son, William, in charge in San Francisco, but by 1905, William also had gone to New York, missing the earthquake. Thus, although Moses and Benno were still listed in the business, and listed their San Francisco residences as hotels, they lived in New York. Meanwhile, my father, Saul, arrived and joined the San Francisco business as a salesman, and Aaron's son, Jake, was also a salesman for the family business. In 1908, Max was listed as president, and Paul as vice president. Things and people stayed pretty much the same until 1916, when we find Mortimer, Aaron's son, had left the business, married Ada, and gone into the hotel business at the Strand and St. Daniel Hotels on O'Farrell Street. Also about that time, Max Samuel started another business, "Max Samuel Investments, " and moved into the Palace Hotel. Paul, meanwhile, had his own business called "P & W Samuel, Wholesale Native Wines, " and Saul had moved with his family to Fresno, where he sold wine for the family business and later opened an Army-Navy surplus store. William, Moses' son, while living in New York, was also part owner of P & W. Samuel.


Moses, when he first came to San Francisco, continued his interest in in chancy investments, but instead of quartz mines, he began investing in land, particularly land in the Fresno County area, where people were starting to grow grapes. Perhaps some or all of this land was what he received as a gift from the railroad executives, as mentioned in the section on Benno Samuel. We do not know exactly how many wineries Moses had, but Stanley Samuel, Moses' grandson, did some research and found an exerpt from "The Wines of America" by Leon Adams, who stated that LacJac Wineries in Fresno County, was the oldest winery in the county, and was originally known as the Sanford Winery, but nobody seemed to know when it was built. The winery was bought in 1899, by Lachman & Jacobi, San Francisco wine merchants (hence the name, Lacjac) and was greatly enlarged. Stanley also wrote Leon Adams, who searched his files about the Sanford Winery, now known as Mt. Tivy winery, and found a quote from a wine trade publication, which noted that the winery was sold in 1933 by the estate of Paul Samuels (sic). We know that my father always said the winery was at Lacjac. If it was named the Sanford Winery, since Moses owned it first, it might have been named after his son, Sanford, who was born in 1885. Moses had connections and spent some time in Fresno, or at least his son, Lawrence, did, if you note Stanley's anecdote in the section on the Moses Samuel line.

We know Max had a wine bottling company, because Saul's son, Walter, once worked for him. Bernard Samuel remembered that his father, Max, was a wine taster, and as a boy, Bernard accompanied his father driving around various wine districts, and Max used to point to different wineries, saying they once belonged to Samuel Bros. My father, Saul Samuel, sold wine for Max in 1915 in Fresno county. as well as from 1912 to 1914 in San Francisco, for Samuel Bros. Also, in 1901, the San Francisco Blue Book noted that Moses' summer home was at Mt. Diablo winery. Our family always had a joke that at every family get together, the wine served was never as good as "St. Maxine Wine," which was the label Max used to market his wine, and there used to be cases of it in the garage of my home. At any rate, all the wine business was changed completely with the advent of the Volstead Act after World War I. Prohibition changed the family business.

By 1921, Max was a manufacturing agent, and in 1922 he tried pharmaceuticals and pharmacies. Paul had a business called "California Products." By 1925, Max was again a manufacturer's Agent with offices on Mission Street, and Paul's business was "P. & W. Grape Merchants, while Jake, Aaron's son, went into business with a partner as merchandise brokers. By 1927, Max was in real estate, and Saul was back in San Francisco as a broker in Paul's real estate office, and in 1929, he went into the jewelry business, as Sterling Jewelry Co.

When the Depression came, everyone was hit badly. Willie had managed his father Moses' investments and lost everything in the Crash. Paul died in 1930, and his widow, Claire, sold off Paul's share of the Fresno land and other assets. However, one never knows. One of Moses' gambles paid off. The land in the Kettleman Hills brought forth oil in the mid 30's, and the royalties from that strike proved beneficial to the heirs of Moses and Benno to this day.

At any rate, it seems as if the family business started by Moses as jewelry, then joined by Benno as a wholesale wine and liquor business, supported the entire family as they came to San Francisco, either from the gold country or from Janowitz, but when Benno and Moses moved to New York, things began to change, and by 1916, the family seems to have split badly, with some people not talking to others. We do not know the reasons for these feuds, but we can guess. Paul Gray, grandson of Paul Samuel, wrote, "The one interesting thing I'd like to find out is the source of family loyalty—that seemed at one time very strong, but also was accompanied by intense rivalry within the Samuel Family, and some celebrated blood feuds. As a Western relative now living in the East, I still encounter cousins from whom my family was estranged (just how it happened, I don't know). I often feel that as Paul's grandson, I am being negatively sized up because of some betrayal or business deal that went sour two generations ago." Is there a family in existence that hasn't had this experience? There is good reason for the oft-quoted motto, "Never go into business with a relative." Nevertheless, the businesses that Moses and Benno started and built were the salvation of everyone in the Samuel family who came to California, and this fact should be remembered, regardless of what happened later.

Germany 1870-1941

Now, back in the old country, Wolff Samuel returned to Janowitz, Posen, just in time to see Bismark unite German speaking countries into one nation, so that Prussia and its provinces, including Posen, became part of Germany in 1870. Once back, Wolff dropped his American name and citizenship and became a citizen of Germany under the name of Wolff Schmul. He married Fanny Pincus and, in rapid succession, they had eight children: Paul (1872) Max (1873) Nucha (1877) Leo (1878) Moritz (1880) Herman (1882) Saul (1884) and Hedwig (1886). Although Nucha (nickname for Hännchen) died at age 12 in 1889 of cancer, both Fay Samuel Hyman in California and Hilde (Malka) Steinitz Haas in Berlin heard the family story that Nucha had "sat on a cold stone and died." Both Fay and Malka had childhood fears of sitting on cold stones.

Wolff returned with about 30, 000 marks, a goodly sum at the time. Although he was only a peddler in California, no doubt he had invested in Moses' purchase of the M. Levy store, and Moses had returned his investment. This, together with money he had saved, enabled Wolff to go into business in Janowitz as a grain broker. He lent seed money to farmers and bought their future crops at the time of planting, at a set price, and shipped the grain to the cities. The business seemed to do quite well, but the home life was a bit trying. Hedwig Schmul Marcus told her son, Frank, that Wolff was a terrible tyrant, and only his mother could control him. Whenever Wolff got to the point that no one could stand being terrorized any longer, one of the sons was sent to fetch Hännchen Rosenberg Samuel, his mother, who was the only one who could control Wolff. She was tougher than he was and ordered him to calm down. That's probably why his two oldest sons, Paul and Max, left home so young and went to California. As his sons grew, Wolff dictated to them what their lives would be like. He ordered that Leo and Moritz join him in the business and that Herman study law so the firm would have an in-house lawyer even though Herman had neither desire nor aptitude for the study of law and struggled through gymnasium and university, having to repeat courses more than once.

By 1904, Wolff felt he could leave the business in Leo and Moritz's hands, and he, Fanny and daughter, Hedwig, took a trip to America, visiting both New York, where Benno and Moses had settled, and San Francisco, where many more relatives lived: their sons, Paul and Max, Fanny's sister and Wolff's brother, Aaron and Renate Samuel and their families, and Wolff's mother's family, the Rosenbergs, who had moved down to San Francisco from Nevada City. Wolff and Fanny liked Claire Rosenberg, only child of Pocky (Morris) and urged their son Paul to marry his second cousin, Claire. Seven years elapsed before Paul took their advice. In addition, Wolff probably arranged for Paul to give a job to his youngest brother, Saul, who was becoming draft age, and was liable to be drafted into the Kaiser's army. Although Wolff, Fanny and Hedwig stayed in California for almost a year, Saul used to say his mother couldn't stand the "Wild West" atmosphere of San Francisco, and they returned to Janowitz. Immediately on their return, they sent their youngest son, Saul, to San Francisco. All of their sons had avoided the Kaiser's army except Moritz, because the authorities had insisted to Wolff that he had had enough exemptions and had to send at least one son. However, Moritz did not stay in the army too long, for he injured his ankle, was mustered out and returned to the family business.

