Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, USA

"Rose City,"  "Bridgetown," "Stumptown"

Lat: 43° 31', Long: 122° 40'

Portland Homepage
The Holocaust
JewishGen Home Page
KehilaLinks Home Page

Compiled by Linda Kelley genportland972@gmail.com

Updated: Sept. 2020

Copyright © 2020 Linda Kelley

Webpage Design by JewishGen


The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education has Oral Histories posted online.
at https://www.ojmche.org/collections/oral-history/?sf_paged=2
The project began in the 1970s. There are about 300 oral histories posted as of October 2020.
Each interview is both audio and transcribed.

Family stories are listed in alphabetical order.





Hirsch and Weis:  White Stag

Hirsch, Solomon/Fleischner



Meier & Frank

Norden and Mansfield







Rabbi Robert Abrahamson

Rabbi Abrahamson's great nephew, Paulo Alexandre Abrahamsohn,

of Sao Paulo, Brazil, posted a note in the JewishGen email group on May 3, 2020.

He wrote that his "grandfather, Alexander Abrahamsohn and his brother, Robert,

were born in Velikye Luki Russia, moved to Tuetz, West Prussia, which is presently

Tuczno, Poland. Robert emigrated to the US and lived in Portland, Oregon..."

Paulo and his cousin, Jay Weiner, great grandson of Rabbi Robert Abrahamson,

both gave permission for information and photos of Rabbi Abrahamson to be

posted on this KehilaLinks page.

Sura Rubenstein of Portland found newspaper articles about Rabbi Abrahamson.

Sura has given her permission for the material she found to be posted on this

KehilaLinks page.

Rabbi Abrahamson was born in Poland, per Steven Lowenstein, author of 

The Jews of Oregon, 1850-1950, published in 1987 by the Jewish Historical Society

of Oregon, Portland, OR. [with permission] Per Paulo, it was Velikye Luki, Russia.

JewishGen's Community Database states it was Russia. The town where Paulo said the family lived, Tuczno,

was in Prussia, now is in Poland, per JewishGen.

Rabbi Robert Abrahamson was born about 1851-2. He arrived in the US about 1860.

In the 1890 Directory, Rev. Robert Abrahamson was listed as a Reader at

Ahavai Sholem congregation.

Rabbi Abrahamson's wife was Annie Epsteyn/Epstein. They married in Portland in 1887.

Their children were Ninessim/Nissim, Edith, Pearl and Morton, all born in Oregon.

Morton died in 1913 at the age of twelve.

Rabbi Abrahamson served as chazzan [cantor] and rabbi at Ahavai Sholom

synagogue [established 1869], from 1880 to 1922. [Lowenstein, Steven, p. 106, 164]

Here is a newspaper article from 1917, clipped from the Oregon Daily Journal, courtesy of Paulo Abrahamsohn:
Rabbi Abrahamson

Rabbi Abrahamson died on 21 July 1922. Surviving him were his widow, Anna, his

daughters, [Edith] Mrs. Maier Kasper of Wapato, Washington, Miss Pearl Abrahamson of Portland

[later of Auburn, Washington], and his son, Nissim
Abrahamson of Hoquiam, Washington.

He was a Rabbi Emeritus and a member of B'nai B'rith of Portland Lodge Number 65.

[Obituary found at NewsBank, Inc. website by Sura Rubenstein, originally printed

in the Morning Oregonian newspaper, July 22, 1922, page 17.

Used with permission of Sura Rubenstein and Paulo Abrahamsohn.]

Anna Epsteyn Abrahamson died 11 October 1935. Her headstone says her given name was Anita.

Anita Abrahamson was buried at Ahavai Sholom Cemetery beside Rabbi Robert Abrahamson.

[JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry and FindAGrave.com]

Nissim worked for an apparel company and lived in Hoquiam, Washington.

His wife was Myrtle J. Donahue. They had three daughters:  Mary Ann, Carolyn Rose and Roberta Elaine. [Hoyt Family Tree, Ancestry.com public tree, owned by

Steffany Hoyt.]

Nissim died in Wenatchee, Chelan, Washington in 1962, per Ancestry.com records.

Edith and her husband, Maier Kasper, also lived in Hoquiam, Washington in 1930.

Maier was in the clothing business. In the early 1940s, Maier was listed in the directory

in Spokane, Washington. Maier died in Seattle in 1951. Edith was listed as Maier's widow

in 1960 in Seattle. Edith died 1978 in Seattle. Their daughter, Frances Margaret or

Margaret Kasper, married Sidney N. Weiner, per Ancestry.com records.

Pearl died 23 December 1935 in Auburn, King County, Washington,

and was buried with the family at Ahavai Sholom cemetery in Portland,

per JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry.

Linda Kelley
August 2020


Sue Axel's story, "Tales of Genealogy," is posted on Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon's website at:



by Wayne N. Burton, MD


Feves Family

Left to Right:  Lou Feves, Issac Feves, Alius Feves, Michael “Iron Mike” Feves, Neche Feves, Hannah Feves, Pearl Feves, 
ca 1920,  Portland, Oregon. Courtesy of Wayne N. Burton, MD, used with permission.

The genealogy of a family, especially of one as large and complex as the Feves Family, must rely on a family historian---ours was my Aunt, Hannah Feves Cole. In addition, Pearl Feves wrote her autobiography when she was a high school student, and we have documents from many members of the Feves family.

Michael “Iron Mike" Feves was the patriarch of the Feves family, and subsequently, a number of his descendants were also named Michael or Mike. Three records from Lithuania show different birth information for Michael Feves. One states that he was born April 15, 1873 in Varniai, another states that he was born May 1, 1879 on the Polukst farm in Telsiai, Lithuania, and on his signed handwritten petition for naturalization, he entered March 15, 1874. His parents were Nachman and Tsira (or Cheerkah). They lived in Varniai, Lithuania on an estate called Chepaichiai in the Labardzhiai volost in 1915. They owned property on Gornaya Street in Siauliai, Lithuania between 1912-1916. Nachman’s father, Gershhon, lived in Laukuva in 1849 and in Paluksciai in 1877.

Naturalization papers for Mike Feves listed his  name as Michael Fivisch and his wife as Dora Scvescovich. One of their sons, Itzik Fywusch or Feivusch, changed his name to Louis Feves as part of his naturalization on December 8, 1937, when he became a citizen of the United States. The origin of the family name “Feves” was probably “Fajvish” or “Fajvush,” which were Jewish names typical of Lithuania. Regardless of the previous spellings, after coming to the United States, all of the members of the family would use Feves as their family name. [Fivish was a typical family name in Lithuania, according to Alexander Beider in his paper, “The Given Names in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania,” Avotaynu,1998.]

Michael married  Dora Sevechovitz (aka Scvescovich). Michael Feves’ wife, listed as Neche Dore Sevescovich, was born on April 16, 1878 in Kovna, Lithuania. They were married on January 21, 1903, according to their marriage certificate. 
Neche Dora Sevechovitz was 12 years old when her mother died. At some point, Dora lived in Berlin, the daughter of a wealthy family which lost all of their worldly goods in a pogrom. How Dora eventually moved to the little town of Vorna, in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania is unknown.  

Michael and Dora had seven children; two died very young.

Alius Feves, whose given name was Elias or Eliahu Gerson, was born on  February 4, 1908  in Lithuania, although he told relatives his birthdate was January 1, 1907. Al told me that he didn’t know his exact birth date, so he selected January 1 because it was easy to remember. However, we were able to find his birth records from Lithuania, and his birth date was recorded as February 4, 1908. There was a twin of Alius, named Aisik, whose birth was recorded with Alius/Elias', and was reportedly shot and killed in Lithuania.

Issac (“Ike”)  was born October 15, 1908 in Lithuania, according to his mother's Petition for Naturalization. Isaac lived until 1983 and died in Portland.

Itzik Fywash was born on March 1, 1910 in Lithuania. He changed his name to Louis Feves as part of his naturalization proceedings dated December 8, 1937. 