Fanny Pincus Schmul died in 1907, and Wolff, with his only surviving daughter, Hedwig, with whom he was very close, traveled everywhere. Wolff was very mellow with Hedwig, unlike his tyrannical attitude toward his sons. Oedipus, Schmoedipus, there is nothing like Electra! Wolff died shortly after Hedwig married Dr. Karl Marcus in 1913. In 1918, after World War I, the province of Posen, which Prussia had taken over in 1795 at the division of Poland, was given back to Poland by the League of Nations, and Poland again became a country. The Schmul family had to decide whether it wished to stay in what was now Janowiec, Posnan, Poland, and become Polish citizens, or move to Germany proper and keep their German citizenship. The family decided to move to Berlin and set up the grain business there, under the name "Wolff Schmul & Sons." Curiously enough, they left the business in Janowitz in the hands of a man named Bremler. If you look at the brothers of our progenitor, Samuel Samuel, you see one of them took the last name of Bremler. Thus, in Berlin, Leo became the head of the family, taking care of all the public relations, while Moritz took care of the "nuts and bolts" of the business. The Schmul family also decided to adopt a name that sounded more German, since they were living in the German capital and were German citizens, so they got a list from the government of last names people were allowed to adopt. From this list, they chose the last name, "Steinitz." Eva Ellis remembers getting a phone call from some government official informing her very curtly, "Your last name is now Steinitz." Therefore, the families of Leo, Moritz and Herman all had the last name of Steinitz in Berlin, while the American family all had the last name Samuel, which was the original name that Samuel Schmul Samuel took in 1833, to become a citizen of Prussia.

The family had its ups and downs in Berlin in the 20's. For one thing, the president of the Weimer Republic canceled all loans made to Prussian landowners, which hurt the business considerably. Still, Berlin was a pretty exciting place in the 20's. All that ended when Hitler came to power in 1933. Hedwig and her family got out early and went to New York, and Herman's son, Werner went to live with them, while his daughter, Hilde, went with her youth group to Palestine, married Kloni Haas and became Malka Haas. Moritz's son Friedl went to New York to live with uncle Benno and changed his name to Fred Samuel. Eva Ellis says that Jews from Posen had special privileges because they had opted for German citizenship and moved to Germany when Posen became Polish, so that she and brother Willis could have started their university studies in Berlin in 1933, but declined to do so and left by 1936. Uncle Benno was responsible for sponsoring 22 members of the Wolff Schmul line to come to America, and everyone in the family was safely in New York by 1941 except for Malka in Palestine, and Augusta Schmul Jacob's daughter and grandaughter, who died in the camps. We have had no contact with the Bremler, Englander or Salomon lines.

Thus, by World War II, most of the Samuel/Steinitz family was living in America. The Lena, and Aaron lines lived entirely in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Moses line lived in the East in the Boston-to-Washington megalopolis, and the Wolff Schmul line was divided between those two areas, with the Paul, Max and Saul lines in the West and the Herman, Leo, Moritz and Hedwig lines in the East. Even though some of us have never met, when we do meet, it is great fun to see family resemblances.


Eldest son of the volatile Wolff and Fanny Pincus Schmul, Paul Samuel arrived in San Francisco at the age of 17, in 1879, probably to avoid his father's dominance. He moved into his Uncle Moses' home and business and began learning both English and the business. Paul continued to live on Fulton Street with Moses' family and became a director of Samuel Brothers Wine & Liquor until Benno and Moses left for New York. As a matter of fact, the New York City Directory had Paul in New York with Benno in 1902-3 preparing for the move. Paul and Benno were very close. Paul returned to run the San Francisco business, but by 1907, after the earthquake, Paul and brother Max, who also had arrived a year after Paul, were in different businesses, and Paul was doing business as "Consolidated California Vineyard Co.," which implies that by then, he must have been buying vineyards, especially in the Fresno County area. He was also investing in real estate, and by 1916, ran "P. & W. Wholesale Native Wines." However, Paul remained single until he was 40. In 1904-5, his parents, in California for a visit, urged him to marry his second cousin, Claire Rosenberg. Claire, brought up in Nevada City, was named Claire Nevada Rosenberg by her free-wheeling pioneer parents. Grandson, Paul Gray, wrote, "Paul married my grandmother, Claire, in 1912... Claire led a rather sheltered life and almost was not selected at a marriageable age, although she was very pretty." Why it took Paul seven years to get around to marrying, we don't know, but perhaps he was motivated by the fact that his youngest brother, Saul, and cousin, Jake, also married in 1912, and neither he nor Claire, were getting any younger. We remember that Pocky Rosenberg, Claire's father, was Hännchen Rosenberg Samuel's brother's son, so Paul's grandmother and Claire's grandfather were brother and sister. Again, Paul Gray wrote, "Claire's parents, Rose and Morris (Pocky) Rosenberg were real pioneers. Rose Hartman Rosenberg was born in 1859 in Walla Walla, Washington. Her parents had taken the Oregon Trail west. Her father was a chef. Later, they moved to Oakland, where they managed (owned?) the Crellin Hotel. The family was Bohemian Jewish. A branch of this family, the Newmans, are still around in California." (Note: were these the Newman brothers who were partners with Moses in his first business in San Francisco?) Pocky and his brothers were originally peddlers selling supplies to miners in El Dorado County, but eventually founded Rosenberg Brothers Emporium, the dry goods store in Nevada City. In 1904, Pocky retired and with his family, lived the life of a gentleman in San Francisco. Thus Paul Samuel was really marrying into a pioneer family. Paul continued his business as P. & W. Wholesale Wine and Liquors, changing the business name to "California Products" in 1920, with the advent of Prohibition. By 1922, he was a partner in "Sutton & Samuel," Real Estate Investments consultants, with an office at 155 Mongomery. By 1925, Paul was running "P & W Grape Merchants," also from an office on Montgomery Street. By 1929, Paul and Claire had bought a beautiful home on Commonwealth Avenue in San Francisco, and he was running an investment company at 220 Montgomery, with his brother Saul in the office next door as a broker. In 1930, Paul died of a lingering illness. Benno wrote in his notes on Paul, "I loved him."

Paul and Claire's only child, Frances Jane, was born in 1914. When her father died in 1930, she was a student at the exclusive Miss Hamlin's School. Claire used to say she had never written a check because Paul had handled everything financial. As a result, Claire lost her home on Commonwealth Avenue, and began selling off everything else. There are records that she sold the Tivy Winery property, the oldest winery in Fresno County, in 1933. Paul Gray writes that he thinks the Samuel Brothers had a winery near Sanger, California, which was eventually bought by Christian Brothers. One day, in 1961, Claire visited the winery and was greeted by the manager, Brother Timothy. Not realizing that Paul had died, Brother Timothy said to Claire, "Please give my greetings to your husband." Claire replied, "And my best to Mrs. Timothy, too!"

At any rate, Paul had also invested in, (or received, depending on which story you believe) together with Benno, Moses and several others, property in the Kettleman Hills, upon which oil was discovered in the 1930's. Although Claire's share was comparatively small, she lived comfortably on it. Paul and Claire's daughter, Frances Jane, married Dr. Alfred White in 1935, and their only child, Paul was born in 1943. After Dr. White died, Frances Jane married Arthur Gray. Although Arthur Gray never did adopt him, Paul took his name when he was five, and at age 21, had his name legally changed to Paul Gray. Frances Jane and Arthur Gray had a series of stylish clothing stores in the West Portal and Lakeside districts of San Francisco from 1953 to 1975. Paul Gray is now a professor of Sociology at Boston College. His wife, Leigh ,is a psychiatric social worker in private practice. Paul wrote that he met Leigh in 1959, when he was her assistant teacher in a Confirmation class at Temple Emmanuel religious school in San Francisco. In 1960, Leigh asked him to a party her friend was giving, and "the rest is history." They dated for the rest of high school and on and off in college."Leigh was in Europe in 1964 when I asked her to marry me. She returned and we were engaged in January, 1965. In college, I was active in radio and was actually on the air, when she called me to confirm that I indeed wanted her to come home. My engineer said, "Paris on line two," rather matter-of-factly, and that was the beginning of our 30-plus years together." Paul and Leigh live in Newton, Massachusetts and have two daughters, Amy, who studies at Brown University and is contemplating a career in publishing, and Abigail, who completed her first year at University of Pennsylvania and is now attending Harvard University. Abigail is very interested in the theater and has already appeared in many stage productions.

Paul, Leigh and their daughters were recently in San Francisco to attend the funeral of Arthur Gray, so we had a chance to see them when they graciously came to our open house for Eva and John Ellis, whom Paul already knew well since their son Raymond and Paul were in school together.


Wolff Schmul's second son, Max, arrived in San Francisco in 1890 also at the age of 17, to join his brother, Paul, now 18, as a salesman in Moses and Benno's business, Pacific Jewelry. Max also moved into Moses' family home at 1132 O'Farrell Street. In 1895, however, when Moses and Benno went into the liquor business, Max, still living with Moses, became a salesman for Greenzweig wholesale jewelers. By 1898, Max was back with the family firm, Samuel Brothers. By 1901, he was listed as a director of the firm. In 1904, when Benno and Moses moved to New York, the San Francisco Directory had no listing for Max, and because of the earthquake, there was no directory published for 1905-6. In 1907, Max now had his own business, "The Samuel Co., Wholesale Liquors" at 452-454 Jackson Street, but he still lived with his brother, Paul, at 1358 Post Street. By 1910, Max and Paul had moved to 3590 Washington Street, and Max was president of Samuel & Co., while Paul was listed as vice president, replacing one H. M. Hudson, who had started in the business with Max after the earthquake. Youngest brother, Saul, was now working for them as a salesman, as was Aaron's grandson, Jake. By 1912, Max had moved to the Palace Hotel, the most fashionable hotel in town at that time, probably because Paul was preparing to marry that year. Max was still running Samuel Bros. & Co. Wholesale Liquors. By 1916, Max, still living at the Palace Hotel, was listed as running an investment business at 247 Bush Street, as well as running Samuel Bros. However, in 1916, Max married Lillian Steinman. Lillian was from an old pioneer family. Her father was the mayor of Sacramento for many years, and the family was extremely prosperous. Lillian was a friend of Paul's wife, Claire, and it was said that Claire was the matchmaker for Max and Lillian. In 1919, Max and Lillian built the first house in the Forest Hill district of San Francisco, a beautiful home, in which daughter Maxine Dickson and her family still live.

Max & Lillian's son, Bernard, was born in 1917, and daughter, Maxine, was born in 1919. When Prohibition came, all the family had to get out of the liquor business, and Max dabbled a little as a manufacturing agent, and later, for a short while owned a drug store on Mission Street as well. Max sold the drug store, but kept the manufacturing agent business, while probably investing in real estate as well. In 1927, he was very much involved in real estate and continued in that business, adding the wholesale liquor business again in 1936. Bernard, Max's son, remembered that his father was the wine taster for the group of wineries that Paul had, and used to take Bernard around, pointing at various wineries saying they once belonged to the family. Max had wine casks and a bonded storeroom, Bernard remembered, and the family dealt in Sacramental wines during Prohibition. Max knew all the grape growers, but Bernard remembered that Max, as a wine taster, had to spit out the wines after tasting them, and often got wine all over his clothes. Max may have resembled his father, Wolff, as a father, for he insisted that Bermard major in oenology at the university, so Bernard became a wine chemist for a while. Bernard also remembered that Max, when angry at him, used to slap him across the face three times, calling, "Schnat, Schnip, Schnabel" (anyone else remember those words??). When Bernard was 16, he told his father he would hit back if his father ever hit him again. Max shook his hand and welcomed Bernard into manhood. Bernard also remembered that his father was always formally dressed, and when they used to vacation at the beach, Max used to stay in the hotel until his wife, Lillian, who was an excellent swimmer, wanted to swim. He came down to the shore to watch the children, as his wife swam far out to sea. The kids, Bernard and Maxine, then took off and swam to the float, which their mother had forbidden. When the kids saw their mother begin to swim back to shore, they too, swam back to shore, and before Lillian even reached land, Max stood up and began walking back to the hotel without a word. Maxine remembered how proud her father was of her grades. Maxine was a superior student, who graduated from high school at 16 and started at Stanford University at the age of 17. Maxine remembered Max as a family man who helped his children do their homework. He was a whiz at math. Max had slight accent and a mellow voice. When the kids played baseball, Max hit the ball but paid the kids to run for him! He also paid Maxine to stop crying when her brother hit her. According to Maxine, Max was always bragging about Bernard and his military service. Bernard was a pilot in World War II, but Max was terrified that Bernard flew pursuit planes.

Max committed suicide in 1943. Lillian died in 1978, still living in the Pacheco Street home.

Bernard married and divorced once, and had a daughter by that marriage, who was adopted by her stepfather. After World War II, he married Juanita, and they have three children, all now living in the Seattle area. Peggy, born in 1948, married and divorced Randy Reid. She hs one daughter, Alishea McKalson, born in 1970. Roberta Samuel, born in 1951, married and divorced, and had a daughter, Amy Rose Guess, born in 1984. She is presently married to Michael Mastro. James Samuel, Bernard and Juanita's youngest, born in 1954, is unmarried. Bernard, until 1990, when he retired, ran a fascinating one-man business, buying all kinds of flora and fauna, nuts, shells, pine cones, flowers, etc, and sold them to florists, and most especially to people who make floats for parades like the Rose Bowl Parade, where every float has to be made from real growing things. Bernard and Juanita recently sold their Atherton home and moved to the Seattle area to be near their children.

Maxine, Max and Lillian's daughter, for whom he named his St. Maxine wine, married Milton Dickson in 1941. On their honeymoon in New York, they met Uncle Benno, who told them he had a genealogy of the Samuel clan made, and the family came out of Spain and were royalty. Benno called himself the Count de Monnai. Maxine and Milton tried to imitate Wolff the Prolific, and had six children: Gary Dickson, born in 1942 is a real estate agent with Coldwell-Banker in Morgan Hill, California, and was once a salesman in his father Milton's horticultural supply company. He is divorced and has two grown sons, Brett, and Clint. Wendy, Gary's twin sister, is married to Andrew Pitas and lives in Moab, Utah. They have a daughter, Lyla born in 1982. Jill, born in 1945, married Tom Relles, and is a school teacher in Sacramento. Her husband, a former UC Rugby star, has three florist shops. They have a son, Spencer, born in 1974. Kit, born in 1948, is divorced and lives in the family home in San Francisco, with her two sons, Dashiell Harwood, born in 1981, and Ashley Harwood, born in 1983. Kit is a jewelry designer. Sue, born in 1953, lives in San Francisco and works for a contact lens company. She is married to Ricky Oliva. Eve, born in 1960, is married to Eric Eppard, an electrical engineer with Digital Corporation. Eve is an architect, and they live in Phoenix, Arizona, with their daughter, Erin Eppard, born in 1988. Thus Max and Lillian, although marrying late, had many grandchildren. Maxine and Milton spend part of the year at the family home and part at their home in Lake Tahoe. They are consummate tennis players.


According to Wolff's fiat, Leo was destined to run the business, together with brother Moritz. Leo was very elegant and maintained connections with the outside gentile world. Leo married his second cousin, Fanny Mannheim (see Flanter line) whose father owner a large brickyard and was the mayor of Janowitz. They had three children: Frances (1910); Helen (1911) and Walter (1913) When Poland became independent and included the province of Posen, now called Posnan, the family had to choose whether to remain in Janowitz and become Polish, or move to Berlin and remain German citizens. All the family moved to Berlin, leaving the Janowitz office in charge of someone named Bremler, who might have been a relative, from Samuel Schmul Samuel's brother, Isaac Bremler. In Berlin, the family business name became "Wolff Schmul Gebrüder Steinitz," after the family changed their names to Steinitz, choosing the name from a list of acceptable German names put out by the government. Leo and Moritz ran the business, successfully for a while, but they had serious problems, which eventually caused the dissolution of the business by the time the Nazis took over in 1933. In the early thirties, Brüning, then the chancellor of the German Reich, passed laws which granted moratoria on debts to landed gentry and farmers. Since Jewish money lenders did not receive any interest or repayment of the loans they had granted to the farmers to buy seed, they were unable to fulfill their obligations to the banks and thus went under.

Eventually, all of the family got to America, but Leo's daughter, Frances, spent the war years in a nunnery in Belgium. Frank Marcus recalled that when he went to Brussels right after the war, Frances met him and was at that time a very devout Catholic. The family had some difficulty getting her back to Judaism, after she came to America. In America, Frances married twice, first to Irwin Feder, and then to Otto Gutman, but she never had children. Walter Steinitz, after he came to America, joined the U. S. Army. After the war, he went to work for his cousin, Frank Marcus, as a salesman for Halco, Frank and Harriet's business. He traveled all over the world and enjoyed his life. He never married, and died in 1994. Thus it was left to daughter, Helen Steinitz, who married Dr. Hugo Rosenthal in Berlin in 1931, to carry on this line.