Hannah was born April 15, 1911 in Lithuania.  Hannah's family history stated that an earlier Hannah who died of smallpox at a young age.

Pearl was born April 9, 1915 in Portland, Oregon, about three years after Iron Mike and Dora arrived in the United States.

The actual birth dates of Jewish children born in Lithuania were the number of days after a Jewish holiday in a given year. Many Jews who immigrated to the United States took an easy-to-remember date such as “July 4th” which was also symbolic of their new-found freedom in the United States.

Our patriarch, Mike Feves, traveled from Hamburg Germany to Philadelphia on March 30, 1911 on the steamer Prinz Oskar. He traveled 3rd cabin and landed in Philadelphia on April 13, 1911. Mike’s voyage to the United States was probably very scenic since there is a listing [http://researchers.imd.nrc.ca, accessed December 18, 2005] that on April 8, 1911, only nine days after departing Hamburg, the Prinz Oscar, sailing from Hamburg to Philadelphia, passed a large iceberg!

Mike Feves' residence on the Preliminary Petition for Naturalization (undated) was 430
 1/2 First Street with a post office address of 283 First Street in Portland, Oregon. This was the Jewish section of Portland at that time and for decades to follow. The person in the United States that he was going to stay with or his sponsor was Sam Goldstein in Portland Oregon, who was the purchaser of his ticket. Sam Goldstein was Dora Feves’ brother. Dora came with her four children later, arriving in Philadelphia about May 28,1912. Hannah had been born about eight months before the trip, which is why the family couldn’t travel together earlier.

Feves Family: The Early Years in Lithuania

This description of Neche Dora's and Michael's life in Lithuania is from Pearl's Autobiography, written in 1931, based on her parents' own histories as told to her. Pearl's entire Autobiography is added at the end of this story.

As a result of Neche Dora’s mother’s death, Neche reared her four brothers, Sam, Ben, Hymie and Lazer (Louis) and a baby sister in Lithuania. Neche’s father remarried and her stepmother added another infant to the family. Neche’s stepmother was described as truly “wicked." Neche was in her teens when she had to raise a family, milk six cows daily, cook meals, help with her father’s grain mill and clean the house, while her stepmother lay idle.  It was no easy life for Neche, and her health was “easily broken down”.

The marriage between Neche Dora Sevechovitz and Michael Fywusch (Feves) was pre-arranged by a shadchen, with his usual fee and the usual dowry as was the custom of the day. Michael had a wheat mill and plenty of geese. Both Neche and Michael were of Orthodox Jewish families. At the time, Lithuania was part of Russia, a country filled with unhappy Jews who shuddered at the cruel tyranny of the Russian Czar.

Mike’s father was one of the poorest but the best tailors in the village.  He had one large room in his shop in which there were seats arranged as in a school room. There were six promising young tailors working away, including Michael. Mike’s father was a teacher of tailoring and he had two assistants. All of the work was done by hand, and if it was not satisfactory, it had to be done over. As each aspiring tailor advanced in skill he was promoted to the position of assistant, after which he would have to make his own living. Mike did not work long with his father; he choose mill work instead. While working at the mill he met Necha Dora, his future wife. She was glad to marry Mike, because he took her away from the unhappy life that she was leading. With the passing of time in Vorna, Mike bought his own little mill and was also selling geese. 

Michael and Necha Dora Feves had six of their seven children in Lithuania. One child, the first Hannah, died of smallpox in Lithuania. There was also a seventh child who was shot in front of their parents in Lithuania. This son was Aisik, the twin brother of Alius (“Al”) /Elias Gershon Faivus (Feves) according to Aisik's death certificate from Lithuania and Lithuanian records. Alius' middle name, Gershon, was from his grandfather.

Mike was bored with the monotony of working and slaving for the little he was making in Lithuania. He received a letter from his brother-in-law, Sam J. Goldstein, who lived in Portland Oregon, full of encouragement to travel to the United States. 
By 1911 Necha Dora and Mike had three living children, all sons. In March, 1911, with a steamship ticket from Sam J. Goldstein, he kissed his family good-bye and left for the Promised Land, vowing to send for his family as soon as he could. A few months after his departure, their second daughter, Hannah, was born, named after the Hannah who had had died of smallpox.

Feves Family:  Life in Portland, Oregon, USA:

Mike Feves traveled from Hamburg, Germany to Philadelphia on March 30, 1911 on the steamer Prinz Oscar, found in the Morton Allen Directory of European Passenger Steamship Arrivals (www.ancestry.com). Michael Feves traveled “3rd cabin”  (third class)  and landed in Philadelphia from Hamburg Germany  on April 13, 1911. Necha Dora came about a year later, arriving in Philadelphia about June 21, 1912, with her three sons, Alius, Louis, and Isaac and daughter, Hannah. The residence on Mike's Preliminary Form for Petition for Naturalization (undated) is 430 1/2 First St. with post office address of 283 First Street, Portland, Oregon.  The person in the United States that he was going to stay with or his sponsor was Sam Goldstein in Portland, Oregon. Sam also purchased his ticket. Sam Goldstein was Mike's brither-in-law, Necha Dora's brother. Evidently, Sam Sevechovitz had changed his last name to Goldstein.

It was not easy for a foreigner to find employment in the United States, but Mike worked hard as a tailor for Meier and Frank Company*, and sent part of his money to his family. After buying his own tailor shop, he sent for his family. The streets of  America were not paved with gold, but conditions were better than in Lithuania. The family lived on the east side of Portland, Oregon, in two rooms of a little house. The front room of the house, located at 831 Alberta Street, was occupied by a barber shop. It was in one of the back rooms of this house that Pearl Feves (Burton) was born on April 9, 1915.

[*Meier and Frank Department store would be purchased by other companies and the name would be changed to Macy’s in 2006.]

Mike and Dora Feves eventually owned several buildings on First Avenue, including his tailor shop, apartment buildings and a secondhand store owned by Al Feves.  The important intersection at First and Caruthers had Louis Leveton’s drugstore on one corner for many years. When Leveton died, Korsun’s grocery moved into the same space. Across the street was the grocery run by Mrs. Maccoby, whose husband, Moses, taught at the Hebrew school. Next to it were the well-known Solomon Apartments, built by Jacob Solomon. Barney Finkelstein and his family had a house at 308 Caruthers in the 1920s.

Mr. Mosler’s bakery was also located on First near Caruthers, and he produced what many would swear were the best bagels they ever tasted. As a young boy, I recall my father driving my brother and me to “South Portland” to Mosler’s Bakery on Sunday morning to get a dozen bagels and a rye bread. Across the street we would get corned beef at Korsun’s grocery for lunch. Mr. Mosler was was rather short and bald, and not particularly friendly. One day he gave my brother and me a bagel. I pointed out to my father how nice Mr. Mosler was that day. My father told me that the bagels were just part of the dozen that he paid for! Nevertheless, there was nothing like a warm fresh bagel from Mosler’s, because the next day they would be hard as a rock---

Mike Feves' buildings along First Avenue were inherited by his five children and owned jointly, until the City of Portland bought them for urban renewal. The area in the 1950s and 1960s had become home of the poor. This property included “Iron Mike’s” secondhand clothing store, a bar, a transient hotel, a barber shop, and a secondhand store run by his son, Al Feves.

Iron Mike's shop

Photo of “Iron Mike” Feves' Tailor shop on corner of First Avenue, Portland, Oregon and other property that he owned. 
[ca  1960]  Taken by 
Wayne N. Burton, MD, used with permission.

Most Jewish children in old South Portland attended the Failing School, located between Hooker and Porter streets, just east of Front Avenue.  As many as half of the children at Failing School were Jewish during the first years of the century, and approximately 20% were Italian. Upon graduation from elementary school, most Jews went on to Lincoln High School, where many made their first real contact with the “outside” world.  Among the classmates at Lincoln High School was Mel Blanc, who as an adult became the voice of many of the Looney Tunes cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and numerous others, and voiced Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, including The Flintstones' Barney Rubble.