The Rosenthals left Berlin in 1933 with their first son, Gary, (1931) and settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where their other two sons, Stanley (1936) and Kenneth (1946) were born. Dr. Rosenthal practiced medicine for 50 years in the Cleveland area and retired amid many honors in 1975. Helen and Hugo moved to Florida, where Hugo died in 1982.

The Rosenthals are very much a medical family. Gary became a dentist; his son, Edward, is a physician; and son Jonathan is a dentist. Helen and Hugo's second son, Stanley, now deceased, was a professor in a medical school, and their third son, Kenneth is also a physician. Dr. Gary Rosenthal married Marcia Silk and had two sons: Dr. Edward Rosenthal married Marcy Ellen Abraham; they have three children, Erica, (1986) Scott, (1990) and Kevin (1993). Gary and Marcia's second son, Dr. Jonathan Rosenthal, married Adrianne Kootz; they have two children, Bradley (1991) and Austin (1994). These are now the seventh generation of our family. The late Dr. Stanley Rosenthal married Beverly Dan and had three children: Sherryl (1967) Michael (1969) and Steven (1971). Dr. Kenneth Rosenthal married Ellyse Tover, and also had three children: Robyn (1977) Jamie (1981) and Lindsey (1985)

We have been delighted to get wonderful letters from Gary and Marcia, and their son Edward which keep up the family connections.


Dr. Gary Rosenthal is the son of Helen Steinitz (Leo and Fanny's daughter) and the late Dr. Hugo Rosenthal. As of 1966, he and Marcia have been married 38 years. They have two sons: Dr. Edward Rosenthal is married to Marcy, and they have three children, a daughter, Erica (8) and sons Scott (6) and Kevin (2 1/2) Edward is a physician, specializing in internal medicine; Their son, Jonathan, is married to Adrienne, and they have two sons, Bradley, (5) and Austin (2). Dr. Jonathan is a dentist in practice with his father in the Cleveland area.

Gary and Marcia live in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, east of Cleveland. They met when they were both students at Ohio State University. He was in dental school at that time. When he graduated Gary became an officer in the U. S. Army Dental Corps and was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for two years. During that time, their first son, Edward, was born. When they returned to the Cleveland area, Gary set up his practice, and a short while later, their second son, Jonathan, was born. They make yearly trips down to Florida to see Gary's mother, Helen, and make a point to visit with Eva and John Ellis.

They were particularly fond of their uncle, Walter Steinitz, who passed away a couple of years ago.

Travel is one of their hobbies, and they are also old car afficionados. They own both a 1928 Packard, and a 1941 Cadillac Fleetwood.

Dr. Gary and Marcia are two busy people, and it's nice to get to know them even if it's just in print.


Fourth of Wolff's sons, Moritz was the one who got stuck being drafted into the Kaiser's army. All the other sons had exemptions. Saul went to America to avoid the draft, so the powers that be insisted that at least one of Wolff's sons go. However, Moritz sprained his ankle and was soon discharged. Under father's orders he joined Leo in the business and was the inside man, "the soul of the business" according to his daughter, Eva Ellis, while Leo maintained connections with the outside world. Moritz married Toni Wreszynski in 1913, and his three children, Eva (1914) Willis (1915) and Friedl (1917) were born in Posen. Both Leo and Moritz's family shared a large duplex home in Janowitz, with Leo's family living downstairs, and Moritz's family living upstairs. In 1920, all the Steinitz brothers (Leo, Moritz and Herman) moved to Berlin to avoid becoming Polish citizens. It was in Berlin that they actually changed their names from Schmul to Steinitz in order to sound more German. The German government put out a list of approved last names that could be taken. There must have been a lot of name changing going on at that time if the government felt the need to put out a list. The business did quite well until the early 30's. However, Moritz did some gambling in the wildly fluctuating German stock market in the 20's and lost a lot of money. He was never the same after that. In addition, the business faced dissolution when a law was passed, even before the Nazis took over, canceling the loans to the landed gentry and farmers. Since the business lent farmers money to buy seed, on a guarantee to purchase the future crops at a set price, it did not receive any interest or repayment of the loans it had granted, and thus went under. When the Nazis took power, Uncle Benno in New York, gradually made arrangements for the family to come to America. With the difficulty of getting papers, etc., people sent their children out first if they could. Thus, according to Benno's notes, the youngest son, Friedl came to America April 16, 1935, and lived with Uncle Benno, whom he loved dearly. He changed his name to Fred Samuel in honor of Uncle Benno and named his first son, Barry, after him. Wolf, the next son, arrived in 1935 and changed his name to Willis. Daughter Eva went separately to Brussels where she met Hans Elias, and arrived in New York in 1937. Hans changed his name to John Ellis, and Eva and John were married in New York in 1938. Moritz and Toni had already arrived in New York by 1936. Benno was instrumental in helping the family get set up.

Eva Steinitz Ellis received a Ph D. in psychology and education, and taught first in high schools, then in a Catholic College. John was an engineer. They had two children, Raymond and Myriam. Raymond married Suzann Kelch and they had three sons, Michael, Benjamin and David Ellis. Myriam married Howard Mindus, who tragically died in 1991 at the age of 46. Myriam had one son, Daniel, born in 1979.

Willis Steinitz married Edith Fernandes (an old Sephardic name) and had three children, sons Harold and Edgar, and daughter Rinah. Harold had a son, Joshua, (1976) from his first marriage, and a daughter, Jessica (1983) from his marriage to Carol. Rinah married Craig Karson, and had two sons, Matthew and Douglas Karson, born in 1980 and 1983, respectively. Edgar Steinitz married Gail Heilbronn and had two daughters, twins Erica and Lauren Steinitz, born in 1985.

Meanwhile, Freddy Samuel married Evelyn Kleemann and had two sons, Barry and Russell. Barry married Ellen Wackstein, and they had two daughters, Erica Samuel (1977) who is now a student at UC Davis, and Melanie Samuel ( (1984) Barry, Ellen and the girls moved west to Santa Cruz in 1984, where Ellen teaches and Barry is the director of Parks and Recreation of Santa Cruz County. All of us in the West have been overjoyed to meet and become friends with this delightful family. Russell Samuel, a medical doctor, married Kiyomi Hayashi, daughter of a Japanese businessman, and they had two sons, Shawn Tomaske Samuel (1975) and Kevin Suichi Samuel (1978).

Although most of the Moritz Steinitz family live on the East Coast, we have not only the Barry Samuel family in our midst, but a visit from Michael Ellis, who interned in a law office in Palo Alto in the summer of 1996, and a two-month visit from John and Eva Ellis, who rented an apartment in Palo Alto as they have done in the past in London, Jerusalem and New York. The Ellises live now in Jupiter, Florida, but Willis and Edith Steinitz and Evelyn Samuel still live in New York. When Eva came west, she graciously brought her mother's photo albums.


Dr. Edgar Steinitz, is the son of Willis (Moritz and Toni) and Edith Steinitz. Edgar and his wife, Gail live in Mercer Island, Washington, where Edgar practices as a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. He and Gail have twin daughters, Lauren and Erica, who are now in the 5th grade. Edgar wanted to give special thanks to his wife, Gail, " for not only has she been the best thing that has ever happened to me almost 19 years ago since we got married, but also she is the best Mom for my daughters that anyone can ask for." Edgar is the coach of his daughters' soccer team, The Firedragons.

In their travels, they have visited all fifty states, including Hawaii and Alaska, this past year.

Edgar recently took on the directorship of rehabilitation medicine at Franciscan Health System, based out of St. Joseph Medical Center, a Catholic hospital in Tacoma, Washington.

Edgar's long-standing partners represent four different religions: Sikh, Moslem, Christian and Jewish. As each of them read from their own religious book when they had a ceremony to bless their new medical complex, they came to realize that the prayers from the various texts were almost identical. As Edgar said, "Certainly this was a reaffirmation that we are more similar than dissimilar on this small planet Earth."


The youngest son left at home, since younger brother Saul escaped to America, Herman was destined (ordered by Papa) to become a lawyer, not because he had any desire or aptitude, but because the business needed an advocate. Leo and Moritz were running the business, and everyone else was in California. Herman went to high school in the city of Posen and lived in a pension. He did have to repeat his junior year in high school because the teacher was "anti-Semitic." Herman struggled through law school, which at least kept him from being drafted into the Kaiser's army, and afterward lived and practiced law in Posen, where he met and married Elsa Kassel, daughter of an ear/nose/throat specialist. Herman was much older than Elsa, and on their honeymoon, Herman confessed to Elsa that he had had a Polish mistress who had borne him twins! Elsa promptly threw herself into the snow! Herman and Elsa moved from Posen to Berlin with the rest of the family and changed his name from Schmul to Steinitz also. They had two children, Fanny Hilde (1920) and Werner (1922). Werner was premature and given too much oxygen at birth, so he lost much of his eyesight, but we have observed that he is the smartest one in the family. Ask him anything; he knows about it. Herman was always interested in Zionism, but also interested in the Orthodox synagogue. He was not observant in daily life, but he couldn't stand the Conservative synagogue that his brothers attended. These interests influenced his daughter, Hilde, who belonged to the B'nai Akiva youth group at the Orthodox synagogue. By 1936, as life was becoming increasingly difficult under the Nazi rule, the counselor of the youth group (whose parents were also from Janowitz) arranged for the youth group members to make Aliyah, and convinced Herman and Elsa to let Hilde go. Of course, the fact that Hilde had also met a very nice young man named Kloni Haas in the youth group was an even more attractive reason for making Aliyah, at least as far as Hilde was concerned. Thus it was that Hilde went to (then) Palestine in 1936 with Kloni Haas and the youth group, changed her first name to Malka, married Kloni Haas, and together they were among the founding members of Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu in the Bet Sh'an Valley in Israel, where they still live. Kloni's parents perished in Auschwitz, and Malka didn't see her parents again until after World War II. Malka is an early childhood educator with special interest in children's art, and still teaches at Oranim Kibbutz Teachers' College of Haifa University. Kloni began as the Kibbutz carpenter, ran the kibbutz olive factory, was the kibbutz secretary, and is now the Kibbutz accountant. Malka and Kloni had three sons: Elisha, who has a Ph D. in biochemistry, teaches life sciences at Bar Ilan University as well as doing research at the Weizmann Institute, and lecturing all over the world. Elisha (1943) married Chaya Bergen, who is a psychotherapist in her own practice. They had three children: Nadav (1969) who is a physicist in high-tech industry, recently married Inbal Hekscher; Boaz (1970) who is finishing medical school, recently married Sigal Melamed; and Naama (1976) who has just finished the army and begun her university studies. Second son, Immanuel (1945) a building contractor in Jerusalem, married Channa Levi a recently-retired police dispatcher, and had three children: son Jaki, (1974) who finished the army and is at the university; daughter Michal (1974) who has also finished the army and is at the university; and son Amnon (1981) who is in high school. We had the pleasure of getting to know them a couple of years ago when they stayed with us for a few days while visiting San Francisco. Malka and Kloni's youngest son, Elyakim is an expert in raising cows. He married Anita, an American girl, and lived along the northern Israeli border, but after Anita died tragically in 1995, he moved back to the kibbutz where he milks all the 300 milk cows in the kibbutz with a computerized machine.

Meanwhile, back in Berlin, Herman and Elsa gave birth to a son, Carl, in 1937, and life became more and more difficult. Herman's sister, Hedwig, a widow with two children, had already moved to New York, so Herman and Elsa sent Werner to live with Hedwig. Little by little, Uncle Benno was bringing over members of the family from Berlin. Herman, Elsa and little Carl were the last to leave in 1941. It was said the reason they survived the trip from Hamburg to New York was that being the mother of a young child, Elsa was given a place topside where they could breathe. Carl, now a professor of city planning at Harvard University, lives in Belmont, Massachusetts, with his wife Irene Fairly. He has two daughters by his first wife: Rebecca, who is getting her doctorate in English at UC Berkeley, is married to Samuel Putnam, and has just had a baby named Mara Peace Putnam Steinitz. We were very pleased to attend the baby-naming ceremony in Berkeley. Carl's younger daughter, Sarah, a teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is married to Charles Heath, and had a son, Eli Jordan Heath, born September 29, 1996, just as we were going to press!

Herman Steinitz died in 1965, but his widow Elsa is still alive at 98, and in a nursing home, where son Werner visits her every day.


Hedwig, youngest and only surviving daughter of Wolff and Fanny Schmul, was the apple of her father's eye. She reported to her son, Frank, that Wolff and Fanny's household, with all those children, was a madhouse, but as tough as Wolff was with his sons, he was very gentle and loving to his daughter, who was his companion for most of her girlhood; however, when she married, Wolff was very unhappy, and died soon after. Hedwig married Dr. Carl Marcus, a man much older than she, who was practicing medicine in Posen. Later, they moved to Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) but son Frank was born in Berlin, and daughter Henriette (Henni) was born in Posen. Dr. Marcus was very well known and successful. As a matter of fact, when Henni was studying medicine in New York, she found her father's books in the medical library of her school. Dr. Marcus, on the advice of his son, Frank, who was studying in Switzerland, put a lot of his money in Swiss banks. After Dr. Marcus died, and the Nazis came to power, Frank got power of attorney, with the help of Uncle Max in San Francisco; therefore, the Nazis could not take over the foreign account. Thus, Hedwig and her two children were able to come to New York on their own in 1934. Frank attended Columbia and graduated in 1936, just at the height of the Depression. He started work as a salesman, and then opened his own business in 1936, now located in Union, New Jersey. The business, Halco Restaurant Supplies, has branches in Chicago, Houston, and Southern California. Frank met Harriet Heineman through his sister, Henni, who was Harriet's friend from Barnard College. Harriet and Frank married in 1940, and Harriet has always been instrumental in the business. Frank and Harriet had three children. Their oldest son, Carl Marcus, was born in 1943, and twins William and Bernard were born in 1946. Carl married Karen Wellings and they had two daughters, Nora and Halima. Carl, after working in the space program for several companies in Philadelphia, where he lives, has now become an executive at Halco, so that Frank and Harriet can look forward to retirement. Frank and Harriet were tournament bridge players, and won several firsts in the New Jersey area.

Dr. Henriette Marcus became a physician, and married another physician, Dr. Stanley Gross. Stanley, in his retirement, has become a master of making string instruments. He makes violins, violas and cellos, and plays the violin as well. They had two children: son, Dr. Charles Gross, head of cardiology at the University of Georgia, married Kathy Taylor who had a son, Robert Taylor, by a previous marriage; daughter, Dr. Charlotte Gross, is assistant professor of English at North Carolina State University. Incidentally, Stanley's brother, Jesse Gross, runs the California branch of Halco. Another family coincidence is through the Abramson line. You remember that the youngest Pincus girl, Augusta, married David Abramson. One of their sons, Mono Abramson, lived for a time in Mt. Vernon, New York, and was a friend of Harriet Heineman Marcus's father, and kept trying to get Frank to meet the Heineman girls.

Hedwig lived to be 101, and Frank used to take her out driving every Sunday. Hedwig always kept in touch with the family in California as well as in New York, so she had a fount of family stories, which she told Frank on these Sunday drives. Thus Frank has become the keeper of the flame of the Samuel Saga for many years, and we are very grateful to him for so much information. Hedwig was the last of her generation, the last of Wolff and Fanny Schmul's children. However, as you can see, the beat goes on.......


Saul Samuel, youngest of the sons and second youngest child of Wolff and Fanny Pincus Schmul, was born in 1884 in Janowitz. Probably with so many other children to order around, Saul was low on the totem pole and did not get harassed by his father as much. At any rate, he turned out to be a very sweet, good natured man. When he was 20, however, Saul was of an age to be drafted into the Kaiser's army, and that had to be avoided at all costs. Also, since Leo and Moritz were running the business, and Herman was the family lawyer, there didn't seem to be much room for Saul in the family enterprise in Janowitz. Thus, Wolff, Fanny and Hedwig took a trip to California to see the family and probably to check with their oldest sons, Paul and Max, to make sure there would be a place for Saul in their business. Moses and Benno had already moved to New York. Therefore, when Wolff, Fanny and Hedwig returned to Janowitz in 1905, Saul was sent to San Francisco. He moved into a boarding house and began to work for Paul in the liquor business while he learned English. His English lessons were interrupted, however, by the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. His boarding house was either burned down or blown up in a futile attempt to stop the fire. He slept, with much of the population, in Golden Gate Park, and then took refuge in the house of his cousin, Hattie Abramson Levy. Meanwhile, Sylvia (Dolly) Samuels, who had become a teacher, found that her parents' house was being blown up to stop the fire, and Sylvia took refuge in the house of her cousin, Henry Levy, Hattie's husband, who lived on the other side of Van Ness Avenue beyond the fire line. Consquently, when Saul Samuel came trudging up to his cousin Hattie's house with his belongings wrapped in cloth, there, sitting on the front porch was Sylvia Samuels. That's how they met! How romantic. Love amongst the ruins! It took, however, six long years before Saul could manage to save enough to marry, and in 1912, Sylvia only had to drop the "S" from her last name when she and Saul eloped to San Jose. In fact, Saul was the first of the San Francisco brothers to marry. Oldest brother, Paul married Claire at the end of that year, but Max didn't marry for another four years. Saul's job was as a traveling salesman for Paul Samuel's firm. He kept a horse and buggy at a livery stable, and taking samples of liquor, he put the samples and the horse and buggy on a ferry boat to Oakland. Then he traveled all week around the bay, from Oakland to San Jose, and up the west bay back to San Francisco, He arrived home for the weekends, and set out again on the same trip the following Monday. By 1915, because of the war, and the growth of raisins in the Fresno area, that area began to boom. Paul had wineries in the area, so Saul, Sylvia and their two children, Fay, born in 1913, and Walter, born in 1915, moved to Fresno. For five years, Saul sold liquor and wine until Prohibition came into effect. Then he went into the Army-Navy surplus business with goods from World War I, and joined by his father-in-law, and brother-in-law, added other ready-to-wear clothing. A son, Richard was born and died almost immediately. When their youngest son, Theodore, was born with a telescoped intestine, Sylvia demanded they return to San Francisco, where Ted could get adequate care. Thus, in 1925, Saul and his family returned to San Francisco, where Saul went into the jewelry business, first using Paul's investment office, and later getting an office of his own on Market Street, using the old family name of Pacific Jewelry, which Moses used in 1870.