More about Alius G. “Al” Feves
Alius G. “Al” Feves was born on February 4, 1908 in Kovna, Lithuania and moved to Portland, Oregon with his family as a boy in 1911. He actually did not know his true birth date so selected January 1, 1907 because it was easy to remember.

The family first lived in a one-room apartment behind a barber shop on N.E. 26th and Alberta streets, while his father worked as a tailor and later ran a men’s secondhand apparel shop.  Al’s father would get up at 5:00 every morning and walk the five miles to his store. Al said, “We used to save our nickels so that we could ride the streetcar, but we didn’t have many rides in those days.” He became a “newsie” at age eight, selling newspapers on street corners and earning a few cents a day for his family.  That’s when he picked up the nickname “Hell Yes” because customers couldn’t pronounce Alius, his first name. He sold newspapers at northwest 30th and Alberta, then at Southwest Broadway and Washington. Later he also had a route along Southwest Sixth Avenue, from Washington Street to the Union Depot, then Portland’s red light district. “The girls there were always nice to me,” he said in a 1985 newspaper interview. “Sometimes they didn’t pay me for a week or even a month... But when they had the money, they paid me in a chunk. So I’d get two or three dollars---and that was a lot of money then."  Papers sold for a penny apiece.

Al’s family moved to the west side where he graduated from Lincoln High School in 1924. He attended Reed College for one year---”but I got into trouble with my chemistry professor, because I was so tired and sleepy in class.”  He worked at a garage every night as a "grease monkey” to earn money for school. The teacher was unmoved. He suggested that Al find another school. Al stayed out of school for a year to work and then tried two colleges and business school before he finally decided to study pharmacy at Oregon State University and become a pharmacist. He graduated in 1930. Al earned two baccalaureate degrees in chemistry and pharmacy from Oregon State. He also had attended North Pacific College, Reed college, Northwestern School of Commerce and the University of Oregon.

Medicine appealed to Al, and he enrolled in the University of Southern California and began studying anatomy. During his sophomore year, however, he was among six students asked to leave because the school’s quota had been met. By the time Al earned his degree in pharmacy “drug stores were closing one after another” due to the Depression. He worked for a time for McKesson Pacific Drug Company inventorying shelf stock in stores that were going out of business. That’s how he learned a drug store in McMinnville was for sale for $1500.

An older friend, whom he had helped set up another business, offered to put up the money to buy the store if Al would run it.  “My partner said, ‘As soon as I get my $1500 and a couple hundred in profit the rest is yours for free.' And he said, 'I hope you can do it in 30 days.'..So I put on a sale and got his money in 15 days, only then I didn’t have any stock left...” But that didn’t stop Al.  He talked a local drug wholesaler into giving him $1000 of stock on credit in return for Al’s promise of continued business. With fresh stock, he reopened the store and operated it from 1933 until he sold it in 1938.

He then bought Knight’s Drug Store on Southwest 11th and Washington in Portland. Because Al kept the store’s name, many customers assumed he was “Mr. Knight”. In fact, he says, some people called him by that name for many years later. In 1942 he traded Knight’s Drug Store for an apartment building when he was drafted at the beginning of World War II.

When Al talked about his years in the service, a big smile spreads across his face. “I had a hell of a good time,” he would say. Al loved to tell stories and he had many from his Army years. Most of his service time was spent at Fort Lewis, Washington. In typical Army fashion, the fact that he was a pharmacist was ignored until about nine months prior to his discharge, when he was finally asked to set up a pharmacy lab. Before that, he served as a postmaster, a warehouse man, a supply clerk, a drill sergeant and a chef.

“When I was a chef---that was the best part. I had 24 hours on duty and the next two days off. I didn’t even have to get up for reveille... later I worked 36 hours and then had six days off.”

Then with a grin he would tell the story about the guard who was usually at the gate when he would leave on a six-day pass.  His name was Sullivan and he often made comments about Al’s unusual duty schedule.  After his discharge, Al ran into Sullivan again, only this time Sullivan was a Portland policeman, and he gave Al a ticket for making a wrong turn. When Sullivan recognized Al, he laughed and told Al, "I’ll get you this time.” Al said. “Now those were the days when you could fix tickets, but I had a hell of a time with that ticket. I never could get it fixed.” 

Al said that he didn’t know what he wanted to do when he got out of the service in 1945, but then a friend of his father’s suggested that he find some properties for investment.  “Lawrence Rosellini came to me and said, ‘Here’s my checkbook...Buy something.”  Al explained that Rosellini was a long-time family friend from their old South Portland neighborhood----”a community of Italians and Jews where people could speak each other’s language.”  Rosellini who owned a cafe at Southwest Fifth and Taylor, often came by with a bottle of wine in the afternoon to visit his father at his secondhand shop on Southwest First and Jefferson. “They were friends. They would loan each other money...Our families were close-knit.”

With Mike Feves financial backing, Al began investing in apartments and houses.  He said that it paid off for Rosellini--- ”He got more money back than he had ever put in. He was happy.”  It also paid off for Al. It was the beginning of a property management and investment business which continued to grow until he retired in 1969. Al was a short, rounded man who weighed 250 pounds when he went into the Army.

Al usually wore a cap to cover his bald head and well-worn clothes. A newspaper article about him in 1985 stated, “Don’t be fooled by the second-hand facade. He is an educated man, a shrewd businessman."

Al went into the U.S. Army in 1942 and served three years in the medical corps, then returned to Portland and married Sadie in 1947. Rather than pharmacy, he pursued a 50-year career as a real estate investor in Portland, Oregon. At one time he had investments in about 20 apartment buildings. Al would work six days a week until his death at age 87.

Al was a leader in the Portland Jewish community and was honored by Israel with the Ben Gurion Award for his fund-raising efforts. He served as president in 1965-66 and secretary-treasurer of the Ex-Newsboys Association, which he was involved in for 35 years. The organization named him its Man of the Year in the mid-1960s.

Al reached the pinnacle of his life when he was Bar Mitzvahed at age 73. “I had missed this important date during my life. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do." He studied Hebrew and the Torah with Rabbi Joshua Stampfer, and then Cantor Mark Dinkin perfected his skills. He would be Bar Mitzvahed a second time at age 83. I had the opportunity to attend both events in Portland, Oregon.

One of the sources for this story is Pearl Feves Autobiography, which she wrote in 1931:

Pearl Feves
November 20, 1931

For me an autobiography is like a diary;  it is something in which I can write what I think and nobody will care.  It has always been my desire to write an autobiography, just to remind myself, in later years, that I have perhaps grown older and wiser.

It has been thirty years since my parents were joined in matrimony in the little town of Vorna, State of Kovno, in Lithuania.  Both of my parents were of Orthodox Jewish families.  At the time Lithuania was a part of Russia, a country filled with unhappy Jews who shuddered at the cruel tyranny of the Russian Czar.

I do not know much of my grandmothers, only that my sister is the exact picture of Dad’s mother.  My other grandmother passed away when Mother was twelve years old.  This left her, as the oldest child, to raise the whole immediate family, which consisted of four brothers and a baby sister.  Her father increased the burden by re-marrying and later adding another infant to the family.  Her stepmother was like the ordinary mean stepmother of whom we know.  In her teens, Mother had to raise a family, milk six cows daily, cook meals, help care for the mill, and clean house while her stepmother lay idle.  It was no easy job, and her health was easily broken down.

Dad’s father was one of the poorest but best tailors in the village.  He had one large room in which there were seats arranged as in a schoolroom.  There were six promising young tailors working away, one of whom was Dad.  Grandfather was the teacher, and he had two assistants.  All the work was done by hand, and if it was not satisfactory, according to the word of the assistants, it had to be done over.  As each aspiring  tailor advanced in skill, he was promoted to position of assistant, after which he would have to make his own living.  My dad did not work long with his father.  He chose mill-work instead.  His employment at the mill where mother worked found him a wife.  I believe mother was glad to marry Dad, because he took her from the unhappy life she was leading.  With the passing of time in Vorna, Father had bought his own little mill and was selling geese, too.
By 1911, Mother and Dad had three sons. (Their first child, a daughter, had died). the oldest boy was about four years old, and another infant was on its way.