After the earthquake in 1906, all the rubble was dumped into the Bay and created a large landfill upon which was built a great fair to celebrate both the resurrection of the city from the ashes and the building of the Panama Canal. This was the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915. By 1925, this land, now called the Marina District, was beginning to be settled and Saul, with his share of Wolff's inheritance, bought one of the first houses in the Marina, close to the Palace of Fine Arts. The house is still in the family, for Saul's son, Walter still owns it.

Saul hated the jewelry business, and when Prohibition went out, he went back into the liquor business, becoming a wholesale liquor salesman for various companies, work he continued to do until he was 75, when he was forced to retire because his eyesight was bad and he lost his driver's license. Saul was always a devoted husband and father. He was very gregarious and loved having his family around him. He used to take his youngest son, Ted, and later his grandchildren, to the bars of his customers and say, "Go in and tell them who you are!"

His grandaughters, Penny and Pam, remember dancing on top of bars of Saul's customers. Saul adored baseball. Even when he lived in Fresno, he used to drive up 200 miles in one of his strange off-beat cars, such as the Star, the Durant, or the Devaux, to see the minor league Seals play. When the Giants came to San Francisco, he was in heaven, couldn't wait for that first game, and promptly got beaned by a foul ball, getting his picture on the front page of the sports section. He was thrilled! Saul was also something of a gambler. His grandson, Robert, remembers going with him to the baseball game, buying a seat in the bleachers, sneaking into a box where everyone knew him, and betting with everyone around him on the kind of pitch or the nature of the hit that was coming up. When television came in, he used to call his sons to discuss the game. Although German was his native language, and he always had a very slight accent, and a low, gravelly voice, by the time he was sixty, he had almost forgotten how to speak German. Saul and Sylvia celebrated their 50th anniversary with a big party in 1962, and soon after that, Saul died of a heart attack almost instantaneously. Sylvia died in 1965.

Their oldest daughter, Fay, became a teacher like her mother, and met and married attorney, Maurice Hyman in 1937. They had three children, Richard Hyman, born in 1941, and twin daughters, Penelope and Pamela (Penny and Pam) born in 1944. Richard received his doctorate in biochemistry from CalTech, and taught for many years at the medical school in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he had the opportunity to become close to some of his New York relatives, especially Barry and Ellen Samuel. However, he yearned for California and returned to live in Palo Alto where he happily directs a research project in genetics in a lab connected with Stanford University, and even more happily plays tennis. Richard has become a real tennis buff, traveling every year to Wimbledon and Hawaii to watch tournaments. His group also sponsors a tennis club for minority children in East Palo Alto.

Pamela Hyman married and divorced Edward Krug, by whom she had two children, Jennifer Krug, who married Jeff Kinnard, is working on her master's degree, while her husband is in hospital administration. They live in Los Angeles. Gregory Krug has just finished law school and is waiting to hear about the bar exam. Pam later married and divorced Richard Burkon, with whom she had an adopted daughter, Jody, who is now 6.

Penny Hyman married and divorced Lee Markrack and had four children. Her oldest son, Martin, born in 1966, married Elizabeth Chez. They have one child, Ilyse, born in 1944. Penny also had fraternal twins, Jill and Alan Markrack, born in 1968, and a youngest son, Gary, born in 1974. Both Penny and Pam live in San Rafael, Marin County. Fay died of cancer in 1988, and Maury Hyman died in 1994.

Walter Samuel, Saul and Sylvia's first son, began work at an early age. He remembers helping his grandfather, Albert Samuels, in his tailor shop after school. After working for several liquor companies, including Max Samuel's, he eventually bought a small package liquor store with a partner, and later bought a larger store on the corner of Polk and Pine Streets, a store that still stands today, although Walter sold it years ago. In 1938, Walter married Jane Brown, originally a Sacramento girl. They had two sons, Robert, born in 1942, and Larry, born in 1944. During the war, Walter worked in the shipyards. After the war, Walter sold the liquor store and moved the family to San Jose, then a small town with a close knit Jewish Community, and not the capital of Silicon Valley as it is today. In San Jose, he had a Shasta soda water franchise, and later was a salesman for Schenley liquors. After seven years, he returned to the City and became a liquor salesman for various companies, eventually becoming a sales manager . Even though he is retired, like his father, he can't stand not working and is still selling liquor at the age of 82. Walter and Jane's oldest son, Robert, after several false starts, began to work in a headhunting company where he met his wife, Margaret (Peggy) Bankert. They now have their own headhunting business. Bob and Peggy had two sons, Matthew, born in 1982, and Michael, born in 1984. They all live and work in a big house in rural Sebastopol, in Sonoma County.

Walter's younger son, Larry, graduated from the prestigious Hotel and Restaurant course at San Francisco City College and went to work as a salesman selling food to restaurants. He became extremely successful. He married Kathee Sperling and they had three children. Stephanie, born in 1974 is a student at San Francisco State University. Their second daughter, Alexis, born in 1976, attends college in Chico, in Northern California, and their son Mark, born in 1979 is in his senior year in high school where he plays soccer and basketball. Sadly, in 1990, Larry underwent surgery for a brain tumor, from which he never recovered. Larry died in 1994. His widow, Kathee still lives in San Rafael.

Youngest of Saul's children, Theodore, or Ted Samuel, was born in Fresno in 1924, but grew up in San Francisco. Sweet and gentle, he was too young for sibling rivalry with his brother, 9 years older, and his sister, 11 years older. Ted graduated from high school just as World War II was breaking out. After a year at City College and a short stint working in the shipyards, he was drafted and spend 3 years in the infantry as a mortarman. His 71st Infantry Division fought in Europe and liberated a concentation camp in Austria. After the war he went to the Pasadena Playhouse School of the Theater on the G. I. Bill. After graduating with an M. A., he joined a communal theater group in Hollywood, where he met his wife, Lee, who had just graduated from UCLA with a minor in Theater Arts and had joined the same theater group. When the theater closed for lack of funds, Ted and Lee went to San Francisco, where they were married in 1951. Lee began teaching and Ted went back to school to get another M. A. in social studies and a teaching credential. They traveled a lot for a couple of years, and then had four children in five years. Deborah was born in 1955, Suzann in 1956, Karen in 1958 and Sharon in 1960. Like most teachers, Ted had two jobs. First he sold ties at Roos Brothers, and then became a principal of a religious school. He also continued to work in little theater, acting for several companies and directing for other groups as well as his own. After 14 years of teaching he became a specialist in the gifted program and later spent 14 years as program director and manager of KALW-FM, a PBS radio station owned by the school district. He is most proud of having introduced Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion to California audiences. Ted and Lee retired in 1989, and have spent their time traveling, hosting Elderhostels, and being very involved in the 60 plus Club at San Francisco State University. They spend a lot of time going to the theater, symphony, opera etc. Ted gets all the performing arts tickets for our club at student discounts. Lee also is a City Guide, doing tours in Chinatown and Palace of Fine Arts. They have particularly enjoyed working on genealogy, writing this book, and the newsletters, and bringing the family together. It has been a labor of great love.