My father was bored with the monotony of working and slaving for the little he was getting.  Letters from his brother-in-law in Portland were full of encouragement; so in the forepart of 1911, with a passport from one of his brothers-in-law, he kissed his family good-bye and left for the Promised Land, vowing to send for his family as soon as he could.  A few months after his departure, my sister was born.  It was not easy for a foreigner to find employment in a new country, but Dad worked hard as a tailor and sent part of his money to his family.  A year later, after buying his own tailor shop, he sent for his family.  The streets of America were not filled with gold, but conditions here were better than at Lithuania, which by that time was a Republic.

The family lived on the East Side in two rooms of a little house.  The front room of that house was occupied by a barber shop.  It was in one of the back rooms, the 9th of April 1915, that I was born.
My birth was no different from the birth of my brothers and sister before me.  I know two things only, --that I was either hungry or uncomfortable, and I could yell as loudly as any infant in distress.  I cannot remember much of my early life, only that I used to lisp.  My sister, Hannah, spent hours a day trying to correct this fault which was apparently attractive to a child my age.  Hannah was the only fair one in the family.  She was red-haired, temperamental, peppy and somewhat of a tomboy.  Her freckles were as much a cause for her worry as my constant lisping, but she claimed a leopard could not change its spots.  It was not long before I stopped lisping.

My youngest brother, Lou, and my sister, Hannah, were inseparable. Lou had a knack of getting injured by automobiles. If Lou got hurt, Hannah was hurt. If  Lou had a bad cold, Hannah sneezed. Three times Lou was injured, and Hannah would yell for a long time if she weren’t hurt.

Isaac was a year and a half the senior of Lou. He, like myself, had big brown eyes, a calm disposition, and was extremely timid. He was a perfect gentleman and adored by all.

Al, the oldest of my brothers, was always hard to understand.  As a youngster, he was peculiar, but shrewd.  He would leave home early and return late in the evening with no explanations. He would never talk much and his teachers at Vernon School were puzzled sometimes.

My brothers all sold papers to help the financial problem in the family. By the time I was six, we were living on the West Side, and I was ready for school. The first thing I remember about school was a tall teacher. She was thin and straight-laced, kept her chin up in the air, and wore her hair in a knot on top of her head. That was enough. I believe I’ve been timid ever since being a pupil in her room. She loved to punish pupils, and it was a pleasure some of them afforded her often. I remember one little fellow in my class whom she did not like. No matter what went wrong, from the chimney smoking or the rain dropping, Norman was at fault. She was set in her ways—bad ways--and there was nothing I could do about it.

There are a great many things that are no use. One is talking about things nobody wants to know. That’s why I’m leaving out my earlier school days. When I reached the eight grade in grammar school, I had more confidence in myself. I had a few chosen schoolmates and the schoolwork was still interesting to me, only I did hate “history.”  Many times I hated it for keeping my name off the honor roll. I had no trouble getting along with anyone, because I could listen much better than I could talk.

Before I finished grammar school, however, I was a pupil at the Portland Hebrew School.  There were about one hundred and fifty Jewish boys and girls attending there. The lessons were in the Hebrew language, and each day we had assignments either written or oral. They were interesting, but many of us could have found more amusing things to do than to go to two schools.

Dad had progressed quite nicely by the time I was ready for high school in 1928. He had his own store and had bought some property, including our present home.

The thrill which belongs to every pupil starting high school eventually came to me.  I started at the High School of Commerce first, intending to follow in the footsteps of my sister. She had won eleven typing awards and a Remington typewriter for proficiency in typewriting, and was also the owner of two or three shorthand certificates. My sister, however, was dissatisfied. She regretted missing the experience of college life and unselfishly wanted me to go. I started my second term at high school, since Sis had convinced me of a more solid education at Lincoln High, from which school my three brothers had been graduated. I am not sorry I came to Lincoln. History is still the bane of my existence, but I enjoy school in general. I never did have much time for play because of the Hebrew School, but I was graduated from there in 1929. Some of my classmates are not perfect, but this world would not be interesting if there weren’t something wrong with it.

It seems funny to cover sixteen years in so few pages and come to the present time. Things have changed for my whole family. Education has been the paramount ambition of Mother for her children, and I believe she has been successful. Al is a graduate pharmacist with three degrees from Oregon State College. He is now a medical student at the University of Southern California. Isaac is a graduate of the University of Oregon and a medical student at the University of Oregon Medical School. Lou is a member of an honorary medical fraternity and also a student at the University of Oregon Medical School. My sister has changed from the temperamental  tomboy to a young lady with a responsible position. She is secretary to a court reporter in Circuit Judge Ekwall’s department. She is also my best adviser.

I have many things to keep me busy now, beside schoolwork. After school I help Dad at the store and then Mother and I go home and get dinner. When Sis does not work late, she and I help the boys with drawings or typing. I spend two evenings a week at gym and am very fond of tennis and swimming when the weather allows it.

If financial conditions will permit, and if all’s well, I hope to start college in a year or so. Five years ago I could not look into the future and find myself where I am. My sister says if you try to do things well, the future will take care of itself. Who knows?

Pearl was born at home in Portland, Oregon at 831 Alberta Street.  In a letter from Lou Feves, her brother, he noted that “within 24 hours after her birth my mother was up and about. My father took a couple of days off to help at home.”

Wayne N. Burton, MD
Hinsdale, Illinois
November 2020


The White Stag company's neon sign is still a famous part of Portland, Oregon.

White Stag
                        sign, Portland, OR          
Here is the story of the company and its founders.

The Hirsches were related to Jeanette Hirsch Meier, Aaron Meier's wife. Jeanette's father, Moses, had two marriages.

The Hirsches who came to Portland from Germany were related to Moses and his second wife. They came to help

with the Meier & Frank store. Max eventually became the superintendent of Meier & Frank,

and left their store in 1907. Max and Harry Weis purchased the Willamette Tent and Awning Company from Oregon

Pioneer Henry Wemme. The firm became known as Hirsch-Weis, and later anglicized its name to White Stag, by

translating weiss and Hirsch from German. At first they made canvas for ships and tents, horse covers and waterbags

for Alaskan gold prospectors. Max's son, Harold, started the company's formal sportswear lines during the Depression,

and built the company into a major manufacturer. In 1966, Warnaco, a large Connecticut clothing manufacturer,

bought enough stock in White Stag to incorporate it as a Warnaco unit. In 1987, Warnaco closed all White Stag operations in

Portland. [Lowenstein, p. 22-23]

Max Hirsch was active in the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism. [Eisenberg, p. 172] Solomon Hirsch was a

passionate Zionist. [Eisenberg, p. 179]

Max Hirsch was born in Worms, Germany about 1873. He arrived in the USA about 1888. In the 1900 US Census,

Max, Leon, Ludwig and Leopold were living with the Steinhardt family. Emma Hirsch Steinhardt was their sister.

The Hirsches were dry goods clerks who may have worked for Emma's husband in wholesale dry goods.

Leon arrived about 1880; Ludwig arrived about 1884; Leopold arrived about 1886, and Max arrived about 1888.

Max S. Hirsch of Portland, OR, married Clementine B. Seller in Boise, Idaho on 12 June 1904. A judge officiated.

Clementine was the daughter of Henry and Helena Sellers. The Sellers were from Bavaria.

Clementine was born about 1877. She had a brother, Leo W. Sellers, who was b. about 1874.

In the 1910 Census, Max was married to Clementine S. and they had a son, Harold Seller Hirsch, age two.

Max was in the tent and awning business.

In the 1920 Census, Max was the president of a manufacturing firm. Their daughter, Helene, was born about 1912.

On this Census, it states that Max was born in Worms, Germany.

Clementine died 1 February 1945, and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery, Block 50, Section 1, Plot 2.

Max died 1 June 1959 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery, Block 50, Section 1, Plot 1.

In the 1930 city directory for Portland:

Edith D. Hirsch, widow of Leon, lived at 443 Montgomery Drive.

Leopold B. Hirsch was the vice president of Hirsch-Weis Manufacturing Company and lived at 245 King.

Ludwig (Florence) was the department manager for M&F Company [Meier & Frank] and lived at 751 Flanders.

Max S. (Clementine) was the president and manager of Hirsch-Weis Manufacturing Company and lived at

718 Prospect Drive. Harold also resided there, and was a clerk at Hirsh-Weis. Helene also resided there, and was a student.

Hirsch-Weis Manufacturing Company:  Max S. Hirsch president-manager, Leopold B. Hirsch vice president,

Harry A. Weis secretary-treasurer, tent and clothing manufacturers, 201-9 Burnside.

Max's brothers:

Leon Hirsch was born in Worms, Germany about 1861. He married Edith Dittenhoefer.

They had a daughter, Eleanor S. In the 1920 Census, Leon was the secretary of a department store.

Leon died 14 September 1929 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery, Block 92, Section 1, Plot 3.

Ludwig Hirsch was born in Worms, Germany about 1866. His wife was Florence Koshland.

Their children were Robert, Amalie and Rosalie. Ludwig was a merchant in a department store, an employer.

Ludwig died 11 June 1952 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery, Block 92, Section 1, Plot 8.

Leopold Hirsch was born in Worms, Germany about 1869. In the 1920 Census, Leopold was 51, single,

living with his mother, Mirma? Hirsch, 76, widow. Leopold was a door merchant, an employer.

In the 1930 Census, Leopold was 62, single, a manufacturer of waterproof clothing, an employer,

living with his sister, Eda H. Low and her husband, Julius.

Leopold died 18 August 1961 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery, Block 50, Section 1, Plot 6.


Lowenstein states on p. 7 that "Brothers Solomon, Edward and Leopold Hirsch arrived during the 1850s"

to assist J.B. and Maier Hirsch with their general merchandise store, which had moved from Portland to Salem in 1854.

Later Solomon became a partner in Fleischner Mayer & Co. in Portland, a wholesale house and the largest Jewish business in the

Northwest. [Lowenstein, p. 7]

Solomon was almost 30 years older than the Hirsches of Meier & Frank and White Stag, and was not born in the

same town in Germany as the White Stag Hirsches.

Lowenstein states that Solomon was not related to the Hirsches involved in Meier & Frank. [Lowenstein, p. 44]

Solomon Hirsch was born in Hohenbach or Holbach, Wurtemburg, Germany 25 March 1839. His father was Sampson Hirsch,

according to the Boland Family Tree in Ancestry, owned by andyhirschman. Solomon arrived in the USA in 1854,

per his passport application of 1889 in New York. He stated on the application that he lived in Portland, OR from 1854 to 1889.

There is a note on his passport application indicating that Solomon became naturalized in Circuit Court, Marion County, Oregon, April 1862.

In 1870, Solomon married Josephine Mayer in Portland. Josephine was the daughter of Jacob Mayer and Mary Auerbach,

per the Ancestry tree.

Jacob Mayer was the son of Aaron Mayer.  The Mayers were from Bavaria, lived in Louisiana in the 1840s, then San Francisco,

then Portland by about 1860. Jacob Mayer was an import merchant.

In the 1880 Census, Solomon was a dry goods merchant. Their children were Ella, Sanford, May/Mai and Clementine.

In 1889, Solomon, a merchant, was planning a trip "abroad" for about a year.

In the 1900 Census, Solomon was a wholesale merchant. Their nephew, Sampson, ab. 1871, born in Oregon,

was living with them. He was a salesman in a store, and so was Solomon's son, Sanford. They had three servants living with them: 

a housemaid, a cook and a waiter.

Solomon died in 1902 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery, Block 22, Section 2, Plot 3.

Josephine died 1924, and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery, Block 22, Section 2, Plot 2.

Some sources say Solomon died elsewhere, but that might be because his obituary appeared in several cities.

This obituary explains why Solomon left the country in 1889:  He was appointed a US minister to Turkey

by President Harrison, and served three years.

The obituray also says he was prominent in Republican politics and was a candidate for US Senator. For many years he was a member of the

wholesale dry goods firm of "Fleischmner, Meyer & Co."

The obituary was posted in the Kansas Weekly Capital (Topeka, Kansas), 16 December 1902, page 2, found in

Newspapers.com 12 September 2020.

Solomon Hirsch obituary

The dry goods firm was probably FLEISCHNER & MAYER, established in 1875.

Fleischner, Mayer & Co.'s principal founders were Louis Fleischner, Jacob Mayer and Solomon Hirsch. [Lowenstein, p. 41]

Their sons entered the business and became prominent themselves.

Solomon Hirsch's son, Sanford Hirsch:

Sanford was born in Portland 17 Oct. 1872. In New York, in 1891, Sanford applied for a passport.

In the 1905 Portland directory, Sanford was a department manager at Fleischner-Mayer & Co.

In 1910 and 1920, he was single, living with his mother, Josephine, and his sisters.

Sanford was a wholesale dry goods merchant, an employer.

Sanford died 2 November 1929 [Oregon Death Index, cited in Ancestry.com]

Jacob Mayer was born in Bechtheim, Germany in 1826. He arrived in New Orleans in 1842, married, started a family;

he went to San Francisco, California in 1850, lured by the gold rush. He started a dry goods store in San Francisco,

helped organize the first B'nai B'rith lodge on the Pacific Coast, and founded the First Hebrew Benevolent Society

of San Francisco. Mayer came to Portland 1857 to open his City of Paris dry goods store. He was a charter member

of Congregation Beth Israel, and was later its president. He sometimes performed marriages. Mayer helped found a

B'nai B'rith chapter and First Hebrew Benevolent Association in Portland. He helped start the Oregon Historical Society.

He was in the Masons. and reached 33rd degree Mason, and the Oregon Grand Master. In 1875, he merged his business

with L. Fleischner & Co., to created Fleischner, Mayer & Co. His partner in the company, Solomon Hirsch, married

Mayer's daughter, Josephine. Mayer's son, Mark, managed the company's New York office. Jacob Mayer died in 1908. [Lowenstein, p. 41-43]

From Men of Oregon, Portland Chamber of Commerce Bulletin, 1911, cited in Ancestry.com,






Marcus Fleischner was born in Portland, OR on 5 October, 1862. He was a member of Fleischner, Mayer & Co., wholesale dry goods.

He was a member of the Fire Commission under Mayor Lane for three years. He was the President of the Concordia Club for seven years.

Louis Fleischner was born in Vogelsang, Bohemia in 1827, as Levi Fleischner. He left home at fifteen and changed his name to Louis.

He headed from New York in 1849 with his brother, Jacob, traveling overland. They stopped in Iowa for three years and ran a general store.

They came to Albany, Oregon in 1852, and started one of the first general merchandise stores in town. Louis was called "Colonel" Fleischer,

because he volunteered to fight in the Rogue River Indian War in Southern Oregon, 1855-56. Louis came to Portland 1864 and joied

Solomon Hirsch and Alexander Schlussel in forming a partnership called L. Fleischner & Co. He was elected state treasurer 1870-74.

He helped establish Temple Beth Israel building in 1888. Louis never married.

Oregon Biographical Index Card File:  Pioneer Index, card 21 of 2618, Ancestry.com:

Isaac Newton Fleischner was born in 1859 in Albany, Oregon. He was the son of Jacob and Fanny, and nephew of Colonel Louis Fleischner.

Isaac married Tessie Golinsky in San Francisco in 1897. His occupation was the dry goods company, Fleischner-Mayer & Co.

The card says Isaac was prominent in charities and musical circles, and was the father of Elise and Minnie.

I.N. [Isaac Newton] Fleischner died in Portland 4 December 1927, and was buried next to Tessie

in Beth Israel Cemetery. [JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry]

Linda Kelley
September 2020



Julius Loewenberg was born [in Posen, Poland/Prussia, per Lowenstein p. 68, 83] in 1833. The 1880 Census says Julius was born about 1840 in Oregon, and was a "fine stone merchant."