Their oldest daughter, Deborah, married and divorced Murray Weiss. They had three sons. Job, born in 1976, made Aliyah last year, and has been liviing in Kibbutz Ze'elim in the Negev Desert for almost 2 years, while he is waiting for the Israeli Army to call him up. Jeremiah, born in 1978 is in his second year at UC Santa Barbara, and Jonah is in high school. Deborah is a massage therapist and lives in Woodland Hills, in L. A. County.

Ted and Lee's second daughter, Suzann, or Suzie, went on a junior year abroad from UC Berkeley to Haifa University and there met her husband Gabriel Magal, who took the name Samuel, so their name is Samuel-Magal. Suzie has an M. A. in special education and teaches in a special education school in Tivon outside of Haifa. She also is a teaching supervisor on a part-time basis in the suburbs of Haifa and in a neighboring Druze village, Isfiyah. Gabi is a CPA, and has his own firm, together with a partner. They have three children, Karen, born in 1984 and named after Ted and Lee's third daughter, who died of cancer in 1974; Eyal, born in 1987, and a national silver medalist in judo in his weight class; and daughter Inbal, born in 1990.

Sharon Samuel, the youngest, never wanted to sit in an office, so she decided to crack the men's trades, and after a four-year apprenticeship became a journeyperson electrician. She now works for the State Transportation system fixing lights on highways, tunnels and bridges. In addition, she is getting her B. A. at San Francisco State at night, and has an organic garden at the house she bought a few years ago in San Francisco. She is also a gourmet cook and baker. Shari is a very busy young woman.

written by her son, Richard Hyman

Fay Samuel was born in San Francisco, California, in 1913 and was raised there and in Fresno, which was then a very small town in California's Central Valley. Her parents, Saul, Son of Wolff, and Sylvia (always known as Dolly) raised their children well in modest financial circumstances. Mom learned to read at a very young age, and reading remained one of her pleasures throughout her life. As a child, she loved to read about far-away places and dreamed of traveling to them. After Ted's birth, the family returned to San Francisco for good. With strong encouragement from her parents, Mom attended San Francisco State Teachers' College (as it was known then) and graduated with a primary school teaching credential. She taught first and second grades for several years at San Francisco public schools.

During the summer of 1937, Mom traveled for the first time. She took the train East to New York City. Mom stayed with Uncle Benno for a few days and then moved across the street to a modest residential hotel. The accompanying photograph of Mom was taken by a professional photographer in San Francisco in July 1937. It was during this 1937 stay in New York that Mom met and made friendships with her many East Coast cousins. These friendships lasted her lifetime. I recall particularly those cousins who later visited us in California: Jane Adler, not yet engaged to Bill Light; Willis Steinitz; later he and Edith spent part of their honeymoon with us; and Fred Samuel, who, with Evie, Barry and Russ, visited us out in the country in Napa during the summer of 1956.

On December 22, 1937, my mother married my father, Maurice J. Hyman. The Hyman family is described in the book, "Pieces of the Past" by Sue Silver; this book concentrates on the Jewish families who lived in Folsom, California, during the Gold Rush. As a teacher, my mother was earning $70 a month, which my parents thought were Big Bucks. My father was just beginning his career as a lawyer, in partnership with his older brother, Wallace, and was earning $30 a month, mostly in barter.

By the time World War II ended, my parents had three children to raise (me in 1941 and my twin sisters in 1944). In 1947, they purchased, with partners Wallace Hyman, and Jack and Edgar Lazarus, 120 acres of land near Napa, California. All four families built country homes. The Napa Valley in 1947 was not the world-famous place it is today. The wineries were small and family owned. Vacationing in Napa suited my father, who loved the solitude. Mom did not much care for Napa, as it was away from her friends and its one county library was seriously inadequate for her wide reading interests. In Napa in the summer, we played softball in the early evenings. Everyone participated, regardless of sex or age, including guests. For example, in 1956, Fred, Barry and Russ Samuel joined in. Many years later, Fred told me that those softball games were his introduction to baseball, and luckily too, as both Barry and Russ became enthusiastic Little Leaguers. My mother was good at softball, and I came to realize that she was something of an athlete for a lady of her time and place. One reason that sports became an important part of her life was the influence of Helen Wills, the great tennis champion, who showed that it was possible for a lady to play tennis and still be a lady. My mother played tennis enthusiastically, particularly in Napa, where Jack Lazarus built a tennis court behind his home. We all helped build the court, and we all played tennis on it. Those tennis games in Napa were Mom's pleasure and my first real introduction to tennis,. I've always wanted to say "Thank you" to Helen Wills Moody, who is now in her nineties, for her contribution to my mother's and subsequently my interest in tennis, an important part of both my mother's life and mine.

In addition to tennis, Mom adored baseball, a trait that she shared with her father, Saul, and brothers Walter and Ted. Some of my happiest childhood memories are when I went to baseball games with my grandfather. Saul was a liquor salesman. He found time to attend baseball games while he was doing his rounds. My father came to love baseball as much as my mother, so when the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, my parents purchased season baseball tickets with avid fans, David and Nancy Rytand. Their tickets were in the boxes behind third base in Candlestick Park and were for every Sunday home game, and Memorial Day and Labor Day. The foursome maintained those tickets until my mother's death.

In addition to going to our country home in Napa for vacations, we did occasionally travel relatively short distances by car. In the summer of 1954, we drove south on Highway 1, still spectacular today, to Disneyland and to San Diego to see the justly famous Zoo. We stayed at the Hotel Del Coronado, a ferry ride across the bay from San Diego. By pre-arrangement, already staying at the hotel were Claire Samuel, Frances Jane, Arthur and Paul Gray, Lelia Adler, and Jane, Bill, Susan and Judy Light. It was an East-West Samuel Family gathering, forty years ahead of its time. Claire and Lelia loved to go across the border to Tijuana, Mexico, to gamble on the Jai Alai matches. Paul Gray placed their bets for them.

Years later, with my sisters married and me in graduate school, my parents had the time to travel. However, my father's idea of a long trip was to drive to Sacramento, about 70 miles from San Francisco, and he would not go further. My mother made the inspired decision to travel without him. Of course, a lady could not travel alone, so Mom signed up for escorted tours. On these tours, she met other travellers that she liked and who shared her travel interests. They signed up for escorted tours together, and later, they arranged their own tours. Over a span of 25 years, Mom went everywhere in the world, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, excepting only Albania and Antarctica. Her childhood dreams of travel were realized. This is an important life lesson: hold on to your childhood dreams; you may be able to make them come true!Mom took off for the fabulous far-away places of this world. She slept in a yert in the Gobi Desert. She went through the Kyber Pass and the Panama Canal. She had a drink at Rick's Café Americain in Casablanca and said "Hi" to Bali. She saw the Taj Mahal by moonlight and Machu Picchu at dawn. Mom's travel friend, Thelma Owen, had lived in Shanghai for many years and had learned to speak and understand the local Chinese dialect. As soon as China opened up to tourists, Thelma and Mom went to China. They found Thelma's home in Shanghai. Mom walked on the Great Wall and loved much of the countryside, but found the constant dust and crowds appalling. Mom's travel friends, Henry and Thelma Galbraith, had an extensive collection of Native American Kachina dolls. On one trip, they took Mom and Fred Samuel to Canyon de Chelly and other inaccessible American Indian locations.

Mom's favorite places were the Hindu Kush and the game preserves of East Africa. I have a small fossil given to Mom by Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge. Mom loved to see animals in the wild or near wild. I include a photograph of Mom holding an old lady Koala Bear, taken at the Lone Pine Sanctuary outside Brisbane, Australia in the 1970's.

Richard Hyman June, 1996


Solomon Isaac Rechtandt came to San Francisco from somewhere in Poland, possibly the province of Posen in 1850, leaving behind a wife, Augusta Lefkowitz Rechtandt and three children. He set up shop as a tailor, became a volunteer fireman, was paid in gold dust by the miners, and as soon as he could, sent for his wife and children, who arrived in 1852. We still have a Hanukkah lamp they brought with them. At the dock, he learned that one child had died on the ship during the long and difficult journey around Cape Horn, and promptly fainted, so he was known as the fainting grandfather. Solomon soon found that no one in San Francisco could pronounce Rechtandt, so he changed his name to Levy, possibly a family name or a contraction of his wife's maiden name, Thus, he became Solomon Isaac Levy. Solomon and Augusta had a total of eight children, three born in Europe, and five born in San Francisco. However, only four of those children produced offspring: Barnard, Sarah, Charles and Mark Levy.