Lowenstein described Julius' life on page 83. Julius arrived in New York at age 14, about 1847. He came to Oregon several years later and ran pack trains to the mining camps in Idaho. Julius and Bertha Kuhn married in San Francisco in 1871, then settled in Portland, Oregon. Julius was in the hardware business, then founded the Northwest Fire and Marine Insurance Company, and became president of the Merchants National Bank.

Julius' wife, Bertha, was born about 1843 in Bavaria. Their children in 1880 were Ida, born about 1873, Zerlina born about 1874, Rosa, born about 1876, and Sydney, born about 1879. Bertha's mother, Sophia Kuhn, born about 1814 in Bavaria. Sophia's child [?] Paulina Kuhn, born about 1857 in Germany, and Cuque [?] born about 1865 in China, were listed as servants. Bertold Goldsmith, Julius' nephew, born about 1864 in California, parents born in Bavaria, also lived with them. Bertold was not employed. They lived at 123 W. Park.

By 1890, the Portland directory listed Julius as Vice-President of Merchants National Bank and
and President of Northwest F&M Insurance Company.
Julius built a new home for the family. Lowenstein on page 65 and 83 described the house as a "splendid" great 32-room mansion. It was at the east entrance to Washington Park, modeled on a Prussian castle Julius had admired in boyhood. The house had marble baths and sinks, and the finest furnishings from Europe. The house was completed in 1893 and was razed in 1960.

There was an economic depression in 1897. Julius became overextended. [Lowenstein, p. 83]

Julius Loewenberg died in Portland in 1899, and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery. The family had to move from the great house into a hotel. [Lowenstein, p. 83]

The Portland directory of 1901, found in Ancestry.com, listed Bertha as the widow of Julius. She lived at 292 10th. Living at the same address:  Miss Ida, a stenographer for Loewenberg & Going Co., Miss Rose, Sidney B. Loewenberg of Loewenberg & Going Co., and Miss Zerlina.
Loewenberg & Going Co.:   Alvin C. Going, President, Robert B. Fleming (Salem) Vice-President, James W. Going, Secretary and Treasurer, Stoves and Household Hardware, 229-235 Taylor.

For his World War I Draft Registration, Sidney Berthold Loewenberg stated he was a clerk for General Electric Company, at the Electric Building, Portland, Multnomah, Oregon. His mother, Bertha, lived at same address as Sidney, 742 Hoyt St., Portland. [Posted in Ancestry.com]

Ida, Zerlina and Sidney never married. Ida dedicated her life to the Neighborhood House and civic organizations. Zerlina dedicated her life to the South Portland Library and civic organizations.

Rose married Joseph Goodman in 1903; their children were Bertha and Gladys. Joseph Goodman owned a wholesale shoe business in 1910. Joseph died in Portland on 4 August 1939, per the Oregon Death Index, posted in Ancestry.com.

Bertha Doris Goodman married Leon Albert Goldsmith in Portland in February 1930. He was a medical doctor, a general practitioner. They had a daughter, Nancy H., born about 1938. Nancy married John M. Myers in 1959. [Ancestry.com records]

Gladys Goodman married Isaac Trachtenberg in Portland in January 1946. Isaac Nathaniel Trachtenberg had been a Sargent in the US Army from 1944-45. He was born in Jerusalem, Palestine. He had lived in the USA from 1912 to 1933, in Brooklyn, NYC, NY and Portland, OR. He went to live in Palestine in 1933. He married Margery Carolyn Schwartz in Jerusalem in 1933. They had a child, Ida Jeanette, born 1937 in Tel-Aviv, Palestine. Isaac was an agriculturalist, an agronomist. In the 1940 Census, Isaac, Margery and Ida lived in Lake Grove, Clackamas, Oregon. Margery died in Clackamas County, Oregon on 31 May 1945. Ida married Richard Alan Hargrave in Portland in 1957.

Gladys Goodman Trachtenberg was notable. A brief article in Oregon Jewish Life  posted online at issuu.com/jewishlifemagazine/docs/or_final_book-karl_12de081dfaf85f/53, January 2016, Vol. 4/Issue 10, says that Gladys lived 1910 to 1993. She graduated from Oregon State University and attended Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Gladys worked at the Neighborhood House for several years, then worked for several years at Dammasch State Hospital, the state mental hospital, in Wilsonville. The article was based on oral interviews with Gladys, posted at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education's website, ojmche.org/oral-history-people/gladys-loewenberg-trachtenberg/. The museum article mentions that Gladys met Isaac at OSU in 1930, but she was not ready to marry; Isaac and his first wife had two children. Isaac and Gladys added two more children to the family. This article also adds that Gladys served as president of the Jewish Historical Society of Oregon.

In the 1930 Census, the Loewenbergs lived on N. 20th St. Sidney B. Loewenberg was the head of household; he was a sales agent for General Electric Company. Ida was the Head Worker at Neighborhood House. Zerlina was the branch librarian at the public library. Next door were Joseph Goodman, no longer working, and his family:  Rose and Gladys.
In the 1940 Census, Ida, Zerlina, Rose and "Glady" lived together on Route 6. [Oregon Route 6 became OR 8 and US 26. The part of Route 6 within Portland is Jefferson-Columbia Street.] Ida was the head of household. Ida was a settlement worker at the Neighborhood House, a paid worker. Zerlina was a librarian at a city library, a paid worker. Rose was a widow; "Glady"/Gladys was her daughter.

Ida Loewenberg and an early group of Jewish women began the Portland Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, and Neighborhood House, the community center. The Neighborhood House began in 1905. Ida was hired as its first Head Worker in 1912. Ida remained at the Neighborhood House until her retirement in 1945 at age 73.

Julius' widow, Bertha, died in 1927. Sidney died in 1938.
Ida died in 1949. Rose Loewenberg Goodman died in 1954. Zerlina died in 1955.

Linda Kelley
October 2020



Jacob Mayer was one of the founders of the wholesale dry goods firm of Fleischner, Mayer & Co., established in 1875. The others were Louis Fleischner and Solomon Hirsch.

Jacob Mayer was the first of the three founders to arrive in Portland. Jacob was born in Bechtheim, Germany in 1826, the son of Aaron. He arrived in New Orleans in 1842 at the age of sixteen. He stayed there for eight years, marrying Mary Auerbach and starting a family. The lure of gold in California motivated him to go West. The family sailed from New Orleans to Panama, crossed the Isthmus of Panama, then sailed for San Francisco. The trip took over four months, and was very difficult. They ran out of food; Jacob had to buy a
barrel of sea biscuits from a Boston ship for $800, which was all he had.

Jacob established a dry goods store in San Francisco, with goods he had shipped before their journey.
Jacob helped organize the first B'nai B'rith lodge on the Pacific Coast, and founded the First Hebrew Benevolent Society of San Francisco.

In 1857, Jacob came to Portland to open his City of Paris dry goods store. He was a charter member of Congregation Beth Israel, and later was its president. If the Rabbi was unavailable, he performed marriage ceremonies. He helped found a B'nai B'rith and the First Hebrew Benevolent Association in Portland. He helped to start the Oregon Historical Society. He joined the Masons, reached 33rd degree Mason, and was Oregon Grand Master.

Jacob and Mary's children:
Josephine was born about 1848 in New Orleans.
Clementine Mayer was born about 1849 in New Orleans.
Benjamin was born about 1851 in San Francisco.
Bertha was born about 1853 in San Francisco.
Rosa was born about 1856 in San Francisco.
Marcus/Mark was born about 1858 in Portland.

In 1875, Jacob Meyer merged his business with Louis Fleischner and Solomon Hirsch, called L. Fleischner & Co.

Jacob's oldest daughter, Josephine, married Solomon Hirsch in 1870. Their children were Ella, Sanford, May and Clementine. Josephine died in 1924 and was buried at Beth Israel Cemetery.

Clementine married Oscar R. Meyer in 1879 in Portland, per the Boland Family Tree in Ancestry, owned by andyhirschman. They lived in San Francisco. Clementine was enumerated in a hotel in San Francisco in 1920, listed as a widow. She died in San Francisco in 1924.

Benjamin died in 1877 in San Francisco, and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery in Portland.

Bertha married Herman Zadig in 1881, per the 1900 Census. They lived in San Francisco. They had two sons, Martin B., 1887-1890, and Alfred James, born in 1882 in California. Bertha died in 1920. Herman died 1927.
Alfred married Anita Marie Rhea in 1913. Alfred died in 1937.

Rosa married Moses Blum in Portland in 1885. They lived in San Francisco. Moses was born in New Orleans.
Moses died 22 June 1918. Rosa died 18 August 1918.
Moses and Rosa had a son, James B. Blum, born about 1891. James was married to Martha __ from 1912 to 1918. When Moses died in 1918, he left $10,000 to Martha. James married Erma Stivers in 1919. James and Erma had James B. Blum, Jr., Rosemarie K. and Shirley Jane. James died 1970 in Oakland, CA.
James Blum has a Simon Blum Family Tree in Ancestry. James wrote a note that James's first wife, Martha, inherited $50,000 from her mother-in-law, Rosa Mayer Blum.

Mark, managed the store's New York office from 1891 to about 1910, although he always had a listing in the Portland directory. In 1910 Census, he was enumerated in Portland, lodging at the Morrison Hotel. He was single. Mark died in Portland in 1937, and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery.

Jacob Mayer died 31 December, 1908, and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery.
Mary Auerbach Mayer died in 1911 and was buried in Beth Israel Cemetery.

Sources:  Lowenstein, p. 41-2
Oregon Secretary of State, State Archives/Early Oregonian Search
Jacob's page:  https://secure.sos.state.or.us/prs/profile.do?ancRecordNumber=29024

Linda Kelley
September 2020



Meier & Frank became a very successful department store. Here is the story of its founders.

Aaron Meier was born in Ellerstadt, Bavaria in 1831. His father was Abraham, and mother was Rebecka [per Ancestry.com Steiner 10 tree, owned by nedsteiner] His two brothers, Julius and Emanuel operated a general merchandise store in Downieville, California. Aaron came to the US to help his brothers in the store, and peddled goods deep into Oregon territory for two years. He took a steamer to Portland.

1857:  Aaron opened a small dry goods and clothing store on Front Street, Portland, with partners N. Simon and Nathan Meerholtz. At the time, Portland had about 1,300 people and 42 stores that sold dry goods and groceries.

1863:  Aaron returned to Ellerstadt to visit his mother, and married Jeanette Hirsch there. Jeanette was the daughter of Moses, a grain buyer. The Meiers and Hirsches knew each other well. Aaron received his share of the Meier family estate, which was about $14,000.

1864:  On their way back from Bavaria, Aaron spent most of the money on goods in New York. When they got to Portland, Aaron learned that his little store had gone bankrupt. Aaron reopened a larger store across the street.

1865:  Aaron and Jeanette's first child, Fannie, was born. Aaron built a house at Third and Columbia.

1868:  Abraham/Abe was born.

           Aaron and Jeanette sent for relatives to come to Portland and work in the store:  Jeanette's half-brothers, cousins and nephews.

1870:  Aaron went on a buying trip to San Francisco, and met Emil Frank.

1871:  Hattie was born.

1873:  Emil Frank came to Portland and became Aaron Meier's partner. Emil's brother, Sigmund Frank, a musician, followed Emil to Portland.
           Fire destroyed much of downtown Portland, including the store.
           Daughter, Hattie died.

1874:  Meier & Frank new store on the other side of Front Street was built of brick, and covered the whole block. Julius was born.

1885:  Aaron and Jeanette's daughter, Fannie, married Sigmund Frank. The children of these two families would help build Meier & Frank into a successful business.
           A new, larger building was completed on Taylor, between First and Second.

1887:  Sigmund replaced his brother, Emil, as the principal partner in Meier & Frank. [In 1888, Emil went into business with Louis Blumauer, forming Blumauer and Frank, a large wholesale drug company, which was later sold to McKesson Robins.]

1889:  Aaron Meier died.

1894:  The Willamette River flooded much of downtown with three feet of water. The store remained open, using rowboats to bring customers to the store. Inside, there were plank walks constructed above the water line.

1898:  Meier & Frank erected a five-story, modern building with two elevators at Fifth Avenue between Alder and Morrison.

1909:  Meier & Frank store added a ten-story annex.

1910:  Sigmund Frank died. Abe Meier took over as president. Julius Meier, a lawyer, became the general Manager. But Jeanette was the real boss.

1914:  The Fifth Avenue store was demolished, and a sixteen-story, terra-cotta building was completed. It was Portland's first "skyscraper," and was the fourth largest department store in the USA at the time.

1922:  Meier & Frank's radio station, KFEC, broadcast from a studio on the fifth floor. The antenna was on the roof. The future actor, Clark Gable, worked at the store selling neckties. [Wikipedia]

1925:  Jeanette Hirsch Meier died.

1930:  Abe Meier died. Julius Meier became president of the store. That year, he was elected governor of Oregon.

1932:  The building became larger.

1937:  Julius Meier died. Aaron Frank became president.

1964:  Aaron Frank was removed as president. His son, Gerry, was also removed as vice-president and Salem store manager. The Franks sold their shares to Edward William Carter of the Broadway-Hale chain. Julius Meyer's son, Jack, sold the Meiers' shares to the May Company.

1966:  Carter and the Broadway-Hale stores sold their shares to May Company. Meier & Frank stores became part of May Company, a national chain. [Lowenstein,
            p. 22-29]

Wikipedia continues the saga:

Meier & Frank maintained a buying office in New York City.

It pioneered the concept of a money-back guarantee. Its' wagons, then trucks, would deliver to homes in Portland, no matter how small the purchase.

During World War II, Meier & Frank took out full page ads in The Oregonian for 1,207 days to raise money for War Bonds.

May Company operated Meier & Frank as a separate division for nearly forty years.

2002:  May Company consolidated its operation with Robinson-May.

2005:  Federated Department Stores, parent company of Macy's, acquired Robinson-May.

2006:  Federated merged and renamed all the stores Macy's.

2007:  Federated changed its name to Macy's.
           The downtown Portland store was remodeled.The lower five floors and basement were a Macy's store. The upper nine floors became a luxury hotel, The Nines.

2017:  Macy's downtown store closed. The Nines hotel took over the whole building. It is owned by Marriott.
This photo is from Wikipedia:

Meier and Frank

Linda Kelley
September 2020


Norden and Mansfield

This was suggested by Hazel Dakers, London, UK.
Hazel has a website:   www.hazeldakers.co.uk.
Hazel gave permission to post on this page:
accessed on 12 December 2020.



Most of this information came from an article at https://kevarim.com/rabbi-avroham-yitzchok-ovsovitz/, supplemented by records in Ancestry.com.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Ovsovitz was born in 1879, probably in Kovno. He arrived in New York in 1904. He was a Rabbi in Denver, Colorado,
where he married Riva or Rivka Kramer in 1908. For a few years, he was a Rabbi in Portland, Oregon.

In the 1910 Census, Rabbi Abraham and Mrs. Ovsovitz lived at 230 Sheridan in Portland, OR. The city directory for 1910 states
that he was the Rabbi at Congregation Shaarie Torah. [Ancestry.com]

Shaarie Torah was organized in 1902, as a strictly Orthodox
synagogue, the first one in the Northwest. It met in a building at First and Hall.
In 1905, the congregation purchased a church building, and moved it to its location at First and Hall.
Shaarie Torah became Portland's preeminent Orthodox synagogue, and was known as the "First Street shul."
[Lowenstein, Steven, p, 104-5]

The city directory for Denver, Colorado for 1906 lists Abraham I. Ovsovitz, Rev., Rabbi Congregation Kasher Ahavo, and he resided at 1555 Clay.
Haskell Ovsovitz, Rev, was a Rabbi at Congregation Zera Abraham, and also resided at 1555 Clay. [Ancestry.com]
Haskel was listed as a Rabbi in Denver from 1901 until 1912. This was Abraham's father. Yechezkel/Haskel Yehoshua Ovsovitz was born in 1848
in Kovno, and died in Denver 15 October 1913. He had recently applied for a passport on 27 May 1912. He stated he arrived in the USA in 1894,
and had lived in Trenton, New Jersey, then Fall River, Massachusetts and arrived in Denver, Colorado on 12 October 1900.
He signed his name "Hockel." He is in the Abromson Family Tree in Ancestry, owned by SABromsonLeeman. H. Ovsovitz
performed the marriage ceremony for Abraham and Riva.