Barnard Levy had three children: Viola, Herbert and Mildred. Mildred married Eugene Cohnreich. There is a Cohnreich family tree, and the family still lives in the Bay Area. Charles married Laura and had a daughter, Miriam who married a man named Feldheim, but they had no issue. However, both Sarah and Mark had children who married into the Samuel family. Mark married Henrietta Russak, and had one son, Henry. Nine days later, Henrietta died in childbirth, Henry's wet nurse ran away with him, but was found and baby Henry was returned. He lived with his Aunt, Sarah Levy Samuels, and his two uncles. When Henry was ten, Mark Levy married a second time, to Ray Ehrenworth, and had three sons, Gustave, and Monroe and Victor, both of whom died in infancy. Henry Levy, however, hated his stepmother, who was very cruel to him, so he spent most of his time in his Aunt Sarah's house, growing up with her children. Sarah married Albert Samuels, who had walked across America with a peddler's pack on his back, starting in New York in 1865, and arriving in 1872 in San Francisco, where he, too, set up shop as a tailor, though he was never very successful. Sarah and Albert had three children, Harold, Sylvia (my mother) also known as Dolly, and Florence.

Harold joined the navy during World War I, and having learned the sailor's trade, joined the Merchant Marine and became a captain of ships for Permanente Cement Co., sailing up and down the coast of California. He married Crystal Titman and had one daughter, Norma Samuels, my first cousin, who married Gordon Peters, chief of photography for the Chronicle newspaper. They had two children, Linda and Don Peters. Linda married Gregory Ball and had two sons, Christopher and Graham Ball. Don married Carol Ingrassia and had two children, Daniel and Kelli Peters. He also had a son, Jesse Peters, from a first marriage. Florence was married and divorced several times, but had one son, Victor Williams, from one of her marriages. Victor moved to Sacramento and with his wife, Ruth Weinstock, had one daughter Susan Williams, who married Norman Mitroff and had two sons, David and Stephen. Susan divorced, and later married Donald Hill. They live in Walnut Creek. Susan reported that her children did not realize they were Jewish, and son David was told he looked "Greek," but after his grandfather died, and we contacted Susan, he is now interested in his Jewish heritage.

Sylvia married Saul Samuel, youngest son of Wolff Schmul in 1912 and had four children, Fay, Walter, Richard (who died in infancy) and Theodore (me.) see the Saul Samuel line for the rest of this story.

Henry Levy, son of Mark married Hattie Abramson, daughter of Augusta Pincus and David Abramson. Augusta, you remember was the youngest of the Pincus girls. Thus, Hattie Abramson Levy was first cousin to Saul Samuel, since their mothers were sisters, and Henry Levy, her husband, was first cousin to Sylvia Samuels, wife of Saul Samuel, for their parents were brother and sister. After the 1906 earthquake, you remember, Saul Samuel, after sleeping in Golden Gate Park, went to his cousin Hattie's house, which was still standing, and there on the porch met Sylvia Samuels, who had taken refuge in her cousin Henry Levy's house. Henry and Hattie Abramson Levy had one son, David, who felt that at the time he would not get into Stanford Medical School with the name of Levy, so he took the family name of Rechthandt and anglicized it to Rytand (right hand). David became a famous cardiologist at Stanford. The Rytand heart murmur is named for his discovery. David married Nancy Holmquist and had three children, Nancy, David and William. (see the Abramson line)

Thus, through Augusta Pincus and her daughter, Hattie Abramson, and Mark Levy and his son, Henry, this line is doubly interwoven into the Samuel Saga.


We have seen the Samuel family under various last names go from (possibly) Spain and Portugal, to England, to Amsterdam, to Janowitz, to Berlin, to California, to New York, and spread throughout the United States and the world, still wandering. However, several branches, we hope, have stopped wandering and are now new pioneers in the land of Israel.

From the Lena Samuel Simon line, Lena's great-grandaughter, Lynn Simon Cove, her husband, Eliahu and children Sabina and Joshua, have pioneered in a development town in Galilee, as part of a new generation of idealists, living in Upper Nazareth. Joshua is now in the Israeli Army.

From the Wolff Schmul line, we have Herman Steinitz's daughter, once Fanny Hilde Steinitz, now Malka Haas, who with her husband, Kloni Haas, pioneered in the 1930's and helped start a new kibbutz in the Bet Sh'an Valley.. The third generation of the Haas family, all of whom have served in the armed forces, are now part of Israel, living in Rehovot and Jerusalem.

Also from the Wolff Schmul line, Saul Samuel's grandaughter, Suzann, daughter of Ted and Lee, spent a year in a kibbutz before going to university, and went to Haifa University on her junior year abroad. Her professor said, "When students go to Israel on their junior year abroad, the men find G-d and the women find husbands!" Suzie found a husband, who has graciously taken the Samuel name, so the second generation of this family is now part of Israel, living in Haifa as the Samuel-Magal family.

Newest Israeli, from the Wolff Schmul line, is Job Weiss, son of Deborah Samuel-Weiss, (Ted and Lee) who made Aliyah last year, and has been living on a kibbutz waiting to be called into the Israeli Army.

We hope that in the future, more new generations of our Jewish family and all Jewish families will cease wandering and find home.

Oral Histories:

Frank Marcus, Bernard Samuel, Walter Samuel, Lois Dawers, Richard Hyman, Raymond Abramson, Eva Ellis

Primary Sources:

San Francisco City Directories, 1850-1950
New York City Directories, 1900-1920
Grass Valley City Directory, 1867
Nevada County Reunion Book, 1878
Records of Deeds, Nevada County, 1860-1885
Hartwell, etal, Index to Mining Record, P-L, 1856-1905

Secondary Sources:

"Avoteynu," International Review of Jewish Genealogy quarterly, 1985-1996
Bloom, Herbert I., The Economic Activities of the Jews of Amsterdam in the 17th & 18th
Centuries, Kennikat Press, N. Y. 1969
The Jews of Amsterdam, Kennikat Press, N. Y. 1936
Cardoso, Isaac, From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto; Univ. of Washington Press, Seattle, 1981
Dos Passos, John, The Portugal Story:Three Centuries of Exploration and Discovery, Doubleday & Co., New York, 1969
Endelman, Todd M., The Jews of Georgian England, 1740-1830. Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1970
Hagan, William, Germans, Poles and Jews, The Nationality Conflict in the Prussian East 1722-1914, U. of Chicago Press, 1980
Hyamson, Albert, The Sephardim of England, A History of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish
Community, 1492-1951, Methuen, London, 1951
Levinson, Robert E., The Jews in the California Gold Rush, KTAV, N. Y. 1978
Luft, E. D., compiler, Naturalized Jews of the Grand Duchy of Poland, 1834-5, Scholars Press, Atlanta, 1987
Roth, Cecil, Essays and Portraits in Anglo-Saxon Jewish History, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1962
The History of the Jews of Italy,1956
The Rise of Provincial Jewry, The Early History of the Jewish Communities in the English Countryside, 1740-1840 The Jewish Monthly, London, 1950
Stephens, H. M., The Story of Portugal, AMS Press, N. Y. 1891 and 1971
Trend, J. B., Portugal Ernest Benn, Ltd., London, 1957
Wohl, Hellmut, Portugal Scala Books, Harper & Row, N. Y. 1983

Libraries and Reference Books:

Genealogical Library, Church of the Latter Day Saints, Family History Library, San Bruno, California

Births, marriages, deaths, Janowitz, various dates, 1834-1845, Sutro Library, San Francisco
City directories, Passenger lists of ships from N. Y. & Hamburg, a booklet called "The Samuel Family of Liverpool and London," and the Luft book, above Jewish Community Library, San Francisco
Jewish Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Judaica, Memorial Book, Jews of Amsterdam Nevada County Historical society
J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
San Francisco Chronicle, 1912; 1940-43
New York Times, 1943 Jewish History Library, University of London, Gower Street, London Notes: according to our research, we are not related to the Luria family of Genealogical fame:
see "Avoteynu," Spring/Summer, 1990

We are not related to the famous titled Samuel family of Liverpool and London. The Samuel name was not taken in our family until 1833. Lord Samuel was not a relative

Uncle Benno's claim to Spanish Aristocracy was his private joke!

We have still not begun to scratch the surface of the family before 1800. That's where the future and the fun begins. Good luck to those who come after us.

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