Abraham and Rivka/Celia's children shortened their surname to Ovson. [Ancestry.com]

In the 1910 Census, Rivka was called Rachel. Abraham was 29; Rachel was 23. They had no children. Rachel's brother, age 20, lived with them.

The Cristil Family Tree in Ancestry, owned by rhiller137, has Abraham and Rivka. Their children were Sarah, born and died in 1912, Deborah
1913-1997, and Joshua Jess 1914-2004. The tree states that Abraham's father was Yechezkel Yehoshva "Joshua" Ovsovitz,
and mother was Chana Dina Crystal.

In September 1918, Abraham registered for the WWI Draft. They lived at 1332 N. 7th St., Philadelphia.
Abraham died on 16 December 1918, from Spanish Influenza, after helping a congregant who was ill. [per family history].
Rivka/Celia lived with her parents in Philadelphia; she was called "Sallie" on the 1920 Census. Rivka/Celia remarried
Chaim Jehudah Simon in Philadelphia in 1924. Celia died in 1952. [Ancestry.com]

[Kevarim link and Ancestry.com accessed on 12 December, 2020]



It is said that Philip and Caroline Auerbach Selling were the first Jewish bride and groom who married in San Francisco, California [about 1850].

In the 1860 Census, Philip was 34, born in 1825. Caroline was 26, born about 1831-4. Both were born in Bavaria.
They had two children:  Bernard, eight, so born in 1852, and Simon, six, born about 1854. [Ancestry.com]
There is a tree in Ancestry.com, Jewish Saar, owned by rupertle. It says that Philip and Caroline also had Gertrude about 1858 and Augustina Gussie in 1862.

Philip was a merchant. He set up a tent and sold goods to the gold miners who came to California in 1849 and Oregon in 1852.
The merchants moved from mining camp to mining camp, following the fortunes of the gold miners.
In 1862, the Sellings came to Portland, Oregon, and opened a small store on Morrison St. [Lowenstein, p. 8]
Philip died in 1908. Caroline died in 1914. [Ancestry.com]

The miners paid for their goods with gold dust. The gold dust helped fund Oregon's transportation and development, and helped Oregon become well-established. [Lowenstein, p. 8]

Bernard became known as Ben. He helped in his parents' store until 1881, when he established Akins, Selling & Company, a boot and shoe store. [Lowenstein p. 80] Ben married Mathilda Tilly Hess in San Francisco in 1880. [Ancestry.com] Their children were Rachael Rae born 1881 and Laurence born 1882. [Ancestry.com] Ben worked with Moyer Clothing Company. Then he started his own store, Ben Selling Clothier, at Fourth and Morrison. [Lowenstein, p. 80] He joined the Concordia Club, a Jewish social club. [Lowenstein, p. 68]

Ben was a philanthropist. He helped defend the Chinese quarter from threatened attacks by mobs seeking to expel the Chinese from Portland. [Lowenstein p. 21] He was a great fundraiser. He was the treasurer of the First Hebrew Benevolent Association, and belonged to the Jewish Relief Society. Ben raised money to help survivors of the Kishinev pogrom, Jewish war sufferers in WWI, Chinese flood victims, Japanese famine victims, and Armenians in need of relief. He purchased War Bonds and sold them to less fortunate people; he assisted with the Neighborhood House and B'nai B'rith. He established the Working Men's Club to feed men for five cents a meal; by 1914, it served 800 meals a day. [Lowenstein p. 56, 79-82]

Starting about 1880, a wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe came to the USA. There were so many in New York City, that, in 1900, the Industrial Removal Office [IRO] was set up in New York to relocate some immigrants to less populous towns. Ben helped the IRO bring 858 Eastern European Jewish immigrants to Portland. He encouraged relatives to reunite with relatives. He, along with Ida Loewenberg and Rabbi Stephen Wise, helped bridge the cultural gap between the old, established German Jews and the new Eastern European Jews, and helped newcomers feel welcome. [Lowenstein, p. 79]

Ben became an elected official. He served as president of the Oregon Senate in 1911. He ran for US Senator in 1912, but did not win.
He became Speaker of the House in Oregon in 1915. He helped establish the Portland Dock Commission. [Lowenstein p. 60]

Ben died in 1931. Tilly died in 1941. Rachel died in 1976. Laurence died in 1964. [Ancestry.com]
Linda Kelley
15 October 2020



The Stampfers are a family of rabbis.
They were originally from Stampfen, Hungary, now Stupava, Slovakia.
Yehoshua Stampfer helped establish Petach-Tikva in Palestine in 1878. He died in 1907.
His son, Saloman I., was born in New York City in 1881. His wife was Esther Rosenthal.
They had a son, Elihu/Elijah/Eli David, born 1901 in Petach-Tikvah, Palestine.
Elihah came to New York City, was a rabbi in Memphis, Tennessee, then Akron, Ohio. His wife was Nahama Frank. Nahama died in an automobile accident in 1939.
They had two sons, Joshua and Judah, both born in Jerusalem.
Elijah died in Los Angeles in 1962.

Joshua was born 28 December 1921, and came to the USA as a child. The family was in Memphis, Tennessee around 1929-31, then lived in Akron, Ohio during World War II. Joshua married Goldie in 1944. They moved to Portland, Oregon in 1953. He was the rabbi at Ahavai Sholom/Congregation Neveh Shalom from 1953 to 1993. He founded Camp Solomon Schechter near Tumwater, Washington. He established the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center and the Institute for Judaic Studies. He established the Oregon Jewish Historical Society and helped found the Oregon Jewish Museum. He taught at Portland State University and helped inspire the creation of its Judaic Studies degree. He and Goldie had five children. Their son, Noam, died in a bicycle accident in 2001. Goldie died in 2016. Their remaining children live in Israel, Boston, Ann Arbor and Portland. Rabbi Joshua Stampfer died on 26 December 2019 at the age of 97, and was buried with Goldie and Noam at Ahavai Sholom Cemetery, Portland, OR.


Sahara Ben-Dov, Jerusalem, Israel, Yehoshua Stampfer and the Stampfer Family, excerpted from Shalshelet newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon, Summer 2004 Edition, Volume 13, archived at JGSO, accessed on Oct 12, 2020.


FindAGrave memorial 206673503  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/206673503/joshua-stampfer#source
accessed through Ancestry.com on Oct. 12, 2020.

Lowenstein, Steven, The Jews of Oregon 1850-1950, page 214

Linda Kelley, October 12, 2020

Jennifer Subotnik's story, "My Great-Grandfather's Immigration from Vilna," is posted on the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon's website at:
[If you leave this page to read Jennifer's story, use the back arrow in your browser to return to this page.]


Joan Teller's story, "My Pioneers" is posted on the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon's website at:

[If you leave this page to read Joan's story, use the back arrow in your browser to return to this page.]


Eisenberg, Ellen, Embracing a Western Identity, Jewish Oregonians 1849-1950, Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, Oregon, with permission
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry
Lowenstein, Steven, The Jews of Oregon 1850-1950, Jewish Historical Society of Oregon, Portland, Oregon, 1987, with permission
Men of Oregon, Portland Chamber of Commerce Bulletin, 1911, cited in Ancestry.com
Oregon Biographical Index Card File:  Pioneer Index, card 21 of 2618, Ancestry.com
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education:  https://www.ojmche.org/oral-history-people/
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Stag_(clothing), accessed 6 Sept. 2020

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